One of the biggest surprises of the bargaining season so far started to shape up on Wednesday when email traffic started to blow up with Local 328 members from the Pharmacy department planning to attend bargaining. Honestly, we expected two or three at a time to cycle in and out over the course of the day.
It was an incredible lift for the bargaining team when almost 20 Pharmacy employees, along with a few other members, showed up with signed petition in hand, to directly confront the management bargaining team with their concerns about OHSU’s slide to the middle of the pack. You can read the petition here. Please go to our Facebook page to check out the group photo and use the comments to thank these members for their support.
The day was taken up with an exchange of counter-proposals; OHSU responded to the union first, and later the union responded, in part, to OHSU.
There were some highs and lows to OHSU’s response. The high point was OHSU’s proposal to raise the minimum wage at OHSU to $15.00/hour, in increments over the next three years. This came as a surprise to the union, but frankly we are pleased they made this proposal. They are doing the right thing by low-wage workers — now they need to step up and do the right thing for the rest of our members.
Unfortunately, there was little good news in the rest of OHSU’s counters to the union’s proposals.
- OHSU rejected the union’s proposal to raise health-care contributions for members
- OHSU rejected the union’s proposal to stop benchmarking wages to the middle of the market and use the 66th percentile instead
- OHSU rejected the union’s vacation-increase proposal
- OHSU rejected the union’s proposal for parking expense relief by having a parking-fee holiday in December
- OHSU rejected the union’s proposal for weekend differentials
- OHSU rejected the union’s proposal for subsidy pay for members called up to active duty in the military
- OHSU rejected the union’s across-the board (cost of living) pay increase proposal
- OHSU counter-proposed across-the-board pay increases of 1.25%, 1.25%, 1.00% and 1.25% over the next four years
We also received a lengthy verbal preamble to their response, telling us that OHSU has already shared its prosperity with us, and now it’s time for us to give back and to come down to Earth. We just don’t realize how good we have it. Who knew?
You get the idea.
Now, it would be unfair to say that no progress has been made. OHSU did give indications that we could make progress on some of our other economic proposals, but the scope on which they seemed willing to move was quite limited.
The union spent most of the day working in caucus on our response. Altogether, between the two sides, there are almost 50 specific economic proposals in play — that’s a lot of moving parts. We responded in detail with two packages of proposals that could generate some forward progress. None of the progress or exchanges resulted in any tentative agreements on Thursday, and none addressed or made progress on what we consider the major economic issues.
All of the major economic proposals and counter-proposals will be addressed next week in mediation. In the next few days we will publish an article explaining the mediation process and what to expect going forward.