KOSE Born Out of Merger Between Two Unions
KOSE was established in March 2007, when the boards of the Kansas Association of Public Employees/AFT (KAPE) and Kansas AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) voted overwhelmingly to merge their executive branch state employee members into KOSE, creating one strong, united organization.
KOSE has the backing of two parent unions, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). AFT and AFSCME are the two largest unions in the AFL-CIO and together represent more than 2.8 million union members nationwide. With the support of these two strong unions, KOSE has the resources and expertise to be a powerful advocate for state employees.
KOSE Supports New Approach to Bargaining
KOSE's formation was also spurred by a state plan to consolidate 42 executive branch bargaining units into 16 broad, occupation-based units made up of employees performing similar work. The plan was formulated based on input from KAPE, AFSCME, state employees, other employee groups, and the report (pdf) of a labor relations specialist retained by the state.
The Kansas Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) adopted the state’s plan on May 16, 2007, and instantly recognized KOSE as the bargaining agent for six of the 16 units. These 6 units, which collectively represent more than 10,000 state workers, are: Maintenance, Trades and Technical; Administrative Support; Health and Human Care Non-professional; Social Services, Counseling and Teachers; Protective Services; and Law Enforcement Investigators.
KOSE is supportive of and excited about the state’s new occupation-based bargaining system. We believe that the old splintered bargaining unit structure had major flaws. It did not promote effective labor-management relations; it did not lead to creative solutions for the efficient delivery of state services; and it did not benefit state employees.
For example, under the old system, many of the 42 bargaining units were small and comprised of unrelated job titles at a single work site. Such a fragmented system reduced the leverage of employees and made it difficult to address job-specific issues in ways that could lead to improvements in public services, working conditions and compensation.
In contrast, the new bargaining system holds great promise, as it will allow a group of similar employees (e.g., administrative support personnel) to bargain with one voice for the best possible union agreement.
To fully realize the promise of the new system, all state employees need to get involved. That’s why we urge all eligible state employees to join KOSE and actively participate in our union. Simply put, we are stronger together. By joining, you give us all more power to improve our working lives and strengthen our voice on issues that matter in the workplace.
Below is a complete list of the new units that were created under the state’s plan:
*Maintenance, Trades and Technical