Financial Reality

For our bargaining unit — Per Local 328’s housing/transportation survey last year:

  • Housing is a source of stress for 42 percent of respondents, with 40 percent struggling to afford housing payments.
  • More than one-third of respondents spend more than 40 percent of their income on housing.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents have moved at least once in the last five years in order to find more affordable housing.

The consumer price index for Portland in 2017 was 3.9 percent; for the west region (Portland-specific data not available) in 2018, it was 2.9 percent. Wages for our bargaining unit have not kept pace with the ever-increasing cost of living in or near Portland.

For OHSU — Per PowerPoint slides (“FY19 February YTD Results and Preliminary FY20 Budget”) that will be presented at the April 11 OHSU board meeting, OHSU reports:

  • Operating income through February is $116 million.
  • Earnings are $62 million above budget.
  • Revenues are up $83 million compared to budget.
  • Cash on hand of $1.5 billion.

AFSCME’s analysis of OHSU’s “Financial Statements and Supplementary Information” (June 30, 2018 and 2017, with independent auditors’ report) determined that OHSU has discretionary funds of $11.8 billion.

Bargaining-Session Summary

This week Local 328 presented our second round of economic proposals plus some additional proposals and counter-proposals, including:

  • 8.1 Across the Board Increases — A 5 percent increase the first full pay period following contract ratification and a 4 percent increase the first full pay period following July 1, 2020.
  • New: Lump Sum Payment — A lump-sum payment of 1 percent or $100 (whichever is greater) the first full pay period following Nov. 1 (for employees who were members of the bargaining unit at the time of contract ratification).
  • 12.1 Accrual of Vacation Time — Additional vacation days:
    • 1st – 5th year: increase from 12 days to 15
    • 5th – 10th year: increase from 15 days to 17
    • 10th – 15th year: increase from 18 days to 19
    • 15th – 20th year: increase from 21 days to 22
    • After 20th year: increase from 24 days to 25
    • No change for employees hired prior to Sept. 11, 1998.
  • 18.1.1 Posting and Awarding of Position — Expands the job-bid language so that posted salaried positions with a fixed schedule can be converted to an hourly position at the bidding employee’s discretion.
  • New: Preferential Hire List Task Force — Establishes a joint task force to ensure that the requirements, responsibilities and steps needed to successfully completely the PHL placement process is easily understood by employees and managers.

OHSU proposals and counter-proposals included: (a) modifying 5.28 Relief Employees to require employee availability for a range of two to six days per pay period (a change from four days), (b) rejecting proposed new language re: the handling of bullying complaints (OHSU did indicate a willingness to continue working on the issue) and (c) rejecting the union’s proposed change to 20.1.3 Written Feedback to shorten the time a manager has to provide written feedback during the probationary period (OHSU countered with language re: making an effort to provide feedback within a reasonable time after an employee’s orientation). OHSU also presented a number of proposals to change the language around the preferential hire list throughout the contract.

The Local 328 bargaining team spent the afternoon working on proposals and counter-proposals.


  1. I am disappointed that we aren’t being more aggressive about vacation times. ONA accruals start at 192 hours for the first 0 months-5th year. I have heard the response that we get paid for approved holidays and that makes up the difference but it does not. As clinical, hourly staff in a 24 hour unit I do not have the choice to not work on a holiday. I would much rather that 8 hours go to my vacation bank like ONA (can we get that option? similar to adding to a comp bank? I would like to opt into putting my “holiday hours” into vacation time). This does not even raise us up to the accumulation for employees hired before 1998 who get 16 days per year to start. Why can’t we at LEAST even out the accumulations so everyone is on the same page? That being said, I still find that insufficient. The salaried folks aren’t even getting an increase in this scenario we are just raising hourly folks to last contract’s salaried vacation numbers. The lump sum and across the board increases seem very unlikely to happen. I doubt the lump sum will be accomplished at all and the across the board increase of 9% in the next year seems equally fantastical. So I am confused as to why we are asking for improbably high financial reimbursements while sacrificing something that could be feasible like more vacation time? Why does ONA covered staff deserve more vacation time than the rest of us? Why do staff hired before 1998 deserve more vacation than new staff? Why are salaried workers treated differently than hourly workers? This is highly unsatisfactory to me.

  2. There’s a few things to bear in mind:

    1. ONA vacation accruals include the amount of time that we receive for paid holidays, which is listed separately in our contract under article 11.2. If you want to view your accruals through an ONA lens, as there are 8 paid holidays at 8 hours per holiday, you can add 96 hours to your vacation total.

    2. The deadline to submit proposals is 4/23, so please expect to see something related to salaried employees in the next few weeks.

    3. Our bargaining team makes decisions in no small part based on the survey data that our members took over the holiday season. Across the board wage increases were indicated as a priority.

    4. If CPI was 3.9% in 2017, 2.9% in 2018, and state economists are using 3.3% for this year, and reflecting that PERS employees received no increase in 2015, 5% and 4% seem like very reasonable starting numbers.

    5. There will be an additional survey being launched in May for our members to give direction on all of the proposals on the table (both the employer’s and our union’ s).

    6. AFSCME Local 328 represents 7000 employees in over 300 different job classifications. We do our best to represent every voice and interest at the table, but it’s mathematically impossible to negotiate everything for everyone.

    7. We appreciate the feedback.

  3. I guess what it comes down to is whether you believe that all employees at OHSU should have equal rights to work life balance. That is what I find the most frustrating. I continue to be disappointed in OHSU for treating employees differently in this regard (ONA vs AFSCME vs unclassified) and I’ve been disappointed in the union for not fighting harder about this issue. Shouldn’t time with family and time away from work be treated the same? Why is any one group more deserving than others? To me this is a human issue. Time away from work promotes health both physical and mental. It also boosts work productivity. Everyone on campus should have the same vacation scale to start because balance should not be about who “deserves” it more or who “wanted it more” it should recognize that we all need time away to be healthy, happy, productive employees.

    I address your point about “holidays” earlier but here it is again. We get 96 hours of vacation for years 0-5. Assuming paid holidays are the same thing as getting a day off (which they aren’t, unless people have been able to comp bank those hours? I was told I could not) we can add those 64 hours to 96 getting 160 hours. ONA starts at 192 hours for years 0-5. So we are still a full 3 days behind. With your proposals, if they are passed, we are still a full day behinds (8 hours) for years 0-5 , 2 days behind (16 hours) for years 5-10, 3 days behind (24 hours) for years 10-15, etc…

    I will be interested to see the salaried proposals since the proposal above 18.1.1 may lead to very real benefit variations between employees with the same job description but different pay modality.

  4. FG- I agree with you that it is disappointing that OHSU treats different employees differently and that work life balance is a right of all humans, regardless of class or job position. I disagree that THE union doesn’t fight hard enough in this regard; THE union is OUR union. THE union is US. You and me and our co-workers. WE need to fight. We do this by commenting (thank you) and reading the emails and taking surveys and showing up at demonstrations and wearing green and stickers and talking to each other and anything other action that shows OHSU we are serious and strong in numbers.
    OHSU treats nurses and unclassified differently because of the strength of ONA and the lack of any union representation for unclassified employees.

  5. These proposals are brilliant!
    Matching and catching up to cost of living will help so many of us.
    We owe so much to our bargaining team for being prepared for these negotiations! Thanks you so much

  6. I have been talking with people in my work unit who are very excited about the proposals brought forth from AFSCME in the last 2 weeks. Thanks for all of your work on the Bargaining Team.

    Honestly, given how difficult it seems for OHSU to recruit and retain for certain positions, not agreeing to the Across the Board increases and the lump sum would be extremely foolish. The cost of living has been increasing steadily, and Portland’s unemployment is so low! OHSU will keep struggling to fill certain positions unless it drastically shifts its mentality about what employees are worth.

  7. Portland housing costs are insane! OHSU needs to recognize that and compensate us accordingly. In a recent, multi-department meeting, I met one woman who lived in Vancouver and dealt with that commute and another who commuted from Seaside every day! It’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t afford to live in the same city as your employer.

    1. That’s right Teresa. Portland as a city is entering the big leagues in terms of population, housing, skilled work force and employment options. If OHSU wants to compete, much as less survive they need to treat their employees right. Not to mention if they really wanted to LEAD. Be a Leader OHSU, be THE Leader!

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