5/21 Bargaining Session — Unsigned Agreements, Equity & Inclusion, Daily-Overtime Waiver

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Unsigned Tentative Agreements

The teams started out the day discussing concerns about the two tentative agreements reached last week. The first TA in question was regarding Article 6.8.5 – Removal of Materials from Personnel Records. The teams had differing recollections about the restrictions that were placed on the use of disciplinary records older than two years. We will take up this discussion again next week. The second TA in question was regarding Article 18 – Filling of Vacancies. In this case, the concern was about how the TA was worded, not over what the agreement meant. We will work on sorting out the wording during the week and should have a document ready for signature next week.

Equity & Inclusion “Accommodations Package”

The first new issue discussed today was the union’s equity and inclusion “accommodations package” that we initially presented early in bargaining — back on March 12. This package includes a wide range of union initiatives designed to provide for the needs of employees who are not of the dominant culture:

  • Providing on-site translation services for employee needs (e.g., during an investigatory interview or grievance meeting).
  • Translating critical documents, such as safety instructions, OHSU benefits information, the union contract and the OHSU Code of Conduct.
  • Providing prayer space for employees who desire privacy and a safe space to practice their faith.
  • Making gender-neutral restrooms available.
  • Accommodating the needs of employees with religious dietary restrictions (e.g., providing extra microwaves in cafeterias).

During the brainstorming session, a wide variety of potential solutions were presented by both teams. After brainstorming, the management team asked for a caucus, after which they expressed concern about their capacity to address many of the solutions at this time due to cost implications (the option to try to negotiate non-economic solutions today remained on the table). The union team was surprised by this and asked for our own caucus. The union team decided not to split our accommodations package into economic issues and non-economic issues and to bargain them separately instead. We felt that our members’ interests would be better served by submitting a complete package as a proposal (outside of the interest-based bargaining process). We will present this proposal next week.

Waivers of Daily Overtime

The second issue discussed today was one raised by management — the process around the waiver of daily overtime. The management team’s main concern was the frustration that some managers and employees have experienced when a waiver was initially denied by the union and they had to go back to the union for repeated clarification before the waiver was ultimately granted.

The union team’s main concern was that employees could be pressured to sign a daily-overtime waiver when they really didn’t want to, but they submitted the form because either their manager or peers had the expectation that they would. In the end, we reached a tentative agreement that sought to protect employees from being pressured into submitting a waiver when they were new to the job and to remove the barriers to getting a waiver for more senior employees:

  • Employees will be required to get union approval for a waiver of daily overtime when they are in evaluation period (initial probation upon hire or after an internal job change or job bid).
  • Outside of probation or other evaluation period, employees may, with manager approval, waive daily overtime by submitting a completed form to their supervisor and Payroll; the form will also be sent to the union, but union approval is not required.
  • Employees have the right to cancel the daily-overtime waiver at any time by notifying Payroll and their manager.
  • Over the course of the contract, a system for processing the waiver forms electronically will be developed.
  • If the Union believes managers are pressuring employees to sign daily overtime waivers or if management believes the union is unreasonably denying the waivers, upon the request of either party, the union and HR will jointly investigate the concerns.

This was the last week of interest-based bargaining. Next week will be dedicated to discussing the unsigned TAs, wrapping up outstanding non-economic proposals, presenting the union’s accommodations package and gearing up to begin economic bargaining.

Be sure to read and comment about additional timely issues on our blog:

6 thoughts on “5/21 Bargaining Session — Unsigned Agreements, Equity & Inclusion, Daily-Overtime Waiver”

  1. – “Outside of probation or other evaluation period, employees may, with manager approval, waive daily overtime by submitting a completed form to their supervisor and Payroll; the form will also be sent to the union, but union approval is not required.”

    – “Employees have the right to cancel the daily-overtime waiver at any time by notifying Payroll and their manager.”

    Why is there even an allowance for the in the contract? Who in their right mind would waive their right, unless pressured by management? Just because an employee has the right to file a grievance if pressured by management, doesn’t mean the employee will. Many employees are “afraid to cause any trouble” or “rock the boat” or be on an unofficial “gotta watch my back” list.

    Assuming there may be a rare legitimate occasion which may benefit a rare employee, this will invariably add pressure to other colleagues to sign the waiver as well to look like a team player.

    Years ago, I was instructed by a manager to sign a waiver to overtime. She asked me multiple times. I refused. To this day, she is unfriendly with me. She’s not breaking any workplace rules, but unfriendly nonetheless.

    If the Union won’t budge on including this “voluntuary” waiver in the contract, there needs to be an inclusion that mandates that the WAIVER TO OVERTIME MUST BE INITIATED BY THE EMPLOYEE, and that management CANNOT initiate a request to an employee to sign this waiver.

    1. Many of our members value the ability to flex their schedules and doing away with it is not a realistic option either in the sense of truly representing members’ interests or in the sense of actually being able to get OHSU to agree to it. When we spoke to our members one of their complaints was that the union approval process made them jump through too many hoops. What we tried to do was strike a balance between protecting members when they are most vulnerable to pressure and giving them freedom of choice when they are off probation. Both sides agreed to a process to investigate claims of management pressure.

  2. I share @rsk’s surprise. When a member waives their overtime they are taking those hours or that overtime from another member who refused. To me it’s a little like allowing members to agree to waive a pay increase or to agree to a pay cut to get extra hours. That employee then gets more hours than the one who refused. It’s seems like the antithesis of a union, decidedly un-united.

    1. This language has been in the contract basically forever and it has never come up as a significant member concern on any of our pre bargaining surveys or polls. We had anecdotal evidence of members being irritated by the process. It could always be re-examined in our next contract if there is member support for doing so.

  3. I have been on a daily overtime waiver since they first came out with them. I am not taking away anyone else’s overtime. My work is project-oriented and if I want to work 8/8/8/8.5/7.5, I should be able to do that without incurring overtime. I still get overtime if I work more than 40 hours in a week.
    It would be different if it was management forcing me to work those hours, but in my case it is my choice.

  4. It is quite frequent in our group to waive the daily over-time. There is still the weekly over-time; The reason is many people would prefer to work longer hours during the week and take a short day on Friday (or another day) there is still the 40 hr weekly cap so they are not taking OT from anyone. It is a win-win for the employee and the employer.

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