17 Years to Get to the Top?

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What do you think about OHSU’s proposal to extend the length of time it takes to get to the top of your pay range from 10 years to 17 years?

What do you think about how OHSU’s proposal will delay by 5 years your ability to claim your longevity increase?

How do you feel about losing the $13,000 OHSU’s proposal will cost you?

They read this blog. They look at the comments.

Tell them. They’d like to know.

126 thoughts on “17 Years to Get to the Top?”

  1. I’m skeptical about their market research. One could easily skew the numbers to show that it takes a considerable number of years to reach the top. If one were to use yearly salary increase data from the past 5 years and extrapolate it out it may be true that on average it takes 21 years to reach max. Obviously that number would change if you used data from the past 20 years. OHSU leadership has stressed transparency, so please show us how you obtained those numbers.

    1. What OHSU is proposing – I agree is ridiculous. 17 years compared to 10 years- is not acceptable nor is the delay by 5 years to claim your longevity increase! I hope the post’s from other AFSCME union members is clear that we do not want this…and that we need to fight this. I hope the union makes this very clear in their negotiations. Please, please fight for us.


  2. Ohsu numbers make me consider my options with my future employment. Questions pop up in my head. Are these numbers suppose to be satisfying or adequate? I find the numbers to be insulting and a classic low ball situation. Less money for average Joe …. More money for the people at the top. In order to keep good people, you must treat them like their is no place else to be. Set the standard OHSU! Otherwise, I feel like why not take my skills somewhere else. Average pay = average work.

    1. Trent…you should take your skills elsewhere because there are thousands of companies with much better benefits and high employee moral.

      I encourage you to scope out other jobs now to see what opportunities exist. Kaiser pays $3-$5 more for their PAS Specialist, just sayin

        1. Exactly Debbie, OHSU continues to compare it’s structure to that of other hospitals when it comes to benefits and pay. OHSU use all the euphemisms necessary in conveying this too. They want to be very average there, oh sorry “in line with the field.” However, they have their blinders on when it comes to parking, café price gouging and any other angle to recoup the dough. It appears OHSU doesn’t want the best. They want the cheapest. This is more than evident. And I can’t wait for another fiscal report! Those get me all warm inside seeing those profit margins

  3. As a new employee I feel I am being cheated the opportunity I was promised upon hire. As a witness to the veterans (long term employees), I am seeing them bail and leave or retire early in fear of this outcome. I don’t believe Ohsu has thought this threw thoroughly! On the other hand maybe they did, an attorney would say come in with a very low offer so to negotiate and “compromise” for something you really wanted in the first place (something still lower than we deserve but doesn’t seem as unfair as comparison)! I am stubborn and would fight and hold out for what I believe I/we deserve! My loyalty is to my family first!!!!

  4. I don’t believe their numbers either. I know folks who work at Legacy, Providence and Kaiser and when I asked them about their progression none of them said that this is their standard. They were all a bit horrified and at least one told me to leave my position and come work for their hospital.

    I am most familiar with Providence and I know that their employees enjoy many more benefits than we do. They also do not view their employees as revenue streams. At OHSU, all prices for anything employees purchase, most particularly the cafeterias, are raised exactly two weeks after our COL increase is paid. It is like clock work. Parking prices are raised too. It happens every year. Meanwhile at Providence employees don’t pay for parking, despite being in a similarly dense urban area and having a new parking garage built recently. They can also buy locally source, organic healthy lunches at about half to a third of the cost of OHSU cafeterias.

    I could go on about several other things that I know Providence does for their employees that OHSU does not or how OHSU treats us as revenue where Providence does not, but I don’t want to digress too much.

    The point is, the proposed lengthening of the step process combined with previous cuts and take backs from management, coupled with what I know to be true about employee compensation and treatment at other health care systems, proves what people have been muttering for several years now. OHSU simply does not care about its support staff and non-medical personnel. Unless you are a doctor or a researcher you are not deserving of reasonable pay or benefits.

    If you are non-medical staff at OHSU you are simply another revenue stream. We are to be profited from either by cutting our wages and benefits in any way possible while conversely charging us money for every service they possibly can, even those things are generally consider givens at other institutions.

    To be honest my new 5 year plan involves leaving OHSU at this point. I am fortunate in that I have been able to gain some certifications in EPIC and that EPIC it is not currently taught in any public school. This makes me highly employable as I have an in demand skill not readily available to the general public to learn. I started at OHSU young and so I will have my 20 years in and be in my early 40s. I just need to stick a few more years and I will have 20 years in PERs, at which point I will lock that in and go work someplace else that values my contribution and I am treated as a part of a team and not simply a number to be cut or another way to make a little more profit.

    1. Good for you. Sounds like an awesome plan. I love hearing others seek other opportunities elsewhere because they are out there!

  5. I think OHSU wants employees to leave after this CBA. This way they’ll be able to hire newbies at lower rates and get a whole new set of lifers that will be poor for years to come.

    What they’re proposing is pretty simple…employee makes less <employer makes more, builds more, charges more. So employees make even less to pay for parking, transit, $25 co-pays for MD's in Training.

    Employees need to be educated on these facts and stop working blindly, thinking that OHSU or any employer is going is going to take care of you up into old age.

    Utilize the negotiated resources (Tuition, CWE classes, professional development fund, etc) that AFSCME has bargained for us and move up/out of this organization.

  6. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends only 4.4 years in a given job. (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/tenure.pdf) Websites recognize that “job hopping” in now normal (http://fortune.com/2015/02/02/is-job-hopping-losing-its-bad-rap/), and is a way to increase your pay (http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/03/news/economy/jobs-wages-salary-quitting/).

    What is OHSU’s “quit rate”? I have watched many people jump from job to job in OHSU or leave OHSU altogether because you will get more money changing positions, even doing the same job, than you will staying in your position.

    My job takes one year to learn and two to three years to master, even starting with a strong skill set. The duties are cyclical, following the academic year, and there are many high-level tasks that only happens once a year. I have stayed in my position and become a master, but I certainly haven’t stayed for the money. I cannot imagine it taking 17 years to reach the top of my pay scale, instead of ten. When you already have five years in a job, staying 12 more to max out seems ridiculous where five is reasonable. There is absolutely no reason to stay that long when you can change jobs and make more money, and having master my position I can try to advance to a better job title. That leaves my program spending half of longevity of each person who holds this role training them.

    I entered my career believing that you should stay with an employer as long as you can because they will take care of you. Well, I am about to get my 10 year pin and I am not feeling appreciated at all. I am told I make too much – last year my pay rate was adjusted DOWN to make a scale look align with a state average, and now I am being told that it will take longer to reach the maximum pay rate, a rate that is LOWER than it is now, to align with another average.

    This is not right. This is not good for employees. This does not encourage longevity. This is not something we should meet halfway on, then answer is NO, we will not accept 9.25% over 17 years instead of 12.5% of 10 years.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve never striven to be “average”. I have always wanted to be extraordinary and have been praised by managers for being exceptional. Not average.

    1. I, too, was told my pay was being adjusted ‘down’. this only happened with certain administrative support staff, was not advertised and not able to fight through the union. I did feel the union dropped the ball in letting the membership know ahead of the last contract – and they knew. I was able to move to a department that supported me in going up a level to make sure that I didn’t get that insulting, behind doors, pay cut.
      I’m sure you loved coming in the following week and being expected to work just as hard for a company who just cut your pay for no good reason.

  7. In addition to providing the data behind their 17 year average claim, I would like a real, in-depth explanation of why our current salaries and benefits aren’t “sustainable.”

  8. I just can’t believe they are doing this. I have been here almost 17 years so it will not affect me but it sure will impact friends of mine. What else are they going to do to take money away from us? they are messing up our retirement so bad and now this. Please stop them from destroying my job that I have loved for so many years. I have always been proud to work for OHSU but that is slowly changing through the years.

  9. As an employee with more than 10-years at OHSU I have to say that I find this proposal demoralizing and somewhat offensive. I am happy in my job and with the management in my work unit, but the overall OHSU management is just greedy and deceitful. They keep making it harder and harder to justify staying here. I sort of think this is the goal. As anyone who has been at OHSU very long knows, there are A LOT of people who work here for decades, and this proposal would deal a huge blow to those people, perhaps even enough to get many of us to leave. Then they can hire a bunch of newbies at a fraction of the cost. Nevermind the fact that they are screwing over the people who helped build OHSU over the last decade or two. Do not accept this proposal under any circumstances! It undermines so much of what the union has fought for over the years. This is huge, and we need to fight it!

    1. You guys are the ones who are doing a great job of making it clear. Believe it or not, members’ voices are the ones that really get heard when they speak out in numbers. Encourage your coworkers to comment too.

  10. OHSU leaders seem to have spent a lot of time and effort finding complex and misleading ways to state that they want to pay their employees less money. If at every contract negotiation, OHSU wishes to lessen pay and benefits for employees, I am not sure why anyone would ever wish to do excellent quality work here. Seems like market standard work would be good enough for OHSU.

  11. This proposal is an interesting proposal to say the least, as it forces employees to think long term. Heather pointed out that fewer employees are staying in their current employment. By having a proposal of 17 years instead of 10 years, will keep the turnover rate high for OHSU, as fewer employees are going to want to stay in the same position for 17 years. Maybe this is what OHSU wants, higher turnover rates and fewer employees remaining in the same position for the long-term.

  12. management is always faced with economic decisions but to keep good people you must stay competitive and let employees know they are valued….or as was stated earlier, they will move on and such is the world we live in. Sometimes cuts are necessary but there may be good employees who leave OHSU as a result of this cut.

  13. I love my job at OHSU. I do not want to have to imagine myself working for a new employer. Once again we are hearing about “industry standards”. What industry? Where?

    Each day I am required to produce excellent high quality work in an ever changing and challenging environment and I feel that I continue to rise to the occasion. I am disappointed to be asked to be compensated at a standard rate and asked to produce excellent work.

    This new proposal is laughable. Do not accept this cut in pay!

  14. Terrible idea. I think OHSU would lose a large percentage of their skilled workforce. 17 years is a ridiculous amount of time to reach the top of the pay scale! If you don’t value your employees, they won’t value you. And, in the long run, it will cost OHSU.

    For example, studies find that implementing workplace policies that benefit workers and help boost employee retention is not simply a “nice” thing for businesses to do for their employees. Maintaining a stable workforce by reducing employee turnover through BETTER BENEFITS (not worse) and flexible workplace policies also makes good business sense, as it can result in significant cost savings to employers.

    CEO takes 90% pay cut to give workers huge raise – Apr. 14 …
    Apr 14, 2015 – CEO Dan Price took a 90% pay cut and slashed his company’s profits just so he could give his employees a raise. Price, who heads up the Seattle payment processing firm Gravity Payments that he founded, has pledged to make sure all of his staffers make at least $70,000 annually in the next three years.

      1. Yes, the dues we pay would so help in paying bills….not. I for one appreciate my Union and really appreciate them when the going gets tough. You may cry about your dues now, but if you ever need to have a Union behind you it will be worth the cost.

  15. As General McAuliffe said at the Battle of the Bulge when he received a German surrender ultimatum: “Nuts!”

  16. Since this came out I have asked several colleagues at different companies in the same or closely related professions how long before their pay tops out. All were between 5 and 10 years. They also receive more vacation days and full PERS. I also, have issues with them saying that OHSU’s main overhead is employee wages. They should understand that 100% of OHSU’s profits are the direct result of these employees. We do not sell a product we sell services provide by these employees. I believe this is a ploy like gas prices. They go up a dollar for a month and then down fifty cents so you feel like it’s a bargain, but the price is still fifty cents higher. This is a common tactic used by salesmen and lawyers to get what they want by offering a lot less.

  17. I think this proposal is a slap in the face to all the hardworking employees who have gotten OHSU in such a good financial standing. I do NOT believe it takes 17 or 21 years to reach the top of a pay range and would love to see the specific data they are supposedly using. Even IF by some long shot its true….is that what you want OHSU? you want to be mediocre as an employer? how do you expect to attract and retain talented individuals when you keep taking away everything that makes this place an above average place to work? I’m glad I’m seeing these comments on here…I heard several tell the bargaining team to fight this…but WE have to fight this. WE have to let OHSU know that we are NOT going to accept their crappy proposal and yes, that means we may have to STRIKE. You can lose a small amount of money in the short term while striking or you can lose thousands by rolling over and accepting their insulting offer. What’s it gonna be? I’m ready to strike and the bargaining team has my full support to say NO, we deserve better.

  18. I will echo what most people above have said, especially CM. I too am sneaking up on the 20 year mark and can clearly see management eyeing me for early exit. Those of us who have been here this long well know the pattern; 10 years = 1/3 of employees are exited, 15 years = 1/3 of surviving employees exited, 20 years = only those with very big letters after their names are still left (and sometimes not even them). This also applies to the magic number of 50+yrs — you hit that age and you will very likely hear a manager commenting that you should be looking for somewhere else to work (yes, this actually happens much more than people realize). Not too long ago we let an extremely talented and experienced employee go, simply because he “aged out”. He had nearly perfect reviews and was in high demand….he was just too old to work here.

    When I first started working here – near on 20 years ago – OHSU was considered one of the best employers in the state. That is why I worked so hard to get a job here. Everybody raved about how good it was; decent pay, good insurance, low co-pays, inexpensive cafeterias, low parking rates and a fantastic retirement plan.
    *Yes, you still had to pay for parking, but the rates were low and the waiting lists short (if at all).
    *The many options for insurance let you choose what worked best for you, your family and your budget; if you worked it right a single person could get 100% paid.
    *Co-pays on insurance were low. You didn’t have to get your gold card out just to see a doctor.
    *You could bring your lunch, but if you wanted to eat at a cafeteria, it was quick and inexpensive.
    *Most employees were on the “life” plan – going to retire after 30 years in. The retirement options were good and people saw a future for themselves after putting in their time.

    Then we changed our name, hired a new board and everything changed. Costs started to climb, sometimes at a shocking rate. Instead of being a leader in the field, we started to settle for just being in the field. Cost cutting and layoffs became the norm. Services both within and without the University were cut back to the bone or even eliminated altogether. Fee for service budgeting started to make an appearance in many departments. Suddenly, supporting staff of all kinds found themselves as “customers” for virtually everything, including their jobs. No longer were staff considered part of the team – now they were (and still are) nothing more than dollar signs representing either cost or profit to the University.

    Over the years, I have been in the position to speak with teams of people from other institutions around the country and even around the world. To the last one they emphatically said that they would never consider working at OHSU under it’s current working conditions. I even know personally of a candidate that was in the process of being hired, came into town to do paperwork, toured the campus, spoke to the staff and immediately left – never to be seen again. Is this the reputation we want spread around the country? Do we want to be known as the employer of last resort?

    I too question the proposal OHSU has made to the Union.
    1) I have NEVER worked for an employer that had a 17, much less 20-year progression plan. AND I have never even heard of any currently. In fact, I have been hearing around the area of exactly the opposite, where large companies are speeding up the progression to get employees to increase their skills and “step up” to new positions where their experience will benefit the company.
    2) The longevity step is absolutely critical if OHSU is to keep those employees they say they so desperately want working here. I have not had anything other than a contractual increase in more than 5 years, so the longevity is the only thing I have to look forward to. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say that 4 more years of school for a job I “might” get, is not a good use of my time.
    3) I’m not sure where the $13K comes from, but any form of math will show that this new progression will take money out of the pockets of staff members in the long run.

    When this is considered in the light of the PERS 6% (and double-taxed) deduction out of our paychecks, frankly I have not felt so undervalued and insulted in a very long time. It makes me have serious misgivings about working for this institution and – like others have said – I too am giving very serious consideration to taking my skills and experience elsewhere (and no, there are not 100 people waiting in line to take my job who have the skill set I do).

    1. It’s funny in a not funny way but when I turned 40 I told my partner that he should not be surprised if I came home one day and told him I had been laid off or re-orged out of a job, because OHSU doesn’t generally keep people on past 50 and they would find a way to get me off their pay roll.

      1. Sure thing…its a form of age discrimination that appears to look good at face value when its not. They want those over 40 to leave so they can start people off at lower wages

  19. I am willing to strike over these new proposals. We all should be ready to strike. It is wrong that OHSU proposes such drastic take-backs in a time of record prosperity.

    Many of the people in my department are openly talking about leaving OHSU to find a job where we are appreciated. Many employees would have left already, but haven’t hit their 3-year vesting mark yet.

    These new proposals will be sure to make OHSU a launchpad door for other great employers in the area. If they cut both our retirement and our wage progression, there simply aren’t any great benefits for staying here any more. Lets run through the list:

    1. Retirement– New proposal will neutralize the best benefit that OHSU currently has.
    2. Vacation– Nothing special here. Our vacation takes a long time to build up and it is low compared to many other hospitals.
    3. Pay– Starting pay is way under market. Now the delayed progression will be sure to keep us there for longer.

    If they strip the retirement and decrease the pay progression there simply isn’t any motivation for me to stay at OHSU anymore.

  20. I don’t know why I am continually hoping that OHSU will do the right thing, because in the 10 years I have been here, they always disappoint. I am so tired of the rhetoric about their care for staff when it is only through force that they put their money where their mouth is. I dread to think of an OHSU without AFSCME and ONA to moderate their greed.
    The assault on seniority is anti-American and ageist. Here is just another message that they do not value the long term worker. We have all experienced the disruption to our work and loss of institutional history and skill when we lose a long term employee. This pay schedule, along with gutting PERS, and encouraging younger workers to be socially irresponsible by converting their 6% UPP contribution to wages (which they may not be so inclined to do if they were paid better) is part of this movement away from valuing a quality OHSU workforce and towards corporate greed. I remember how we all dramatically tightened our belts and lost staff to rally around OHSU when the tort cap reform loomed over us several years ago, yet when profits are high like now, staff are manipulated and forgotten. As a healthcare institution with a mission of healing and diversity, OHSU should be ashamed.

  21. I feel this is a tactic to keep employees from “staying too long”, thereby not having to pay the same employee for step increases and getting to start back at the beginning with a new employee. After the PERS contribution nightmare from the last bargaining agreement and now this, I don’t have any confidence at all about my career at OHSU. They don’t care about me.

    1. During the PERS debacle a couple of years ago, Joe Robertson held meeting with OHSU staff was asked by someone in the audience why the PERS benefit was being slashed, since it was a bargaining point given in exchange for less wage increases about a decade ago. Joe actually said this was a different OHSU and didn’t have to stand by the old agreement. From that moment I did not consider myself a loyal employee.

  22. We are OHSU. We all contribute towards the success of our organization but this proposal does not reflect that; it does not make me feel like a valued employee but rather an expendable one. There is nothing in OHSU’s economic proposals that I can say “Hey, they really do value their employees.” It seems as if OHSU management wishes to grow and improve in all areas except where their workforce is concerned. If our organization is doing so well, why are employees being laid off and why such poor economic proposals? They are chipping away at the very foundation of OHSU, their employees.

  23. It is now insulting proposal from our employer to stretch from 10 years to 17 years to get your longevity pay! Also being a night shift employee and reading their proposals that they want to cut the night shift differential, we don’t even make the same night shift differential that the nurses make we don’t even make half and they want to cut it from $ 2.65 down to $2.10 an hour. The RNs that work nights make $6.00 an hour for working nights.

  24. I think C said it best, “If you don’t value your employees, they won’t value you. In the # of years I’ve worked here the one constant theme has been OHSU taking from employees and offering little to nothing in return. I am one of the many who are now looking to take my career elsewhere, even though this may be exactly what they want.

    Hmmm, they’ve stated that we’ve been underpaid compared to the average and their fix is?. . . . Slash our future livelihood(pension contributions and going from 10 steps to 17) and then bump our current pay rate up to average! Average?!!

    If average is all they want to put into us then maybe average is all we should put out. And yeah, expecting us to continue to subsidize patient healthcare by paying for parking structures still angers me. Forget frustrating, it borders on unethical. Any system which has proven itself unsustainable and yet continues to be implemented is FOOLISHNESS.

  25. Quite frankly I am surprised OHSU has any more room in their pockets to stuff money. The last bargaining session they claimed fear of financial crisis, yet they are presently doing better now than ever before. I can’t help but think that some of this prosperity is money that should have been placed into my PERS account.

    The prestige is working here is diminishing with every bargaining session. The latest wage proposals are unnecessary and are a slap in the face to us.

    It’s bad enough that parking is outrageous, insurance is covering less, and contributions to my retirement are shrinking.


  26. With some pay ranges only ranging four to five dollars, OHSU proposing to give an employee a four dollar raise over 17 years would literally put us behind what minimum wage is going up at. With the push to make minimum wage $15 employees at McDonalds will soon be making more than certain positions at OHSU.

  27. I have to say, I was hoping to make OHSU my work-home for the rest of my career, in one form or another.

    But, with every subsequent bargaining session, I feel less and less valued, and more ready to start finding work elsewhere. It’s obvious to me that OHSU doesn’t value its employees as much it does the bottom line. It makes me sad, and angry.

  28. This is outrageous and incredibly frustrating. The cost of everything is going up and our wage increases should continue to reflect that!

  29. As others have mentioned, I don’t think increasing the length of time to get to the top pay range is a good idea. It would definitely create some tension amongst it’s workers and will ultimately cause an increase in turnover. The more I hear about the negotiations, the clearer it becomes that OHSU is not looking out for their employees and does not value our skills. Also, for the most part, OHSU employees are underpaid compared to similar jobs in the field. This makes the situation worse.

  30. I know this is the negotiating process, but some things, when negotiated, leave dissatisfied employees no matter how good it turns out for them.

  31. So per the proposal
    OHSU Current adds up to 12.50 % increase in 10yrs.
    OHSU proposed adds up to 9.25% increase in 17 yrs.
    What 83 major local employees are we being compared too? Where are the stats? I am sure OHSU employees have increased their productivity as well as working longer hours – this deserves some compensation from OHSU rather than a decrease in compensation overall. I would like to see a comparable graph of productivity vs. salary/hourly wage for union members and compare it the same graph of only Supervisory and non- union members?
    I have been at OHSU a very long time and I am near retirement. Thankfully. I just want to say I hope all of you AFSCME members realize your getting the screw.

    1. Like you Tina, I too wanted to access the same market data they cite, however, if you go to the Milliman webside and want to look at the 2014 Portland Area Cross-Industry Survey, it will cost you $1,295. If they are going to use this in their materials, then they should make the survey data available to us and not just give us their distilled version of it. I am suspect about the UPP proposal. If the UPP option is offered by this institution, then shouldn’t every employee be treated the same, regardless of classification. Will unclassified be asked to take a cut? I have been here 15 years and through the years I have voted to strike, but others chose to succumb to intimidation. Not this time, I hope. OHSU leadership needs to acknowledge the contributions of AFSCME employees.

      1. I’m pretty sure (not 100% positive though) that one of the conditions Milliman imposes when you buy their data is that you not disclose it. They don’t want people giving it away.

  32. I am appalled that OHSU is proposing lengthening the raise window by 7 years when many AFSCME employees struggle on their current wages. As costs of living continue to raise, a lot of us genuinely suffer. I work full-time at OHSU and even on with full-time hours it is a challenge to cover on my wage rent, utilities, student loan payments, and food let alone and extras! Limiting money available to staff will cause a great deal of suffering.

    I want OHSU to make changes to wages, benefits, etc that promote security and wellness in the long term for their employees. These changes will not be helpful for their employees.

  33. This is disrespectful to the employees. I do not believe that the current model is not sustainable, and I hope the right decision is made.

  34. This makes clear that OHSU’s corporate goal is to pay employees as little as possible, and that lack of respect is especially clear toward those with the greatest experience and institutional knowledge. Aiming for mediocrity will not result in a world-class institution.

  35. What the heck?!? If union members do not stand up to this, it will get worse. I will vote no to this proposal.

  36. I too thought I found my retirement job, but lack of respect, poorly trained managers and no financial incentive to stay after my salary was ‘adjusted’ down forced me to look outside of OHSU. Reflect on this: I took a pay *cut* to leave OHSU and guess what? After not having to factor in the *perks* of OHSU (parking, tri-met, union dues, picking up my portion PERS after broken agreements, etc) my take home is the same, I’ve even taken home more at times. Oh, and my work life balance is… Balanced. Don’t get sucked in to staying there it’s not worth the stress and disrespect.

  37. Just taking into account the last contract, it’s sad to know that new hires will have it worse than I did when I was hired. The PERS contribution declined, and the UPP proposal seems like a loss moving forward. The tuition benefit eroded from what it was and various copays and deductibles have gone up on my health plan. I don’t even know where to start with this 17 step stuff… and the most frustrating part is that OHSU has never been doing better financially – and that’s in no small part due to it’s workforce. (US!)

  38. This is sick!! I am getting into my 10th year at OHSU and was hoping to retire here, but from the past few years and all the changes I’m changing my mind.

  39. I work for an employer who is looking for exceptional work and wants to pay market average or worse, apparently.

  40. The certificate that came with my anniversary award is signed by Dr. Joe Robertson. It says “We fervently believe that Oregon Health and Science University is only as strong as the commitment that we receive each and every day from dedicated associates like you.”
    OHSU speaks one set of values of its employees and acts with a totally different set of values. Obviously they see us as a tremendously negative financial burden to them. Talent, dedication, and commitment to excellence do not seem to be part of their equation. As they continue to cut into our benefits and pay they eventually will end up getting what they seem to be aiming for – mediocrity.
    We deserve much better than what OHSU proposes and we should all be ready to hold the line. Let’s support the bargaining team in rejecting OHSU’s short sighted and self defeating proposals and help OHSU save them from themselves.

  41. This is insulting. 17 years is way too long! If you want to attract and keep great employees, then you need to give them decent benefits.

  42. OHSU strives to lead the way. I am surprised they didn’t propose 40 years to get to the top. It is so appalling that having the best financial climate for OHSU, their workforce gets nothing, or so close to it. We can only imagine what would happen if things weren’t so great.

  43. Do not be afraid to STRIKE! It will come to that so prepare yourselves. I’m with you on all of it.

    1. I agree. I have been thinking about these issues and others for a while and have come to the conclusion that if we are to gain back what we gave up in the last two contracts a strike may very well have to happen. To prepare for it I have been putting away three months worth of funds. And reduced my expenses. If you have not been doing this I encourage you to start. I support a strike, and employ our union team to hold the line and even move the line up. I support you. As do many on the west side.

  44. The ” leadership” and I use the term laughing, are just greedy ! I said once and I keep saying it they view use as cattle. They really have no long term plan they just want quick fat pay checks themselves. They don’t want to be in healthcare they want to be in research and education. They think if they drive the old timers off and hire a bunch of newbs that they will save money. They don’t think about the skill set that walked out the door, the contacts they had or the COST to train that new hire. Their managers are bullys, I saw one tell a 25 year employee that they could be replaced, I see witch hunts everyday and they know no one going to stay 17 years in a hell hole. I even over heard some of the high and mighty bragging that they were going to pay off the SECOND house with their bonus. Think about the money they spent down in Salem to get the tax payers of Oregon to pay into the 500 million Knight challenge, not only do they want to cut my wage they put me on the tax hook because they could not come close to getting the 500 million.
    OHSU is top heavy they need to layoff some of the VIPs, provost, CEO, about 1000 middle managers and everyone in the token feel good positions they created to show the care.
    Everyone we should start saving a little from each pay check and get ready to STRIKE !!! Yes I said strike, even though I over heard a group of people in suites saying we don’t have the balls to do it, yes they all got a good laugh but this one “customer” would like to see their reactions if it comes down to it.

  45. Stay strong everyone, wear our colors with pride every Thursday. Talk, talk, talk and let them know that you see right thru their smoke and mirrors. If they want to be average THEY can go someplace else, We are professionals and will be treated as such.

  46. Proposals like this impact every individual in the department. Our department continues to lose skilled, long-term employees who “max out” of pay increases yet are continually asked to take on more and more responsibilities. The onboarding process at OHSU is steep and requires a lot of time, money AND commitment from the rest of the team to cover work until the new person is able to work independently. A plan that does not incentivize the individuals that are highly skilled, effective and well-established in their positions is short sighted and will cost more money in the end. Patients will notice, co-workers will feel stressed, departments will be less efficient and management will have to commit more time/money to training if we do not, as an institution, value our long-term employees.

    I rate my job satisfaction on being challenged by my work, on the people I work for and with and on whether I feel valued by the people I work for and with. This is not just an AFSCME issue, this is an issue for all OHSU.

  47. I have to agree with all of you, I thought I found my retirement job too, for some of us who are over the age of 55 to leave, would be hazardous. I personally have been here almost 17 years, and only have 11 more years to work . And the sad part is I really do like my job that I do here.

    1. I agree. I also enjoy my job here and would like to stay on. So a strike maybe necessary to keep our jobs. Because I see OHSU trying to oust older employees in favor of lower paid newer employees. So the decision’s we make this contract will effect us as well as the new hires to come. Let us make decision’s that will enhance the potential for new employees and maintain good quality employees for OHSU.

  48. What about if I get promoted or take a new job does the contract allow pay increases? I may be different in my way of thinking but I am doing the same job for 17 years – shoot me – heck 10 years do more than just wing me put me out of my misery. Whether here or at Legacy – I will continue to grow. I think I can still make good money by working hard and learning more.

    I think someone else talked about the career and skiils – that is what I want not to keep doing the same job forever. OHSU does offer great opportunities and classes, which I have seen help me so far.

  49. I’m thrilled to see so many posts! Another nagging thought to voice: I believe an uproar might wake up others higher up on food chain too. Two trips to our ER in 16 years and was treated like a junkie by one attending, the other wanted me go home with morphine on a three day weekend to “decide” where to have surgery. Thank goodness I was insistent and did have a huge ovarian tumor removed same day. Very expensive. Back to work in two weeks.

    Let’s hope for mutual respect too.

  50. It seems West Campus is watching. Let’s hear from FMP clinics, Scappoose, Richmond, Gabriel Park, others.

  51. Late last year, the administration awarded its executive team nearly $900,000 in bonuses split among nine people. President Joe Robertson received $182,000 on top of his $959,072 yearly salary.

  52. Patient Centered care???

    OHSU, where revenue centered care and disgruntled tired employees come together to help OHSU receive medicare reimbursement through ever changing acronyms forced through a fake smile while being fed propaganda.

    Tell OHSU that the pay scale is not negotiable and move on to the next topic or face a strike. period.

    AFSCME, Its time reverse the trend in almost every economical issue. The recession is over.

  53. and don’t focus too much on this guys! real simple, AFSCME says NO or strike. now move on to another issue.

  54. Insulting. Why does OHSU treat AFSCME members like 2nd string players. The hospital would completely fall apart without us.

  55. It’s great to see so many posts, and to see people getting fired up about management’s proposals. I agree with many of the posts I’ve seen, and I think that management will do anything they can to pay workers as little as possible to fulfill the minimum regulatory requirements they have to meet. I find it disheartening that a public institution, with no board members to satisfy, spends all of their time figuring out how to take away from their employees to inflate their bottom line (and their own pockets in the process).

    A number of people in my work group have felt singled out by management, and they don’t seem to care that they are going to significantly, adversely affect our income, or our desire to maintain our current positions on night or at OHSU in general. While I understand that as a night pharmacist my differential has been more than the average employees’, I also take great offense at somebody telling me that they want to cut my pay by 8.5%, especially after it was cut 1.5% each year of the last contract (4.5% total)). My last performance review was stellar, and I receive accolades from my peers on a daily basis for my work ethic and performance, yet management feels fit to reward me by cutting my pay. In what world does this make sense?

    Management thinks they can replace me with a new grad for less money, but this severely compromises patient care, and will actually cost them more money in the long run. On average, the night shift pharmacists and technicians are much more experienced than pharmacists and technicians on other shifts, and are able to run the pharmacy without any assistance from management. We are able to save money in various ways through our experience as well. The cost of training a new employee far exceeds the differential paid to current employees over the same period of time. This demonstrates how short sited management really is.

    On top of the cut to night shift differential, come the cuts to weekend differentials and evening shift differentials (I pick up evening shifts from time to time). Lengthening the pay progression to 17 years also affects my ability to increase/maintain my income. The cut to UPP limits my ability to save for retirement, even though I am not currently maxed out. I keep finding myself asking “why do I even want to work for a place like this?” Even if the cuts aren’t as severe as they are proposing, why do I want to work for an employer who cares more about the bottom line then they do quality patient care? I thought that OHSU could be a place that I would work my entire professional life, and be proud to do so.

    I am more than willing to strike over these proposals. In order to show management that we mean business, and that our Union is strong, we must be willing to band together and tell OHSU that we deserve better. We deserve to be fairly compensated for the excellent work we perform. OHSU needs to understand that we can’t be compared to other businesses or even other hospitals in the area (our patients on average are much higher acuity), and that they need experienced employees to provide the care our patients deserve.

    Encourage the co-workers in your departments to get on board. Management only makes take back proposals because they think we won’t fight back. I’m tired of management thinking they can walk all over us, and then claim that it’s for the financial good of the institution. Until management agrees to take pay cuts in solidarity with AFSCME employees, I refuse to take another pay cut.

  56. Pharmacists at this institution are expected to perform as leaders in excellence, as we should be, but compensated at maybe the middle of the pack? A pack that I believe to be cherry picked for the lower end of average? What are they thinking?

    Are managers taking any cuts? Are we looking at whether they need to take pay cuts and retirement benefit decreases? Shoot, do we even look at other institutions number of managers- we are overflowing with them and the leadership of our department is terrible.

    Why would they think that decreasing pay and benefits would make us want to work harder? How can this attract new skilled employees in any field, let alone one that is a huge part of the safety of this hospital? How can we be expected to continually increase the amount of work required with fewer resources, and now with less pay?

    No chance any of these questions will be honestly answered. I’d strike if it comes down to that.

  57. I’ve always considered OHSU as the perfect place to retire; lately I have begun to falter and question that statement. I was disheartened to hear that OHSU is cutting into Pharmacist and Technician Night/Evening Shift and Weekend differentials! It cost us $13 to park at OHSU and cutting our differential only makes it harder to work here and support our family!

    Kaiser starts their Technician $3 to $4 more than OHSU, and now we are proposing a 17 years progression to reach our wage cap? It is only a matter of time until the inevitable happens, and we will go where our perseverance and commitment is being rewarded.

    There is no world class patient care if you can’t treat your employee with the same respect and care

  58. I totally agree with & support many of these comments & statements from my fellow union members. I work night shift in the pharmacy. I am willing to put my health at risk and shorten my life span doing it. However I feel that I should be compensated for doing it. Instead I feel the main goal is to make as much money as possible for OHSU management. Over the past few contracts we have taken cut-backs. It’s time to say NO MORE! I think management of ALL levels should take a turn of having cut-backs on EVERYTHING! Why are they doing this to us so they can continue to receive bonuses? We had a strike years back to stand up to this greed and selfishness. We came out of it strong! 3 important words “UNITED WE STAND”. I am willing and prepared to strike on these absurd proposals. Get ready & be prepared to stand and be strong! Gather all resources together and get ready!

  59. This is ridiculous, as a pharmacy employee I think it is management’s turn to take a pay cut instead of taking ours. I am willing to fight until the end for what I believe in , Even if it is to go on strike. So, my fellow union members- GET READY TO GO ON STRIKE!!!!

        1. The strike fund is actually called the contract defense fund and it is used to support bargaining, and printing and mailing expenses – all those kinds of things that go into a contract campaign, as well as grievance arbitrations and hiring of temporary staff to help with organizing during bargaining. But even if we didn’t do any of those things, the 2 dollars per member per month that goes into the contract defense fund works out to about about 72 dollars per member per contract. That’s not going to pay anyone’s wages during a strike and that’s not what it was intended for.

          1. So – I have rent to pay. Missing a part of paycheck is not an option for me. What are my options if there is a strike I will lose my apartment and get a bad credit rating? I finally have a job where I live outside of my parents basement. How does this work? I love my job and want to support my co-workers but my place and credit are what I am worried about.

  60. How about a second Longevity increase, 5 or even 7 years after the initial one? I am not there yet, but would really appreciate something to look forward too. It would give me incentive to stay.

  61. I used to be proud to be an employee of OHSU. It took me about 10 years of applying to finally break through that wall. I have been here 8 years and am dismayed to witness how little staff is valued. OHSU takes it cue from top management and we do not matter to them. OHSU does not want employees to be happy long term. They are following a model to have employees leave after a few years so they can hire new people at a lower rate. On and on. It is a short sighted model intended only to cushion the bottom line.
    I am starting to look elsewhere for employment. Why should I be loyal to a company who doesn’t give a *whit* about me.

  62. As a relatively new pharmacist here at OHSU, I have been disheartened to see how little management appears to value its employees. When I add all of the new proposals- decreased retirement, lengthening of time until reaching the wage cap, etc.- to the other issues that already exist- having to work every single holiday (for which I am compensated less than my ‘hourly’ colleagues), not receiving shift differential, working every other weekend- a question comes to mind. How does OHSU intend to keep pharmacists from leaving for other institutions? Why would great pharmacists, who have worked hard, often times putting their life on hold for years for extra training, all in the name of giving the best care possible to patients, want to stay at a hospital that is more interested in obtaining the cheapest pharmacists instead of the best pharmacists? I love my job; I love taking care of patients and their families, but there are a lot of other institutions that I could do that at. All while being appreciated by pharmacy and hospital management for the world class care I help provide, such as in the form of fair, competitive financial compensation and a more reasonable holiday schedule.

  63. We work hard everyday. We deserve what we earn. Family Medicine, a couple fiscal years ago, outlook was grim coming up to the end of the fiscal year. We were asked by management to cut some of the things we had gotten used to. Coffee, tea in the break room, paid lunches during certain meetings and other things we considered perks. We voted to let the patients have coffee instead so we cut even more. The whole team banded together and set up our own coffee fund.
    When things were looking down, the employees you want to screw stepped up in multiple ways. We made sure visit numbers exceeded the mark so in the end, OHSU family medicine wasn’t in the red. Gave up multiple things and worked our butts off. Where is the same kind of gratitude from Ohsu leadership? This past year, I was looking forward to the state of the department address, to proudly say, yes we earned them money. I earned my keep in this company. Guess what? The graph, nothing but skyward.
    Where do they get the nerve, such a demeaning proposal.

  64. The 17 year progression proposal is both insulting and disheartening. The only thing this will accomplish is to encourage employees to either switch jobs at OHSU frequently or leave OHSU all together. In either case you’re encouraging the loss of valuable experienced employees in favor of new inexperienced staff every few years. Treat your employees fairly and justly and they will return that favor with interest. This extended pay progression proposal must be fought and defeated.

  65. 17 years is insulting. I can’t think of one industry that it takes 17 years to reach the top.
    Currently my salary barely keeps up with the cost of living. Waiting 17 years for the top range means I’ll be scraping by in 5 years, at least!!

    I appreciate that costs for employees goes up. But to discourage folks that work here, who are here and care about the mission of OHSU, seems self sabotaging. To force talented, experienced folks out by demoralizing them, doesn’t save any money. New people coming in will come in at a lower salary, but there’s (at least) 1 year training that takes more time from more than just the person learning the job, but the person or persons doing the training.

    Experienced people can take more on their plate because they’re not spending all their time trying to figure out how something is processed in the OHSU system. Folks that have more experience, it would seem, would be so much more valuable and productive.

    With new people churning through the OHSU system there won’t be as much consistency with processes, not as much buy-in to OHSU. It will be a pit stop for folks that need a job but are really looking for something better.

    1. I agree. More short stay employees that don’t care about OHSU in the long term, will create work place that is not a great experience to anyone; patients, co-workers, providers, and researchers included. If we become a pit-stop for short stay employees that experience OHSU as a poor place to work, it will tarnish the quality of care and will lower the reputation that OHSU holds in the community.

  66. OHSU does not care about retaining employees. They are willing to forgo experienced employees over cheap employees. They want employees that have earned a better pay to leave so they can hire new employees at a lower rate. Already, their on boarding process is horrible they don’t spend any money on this.
    OHSU is okay with this, anything to save a few bucks and put it back in their own pockets! I vote to strike!

  67. It is sad to see my coworkers put in so many years in pharmacy and feel like they are stuck because they have moved up the pay rate and do not want to start all over in another hospital. These are great clinicians yet they get ignored by pharmacy management. We cycle through managers quickly in pharmacy, mostly because our director who has zero clinical experience has hired managers who also have no clinical experience to manage critical care units. Our managers are clueless, and yet we have about 20 of them. They want nothing but the best pharmacists to work at OHSU but it’s ok if managers have no experience. How about OHSU adds up how much we pay pharmacy managers and gets rid of all the excess money they are wasting there, instead of taking money away from pharmacists who work hard, stay late to take care of their patients and work holidays, evenings, overnights and weekends! My vote is to strike. I would love to see management come in try to do our work, they wouldn’t last one minute!

  68. OHSU was big name, employee was so happy and proud to work here and serve all Oregonians with best care and dignity.Employees are proud to work here , serving every day Oregonians with best care and dignity but are not happy. We had good insurance,good retirment plan, good increase, Christmas party, movie tickets, cookie and we knew OHSU did appreciate employees. We have now to contribute for insurance ,doctor office pay is high, contribute for retirment plan, we are under paid compared to other hospitals, no Christmas party , no movie ticket no cookie, parking pay is high, and we still pay for bus ticket. Yes , we can look for different company , but we build OHSU with our hard work and our dignity .Who did turn over our company? Give us OUR OHSU back, give us pay what we deserve and don’t touch UPP and give 6% contribution for PERS back.Then we can buy Christmuss cookie for you,OHSU, and we can celebrate togheter.

  69. I am on the bargaining team and appreciate all the feedback. I hear you, AFSCME Local 328 hears you, let’s make sure OHSU hears you! Keep the comments coming and share this on all your social media accounts.

  70. In their email to employees, HR states that their “market data” comes from the “Milliman 2014 Portland Area Cross-Industry Survey.”

    Curious to see the data myself, I searched for it online and found that it is available for purchase. The cost is $1295:


    Survey data is of course subject to interpretation. Is there any way to see the data HR is using, other than paying the $1295?

  71. Does this mean that we have simply to accept their reading of the data on faith, without having an opportunity to assess it ourselves? At the bargaining table, did they provide you with copies of it?

    If union reps and members cannot see the entire data package, I would reject the 17 year pay scale adjustment at the bargaining table without any further explanation. I have had some experience dealing with the interpretative reading skills of corporate professionals. I do not rate them highly, particularly when they’re reading in a manner calculated to show that the data supports cutting our pay. It’s like taking Machiavelli’s word at face value.

    Even if the data shows that the “market” average for pay scales is 21 years in Portland, where is their reasoning as to why we should try to emulate average market standards? Their main talking point on that score appears to be “sustainability.” Does this mean that the present system, which has resulted in massive profits and gains in the excess of millions of dollars, is somehow unsustainable? Of course not! The evidence clearly indicates that the ten year pay scale is far more than sustainable. If it wasn’t, we’d be seeing massive losses of money, not gains.

    And anyway, shouldn’t the “market” be something that we should be trying to find alternatives to, when any sensible person will admit that the “market,” particularly in this country, values profits over humanity and the “good” in general?

    1. I think you answered your own question. The notion that OHSU has to be at or near market average is a philosophical position. Once you start arguing about the data, you are tacitly agreeing that the data matters.

      Another philosophical position is that the people who shared sacrifices should also share prosperity. Another is that if you want to lead the market in quality health care and quality education and research, you need to lead the market in the quality of your employees and quality comes at a premium. Another is that the market is created by employers who dictate wages to employees with no bargaining power and that OHSU employees are not in that position, they are in a Union and have bargaining power if they use it.

      There are lots of philosophical positions out there, we don’t have to play by their rules.

  72. PERS down, medical up, I’m making less than I made last year. FYI, wearing green on Thursday, or displaying an union support sticker, posting on this blog does not commit you to strike, We must let ohsu administration know that we care about the new contract. My opinion ; rights, raises, respect, demand worthy wages!

  73. I want to thank all those who have taken the time to post comments. As member of the bargaining team it is good to know people are paying attention and arw willing to make their voices heard.

  74. As a new hire, the proposal from OHSU is very discouraging. These proposals make OHSU appear to not be a very desirable place to work because it shows that they are not willing to retain their talents. In order to attract talents, OHSU must stay competitive and compensate their employee appropriately. We put in a lot of work and dedication.

  75. Bull crap! Do not agree to this. Stop OHSU from cutting our salaries. I already have 2 jobs just to make ends meet. The OHSU 1% must stop their war on their own employees. I would prefer to strike than accept another pay cut!!

  76. If OHSU’s hope with this economic proposal is to entice the best employees in the field, I’m not sure how lengthening pay progression by 7 years is accomplishing that goal. Every single economic proposal I have seen has no benefit whatsoever to current employees. I want to work for an employer that care about me and my coworkers.

  77. It is discouraging to hear that employees of an institution that is doing phenomenally well taking cuts in salaries and benefits. OHSU should be embarrassed. Please publish managers’ and directors’ salaries and bonuses and see if OHSU leaders can still hold their heads up high while going through with these proposals.

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