All posts by Local 328

Conflict Coaching Certificate Program Now Accepting Applications

 

Applications for the next cohort of the Conflict Coaching Certificate Program, offered by the OHSU/AFSCME Career and Workplace Enhancement Center are due on Friday, November 15. This is a unique training opportunity that only occurs every two to three years, and half the seats in this cohort are reserved for AFSCME members.

Are you a good listener? Are you comfortable handling conflict? Are you motivated to serve the OHSU community? The CWE Center Conflict Coaching Certificate Program identifies strong interpersonal communicators at OHSU and trains them to provide conflict coaching in order to help colleagues manage early stages of workplace conflict.

Qualifications:
• Be an OHSU employee in good standing
• Attend all required training sessions
• Commit to four hours of coaching per month after certification
• Demonstrate an aptitude for coaching during the application process
• Provide a letter of support from  your manager

Applicants must be available for trainings from 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays from January 16 through February 27. The program may also require additional time commitments.

For additional information, visit  the program page on O2.  To apply for the program, submit the online application by Friday, November 15.

OHSU’s VP of Human Resources Has Resigned

 

Update: We’ve posted our response to this matter here.

The below statement was released on OHSU Now late Wednesday night. Local 328 will be sharing our own statement about this matter as soon as possible today.


Statement from President Jacobs

As follow up to yesterday’s post regarding the concerns raised about social media activity within the OHSU bargaining team, the vice president of Human Resource has resigned his position effective immediately. He will remain employed at OHSU until Nov. 1, 2019 to help facilitate a smooth transition of his responsibilities. He will not participate in any work related to labor contract negotiations. He has expressed his remorse for his role in this activity. 

I am very sorry. Our employees are truly our best asset. OHSU remains committed to bargaining in good faith with integrity and transparency in the bargaining process. We look forward to working collaboratively with the AFSCME bargaining team to finalize a contract that reflects our values and our mutual respect for our members.

Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS
President

Management-Linked Trolls Target Union on Social Media

 

Update: Late Monday night (August 5), OHSU made the following reply to our tweet about this matter: ‘We’re deeply disappointed to learn about this inappropriate conduct on social media. We are sorry. We can confirm that this individual has been removed from our bargaining team, effective immediately, and is prohibited from participating in any future negotiations.“ We will share updates as they become available.


In late July, shortly after we declared impasse, a pair of trolls targeted AFSCME Local 328. At that time, we more or less ignored the tweets. Despite our suspicion about who appeared to be linked to the troll accounts, we chose not to discuss the matter publicly, so as not to detract from discussions about bargaining. However, the trolling has resumed late this week, on both our Facebook and Twitter pages. It now seems even clearer that our initial suspicions were right, and we feel we now have no choice but to let our members know. The troll accounts that are targeting our social-media pages are linked to a member of OHSU’s bargaining team.


On Monday, July 22, a Twitter account using the name “Aanus McFadden” started interacting with our account by asking a few questions. After some back and forth, Jesse Miller, who manages our Twitter page, recognized that “McFadden” was exhibiting some classic troll behavior. Jesse muted the account after directing them to better resources and thought that would be the end of it. As he usually does when he suspects a troll, Jesse glanced at their profile. The account’s activity on Twitter was also suspiciously troll-like. Jesse joked about “McFadden” with friends and coworkers, which prompted one of them to ask him to look a little more closely at the account. “McFadden” had only one follower — an account with the even more childish name of “Roy Vragina.” The “Roy” account also appeared suspicious and it also had only one follower: an account called “Frengle,” which used a profile photo of Patrick Frengle, who is a member of OHSU’s bargaining team.

The two accounts that are linked to Mr. Frengle were both created in October 2012 and interacted with each other in 2012. All three accounts — Frengle and the two trolls — follow journalist Nate Silver, house editor for The Cook Political Report Dave Wasserman, and comedian Sarah Silverman. All three have interacted with our union. The accounts’ low post counts, the fact that two of the three were created at the same time, the fact that they talked about the same topics at the same time (but have said little to nothing since) and the fact that that they followed the same three seemingly random people all point to the accounts being connected to the same person: Mr. Frengle.

It’s possible that this is all random, but how many coincidences does it take to conclude that there’s a pattern? There are more 200 million accounts on Twitter. What are the odds that there would be this many connections by random happenstance? If the accounts aren’t run by the same person, they’re almost certainly run by people who know each other outside of Twitter. If Patrick Frengle isn’t “Aanus McFadden” or “Roy Vragina,” they’re friends or associates of his. As we noted above, when we were first trolled by these accounts, we chose not to follow up on it with OHSU or to go public. Our bargaining team, staff and members like Jesse had enough on our plates, and we hoped the trolls would get bored. And they did, until Thursday, August 1, when we launched our meme contest on the Local Facebook page.

On August 1, these same two trolls shared memes on our Facebook page that misrepresented our union’s position on certain economic issues still on the table. Both of their Facebook profiles have strict privacy settings, but one of the few comments visible on the “McFadden” profile is from a woman whose hyphenated last name begins with Frengle. “McFadden” tweeted about our union frequently over the weekend, continuing to misrepresent Local 328’s bargaining positions. On Friday, August 2, they began following the Twitter accounts of members of our bargaining team and other Local 328 members. Over the course of the weekend, all three accounts have changed their user names and Twitter handles and made changes to their followers. The “McFadden” account has also shared a spreadsheet that misrepresents the costs of our union dues. (Did we mention that Mr. Frengle works in OHSU’s budget & financial planning department? He’s the person who prepared the spreadsheet that OHSU’s bargaining team presented when they rejected all of our economic proposals on May 19.) If we had any doubt in July that these trolls are connected to Mr. Frengle, we have no doubt now.


We know that both parties in these negotiations hope to persuade folks of the “rightness” of our positions and offers, and our communications will reflect that. However, many of our members (and non-AFSCME-represented employees!) have told us that they’ve found much of OHSU’s communications and messaging around bargaining to be manipulative and disrespectful. We’ve tried our best to take the high road about this, only responding to OHSU’s communications on two occasions when we felt that the spin had crossed a line into misinformation. We’ve also made two corrections on our blog, when an error or misunderstanding was pointed out to us by OHSU.

We maintain open commenting on our blog so that our members can share their thoughts about bargaining, even if they don’t agree with a position our union has taken, and we’ve held multiple forums where members can freely ask questions. In contrast, OHSU has taken away our members’ voices during negotiations — deleting critical comments on OHSU Now, banning some members outright and contacting employees’ managers. OHSU has used misplaced concerns about “direct dealing” during negotiations to keep comments closed on its bargaining-related posts. Then, when frustrated members ask questions on other posts, their comments are deleted for being off-topic.

Throughout our union’s negotiations with OHSU, our members have expressed frustration about not being listened to by management and feeling disrespected by OHSU. Our bargaining team has felt the same way. We’ve been bargaining in good faith and have been respectful to OHSU at the table, but we haven’t felt that same respect in return — we’ve faced questions that indicated OHSU’s team literally hadn’t listened to information we presented, unfamiliarity with the contract being negotiated and an employer that didn’t respect the bargaining process enough to have the actual decision-makers at the table (or even available) during late-stage mediation.

Our union isn’t silencing people. Members of our bargaining team aren’t hiding behind fake names to troll OHSU on social media or share misinformation about OHSU’s positions. We haven’t played games, like floating outlandish proposals just to say later that we’ve made movement or backtracking from previous positions. We’re here trying to negotiate a fair contract with OHSU for our bargaining unit. We want to work with management to help make OHSU the best place it can be, for employees and patients alike. We want OHSU to see that our members are assets to the organization.

What have we gotten for our efforts? Trolls linked to OHSU’s bargaining team sharing misinformation on our social-media pages and wasting the time of the member volunteers who have to clean up after them or write articles explaining to our members what’s going on. We have screenshots of the posts, tweets and social-media connections mentioned above, and on Monday, August 5, we reached out to Dan Forbes, OHSU’s vice president of Human Resources to share our concerns about Mr. Frengle. (During this very phone call, the Twitter profile of another questionable user who had been interacting with “McFadden” about our union went dark.)

We questioned whether we should go public about this matter (we don’t want to fan the flames when tensions are already high), but ultimately felt we had no choice. What do you think would happen to an AFSCME-represented employee who was behaving this way toward OHSU? This behavior is unacceptable, especially from those who are perceived as leaders at OHSU, and our members need to know what type of people have been at the table with us.

OHSU’s final-offer post on OHSU Now states that OHSU and AFSCME Local 328 have a long-standing and cooperative relationship. We hope OHSU finally shows that it actually does value this relationship, by investigating this matter and dealing with it appropriately and promptly.

Picket with Us for a Fair Contract

 

This week, our union will hold our first-ever informational picket! RSVP to our Facebook event or our Evite to let us know you’ll join us on Thursday, August 8, to fight for a fair contract!

Details

The picket is not a strike; rather, it’s a tool to show support for our union’s position at the bargaining table and to help make the public aware of our campaign for a fair contract. Here are the details:

  • Thursday, August 8, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., starting at the Mac Hall lawn.
  • Speakers at 4:00 p.m.; picketing/march at 4:20 p.m.
  • Water and snacks will be provided.
  • Family, community members and supportive coworkers are encouraged to attend!
  • Picket signs and chant sheets will be provided.
  • Picket route: along SW Sam Jackson Park Rd, between the intersection of SW Veterans Hospital Rd and SW Gibbs St and the Kohler bus stop (or Shriners Hospital, depending on turnout).

This is a historic time for our union. It’s not an exaggeration to say that an effective picket will have an impact for years — on employees today and on those yet to be hired. We are fighting for a fair contract now and we are building power for our next contract negotiations. We are stronger together!

Why Should I Attend?

OHSU is watching. A strong turnout shows that our bargaining team has the broad support of our membership, and that our membership is not willing to settle for a substandard contract. By taking collective action, we command respect and will demonstrate that we’re united. There is no question that our member actions at the June rally and at the OHSU board meeting moved the needle and helped prevent health-insurance take-backs. This event will be a final push to encourage OHSU to make additional movement at the table, to reach agreement on a fair contract without having to resort to a strike. A successful, well-attended informational picket also sends a message to the public about how important our work is — that OHSU works because we do.

Do’s and Don’ts

Please remember that we will be representing our union on the picket line — we want to have a fun event that builds solitary and doesn’t threaten support for our contract efforts. Below are some guidelines that will help us have a safe and effective picket:

  • Do wear green!
  • Do take public transportation if possible.
  • Do be courteous and respectful — be mindful of patients, drivers, etc.
  • Do follow the directions of our picket captains.
  • Do participate in the chants.
  • Do march in two-by-two formation.
  • Do stay on the designated march route.
  • Do report any threats or suspicious activity.
  • Do clean up after each other.
  • Do have fun!
  • Don’t block the access of emergency vehicles or others.
  • Don’t block parking structure/lot entrances.
  • Don’t make noise in the designated quiet zones.
  • Don’t use profanity.
  • Don’t intimidate anyone or make threats.
  • Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or use cannabis on the picket line.
  • Don’t argue with anyone — direct them to union staff or officers.
  • Don’t litter or damage property.
  • Don’t get overheated (it’ll be ~80 degrees) — let us know if you start feeling unwell.

What If I Don’t Work on Campus?

We understand that our members who work off campus and around the state want to participate in collective actions too! Although the picket was planned for this time and location to maximize visibility and impact to OHSU, there are still ways to show support if you’re unable to attend. Wear green the day of the picket. Decorate your work area (if allowed) with union stickers or signs. Have a potluck together on Thursday or go to lunch with your AFSCME coworkers. Take selfies and post them to our Facebook page!

Meme Contest Has Begun

 

Bargaining is a stressful time — this year in particular. Our team has turned to humor to get through some of our long bargaining sessions. With that in mind, we wanted to turn to our member’s creativity to participate in our meme contest! The picket signs folks made last month were amazing, and we have no doubt the memes will be, too. Making a meme yourself is very simple. Many of you already have a favorite meme-generating app, but there are two free options for those who don’t: MS Paint and PS Express.

We’ve selected five blank slates for memes and are asking our members to use them to create their funniest meme(s) about OHSU bargaining. We will collect the best memes and share them on social media, with some being featured on signs at our informational picket on August 8. Remember, we’re asking folks to be funny, not rude or mean, and remember OHSU’s Code of Conduct.


Instructions:

  1. Select your meme template here.
  2. Create your meme using one of the two methods below or your favorite meme generator.
    • MS Paint: This comes installed on almost every Windows PC. All you need to do is download the blank meme and use the Text tool to add your message to the image. Just add your text in the color, font and at the size you need. (You can change the text color so it stands out from the background.
    • PS Express: If you want to make your meme on your phone, this app is safe and easy to use — it’s available on the iOS, Android and Windows app stores. Simply save the blank meme image to your phone, open it in PS Express and scroll over to the Text option in the edit options at the bottom of the screen. Next, select the Text option you think works best and add your text.
  3. Save your image and email it to <AFSCMemes at gmail dot com> to submit it for the contest!

If you’d like instructions with screenshots for the above methods, just let us know and we’ll send you a PDF.

Join Us–and a Very Special Guest–on the Picket Line!

 

Join us at our informational picket on Marquam Hill on Thursday, August 8, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., as we defend our OHSU, an institution focused on caring for our patients, supporting our research and education missions and bettering our community, not on feathering the nests of wealthy executives. Friends, coworkers, neighbors and family members are welcome! RSVP here.

We’re very excited to announce that Lee Saunders, president of the AFSCME International union, will be coming out from Washington, DC, to join us at the picket!

This event is so important to our campaign for a fair contract — it will be our members’ best opportunity, short of a strike, to show OHSU our strength. OHSU works because we do. Join us!

Clarification re: Impasse, Looking Ahead

 

Many of our members told us today that they were distressed or confused by OHSU’s communications about our July 19 mediation session and the declaration of impasse. We hope that the following information provides some clarity. As we mentioned in our own update, on Friday we let the OHSU team know that we were willing to declare impasse if they presented us with supposals or proposals that included PTO, health-insurance take-backs or tiered language (i.e., different benefits and wage increases based on hourly salary or hire date). Before we address why these three areas (and wage increases) are so important, we’d like to set the record straight on a few of the statements in OHSU’s communication:

  • It’s not unusual that Local 328 “unilaterally” declared impasse. That’s how it works – it’s not something that the two teams need to do together.
  • Our union, too, is disappointed that we couldn’t reach an agreement on Friday. The fact that this is the first time in more than 20 years that impasse has been declared should make it clear that this wasn’t a decision that was made on a whim.
  • Everything outlined in OHSU’s communication came from a supposal — a supposal is a non-binding, “what-if” scenario.
  • OHSU’s supposal did propose pulling the health-insurance take-backs, which we welcomed, but it still contained PTO and tiered language. It did not “meet the majority of the union’s interests on three primary issues.”
  • Our team responded to OHSU’s supposal by declaring impasse because we felt no further movement could be made that day and that movement on key issues was unlikely to be made on July 23.

At the time we declared impasse, we had participated in six days of mediation. Our team had consistently told OHSU’s team that the three key areas mentioned above were non-starters, with OHSU consistently presenting us with supposals and packaged proposals that included all of them. OHSU’s non-binding supposal presented at the end of the day on Friday had pulled the health-insurance take-backs, but not PTO or the tiered language. In the hopes of avoiding impasse, our team asked representatives from OHSU’s team what it would take for them to pull PTO. We were told that nobody on OHSU’s bargaining team could make that decision — that it would involve “meetings” and “conference calls.” About six hours passed before OHSU responded to us on Friday — why weren’t the decision-makers brought into the loop during that time? On what was the sixth day of mediation, why weren’t the executives who make OHSU’s decisions available to keep negotiations progressing?  We wouldn’t have been able to reach an agreement on Friday night and, based on our experiences during negotiations over the past five months, we had no reason to believe that the scheduled day of mediation on July 23 would have made a difference. That’s why Local 328 declared impasse.

In the end, it’s not really important what OHSU’s communication said, although we’re sorry that it threw our membership — and our non-AFSCME-represented coworkers — for a loop. Our communications throughout this process have been consistent, direct, honest and complete, and they’ll remain so. Going forward, we ask that our members focus not on messages crafted by OHSU’s Strategic Communications department, but on the proposals and what’s at stake as we work together to get a fair contract.

The Main Sticking Points

Health-Insurance Take-backs: It’s obvious why our team has so strongly opposed OHSU’s proposed take-backs in this area. Our members can’t afford the financial hit, and these take-backs are unreasonable and unfair in the light of OHSU’s record profits. OHSU’s “fundamental purpose is to improve the health and well-being of people in Oregon and beyond” — that should include its own employees. While OHSU’s non-binding supposal on July 19 did pull these take-backs, in light of the rest of the content of the supposal, it simply wasn’t a big enough step forward on the path to reach a fair settlement.

Two-tiered Contract Language: There are a number of reasons our union is strongly opposed to this. It’s a well-known way for employers to divide a bargaining unit and weaken a union. This article explains it a bit more. Suppose we had said yes to optional PTO for current employees and mandatory PTO for new employees — what do you think would happen three years from now, when OHSU will almost certainly take another shot at mandatory PTO for everyone? Well, we probably wouldn’t have enough member support to fight it — newer employees with PTO are unlikely to withhold their labor or be willing to give up other contract language so that older employees can keep their VAC/SIK system. We say this based on past experience — when OHSU came for the PERS pick-up in 2012, we were unable to build enough support to fight it, because the take-back didn’t impact UPP folks. We also think it’s unfair to throw future members under the bus — if PTO isn’t good for us, it wouldn’t be good for them. We’re stronger together, and we want a contract that’s fair for all of the employees we represent.

PTO: While there are certainly some members who would prefer a PTO system to the current VAC/SIK system, the vast majority of our membership is strongly opposed to PTO. That opposition has been consistent since before bargaining. There’s a reason that all of the unions at OHSU — who represent employees who punch a clock — are opposed to PTO. Because it’s faculty and managers who benefit the most from a PTO/EIB model — employees who don’t have to use their accruals to cover a late arrival due to child-care issues or an early departure for a medical appointment. More importantly, we view PTO as problematic from a patient-safety standpoint. Under a PTO/EIB model, there will absolutely be employees who feel they need to come to work sick in order to preserve their accruals for vacations and spending time with their families. This will put patients at risk of catching contagious illnesses from employees, and that’s not something we can support.

Across-the-Board Wage Increases: You may remember that OHSU’s initial economic proposal included yearly across-the-board wage increases of 1.0% for employees making more than $19.23/hour and 2.0% for those making $19.23/hour or less (once you knocked off 0.5% for pay-equity purposes). Local 328 believes that higher increases are a better way to help lower-wage workers — that’s why we initially proposed raises of 5.0% and 4.0%, for everyone, over two years. In the offer we presented to OHSU on July 19, we asked for across-the-board wage increases totaling 12% over three years. OHSU’s supposal offered increases totaling only 6.5% over three years. This simply isn’t in line with the realities of living in the Portland metro area.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Latest Positions

Below are the details of AFSCME’s and OHSU’s positions, based on the supposals exchanged on July 19. We’ve shared our thoughts about these areas and any proposed movement, even though nothing has been agreed to yet.

Issue AFSCME OHSU Our Thoughts
Length of contract 3 years 3 years We moved to OHSU’s position.
PTO No Optional for current employees, mandatory for new employees The majority of our members have said “no PTO” for two years.
Two-tiered language No Still proposing splitting our unit with their PTO proposal This is a non-starter.  Contract tiers are a typical way for employers to divide and conquer a workforce.
Across-the-board wage increases 12.0% 6.5% Our members cannot accept such low increases when OHSU has publicly stated that they are “on track for a record $150 million profit on record revenues of $3.2 billion.”
Insurance premiums Current contract language Current contract language This is great movement — our actions are working!
Spousal surcharge No No This is great movement — our actions are working!
Cap on premium increases Current contract language Current contract language This is great movement — our actions are working!
Low-cost- option health plan This is something to be decided by the Employee Benefits Council This plan would offer savings to both OHSU and employees, including extra benefit dollars of $25 – $75 This is a great option for our members, and we appreciate that the EBC is planning to offer it to OHSU employees, but it isn’t a part of negotiations.
Wellness surcharge No Yes OHSU’s supposal required AFSCME to vote with management at the EBC on implementing a “wellness inventive/ surcharge”
Vacation 1 additional day for all employees hired after 9/11/1998 1 additional day employees at 0 – 5 years Employees both new and long-term have stated in OHSU employee-engagement surveys that burnout is a problem.  This is a patient-care issue.
Weekend differential Yr 1: 3%Yr 2: 5%Yr 3: 7% No Weekend shifts are hard to fill and our workers end up working overtime to cover these shifts.
Preceptor pay 5% Pilot program: $1.00 after completion of preceptor education, certain jobs only (PT, OT, RT, SLP tech, surg tech, rad tech inpatient only, echo tech) We are very close here but don’t want only a pilot program or only certain classifications eligible.
Float differential 3% (~1 range higher) for float-pool employees No HR requested we bring this to the bargaining table.  We are perplexed that it continues to be an issue.
Community advisory board Yes No This proposal would cost very little.  There currently is no venue for all OHSU constituents to discuss ways to improve the workplace and the community.
Staffing task force Yes No This is a very low cost proposal.  Departments are so short staffed that patient care is often delayed.
Aid for lower-wage workers Dedicated need-based funds for lower-wage workers, to be distributed by AFSCME $100,000/year to hardship fund to assist w/ training or w/ food/transportation/  housing insecurity This will be wonderful for our members.  We look forward to creating this program.
Co-branding Yes OK as agreed upon between OHSU and AFSCME (hardship fund, CWE Center, etc.) We are very close on this and appreciate OHSU’s movement here.
Wage increases retro to 7/1 Yes No — lump-sum payment instead We believe that a retro payment of the across-the-board increases is better for our folks.
403(b) Withdrawn No We moved to OHSU’s position.
TriMet passes Free Passes offered at $50/year We moved to OHSU’s position. This is great for our members. (TA)
Appendix A (salaried employees)
Progression increases Yes Yes This is fantastic for our salaried folks!
Meal and rest periods Yes No We believe that all employees should be able to take rest periods so they are able to provide great patient care.
Time tracking No Yes (e.g., for grants/ projects or supporting an FTE increase) We are very close on this.
Pay for work on holidays Yes No We believe that all employees should receive a premium for working on a holiday.

Local 328’s bargaining team is dedicated to preserving affordable health-insurance, ensuring wages that adequately support the costs of living and working in this area, treating future employees as fairly as current employees and protecting a time-off system that doesn’t encourage employees to come to work sick. Our union is and always will be guided by our members’ priorities and activism. It is because of our members that we have moved OHSU’s administrators off so many terrible proposals. Local 328 declared impasse because we know our members are standing with us, defending our OHSU, the institution we sacrifice for and believe in.

We remain focused on reaching a fair settlement with OHSU, and look forward to continuing to work toward this goal in the coming weeks. In the meantime, though, since OHSU clearly isn’t listening to our members, it’s time to take to take a stand. We need to come together with allies, community partners, elected officials and our union family and make our voices heard! In a little under three weeks, we all have a chance to show OHSU’s leadership that we won’t sacrifice our patients’ safety and our own well-being so that executives can haul in more bonuses. Join us at our informational picket on Thursday, August 8, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Defend our patients, our contract and our OHSU!

Someone You Should Know…

 

Some of you may have noticed that you can earn points for “engaging with the content“ on OHSU Now — sharing articles to social media, posting comments that are liked by other employees, etc. (To share an article, just click the little share arrow at the bottom right of the post.) The three employees who earn the most points each month win a prize from OHSU.

Our members may wish to share the current OHSU Now post recognizing Lawrence Furnstahl as a “CFO to know.” We agree that OHSU’s chief financial officer is someone you should know — he is responsible for OHSU’s financial and operational management.

If you choose to share this post, you may want to let folks know that, based on management’s contract proposals, OHSU’s CFO and finance executives seem to:

  • Want workers to risk patient safety and employee health by coming to work sick (PTO proposal).
  • Want you and your family to pay more for your health care in a time of record profits (multiple health-insurance take-backs).
  • Be willing to risk patient safety by keeping the hospital understaffed (rejected Local 328’s proposed staffing task force).