ULP Mediation Today, No Settlement Reached

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On Tuesday, October 1, attorneys and representatives from AFSCME Local 328, Graduate Researchers United, and OHSU met with a state mediator to attempt to mediate a settlement for our respective unfair labor practice complaints. After some back and forth exchange of proposed remedies via the mediator earlier in the day, Local 328 and GRU presented settlement proposals (see below) directly to OHSU in the mid-afternoon. Unfortunately, OHSU declined to agree to these terms for a settlement and did not present a counter-offer, ending the mediation session at 3:30 p.m. The ULP complaints will now proceed to a hearing with the Employment Relations Board. We will share updates on this process as they become available.

Local 328 Settlement Proposal:

1. Make a public statement as follows:

“OHSU admits that two members of its bargaining team (the VP of Human Resources and a financial consultant) engaged in social-media trolling and unlawful anti-union behavior that impeded the bargaining process and interfered with the rights of AFSCME Local 328’s bargaining-unit employees to engage in protected union activity. OHSU further acknowledges that these behaviors occurred because of a systemic anti-union bias in Human Resources and elsewhere in management. OHSU pledges to work with AFSCME in good faith to address these issues and to adhere to all recommendations arising from an independent investigation agreed upon in mediation with AFSCME Local 328 on October 1.”

This statement will be emailed to every OHSU employee, posted on OHSU Now with comments turned on, and shared to OHSU’s Facebook page.

The verbiage of OHSU’s initial proposed apology/acknowledgement doesn’t differ significantly from the OHSU Now statements previously made by Dr. Jacobs, and thus is wholly inadequate as a remedy. We’re asking for this statement not to embarrass OHSU, but in the hopes that OHSU leadership will sincerely acknowledge that there has been systemic anti-union bias at OHSU and indicate a willingness to change this. If OHSU means it when they say they want to restore trust and rebuild a partnership with Local 328, this is the first step in doing so.

2. Engage Kathryn Dammell to conduct an independent investigation of the conduct of the OHSU bargaining team, Human Resources, and unlawful anti-union behavior at OHSU.

We already know what behavior the two specific members of the OHSU bargaining team engaged in to prompt our ULP complaint, and aren’t interested in a remedy that limits an investigation to just those parties. We feel there is a systemic anti-union bias at OHSU that needs to be investigated. Departments in which there have been issues include but are not limited to: Patient Transportation, Food & Nutrition, Respiratory Therapy, Physical Therapy, Child Life Therapy, Center for Women’s Health, School of Dentistry, and Occupational Health.

3. Pay $25,000 to Local 328 to reimburse our treasury for expenses incurred due to OHSU’s bad-faith bargaining.

We appreciate the offer to augment the hardship fund, but the expenses in question were incurred by our union, not by our membership. Our union’s treasury needs to be compensated for these expenses.

4. Sever the GRU ULP complaint from the Local 328 ULP complaint.

We are two separate bargaining units with different needs, and we don’t want a settlement with Local 328 to have a negative impact on GRU.

Any communication regarding any settlement made on October 1 will occur concurrently; i.e., OHSU will wait to make an announcement until Local 328 is also able to (per the requirement that we give HR a copy of our email communications 48 hours in advance of sending).

GRU Settlement Proposal:

OHSU acknowledges that during bargaining with Graduate Researchers United (GRU), the management bargaining team failed to bargain in good faith as required by law. OHSU apologizes for:

  1. Repeatedly cancelling bargaining;

  2. Adding temporary bargaining members even though this is expressly forbidden by the ground rules agreed to by both parties;

  3. Delaying the bargaining process by refusing to counter GRU proposals in a timely fashion;

  4. Countering GRU proposals with unmodified 328 language;

  5. Backtracking without explanation on mutually-written language during IBB;

  6. Consistently and incorrectly claiming that graduate researchers are not employees;

  7. Repeatedly, flagrantly, and incorrectly claiming that the work graduate employees do for their dissertations does not constitute employment;

  8. Falsely claiming that national law and policy, including that of the NIH and IRS, prohibits recognition of graduate researchers as employees;

  9. Forming a team and allowing a culture to exist in which underhanded tactics thrived, as evidenced by Dan Forbes’s presence on the team;

  10. Forming a team which is incapable of agreeing to articles at the table;

  11. Disseminating false information about the bargaining team to their membership;

  12. Disseminating a misleading FAQ to GRU members about the benefits of union membership and the process of bargaining;

  13. Implying that the bargaining team does not represent their membership;

  14. Promoting a misleading interpretation of the bargaining framework agreement.

In addition, OHSU affirms their commitment to making the following changes to the bargaining process moving forward:

  1. OHSU will counter all outstanding proposals within 3 weeks;

  2. OHSU will respond to new GRU counters within 2 weeks of receiving them;

  3. OHSU will ensure that the bargaining team is capable of deciding on articles at the table;

  4. OHSU recognizes that all research, training and work performed by graduate researchers is compensable work;

  5. OHSU will meet with GRU to bargain every week.

15 thoughts on “ULP Mediation Today, No Settlement Reached”

  1. Standing in the light. Partnership. Core value of transparency. These words have held no weight in the 2 months since the AFSCME memberships trust was violated by a management team that refused to bargain in good faith.

    Dan Forbes still works at OHSU. Patrick Frengle still works at OHSU. Just let that sink in for a moment. We work at an institution where our leaders are not held accountable for violating the law and acting like 12 years olds online without parental supervision. I have lost faith that leadership at OHSU is capable of doing the right thing for its employees, patients or community. I used to be proud to work at OHSU but the culture of the Human Resources department is an absolute disgrace.

    Do the right thing, OHSU. For once, stop kissing the feet of your wealthiest executives and act like the beacon of healthcare, research, and education you purport to be.

  2. And as far as I can tell OHSU is already in breach of contract with the AFSCME 328 contract that clearly stated that they would pay the $1,000 lump sum by the end of the first pay period following ratification. That was 9/29, and I still haven’t seen my lump sum payment. I give that they could stretch that to the paycheck for the first full pay period which would be Friday 10/4. But their recent OHSU Now post said that it wouldn’t come until 10/18.

    I know they are only planning to pay us the lump sum ~3 weeks later than they agreed to. But if they aren’t going to follow the words of this portion of the contract that they agreed to why would we think they will follow any of the rest of it.

    1. I’ve been wondering why more people haven’t brought this up- the language is pretty clear about the raise and the lump sum both being implemented during the first full pay period following ratification. Why aren’t they being held accountable on this, or is there something I’m missing?

      1. I’m pretty sure the raise is supposed to be in the second full pay period… But the lump sum was not…

        As far as why? I am guessing that most people haven’t bothered to read anything so they don’t know that OHSU isn’t following the agreement.

        1. Despite the way the letter of agreement for the lump-sum payment is worded, AFSCME agrees with the interpretation that the payment would be paid in the same check as the raises. This was the shared understanding during our bargaining discussions.

          1. While I understand that, I can’t agree with it. That essentially means that we voted on something potentially unrelated to what we are getting. It sets a precedent for them to be able to say “That isn’t what we meant to put in the contract, so we are going to do something else instead.”

            It is a contract, words matter. If we can’t trust the words in the contract then we have nothing.

            After all it was the job of both OHSU and AFSCME to ensure that the wording in the contract was accurate and what was agreed upon. If they screwed up on something this simple what else got screwed up?

      2. Personally, I know I lost track of the lump sum detail since I tuned out once we got the contract ratified. But I think in light of all that needs our attention and energy, I would much rather focus on how to get OHSU to agree to our demands around the ULP. What can the membership do to help with this process?

    2. We’re in the first pay period now. The 10/4 check was for work up to September 29th. The next check on 10/18 will represent 9/30-10/13. The pay period is not the same as the pay date.

  3. I think it’s absolutely a false statement to say the there wasn’t a financial impact on the membership due to OHSU’s bad-faith bargaining. If bargaining had gone as it should have, it would not have been drawn out until September, and across the board increases (and other benefits of the new contract) would have been implemented starting July 1.

  4. I am in disbelief that OHSU refuses to acknowledge wrongdoing. I further find it hard to believe the two specific individuals involved on OHSU’s behalf in trolling AFSCME Social Media during bargaining negotiations/impasse continue to be employed by OHSU. This is paramount to what Trump is doing on the Global Stage. Shame on you OHSU. You tout your ethics and practically jam it down our throats yet you won’t even walk the walk or talk the talk. Speaks volumes about what is really going on. Power and greed.

    1. I fear that OHSU doesn’t intend to change. Their refusal to face the consequences of their actions to me, is a signal that the bad behavior will continue.

      Union support is growing in the Portland area after the issues with us, Kaiser, grocers and university workers. If OHSU wants to draw a line in the sand and continue to union-bust, they should do so publicly and face the wrath of the people of Portland. There is no greater shame than disenfranchising healthcare workers.

      Don’t stop talking about this ULP with your coworkers, friends, family and community. Share blog posts on social media. Don’t let this die in the dark. If they won’t do the right thing voluntarily, make them by shining a light on their actions.

  5. There is no place for at OHSU for illegal and harassing behavior! Shame on OHSU, Roy Vragina Anus McFadden and Peter Pumkin Eater, are acceptable names for those in positions of power to use! No wonder we have a diversity and gender inequity problem! DISGUSTING and WRONG!

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