Category Archives: Union News

Election Results!

 

After a week of voting — with record-breaking turnout — your ballots have been tallied and we are pleased to inform you of the following election results:

  • Our 2019 – 2022 contract was ratified by an overwhelming majority: 98.9%.
  • Your delegates to the Oregon AFL-CIO convention will be Jamie Roberts, Michael Stewart, Theresia Lloyd-Siemer and Trisha Crabb. 
  • The members of our 2019 – 2021 executive board are:
    • President: Matt Hilton
    • Vice President: Michael Stewart
    • Secretary: Jennifer Barker
    • Treasurer: Claire Irvan
    • Chief Steward: Haley Wolford
    • Data Maintenance: Trisha Crabb
    • Education & Training: Molly Clasen
    • Internal Communications: Jesse Miller
    • Building Manager: Mark Chapman
    • At-Large: Ashlee Howard, Brandy Goldsbury, Casey Parr, Cassie Barton, Christine Murray, Cynthia Peckover, Eli Shannon, Jamie Roberts, Jim Cherveny, Karri Garaventa, Karyn Trivette, Kasey Zimmer-Stucky, Roger Clark, Roxana Logsdon

Congratulations to all who were elected, and congratulations to our bargaining unit on the ratification of a great contract! We did this together, and we have a lot to be proud of.

After our tentative agreement with OHSU was reached, we heard the occasional sentiment that our union was lucky to have discovered that members of management’s bargaining team were trolling our union on social media, engaging in what we believe to be unfair labor practices. However, it’s not accurate that the success of our contract campaign was directly linked to this behavior. Frengle and Forbes’s actions didn’t preserve existing benefits or bring about historic wage increases and pages of beneficial new contract language — our members’ actions did. While what occurred may have embarrassed OHSU, it didn’t bring 900 people to our June 13 rally. When our members packed the room, in a sea of green, at the June 27 OHSU board of directors’ meeting, it was because our members were willing to escalate the fight for a fair contract. All of these actions took place before our union had even uncovered management’s trolling. Dan Forbes is leaving OHSU on November 1, but the approximately 1,400 members, friends and community supporters who marched and chanted at our August 8 informational picket aren’t going anywhere. 

Our new contract is a long-term financial commitment by OHSU to our bargaining unit — won by our members’ engagement and hard work — and a couple of anti-union bad actors don’t get to take credit for it. Our members showed OHSU that they had had enough and would take collective action to get a fair contract. OHSU saw that our members were willing to escalate — likely to the point of striking — and wisely decided to settle for the fair contract that we deserve. On a related note, our unfair labor practice complaint against OHSU is moving forward and mediation has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 1. We’ll update our members about the ULP as soon as we have new information to share. 

Although this contract campaign is behind us, that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop being engaged with our union. Our next contract campaign may seem like it’ll happen in the distant future, but it’s really not that far off — we’ll elect and begin training our next bargaining team in only two years! Retaining the current level of engagement and activism over the next couple of years will ensure we start bargaining in 2022 from a position of strength. OHSU can no longer assume our members are unengaged and will tolerate disrespect and contract take-back after take-back. What we accomplished this year will have a positive effect on negotiations for years to come. We are truly stronger together — all of us. 

EBC Decision Revisited—Wellness Surcharge Indefinitely Delayed

 

We are pleased to inform our bargaining unit that on Tuesday, August 27, the Employee Benefits Council voted to rescind the wellness decision made earlier this year. This means that the wellness requirement/surcharge is indefinitely delayed until the EBC gathers further employee feedback and conducts further evaluation.

As stated in our previous blog article about this matter, our union’s representatives on the EBC had been led to believe that the OHSU president would break any tie and the surcharge would proceed regardless of how our union voted, and that it was better to vote yes and be an active participant in planning the program than vote no and refuse to participate.

Upon further discussion in recent days, we learned that OHSU did not have the intention to have the president break the tie; our understanding of other aspects of the wellness requirement/surcharge also changed. Because of this, our EBC representatives’ rationale to vote yes also changed. Our union appreciates OHSU’s willingness to revisit this decision, and we are grateful that the entire EBC supported suspending the wellness surcharge indefinitely.

Our union does support employee wellness initiatives and we do want to find ways to save our members’ money on their health-insurance premiums through improved health outcomes. However, it’s clear that we need to gather more feedback from our members before our EBC representatives make decisions about wellness initiatives. 

In the days ahead, our union’s representatives on the EBC will also be changing. Please stay tuned for additional information.

Executive-Board Candidate Statements

 

It’s almost time to vote to ratify our new contract! The ratification vote will take place online from 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 1, through 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 8. However, your contract-ratification vote isn’t the only important vote our union is asking you to make during the voting period. We will also be electing the 2019-2021 Local 328 executive board during this time.

We have a record number of candidates running, resulting in a number of contested seats. The board members will manage our union’s operations for the next two years — your vote in this election is important! We will also be selecting delegates for the fall Oregon AFL-CIO convention in this election. All three of these votes can be cast at the same time.

Submitted candidate statements (unedited) are posted below, listed by office in the order received. (Additional candidates are running–the full list can be found in the comments below.) Please review the statements prior to casting your vote.


Candidates for 2019-2021 Local 328 Executive Board

*Secretary*

Jennifer Barker

I’m running for re-election as our union’s recording secretary. One of the key duties of this position is taking minutes for the executive-board/-committee meetings. When I first ran for this office four years ago, I mentioned in my candidate statement that love taking minutes—I still do!

More importantly, I understand the importance of working as a team to make decisions, of communicating clear information to our represented employees, and of being a conscientious steward of our members’ dues money. I look forward to continuing to serve our union in this way.

During bargaining this year, our membership was the most active I’ve seen in more than 20 years at OHSU, and it shows in the good contract we were able to negotiate. I’m excited to work with a new, energized executive board in 2019-2021 to keep our members engaged with our union in order to build strength for our next contract campaign.

*Treasurer*

Claire Irvan

I’ve worked at OHSU for 18 years. My first ten years at OHSU were spent working in the outpatient clinics, starting on the hill and then at CHH when it first opened. I joined the Centralized Managed Care Department in 2012 where I am currently the Financial Coordinator for Pediatric and Adult Bone Marrow Transplant.

To offer you a sense of who I am I have served as unit steward, lead steward, been on the market based wage committee and was part of the 2019 contract bargaining team. I’m a numbers person and a long-range planner. I brought myself out of debt working a 32 hour week while raising two small children and my personal household budget is currently built out to April 2020. I am co-developing a wealth building principles training, the premise of which is to help others get out of debt while creating wealth for self and family.

I enjoy spending time with my young adult sons going to the movies and challenging each other playing board games. My personal hobbies include hiking and reading – I’m a huge literacy advocate. I travel when I can and serve on a variety of committees including PBOT’s Fixing Our Street Oversight Committee which oversees the spending of millions of tax dollars being used to fix streets, sidewalks and intersections throughout the city.

It would be an honor to serve as treasurer for our Union –       AFSCME Local 328. Vote Claire Irvan for treasurer.

*Chief Steward*

Haley Wolford

I have been serving as Chief Steward of our local since January of this year. My goal continues to be providing the best possible support and representation for AFSCME members. The new contract has broadened the range of concerns that can be reported directly to our union for investigation—I am excited to have been a part of the bargaining team that made this possible and I feel confident that my experience will benefit members seeking help. I am also proud to represent my coworkers at the West Campus within union leadership. It has been a successful year, a wild ride to be sure, and I am energized by the involvement of all of you! Please help me to continue the work I am doing with the Steward Program by voting for me as Chief.

Endorsed by Matt Hilton, Jennifer Barker, and Casey Parr.

*Education and Training Chair*

Theresia Lloyd-Siemer

I am asking for your vote for the Education &Training Chair

I have been at OHSU since Nov 1998. I work nights as a HUC in the NICU, where I have been for almost 21 yrs. As soon as I could I got active as a steward, on the Executive Board.

The positions that I have held at the local level:

• Trustee for Council 75
• Diversity Chair
• Community Liaison
• Steward & Unit steward
• Delegate to SWW Central Labor Council
• Delegate to NOLC
• Currently the Education & Training Chair

Positions I hold at Council 75 Level:

• I’m currently the Chair of Council 75’s Women’s Committee
• I’m currently a Trustee for Council 75

I’m running for the Education & Training Chair.

I’m the current Education & Training chair and have been for 2 terms. I love helping our members to learn more about the Labor movement, by sending them to classes that will help them understand more about why unions are important now and into the future. I also love doing the Labor Day Picnic. And have been for the last 8 years. It is just one of the many things that our union does for our member.

Thank you for your support and considering me once again for this position.

Molly Clasen

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I am running for the education and training chair on the AFSCME e-board because I want my fellow AFSCME members to have access to affordable education so we can change our OHSU community for the better.

As a unit steward and the CWE Center’s program and outreach coordinator, I have seen firsthand how education can help our membership develop valuable skills, accomplish their dreams and serve others less fortunate. I am committed to fostering a culture of growth and learning for our diverse, talented membership. My goals include:

Sharing information about training and education opportunities
Publicizing scholarships
Creating an education-specific e-newsletter
Listening to your feedback and serving your learning goals
goals

Thank you for considering me for this position. I am excited to hear your educational goals and help make them into realities.

Endorsed by Jennifer Barker, Haley Wolford, and Matt Hilton.

*Internal Communications Chair*

Angela Javens

Hello,

I am a Certified Medical Assistant here in Vascular Surgery. I have been an employee here at OHSU for 3 years.

I am running for Internal Communications for AFSCME Local 328. I joined AFSCME upon being hired and have continued to become more and more involved in the past 2 years. I was able to attend both the Women’s Conference in March of 2018 and just returned from AFL-CIO union Summer School at the beginning of August where I attended a class on how to Organize Our Internal Members. How to get people excited on what is going on within our union and how to get people more involved.

I believe communication is the upmost importance not just within an organization, but for all in our community. The more we know the more empowered we are. I would like to help build a broader communication system with details of not only the generic information regarding our union, but hopefully bring out more detailed information regarding the current grievances we have filed and where they stand at the time being. I am hoping this will help empower those who are fearful of the process or of management retaliating. I have been that person and have finally found my voice to take on the upper ups.

I am proud to be an AFSCME member and proud to strengthen our union with information.

I look forward to serving all of you.

Ange

Jesse Miller

My name is Jesse Miller and I’m running for Internal Communications Chair so that I can continue the work I’ve been doing since I began running the majority of Local 328’s social media in January. During that time, we’ve seen a more than 10% growth in our followers and I was instrumental in catching members of OHSU management using made up identities to spread misinformation and undermine our union in the midst of an already stressful contract negotiation.

Coverage of this story can be found in Willamette Week, Portland Business Journal, and NW Labor Press.

I look forward to continuing to bring truth to light, educating and engaging our members, and helping to foster a platform where we can support each other and connect with the larger labor community.

I carry the endorsement of Matt Hilton and Jennifer Barker. I work as a Patient Access Specialist for Outpatient Rehabilitation, I’m a current member of the Executive Board for Local 328 and Council 75, and serve as a lead, investigatory, and unit steward. I appreciate your consideration.

*Building Manager*

Mark Chapman

I nominated myself for the position of Local 328 Building Manager for the following reasons:

1) OHSU has been my employer for 25 years. 
2) I have 11 years experience as a Research and Academic Zone Building Technician
3) I find the opportunity to serve the organisation and membership of AFSCME alluring 

If you find my reasons for self nomination compelling, please vote for me.

*At-Large Member*

Brandy Goldsbury

I’m a medical assistant 2(CMA/ AAMA) in Pediatric Surgery in the surgical specialties dept. I have worked at OHSU for the last 6.5years. I am running for a member at large position because I want to share information with my union brothers and sisters I find so many members do not know what is going on between OHSU and AFSCME. I believe knowledge will make our members stronger, I feel it is time for me to take a hand on approach, be actively part of what is going on and share information I acquire with other 328 members.

Shane Brown

If i’m elected as a board member of our local 328 I intend to fight for the needs of our union member. We need to be treated fairly and equitably by OHSU and I will do everything within my power to insure that happens. With the new Employee advisory council we will have a strong position to hold Danny Jacobs and the rest of executive management accountable for our issues and concerns. My other main focus will be staffing and using the new twice yearly meeting with OHSU we can work toward making sure we work with appropriate staffing levels in every area our work. With this new contract we will have some great opportunities to make all of our working lives better and I would love to be a part of this bright future for all of us in OUR union AFSCME Local 328!

Roger Clark

I am running for an At Large Executive Board position. I have spent the last several months serving on the bargaining team for AFSCME. This has been a huge commitment, but a very satisfying one. After the 2015 contract I attempted to become a unit steward, but our work group already had one, so I continued to be active in our group in understanding and educating others on Union issues. After serving on the bargaining team I can no longer sit on the sidelines. I was told at the beginning of bargaining that union activism would hook me and pull me into future activities. I am so glad that it has. I have been able to participate in many fulfilling activities such as Lobby Day in Salem, multiple member outreach events, and of course, solidarity events including the Rally and Informational Picket. I would like to continue my activism by serving Our Union on the Executive Board. I want to continue to speak up for our diverse membership, and I want to continue to grow our amazing steward program (I will become one thanks to new contract language). After such great success with our hard work on the bargaining team, I’m encouraged to bring that hard work and dedication to the Executive Board. Please vote for me, you won’t be disappointed!

I am endorsed by the following members: Matt Hilton, Michael Stewart, Jennifer Barker, Casey Parr, Karyn Trivette, Kasey    Zimmer-Stucky, Jim Cherveny, Cassie Barton

Casey Parr

I have been a respiratory therapist for 11 years, the last 9 of which have been here at OHSU.  I recently had the opportunity to proudly serve on the 2019 AFSCME Local 328 bargaining team.  While I’m pleased with the contract we negotiated, the scandals that tainted the bargaining process are evidence of how much work still needs to be done.  In the last several years, I’ve seen OHSU shift its focus from serving the community, to serving its executives.  I’m running for an at-large position on the AFSCME executive board so that I can continue to serve OHSU employees, and by extension, the community for which they serve.

Endorsed by Matt Hilton, Michael Stewart, Jennifer Barker, Kasey Zimmer-Stucky, Roger Clark, Karyn Trivette, Jesse Miller, Jim Cherveny, Claire Irvan, Haley Wolford, Mike Bandy, and Cassie Barton.

Karri Garaventa

Hi, I’m a Hematology/Oncology admin coordinator and Local 328 board member since February 2019. I found that serving as an at-large board member was a positive and empowering addition to my role as a unit steward. Given the opportunity, I would like to continue in this role to help represent my colleagues in Hematology/Oncology, the South Waterfront, and administrative roles as a whole. This has been a very busy year of bargaining and other very impactful activity between OHSU and AFSCME Local 328 – I myself became more active than ever before, and recognize that the work continues. I’ll appreciate your vote to remain on the board as one more voice to work to keep our membership strong.

Kasey Zimmer-Stucky

I am a Sonographer at OHSU and have been an active AFSCME member since 2016, as a Unit Steward and most recently, a member of the 2019 AFSCME bargaining team. My involvement in AFSCME stems from my desire to ensure that all employees at OHSU are treated with respect, and as equals, regardless of their job description or education. Over the last year, I believe that AFSCME members have felt more like a community than ever before because they felt like their opinion mattered. It’s that sense of community that got us a great contract that was long overdue and much deserved. Being elected to the Executive Board would allow me continue to ensure that all members are treated fairly and are given a chance to be included in the conversations that effect us all. Thanks for your support!

Endorsed by:

• Johanna Meier-Ultrasound Technologist
• Casey Parr- Respiratory Therapist
• Roger Clark-Pharmacist
• Cassie Barton-Pharmacist
• Karyn Trivette-Physical Therapist

 

Cassie Barton

I would like to serve on the Executive Board because I believe I can make a difference for our members. I first got involved with our Union because my workgroup had no steward, and we needed management to hear our voices. During my four years as unit steward I have seen just how impactful our actions can be. Working with my colleagues and Union staff, we have been able to address serious departmental issues with consensus agreements for fair vacation scheduling and letters of agreement for fair payment of work for salaried employees.

The recent contract negotiations have reminded me of why I began my work as a steward. We need our voices to be heard, and if we want change we must all step up and make it. We demanded a fair contract, and with hard work and organization, we now have one. Specifically for my department, and all salaried employees, we have won back basic protections including quartile pay progression and the guarantee of meal/rest breaks.

I want to continue to fight for what is fair and what is right, not just for my department, but for our Union as a whole. I am known for my hard work, effectiveness, compassion, and willingness to speak up when something is wrong, even if my stance is unpopular at the time. I believe I am an ideal candidate for this position and promise to fight to affect meaningful change for the good of all AFSCME employees.

I am endorsed by: Roger Clark, Casey Parr, Karyn Trivette, Kasey Zimmer-Stucky, Jim Cherveny

Jamie Roberts

I have been board member 12 at large since October of 2017 and I am looking to start unit steward training in the near future. I have enjoyed being a part of the executive board and have learned a lot about how our local helps our members and the importance of having a union. I have continued to volunteer anywhere I am able and attend as many trainings as I am available for so that I learn as much as I can to help our members stay active. I would like to continue to grow in my role on the executive board and ask for your vote to help me do so.

Roxana Logsdon

I am currently on the Executive Board, at large position 4, and I am running for re-election. I have been at OHSU for almost 11 years now and have been active in the Union for 3 years. I am continually learning more about our strong union leadership and would like to continue to do so. I am asking for your vote to help me continue to learn and help our union stay strong.

Thank you for your consideration,

Roxana Logsdon

Executive Board Member, At-Large Position 4

Eli Shannon

In the two years that I have been at OHSU, I have tried to be involved with AFSCME as much as I can. As a Unit Steward The bargaining experience has been very educational for me. I believe that a strong Local 328 means a strong labor movement throughout Portland, and beyond. I have previous Board experience from working at Alberta Cooperative Grocery in my role as Board Link. I helped plan Co-op Board Meetings, Board Retreats, and Strategic Planning sessions, as well as prepared staff reports to the Board. I have extensive experience in meeting facilitation and consensus decision making. I look forward to growing my footprint within Local 328 and thank you for the nomination. Solidarity!

Candidates for 2019 Oregon AFL-CIO Convention Delegate

Theresia Lloyd-Siemer

I am asking for your vote to be one of the Delegates to the Oregon ALF-CIO Convention in Sept 2019

I have been at OHSU since Nov 1998. I work nights as a HUC in the NICU, where I have been for almost 21 yrs. As soon as I could I got active as a steward, on the Executive Board.

The positions that I have held at the local level:

• Trustee for Council 75
• Diversity Chair
• Community Liaison
• Steward & Unit steward
• Delegate to SWW Central Labor Council
• Delegate to NOLC
• Currently the Education & Training Chair

Positions I hold at Council 75 Level:

• I’m currently the Chair of Council 75’s Women’s Committee
• I’m currently a Trustee for Council 75

I’m running for the Education & Training Chair.

I have been to 4 of the Oregon AFL-CIO conventions in 20 yrs. that I have been an active member of our local union. I love inter acting with and making to connections with likeminded members of other unions. As union members we need to stick together.

Thank you for your considering me as a delegate to the 2019 Oregon AFL-CIO Convention.

Jamie Roberts

I have wholeheartedly enjoyed my time being a part of this union since I joined the executive board in October of 2017. I learned so much at last year’s convention that I would love to be a part of this year’s as these conventions are such a vital part of union activism. I have functioned as a unit steward in my work unit, I attended the rally and picket for a fair contract, I have seen what a force of energized members can do and I will work to help our members stay active. I feel that since local 328 is one of the biggest locals in the state, that it is important to have a mixture of very experienced activists and those of us that are still learning. Please vote for me!

Michael Stewart

I running to represent our local at the AFL-CIO convention. I view the convention as an opportunity to share with other locals and unions how we were able to energize our members to an unprecedented level of activism which was vital to our ability to get the best contract in recent memory. This new model of member run contract bargaining I believe is important to keeping membership high in the age of Janus. I humbly ask for your vote. Thank you.

In Solidarity

Michael Stewart

Building Our Union At West Campus

by Nicole Meck, West Campus Unit Steward

I knew our West Campus had only one union steward so I asked to become a unit steward.  I was lucky that this prompted five of my coworkers to also become unit stewards so we are on our way to making the west campus AFSCME strong.

I like to accomplish things and feel as though I make a difference.  I’m excited by all the opportunities available to me through our union. I feel there are many ways to do this with my union work.  I am hoping to be an asset to my coworkers and to our local 328 Executive Board. I want to continue to learn all I can from our many talented staff and board members.

I work out on OHSU’s west campus at the Oregon National Primate Research Center as a Laboratory Animal Technician 2.  I perform husbandry for our breeding colony.  We have a large campus full of wonderful employees who are all dedicated to the animals we are entrusted with caring for daily.

I was getting very frustrated with our national political climate and wanting to do something but I wasn’t sure what I could do to make a difference. I was tired of clicking a button to show support or marching for this cause or that reason. I wanted to just do more.  I knew I had to find some way to feel more involved.

This is the first job I’ve had where I got to be part of a union.

I began to spend time in the evenings looking over our various AFSCME web sites including Local 328, Council 75, and AFSCME national web pages.  I found many interesting things on these pages.  I was able to read the local 328 news and happenings.  On our council page I found information about PERS, legislation and saw all the committees we have the ability to be on as union members.

I even used our AFSCME Auto Advantage when buying my new car.  I was excited that all this was available to me by just being a union member. When coworkers began asking me questions about our contract, I asked to become a unit steward.  This prompted five of my coworkers to also become unit stewards at the same time.  Our campus had only one steward at the time we were now on our way to building a AFSCME strong group at our west campus.

Since becoming a unit steward I have been to be invited participate in the AFSCME Emerging Leaders program.   I have had a great time learning more about what being a union leader and activist can accomplish.

AFSCME invited me to participate in the lost time program.  During this time I have been working on converting fair share payers to dues members on the West Campus and am proud to say, with the help of the other unit stewards, we have converted many coworkers.  I have also been working on getting AFSCME Strong bulletin boards up in all the work areas so all our members can be kept up to date on the latest news and happenings from AFSCME and our Local.

I had the wonderful experience of getting to work with the AFSCME International team during AFSCME strong week.  I learned so much from this group of talented people.  We knocked on doors to talk to Multnomah county workers about their upcoming contract vote and to make sure they were current dues members so they would get to vote for their contract.

I have also had the pleasure of working with many of the Council 75 and Local 328 staff and have been learning much about our union structure and work that AFSCME does to continue keep us strong.  I’m very excited to have been voted to the local 328 board as At-Large Position 15 and I’m looking forward to learning how I can best serve my west campus coworkers in this position.

I’m excited for the start of our contract negotiations and looking forward to watching how the process goes and getting my brothers and sisters from the west campus excited about and hopefully included in this exciting process.

Biometric screening and the 5% surcharge

The biggest challenge the Employee Benefits Council faces is keeping health care affordable while maintaining and even increasing the benefits available under the plan. It’s a constant process of looking at what people really use, what is cost effective to provide and bearing in mind that even small increases in costs can have disproportionate impacts on lower wage workers.

OHSU is self-insured and our health insurance rates are a direct result of usage plus an administration fee. There’s really nothing else to it. The more the health plan is used the more it costs.

The less healthy we are, the more we use the plan, and costs go up.

There are many approaches to having a healthier workforce – providing tools for chronic disease management, smoking cessation programs, encouraging exercise and healthier eating.

Another way to contain costs is by early detection of risk factors which may be treated before they escalate to far more expensive illnesses.

Early treatment of high blood pressure with medication is far less expensive than treating stroke victims in the ICU, for one example.

In order to encourage early detection the EBC has agreed that by getting a simple biometric screening, plan participants will be exempted from a 5% surcharge on health benefits.

The biometric screening that will be available would cost about $100 if the test was done on normal PPO insurance. Plan members will not be charged for the screening. The screening we are using is designed to be as noninvasive as possible and still get enough information to aid in early detection and prevention of chronic illness.

The health information obtained by the screening is not accessible by OHSU, they will not get any of the results.

We value our members’ health and we know that we can best provide health insurance security for members and their families into the future by having a healthier workforce.

Regular screenings are an important part of a plan for personal self care. We are also trying to encourage healthy eating by offering free salads to employees once a month in the hope that this one meal will start to raise awareness of the critical role of diet in long term health.

By getting a simple biometric screening you can avoid the 5% surcharge and take a major step toward protecting your health

Proposed Changes To Domestic Partner Benefits Delayed

The OHSU benefits office recently sent an email to employees who currently have domestic partner and domestic partner child coverage. The email read:

“Last year, OHSU announced its intent to end benefits coverage for domestic partners and the children of domestic partners. The Employee Benefits Council recently reviewed this decision and the timing of implementation, and has decided to further postpone this change for an additional year.

 With this delay, all coverage of domestic partners and domestic partner children will continue until Dec. 31, 2019. Employees who wish to add domestic partners or domestic partner children to their benefits may do so through the end of 2018. No new enrollments will be allowed beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

 The EBC will continue to monitor the accessibility of affordable health insurance alternatives and will re-evaluate the proposed change in 2018, prior to its effective date.

 Please contact our office with any questions.

 OHSU Benefits”

As things currently sit, employees may still add domestic partners and dependents thru the end of 2018. The employee benefits council will revisit this topic in 2018 before anything goes into effect.

The decision to offer domestic partner benefits in the first place was made some time ago. The original intent was to offer a benefit for employees who wanted to cover a partner or dependents, but weren’t able to legally marry their partner. After the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, this rationale is no longer valid.

Current marriage options aside, there is still a subset of the OHSU population who prefer to cover their family thru a domestic partner benefit.

While we believe that family is family, there is a very lose definition of what’s required under the current domestic partner language.  The 2017 eligibility language requires that partners: “Currently reside together and intend to do so for the foreseeable future.”

The issue is that some domestic partner employees will change their partners and dependents multiple times within a 12 month time frame. The plan is obligated to cover everyone, every time and it generates a significant cost. While it’s not the role of the EBC to be the lifestyle police, we do have a fiduciary responsibility to our stakeholders on how the health plan is managed and how employees benefit dollars are spent. This type of behavior was never how the benefit was intended to be utilized when it was created.

When the Employee Benefits Council voted to extend the sunset this year, we also were able to change the eligibility language. The new language states: “The two individual have jointly shared the same permanent residence for at least twelve (12) months immediately preceding the addition of the Domestic Partner and intend to continue to indefinitely share the same permanent residence.”

While AFSCME can’t speak for the full EBC, the new language goes into effect in 2018 and we believe it will sufficiently address the problem. Recognizing that, it’s likely that the EBC will vote to lift the sunsets but maintain the new language when this topic is revisited in 2018.

Vote “Yes on Measure 97” to Support Oregon Schools

Vote “Yes on Measure 97” to Support Oregon Schools
by Nana Nash, AFSCME Local 328 Member

REQUIRE BIG CORPORATIONS PAY NOW OR OREGONIANS WILL SURELY PAY LATER

Measure 97 is a ballot measure that would raise the minimum corporate tax a corporation pays when it makes more than $25 million in Oregon sales. It will not affect regular citizens — it only taxes big business.

Stop Corporate Welfare This should be our slogan in Oregon. Oregon is 50th in the nation for corporate taxes on companies that gross more than $25 million annually — in Oregon, these businesses pay lower taxes than anywhere else in the country. These corporations should be held to a higher standard and pay their fair share.

Oregon now has a boom-and-bust tax system that relies most heavily on income taxes to fund state services — this means that one main source of tax dollars funds a wide array of necessary services and programs. Oregon currently has the fourth worst high-school graduation rate in the country, barely improved over recent years. The state faces a roughly $2 billion funding gap for education alone. Oregonians should care because we’ve been paying some of the highest income taxes in the country while the largest corporations have paid very little in corporate taxes.

If Measure 97, passes it will not cost you money — it will not cost Oregonians $600 each, as the attack ads claim. This measure will not cost anything extra out of pocket to 99.9% of Oregon residents. According to the Anderson Economic Group, Oregon is last in corporate taxes . With the passage of Measure 97, Oregon would still have some of the lowest corporate taxes on the west coast (including Idaho).

Why Do Corporations Care? The short answer is: they don’t. Why are large corporations like Comcast, Wells Fargo and Chevron investing millions of dollars in advertising to fight the passage of Measure 97?

For many years, these large companies have not paid proportionally to what local mom-and-pop businesses pay to do business here in Oregon. Small businesses in Oregon support Measure 97 because they currently pay a higher percentage of tax than the large corporations. Corporations with gross sales in Oregon of more than $25 million know they would be less competitive if they raised their prices after Measure 97 passed. The “invisible hand” of the market would not allow them to pass on the cost of paying these taxes to the consumer. Prices are driven by market and competition more than by a one-to-one relationship with costs.

If these companies could just pass these costs onto Oregon consumers, why would they care whether Measure 97 passes or not? They certainly aren’t looking out for us. They’re looking out for themselves — that’s why they’re spending $20 million to fight the measure. If corporations could just charge us more, they’d already be charging more.

No, Measure 97 Will Not Increase Taxes for Mom-and-Pop Businesses Less than 1% of businesses in Oregon will see their corporate taxes go up. That’s because the only part of Oregon’s tax structure that is changing is the part that applies to corporations making more than $25 million in Oregon sales. Similarly, only publicly traded C-corporations are subject to the change. Measure 97 excludes the majority of mom-and-pop businesses — In fact, it evens the playing field for businesses struggling to compete with large, out-of-state corporations.

What About the Claims That Measure 97 Is a Backdoor Sales Tax for Consumers? With Measure 97 resulting in such a narrowly targeted minimum increase, the affected corporations will still need to stay competitive with the smaller businesses that are already paying their fair share in corporate taxes. Also, studies have shown that corporate taxes don’t directly drive consumer prices as much as other market factors do. Many of the corporations that would be affected by Measure 97 do business up and down the west coast and across the country and set their prices at regional market rates. Prices in Washington, where corporations already pay much more in state and local taxes than they do in Oregon, aren’t really any higher than prices in Oregon.

The Oregon Consumer League did a shopping-cart study, researching the cost of goods in states with higher corporate taxes than Oregon:

“The cost of staples that people buy every day like cereal, diapers, duct tape and Legos is remarkably consistent across the country. Whether you live in Florida, Maine, Texas, North Dakota, California, or Oregon — pretty much anywhere in the continental United States — a trip to the store for the basics is going to cost about the same. Chicken at Fred Meyer, for example, is $3.99 per pound in Vancouver, WA, $3.99 per pound in Portland, OR and $3.99 per pound in Boise, ID even though corporate taxes are very different in each state.”

What About Health Care? Opponents of Measure 97 hope to frighten voters in order to avoid being taxed on the high profits being earned in the for-profit health-care sector. Lots of health-care providers and insurers in Oregon — including Kaiser, Providence and Adventist—are nonprofits, and their taxes won’t be affected by Measure 97. These companies will be happy that the state can insure more people through the Oregon Health Plan and invest in public-health measures.

As for prescriptions, pharmaceutical companies that would be affected by Measure 97 make only one-fifth of 1% of their total annual sales in Oregon. A corporate-tax increase here would just slightly reduce their global profits. High-earning corporations in every industry should be contributing their fair share to Oregon’s public programs that provide in-home care to seniors and people living with disabilities.

What About Schools and Other Services? As a direct result of funding cuts due to plummeting corporate tax revenues, Oregon schools now have the third largest class sizes in the country and the fourth worst graduation rate, with a school year two weeks shorter than the minimum in many other states. If Measure 97 passes, we’ll be able to restore per-pupil spending to the level of the late 1980s (adjusted for inflation), and get back into the mainstream. We’ll be able to provide a much-needed expansion to state programs for in-home senior care, allowing seniors to remain in their own homes. We’ll be able to replace federal Medicaid dollars that were only available to kick-start our health programs in Oregon.

What Will Happen If Measure 97 Fails? Oregon faces a huge budget shortfall of about $1.35 billion. If Measure 97 fails, essential services will be strapped and cuts will be necessary. Oregon public schools, Medicaid and programs for seniors will be negatively affected. If Oregonians don’t pass Measure 97 to make corporations pay their fair share now, we will all pay later.

What Groups and Organizations Are Supporting Measure 97? Measure 97 is supported by AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Oregon Education Association, Oregon Nurses Association, SEIU, Governor Kate Brown, League of Women Voters, Citizens Initiative Review Commission and many others. These are progressive organizations that spend the most direct time working with the people and communities who need this measure the most. This coalition of supporters sees the need for large corporations to take a role in building a better Oregon.

If Measure 97 passes, it will be because AFSCME members and folks in the community got involved. The big corporations that are against this measure are using fear tactics to keep Oregonians from taking care of the people in our communities that need us the most. Our education system and our seniors need us, and we need the businesses that profit from us to help build a better Oregon.

What Can I Do to Help Get Measure 97 Passed? AFSCME is conducting a get-out-the-vote effort to support Measure 97 with door knocking and phone banking to make sure our members have gotten their ballots in the mail or have a plan to turn them in. Door- knocking events will only involve talking to supporters of the measure to remind them to vote. Ballots have already been mailed to voters and we need volunteers now. For information on dates and times, call (503) 239-9858 ext. 4147, visit Oregon AFSCME on Facebook or check out the Oregon AFSCME online events calendar.

 CLICK THE LINKS IN THIS ARTICLE FOR SOURCES AND OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT MEASURE

Diagnostic Imaging Techs Gain CNI Agreement

CNI in Diagnostic Imaging
By AFSCME Staff Representative Dennis Ziemer

Discussion of CNI – Critical Need Incentive – discussions of implementing a CNI started with the Techs in General Radiology during the fall of 2015.

CNI is Critical Need Incentive. It is often used when a staffing level starts to show signs of too much work and a dwindling pool of staff to do that work. It requires two basic ingredients to work:

1. People who can fill-in extra hours/shifts and
2. Extra pay to encourage others to do the work while giving others the option to leave for the day.

In November, 2015 union members and staff representative Dennis Ziemer met with management every few months to describe the staffing crisis. Many staff were just giving up on the idea of any relief. Many decided to just not have a life outside of work, and others started to consider working somewhere that was staffed appropriately.

In May, 2016 the problem got worse when a proposed CNI was roundly rejected by Techs as unusable.

Without CNI as an option, everyone is subject to a last-minute assignment of mandatory overtime.

Mandatory overtime is a difficult thing to encounter when you are at work. It is even harder to adjust to when you are a young parent, have others who depend on you, have a pet to take care of, or basically have a life outside your job.

Picture yourself having to make alternative arrangements for those responsibilities because you are told you must stay for another 4 hours. Now multiply that situation by the number of days you work in a year, while your boss attempts to resolve the “perfect storm” that has outraged you and the angered 50 of your colleagues.

As the summer of 2016 approached there didn’t appear to be any work toward a new draft of CNI.

Several staff took it upon themselves to create the much needed CNI plan. Megan Evans and Meghan Thomas and several GenRad Techs were responsible for creating and then describing the proposal to the Director of Diagnostic Imaging, Brad Reed. Brad initially thought it hit the mark, meaning it appeared to have exactly what would be needed to get approved by OHSU.

The amount of money for assigned shifts was not what was originally sought, but it was sufficient in the eyes of the Diagnostic Imaging Techs. Ultimately AFSCME and OHSU agreed to $12 per hour as the CNI. The plan was endorsed by OHSU. In fact, the plan was applied to all Imaging Modalities: General Radiology, Mammography, CT, MRI, Ultrasound, Vascular Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine and PET.

The Techs in all these operations unanimously approved the document. AFSCME 328 Executive Board in turn unanimously approved the Letter of Agreement on CNI for Diagnostic Imaging at their September meeting and returned it to OHSU for implementation. Local 328 President Matt Hilton signed the document.

A few bumps occurred in the implementation process but the Techs report that they are now receiving the CNI.

Summer Celebration — AFSCME Strong BBQ

 

It’s been a whirlwind year for Local 328.  Join us at the Mac Hall Fountain on Wednesday, July 13, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. to celebrate with a BBQ lunch. (Food is guaranteed for the first 500 attendees, so don’t wait till the last minute to arrive.)

So, what are we celebrating?

Last summer, our union made a commitment to fight off anti-worker, anti-union efforts in the courts and on the ballot, nationally and at home here in Oregon. The cornerstone of that effort is our AFSCME Strong campaign. The point of the campaign is to solidify our membership so that we maintain a strong union despite the attempts of corporate-sponsored groups to attack our right to collect dues and fair-share fees.

With the assistance of AFSCME International, in January we had a successful weekend blitz where we visited fair-share fee payers and converted more than 250 of them to dues payers.

We embarked on an organizing campaign to create and grow a unit-steward program that would assist us with workplace organizing and help convert existing dues payers to maintenance-of-membership dues payers. To date we have trained and deployed more than 100 unit stewards and are proud to say that in this group of people are some of the smartest, most engaged people we have ever worked with. As they grow with our union, many of them will inevitably move into leadership positions.

Our union is in good hands, now and in the future.

Challenges met.

Our members successfully organized around the plight of Environmental Services (EVS) workers at OHSU. Over the course of last winter and into this spring, were able to work with OHSU to achieve significant changes in the EVS department that will benefit the employees for years to come.

With the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked over the Friedrichs case and let stand a lower court’s decision that affirmed the right of unions to collect fair-share fees. Similar cases are in the pipeline and, inevitably, some of them will make their way to the court after Scalia’s successor is confirmed. The people behind these cases have deep pockets and have been attacking unions for decades. They aren’t quitting any time soon, but the temporary reprieve was welcome and allowed us to focus on preparing for the ballot-measure fight to come.

We were aware of two anti-union measures being circulated that would have had even more devastating effects on public-employee unions than the Supreme Court case. One was being circulated by groups funded by the timber industry and the other by Loren Parks from Nevada. We have been fighting measures like these for years and have developed expertise in fighting them in the courts and through election turnout. This year, the Oregon Supreme Court sided with labor and agreed with the ballot titles assigned by the Secretary of State. These titles did not poll favorably for the measures and one of them was withdrawn. The other is still technically “out there,” but there is no active signature-gathering taking place.

Going back to the days of Bill Sizemore, Oregon has not had an election cycle without an anti-union measure on the ballot. This year may be an exception, but next year and the year after that will not be.

Our future is bright.

We have a lot to celebrate.

  • We have made huge progress toward securing our union’s future against anti-worker attacks that will no doubt continue to challenge us.
  • We have engaged 100 new activists.
  • We have a plan to fight off anti-union attacks and are executing it successfully.

Thank you for being a part of it. Come and celebrate our union with us!

EVS Independent Investigation Results.

On Monday, June 20th, EVS employees at OHSU received a joint communication from AFSCME and OHSU advising that the independent investigator appointed to look into issues of employee abuse at the OHSU Environmental Services department had completed her work and issued a report.

The report was a comprehensive review of the charges made by AFSCME Local 328 regarding the working conditions of EVS employees, based on in depth interviews with approximately 30 EVS workers.

This independent investigation is unprecedented for OHSU and Local 328 and is a direct result of our members standing up for themselves with on the job actions, their willingness to share their stories publically on social media and in person and their willingness to support each other.

When our Union began this process we had three demands:

  • An independent investigation
  • An effective labor management process where workers can be heard and have their issues addressed
  • A reform of the internal complaint process when workers are victimized by managers or coworkers.

The independent investigation has been completed and a report issued.

The report outlines findings in nine areas where the investigator found evidence to support our union’s claims:

  1. Cultural insensitivity and bias in the workplace
  2. Disrespectful behavior down, up and across the workgroup
  3. Perceived favoritism
  4. Roles, duties and expectations not clear or standardized
  5. Lack of accountability
  6. Operational practices cause lost productivity and waste
  7. Staffing issues
  8. Perceived inconsistent application or disregard of rules
  9. Not enough transparency and communication

Each finding was accompanied by a list of recommendations. OHSU and AFSCME Local 328 have scheduled a series of meetings to review and plan to implement the recommendations. As we implement recommendations we will report to our members on our progress.

The labor/management committee (LMC) is active in Environmental Services.

A facilitator has been hired and the teams for labor and management have been selected. The goal of labor/management meetings are to raise and resolve issues other than contract violations or interpersonal problems – in other words, to look at workplace problems that often get overlooked because communication between workers and management has broken down. Initial meetings of the labor management committee have been effective.  The two teams have already brainstormed a list of potential issues and plan to prioritize them at their next meeting.  Additionally EVS management will begin introducing  LMC representatives at EVS huddles.

The reform of the internal complaint process has not been resolved at this time.

The investigator made some recommendations about the way complaints should be reported but did not make recommendations about changing the complaint process itself. This is an area where we will need to have ongoing discussions before we can report that it has been resolved.

So what does it all mean; what have we learned?

We learned that an active membership raising public awareness of a problem can be a spur to action. We learned that OHSU will respond when presented with compelling evidence. We learned that the best way to get OHSU to respond is for workers to stand together and take the risk of telling their stories about how they are affected by their working conditions.

We’ve learned that OHSU is willing and able to take corrective action AND work in collaboration with the union to make changes when called upon, including personnel changes, when necessary.

We’ve learned that workers really are stronger together.

We want to thank our stewards and leaders, especially Chief Steward Michael Stewart and President Matt Hilton, the members who put their names out publically on social media to tell their stories, the EVS workers who had the courage to meet with the investigator, our members from all over campus who wrote messages of support, wore buttons and attended our vigils, the EVS workers who broke tradition and began speaking out in the morning huddles, the members who were inspired during this time to step up and become unit stewards to help their coworkers, the nurses who wore buttons and supported our EVS workers and everyone else who was touched by the stories of our workers and who didn’t turn a blind eye.

Thank you.