Bargaining-Session Update: May 7

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We have another long update for you today! We know this is a lot of information to absorb — if you have any questions at all about the below items, please let us know in the comments.

Local 328 presented about 50 pages of counterproposals to OHSU this morning, including:

  • Paid Time Off: We rejected OHSU’s PTO package proposal, countering with current contract language (i.e., keeping the existing VAC/SIK system). We offered a counterproposal re: the annual voluntary cash-out — accepting the change to one cash-out period per year, but keeping the option to cash out up to 80 hours of VAC. In a number of cases we re-proposed our initial proposals that improve the contract (e.g., increased vacation accruals, removing language re: suspension of seniority rights).
  • Benefits: We rejected OHSU’s proposed cuts to insurance contributions, the spousal surcharge and other benefits take-backs. We rejected OHSU’s proposed changes to disempower the members of the Employee Benefits Council and re-proposed our initial proposal to eliminate the presidential tie-breaker from the EBC language.
  • Article 2 (Stewards): We rejected OHSU’s proposal to make time spent on steward activities for our union and the employer ineligible for overtime. The teams are moving closer to agreement on the total number of stewards and number of hours allocated to each type of steward.
  • Preferred Hire List: Overall, the teams are moving closer to agreement. We re-proposed our initial proposal to add FTE modifications to scenarios that are eligible for layoff protections.
  • Grievance Steps: Both teams have made movement in the contract language regarding the grievance process. We proposed allowing limited information requests at the Step 1 meeting, to help move the grievance process along in a more timely manner. Late in the day OHSU made a counterproposal with some movement toward agreement; a tentative agreement was also reached on one section of this contract language.
  • 2.9.1 Union Communications: We rejected OHSU’s proposal requiring our union to provide the employer with an advance copy of any email we send to all members or to all non-members. Late in the day OHSU re-proposed their language requiring advance copies of our union’s emails. (The current contract only requires such notification when we send an email to the entire bargaining unit.)
  • 7.2.5 Posting of Varying Work Schedules/7.2.6 Changes in Work Location: We are moving closer to agreement on this language, which addresses how work schedules are posted and how changes to an employee’s work location are handled. Late in the day OHSU made a counterproposal with some movement toward agreement.
  • 7.4 Availability of Additional Work: We rejected OHSU’s proposal to bypass seniority when assigning employees for non-overtime work that becomes available due to a short-notice call out (i.e., when someone calls in sick).
  • 23.3.1 Notice: We are moving closer to agreement on changes that will allow the union to better meet the representation needs of swing-shift and night-shift employees. Late in the day OHSU made a counterproposal today with some movement toward agreement. 
  • 23.3.5 When Attendance Is the Issue: We rejected OHSU’s proposal to trigger progressive discipline when an employee has three attendance occurrences in a 180-day period. We proposed maintaining the current language of 90 days. Late in the day OHSU countered with a proposal to count attendance occurrences in a 160-day period.
  • 23.6 Unauthorized Absences: We maintained the language in our initial proposal seeking to clarify that unauthorized absences are limited to no-call no-shows or walk-offs. Late in the day OHSU made a counterproposal today with some movement toward agreement.
  • 29.1 Term of Agreement: We rejected OHSU’s proposal seeking to have economic provisions (e.g, across-the-board wages, changes to differentials) not take effect until two full pay periods after the new contract is ratified. Current language states that all provisions go into effect the first full pay period after ratification. Late in the day OHSU re-proposed delaying the effective date of the economic provisions of the contract.
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing MOU: We agreed to modify this memorandum of understanding to add breathalyzer sampling as an option for testing for alcohol. We rejected OHSU’s proposed language that we see as imposing not-for-cause drug testing.

OHSU has not yet responded to our union’s economic proposals (we will likely see some of these responses next week), but did offer the following counterproposals today: 

  • 18.1.1 Posting & Awarding of Position: OHSU rejected our proposal to add an option for salaried employees to job bid for certain positions as an hourly employee. We responded today by re-proposing our language.
  • 18.1.2 Placement/18.2.4 Provisions Applicable to Internal Applicants Only: OHSU maintained its proposal that would require employees to stay in their old departments for up to eight weeks before releasing them to a new position in another OHSU department. We responded today with a counterproposal to maintain current contract language — our union feels that four weeks is more than adequate for management to handle these transitions.
  • Preferential Hire List: OHSU made a number of PHL-related counterproposals, with movement toward agreement on the following sections of the contract:
    • 5.10 Extended Medical Leave
    • 19.7 Employees Placed on Preferential Hire List
    • 19.7.1 Removal from List
    • 20.2.6 Employees Removed Following Transfer to New Department or Work
    • 20.2.7 Employees Removed Following Transfer Within Department or Work Unit
  • Staffing Task Force MOU: OHSU rejected our memorandum of understanding seeking to establish a task force to discuss concerns re: significant staffing issues.
  • Peer-to-Peer Group Counseling/Support MOU: OHSU accepted the concept behind our MOU seeking to establish a task force on implementing critical-incident debriefing training and group counseling in the wake of difficult/tragic events affecting a work unit. We feel that OHSU’s proposed changes to the MOU will need some revisions to establish sufficient support for members of our bargaining unit, but we were heartened by the afternoon’s discussion.

We are pleased to report that Local 328 and OHSU have reached tentative agreement on more than 20 sections of the contract, including:

  • 2.18 Union Conventions: This new article addresses how departments will cover employee leave when more than one member in a department is elected as a union convention delegate.
  • 7.2.7 Changes to Work Schedules: Language has been added to require 14 days’ notice of schedule changes that are necessary to provide an employee with transitional duty during recovery from an on-the-job injury.
  • 7.12 Inclement Weather/Modified Operations: Changes have been made to seven articles to reflect new terminology (“modified operations” instead of “inclement weather”) and current practice.
  • 14.2.5 Court Appearance: Immigration hearings have been added to the court appearances that are eligible for this type of leave.
  • 14.2.6 Election Leave: This leave has been protected for our members who work in states that don’t have vote by mail.
  • 14.3 Workers Compensation: This information will remain in the contract, instead of being moved elsewhere as OHSU had proposed. Some minor changes have been made to the language, including changing “physician or nurse practitioner” to “medical provider.”
  • 19.5.7 Qualified: We accepted OHSU’s proposed new language clarifying that the employees going on the preferred hire list are responsible for ensuring their application documentation is accurate.
  • 20.2.8 Employees Removed Following Placement Under Section 19.4: We agreed to language specifying that employees may remain on the PHL for one year.
  • 24.1.2 Time Extensions/24.1.4 Grievance of Specific Matters: Changes were made to this language that will help streamline the grievance process.
  • 26.3 Pay to Park Hours: We agreed to non-substantive changes that reflect current practice.
  • 27 Health and Safety: We agreed to non-substantive changes (such as changing “Environmental Health & Radiation Safety” to “Environmental Health & Safety”). Language has also been added to note that employees may contact OSHA directly for assistance.
  • Community Employment Committee MOU: Both teams had presented updates to this memorandum of understanding to reflect its establishment and goals for the future. Our union agreed to OHSU’s proposal.

Upcoming Events & Activities

  • May 1 – mid-June — Bargaining Survey: Take this very important bargaining survey to give our union direction re: settling vs. striking. Since we start mediation on May 21, the sooner you take the survey, the more helpful your feedback will be.  
  • May 22 — Bargaining Town Hall: Attend our next town hall on Wednesday, May 22, from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. Hollie Hemenway, director of HR and Employee/Labor Relations and a member of OHSU’s bargaining team, will be in attendance.
  • June 13 — Bargaining Rally: Participate in this event on Marquam Hill at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 13. After the rally, join us for food, drink, and guest speakers. More details will follow soon — in the meantime, share and RSVP to the event on Facebook.

56 thoughts on “Bargaining-Session Update: May 7”

  1. I know I’m in the minority here but I’m not opposed to PTO. What I am opposed to was there ridiculous cash out policy that went with the PTO. When I worked at both Legacy and Providence we had PTO but from what I remember it was cashed out at 100% when we left.

    1. Thank you for your feedback, Jennie. Are Legacy and Providence’s PTO systems “true” PTO—i.e., a single bank of accruals to be used for all time off? A single-bank system could end up being more flexible, especially for employees who are in good health and don’t normally use a lot of sick time. However, OHSU’s PTO system doesn’t seem a lot different from its current VAC/SIK system, except your sick time is in “jail” and you need to burn through five PTO days every year to access it.

      Also, please be sure to take our bargaining survey if you haven’t already—we want feedback from all of our members, including folks whose opinions differ from the majority.

      1. Its been 7 years since I worked at Legacy and I am having a hard time remembering if it was straight PTO. However at Providence it was straight PTO, no “jailed” sick time. I was also working at Providence when the city of Portland passed its sick time guarantee. To accommodate the new law, Providence actually added a sick time bank and added 1 hour per every 30 hours worked, which we were allowed to use at any time, and they didn’t take away any PTO hours so us full-time employees ended up getting an extra 2.5 hours of sick time every 2 weeks.

      2. Just of note, my partner currently works at Providence and they have PTO and EIB (similar rules to utilize EIB, like this OHSU proposed PTO system) though he accrues MUCH more PTO than we would in this proposed system.

    2. That’s a big part of the problem here, Jennie. It’s not the question of PTO that’s being rejected – it’s the proposal that OHSU is offering.

    3. I want all of my vacation hours and the ability/option to cash out my sick bank down to 100 hours annually .

  2. Looks like the “Be a Hero” campaign to encourage us to stay home when sick was just a “feel good” marketing campaign.

    I get that some staff abuse sick leave, this has occurred at every job I have ever had. There is a method for dealing with this in place already. In my 20 years at OHSU, the problem was generally identified before the probationary period was completed, without any repercussions for the offending party.

    We do not need a new requirement that will have the sick coming to work to avoid discipline.

    1. Exactly this! A PTO and “jailed” sick bank policy will make people afraid to “use up time” and yes, they will come to work sick even more! This exposes all of us to illness, including VULNERABLE patients! OHSU, you must prioritize what truly is best for the majority, and NOT just the minority!

  3. Take notice, OHSU! We will not allow your takebacks. If you want to attract AND retain the best, then your benefits should reflect that. Quit trying to nickel and dime the very people who make OHSU what it is. Record profits should not equal takebacks.

  4. I didn’t realize until reading this post that OHSU was proposing changing the attendance policy to 3 occurrences for every 6 months. I’m glad AFSCME has rejected this proposal. I can’t predict when I’m going to be sick and unable to come to work, which unfortunately can and does happen more than 3 times in a 6 month time period.

    1. Thanks for staying informed! I’m glad that this post was helpful to you. We don’t think this policy is fair at all! Especially since a good majority of occurances are due to unpredicted transportation issues i.e. traffic, delayed bus, etc.

      1. Agreed. The commute is such a challenge that it can be impossible to not get an occurrence. I have had to change flat bike tires in the rain, haul butt to make up the time and end up sprinting the half a mile it takes to get around campus just to be on time by the skin of my teeth. Twice I have had to be late due to flats. I’ve never been late at another job, because I have never faced the commuting/cost of living challenge that working for OHSU in a sky rocketing housing market presents. OHSU needs to maintain flexibility for the Trimet/biking/traffic inevitables.

    2. Yes! I had brought this up in a comment on a prior blog post. Thank you for noticing. We cannot predict sick time, and that’s the very point of sick leave. Setting up regulations to effectively punish (or just the threaten to punish) employees for using sick time is plain wrong and goes against OHSU’s widely-advertised “Don’t be a hero” campaign, as others have mentioned.

  5. Thank you for rejecting PTO and the healthcare cost increase, these are unacceptable proposals, especially when our employer is a healthcare provider.

  6. I’m not for the change to attendance, either. Why is OHSU penalizing us for sick kiddos, crappy commutes and tons of other, unpredictable reasons why we might be a few minutes late or absent? Why not treat us like the professionals that we are?
    Jail our sick time AND penalize us for using it? Wow. Just, wow.

    1. 100% agree – completely unreasonable. The EIB bank time use restriction coupled with the change from 90 days to 180 days for 3 occurrences is a disaster and just sets up most employees for disciplinary action, for something that is not in our control. And, as you mention, OHSU’s approach to this whole situation does not grant benefit of doubt to the employee or assume positive intent. OHSU, treat us not just like well-intentioned professionals but also like human beings!!!

  7. Why in the world would they reject our memorandum of understanding seeking to establish a task force to discuss concerns re: significant staffing issues? This is something that would cost them no additional money and would show that they’re concerned about, and willing to work together on, the significant problem many departments have. Do they not think there’s a staffing crisis or do they think they’re already handling the situation well so there’s no reason to work together to solve it?

    1. We were pretty shocked at that proposal as well. Adequate staffing is directly related to high quality patient care. Why wouldn’t OHSU be willing to listen to the concerns of their front line employees?

      We were told that if you had a problem that wasn’t being addressed by your direct manager you have the ability to go above them and report your concerns to their manager. I highly doubt that senior management has time for everyone in their department to report daily staffing issues directly to them. Also, in most cases, middle management is getting directions from their senior manager. What makes OHSU think that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?

      1. I can say from personal experience that our department has been in the process of doing exactly that – going above our manager to their manager. This has been at the risk of retaliation. We are seeing some positive change but it has been a very slow moving and laborious process with tons of data collection, patient and provider testimonials, and evidence. There should be a more efficient and effective way to address staffing issues and provide the excellent patient care that we all want the resources to be able to provide.

  8. This is surprising that and ridiculous, that ohsu is trying to make the attendance really aggressive in a way that’s going force people to come to work sick or half dead to avoid getting discipline. There asking for an 180 day occurrence counting verses 90 days that’s a big jump, and one were not going to stand for. There shouldn’t be any objections to are raise proposals OHSU is financially set and secured and they need to appreciate the workers alot more, very disappointed . GOOD JOB AFSCME REJECTED ALL.!

  9. What about the Equal Pay Act? Can we get an update where that proposal is heading? Did I miss it above?

      1. I’ve already done research. I’ve read it. I wasn’t asking for more information about the law. I’m asking about the OHSU proposal. Can you tell me if we will get legal counsel to advise about this proposal? Did the bargaining team reject his proposal?

        1. Sally, the bargaining team has not yet responded to OHSU’s pay-equity proposal. We are, of course, seeking the advice of legal counsel before doing so, and will also be consulting with BOLI, legislators, etc. as appropriate.

  10. NICE WORK. I’m hearing people talk about a STRIKE more and more. OHSU has pushed it’s employees beyond their limit with the last negotiation!

    Keep it up AFSCME! The strike support is growing!

    1. I applaud your enthusiasm! However, we would like to get a fair contract without a strike, as we are aware of the impact it would have on our patients. A strike is the last ditch effort, but it is something that our members should be aware of.
      In the meantime, I encourage you to wear your AFSCME swag all the time and to attend our informational picket on June 13th from 4-5:30pm. Location TBD, but it will be on the hill. Bring your friends and family and stick around after for a free dinner on AFSCME.
      We want as many people as possible to attend so we can demand that OHSU listen to our concerns so we can get back to focusing on our jobs and our patients!

  11. I’m disappointed to see that the OHSU proposal to extend the job transfer period for internal applicants to 8 weeks is still on the table. The current 4 weeks is a real dissatisfier for many employees who want to transfer to a new position. Usually they are making the transfer to obtain better working conditions, better pay and/or better schedules. Waiting for a full month makes the transferring employee unhappy AND discourages departments from hiring an internal candidate in some cases because they’ll have to wait 4 weeks to onboard, and most external candidates can start with 0-2 weeks delay.

    1. Exactly, Leah. It will also encourage OHSU employees who want to change jobs to seek work outside of OHSU, where they could move into better pay/better working conditions after a standard two-week notice, rather than wait around for two months at OHSU. There’s also a financial penalty involved—an employee who has been offered a better-paying job within OHSU would miss out on that higher rate of pay for the additional time they’re held back in their old department.

  12. Don’t hold my wages hostage so fat cat OHSU can comply with the equal pay act. Withhold executive bonuses instead if you can’t find the money to obey the law in your $11 billion dollars of discretionary funds.

  13. OHSU is now in a delaying action buying time till a impasse is declared and they can then implement their last great proposals !
    For proof just look at our unions counter proposals and that of OHSU. There is a great picture on our union Facebook page showing just this ! A picture is worth a thousand words and that picture shows along with the reports from our team that they went into contact talks with the plan to have a impasse declared. Then PECBA can be deployed.

    1. Our bargaining team was surprised that OHSU didn’t present more counterproposals on Tuesday, and our union hopes to see more movement on management’s part, but we have no reason to believe that OHSU is intentionally delaying action or planning on an impasse being declared.

      Even if impasse were to be declared—by either team—there are a lot of steps to go through before OHSU could implement its final offer. And, of course, if our members want a better deal than what OHSU is presenting at the end of the bargaining process, we have the option to vote to strike.

      For members who aren’t familiar with the PECBA statute and the collective-bargaining steps it outlines (direct bargaining, mediation, impasse, final offer, publication, voluntary fact-finding, cooling-off period, strike vote, strike notice, final-offer implementation), check out this blog article.

  14. Firstly, let me say that our bargaining team is amazing, and I appreciate all of you….Secondly, why is every contract used as a means for OHSU to decrease our pay, and our benefits. We are the reason why as an institution we are successful, so why constantly work to hurt us? Also, let me say that using the industry standard as an excuse for cutting benefits is just a spin to make them seem justified, meanwhile bonuses for executives keep going up.
    As far as PTO , I am not opposed if they keep accruals the same, without EIB and keeping increased accrual for longevity, but stop telling us how wonderful this is for us, because the way its written is certainly not something we should support.
    On top of all this, they want to cut in half the amount of time we are allowed to call in sick without disciplinary action. So essentially, we wont be allowed to use time for being sick, and if we do, we face being disciplined…..and the benefits counsel….dont even get me started on that…if we let that go forward, we can kiss our part in making decisions on our benefits goodbye.

  15. Can we get some tip sheets out to members on actions to take NOW to put yourself in a better financial position to strike later? You know OHSU is preparing, we should be too!

  16. I really don’t like that OHSU wants to compare PTO time and pay rates etc to other employers. I worked for Providence for 9 years and was never rejected a time off request in 9 years, OHSU rejects 80% of my requested because I have only worked here 1 and a half year the people that have been here longer are priority, even having 75 hours of vacation time most request are rejected. If OHSU want to compare employers I had way more freedom with Providence never received an occurrence for taking a sick child to the doctor or if I need to take time off and make it up later in the week I was always allowed to do so I also took plenty of vacation time and wasn’t reject as long as I had banked time. I truly think any other employer is irrelevant as I am currently employed at OHSU and want to know OHSU is doing not any other employer. I have collected over 2.3 million dollars for OHSU prior to service rendered in a 1year this company is in no way hurting and can pay a competitive wage. I have no loyalty to any company that wants to pick pocket it’s employees. If I wanted PTO I will go back to Providence I have an open invitation I rejected Legacy Job offer which was very low to take the OHSU Job, OHSU is making record profits and is the 1 hospital in Oregon because of it’s employees we make leadership look good the worker bee’s. I am ready to STRIKE!!!

    1. Hi Nicole! I applaud your enthusiasm! However, we would like to get a fair contract without a strike, as we are aware of the impact it would have on our patients. A strike is the last ditch effort, but it is something that our members should be aware of.
      In the meantime, I encourage you to wear your AFSCME swag all the time, keep the comments coming, and attend our informational picket on June 13th from 4-5:30pm. Location TBD, but it will be on the hill. Bring your friends and family and stick around after for a free dinner on AFSCME.
      We want as many people as possible to attend so we can demand that OHSU listen to our concerns so we can get back to focusing on our jobs and our patients!

  17. It will be interesting to see how much power our union really has. id be very curious to see how many people are actually willing to vote for a strike. unlike the nursing union, we have way more wage classes and way more varying agendas. ohsu knows they can take advantage of us and it is quite likely that most of the lower wage workers cannot afford a strike. even the higher wage workers will have trouble affording a strike given student loans and high rent. of course we can still threaten to strike and even a day of strike will fortify our position greatly.

    1. We hope to see you at the Informational Picket on Thursday, June 13th from 4-6PM. Location on the hill TBD. Bring your friends and family, non-AFSCME co-workers and stay for a catered BBQ dinner. Thanks for staying informed and involved!

  18. I think that OHSU is dramatically underestimating how powerful our union is. I hope they’ve been paying attention to some of the other striking activity that’s been happening recently. It’s hard to believe that they’re actually trying to takeback as much as they are. Who do they think is creating those record profits for them?? Stop insulting us, OHSU.

    1. We hope to see you at the Informational Picket on Thursday, June 13th from 4-6PM. Location on the hill TBD. Bring your friends and family, non-AFSCME co-workers and stay for a catered BBQ dinner. Thanks for staying informed and involved!

  19. I will be ready to strike if that is what it comes to to save my benefits. Protecting my work life balance is important.
    OHSU making there benefit package less and less attractive is loosing them employees that go elsewhere and pay little to nothing for there family’s health care. It is making it harder to fill positions causing burnout and overworking the employees they have left. Striking is a last resort but if they continue to take we will continue to leave.

    1. We hope to see you at the Informational Picket on Thursday, June 13th from 4-6PM. Location on the hill TBD. Bring your friends and family, non-AFSCME co-workers and stay for a catered BBQ dinner. Thanks for staying informed and involved!

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