Mediation Update: June 18

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Today was our second time meeting with the state mediator. Over the course of the day, bargaining-team leaders from Local 328 and OHSU met in a series of sidebars and the teams exchanged communications through the mediator. While our team waited for a counterproposal from OHSU, we discussed strategies and communications for the coming weeks. At 6:10 p.m., we received a confidential mediation proposal from OHSU that discussed wages, PTO and benefits. Our team reviewed the proposal in good faith and will respond to OHSU during our next mediation session.

Although no movement was made today, we look forward to making progress in future mediation sessions. Due to a scheduling conflict, the state mediator is not available next week; as such, we will not be meeting with OHSU. Our union’s bargaining team will instead use the day to analyze the final bargaining-survey data, consider a variety of contract options and proposals, work on communications and conduct member outreach. The teams will spend three consecutive business days in mediation starting on Friday, June 28.


Upcoming Events

Our members deserve a fair contract with no take-backs, and we have the power to get it. OHSU proposes financial take-backs every contract because it thinks our members will just accept them, but you have the power to say “enough is enough” and prove OHSU wrong. Please take note of the following important dates and participate to help us win a fair contract:

      • OHSU’s second bargaining forum with HR director Hollie Hemenway will be held on Wednesday, June 19, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in the Doernbecher 11th floor Vey Auditorium. We encourage our members to attend (wearing green and wearing your AFSCME buttons and stickers, of course) and respectfully engage as OHSU presents information about its proposals.
      • Join your coworkers at our union’s next bargaining town hall on Wednesday, June 26, from 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. This is your opportunity to ask questions about proposals that are still on the table, what’s happening in mediation, and what our union’s — and our members’ — next steps are. The town hall will be live-streamed for members who are unable to attend in person — the link will be shared in our bargaining-update email. Light refreshments will be served.
      • Show the OHSU board of directors at their next meeting that our members are standing strong for a fair contract at our “Green-out the Board” event on Thursday, June 27, at 1:00 p.m. at RLSB rm. 2S030/34 (at the waterfront). Wear green, of course!

Rally Report & Next Steps!

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June 13 was a historic day for AFSCME Local 328. In response to an unprecedented level of take-backs proposed by management, our members and their families rallied at the Mac Hall fountain alongside labor allies and supporters to let OHSU know that draconian cost-shifting of health-insurance expenses to employees and paying wages that don’t cover cost of living are non-starters.

Based on the numbers from our sign-in sheets and the amount of food consumed, we estimate that 900 people came out to stand with us in our fight for a fair contract from OHSU. We were joined by other union members at OHSU — Graduate Researchers United and the Oregon Nurses Association — as well as many unclassified OHSU employees. Other attendees included Jobs with Justice, members of other Oregon AFSCME local unions, CWA, SEIU, AFT and Letter Carriers, as well as representatives from the newly created Little Big Union. Given the strong community support, the AFSCME Local 328 executive board will explore creating a solidarity fund to show support and share resources when it comes time for our allies to bargain. 

Two days prior to the rally, OHSU asked for proof that our union had sufficient insurance coverage for the event. We were able to address this issue in a timely manner to ensure the rally could proceed as planned, but wish the employer had brought this up earlier in the process. In the build-up to the event, management had also raised concerns about violence and property damage arising as result of the rally; these concerns surely must have evaporated as soon as the event began. This gathering was about solidarity, camaraderie and relaxing with friends and family, and it showed.

Early in the event, hundreds of our members took part in a silent, contractually permissible protest to send a clear message to OHSU that we are standing together against their take-backs and that we insist on being treated with respect. Attendees heard from a range of speakers, including members of our bargaining team and Stacey Chamberlain, AFSCME Council 75 executive director and member of the OHSU board of directors. Footage of the rally was broadcast on Fox 12 the evening of the event.

Does a well-attended rally resolve the outstanding issues at the bargaining table? Far from it. While the support is a necessity to the process — and greatly appreciated by the bargaining team — the burden is on OHSU to bring our union a contract package that meets our membership’s needs. Absent that, our union will have no other choice than to (a) escalate or (b) settle for a substandard contract. As we move into the final phases of bargaining, it’s imperative that our members consider what they’re willing to do to escalate if OHSU will not move at the table. Escalation will likely involve an informational picket and a strike authorization vote. As we’ve previously stated, a strike is a last resort and can only be authorized by our members. 

Bargaining-Rally Details & Etiquette

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Our bargaining rally and BBQ is this week! Join your coworkers for all or part of this family-friendly event on Thursday, June 13, starting at 4:00 p.m. on the Mac Hall lawn. Make your voice heard! This fun event will be one of the best tools we have, short of a strike, to show OHSU the strength of our opposition to the take-backs it has proposed. A large turnout will send a clear message to OHSU that our members stand together, ensuring our union’s ability to bargain a fair contract that preserves our benefits and reflects the economic reality of living in this region. Please RSVP here. We can’t wait to see you all at the rally!

Rally Details

We have will have union swag, games for the kids and information tables to visit prior to the speakers starting at 5:00 p.m. We will have a sign-language interpreter on site. Food will be served after the speakers wrap up, but if you arrive hungry, we’ll have water stations and snacks available. BBQ (brisket, chicken, hot dogs, veggie burgers, mac and cheese and salads) will be served for at least the first 500 employees, and we’ll also have pizza available for additional attendees. We’re expecting support from numerous other unions and from our non-AFSCME coworkers. We will have lots of chairs available, but due to the potentially high turnout, we recommend bringing a blanket for the lawn. We have also reserved the Old Library conference rooms and great hall as overflow. We strongly encourage attendees to take public transportation to the rally.

Rally Etiquette

We want to be crystal clear — this event is a rally, not a picket. Please do not bring any signs to the event. Any activity that resembles an informational picket could have legal implications that would hamper our union’s ability to escalate our actions if needed in the weeks ahead. If you have any concerns about a potential for violence at this event, please read our blog article addressing this. We’re confident that our members will behave appropriately. In addition, on rally day — or at any other time — please don’t do anything that disrupts or otherwise impairs patient care or patient access to OHSU facilities and please do not place stickers on OHSU proper or otherwise damage OHSU property.

Bargaining-Session Update: June 11

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Today, the teams continued working on Article 28: Labor Management Committee (see last week’s update). In addition, the teams reached tentative agreements on the following sections of the contract:

    • Memorandum of Understanding #1: Drug and Alcohol Testing — We modified this MOU to add breathalyzer sampling as an option for testing for alcohol. We also added language to allow testing when an employee in a non-testable position performs work out of class in a testable position; repeat testing will not be needed if the employee transfers to that position at a later date.
    • New MOU: OHSU/AFSCME Task Force on Workforce Mental Health Support and Peer-to-Peer Group Counseling/Support — This task force will develop a position description for and oversee the hiring of an OHSU-employed internal counselor to support on-site group counseling/support in the wake of tragic/difficult events (death of a coworker, death of a long-time patient, etc.) that affect a work unit, as well as create a training program for interested members to recognize PTSD symptoms and to provide critical-incident group debriefings to employees in affected work units. 

The teams will be in mediation next week, then will meet on our own one more time prior to going back into mediation for three consecutive business days starting on Friday, June 28. Finally, our bargaining survey will close on Friday, June 14. If you haven’t yet done so, please take the survey now. 

Bargaining-Session Update: June 4

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Our members deserve a fair contract with no take-backs, and we have the power to get it. OHSU proposes financial take-backs every contract because it thinks our members will just accept them, but you have the power to say “enough is enough” and prove OHSU wrong. Please participate in the following actions to help us win a fair contract:

    1. OHSU’s first bargaining forum with HR director Hollie Hemenway will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, June 5, from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. in Richard Jones Hall rm. 4320. We encourage our members to attend (wearing green and wearing your AFSCME buttons and stickers, of course) and respectfully engage as OHSU presents information about its proposals. Come prepared with your questions! 
    1. Join your coworkers at our family-friendly bargaining rally and BBQ on Thursday, June 13, starting at 4:00 p.m. on the Mac Hall lawn. Join us for all or part of the gathering. This fun event will be one of the best tools we have, short of a strike, to show OHSU the strength of our opposition to the take-backs it has proposed. Please RSVP here!
    1. Our bargaining survey will close on Friday, June 14. If you haven’t yet done so, please take the survey now. 

Today, the teams worked on negotiating changes to Article 28 Labor Management Committee. In the morning, our union presented a counterproposal to OHSU that would:

    • Reinforce the Career and Workplace Enhancement Center’s commitment to the career advancement of members of our bargaining unit.
    • Clarify the roles of the LMC and the CWE Center.
    • Add to the services provided by the CWE Center — English-language learning, basic computer skills, classes scheduled during off shifts, etc.
    • Give priority placement in classes to bargaining-unit members.
    • Authorize charging a fee for class registration for employees who aren’t members of the bargaining unit.
    • Maintain language stipulating that the Local 328 president shall appoint the AFSCME representatives to work-unit labor-management committees.
    • Propose a charter template to assist in the formation of work-unit labor-management committees (similar to the templates used to create consensus agreements).
    • Approve LMC funding for the next two years.

OHSU responded to our LMC counterproposal late in the day. The teams will continue working on this contract language in future sessions. In addition, the teams reached tentative agreements on the following sections of the contract:

    • 5.X Student Worker: adds a new definition to this section of the contract
    • 7.2.5 Posting of Varying Work Schedules: adds language requiring printed work schedules to be posted in work areas where computer access isn’t readily available
    • 7.2.6 Changes in Work Location: adds new language addressing how work is assigned and how much notice is given when a department needs to change a work location
    • 15.2.4 Employee Premium Deductions: changes when insurance premiums are deducted from employees’ pay (to essentially reflect current practice)
    • 16.1 Plan Election: decreases the time frame for pension-plan election to 90 days from date of hire
    • 26 Parking: changes the name of this article to “Transportation and Parking”
    • Memorandum of Understanding #3 Code of Conduct: deletes this language (new related language has been added elsewhere in the contract)

 

Our Members are EMPOWERED, Not “Hateful”

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The following comment was made anonymously on our “A Shining City on Marquam Hill?” article this morning. Although we suspect it was written by management or someone else who isn’t actually a dues-paying member of our union, we felt it warranted a discussion, so we’re presenting the unedited comment and our response. The comment opens with “I know you won’t post this…” Wrong.

In a separate comment made about 90 minutes after this one, this person also let us know they’d saved a screenshot of the comment to share with the governor and with Oregon AFSCME’s executive director at a later date. Screenshots aren’t necessary — this blog isn’t OHSU Now.


I know you won’t post this because this is not free speech blog but Ms. Barker or whomever moderates please share this with the bargaining team:

you can blame OHSU and I am sure OHSU is responsible for some and perhaps nearly all of the pointed comments on this blog.

as an employee I see the hate rising. I see the anger this blog and your emails pushes into the the hospital. You can blame OHSU and clearly do for this.

I will say may be they are to blame BUT:

I feel we are creating a Trump like mob mentality. What are going to do if this leads to violence? I am seriously concerned we all know there individuals who simply look for the fight – could they be our employees? may be. Managers, may be, our members, may be – outside folks looking to cause trouble may be. Seems to be a lot of individuals spoiling for fights in Portland.

how do we heal? do you care? how do we work together moving forward – again I feel like this is Trump or whomever it may be on the left – way out on extremes not caring about the damage rather only winning.

Our union should be about being professional – so much of what is on here just seems to hate and anger. I am and expect my union to behave in a way that doesn’t foster such anger and hate. It is not. These vessels seems to stoke and encourage negativity. How about a rally where we go serve food to the poor? Clean up homeless camps, marching on Salem for better policies – why don’t our members rally around this? I don’t blame the union for this but I do blame the union for co-oping and using human emotion. I know OHSU is blame for this and and that – but we control our emotions and our words – btw this is what I tell my 3 year old when she is throwing a fit.

Anger and hate surely motivate. But like the old proverb says:

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

Let’s remember this as pour our acid around.

We don’t think hyperbole like referring to employees who are rightfully upset about the prospect of losing money under OHSU’s proposals as hateful is at all helpful. Our members have faced take-back after take-back from OHSU for a decade. We’ve labored under cost-containment and worked in departments that are short-staffed for years — with little thanks from the employer — to help keep OHSU running and profitable. These are facts, not exaggerations. Many of us feel disrespected and, yes, angry, and are speaking up — some of us for the first time. It’s insulting to these folks that someone would then accuse them of engaging in mob mentality, having the potential to become violent or acting like a toddler throwing a fit. 

Is Local 328 going to encourage our members to make their voices heard? We sure are. People are outraged, yes, but they don’t need our blog posts to make them feel that way — they just need to look at OHSU’s proposals and read OHSU’s own emails. Are we going to point out to our members that we think the employer’s proposals are unnecessary, unfair, disrespectful and, frankly, greedy? Yes, because we believe our members deserve a fair contract and we believe OHSU can do better, and the only way we’re going to get a fair contract is by speaking up and showing OHSU we’re willing to stand up to get one. You see our members as negative, hateful and uncaring. We see our members as empowered, engaged, thoughtful and acting with solidarity.

You’ve also suggested that Local 328 is “not caring about the damage only winning.” If you’re a member, you would have received an email Thursday night from our president Matt Hilton that we think disproves this claim. Does this sound like we don’t care about the impact of a contentious bargaining campaign? “A strike would have a profound impact on the care that our patients receive and on the research and other work being conducted at OHSU every day, and it would potentially reshape the public’s opinion of OHSU. It’s in the best interest of both parties to reach agreement on a new contract before a strike happens.” Does this sound like we only care about “winning”? “How do employees survive with effective across-the-board wage increases as low as 1%, when they might be facing a 10% increase in their housing costs, when more than half of our members are already spending 40% or more of their income on housing costs?” Or this? “Our union wants OHSU to recognize that shared sacrifice should occasionally be alleviated by shared prosperity. Our union believes that our members are assets to OHSU, not just numbers to be reduced on a spreadsheet. Our union wants a contract that lifts all boats. Our members deserve this.” 

You also asked how we can work together going forward. Although our teams are still quite far apart on a number of issues, especially the economic ones, we’ve already reached agreement on many proposals. We’re pleased to have worked together with the employer on language that enhances our steward program and improves the grievance process, and we’re close to agreement on other contract language that will be beneficial to our bargaining unit and to OHSU. We have a couple of days of direct bargaining and number of days of mediation left before our contract ends on June 30. Both the Local 328 and OHSU teams will be working hard on those days to reach a fair agreement — that’s what we all want.

You seem to think that our communications to our members are nothing more than propaganda. Of course we want our communications to be persuasive to our members, just as OHSU wants its communications to be persuasive. The members of our union’s bargaining team and our communications team know the thought, effort and time that have gone into our proposals and our communications. We’ve endeavored to fairly represent OHSU’s proposals and counterproposals — those have largely been take-backs and rejections, though, and we’re not going to sugarcoat that. We’ve shared the positives, too. We’ve also tried our best to ensure our members know what’s at stake for them with this contract, and what it might take to get a fair contract — this contract will be incredibly important to the 7,000 or so members of our bargaining unit, so we’re going to be frank and assertive in the way we communicate about it. 

If anyone sees our communications as “fostering hate,” we think they’re just seeing what they want to see. Did you even read the article you made your comment on, or read any of the comments? It’s not hateful for some folks to say they feel like their employer only cares about profits or to mention loans to Moda or to call out the executives who receive very generous bonuses. People are disappointed and feel disrespected, so some of us have expressed negative feelings about our employer — it’s okay for people to be critical of OHSU. Do you really consider statements like the following to be “pouring acid around”?

    • “OHSU has brought amazing work experiences and growth my way…”
    • “Does OHSU’s vision of improving the health and wellbeing of Oregonians not extend to its own employees?”
    • “Is the pursuit of ever-higher profits worth the damage done to the morale and health of its employees, many of who are also OHSU patients?
    • “So frustrating to do our best day in and day out and be rewarded with an effective pay cut and decreased benefits when we have record profits.”
    • “We’re all exhausted and now this contract negotiation feels like a slap in the face.”
    • “Thank you for putting into words the complexity of the emotions we feel. The disappointment, frustration and disrespect with the proposals and attitudes of the executive team at the bargaining table. But, in at least equal measure the passion, commitment and dedication that we feel to our co-workers and patients.”
    • “I need to be able to afford to keep working for OHSU. I NEED to be proud of the place I work.”
    • “Show up at bargaining with financial and vacation and health care proposals that respect us. Show up willing to engage with the community and employees and support outreach and staffing proposals from AFSCME.”
    • “It’s time OHSU starts showing its employees that it actually appreciates the work they do to make their mission a reality.”
    • “I am so frustrated, but comforted that we are standing together and speaking up.”
    • “I’m sad, disappointed and scared for the future if OHSU gets their way! Take a stand OHSU! Show Portland that you are great by taking care of your employees…the employees who have always taken care of you!”
    • “We echo your heartache, and only hope that OHSU is listening. We love our jobs, we love our patients, but we aren’t blind. We are in need of a fair contract…”
    • “This stands as a powerful statement of truth in a time of the widening gap between the rich and powerful executives at OHSU and the people who work with integrity and passion to make our community a better place.”

Finally, you asked “How about a rally where we go serve food to the poor? Clean up homeless camps, marching on Salem for better policies – why don’t our members rally around this?” Please don’t insult our members further by implying that many of us aren’t already volunteering and doing things to help our community. In addition, Local 328 has organized volunteer nights at the Oregon Food Bank and other events, and we regularly donate to Labor’s Community Service Agency and other nonprofits. We also regularly send delegations to Salem to do just what you suggest; we did so most recently on April 25. Any member who’d like to support our union in organizing these types of activities is welcome to join our executive board — in fact, our community-liaison and political-action chair positions are vacant! We’ve love to have members who are enthusiastic about community service/events or political action join us — folks can fill out our online contact form for additional information. 

A Shining City on Marquam Hill?

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—guest post by Local 328 executive-board member Trisha Crabb—

Every day, I pass beneath the OHSU campus soaring over Portland. I’ve always thought of it as a “Shining City on the Hill,” combining the political rhetoric of my formative years and the ideal of a beacon of good for the world to emulate. I’ve always seen the possibility of what OHSU could be — and should be. I spent the formative years of my life at OHSU. I’ve been shaped by the opportunities it brought into my life as I made Portland home for me and my family. OHSU has brought amazing work experiences and growth my way; my experiences here have made me a better person, and given me friends that I cherish. There is so much that is amazing about OHSU.

Part of my growth has been the development of my political and cultural self, an awakening to realities of economic justice, systemic bias and privilege. Somewhere along the way, I came to see that the “shining city” wasn’t lit by glowing ideals that I should emulate, but rather by the glint of gilded edges polished to a high shine so no one would see the flaws and weaknesses of the structure beneath. I know that OHSU as an entity has never been, at its core, more than a “fake it till you make it” endeavor. I know this because, for the past two decades, I have watched the constant erosion of potential.

OHSU is not reaching its full potential, despite reaching its financial goals. And for the first time, I fear it never will. Not as long as employees and patients are seen only as expense and revenue entries in a spreadsheet. Not as long the only employees who are always asked to sacrifice are the lowest paid workers. Not as long as those sacrifices are made so that OHSU can meet financial objectives that result in fat bonuses for highly paid executives. Not as long as only high-prestige projects and recruits are seen as worthy. Not as long as endless financial growth is the only focus and the money only flows uphill.

OHSU has a communications department that crafts and markets a specific image to the public. OHSU uses its public reputation, built by the marketing strategists, to promote its services to the public. Medical providers, nurses, AFSCME-represented employees and others deliver those services. Every single day, in thousands of moments, in hundreds of locations around the state, we deliver for OHSU. Our efforts give OHSU a platform to stand upon to market itself as a health-care, research and academic leader. But OHSU’s marketing image doesn’t capture the true culture of OHSU — the everyday interactions between coworkers and management, between patients and providers, between business partners and the community. The version of OHSU that is marketed to the public bears little resemblance to the culture we see reflected in OHSU’s actions at the bargaining table in AFSCME Local 328’s current contract negotiations.

I came to OHSU because it had marketed itself as a place where the mission ruled all actions, and in my first year at OHSU I met people every day who lived and breathed the mission with passion and integrity. For me, the first crack in the polished image appeared when the nurses went on strike at the end of 2001. The behaviors I observed — the harmful and retaliatory choices that leadership made, the willingness to throw money away needlessly to fight and to punish the nurses for daring to advocate for themselves and for their patients — tarnished my view of my employer. The determination of the nurses and their union showed me that the only thing that would move the leadership was a threat to the public’s perception of OHSU. It was so puzzling to me that the idea of OHSU was more powerful to OHSU’s leadership than the actual structure and strength of OHSU.

ANNC Magnet status was finally awarded to OHSU because the nurses bargained for it, fought for it and pushed for a decade to make sure it happened. Now OHSU uses that designation to polish its brand; never once have I heard an acknowledgement that it had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the program in the first place, or that only the determination, passion and ceaseless work of those nurses brought down barriers and made it happen. I could likely name a couple dozen smaller projects where the exact same pattern plays out: the employees advocate, agitate and force OHSU into growth, and then OHSU markets that growth to polish those gilded edges, often without acknowledging the difficult path to the change or the incredible dedication of the groups who make change happen.


“We are disappointed that AFSCME did not meaningfully engage with us to help create a more competitive and market-appropriate benefits system.”

“OHSU is breaking ground in so many ways“

Look at those two statements. The Local 328 bargaining team has dedicated an incredible amount of energy and integrity to the proposals they have brought to the table, while OHSU brought austerity proposals (in a time of record profits) that will — literally — make thousands of represented employees poorer. What’s groundbreaking about a health-care organization making health care less affordable for its own employees?

OHSU states that it is “a mission-based organization with a vision to improve the health and wellbeing of Oregonians…” and that it embraces “the pursuit of quality in the broadest possible sense — a commitment to excellence in our mission areas and integrity in our behavior.” Does OHSU’s vision of improving the health and wellbeing of Oregonians not extend to its own employees? Does short-staffing its units signal a commitment to excellence? Is nickel-and-diming its employees a sign of integrity?

By proposing a few weeks of paid parental leave for some members of our bargaining unit, OHSU has failed to recognize (or care?) that an aging workforce needs to care for parents, not children. Why not be a leader and propose paid family leave that all employees could use? By rejecting Local 328’s proposal to offer free transit passes to employees upon request, OHSU has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the difficulties our members face just to get to work. OHSU claims to want to reduce the demand for parking on the hill, yet has turned away a chance to remove a barrier that would help do that. By refusing to engage in discussions with our union about staffing, OHSU has ignored study after study that shows how much of an impact stress has on one’s health. Is the pursuit of ever-higher profits worth the damage done to the morale and health of its employees, many of who are also OHSU patients?

By ignoring Local 328’s proposal to form a community advisory board, OHSU has turned its back on part of its own mission: to “lead and advocate for programs that improve health for all Oregonians, and extend OHSU’s education, research and healthcare missions through community service, partnerships and outreach.” This advisory board will bring together faculty, union-represented employees, students and other OHSU stakeholders address concerns such as health-care costs, housing and transportation issues, sustainability and clinic access. Why would an organization that wants to be a leader in innovation not want to participate?

Sound business strategies that lead to financial success are, of course, important to any corporation. Our union wants OHSU to operate with a sound financial foundation. Profits cannot be the end-all be-all, though — not if OHSU wants to truly be an innovator and leader in the ways that count. During this round of negotiations, OHSU has a chance to break out of the boundaries dictated by “the market” and create a culture where workers at all levels are appreciated, respected and valued.

Attracting and keeping top tier-talent never used to be a problem for OHSU. People with amazing gifts have always flocked to the hill and OHSU’s far-reaching programs for the chance to realize a vision “to make Oregon a national leader in health and science innovation.” If they aren’t coming now (or they aren’t staying) it’s not because OHSU’s wages and benefits aren’t competitive — it’s because the word is out that the real OHSU is hidden by a gilded veneer. That veneer is cracking.

During my time at OHSU, I have been naïve and hopeful, I have been hurt and disillusioned, I have been pragmatic and willing to sacrifice. Through it all I have been understanding and have always given OHSU’s leaders the benefit of the doubt in my heart. Until now. Now I am tired and disappointed, and sad that the OHSU I have always believed we could be become, will never be.

Bargaining-Session Update: May 28

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Attend our bargaining rally and BBQ! Join your coworkers at this family-friendly rally on Thursday, June 13, starting at 4:00 p.m. on the Mac Hall lawn. Join us for all or part of the gathering. This fun event will be one of the best tools we have, short of a strike, to show OHSU the strength of our opposition to the take-backs it has proposed. Please RSVP here! (A flyer for you to print/share can be found in the blog post before this one.)

OHSU’s bargaining forums with HR director Hollie Hemenway have been announced! The first event will be held on Wednesday, June 5, from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. in Richard Jones Hall rm. 4320, and the second on Wednesday, June 19, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in the Doernbecher 11th floor Vey Auditorium. Both of these venues hold ~150 people — let’s pack the rooms like we did for our May 22 town hall! We encourage our members to attend (wearing green and wearing your AFSCME buttons and stickers, of course) and respectfully engage as OHSU presents information about its proposals.

If you are upset by OHSU’s take-backs and its rejection of our economic proposals, you must act to keep them from becoming reality: take our bargaining survey, show up at the town halls, show up at the rally, wear your union stickers and make sure your coworkers know about the type of contract OHSU is proposing for us.

OHSU proposes financial take-backs every contract because it thinks our members will just accept it, but you have the power to say “enough is enough” and prove OHSU wrong. Our members deserve a fair contract with no take-backs, and we have the power to get it. 


The bargaining teams worked on our own today, without the services of the state mediator, and are pleased to report that we had a productive day, with movement made on both sides. The teams reached tentative agreements on the following sections of the contract:

    • Article 2: The teams reached agreement on a number of changes that will strengthen our steward program: (a) improving release time for officers, (b) increasing the number of steward hours in certain cases and (c) allowing additional stewards in departments to cover swing and graveyard shifts. We clarified with OHSU what the current practice is re: stewards and overtime, and there will be no changes to the current practice.
    • 2.9.1 Union Communications: Local 328 will continue to provide HR with an advance copy of our emails under some circumstances, with no such requirement for communications sent to all dues-paying members during bargaining.
    • Preferential Hire List (sections 5.10/5.20/18.2.4/19.7/20.2.6/20.2.8): We agreed on improved language in a number of sections of the contract related to the preferential hire list, such as improving the amount of time an employee has on the PHL when returning to work after extended medical leave. In addition, timelines in the PHL process will be paused in the event that OHSU is in a hiring freeze.
    • 6.1.3.1 Code of Conduct Complaints: This new language gives employees a mechanism to report to bullying, intimidation and harassment not related to protected classes to the union (or to the Integrity Department or HR). This is companion language to our earlier agreement that will allow employees to report discrimination and harassment to the union (or to the AAEO Department, Integrity Department or HR).
    • 23.3.1 Notice: This section of the contract relates to the amount of notice our union receives when an investigatory interview will be scheduled during off` hours (7:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.). The new language will better enable our union to provide representation to employees who don’t work the day shift. 
    • 24.1.5 Grievance Steps: The teams agreed to language that will allow the union to file a limited request for information within seven days of filing a grievance. This added language will help move the grievance process along in a more timely manner.
    • Preferential Hire List Task Force Memorandum of Understanding: With this MOU, OHSU and Local 328 agree to form a joint task force to ensure that employees and managers understand the requirements, responsibilities and steps necessary to successfully complete the PHL placement process.

Our union also presented OHSU with the following counterproposals:

    • Appendix C — Employee Benefits Council: We continue to reject OHSU’s proposal to remove the decision-making authority of this committee, and re-proposed that the presidential tie-breaker provision be removed from the language. We continue to believe that decisions about benefits-plan design should be made in a collaborative manner, hearing all voices at the table.
    • OHSU/AFSCME Task Force on Workforce Mental Health Support MOU: We proposed some tweaks to OHSU’s counterproposal to our language. This task force would develop a position description for and oversee the hiring of an OHSU-employed internal counselor to support on-site group counseling/support in the wake of tragic/difficult events (death of a coworker, death of a long-time patient, etc.) that affect a work unit, as well as create a training program for interested members to recognize PTSD symptoms and to provide critical-incident group debriefings to employees in affected work units. The teams are close to agreement on this MOU.

Bargaining Timeline

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At our May 22 town hall, Local 328 president Matt Hilton shared a slide about the PECBA process/timeline for bargaining. We wanted to make sure our members have easy access to that information, so we’re sharing it here as well.

We are currently in the mediation stage of negotiations–our first day with the mediator was May 21 and we are scheduled for additional mediation sessions on June 18 & 28 and July 1 & 2.

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