Category Archives: Know Your Union

Take Our Post-Bargaining Survey!

 

We’d like to thank the hundreds of employees who came out for our contract-ratification celebration. We have a lot to celebrate! Not only did our members take a firm stand to help our bargaining team protect health-insurance benefits and prevent an unpopular PTO system, but we also added new differentials, improved wages and created a variety of programs to help members in need.

It’s been about two months since our bargaining team reached an agreement with OHSU.  little over a month ago, a record-breaking number of members participated in the ratification vote and Local 328 executive-board election. Now that bargaining is over and the election of new union leadership is behind us, has the window for members to give our union direction and feedback ended? Far from it! As a member-driven organization, Local 328 thrives when our represented employees’ voices are heard. There are a number of ways you can communicate with our union:

    • Read and comment on our Facebook page and blog posts. Interacting with our members via our blog was invaluable during bargaining, and we want our members to continue to reach out in this way.
    • Touch base with your unit steward — or become one. Ideally, you have a unit steward in your department who shares information about current union news and asks for your feedback. If not, you should consider becoming the unit steward for your work area — for more information, email Jordan Muehe at trustee3@local328.
    • Attend a quarterly membership meeting. Our union will be transitioning from the monthly town halls of bargaining to quarterly membership meetings in the weeks ahead. Our members are encouraged to attend and bring questions or topics to discuss. In addition to discussing union news and business, we anticipate bringing in guest speakers — community leaders, elected officials, labor activists from other unions and more. These meetings will be live-streamed just as the bargaining town halls were. Stay tuned for details.
    • Take our post-bargaining survey! Something that was crucial to our union’s success at the bargaining table was feedback from the many members who helped inform our strategy by taking part in our surveys before and during contract negotiations. We’ve just launched a new post-bargaining survey for our members — check your email for the survey link. Please take the survey and let us know how you feel about a variety of bargaining- and work-related subjects. How satisfied are you with Local 328’s 2019 bargaining campaign? What are your thoughts about the social-media trolling incident involving members of OHSU’s bargaining team? Do you believe there’s an anti-union bias in certain OHSU work areas? The survey opens at 7:45 a.m. on Friday, October 18. We greatly value your feedback.

As our union moves forward with an engaged membership and a passionate new executive board, we are committed to making OHSU better for you, your peers, our families and our community. We are stronger together.

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. 

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

Local 328 President’s Message On The Freedom Foundation

Greetings Brothers and Sisters of AFSCME Local 328,

Everyone should have a received an email from OHSU informing you that the Freedom Foundation submitted a public-information request and that OHSU was required to turn over some of your information. Some of you are familiar with the Freedom Foundation, while others may not be. Either way, you probably have questions.

What information did OHSU provide?

OHSU is legally required to share your first and last name, middle initial, work address and work email address. Local 328 recognizes that OHSU didn’t have a choice in this matter, and we appreciate both the invitation to discuss this matter prior to the release of the information and OHSU’s notice to employees that an outside party will receive their contact information.

What is the Freedom Foundation?

The Freedom Foundation is a libertarian organization with offices based in Washington, Oregon and California. It receives funding from the likes of the Walton Family (Walmart), the Koch brothers and the legislative group ALEC (which focuses on banning living wages, privatizing schools, attacking voter rights and advocating for the private prison industry). The Freedom Foundation’s CEO’s stated goal is …”bankrupting and defeating government unions through education, litigation, legislation and community activation.” As public employees at OHSU, our members are now targets of this organization.

Didn’t the union already hold a vote on changing their nonprofit status to protect member information?

There is a difference between a disgruntled member of a huge non-profit demanding a list of confidential information for every represented individual vs. a nefarious organization submitting an information request to a public entity.

Local 328 and Council 75 members voted to set new parameters on who can handle your private information internally, but that vote doesn’t supersede the law.

What should we expect?

It is extremely likely that the Freedom Foundation will be running the data that OHSU gives them through various databases to determine your home address. We know that they have already visited Oregon AFSCME members from other local unions. Freedom Foundation representatives may show up at your home and, through a variety of distorted positions (or outright lies), attempt to convince you drop your union membership.

Why are they doing this?

The Freedom Foundation is part of an extremely well-financed and well-coordinated assault on working people. If they are successful in their end goal of eliminating public-sector unions, the quality of life for working people will diminish, whether they are represented by a union or not.

Labor unions were instrumental in passing a variety of progressive laws on the west coast. Every state has a strong minimum-wage law and a paid-sick-leave law. Contrast that with “right to work” state Idaho, where minimum wage is still stuck at $7.25 and there is no requirement for employers to provide employees with paid or even unpaid (but still protected) sick leave.

With the national decimation of the public-sector unions, private-sector unions would soon face the same fate. (Just look at what happened in Wisconsin.) With no advocates and no ability to collectively bargain, workers will find themselves losing more and more as we enter a national race to the bottom in terms of wages and benefit standards. Imagine a world in which employers and the very wealthy don’t need to negotiate with their workers and any worker who has a problem with that is terminated as an at-will employee. This is exactly the scenario that the Freedom Foundation is trying to achieve for its corporate masters.

So what can we do?

A variety of things!

  • Know the value of your union! Wages, vacation accruals, sick leave, swing- and graveyard-shift differentials, holiday pay, retirement, health-care benefits, your ability to file a grievance over unfair working conditions — ALL of these things and more are jeopardized without your union.
  • If you’re not already a member, sign a membership card online here. The higher our membership numbers, the stronger the message we send that we will not be divided. (This sends a similar message to OHSU, which is very timely given we’re bargaining next year.)
  • Should the Freedom Foundation visit you at your home, know that they don’t have any right to be there against your wishes. Tell them to leave. Call the police and report harassment if needed.
  • Talk to your coworkers. Maybe they received one of these visits. Maybe they take for granted what our contract does for us.
  • Talk to your unit steward. If you don’t have a unit steward in your department, please consider becoming that contact. Email Andy Chavira at Achavira@oregonafscme.org  for more information.

In closing, remember we are all in this together. As we enter a new era of corporate and political attempts to sabotage organized labor, we stand tall.

Our members are keenly aware that no one individual is responsible for our success. Through collective action and caring about each other, we lift each other up and support ideals that leave the world a better place. It’s been said that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Your local leadership doesn’t have that fear, because we see good people (our members) doing something every single day.

We reject the Freedom Foundation. We reject what they stand for and the world they want to create. We are stronger together.

Thank you, in solidarity,

Matt Hilton, President

AFSCME Local 328

Why We Do Politics

by Michael Stewart, Local 328 Vice President

One of the most common concerns I hear as a Local 328 member leader is “I don’t like that our union is involved in politics!” or “I don’t like that our union endorsed a particular candidate.” As much as we would like to avoid politics and the difficulties and polarization that come with it, the truth is that politics is a vital part of what our union does. Not because we choose it to be, but for simple survival and to meet the needs of our members. Examples of how politics on all levels directly affects working families (whether union or non-union) are numerous.

Since the elections of 2010, we have witnessed the targeting of public-employee unions by then newly elected governors and legislatures across the country. Wisconsin and Iowa stand as stark examples of what is at stake for the working class when we fail to directly take on the political threats to our wages, benefits and right to collectively bargain. Anti-worker legislators and governors swept into office in both states. As soon as they were sworn in, they jammed through, often without so much as a public hearing, bills that eliminated fair-share fees, forced yearly recertification of unions, barred automatic dues payments and severely limited or eliminated collective contract bargaining. How has this affected the working families in these areas?

In an article for The Atlantic about the effects of Act 10 in Wisconsin, Alana Semuels discusses how the reduction in union power has affected the middle class. For example, one married couple (both teachers) saw their combined wages decrease by 11%. Overall, teachers have seen an 8% decrease in total compensation. Some teachers have had to take second jobs or leave the field all together. This worsened an already growing teacher shortage in the state. Public employees across the state have suffered similarly. A restriction on the right to collectively bargain wage increases so that they only match the rate of inflation has reduced the upward pressure on wages in the private sector, leading to a flattening of wages and an increase of income inequality within the state.

Oregon AFSCME has a robust and active political department consisting of paid staff and volunteer member leaders, with a very successful PEOPLE program that helps fund our work. As such, we have been mostly successful in helping elect pro-worker legislators and defeating anti-worker candidates and initiatives. I say “mostly” because, despite our union’s best efforts, we have seen the ugly face of anti-worker politics within our own state. In Lane County, where many employees’ wages were as much as 25% below market, management demanded that employees pay more for health insurance and retirement benefits; couple with anemic wage increases, this would have amounted to a decrease in employees’ take-home pay. These unfair demands were not due to a lack of money on the part of the county, but to the political philosophy of a few of the commissioners, one of whom is a Scott Walker protégé. Yamhill County narrowly escaped striking over many of the same demands and conditions of the Lane County strike.

With so much of the well-being of our members and our members’ families riding on the policies and legislation of our governor, legislators, county commissioners and other elected officials, it would be negligent for AFSCME not to be involved in determining who will write policies and legislation as well as helping shape the content of these policies. In my next article I will detail the process used by our union when we endorse a pro-worker candidate, how our fellow members educate elected officials about the work we do and how their legislation impacts that work and how we stay effective despite opposition.

 

Local 328 Committed To More Diverse Leadership

by Micheal Stewart, Local 328 Vice President.

Dear Brothers and Sisters of AFSCME Local 328,

Last month I was sworn in as the new vice president of our union. I have been active with both Local 328 and Oregon AFSCME for eight years in several different offices and roles. My goal as a member leader has always been to serve the interests of union members and working families. I consider it a privilege to now serve as your vice president.

Our union is fortunate to have highly skilled, hard-working member leaders who serve on the executive committee and executive board and in the steward program. However, we are lacking a very important element that is vital to any organization that wants to fully and honestly represent its members: diversity. Local 328 has the most diverse membership within Oregon AFSCME in terms of race, ethnicity, age, income level and immigration status — we must strive to develop leadership that is similarly diverse in order to provide a voice for all the members our union represents. The strength that comes from diversity is moral as well as practical.

The moral strength comes from having leaders who share experiences with all of the members who will be affected by our union’s decisions. This is done by making sure members from traditionally marginalized communities are empowered and are given a voice to express their questions, concerns, and satisfaction—or dissatisfaction—with both our union and OHSU.

The practical strength comes from being better able to tackle complex problems from several different points of view, backgrounds, skill sets and experiences. It also helps to avoid groupthink and balance biases that are present whenever a group of people works together to achieve a goal. An article in Understanding Science describes it this way: “[S]cience relies on a diverse community, whose personal views run the gamut: liberal to conservative, tree-hugging to business-friendly … Scientists strive to be impartial and objective … but in those occasional cases in which personal biases sneak in, they are kept in check by a diverse scientific community.” The power that diversity can bring to an organization is very often underestimated or overlooked.

The union movement hasn’t always recognized the value of a diverse membership. This fact was not lost on employers, some of whom have exploited racial, ethnic, and other tensions to pit working people against each other. Because of these past difficulties, it is important that current leaders not merely ask people to step forward but that we actively recruit and invest in an effort to improve diversity. Both unions and employers now recognize that the ethnicity, race, sex, faith, physical abilities, and sexual orientation of workers can be the bond that reaches beyond differences in job classification, wages and education. This bond of shared experience is an asset to any organization that is open, welcoming and willing to learn. AFSCME Local 328 must be such an organization.

Our union is committed to providing the moral and practical strength of diverse member leadership. We are not yet where we should be in order to fulfill this commitment. We are currently developing a plan to reach out to underrepresented members of our union to recruit folks to leadership positions within our union — this will be my top priority as vice president. I ask for your help in fulfilling this commitment. If you or a coworker are interested in or have questions about joining the steward program, executive board or some other form of service to our union, please call (503) 329-9084 or email me at vice-president@local328. With your help, we can make Local 328 an even stronger voice for our members and working families everywhere.

In solidarity,

Michael Stewart, Vice President, AFSCME Local 328

Oregon AFSCME Leadership Conference

Local 328 would like to send as large a delegation as we can muster to Council 75’s annual leadership conference. This is a great opportunity for our stewards and union officials and an even greater opportunity if you are not a current leader or activist or if you are new to our union.

You will learn about our union, what makes us stronger together, how we can be better and how you can help.

If you want to attend, or if you want more infomation use this form.

Learn more about the leadershio conference here.

Unit Steward Program Is One Year Old!

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Local 328’s unit-steward program.

Our goal upon starting our union’s unit-steward program was to have at least one steward in every work unit. We have been building the program over the past year and, while we haven’t quite met our goal, we’ve made great progress! OHSU has close to 500 work units — our union is up to the challenge of ensuring that each one of them has a steward.

Unit stewards serve as information specialists for our membership and a resource hub for the work units. We train our unit stewards on how to establish good two-way communication between members and our union’s leadership. Unit stewards are also trained on how to direct members to resources that Local 328 provides, including how to connect with stewards who can assist members during investigations and grievances. Unit stewards also act as the face of our union, greeting each new member to the work unit.

If your work unit doesn’t have a unit steward, we strongly encourage you and your coworkers to select someone so that you have good, up-to-date information about the fun and important things that are happening in our union.

If you are interested in becoming a unit steward or would just like more information on the program, please email Local 328 staff representative Kate Baker at kbaker@oregonafscme.org.

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!

Better Know a Board Member: President Matt Hilton

Our union’s communications committee is launching a new series of profiles of all of our board members. Our goal is to interview them about OHSU, our union and their life in an effort to help our members get to know our leaders a bit better. First up for this task, Matt Hilton.

Matt works in ITG as a call-center representative. Prior to becoming president of Local 328, he held positions on our union’s political-action committee and executive board. Matt lives in SW Portland with his wife Jamie.

What made you want to work at OHSU?
My strong desire for food and housing.

What is the best part of your job?
I speak with a variety of people every day, and there’s always something new popping up. This is also the least stressful job I’ve ever worked.

What is something you want to change about OHSU?
Every contract shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity for take-backs. That and some sort of profit-sharing system should be introduced. If we can give bonuses to management, what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.

How did you get involved in the union?
A coworker encouraged me to become a steward right after my probationary period was up.

What has been your most powerful experience within our union? Leading a rally/press conference/ city-hall sit-in in Detroit, protesting Governor Rick Snyder, for a national AFSCME Next Wave conference was a great experience. I’m also very proud of the settlement we got last contract.

What does a successful next contract look like to you?
Something that’s going to put more money in people’s pockets. Something that will help offset the insane rise in the cost of living here.

Favorite place to grab a bite in Portland?
2:00 a.m. food-cart food can’t be beat.

Favorite beer/drink?
Dark liquor and rocks, or good old fashioned PBR.

Favorite place to hike, swim or generally have fun in Portland?
The Portland rose garden in Washington Park is a gem, and also where I asked my wife to marry me.

If you could eat dinner with one historical figure, who would it be and why?
Hunter S. Thompson, because the conversation wouldn’t be dull.

Most embarrassing fact about yourself that you are willing to share?
During the 2012 AFSCME International convention in Los Angeles, I was passionately trying to convince a homeless man to vote for AFSCME presidential candidate Danny Donahue — until he asked if he could by some meth from me. Then I realized he wasn’t a convention delegate, and that I’d probably imbibed too much at a Next Wave event earlier that evening.