Today’s bargaining session began with the continuation of the scheduling discussion that began last week. We’re pleased to announce that we reached tentative agreements on all three articles that were on the table:
7.2 — Scheduling of Work: Current language will be maintained. There will be no change to the 28-day notice for schedule changes.
9.3 — Change in Reporting Time: Managers will maintain a list of volunteers who are willing to waive the usual notice required for a change in start time. Existing language would be followed if no volunteers are available. This is the only change to current language.
19.10 — Shift Curtailment and Cancelation: Managers will accept volunteers to have their shifts curtailed or canceled before mandatory curtailment/cancelation is assigned. Curtailment/cancelation will take place according to the current order outlined in the contract, with the exception that the assignment in inverse order of seniority will happen on a rotating basis (in 12-hour increments). The least senior employee will take mandatory curtailment/cancelation until he/she has taken/reached a cap of 12 hours of curtailment/cancellation, at which time the employee will go to the end of the list; the next time mandatory curtailment/cancelation is needed, the next employee with the least seniority will be the one assigned. Only mandatory curtailed/canceled hours will count toward the existing annual 120-hour maximum; however, if an employee reaches the 120-hour maximum, he/she may still volunteer to take a shift curtailment/cancelation.
Days Off for Part-Time Employees
The next topic discussed was the issue of part-time employees who in some cases are required to work several weeks in a row without a day off. The tentative agreement reached states that part-time employees will not be scheduled to work more than eight consecutive days; they can be required to work another consecutive two days if there is an emergency as defined in Article 9.1.4.h. After working eight or ten consecutive days, the employee must be given at least one calendar day off. If, after this one day off, the employee works another eight consecutive days, the employee must be given two consecutive calendar days off. Note: it is not the intent that part-time employees should regularly be scheduled for eight days in a row.
Flexible Start Times
The next topic discussed was flexible start times. Many employees take public transportation, so their commute times depend on the TriMet bus schedule. In many cases, this means employees must choose between arriving at work very early and waiting around for their start time or arriving just after their start time and getting disciplined for an attendance occurrence. Flexible start times may also be desired for other work/life balance reasons.
The tentative agreement reached is that Article 6.5 — Telecommuting will be rewritten to also include flexible start times. A resource document will be developed jointly and a process will be created for requesting a flexible start time. If an employee requests a flexible start time and the supervisor agrees, the change would be implemented. If there is not mutual agreement, then the matter can be referred to a Human Resources/AFSCME committee that will review the request and attempt to problem-solve and make recommendations/suggestions to the parties involved.
The day ended with a discussion of the inability of many employees to read work-related emails and important OHSU communications because (a) their workload does not leave them any time to check email during the work day or (b) they have no ready access to a computer in their work area. There was not time to discuss potential solutions, so the topic will be picked up next Thursday.
In addition to the agreements on the work/life balance issues, the teams also reached tentative agreements on non-substantive changes to Article 7.4 – Availability of Additional Work, Appendix C — Employee Benefits Council and Appendix F — Severance Program.