Preparing for a Strike

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There are two phases of strike preparation: the preparation of individual members to go on strike and the preparations the local union must make in order to coordinate and sustain a strike. For the time being, we will present this information in the form of checklists for easy review. As we get closer to a strike vote (if one is necessary), we will present more detailed information. Be sure to read our Strike FAQ article as well.

The main things to take away from this is that you will need to prepare economically to weather a strike as individuals and for your families, and you will need to consider what you can offer in terms of volunteer support to coordinate and maintain a strike and an effective picket presence. There will be lots of opportunities to help, both on the front lines and behind the scenes.

Things members need to do before going on strike — starting now

  • Health Care: Get routine medical visits/wellness checks out of the way for you and your family. If you anticipate needing these dental/vision appointments/services, get them taken care of now.
  • Mortgage/Rent: Talk to your bank or credit union and negotiate a plan for the possible duration of a strike before your next payment is due. Banks and credit-card companies will work with you if you plan ahead.
  • Taxes: If you have property taxes due, ask if an accommodation can be arranged to defer them for a while.
  • Utilities: Request to spread out your payments.
  • Insurance: Investigate ways to spread out your premiums.
  • Child Support: Contact your ex-spouse and try to work something out (but do work something out — don’t just stop paying).
  • Purchases:
    • Only buy necessities — save your money.
    • Hold off on purchasing any optional luxury items or taking on any new monthly payments until after the contract is settled.
    • Stock up on non-perishable food. If you have a freezer, start filling it.
    • Making credit-card purchases while on strike is not recommended; if you must, use a line of credit with lower interest. Make the minimum payment if necessary.

Things the union must do before and during a strike

Green tasks require member volunteers; all others would primarily be the responsibility of paid Local 328 staff, elected Local leaders and supporters from Oregon AFSCME and other unions.

  • Find a strike headquarters.
  • Organize strike, picketing and finance committees.
  • Recruit and train picket captains.
  • Hold a pre-strike briefing conference with picket captains, stewards and all committee members.
  • Prepare picket signs and slogans.
  • Decide where to picket, the hours of picketing and the number of pickets required.
  • Develop guidelines for picket-line operations.
  • Decide how much of the union’s funds need to be set aside for strike-related expenses.
  • Negotiate a strike protocol with OHSU and the police.
  • Decide how to respond to members who cross the picket line.
  • Arrange with other labor groups to join and support the picket line.
  • Arrange accommodations for the physical needs of picketers (portable bathroom facilities, food, water, warmth, lots of coffee).
  • Consider alternative picket duties, such as childcare, webmaster, phone coordinator.
  • Set up a communications system with picket captains and the members.
  • Have union counselors available to assist strikers facing emotional and financial problems.

16 thoughts on “Preparing for a Strike”

  1. Is it just my imagination or is there more strike talk happening this time around than in years past? I don’t recall hearing much in 2012. I don’t recall hearing much in 2009. I was here for 2006 and 2003 but, honestly, I wasn’t paying much attention those years.

    Regardless, I stand by the idea that I’m ready to walk if they won’t be fair with us. It’s just ridiculous. Enough is enough.

  2. Can the Union help us in advance by suspending dues? I know it not a lot but every little bit will help. I can try to do all these things to prepare but as a single mom, with college debt, rent, and other expenses I really cannot afford to miss a day of pay. I fear the scorn and dismay I will face from co-workers but I have to worry about my family. Sadly, I think the OT opportunities may serve me and family better than striking.

    1. In the short term, maybe, but people before you sacrificed so that you can have what you enjoy.The OHSU progression increase proposal, all by itself, will take $13,000 out of your pocket. Can you afford that? Without a union, that’s the deal you would be handed along with a raft of 1% pay increases. Sometimes you have larger social and ethical responsibilities than trying to suck up overtime while other people are sacrificing so that you can have a better contract.

      1. I am not a math person but know 1% is not enough. I don’t understand how else I lose $13,000 – I make about $14.00 an hour now – are you saying my rate will be cut?

        Sorry it just so confusing, but you saying I will lose this money – is OHSU proposing to reduce my $14.00 an hour?

      2. That was kind of harsh. I know more than one single mom working at OHSU who pretty much have to live paycheck to paycheck. “emiller” is simply trying to figure out what will be best for her family. And family should always be the first priority. And yes, if she could hold out for a better wage that would help her family but don’t be so judgmental as she tries to work things out.

  3. I have some saved up for a rainy day fund, but had to deplete some of it when both my cat and dog got sick at the same time. I called TIA-Cref to see what options are available for using some of my retirement. You can withdraw money
    and pay a penalty and taxes or you can get a loan at 4%. You make your own terms to pay it back. The customer service agent also mentioned that if you default nothing happens; it does not go on your credit report – not that I would do that – just saying. This is just brainstorming to see what the options are. I am also looking at getting a weekend job at a winery. I know it will not pay a lot, but it will put food on the table.

  4. @emiller,
    I do understand your conflict. Please refer to the 17 year pay progression blog. Quick summary : ohsu gives newbies so so pay increases, and at ten years or so you would top out with bare minimum increases. I think the message is to leave ohsu so they can replace you with a less expensive employee.

    Take care

  5. Matt is correct; there hasn’t been this much “noise” about a Strike since I’ve been here – 15 years! All I can say is “It’s about time”! OHSU’s economic proposals for the upcoming new contract are HOG-WASH. And they come on top of years and years of nothing but take-backs. It really is hard to believe but it is all true. We really have no choice, the way I see it. I’ve had enough and I am ready to stand my ground. NO MORE TAKE-BACKS, OHSU ! ! ! ! !

  6. Strikes are scary, let us not beat around the bush. What is even worst is the lack of respect that OHSU has shown to us, both union members and fair share members alike. They are counting on us to have such low value in ourselves that we roll over and take what they want to give us.
    Do you have such low self-esteem that you take such a insulting offer, would you stand for this treatment in a personal relationship? This is in many ways a personal relationship. I for one will not stand for the abuse, myself worth is high.
    How can we look our children in the eye tell them stand up to bullies, do the right thing, and protect those that can not protect themselves when we as adults can not do what we ask our children to do.
    What example dose that show?
    Fear is good, its mothers natures way of keeping us alive, but it also keeps us chained.
    I have asked many of you where do you stand?
    I now ask you, how do you view yourself, yourself worth, your value?
    What example are you setting?
    What statement are you making?
    Let us band together and send a strong message, let us prove to OHSU leadership that they underestimated our willingness to stand strong.
    Yes, strikes are scary but sometimes you fight because you have no other choice, we must stand united for life on ones knees isn’t a life, its just survival at it most basic form.

    1. They didn’t cave, they compromised because OHSU was still a state agency, subject to the governor, and the governor intervened. That’s not true today.

      1. Well then I’m not sure why you didn’t mention that. And lets not pretend that if Gov. Kate Brown called up Joe Robertson and wanted to talk to him frankly about the strike that he wouldn’t listen. You know OHSU couldn’t last more than a few days without AFSCME. And a key difference between the nurses and AFSCME staff is that bedside nurses all have one main function, take care of patients. Sure they have their specialities, but those types of employees can be replaced easier than AFSCME staff who perform a wide range of functions.

  7. OHSU has met the Knight Cancer Challenge. They have $1 billion now for cancer research. They’re going to hire 300 new scientists.

    That will require additional support staff.

    Do you think we’ll see any of it to encourage us to continue working for a “world-class” institution?

    I’ll just let that hang there . . .

  8. I think the union should highlight in their strike preparation list the fact that we may take a very low interest loan out on our retirement plans to cover living expenses should we end up striking. It is a very simple process ( one form ) and it is kind of fitting that we use a little of our future resources to help ensure that we ACTUALLY have a fair retirement income when we need it by standing up to management now. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m saving a little out of every paycheck to help cover any losses should we vote to strike. It hurts, especially since I’m a single mom, but It’s worth the sacrifice knowing that I have the ability to stand up for workers so we can finally get a fair shake.

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