We have a lot to report tonight!

Mid-Bargaining Town Hall

April 23 is the last day for either of the bargaining teams to present new proposals, so our union will be hosting a second town hall after everything is on the table.

Join us on Wednesday, April 24, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60 to learn more about OHSU’s proposals and let us know your thoughts. The town hall will be live-streamed for members who are unable to attend in person. Light refreshments will be  served. A link to the live-stream will be emailed prior to the event. You may email questions in advance to in advance.

This is your opportunity to give our union direction as we develop our counterproposals over the coming weeks — we hope you join us! A flyer for the event has been emailed to our members — feel free to print and share the flyer.

OHSU’s PTO Proposal

First, we feel it’s important to inform our members that our bargaining team was disappointed that OHSU chose to send their “not your mother’s PTO program” email in the midst of negotiations. During conversations earlier in bargaining, our teams established an understanding that we would give each other advance notice of this type of communication. We feel that OHSU’s email showed a lack of respect toward the bargaining process and our team.

Although OHSU’s communications claim that its PTO proposal package isn’t a take-back, our union disagrees with this characterization. OHSU’s proposal is a warmed-over, slightly tweaked (for the worse) version of its 2017 proposal that our members strongly opposed. Among other things, OHSU’s package proposal:

  • Creates new barriers to utilizing accruals for sick leave
  • Reduces vacation cash-out upon termination
  • Reduces annual vacation cash-out opportunities
  • Creates two tiers of benefits (e.g., paid parental leave or no paid leave) depending on an employee’s retirement plan*

Our union will be talking about OHSU’s PTO proposal in much more depth over the coming weeks. In the meantime, we’ve emailed a copy of OHSU’s comparison/summary chart to our members. Please comment here and let us know your thoughts and questions about this proposal. OHSU absolutely reads these comments, so this is your chance to share your feedback with OHSU leadership.

OHSU’s Proposed Insurance Take-backs

Despite OHSU’s unprecedented financial success, today its bargaining team also proposed the health-care insurance take-backs that our union has been expecting. Key changes include:

  • Decreasing OHSU’s contribution to employee-only insurance coverage from 100 percent to 95 percent (for full-time employees)
  • Decreasing OHSU’s contribution to all other tiers of insurance coverage from 88 percent to 83 percent (for full-time employees)
  • Imposing a $100/month spousal surcharge on employees whose spouse is covered by OHSU’s insurance when the spouse could be covered by their employer’s insurance (a flat fee — whether the employee is full time or part time, whether or not the employee earns only $15/hour)
  • Overhauling the Employee Benefits Council, turning it from a collaborative body that makes decisions about our benefits to one that merely makes recommendations (final decisions about your benefits would be made by OHSU’s vice president of Human Resources)

OHSU’s earnings are $62 million above budget, yet it wants to nickel-and-dime its employees. OHSU is a health-care institution, yet it has proposed making its health-care insurance more of a financial hardship for its own employees. OHSU’s financial performance improves year after year after year, yet it feels it bears an unsustainable, “disproportionate share” of its employees’ health-care costs.

Community Advisory Board

On a more positive note, today our union presented a proposal that we’re very proud of: a memorandum of understanding to develop a community advisory board. We already know that OHSU has a huge impact on the health care of those in our community and throughout Oregon. Local 328 believes that OHSU has the power to do even more for the common good.

Our proposed advisory board would gather together various constituencies at OHSU: all four labor unions, the Faculty Senate, the PA Board, the Advanced Practice Nurse Council, the OHSU All-Hill Student Council, the OHSU House Officers Associations and OHSU management. These parties would meet to look at issues such as health-care costs, clinic access, housing and transportation issues, educational and employment opportunities, sustainability and government and policy matters. Non-OHSU stakeholders (community groups, representatives from local government, etc.) would be invited in on an ad-hoc basis. The advisory board would periodically submit a report of recommendations to the OHSU president and the leaders of the various participant groups.

Local 328 currently has commitments from a significant majority of the above groups and are in the process of working with the others, and we have buy-in from community groups such as Portland Jobs with Justice. We intend to work together regardless of how the proposal plays out. We hope that OHSU will join us.

Other Notes from Today’s Session

In addition to our community advisory board proposal, this week Local 328 also presented the following proposals:

  • 10.9 Transport Work — A $10 increase (from $65 to $75) to the bonus PANDA employees receive for each transport assignment.
  • New: Staffing Task Force — A memorandum of understanding to convene a task force to discuss concerns regarding significant staffing issues at OHSU.
  • Appendix A: Contract Variations Applicable to Salaried Employees — We proposed a number of changes to this appendix, including:
    • Removing a number of the contract exceptions so that salaried employees have more parity with hourly employees
    • Increasing vacation time:
      • 1st – 5th year: increase from 15 days to 18
      • 5th – 10th year: increase from 17 days to 19
      • 10th15th year: increase from 19 days to 20
      • 15th20th year: increase from 21 days to 22
      • After 20th year: increase from 24 days to 25
    • Adding shift differentials that match those of hourly employees
    • Adding options to earn overtime
    • Adding a process for salaried employees to change to hourly status

Over the past several weeks, a number of proposals have been presented by both teams and are still in play, including:

  • Making changes to the steward program
  • Limiting unauthorized absences to no-call/no-shows only
  • Offering free transit passes
  • Introducing not-for-cause drug testing
  • Changing the grievance process

After presenting our final new proposals next week, our union’s bargaining team will focus on negotiating the above proposals, the various economic proposals, and more. As we move into the second half of negotiations, now is the time for our members to get active, make your voices heard and think about what the various proposals mean for you. Again, we encourage you to comment here and on our Facebook page, as well as join us at the town hall on Wednesday, April 24.


*Note: OHSU’s proposed language makes changes to the voluntary cash-out for PERS Tier 1 & 2 employees, but not to their cash-out upon termination. (An earlier version of this post was unclear in this regard.)


Financial Reality

For our bargaining unit — Per Local 328’s housing/transportation survey last year:

  • Housing is a source of stress for 42 percent of respondents, with 40 percent struggling to afford housing payments.
  • More than one-third of respondents spend more than 40 percent of their income on housing.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents have moved at least once in the last five years in order to find more affordable housing.

The consumer price index for Portland in 2017 was 3.9 percent; for the west region (Portland-specific data not available) in 2018, it was 2.9 percent. Wages for our bargaining unit have not kept pace with the ever-increasing cost of living in or near Portland.

For OHSU — Per PowerPoint slides (“FY19 February YTD Results and Preliminary FY20 Budget”) that will be presented at the April 11 OHSU board meeting, OHSU reports:

  • Operating income through February is $116 million.
  • Earnings are $62 million above budget.
  • Revenues are up $83 million compared to budget.
  • Cash on hand of $1.5 billion.

AFSCME’s analysis of OHSU’s “Financial Statements and Supplementary Information” (June 30, 2018 and 2017, with independent auditors’ report) determined that OHSU has discretionary funds of $11.8 billion.

Bargaining-Session Summary

This week Local 328 presented our second round of economic proposals plus some additional proposals and counter-proposals, including:

  • 8.1 Across the Board Increases — A 5 percent increase the first full pay period following contract ratification and a 4 percent increase the first full pay period following July 1, 2020.
  • New: Lump Sum Payment — A lump-sum payment of 1 percent or $100 (whichever is greater) the first full pay period following Nov. 1 (for employees who were members of the bargaining unit at the time of contract ratification).
  • 12.1 Accrual of Vacation Time — Additional vacation days:
    • 1st – 5th year: increase from 12 days to 15
    • 5th – 10th year: increase from 15 days to 17
    • 10th – 15th year: increase from 18 days to 19
    • 15th – 20th year: increase from 21 days to 22
    • After 20th year: increase from 24 days to 25
    • No change for employees hired prior to Sept. 11, 1998.
  • 18.1.1 Posting and Awarding of Position — Expands the job-bid language so that posted salaried positions with a fixed schedule can be converted to an hourly position at the bidding employee’s discretion.
  • New: Preferential Hire List Task Force — Establishes a joint task force to ensure that the requirements, responsibilities and steps needed to successfully completely the PHL placement process is easily understood by employees and managers.

OHSU proposals and counter-proposals included: (a) modifying 5.28 Relief Employees to require employee availability for a range of two to six days per pay period (a change from four days), (b) rejecting proposed new language re: the handling of bullying complaints (OHSU did indicate a willingness to continue working on the issue) and (c) rejecting the union’s proposed change to 20.1.3 Written Feedback to shorten the time a manager has to provide written feedback during the probationary period (OHSU countered with language re: making an effort to provide feedback within a reasonable time after an employee’s orientation). OHSU also presented a number of proposals to change the language around the preferential hire list throughout the contract.

The Local 328 bargaining team spent the afternoon working on proposals and counter-proposals.


This week Local 328 presented our first round of economic proposals to OHSU. Our union’s bargaining team proposed language stating that: 

  • New: Weekend Differential — A 7 percent differential will be paid for all hours worked between 11:00 p.m. on Friday through 11:00 p.m. on Sunday.
  • New: Float Differential — A 10 percent differential will be paid to employees whose position is formally designated as a float position; a 5 percent differential will be paid to other employees who are occasionally assigned to work as a float.
  • New: Preceptor Work — A 7 percent differential will be paid to employees who perform assigned preceptor duties. 
  • New: Advanced Certification Differential — Employees who are certified by a national organization in a specialty area (not including certifications required to legally practice or required by the employer) and who are working in a position in the area of their certification will be paid a differential of $1.25 per hour.
  • New: Reimbursement of Certification/Recertification Fees — Employees will be reimbursed for certification/recertification fees that meet eligibility requirements.
  • 7.7 Time Off Between Regularly Scheduled Shifts — When an employee works two consecutive shifts with less than 10 consecutive hours off between the shifts, the employee will be paid time and a half for the entirety of the shift after the shortened rest period.
  • 9.1.4 Scheduling and Assignment of Overtime — In the rare event that an employee is required to work more than 16 hours in a 24-hour period, the employee will be paid double-time for those hours.
  • 10.8 Inclement Weather Team — An employee working on snow removal as part of the inclement-weather team will receive an additional $10.00 per hour (up from $8.00 per hour).

The Local 328 bargaining team spent the afternoon finalizing additional economic proposals. OHSU chose not to offer any proposals or counterproposals today. The final date that either team can present new proposals is April 23.

Who Do You Want to Make the Decisions re: OHSU’s Benefits?

Note: Since this article was originally posted, OHSU has countered our proposal to go back to a more collaborative EBC with a counterproposal that’s worse than current contract language. On April 16, OHSU proposed stripping the EBC of its decision-making ability entirely — the EBC would only make “recommendations” and OHSU’s HR vice president would be the one who has all the power over your health-insurance options.

Local 328 was disappointed by OHSU’s March 21 characterization of our union’s proposal to eliminate the tie-breaker from the Employee Benefits Council voting process. The EBC was designed to work by consensus, and functioned well for about 17 years before the tie-breaking language was added to the contract. Our proposal isn’t anything radical, merely a return to the language that served OHSU employees well for many years.

OHSU stated in its email that it is considering the possible “ramifications” of returning to language that allowed for fair decision-making by representatives from management, AFSCME and ONA. Our union is more concerned about the demonstrated actual harm we feel has been done to our members by putting all of the power over your health-insurance options into the hands of a single person. (A person whose annual base salary is more than $1 million, no less.)

In 2018, the EBC was in the final stages of changing our third-party administrator from Moda to Aetna. Then-President Robertson overruled the EBC and we were left with Moda. Dr. Robertson also cast a tie-breaking vote resulting in OHSU deciding to offer a high-deductible insurance plan. (Local 328 doesn’t generally recommend this type of plan, because of concerns for employees who may not have the ability to fully pay the deductible in an emergency.)

Last year OHSU also floated the idea of imposing a spousal surcharge on employees paying for health insurance for a spouse who could obtain coverage through his/her own job. Our union believed this should be decided during bargaining, but OHSU felt it should be decided at the EBC. So, we took the case to arbitration — and won. OHSU might still propose this during our current negotiations, but how do you think it would have been decided at the EBC? Under the current contract language, it would likely have ended up in a tie and ultimately been imposed on employees after a tie-breaking vote by Dr. Jacobs.

The language Local 328 has proposed will return the EBC to a labor/management cooperation model that has been remarkably effective until recently, one where all voices have a say. Shouldn’t we all want that?

For the record, here is the change our union proposed (a modification to Section 3 of Appendix C of our contract): “Every reasonable attempt will be made to make consensus-based decisions utilizing evaluative criteria developed by the Council. If consensus fails, the matter(s) will be voted by the parties collectively (e.g., ONA one (1) vote, AFSCME two (2) votes, and the Employer three (3) votes). If the Council is still unable to reach a decision, the matter(s) in dispute shall be referred to the OHSU President or his/her designee, whose decision shall be final and binding on the Council, the Employer, the Union and the ONA.  Two (2) Union, one (1) ONA and three (3) Employer Council members shall constitute a quorum.”

You can read more about our concerns about the current EBC process here.


Bargaining Town Hall

Ask questions of members of our bargaining team at our town hall on Wednesday, March 27, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. Light refreshments will be served. If you are unable to attend in person, the event will be live-streamed — check your email for the link. You may email questions in advance to

Bargaining-Session Summary

This week our union made proposals regarding:

  • Handling complaints of bullying or intimidation
  • Protecting whistleblowers
  • Protecting our represented employees from OHSU contracting out our work
  • Requiring managers to give feedback to new employees between the 30th and 60th day of probation (instead of between the 30th and 110th days)
  • Giving employees the opportunity to contact OSHA for assistance and requiring the presence of a union representative during OSHA investigations

OHSU offered several proposals and counter proposals, including:

  • Adding unnecessary employer oversight over our union’s email communications
  • Requiring additional, not-for-cause drug testing for employees in applicable positions

The Local 328 bargaining team spent most of the day finalizing our economic proposals. Our team will present these proposals to OHSU in the coming weeks — stay tuned!

If you wish to observe all or part of a bargaining session, email Matt Hilton at in advance to make arrangements. To arrange a worksite visit for you and your coworkers to ask questions and give feedback about bargaining, use the Contact Us form on the Local 328 website.

A Steward’s Perspective on OHSU’s Counter-proposal

— guest post by lead Steward Trisha Crabb —

When the discussion first arose about proposed contract language regarding stewards earning overtime, I had two immediate and completely opposite thoughts:

  1. I can understand how a business operation would be concerned about making sure overtime work is earned appropriately.
  2. I believe there are a number of OHSU departments whose supervisors would use this proposed change to schedule stewards for overtime, knowing that the costs would not have to be paid out of the department’s budget because that employee used steward time during a pay period.

Then I attended our monthly steward meeting and my position evolved.  It is very clear to me that this is a specific and targeted proposal to chill union activity. OHSU’s proposed steward language targets people who are committed to helping make OHSU a better place for AFSCME-represented employees, and, by extension, all other OHSU employees.

Since I serve as a lead steward, I was able to run a report to clarify for myself exactly what kind of activity we are talking about here. We are not talking about our unit stewards, who use one or two hours of steward time each month to attend a meeting and participate in incidental training or communication events. Rather, OHSU’s proposal targets the activity of a core group of employees who step forward to provide assistance to fellow employees experiencing a wide range of challenges.

From January 1 through March 18, Local 328 stewards resolved 126 cases. These ranged from answering questions (Can I be pulled from my current position to go work in another department for a day due to staffing issues? If I don’t have enough accrued time to cover an approved and paid-for vacation, will I face disciplinary action if I take the time off as unpaid? Do I need to pay back a retention bonus if I make an internal job change?) to representing employees in investigatory meetings over matters like attendance problems, parking violations, personnel conflicts, policy violations, and dismissal hearings. 

Our union’s stewards have also worked together with Local 328 staff to close cases involving wage adjustments, layoff procedures and rehiring challenges. Sometimes these cases involved changes that not only affect the single employee involved in the case but also make sweeping changes throughout OHSU. 

Early in negotiations, AFSCME proposed an increase in the number of stewards and hours our union has available to help enforce the contract and assist employees. Here’s why: As of about a week ago, there were 43 OHSU employees with active cases, who need the support of our union’s stewards and staff representatives. Our union represents almost 7,000 OHSU employees, with only about 30 stewards rotating through handling cases on a daily basis.

Although our union asked for an increase, we don’t expect a huge jump in the number of stewards we have, and our bargaining team explained our reasoning at the table. Why has OHSU stated that it agrees with our union’s proposal to increase the potential number of stewards, yet made a counterproposal that would create a financial hardship for many of our current stewards and potentially dampen our union’s ability to recruit new stewards? Steward overtime costs shouldn’t be a huge concern to a financially sound institution with a multi-billion dollar budget, but the financial impact and emotional toll on the affected employees is high. So why exactly is OHSU presenting a proposal that would change how the pay is handled for a small handful of employees?

OHSU is legally and morally obligated to treat its employees with the same levels of respect and manage its employees using specific processes, often governed by a union contract — processes that protect both the employee and the employer. AFSCME Local 328 stewards play an active and critical role in ensuring that OHSU’s contractual obligations are followed, and this work benefits OHSU itself as well as its employees. Our stewards not only assist with enforcing the language of our written contract — they also foster a spirit of communal effort to that ensure that all people are treated with dignity.  

OHSU strives to set the standard for integrity, compassion and leadership (at least that what its marketing messages imply) and is working to become a national leader in health care and research. You don’t become a leader by stifling the activities of people working every day to uphold the standards of transparency, fairness, and service excellence. I hope that OHSU will pull its steward language off the table and show us that it truly values the hard work our stewards do for OHSU and our union.


Bargaining-Session Summary

This week our union made proposals regarding:

  • Longevity status restoration (some employees lost their longevity status with the 2015 contract — this proposal will make them whole)
  • Employee Benefits Council decision-making (requires final decisions about benefits to be made by committee consensus rather than by a tie-breaking vote by the OHSU president)
  • Changes in work location (this language aims to address challenges faced by employees whose work location changes: transportation, child-care needs, etc.)

OHSU offered a few proposals/counterproposals that were primarily non-substantive. The management team was only available for negotiations in the morning; the Local 328 team spent the rest of the day strategizing and working on future proposals. OHSU did not modify or withdraw its proposal that would financially penalize stewards and potentially damage our union’s ability to effectively represent our employees.

We encourage our members to comment on the updates posted here and to our Facebook page. Your feedback is important to the decisions we make at the bargaining table.

Get Involved

Ask questions of members of our bargaining team at our town hall on Wednesday, March 27, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. Light refreshments will be served. A link to a live-stream will be emailed the day of the event for those of you who are unable to attend in person. You may email questions in advance to Feel free to share the attached flyer.

If you wish to observe all or part of a bargaining session, email Matt Hilton at president@local328.orgin advance to make arrangements.

To arrange a worksite visit for you and your coworkers to ask questions and give feedback about bargaining, use the Contact Us form on the Local 328 website.


Bargaining Town Hall

Our union will be holding a town hall for our members on Wednesday, March 27, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. Light refreshments will be served. This is your opportunity to hear from and ask questions of members of our bargaining team.

The event will be live-streamed for those of you who are unable to attend in person — a link to the live-stream will be emailed the day of the event. Please feel free to email your questions in advance to

Bargaining-Session Summary

You may have noticed that OHSU is emailing their own updates about our weekly bargaining sessions; however, the employer has offered no opportunity for employees to ask questions or give feedback about these updates. We encourage our members to comment on the updates posted here and to our Facebook page. You may also ask questions of your unit steward or email them to

On our third day of bargaining with OHSU, our union proposed:

  • Allowing employees to use vacation time, at their discretion, to cover FMLA absences
  • Clarifying inclement-weather language to reflect current practice
  • Involving AFSCME in a review of what positions should be considered drug testable

OHSU proposed some changes to the steward program that our union feels could be detrimental to our ability to represent employees and enforce our contract. OHSU also proposed doubling the time departments have to place employees into new internal positions — an employee could be required to wait up to eight weeks to be able to move into a new position.

The teams reached tentative agreements on nine sections of the contract today, including:

  • Establishing a memorandum of understanding that will clarify in what scenarios employees are allowed clean-up time
  • Allowing AFSCME-represented employees — for the first time in more than 30 years of representation — to file complaints about sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, etc. directly with Local 328

Get Involved/Stay Informed

Unit stewards will be distributing buttons to wear to show your support. You may also email us at to request one.

Stop by one of Local 328’s bargaining Q&A tables for swag and information. Tables are currently scheduled as follows:

  • Thurs., March 14, CHH 3171, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Thurs., March 21, BICC Gallery, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Fri., March 29, CHH 3171, 12 noon – 2:00 p.m.
  • Thurs., April 11, CHH 3171, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Wed., April 17, BICC Gallery, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wed, April 24, UHS 8B60, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.

If you wish to observe all or part of a bargaining session, email Matt Hilton at in advance to make arrangements. To arrange a worksite visit for you and your coworkers to give feedback and ask questions about bargaining, use the Contact Us form on the Local 328 website.


Bargaining-Session Update: March 5

Bargaining-Session Summary

The Local 328 and OHSU bargaining teams met for the second time on March 5. Our union proposed changes to nine sections of the contract, including:

  • Providing free transit passes (TriMet, C-TRAN, etc.) to AFSCME-represented employees
  • Broadening layoff language to protection employees affected by FTE increases (not just FTE decreases)
  • Requiring departments without computer access to post printed schedules 28 days in advance, indicating both where and when employees will be working
  • Requiring that initiatives and projected developed jointly between OHSU and our union are co-branded
  • Allowing represented employees to file complaints about such matters as sexual harassment, discrimination, etc. directly with our union (rather than using only OHSU or state reporting methods)
  • Preserving election leave for employees working in states that don’t have vote by mail

OHSU proposed changes to a number of sections of the contract, including requiring that cab fare home after mandatory overtime will be reimbursed rather than paid for up front, adding to the language about unauthorized language and making some non-substantive changes. 

The teams exchanged counterproposals today and reached tentative agreements on nine sections of the contract.

Get Involved/Stay Informed

Be on the lookout next week for bargaining-themed buttons and a “Bargaining Support Ideas” trifold brochure. 

Stop by one of Local 328’s bargaining Q&A tables for swag and information. Tables are currently scheduled as follows:

  • Thurs., March 14, CHH 3171, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Thurs., March 21, BICC Gallery, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wed., March 27, UHS 8B60, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Fri., March 29, CHH 3171, 12 noon – 1:00 p.m.
  • Thurs., April 11, CHH 3171, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Wed., April 17, BICC Gallery, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wed, April 24, UHS 8B60, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Please regularly check and comment on the updates posted to our Facebook page and our blog. You may also ask questions of your unit steward or other union contact, or email questions to bargaining@local328.orgIf you wish to observe all or part of a bargaining session, email Matt Hilton at in advance to make arrangements. To arrange a worksite visit for you and your coworkers to give feedback and ask questions about bargaining, use the Contact Us form on the Local 328 website. 

Featured News and Comment