As you are probably aware, AFSCME Local and OHSU reached a tentative agreement on a new contract in mid-August, after a marathon bargaining session of almost 22 hours. To prepare for the ensuing ratification vote, we provided our members with an annotated, red-line version of the contract showing the changes, new letters of agreement and highlights of the new contract. On Monday, September 9, after a week of voting, our 2015 – 2019 contract was ratified with almost 99% of the vote.
So, where can our represented employees find a PDF of the final contract? How do union activists request a printed copy? Well, we still don’t have them.
What’s going on? With every new contract there are a number of “housekeeping” items that the parties work on, such as removing typos, making sure all the new language is included in the PDF, renumbering the contract articles, etc.
However, there remains a sticking point that our union and OHSU haven’t agreed to. OHSU has taken a position that salaried employees aren’t eligible for the new weekend differential. Local 328 has been clear that we did not agree to this exclusion at the bargaining table. The weekend differential is one of the last items we reached agreement on; as part of the discussion, both our union and OHSU presented estimates of how much the new differential would cost over the length of the contract. OHSU’s cost estimate was significantly higher than Local 328’s estimate, so we asked their team to explain how they arrived at their number; during management’s explanation, they did not specify that salaried employees would not receive the differential. In fact, OHSU’s team didn’t seek to clarify their position on this matter at any point in the discussion around the weekend differential.
OHSU’s bargaining counsel followed up with Local 328 yesterday, letting us know that management retains their position that salaried employees are excluded from the weekend differential. Unfortunately, since we have a significant disagreement, this matter will likely end up in arbitration. Two things will happen in the meantime: (1) We may meet with OHSU to discuss the matter. Our union is amenable to this, but want to make it clear to our membership that we will not agree now to something that we didn’t agree to at the bargaining table, and (2) We are proceeding with printing the final contract and preparing the PDF so there is no further delay in making the document available to our membership.
We’re sorry that we’ve reached a snag in what’s usually a routine post-ratification process. Should our arguments prevail with the arbitrator (or, hopefully, with OHSU prior to that), a letter of agreement will be prepared stating that the weekend differential does apply to our salaried employees. We’ll keep you informed when we have updates on this process.