5/28 Bargaining Session — OHSU Proposes Drastic Changes to Seniority Rights

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Bargaining today was largely taken up with finalizing several agreements left over from last week’s interest-based bargaining session and introducing proposals on issues that weren’t concluded in IBB. Both teams had a substantial set of proposals that will be considered next week and in the following weeks during traditional bargaining and mediation. We are approaching the end game.

The big development today was OHSU proposing a long list of changes to the application of seniority when coupled with disciplinary actions. Management stated a desire to tie contract rights to an employee’s performance.

In short, OHSU proposes that employees who have had a written reprimand or higher in the last 12 months:

  • They lose the right to exercise seniority for accepting voluntary overtime.
  • They lose the right to be a union steward.
  • They lose the right to exercise seniority to bid on vacation.
  • They lose the right to exercise seniority to bid on holiday time off.
  • They lose the right to job bid.
  • They lose their layoff rights (including initial selection for layoff and displacement rights).

In addition, employees who have had discipline at the third step (final written warning, pay reduction, suspension) in the last twelve months:

  • Lose the right to be placed from the preferential hire list.
  • Lose their next progression increase in pay.

These proposals, in addition to being radical changes to traditional seniority rights, raise a number of questions:

  • Is it hard to receive a written reprimand? Can you imagine needing to take five sick days over the course of three months? Can you imagine making a mistake when entering data? Can you imagine getting really sick and not filing FMLA in time to protect yourself?
  • Could the ability to suspend the contract rights of employees who have active discipline encourage managers to give out more discipline?
  • How many employees could survive being under the microscope if it were to the employer’s advantage to discipline people?
  • Would this change make it more or less likely for an employee to grieve a written reprimand and fight it to the end, rather than work with his/her manager to improve performance?
  • Isn’t this double discipline — giving management two bites at the apple? Isn’t being disciplined punishment enough?
  • Should a pay raise that an employee is counting on be tied to discipline?
  • Managers can already use progressive discipline to fire poor-performing employees — do they also need the power to take employees’ contract rights away before they fire them?
  • Is there an argument to be made for linking higher-level discipline to PHL placement or to things like bumping rights after layoff?
  • Shouldn’t OHSU be thinking of ways to reward good performance instead (instead of, you know, dragging everyone down to average)?

Tell us what you think. The floor is open.

180 thoughts on “5/28 Bargaining Session — OHSU Proposes Drastic Changes to Seniority Rights”

  1. This proposal is so wrong!SO WRONG! Our employee rights are moving in the wrong direction. Management take off your rose- colored glasses and take a long, hard ,look in the mirror. Employee performance is tied to your performance. When will our organization face the truth that we do have incompetent managers and begin to hold them accountable?

    1. Wow– OHSU has made it clear they want to get rid of a large percentage of senior employees.

      It seems that a strike is inevitable this year.

  2. OHSU is heading down the wrong path. It is time for us to say no. If you care for something you don’t sit silent while it makes a big mistake. OHSU is on the cusp of making a number of short sighted decisions.

    OHSU is starting to lose it way, let’s get it back on track.

  3. This is just another example of the management’s typically fascist attitude. We have to be willing to fight them at every turn.

    1. Yes, this is something really important that I feel cannot ever be stressed enough. I strongly advise people to consider skipping the daily latte (or insert vice here), and seriously start saving up for their safety net. You might need the extra money sooner than you think. If not for a strike, then it will still come in handy to cover other things like:
      ● the inevitable increased healthcare/insurance costs
      ● to compensate for the lower annual increase you should expect to be receiving (I haven’t figured out where that $14K will be coming from; Note to self: might have to consider a second job?)
      ● do you pay for Parking? You know that expense will continue to climb.
      ● covering additional extra little things we allowed our Employer to take from us in years past…
      ● …and the big things, too! (I’m still PERS, and I was punished for it, and I’m sure will continue to be)
      ● your impending layoff (I know the best steward for handling layoffs, but unfortunately I won’t be able to refer you. Her layoff was scheduled the week before yours. So sorry.)
      ● the cost of food at work. Yes, I am pretty good at packing lunches, excepting Wednesdays. Mac Hall Cafe’s mac & cheese will be my downfall. My tears drip into my open to-go box each time (each Wednesday) I’m confronted with the cold truth that I consider it to be at the top of the list of job perks, as I attempt to squeeze a bite in between each phone call & interruption received. If I’m lucky, it only takes me two to three hours to get halfway through my side order before I realize there’s no salvaging it and I’m forced to trash the remainder.

  4. Also, the second they know they are going to re-org/layoff in any department then all they need to do is start writing people up for soft, hard to fight discipline issues and they won’t have to even pay layoff benefits or put anyone on preferential hire lists.

    Do not give an inch on this!

    1. I agree that this is a huge threat. OHSU has a responsibility to help people improve their performance and they have lots of resources to do so. The current layoff language protects employees from being targeted for layoff and these Employer proposals undermine those protections.

  5. Wow. Can’t say I’m surprised with OHSU, but these proposals are notably brash.
    Double discipline…seems fairly clear what management is getting at…radical proposals to slowly chip away at workers’ rights with the goal of complete control.
    Reminds me of a certain conservative governor from Wisconsin.
    If the tables were turned and management’s pay raises, insurance benefits, vacations, etc. were based on job performance and disciplinary action…(oh, wait, managers never have to face disciplinary action!)…we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. I’ll never understand why OHSU focuses on the negative rather than building us up and rewarding us for our hard work and progress.
    I hope our members and bargaining team aren’t even considering an agreement to any of these insulting proposals.

  6. This is what the end looks like.

    I’d love to say “STRIKE!” Make some equally outrageous counter demands and then strike. I personally am willing. I have voiced my doubts in this forum as to the rest of the membership’s willingness and/or ability to strike and those doubts are as strong as ever. Nevertheless if this passes it’s over. If management can take your union rights through discipline then the jig is up.

    It is my opinion that AFSCME leadership should not put their name on this even if the membership cannot be rallied to fight it. To sign off on this is to be completely co-opted. To sign off on this is beyond a bad deal. To sign off on this is to once and for all have the union be nothing but a fig leaf for management. A fig leaf that implies the employees have some say in what happens when in fact the have nothing.

    I know this seems grim, but sometimes reality is grim.

    1. Sam – Thanks for putting this out there. I hope that people start really considering their options. No one on the bargaining team wants to agree to a contract that is less than what our members deserve (which is what happened three years ago). The problem is that if we don’t reach a tentative agreement that the membership ratifies the Employer can eventually implement whatever they want. Everyone can see what that would look and feel like… Thanks for continuing to encourage folks to stand up and stand together!

  7. I truly lack the words to describe how wrong these proposals are. This will mean an end to the progressive discipline model that has worked more or less for decades and does get rid of poorly performing employees in the end.

    We also need to keep very clear in our minds the ongoing, continuing and virtually epidemic problem of cronyism that is so pervasive around the campus. In EVERY job I have had here, EVERY manager has one or more employees under them who are “untouchable”. Untouchable employees are just that – untouchable. Doesn’t matter how badly they screw up or how many policies, procedures or even laws they violate, nothing ever happens to them. Conversely, EVERY manager has employees who are on the ‘hit list”. These employees are someone the manager doesn’t like for one reason or another and in almost every instance I know of, are performing at or above standards.

    In my situation, I had someone (who was not even my manager) writing me up for everything under the sun for years. Any little thing got a reprimand, right from day one. In every instance I had not violated any rule or law or even code of conduct, they just simply “didn’t like the way I was doing things”. It wasn’t until a director (who WAS my manager) had to deal directly with a non-issue for the 5th time that I stopped getting written up. On the other side of that equation, the untouchable employee who filed the most “complaints” about me was well known for spending hours surfing porn on the internet and then making printouts of interesting pictures he found and passing them around to the female employees, offending them so much that several cited that as reason for quitting – no write up or even reprimand happened.

    Again, several jobs later, I had a manager who placed several items in my file and included them in my evals. EVERY one of them was hearsay, rumor, speculation and innuendo. There was not a single incident they could quote where I had done something wrong or failed to do my job, but still I got written up.

    In both of these situations, the managers in question used their shills in the line staff to literally “create” problems so they could write me up. Then on the other side of the equation, refused to put any compliments or accolades in my file. In the first instance it was so bad, the employees they used would actually get monetary bonuses every time they found something to complain about that could be put in my file. And to be clear, I was not the only employee they did this to – I was just fortunate enough to have a director who was savvy enough to not fire me and my work was so good that I survived in the job for over a decade.

    If this proposal goes through it is not a question of IF the number of write ups will explode, but rather a question of how long it will take them to ramp up the production line of mass discipline.

    DON’T DO IT!

    1. Omg Joe! Sounds like you’ve been getting harassed!! I have also been experiencing awful situations too!! This is crazy! How does ohsu get away with it?? BOLI BOLI BOLI BOLI! Exercise your rights!!

    2. File a discrimination complaint with BOLI! What they did to you was pervasive and consistent harrasment! SPEAK UP AND FILE WITH BOLI! We all need to stand up to the injustice we have experienced because of poor management!

  8. I cannot believe this! This is a way for managers to weed out higher paid employees to get lower wage ones in. OHSU is SO crooked I am ashamed to work here. There are so many managers out there waiting to play God with rules like this! You bleed your employees for parking, overcharge them for food because they are captives on campus, and treat retroactive pay as a “bonus” and tax it as such. Now it’s an employers market and OHSU is acting like a soulless corrupt corporation. I am just sickened!

    1. I agree with you Matt. OHSU is going to the wrong directions.
      We already pay to much to work here for parking, food and more.

  9. I’m kind of mixed on this one.

    I can see the concern for abuse. On the other hand, I’ve worked with some real stinker co-workers who, due to their seniority, felt they didn’t need to carry their weight. They could come to work, tell other people what to do, and not do any of the work themselves.

    My career at OHSU has been with good managers — managers that have not been vindictive or punitive. If they had a fault, it was that they weren’t cracking down on these loafers. And there were times for me, as a good worker, when it was utterly unfair that these senior workers would get their preferential vacation time when work was, for all intents and purposes, vacation time for them. Even if you have 30 years in, you’re supposed to perform your job.

    But I know that my experience is not the same across the institution. I’d need to know how unique my experience is before I could say yea or nay. And if I were to say yea, I would still increase the threshold to the next step past a written reprimand. We’re all subject to our bad times and bad days. A step above a written reprimand would tend to point toward a legitimate problem.

    1. I think that a discussion among members about what is the best way to use seniority is a legitimate one for members to have. But my personal belief is that members should decide what is best for members when it comes to seniority, not management.

    2. Matt, I have to agree with you. My experience has been much the same during my 11 years here. I believe you have to have a verbal warning prior to a written warning, but I could be wrong. I would think that anything over a written warning, or having written warnings about multiple problems, points to a more serious problem employee, which I have had the unfortunate experience of working/dealing with. I do feel for the employees here who are not having a good experience and feel they will be written up for any little thing.

    3. I firmly agree with this.
      While my managers are good and I don’t fear for my job I can see where there is potential for abuse of this proposal.
      However, I work with a few slackers who don’t carry their weight and are next to impossible to get rid of so I’ve been dealing with the same handful of bums for nearly ten years that sleep at their desk or screw around all day while they make considerably more than I do due to their longevity.

  10. If our contract expires, how many people will OHSU try to get rid of before a new contract is in place?

    Is it possible they are making difficult demands on purpose so that they have a contract-free period of time when they can fire a certain percentage of target employees?

    I don’t think we should agree to any of these proposals until management can also be reviewed by the employees.

  11. I support much of this. Having to work with people who have seniority and can’t perform their job is frustrating as an employee, and I see it happening in many places. Having so much tied to seniority doesn’t protect all the employees, it causes conflict, develops team barriers and is demotivating to employees. I think having so much tied to seniority is out of touch with the world we live in today. Many people bring many talents to OHSU that they accumulated outside of the organization, making them just as valuable resources (or more so) than those who have been around longer and should be equally rewarded.

    1. I disagree with that CJR. I mean not ALL of us with quite a bit of seniority are lazy and supposedly can’t perform their jobs.

    2. I also disagree with CJR – seniority is about how long you’ve been with a particular institution, not how long you’ve been in the work force. I’m sorry that your experience with long term OHSU employees has been, overall, bad. It has NOT been my experience however, and I’m relatively new. I find that folks that have been here for a while are helpful, experts at their job and bring a wealth of knowledge to the table.

  12. I have been at OHSU long enough to remember when OHSU actually valued its employees. That began to change with the prevalence of holders of MBAs in senior positions and the creation of so many associate vice president positions that I can no longer keep count. What has also changed is that Human Resources is no longer there to serve the employees. It has become a tool of management to undercut employees at every turn.

    1. I have absolutely no doubt that the motivation of management is to cut costs wherever they can, including union employees, so that they can have a nice shiny bonus check for the amount of money that they saved. This seems to be the pervasive environment that has taken over this organization since the latest group of “management” has come into power. They do nothing to get rid of the bad managers. It’s something they should be ashamed of but for some reason, they’re not.

    2. I couldn’t agree more. The managers they are hiring have no people skills what so ever. Ours only speaks to us to tell us what we’ve done wrong. Our office has gone from a Golden Rose Award winning team, to a group of people who are scared to death to do anything and we are required to find any fault with our co-workers possible to keep ourselves from being cited for NOT finding the mistake. It has completely torn our office apart and everyone here is totally miserable. The moto of the day is “I hate coming in here!” It is incredibly depressing.

  13. I understand the desire to reward good employees and not reward bad employees. However, if managers did their job and mentored or terminated the few bad employees, then this would not even be a question. Whether and employee is good or bad is largely dependent on how they are managed.
    If OHSU wants to include some of these items into the disciplinary progression (at a higher level than receiving a written warning) that would be better than adding these in addition to disciplinary action.
    This is not taking away contract rights, these are forms of discipline.

  14. Is this also an attempt by OHSU to make a move to remove the union? It sounds like a step in that direction to me. I would vote to strike, no question.

  15. I can see how they linked some of these contractual benefits to seniority, but what do steward activities have to do with seniority points or disciplinary action. Will OHSU prevent me from participating in a campus book or food drive or other volunteer activity when I have a written warning on my record? Perhaps they will decline to take payroll deductions from employees with a written warning. Somehow I don’t think so. It looks to me like this is a way to prevent employees from participating in union activities by writing them up. It’s a lousy proposal.

  16. Question: How do you get to “discipline at the third step (final written warning, pay reduction, suspension)”?

    1. By first getting a verbal reprimand and then getting a written reprimand, or by doing something serious enough to justfy jumping steps.

    2. People can get to this level of discipline in several ways. One is progressive discipline. An employee repeatedly makes the same mistake over time. S/he should get a coaching (including assistance on how to improve), a verbal warning, written warning and then a third step discipline. Unfortunately, many managers attempt to use different problems to build progressive discipline – maybe the employee is coached and then receives a verbal reprimand regarding attendance. S/he improves attendance but then makes a mistake in performing work. Rather than coaching to improve work performance, the manager will try to escalate progressive discipline. This is a basis for a disciplinary grievance. Another circumstance could be a very serious mistake or a very serious threat to a co-worker. These circumstances could sometimes warrant a third step discipline rather than progressive discipline.

  17. The issues I see with this proposal, is that it continues to give extreme power to management. Some of our management have been shown in the past to be above almost any kind of scrutiny. I personally have witnessed a manager continually discipline/harass individuals (some of whom were very skill and hard-working employees) for performance/discipline issues, while treating other employees with carte blanche in terms of work performance and discipline. Until there is some kind of check and balance system on management disciplinary action (a system that actually works), which includes the ability to discipline a manager for ignoring performance/discipline issues in employees that they choose to treat differently, then any extra power given to management is asking for trouble.

    I recognize, and acknowledge, that some (or maybe most) managers don’t abuse their ‘powers’, there will always be some who will.

    On the same note, I actually do believe that seniority is linked to far too many benefits at OHSU, but removing the benefits that should be linked to seniority due to the shoddy ‘discipline’ system that is in place is not the way to fix that.

      1. Few people here seem to have an issue with seniority. Is that because they don’t have any? I don’t understand. That is a perk that keeps employees long term. I have 18 years and that is part of the reason I remain here.

  18. I can see this policy, if it goes into the contract, being used to intimidate employees into silence about bad managers. Years ago, I stood up to two incompetent managers. The result was they slapped me with an unwarranted code of conduct violation. I enlisted the union’s help and fought it. I still ended up with a verbal warning. I realize the current proposal has to do with written discipline and ultimately, I would not have been affected by this. However, I would have lost my rights during the time I was fighting this injustice, which took a few months. Partly as a result of my actions, those bad managers are gone. What if I had been intimidated into silence?

  19. One major issue with OHSU’s plan is that it creates a form of double punishment for higher-seniority employees who get disciplined. Suppose a department has two employees with written warnings—its most senior employee, who has worked at OHSU for 10 years, and its least senior, who has worked at OHSU for 2 years. Come vacation-scheduling time, the employee with only 2 years’ seniority would have had last pick anyway, so OHSU’s proposed restrictions don’t have an additional effect on them—they’re already at the bottom for seniority even without the discipline. So, both of these employees have received the same level of discipline, but the punishment is harsher for the most-senior employee. How is that fair?

    Nobody, coworkers or managers, likes working with lazy, jerky employees. What OHSU has proposed is not the way to deal with them. Managers already have the tools they need to deal with problem employees—how many of them actually use these tools? If you’re in a department with someone you feel is consistently performing poorly, you might ask why your manager isn’t taking the steps necessary to discipline that employee in order to improve the working conditions of everyone else.

    Many of us have worked for, or have friends who’ve worked for, bad managers here. Many of us have also seen OHSU do mass layoffs, cut retirement benefits, etc. over the years. Do folks really believe that there won’t be bad managers who use this proposal unfairly or that OHSU wouldn’t take advantage of it if they needed to do some drastic cost-cutting in the future? This proposal has the potential for serious negative ramifications. I’ve worked with a lousy employee before, and it does make one’s work life more unpleasant. The way to deal with poor performers, however, is to actually discipline/manage the individual poor performers, not to take away the contract rights of more than 5,500 employees.

    Have you noticed that OHSU hasn’t proposed anything to reward high performers? They don’t even go through the motions of holding an annual holiday/employee appreciation event anymore. OHSU has been in excellent financial shape for years, but they’re not even willing to shell out for some cheese cubes and mini-cheesecakes once a year to thank their employees.

    Today’s email from OHSU about their proposal states “We feel strongly that OHSU’s agreement with AFSCME should reflect our organization’s value of performance excellence and promote fairness for all employees.” The union agrees! OHSU’s way of showing how much they value performance excellence is to propose stretching out our pay progression, keeping our wages average, carving away our contract rights, etc. Do you feel valued?

    1. I agree that the way to deal with underperforming senior employees is through the existing process of discipline (or, as Jenna suggested, mentoring). It should not be tied to contract rights.
      Perhaps management should instead focus on ways to reward high performing employees without taking away someone else’s seniority rights.
      It is easy to get a written warning if your manager has it out for you.

      1. Sue I agree with your post , some managers have list (bad) workers, but this workers very good workers

    2. This is so well stated Jennifer, thank you! I couldn’t agree more. This will only worsen the culture of silence that I believe already exists here at OHSU.

    3. You’re right Jennifer – the long standing lazy employees in my department have gotten away with it for so long due to lack of management interference.
      If managers aren’t going to use existing tools, I can see that it is pointless for the union to give them additional ones – or to give bad managers additional weapons.
      What would you suggest instead for employees who are plagued with sucky coworkers that managers do nothing about?

  20. Thank you for adding the “questions to consider” section. That section will make it easier for people to consider the ramifications.

    I’m a little put off by OHSU’s email to us regarding this. Particularly their use of ” entitlement” language. In my experience, that word is used to put a negative light on those receiving the benefits. Which makes me wonder how management must then view us contract employees…

    1. ‘Entitlement’ has become such an odd word. It literally means ‘having a right to something, ownership’ but has come to mean something almost synonymous with ‘charity’ or ‘handout.’

      Renee, it’s clear that all payments for labor are viewed as waste that needs to be trimmed by OHSU. If they can pay less they will.

      We should be happy they pay us at all. /s

  21. OHSU has all the tools they need to either motivate underperforming employees to improve or to weed them out. OHSU management doesn’t use them very well. Takes too much effort to manage well. Easier to just cram some automatic arbitrary punishment into the contract and the problem is solved.
    So next contract will they propose that vacation scheduling be determined by performance?
    This allegedly is an institution of higher learning. Seems like grade school to me.

  22. OHSU needs to stop wasting bargaining time and come back to reality. These proposals are just another way to push the union off campus.

  23. Seniority rights and disciplinary action are oranges and apples.

    While I don’t think someone on a final should get to job bid, get a raise, or get preferential hire, I don’t think stripping of seniority rights should be a disciplinary tool in any fashion, or be prevented from being a steward. None of these tools are appropriate for written reprimand.

    The union is capable of deciding if someone’s reason for being disciplined would impact their ability to steward successfully, and so there should be disclosure, but no order of action related.

  24. I’ve been at OHSU for almost ten years. In that time I’ve had seven managers, going on eight. Some were good; some were bad. Not that much has changed with me. Some of those approached our operations with a punitive mentality and some were encouraging and over the top helpful.
    All in all, I’ve experienced a whirly dervish of a department. The temperament that I’ve experienced when I walk through those doors over the years have been vastly inconsistent.
    The takeaway is this: managers come and go. There are plenty of bad ones. There are plenty of good ones. But employees stay loyal. If an employee has seniority and has been slapped with some discipline for who knows what. It’s most likely a clashing of personalities. There’s a due process to get rid of bad apples. However, this proposal reeks of vendettas and bush league managerial tactics.

  25. These member comments about mean managers are very disturbing. I’ve been lucky. Makes me wonder about employees with limited english not understanding their rights if they have a bullying manager. I hope members with a 2nd language will make yourselves available to help explain these bargaining issues. Maybe some non english posts would be helpful.

    1. Tami, I am glad you haven’t had to deal with mean managers. In my department it seems like the hard working employees get targeted over little things while slackers have not been made accountable through the years & I mean YEARS and still no consequences.

  26. Seniority has nothing to do with your work performance and this should not even be up for debated. Nor is this contract fair everything that is being negotiated is to benefited Management wants and Management needs.

    A contract is suppose to benefited both parties involved but this contract only cuts one way and it is Management way or the highway.

    1. This is a management proposal, not an agreement. If we stand together it doesn’t have to become an agreement.

      1. That’s right Frank! We need to stand together. We can’t expect a few people to fight alone for everybody’s benefits.

  27. OHSU HR / Leadership,
    I am confused, I think I need to see another awesome graph !
    No, OHSU I will not drink your Kool Aide, but I would like some cheese cubes and mini-cheesecakes.

  28. Frankly I’m disturbed by lack of transparency on both the management and AFSCME’s parts. I’m on the fence about the topic of correlating seniority rights to job performance. There are incompetent managers AND union employees at ohsu who should’ve been shown the door long time ago.

    I want transparency. From the union, how many members do we have who are at the written warning stage or higher who will be affected by this? If it’s a very few number then we may be making mountains out of molehills. From OHSU management I want to know the number of managers who were fired due to incompetence or abuse of power. How many grievances do managers need to accumulate before they are put on Performance Plans? Doesn’t OHSU know that every time there’s a grievance hearing, that’s taking time away from productive work done by at least three OHSU employees? Grievances that are caused by acts of incompetent or ignorant management costs OHSU money! Transparency please!

    I worked at OHSU for many years and it should be noted that many of my managers were former AFSCME peers. Some are very good at what they do but I’ve had grossly incompetent and clueless managers. What has AFSCME done to prepare these future leaders instead of simply calling them the Enemy once they are no longer in rank and file?

    The problem with OHSU isn’t mean management or the union. Accountability for poor performance must be shared by everyone. I consider myself highly motivated and stellar worker and I refuse to let any incompetent roadblocks, clueless managers or lazy workers with seniority, get in my pursuit of doing excellent work for OHSU!

    1. This is best post I have read – very, very true. Focus on improvement not blame. All the rest is just seems to propaganda and lathering up. A better process to eliminate all the bs – which means bad managers, bad employees, and worthless grievances should all go. I will remind everyone the Union is our agent – we pay them a lot – like probably $2,000,000 of our our money. A simple pay raise would involve us getting our dues lowered.

    2. Transparency is helpful but it won’t fix the underlying issues with what OHSU management is proposing.

      Any write-up can suspend seniority rights under this propsoal. OHSU management may become much more write-up friendly if they realize it benefit them and/or allow to play favorites with their employees.

      As mentioned above, management can also write employees up prior to layoffs to prevent the preferential hire list opportunities. They can also write employees up prior to creating new positions so that they can prevent unwanted employees from bidding.

      This proposal is wrong on so many levels and your issue of transparency not going to address many of those issues.

    3. Full support with this persons comments and believe this is the culture we should look for and care about. We need to stop sweeping everything under the rug and allowing people who have behavior issues benefit from their seniority while others must pick up their slack who are of lower tenure. This persons comments need to be shared on a larger media platform!!

    4. Amen! Let’s see the data! In my 10+ years I’ve worked in great departments and lousy ones. Fantastic managers and atrocious ones. I’ve received stellar reviews and support to pursue further education and training. I’ve been disciplined for the most petty things you can imagine while worthless employees skated through.

      Transparency is the key. I’d like to see 360 degree reviews of every employee, including managers. I mean 360 degree reviews in the true sense of the word- not just cherry picking the people who will give the manager the response they are looking for. And when a manager is being reviewed, every employee reporting to them should have a chance to weigh in on their performance.
      I’d like the management to be required to do continuing education in management and have it be clear to the staff that it’s happening. Just because you can do a job does not mean you’ll be a good manager of *other people*doing that job.
      I’d like them to receive training in mentoring staff. We have a great resource in the CWE- where is the support for managers to improve their performance?
      I’d like for employees to get bonus rewards for excellence. If managers get bonuses for staying under budget, why not give employees bonuses for performance improvement or innovative practices that save money and time? I’m not saying people should get bonuses for doing their job description, I’m saying there should be some incentive to go above and beyond besides ROSE awards. These should be monetary in nature- especially if the management bonuses are monetary.

  29. I really don’t understand how they think this is ok. It seems like they want to take away all your union rights once you make a mistake. what safe-guards are there to guarantee managers won’t increase the number of written warnings knowing they can shake up things like vacation and holiday staffing? their proposals are getting more and more frustrating!

  30. If the union signs off on this it’s like they are signing off on the need for a union . It seems those things they want to take from us are the exact things we have a union in the first place. I would strike over this as well . AFSCME shouldn’t even consider this .

    1. Well said 151! Can you imagine not having a union? Unpaid sick and vacation, getting fired on a manager’s whim, getting sent home or called in whenever?
      It can’t be said enough MEMBERS are AFSCME, the bargaining team follows our lead so we individuals need to speak up.

  31. It’s very sad that we have a weak Union and an employer that only wants to ask from their employees but not give anything back. Can someone remind me why we pay union dues?

    1. A union is as weak or as strong as it’s members, if we reach out to members who aren’t yet active, we can be as strong as we need to be.

      1. A wise man once told me a poor carpenter blames his tools. So I read, the Union is powerless without its members. I get it but where is the Union’s accountablility? May be what the Union is doing isn’t working or receptive – every excuse is without you were are not powerful always blame the member. I have job – working – I don’t have job at a Union, I think that’s your job. I have $12.16 a paycheck that you get to figure it out.

      2. I think a large part of the problem with AFSCME is that there is a big divide in the types of employees there a lot of immigrants who just want a job and don’t want to rock the boat so to speak I think they need to be reached out to more to help them understand things a little better because I am tired of everyone “settling” on the subpar contracts we have been given lately

  32. AFSCME, if this proposal goes through there is basically no need for a union, managers will easily write up targeted employees.
    Performance should not be tied with seniority. The union should counter act by asking OHSU to fire managers who have at least one grievance against them. If you are a good manager, you should have a spotless record. One grievance from an employee and they should be put on a “Performance Plan” and be denied ANY bonuses or get fired. I would definitely strike over this.

    1. Mary hit the nail on the head! (Great post).
      I agree with everyone’s outrage over this. Our juvenile managers in Pharmacy will use this as a strategy to target more senior employees. Not being able to bid on another job for a year is a BIG deal in a dept that has such high turnover (which is partly because of our terrible management). Being written up is demoralizing enough! Managers will be LOOKING for reasons to write everyone up so they can have a hand in who gets to pick up shifts for OT, who has to work holidays, who gets stuck in their job because they can’t bid on new positions.
      KEEP POSTING people! It gives me a little comfort to know that we all agree on these issues and at least we support one another and stand together!

  33. My biggest concern with this proposal is the belief that disciplinary action is a measure of performance. It’s degrading as an employee. What about the skills I bring to make sure the patient experience is optimal? The care, collaboration, and education I provide? For example, an Medical Assistant who clocks in a few minutes late three times in a quarter receives disciplinary action. However, this has nothing to do with job performance in the sense of functioning in direct patient care or as a medical team member. Another MA could clock-in right on time to the minute everyday but, not be able to take blood pressures correctly (an actual performance function of the job) that affects everyone’s workflow and results in poor patient experience at the visit. Regardless of this gross misdirection of discussing employee performance in the context of disciplinary action, vacation and holiday bids should not be targeted, that feels like maybe “cruel” but, definitely “unusual punishment” that should be avoided. I can understand the argument for loss of the seniority benefit for layoff protection and job/hire bids however, not at such a low level of disciplinary action. If these are going to be implemented, then it needs to be only after escalating to multiple disciplinary levels and maybe even stipulations about what type of behavior was continuing to occur.

  34. when an employee is written up for job performance (not behavior) due to the fact the their current supervisor does not understand the department processes and has not provided resources or training, it should not be held against the employee in moving forward or impact their pay. There are some supervisors that have very limited working knowledge in the detail workings of their staff’s positions.

  35. Sounds like another way to squeeze the more senior, experienced, role-model pharmacists out of their “highly paid” positions to make way for newer, less-experience (MORE DANGEROUS), pharmacists who are CHEAPER to employee. I would like to propose that MANAGEMENT disclose their salaries and bonuses and consider taking a pay cut or forgoing bonuses before trying to squeeze the clinically competent and experience CLINICAL pharmacists out of their jobs!

  36. ###SPREAD THE WORD### We need to stand together on these issues and educate our fellow workers and Union members that these are proposals we can stand against but only together. The Union employees themselves cannot win this fight. Knowledge is power. Please seek out your coworkers and start a discussion about this. I have overheard many folks who think, for example, that the 6% UPP change is a done deal, which it is NOT. It’s still only a proposal by OHSU. TALK TO YOUR CO-WORKERS. Explain that we cannot just lay down and take a beating that we do not deserve.

  37. I think we should get Willamette Week reporter, Nigel Jaquiss, to do a story on this whole bargaining debacle!

    1. Any support we get from the media will be completely unexpected. You bring up a good point about the public though. As members we need to support other organizations, because it’s the right thing to do, and also self identify as union members. The media has done a good job of painting unions as greedy political machines, but it’s a lot harder for your friends at church, or the Y or wherever you spend your time to believe that when they see you there and know that you are a union member and proud of it.

  38. In my time at OHSU – wow 14 years now – I have seen the very best and the very worst in terms of both employee and management ability and performance – we are so large and so diverse that the variance is sometimes staggering to think about.

    It seems to me that codifying concrete means of harsh discipline into the contract actually departs from the idea of a flexible and beneficial working relationship between an organization and it’s workforce. It sets in concrete things like “minimum sentencing requirements” and binds the management and the staff to arbitrary and often inapplicable sets of standards in a “stamp this widget” mentality that really should have died out long ago.

    OHSU as an organization states in its’ very mission ideals that it wants to be a leader – but this is not a display of leadership in the field of culture management. If OHSU wants to empower the management staff then they need to invest in manager infrastructure and training/development in tools like Just Culture and give them both the tools and the TIME to be effective leaders and them hold them accountable in more than just “token” reviews – and if they want to build a strong workforce that is more universally invested in OHSU’s success they need to invite and encourage employees to do so rather than seeking new ways to lubricate the revolving door “if you don’t lie it just leave” mentality that seems to be currently in fashion….

  39. I fail to see the link between a written reprimand and the “rights” being taken away. What is the purpose of a reprimand? Is it to alter the employee’s behavior? Or, is it an instrument to remove earned employee rights?

    If the goal is to alter the employee’s behavior, then what is the purpose served by taking the privileges away from a reformed employee? Even if behavior improves, the penalty is still assessed.

  40. This is a ridiculous proposal. OHSU management is rapidly creating a disconnect between the manager and the employee. How is it management is working together with the employee to build a better hospital if the punishment for mistakes is taking away benefits and not find alternative means of correcting the problem.

    In the pharmacy department it feels as though there is lack of team togetherness and extreme separation between manager and employee. We are worked hard and our benefits and pay are being stripped from us. I completely disagree with these proposals.

  41. I am very disappointed in these OHSU proposals because it assumes that the manager would be fair and unbiased. I have experienced receiving a written reprimand based solely on hearsay. I DID put a rebuttal in my file, describing the FACTS, which included physical proof. I agree with others that our union rights should NOT be tied to disciplinary action. That IS a double punishment. I thought working for
    an organization that was represented by a union would be a plus. I’ve worked in other areas that were not represented by unions. Now, I see that it has been a detriment, as my wage has been negotiated by the union rather than based on merit or national benchmarking and my retirement has been negotiated away. Please, don’t allow my rights to be taken away as well. That’s all I have left.
    OHSU…shame on you! You want national recognition for ‘ being the best’. Then rise up, INVEST in your employees and spend what you’re employees are WORTH. THEN you will have the BEST employees as well. You are losing the confidence and trust of your employees. Without trust, you will end up with a very mediocre workforce.

  42. I feel it will be a way for less senior employees to try to get people above them in trouble so they can have access to the rights the more senior employee just lost. Would cause a hostel environment

  43. The disciplinary process ,as stated by the Union contract, must be initiated anytime it is necessary and therefore there is no need to deprive an employee of his/ her Union contract rights as well. If there is continuous poor performance the disciplinary process must be used up to the firing of that employee whenever all processes have been exhausted. Poor or good performance should be dealt with the same diligence as described by the union contract without tying it with the right to keep or not your employee rights as a whole. On the same line of thoughts should we add rights to employees who perform as expected ?

  44. This is a ludicrous proposal. Taking away an employees rights to basically do anything makes them a non employee. Will we be able to do the same to them? Absolutely no to this!!

  45. I say no to all that. I’ve been here 18 years. 2 years ago I had been here 16 years and never one bit of trouble. Then in came a new manager who decided to give me trouble because 3 RN’s told her I did too much tasking and not enough patient care. So I backed off trying to keep the unit cleaned, organized, & stocked and threw myself into pt. care. So she decided to call me in again irritated that I backed off of tasking and told me I’m not allowed to opt out of my job. I could not win no matter how much I tried. I was never allowed to know who complained, I asked for her to hold a meeting with her and the 3 that complained about me so we could work things out but the answer was no. She told me to get a union rep and I was put on a 2 year discipline plan. I didn’t fight it. I didn’t want to fight. I probably should have. She left 6 months later. April 2015 was the end of the 2 years. I did nothing wrong, had never previously, in 16 years here, ever been in trouble for anything. Had good evals, got along with my managers, etc. etc. So it stands that I would feel it is unfair to lose seniority because a person can find themselves in trouble even when the are innocent of the charges. Not that it is always the case but sometimes it is the case.

  46. Crazy-making. Employee gets written warning, whether accurate or not, and can’t bid for a different job that would be a better match for all? How about a ball and chain too?

  47. Totally agree with OHSU Pharmer. This is yet another mgmt way of removing senior employees.
    I’ve experienced discipline on two occasions. It’s noteworthy that I worked at OHSU for 25 years before ever being disciplined. I am CERTAIN there is no correlation to my years of seniority and the “new revelation” that I cannot do my job.
    On one occasion despite my providing written proof of my correct performance the written warning was sent to my file anyway.
    We have manager’s that pay no attention to performance – which weakens the work unit if you have colleagues that are phoning it in.
    We have manager’s who find your “weakness” hone in on it, work it, and the next thing you know you’re going down the road of discipline. I refer to this as “being in the zone” you make one mistake and they are after you – you know they are after you and you make continual mistakes as you are under the microscope. If you remove the ability to get out of this bad situation – then mgmt has won the battle. They’ve likely removed a likely higher paid, higher seniority, employee from OHSU.
    Bottom line – taking away your contract rights in conjunction with discipline is wrong. The purpose of having a contract is having rules for mgmt to follow. Remove those and there are no rules. Which is honestly what I think OHSU is after.
    Also – you’ve worked hard for a year for a step increase – and let’s face it if they have their way it will take more than a decade to reach the top – and now they want the right to take that away as well.
    Something stinks about this negotiation – does anyone else feel OHSU is being outrageous so that AFSCME will call for a strike and then we will be locked out?

  48. I have worked here for about 17 years now and have noticed the last several years that anything to do with rewarding the employees has eroded a lot systematically everything that has previously been done to show employees that OHSU cares been taken away the annual holiday party the movie tickets the healthcare benefits that are very hard to navigate for most people and those of us on PERS are also being penalized. It sounds like they are trying to send a message that they don’t care about the employees especially if they have been here for awhile.

  49. I agree that tying discipline to other rights you have earned by seniority could start a slippery slope with managers. Possibly tying employees that are in their 3rd step of discipline to Losing the right to be placed from the preferential hire list seems acceptable. But removing rights with some who has only received a written reprimand is excessive.

  50. These just don’t seem fair. 2 people in the same department receive the same level of punishment but it affects the most senior one more harshly than it does the other. That really isn’t equal. Making it hurt more because they’ve been here longer. I’m a relatively newer employee and while I wouldn’t mind having a better chance at vacation/holiday requests, even I know I must wait my turn.

  51. What is to prevent managers from dispensing frivolous disciplinary actions and using them to get rid of people they simply do not like? What makes managers give out disciplinary actions, anyway? Personality and politics. If they don’t like you personally, they put you under a microscope and find a reason to discipline you, remove your rights, and then — sorry — lay you off (i.e., fire you), and without bumping rights it’s goodbye employee.

    All of these changes OHSU is suggesting — 17 year pay scale, loss of union rights for those subject to discipline — indicate the need for a very strong stance against management and administration. I would be willing to strike over these issues.

    1. This is exactly what happened to a colleague who was targeted by the new management. I will not talk about her case, but it can happen even without this new proposal. What we did not see was that was just the beginning. This new management found ways to get rid of many of the employees hired by the previous management. What we also did not realize was that this new management was also
      bent on union busting.

  52. This is a blatant attempt to target Senior employees. One write up and we lose our seniority rights? The Union better step to plate on this one, or forever lose any loyalty from members. How dare they even suggest such a thing.

  53. I do think the list of the discipline actions, and seniority is excessive. Why should an employee who has maybe 10 years or more, lose their rights to vacation over 1 written notice.
    and the PHL should be their right, not just only for good employees. the hiring department gets to make the decision,

  54. I think this is the MOST ridiculous idea!!!! If this is approved managers would have way too power. What if an employee has a manager who is a control freak or just a complainer who wants to make their employees life miserable. OHSU should be rewarding for good performance instead of dragging everyone down to average. It’s not fair!!!! Seniority should not be based on employees pay. Who will hold managers accountable for their performance as a manager. Basically, OHSU is trying to get rid of seniority right:(

  55. It’s about time that employees who don’t pull their weight and add to a positive work environment lose entitlements and have some repercussions for not upholding a strong work ethic. This proposal from the OHSU will not affect the vast majority of employees, and it will only help good employees. Hopefully it will motivate others who have a poor work performance.

  56. I agree with the last statement of: Shouldn’t OHSU be thinking of ways to reward good performance. There is NOTHING that is being done to give people raises based on performance. I just celebrated my 10th year here and had to take a pay CUT just to further myself because I took a AA position after being a transcriptionist. I have never had a pay raise in 10 years based on performance, yet have never had anything other than exceptional reviews. I am here every day and rarely if ever call in sick, yet, the only acknowledgement I can tap into is possibly exchanging sick time for vacation time. Which BTW those rules are too stringent. It would be nice to see how many people can actually tap into this “reward”. There are only more and more rules that give the managers at OHSU an easy out if they don’t like an employee. I do however believe that if someone is a less than stellar employee i.e. “works the system” by calling in consistently, exhausting every little bit of sick time and going unpaid for more sick time then they shouldn’t be stewards. Stewards should be the cream of the crop, the best of the best. Who disciplines managers here? Why is all the pressure put on the AFSCME represented?

  57. These punishments for getting written up are a terrible idea. Does OHSU really need fear to control its employees? I have never been written up, or even come close, but living in fear is not the reason why. It would make OHSU’s work environment that much more like a mean vice-principal is hovering over us.

  58. I think that it is criminal to try to take away employees rights that have seniority no matter what. It is easy to get written up and you will see it happen more if this passes. You may want to think that it seems fair, but if you give in this area you will see long term employees being inched out faster than they are now. I am completely against this proposal.

  59. Really? My 5 yr old kid can see the issue with this. Funny to me seems OHSU don’t care to much really about us it seems. Cut benefits, stall out pay and put in a loop hole to either force folks out or speed up the process. I would love to see the Union just lock this slow bleeding wound down. I don’t know about members but I am tired of crumbs at the cost of benefits or some other reason OHSU puts forth. Would be nice to get a windfall some time.

  60. Well you have a point on the filing the FMLA in time.
    I have had a daughter that has many medical issues. I have used my sick time sparingly for this as it was ongoing since she was born. Now she is 21 yay!
    anyways I know at one time probably 3/4 years ago she ended up in the hospital once again for two weeks. When I came back to work I filled out all the correct paper work for FMLA. My doctor did his part. Well long story short the company OHSU hired to process this ended up coming back to me and saying the doctor did not fill out one page that was required. so they faxed it to me and I faxed it to the doctors office. They ended up coming back and denying my FMLA as the doctor did not send in this one page in time!!! They said it was 2 days late! At the time my boss was really nice as I was really upset about it but she said it is not problem I still get paid for it (could still use my sick time). But, someone told me down the road they could use that against me. I have no clue if that is correct or not.

  61. The problem I have with this – and having actually experienced it here at OHSU – is the problem manager. How am I guaranteed as an employee that this type of discipline won’t be used against me just because a manager doesn’t like me? It happened in this department before where our manager was a sociopath (no I’m not a psychiatrist but she showed all the signs) and a micro-manager and NO ONE worked to her satisfaction. In my opinion this is NOT a rare occurrence and greatly concerns me. It is just one more thing that can be used against employees with no employee recourse.

    Again, I get where managers are coming from with regard to problem employees, but they already have the power. It seems more power is being taken away from the employee.

    I would suggest that if these disciplinary actions are approved that somehow the Union gets involved so that an employee is not targeted (agism, just don’t like the employee) for unjust cause.

    We are all only human beings (including and especially managers!!) and I don’t like the fact that one person can make or break my career and especially where it could be based solely on them liking me or not. And trust me, a manager can make up stuff, the burden of proof would be on the employee and if you don’t know that a manager is out to get you, it’s hard to document everything you would need to protect yourself. Again, from personal experience at OHSU.

    1. Do I get to write up my manager when I notice she shows up to work at all times of the day…from 0830 to 0900….when we have all been around for 2-3 hours?

      Where is the accountability for the managers? They already have the perks of higher pay, sipping coffee in meetings all day and looking down on their employees, oh and every weekend and holiday off!

      Why reward them? Without their army, every general would fail! Why let our “generals” kills us off one by one? What does that do for the vision and mission of OHSU?

  62. your reasoned questions and response are the very reasons a union is so important. keep up the good fight on our behalf…..Bill

  63. This is not the right path OHSU should take, or a proposal the union should accept (please don’t). life happens and If an Manager does not like someone this would give them lots of power to ruin a person.
    People should be held responsible to there behavior and actions but I believe this is wrong. Yearly raises are something people depend on, especially when merit raises don’t exist. There’s no reward for being exceptional so why take away what little is offered to us.

  64. With the exception of the final bullet point, “lose their next progression increase in pay,” and with appropriate protection from problem managers, this proposal is agreeable to me as a ‘give’ in exchange for a ‘take’ while bargaining. I think rights should be linked to performance, no matter if you’ve been employed at OHSU for one year or 30 years.

  65. You are so right ! keep fighting … it would be so nice to be acknowledged for good hard work, always being on time, and doing the right thing , going that extra mile ( by management once in awhile) . Reward good, with good, employees will work even harder. When OHSU keeps taking away, employees give up and stop caring …so very sad. Who really suffers ? THE PATIENT.

  66. This is a terrible idea. Where is the incentive to perform above and beyond? This just encourages management to punish employees.

  67. I’m all for the loss of seniority rights when certain levels of discipline have been reached, with the addition of of rewarding positive good/excellent performance as well. These scenarios need to be paired together to reflect both positive and negative behaviors. Seniority isn’t just about tenure but the ability to role model positive behavior for junior personnel and the department as whole.

  68. The management has proved time and again that they don’t care about their employees. They are striving for mediocrity. As employees become more disillusioned with how they’re treated , performing one’s job in a perfunctory fashion will become the norm. OHSU cannot be allowed to tie disciplinary action to anything !

  69. I think it’s important to address the issue of “gold bricking” – I am a solid supporter of unions. Unions need to be addressing benefits and workforce issues…not protecting employees who have a great affinity in “working” the union and creating a poisonous work atmosphere. The amount of work it takes to dislodge a problematic employee who is past the 3-6 mos period can be daunting for any manager who has a full workload. Additionally, I think it’s to the best interest of a manager to retain their employees and most will work with the employee to resolve differences. The loss of seniority and disciplinary actions are extreme and if these policies are ratified, there must be serious oversight by the union to mitigate abuse. The union needs to continue to work on reinstating benefits that were reduced at the behest of the OHSU to keep jobs and broaden those benefits to mirror those received by many other first world countries.

    1. I agree about goldbricking. I’ve seen it plenty of times. The issue for me is management accountability. Managers should be reviewed by all their direct reports. This would weed out bad managers and ones that target specific employees for discipline.

  70. I would like to say that not only is it management that will be in total control if this goes thru, leaving employees without the benefit of union intervention, but lead workers throughout OHSU who carry out the daily work for uninvolved management will also play a large role.

    For years I worked in a department where the lead worker was the go between for our manager and the employees. The manager leaned very heavily upon that person and was clueless about what went on. During my time in that department the lead worker was able to fire two administrative staff, and then hire his/her two best friends to take the positions. Soon, it became clear to everyone that the two best friends were receiving far more flexibility in time off constant changes in hours, and work part time, to suit their personal needs and even able to work from home on many occasions. Employees began asking for the same flexibility, but were told absolutely not. We all held the same position in that department and some had more seniority than the “best friends”. It didn’t matter; the lead worker had carte blanche and a clueless manager. I finally became so fed up that I spoke up many times and when the lead worker went to our manager, he sided of course, with the lead worker and I was reprimanded by the manager.

    So, my point is this, if we lose our ability to call upon the union to come to our aid when we are treated unfairly or others are given freedom to do whatever they please by our supervisors/managers/lead workers, we lose everything.

    I believe this is OHSU’s way to run the union out. For the very reasons this is being proposed is why we NEED the union. It’s so blatant and another way for OHSU to remove the more senior employees. I vote to strike if OHSU will not bend on this issue.

  71. (I am concerned about this possible decision regarding loss of seniority due to written reprimands etc. )
    I have witnessed fellow employees ( who are good in their professional work area ) but who clash with a manager regarding decisions for the department. The mgr in this case didn’t understand the section she was assigned to, who just doesn’t like the employee and used some weak excuses to reprimand the said employee. The AFSCME rep in this case, did a poor job of representing the said employee who found himself at the mercy of the mgr., as well as the upper mgr. of the department. The employee was finally able to “escape ” the section and re-locate with an unfair blemish to his reputation as a result of “mgr. gossip”. Hope this opinion isn’t too convoluted , thank you.

  72. Absolutely not! Seniority rights should never be touched (There should never be a punitive environment anyway – we aren’t children) I have had some co-workers who probably should have been let go long before they were, but taking away seniority rights should never be on the table…ever.

    1. Yes they should be for behavior related problems. An individual who reaches a level of discipline in a progression cycle should not have the same benefits as a non disciplined member.

  73. That’s a lot of privileges to loose for a year based on a written reprimand in the last 12 months. My understanding is the written reprimand is just the first step in the disciplinary process. I’d agree with these steps being taken a the second step of the disciplinary process. However, someone receiving just a written reprimand could be the result of a misunderstanding, miscommunication, or personality conflict between the employee and manager.

  74. Seriously folks?? You are worried about a progression discipline system that if once you reach a certain level of discipline you may lose benefits of seniority. Get over yourselves. We don’t lose the Union but make all persons in the Union accountable for their behavior. AFSCME should encourage more people in the union to move into manager/leadership roles/positions through positive leadership trainings (Emerging Leaders Program) and other avenues of growth. This will help create a culture of collaboration between management and Union employees.
    Let’s be clear, no one walks into a manager’s office and gets written up, there is a progression of discipline that the Union is involved in prior to ever having a written reprimand. If we want to be the best, then we need the best people on board all over campus. This is not a new “discipline” cycle in bargaining (IBEW IAMAW) or non-bargaining entities. It’s a very standard policy that pushes for high performing people.
    I do feel that if we have negative repercussions for poor behavior then we need to encourage OHSU to put in place positive reinforcement measures for the high performing individuals. Transparency on both sides will do OHSU a lot of good.

    1. I think a lot of people here would disagree with you about getting written up. It can happen at any time based upon a manager’s whim.

      The worst thing about this is that co-workers can start patrolling more senior employees so that more vacations and job bids are freed up. How many co-workers will try to precipitate a write-up on a senior employee so that employee is no longer eligible for an upcoming holiday, vacation, or job bid?

      This is not a good structure for a professional organization. There are many better ways to hold people accountable than to create a situation where senior employees are free game for their managers and co-workers that they don’t get along with.

  75. I am an excellent employee. It does nothing for me to punish the less fortunate rather than to reward me for my good work. Very regressive indeed!

  76. Hi, just briefly I would like to state this is very scary for employees. I am someone that has just received a layoff. The last two years in our department their has been a shower of disciplinary actions taken against the employees of our department. Many of them against me and I have been able to prove them wrong and avoid the write up, but one of the disciplinary actions I had no way of proving and I got written-up for something I had not done.. According to the new rules it would’ve disqualified me for my severance package. It would’ve been really terrible. This that I am stating didn’t happen just to me in my department but most of my coworkers. I have no doubt it’s very easy to write up an employee especially when the employer has so much financial gain. Thank you.

  77. This is ridiculous! I am the perfect example of how management tried to fire a good employee for bogus reasons! How about we propose giving us the ability to file a grievance against ANY type of discipline given regardless of how severe it is! In my example, my manager was discriminating against me and now we have some legal issues! And I was not able to file any type of grievance!! OHSU has bad managers. Not all of them but they have a HUGE problem with incompetent managers that BREAK THE LAW and now this is being added to protect the managers that do wrong!! I am sure that these proposals are coming from the HR senior manager that I am complaining about to BOLI! AFCME you really need to talk to me and stop shunning me! You need to hear my story so you can fight for us and the injustices!! Email me ASAP to tell you exactly what is going on! I know you know a bit but u need to know EVERYTHING OHSU management did to me.

  78. I read the recent bargaining update, 5/28/15. While there are many things OHSU is proposing that I don’t agree with, one thing I would like to comment on is the preferred hire list.

    I think the preferred hire list represents our union poorly in many instances. Yes, the preferred hire list is a huge part of being a union member, and yes, there are many exceptional employees who are hired off of the preferred hire list. I know if I ever lose my current position, I want the preferred hire list to be there as a safety net…but there are also many employees who are a nightmare to work with, and they end up on the preferred hire list. I know that the union is here to protect all union members, but when we defend and promote union members who are clearly poor performers or problematic, it reflects poorly on the union as a whole.

    I am not the expert on this. I don’t know the ins and outs of the preferred hire list, and I hope I never have to. However, I think this conversation is worth engaging in, as the preferred hire list has a very negative connotation at OHSU, and if there is anything we can do to turn that around I think it will help with the image and attitude about our union and the potentially negative implications of being hired off of the preferred hire list.

  79. OHSU take backs are just too much! We saw our health benefits shrink. We’ve lost retirements benefits to the point that I doubt I will ever be able to retire. Our pay has gone down (I see the difference in every check), and the small increases in our pay is not keeping up with inflation. OHSU has a pattern of saying the take backs are small and inconsequential but that is not true. They are eroding away at our very livelihood. OHSU wants to chip away at our seniority and out paid time off now. I say absolutely not! If we allow OHSU these changes to seniority and paid time off, the changes will not stay stagnant. They will take more. OHSU is not altruistic. I have a suggestion- AFSCME please post or send out a time lime that includes all of the OHSU take backs for the last 5 or so years and share that with all of the AFSCME folks at OHSU. I think that people are forgetting how much they have taken away from us. OHSU says they have to roll back pay and benefits when the economy is not doing well and then they say the same thing when the economy is doing well but they state that they have to take back more because they anticipate the economy will turn. And all the while, the upper management drives around in Jaguars (I’ve seen them parking on the hill) and get million dollar bonuses (which made headlines in the Willamette Weekly). Just say no!

  80. Our Union has already given up enough of our rights in our contract. We should, in the very least, be able to count on our seniority to remain intact. What if the discipline wasn’t warranted?

      1. I’m so sick of hearing from the AFSCME reps, ‘Union Leadership’ we are only as strong as our membership. Who is going to stand up and lead. Lead us to strike, lead us to stand up.

        I always thought that Union employees get the better deal. Not AFSCME Local 328. We get the craps. Look at what the nurses get at OHSU. 3x the amount of vacation we get. Their tuition benefits didn’t change. We can thank them for our $50 trimet bus pass. ONA reps are leading. We are a cash cow for AFSMCE. It’s time that we start getting our moneys worth or we should decertify and find a Union that will get us a good contract and stop pointing the finger saying we aren’t engaged. ENGAGE US, LEAD US.

        1. If you know what needs to be done, what are you waiting for? Why do you need a charismatic leader to tell you to do it? Get your coworkers engaged, get them ready to strike. Unions aren’t dictatorships. The ultimate democracy is participatory. So participate.

          1. The linked graph only charts AFSCME represented employees who make less than 50K. It doesn’t include wages of AFSCME employees making more than 50K. At OHSU the average wage is around 44K.

            Joe Robertson’s bonus was more than our Executive Director’s annual salary.

            The truth about Unions is that that only work when everyone works. If paid staff and a few volunteer activists are expected to be a Union all by themselves, then you are giving away most of your power. You can rail against it, but the fact is that union power is rooted in member power and their willingness to use it.

            At the end of the day we may just have a fundamentally different understanding of what unions are and how they work most effectively. I appreciate that you share your thoughts with us.

  81. This would all be good if OHSU had good management, and OHSU had good HR people and if OHSU could hire Managers that don’t take personal vendettas against the people that work for them. Sense this will never happen rest assured we will have no more AFSCME. If you want and example just take a good look at CFS Accounts Payable and Payroll.

  82. Right on David, because payroll and AP are staffed by such high performing employees. When I ask my co-workers which department is best – it is always AP – hands down. We are lucky to have such dedicated, trustworthy employees working there.

  83. I think this is outrageous–OHSU is obviously trying to rid itself of “senior” employees.
    For starters, why don’t “non-senior” employees face TWO or more consequences when “disciplined”, why only us long-term workers??
    Second, anybody they don’t like can be “disciplined” for ANY reason.
    Please let them know what you think of this very divisive and insulting “proposal”.

  84. These proposals are ludicrous and unbelievable. After many years of working in the pharmacy department, I’ve seen my share of people being targeted for unknown reasons. Accepting these proposals will just make things worst. I do not know why someone in his/her right mind will vote for something like this. Please lets not let it happen.

  85. I feel that the Union needs to be for the protection of the worker not siding with the employer. We have little enough say as it is. It always feels one sided against the worker. Please do not engage in allowing to do this to our employees represented by AFSME!

    1. The Union is all of us, not just the bargaining team or paid staff. If you don’t want some of this contract language, help stop it. Speak up, and get angry at the right people – the Union isn’t doing this to you, OHSU is.

    2. Jackie, you are the union. A union’s power comes from it’s collective members. There are only four AFSCME staff members that represent over five thousand employees. All the other active members, such as stewards, the executive board, navigators, the bargaining team, are made up of co-workers. You don’t like what you see, please get involved! There are lot’s of opportunities to support your fellow union members, both big and small :-)! Together we are the union!

    3. Let me be the first non Local 328 person to reply to you Jackie.

      I agree, our union leadership is too soft and caves on nearly every management proposal.

      1. In the 15 years I have been at OHSU, I have been both classified and unclassified, and consequently, have experienced the “benefits” that come with these classifications. I don’t think it is our union leadership, it is our members. Twice I have voted to strike, but my fellow members chose otherwise. I have accepted the majority decision. This time, let us hope that the majority will become engaged and informed to vote to protect what little we have left.

      2. Local 328 puts everything to a vote. A strike poll will go out, members will have the opportunity to vote, and UNION LEADERSHIP WILL GO WITH THE WILL OF THE MEMBERSHIP. They do not cave, they go with what the members have asked of them. MEMBERS WHO ARE UNWILLING TO STRIKE, LET ME SAY AGAIN MEMBERS WHO ARE UNWILLING TO STRIKE, GET INVOLVED AND SUPPORT THE BARGAINING TEAM IS WHY WE HAD SUCH LOSSES AT THE TABLE TWO YEARS AGO! If we don’t take action together, and stand behind each other, we have absolutely no reason to complain about our co-workers, who VOLUNTEERED to negotiate a contract on our behalf. We have no reason to complain about an executive board who has VOLUNTEERED to conduct union business on our behalf. We have no reason to complain about union stewards who have VOLUNTEERED to represent us when we find ourselves in trouble. We have no reason to complain about union navigators who have VOLUNTEERED to help us find the right resource for our issue. Maybe we should complain about the four AFSCME Staff member who are tasked with representing 5,000 plus individuals, who run from one meeting to another trying to help enforce the contract that was bargained for by our co-workers who VOLUNTEERED. So who is caving? TIME TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR FOLKS. If you aren’t an AFSCME member, if you aren’t involved, and if all you do is complain about our bad contract and how you are getting screwed, look in the mirror. STAND IN SOLIDARITY, GET INVOLVED! The memberships will or apathy will be represented, it’s your choice!

  86. You know, my father was with the IBEW union for 55 years before he passed last year. He was so proud of me joining the union with OHSU, because he knew the benefits the union would bring me. These requested changes proposed to the contract by our employer I’m very sad to see. If an employee is doing poorly then it should be reported and followed up on just like any other job you can get in our economy. There are guidelines and steps to follow for when you are written up for poor performance. These requested changed to seniority are silly really, if you work here for 15 plus years-& get the time in then you deserve the respect and benefits of the Union Contract. Even felons get “three strikes”, and if you are on that path with that many strikes against you and your performance then at that point managers should be way ahead of dealing with the problem before it gets worse. I’ve witnessed the trials and tribulations of having a “bad worker” who takes advantage and I think Management should be able to tell the difference between a poor worker and a whiner, that just wants to put in a grievience because they “Feel” they are being “picked on” with a poor evaluation-management should be able to clearly state an issue to be corrected with out getting punitive– It sounds to me like they are more concerned with having to deal with the grievience process than training and supporting our FABULOUS HARD WORKING staff.

  87. Wow! The reason we are union members is so we can bargain a fair contract, that protects us from bad management decisions. Not all managers are bad, but just like employees, there are great managers out there, and some that really are on the opposite end of the spectrum. How could a rational person consider giving up hard bargained contractual rights because of discipline that may be just, or unjust depending on the judgement of a manager. There is a reason for the progressive discipline principle. We are human and we can make mistakes. With progressive discipline poor employees are identified and eventually discharged. With these crazy proposals there is a huge potential for abuse, with absolutely no checks and balances, and no protection from a crappy manager. NO! NO! NO! NO! Not in any sense okay! I will vote to strike if these are in the final contract proposal. Think of the collective knowledge that the over five thousand, AFSCME represented employee’s bring every day in making OHSU a “world class institution.” That knowledge can’t be quickly trained or replaced. If we strike OHSU would have no choice but to be reasonable and actually make an effort to bargain in good faith for a FAIR contract!

  88. I think that these proposals are an awful idea, and another way for management to try to run off senior employees. Those of you who have posted comments about this proposal being a good idea, or that it won’t affect you, you are being naïve and short-sighted. This allows a good employee to be written up for something they may or may not have done, and suddenly their contract rights are suspended. Lump this together with disappearing differentials, decreased UPP contributions, increased time to pay progressions, etc., etc., why would a senior employee (or anybody for that matter) want to stay here with takebacks being piled on?

    OHSU management wants all highly paid employees to leave, so they can replace you with lower paid employees. If they can’t get you to leave by decreasing your compensation package, they will start piling on disciplinary actions. I would like to think that our management wouldn’t resort to such tactics, but I’ve seen managers go after employees until they quit, or fortunately for the employee in one case, the department becomes short-handed.

    Those who have mentioned that they think the Union is weak, and hasn’t done enough, you need to realize that you are the Union. Fortunately the Union has representatives that disperse information to us throughout the year, and try to get us to rally together at crucial times. If the members of the Union ignore these calls to action, and aren’t willing to show their support, the Union is absolutely powerless. If you aren’t willing to put your money where you mouth is when the Union sends out their survey about who is willing to strike, the Union has to go back to negotiations and say “I guess we’ll take your offer, because our members seem to be okay with what you are proposing”.

    This is why management continues to come to the table with these ridiculous proposals. They know that AFSCME represented employees are too scared to stand up for themselves and strike for what they believe is theirs’ (they are afraid of retaliation, which this proposal would promote, or they are afraid of losing their job/compensation, etc.). Would you pay fair market value for a car if you knew the seller would be willing to keep quiet and take less money? This is exactly the approach management is taking, because historically, we’ve been happy to keep quiet and accept less.

    One of my co-workers mentioned to me the other day that he was better off 20+ years ago when he was hired. Back then his pay went further, he actually received money back from his benefit allowance (i.e. insurance was cheaper/better compensated for), and he felt appreciated by management. Why should we ever have to accept being in a worse place than we were 2 decades ago? Don’t accept this ridiculous proposal, or any of the other ridiculous proposals management is trying to sell us. I want more in exchange for my hard work and dedication!

  89. **LISTEN UP, Union Members!!
    We’re trying to get as many people as possible to show up to the Bargaining meeting anytime from 9AM – 4PM on Thurs, JUNE 4th at 6025 E Burnside Street.

    -This coming THURSDAY is when bargaining begins on ECONOMIC proposals affecting us ALL!
    -Did you know that ANYONE can go to those Bargaining meetings?! And I’m guessing nobody does! LET’S MAKE A STAND!
    -We need to act together, STAND UNITED!
    -We need to let OHSU know that our UNION is STRONG! And that we ARE PAYING ATTENTION to what is going on and what they are trying to take from us!
    -I want to see as many people as possible in that room, glaring with their best STINK EYE at OHSU management.
    -Just imagine their faces when 100+ people file into that meeting to hear them discuss our fate. All of us standing united behind our UNION as they go to bat for us.
    -What will they do with an AUDIENCE peering in at them while they try to TAKE $$$$$ from their own EMPLOYEES?!
    -We need to GET FIRED UP!! We need to REPRESENT!
    -Spread the word! We already have a large commitment from Pharmacy showing up at 09:00 (almost all of our PM and night people). Anyone working day shift should try to stop by the meeting after their shift as well. SPREAD THE WORD!
    -TOGETHER we CAN make a difference!
    **GO TEAM!

  90. I come from Florida, where you are never going to have a union. As such, I always had this pie in the sky idea about the union working for the little guy. I truly believed in that idea, so when I got the job here, I was happy to see there was a union. I even gave extra money from my pay to help the union politically. However, I am quickly having the rose colored glasses ripped from they eyes. I have no motivation anymore to be excellent in my position and strive to make the unit better. Many of my co-workers with seniority do not work very hard, they are on auto pilot, cruising through with no effort at working hard, helping the team, building success, etc. I have never been this way, so I work hard every shift. As a reward for my excellence, I will never get Thanksgiving or Christmas off, I do not get the overtime shifts that I bid for, I do not get the vacation days that I request, because they have seniority. It is demotivating for anyone who is new. I understand this does not apply to every work unit, but it definitely applies to mine and I would love to have some sort of penalty for people who clearly do not have any desire to fulfill their work obligations at the expense of their co-workers. I frankly am tired of the culture of seniority above all else. I was in the Air Force and fully understand the value of time in service, but there were also expectation of the senior personnel and I do not see that here. I see here seniority rules and your legitimate concerns matter not. In fact, we can not even discuss it. We can not have a dialogue that includes everyone. It is non negotiable. With that in mind, I ask, who is really creating an “average” work environment?

    1. I appreciate the alternative viewpoint. It’s important that people who see things differently express themselves and say clearly why they do, instead of just complaining. Thanks.

    2. Has your department considered a consensus agreement, regarding vacation bidding? I guarantee that at least 6 or 7 employees in a 10-person department/work unit are willing to consider it, if the same individual has been the only person granted the vacation surrounding the coveted holiday for the last 15-20 years straight.
      I do understand completely your frustration; I will never be able to consider bidding for anything of any value — but I guess it’s my own fault, I should have applied at OHSU back in the late 1980s… Oh wait, I forgot. I was in the second grade at that time.

      But I’ve found AFSCME is very supportive of consensus agreements. Whether or not your coworkers in your specific work unit are is another story entirely.

  91. Its seems to me that the management at ohsu wants to make it harder and harder for employees. these proposals are not right. Double penalizing and employee is wrong. I thought I worked for an institution that others should strive to be like, but what I am finding out is that management does not care about there employees. We are the people who make things operate smoothly and we should be treated with the same respect that management want to be treated with

  92. Most all of these proposals are bad for employees. I hope the union does not cave on seniority or the UPP 50% cut.

    If that happens I will have to reconsider my union membership as my position is open to become unclassified as soon as I say the word.

      1. I personally would be in favor of striking over either of the UPP or Seniority issues, however, I really doubt 328 bargainers will play hardball on this so the concept of striking is most probably moot.

    1. Mike Drain, I read the UPP Proposal as shift from UPP to wages. Not a cut to me. I will probably save some and spend some. I know I should save it all but man I need to replace my deck. May be I am missing something how is it cut to me?

      1. There are two problems with the cut to UPP.
        (1) It is a decrease. How much will the value of the 6% increase you receive now be worth after your next step or cost of living increase. It becomes less than 6%. How much will it be worth in 10 – 15 years or if you move to another higher paying class?
        (2) The 401k and 403b plans were never meant to be relied on as sole retirement accounts when they were initially created. They were intended to provide an avenue to supplement pensions and investments. As employers eliminate pensions, we may see a huge number of people in 15 – 20 years who have zero to retire on other than social security. It is socially irresponsible for OHSU to give a little extra money to employees and say you can choose to save it or spend it now, which ever you prefer. You can bet a majority of those at the lower end of the earning spectrum will see a need to use it now. OHSU wants to be a leader, yet they are looking to follow in the ways of GM and United who have shed their pension plans on to the US Gov’t through their bankruptcies and now turn huge profits.

        1. Brian, I was in favor of the UPP proposal until I saw your post. I didn’t consider raises from getting a better position at OHSU. Thanks for enlightening me.

  93. I am in favor of OHSU’s proposal. I work with two employees with 30 years of seniority. One of them is there to only collect a paycheck and has no desire to work as a team member, nor do the job that is expected. He has been talked to multiple times, is defensive and has an excuse for everything. He gets the first shot at everything just because of seniority and not because of his contributions to the mission of OHSU. Meanwhile we have staff who are doing everything they can to contribute and engage in the job, like myself, and we do not get rewarded with the prime vacations or other seniority based perks of working for OHSU. I have been with OHSU 12 and a half years and I am still pretty low on the seniority list thanks to a lot of staff who are not going anywhere, but are here for the sole purpose of collecting a great paycheck and union perks.

    1. Thanks for commenting, it’s good to be reminded that there is a broad range of opinion among the membership on many issues.

  94. I agree with Timothy about the seniority piece especially for vacations and shifts. I have been at OHSU for over 5 years. There are several people who are punching the clock, talking about how they are PER this or that – 2 of which do just enough to get by. The only time they seem to do anything is when the manager is around. Their only sense is of entitlement and not team work. They treat patients like everyone else – like the patients are lucky to be served by them.

    My co-workers and their attitudes are the #1 and #2 reasonsI consider quitting OHSU. I know the grass may not greener other places – but at least I will be able to earn my way to the best without a 25 year employee always in line to get first crack at vacation and shifts.

    I think this also has an impact on diversity. Many of the night shift employees appear diverse – in my unit and others as I come on the floor. The day shift employees are not, none at all. These diverse employees have families too they want to see. They may also want day shift roles. Where is the equity for them or any of us – when the sole factor is seniority? How can we expect to hire and keep these individuals when they are blocked by other Union employees from accessing better jobs and time off? Not based upon skill or shared desire to have Thanksgiving off and sacrifice by a team but seniority? My neighbor who is an African American was offered a position at OHSU as a RT- why did he turn it down – he said flat out he could not be guaranteed to receive fair consideration for time off. He knew despite working at Legacy for 15 years – he would be working all crumby shifts for years to come. I told him he made the right decision.

    Has the Union looked at a race and gender for pay? I would bet the white males are way beyond the rest of us. The system of everyone moves up doesn’t redistribute the wealth to those us below. The top make more and more then get same annual pay increase % – and still get their shifts and vacations they want.

    I hope the Union will make this change – I think it will help employee morale by allowing those who are best additional rights. I would feel more likely to fight with Union if I didn’t feel like they always defended the poor performers and used seniority as the first determinator of rights.

    I hope the Union will own upto it is creation and on going support of the problem it creates with new hires and especially those of color.

    I will likely hear all the reason why seniority is good, but my experience and many others is our reality. Our reality with seniority is a bad one. If the Union wants to appeal to the me, my friends, and neighbors, seniority needs to change. I know this blog and contract is about us and OHSU but why don’t we change ourselves to be more progressive? I see Union relies on its members but please don’t let the angry employees who have the vacation time to serve the Union and be the opposed to everything drive the agenda. I feel the Union is like Congress really out of touch with the common employee and serving special interests. I hope you can find a way to be progressive and think about the real future not what my co-workers who are hanging on for 3 more years want.

    1. We have made several changes in the contract over the years, including this year to give lower seniority employees better access to vacation and holidays. Maybe we need to do more. I think we are open to that We also beleive that managagement already has the tools to deal with under performing employees. We are not in favor of a system which gives management incentives to discipline people.

      1. I don’t think the union does enough to support the mangers in their efforts to discipline employees. One of our employees has had numerous talks about poor behavior under different supervisors. Every time this employee pulls the union rep in to defend his poor behavior with poor excuses…(I have heard his excuses outside of disciplinary action, and they are just that excuses to protect himself.) I caught him dead to rights clocking in improperly, and one of his coworkers was aware as well. If it had been any where else he would have been fired on the spot, for stealing company time. The coworker thought he should be fired, I pushed management for the minimum of a written warning. The union told management they could nothing more than an oral warning. Six years later this employee is still here and is sneaking around wasting company time. I see him looking over his shoulder every time he leaves his work area to see who is watching. If the union rep could see what I see, they would be more on the side of management. Management is aware this is a problem employee, but cannot “define” this person’s actions in terms of disciplinary action, unless we sit over him everyday. Yet this “senior” employee gets all the benefits of being a senior employee.

      2. I think we need to more to break down the lack of opportunity to advance. As a person of “color”, I find seniority holds me back too often. I feel like waiting around for people to retire instead of earning my way in is so 1950.

  95. Sort of like separate but equal. We now get to ride bus but must sit in the back. The people that have been here forever have so many points it just doesn’t matter – give me 10,000 points – when I can’t out earn in anyway the more senior person it doesn’t matter. Earn – my way.

    This still doesn’t speak to Union helping to solidify the whites (usually male) sitting in the front of bus. Our bus takes everyone to same place – some just in with a lot more comfort and rights than others. This is not change – just a gesture meant to appease us at the back of the bus while front get more and more.

    1. I know people get tired of hearing this, but the members are not only the source of power of this local they also run it. Board elections are this fall. The board sets local policy and we get new members all the time. Watch for the announcement of nominations sometime around August.

  96. This proposal is wrong on so many levels and one has to ask what problems they are really trying to resolve (and trust you get a straight answer). I’ve been here for 17 yrs, and an exceptional employee and am pretty much a one person department. There is no doubt that we have a few dead weight employees and a few dead weight managers. While I have no proof and don’t want to accuse all managers of this… I have seen, and I have heard through discussions on public transit and in blogs, that there have been times when positions have been eliminated or restructured in a way that people have to reapply for the new position. The appearance is that this occurs in order to get rid of an under performing employee. No department or manager wants to inherit an under performing employee. I think this is one of the problems they are trying to solve.

    The contract provides a process that is EQUAL TO ALL employees. OHSU has some managers who do not like to deal with conflict, confrontation or the contract. When they find it easier to eliminate a position rather than doing this part of their job, it isn’t fair to the employee and it isn’t good for OHSU. IF this is a problem OHSU is trying to resolve, they have only their own management to blame. Leadership and and management needs to clean out their own rank and file before blaming the Union and senior staff members for this problem.

    OHSU says they want to be leaders and hire the best. Their actions show that this is true if you are a certain class of employee. It makes me feel devalued when they increase the number of vice presidents, vice provosts, associate deans, and high dollar faculty, but then don’t want to pay for the people who support them and make their work possible. This combined with the push for early retirement shows they don’t value senior AFSCME staff who should be part of leadership and mentorship and instead wants to pay the lowest wage possible. Well OHSU, you get what you pay for!

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