Bargaining-Session Update: May 21 Mediation

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Don’t forget to join us at our town hall tomorrow, Wednesday, May 22, from 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. This is your opportunity to ask questions about proposals — both our union’s and OHSU’s — that are still on the table, as well as learn more about what happens if we can’t reach agreement by the end of our current contract. The town hall will be live-streamed for members who are unable to attend in person — the link will be shared in our bargaining-update email. Light refreshments will be served.

We’ll also be holding an event for evening-shift workers tomorrow! Stop by our bargaining Q&A table at UHS 8B60 on Wednesday, May 22, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Bargaining-team members Karyn and Kasey will be there to answer your questions, share information about our June 13 event and distribute cupcakes. 

Attend our bargaining rally and BBQ! Join your coworkers at this family-friendly event on Thursday, June 13, at 4:00 p.m. This event will be one of the best tools we have, short of a strike, to show OHSU the strength of our opposition to the take-backs it has proposed. More details coming soon! 

If you are upset by OHSU’s take-backs and its rejection of our economic proposals, YOU must act to keep them from becoming reality: take our bargaining survey, show up at the town hall, show up at the rally, wear your union stickers and make sure your coworkers know about the type of contract OHSU is proposing for us.

OHSU proposes financial take-backs every contract because it thinks our members will just lie back and accept it. Today we even heard allegations that administration told providers during a meeting that our members are too poor to strike and so wouldn’t have the will to strike.

You have the power to prove OHSU wrong. You have the power to tell OHSU that enough is enough.

Our members are strong and understand what’s at stake with this contract. 


Today was our first day with the state mediator, Janet. Her role is to help both parties think about our underlying motivations and figure out where we want to go with our proposals, with her ultimate goal being to help the teams get to an agreement. During mediation, negotiations can take place via a number of methods: sidebars, smaller group work sessions, full joint sessions and “shuttle diplomacy (where Janet will exchange proposals between the two teams).

Janet spent time with our team this morning, listening to our assessment of the status of negotiations, our thoughts about OHSU’s proposals, etc., before spending time with with OHSU’s team. Our team then spent a good portion of the day strategizing and planning in caucus. Late in the day, we had a candid discussion with the management team re: what our members feel are the major sticking points with OHSU’s proposals, as well as how to keep the bargaining process productive and on track going forward.

We did not exchange counterproposals today. The teams will attempt to work through as many of the smaller proposals as possible next week. We will doing some subcommittee work, and continue to work on counterproposals, over the coming weeks. Our next mediation session is June 18.

53 thoughts on “Bargaining-Session Update: May 21 Mediation”

  1. Thank you for all of your dedication and work. I know for a fact that of we all stick together, we will have a fair contract. The take backs are very, very wrong. All of the members and non-members whom I work with work at OHSU because we care. We want to help our community, we want to help families. I personally go to bed each night proud of what I do, where I work.

    I am asking, all of us are asking OHSU, take care of us. We are all in this together.

  2. WOW! They really said their employees are too poor to strike. How embarrassing for an organization as big as OHSU to admit their employees are poor while the senior management team brings home huge salaries and bonuses. Maybe they should address this problem and give us the benefit package we all deserve.

  3. This contract negotiation is a tipping point for all contracts to come in light of recent legislation and the current administration in the white house. It’s more important now than ever to show OHSU that we won’t be intimidated. Please join us on June 13 on the hill for a rally and bbq.

  4. I’m coming to the town hall tomorrow, but my questions might not be able to get answered since I’ll be there on my break. Just in case, what are we doing with media attention? Is it OK if we reach out to local media? I’ve heard from coworkers who were around when the last strike happened, and they have said that afscme presence was alot more visible. Is there a contract reason for this? How can we make it bigger and inform more people? I have spred the word to people who don’t even know that we are in bargaining.
    I think that’s it for now, lol
    Thanks so much
    Liz Annon

    1. Glad to hear you’ll be joining us at the town hall!

      Our union leadership is still discussing what media attention might make strategic sense for the event on June 13. (Local outlets are already aware that AFSCME bargaining is underway at OHSU.) The best thing members can do to help us get the word about bargaining is to talk to coworkers about it, so thanks for doing that. Sharing our emails, directing folks to the blog, wearing Local 328 buttons and bargaining stickers, etc. also helps. Do you know if your work unit has a unit steward? If not, if you’re interested in becoming one (or know someone else who might be), let us know–our unit stewards do a lot of the outreach for us on the work units.

      One of the reasons it’s difficult to get the word out to everyone is because we have so many members and OHSU is so large and has so many locations. At the time of the 1995 strike, OHSU had fewer total employees (only ~6,500!) than are currently in our bargaining unit alone. There were no buildings on the South Waterfront and no neighborhood clinics; even the Marquam Hill campus was a lot smaller then–no Hatfield, no separate Doernbecher building, no Kohler Pavilion, no BRB building.

      1. Did you get any details in their calculations – like how they came up with the $28/hr average wage?

        When our Execs are making between $216.35 & $769.23 per hour, seems like they don’t have much of a clue what living on $28/hr is like, or what taking .5% away does to a budget that is paycheck to paycheck.

        1. They didn’t share their calculations, and it’s unclear from their handout whether that $28.05 average salary is for members only or for the entire bargaining unit. Our data shows that more than 4,100 employees in the Local 328 bargaining unit—62% of us—make less than $28.05.

  5. Thank you for speaking up for us and communicating our priorities! My hope is that OHSU hears that we want to negotiate a fair proposal. We stand strong together and will not be intimidated.

  6. Oh we have the will. And the physicians we work with support us and have said they won’t cross a picket line. They will be standing with us at the rally. We see you OHSU.

  7. Keep up the strong work. I hope to see something positive on OHSU website bc the email last week was a huge disappointment considering all the preparation we took with our proposals. Apparently Trickledown economics seems to favor some other type of work force because the last 8 years of positive earnings OHSU has made doesn’t get passed around fairly.

  8. Too poor? How disrespectful. Shame on you OHSU. You do research into the social determinants of health, and know that low socioeconomic status creates poor outcomes in myriad ways, but brag that you inflict that on your own workers?! Enough is enough, strike!

  9. Thank you bargaining team! Keep it up! Too poor to strike? By design of OHSU based on its proposals. Again, not living out the mission to improve the well being of all Oregonians. Disgraceful.

  10. Our benefits are generous but we are too poor to strike? Shame on OHSU! They never intended to bargain in good faith and shame on every provider who heard that and didn’t call them out or walk out of that meeting. Just flat out shame.

    1. We did call them back into the room immediately after Jennifer received word of what happened. Matt told them point blank that is difficult to bargain them when management is telling providers that we are too poor to strike. After that they left the room and no proposals were exchanged. I can tell you the team has never been that heated.

  11. A few years ago, when I was applying for jobs out of college, I had the choice between OHSU and Legacy. I chose OHSU because it’s where my siblings were born, it’s where I grew up going to appointments, it was home. I didn’t realize that a few years in to working in this hospital I always dreamed of working in would lead me to feeling so under-appreciated, disrespected and flat out angry. The ones who work a job that takes a constant toll on their minds, bodies, hearts and souls, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The people who do backbreaking work to make sure that every patient gets the care they deserve… these people are the ones who get treated as if they are dirt. Scum. We. Are. Worth. Nothing. So I guess that means if they don’t make a choice to treat us with respect, we will walk away and show them how much they need us. I am not standing down. This is shameful, and I won’t stand for it. We have to fight this!

  12. What we do here has tremendous value and we deserve a fair and generous contract in return! Administration, practice what you preach – respect for all! And DO NOT mock your staff for living in poverty! That’s petty and insulting, and NOT respectful! Be part of a solution to lift each other OUT of poverty so we all can prosper and feel safe. We see through you, and you will see us on June 13!

  13. Too poor to strike? We are kept down and too poor NOT to strike!

    I stand with my union members and all other employees at OHSU. I will STRIKE and live off credit cards if need be to make sure we are treated with respect and compensated accordingly.

    NO PTO! NO flipped upside down ‘pay equity’ language! NO more disrespecting employees!

  14. I have been at OHSU for 6 years, I have always believed I would retire at OHSU. But if this contract is ratified as is, I will face a net loss in income over the life of this contract and I will be forced to look for other employment.

  15. OHSU thinks we are too poor to strike?!?! THEY ARE THE ONES PAYING US! And saying we make $87,000/year! So clearly they have made up that 87k figure.

    OHSU continues to try to cut and cut and cut. I think most members have had it. I HOPE we strike. I’m so sick of a multi-million dollar company treating their employees like absolute garbage.

    I want MORE vacation time but NOT PTO. I do NOT want to pay insurance premiums. I do NOT want to pay a spousal surcharge on insurance. I WANT a 5% cost of living increase. I don’t feel like I am asking too much.

    Also, if OHSU strives to be the number 1 healthcare provider in Oregon, why does it keep trying to compensate its employees like we are average? Shouldn’t they also want to be the number 1 employer and offer the best incentives (benefits, salary, everything)?

  16. OHSU Management should go read their own Mission Statement page. There are many sentences in it that make me cringe – here is one example:
    “Our commitment to quality extends throughout the institution. We embrace the pursuit of quality in the broadest possible sense — a commitment to excellence in our mission areas and integrity in our behavior.”
    I call BS!

  17. I am horrified, yet not surprised to hear that Administration said we were too poor to strike. In a way, we are – I know I am – but that won’t stop me from striking. It’s all the more reason why it’s important to. It’ll be a hardship, but it’s worth so much more in the long run. And in reality, OHSU is too poor in morale and infrastructure to keep running without us if we do go on strike. In the event of a strike it’ll become utterly apparent exactly how poor OHSU is without AFSCME workers!

    Too poor… I can’t get over it. OHSU is too poor in character to show up for the Town Hall they said they would be part of. Ugh!!!

  18. On a further note – we should all make it a priority to attend the June 5th and 19th meeting that OHSU is putting on in response to the town hall they decided to not attend at the last minute, so that we can let them know exactly what we think of their proposals and behavior thus far. There will be so many poor people it’ll be stunning to them!

  19. I derive great satisfaction in my work with our patients, enjoy my immediate colleagues, feel supported by my direct management, and generally look forward to coming to work. While I have all of those positive feelings towards my work, I have come to realize that not all of my fellow OHSU employees have such a positive experience in their daily work. My experience should not be the exception, but the norm.

    In addition, while I have a positive daily experience at work, I also feel strongly that I should be better compensated for the work that I do and the services I provide. I am under-paid compared to my peers at other hospitals. I am denied certification and licensing benefits that are comparable to those granted to OHSU nurses. I want better work-life balance through increased vacation time (not PTO). I want confidence that I will have a robust retirement if I invest decades of my professional life to this institution. I want to know that in addition to taking care of it’s patients, OHSU takes care of its employees. Right now I do not have confidence in any of that and it leaves me disillusioned and discouraged and more than willing to strike.

  20. Love the response how OHSU will be investigating who in administration said we are to poor to strike.
    Everyone knows it was said, just fess up to it and move along.
    To our mole … the sun is bright, the train is red, page to page 4, 19, 37 the cat is fat.

  21. Also don’t forget about the “update ” that was posted last quarter. It showed projected additional earnings on a pie chart with 40 million dollars from “employee benefits changes ” .HA! As soon as people posted about it, it was taken down. They were and ARE PROUD of the fact that they want to make more money off of our work, family, and well-being. Heck no I’m going to let that go!

  22. Would someone post details on the voluntary vacation cash out option and maybe a link to the form that for this period, needs to be completed and turned into the timekeepers by 5pm May 31st? Could stewards remind their teams of this option for any member doing a little contingency planning?

    1. Hi Don. If you go to this page on O2, you can find information (click AFSCME Voluntary Cash Out Procedure on the right) and the form to request the cash-out (click AFSCME Voluntary Cash Out Request on the top right). Due to timing (May requests are paid out in the second half of the year), these funds wouldn’t be available right away, but a financial boost in late summer or early fall could be helpful in the event that our union did end up striking. We’ll try to get a reminder out to folks about this—thanks for the suggestion!

  23. Are these meetings? It sounded like a streamed presentation with no attendance. Did I misunderstand?

  24. The “poor” that OHSU refers to is part of the backbone that makes this hospital run.
    How pathetic can an organization be? This hospital is supposed to be a leader in diversity and they think like this about some of the hardest working people at this hospital like this?
    It truly shows how entitled those in leadership have become. The bonuses alone are outrageous. They have totally lost touch with their employees. How can they even suggest they care about the employees with such a superior attitude.
    My question OHSU is this. How can you justify 1%?Literally, the ones making 15.00 an hour would make an extra 6.00 a week, 32.00 a month, and a whole whopping 312.00 a year. They wouldn’t even notice a change in their take home pay.
    I guarantee that the cost of insurance, and all the added costs that are added to all of us will exceed any pitiful profit that OHSU deems to bestow on the “poor”. I mean when hasn’t the cost of food, parking, insurance, etc not gone up after the contract is signed.
    I’ve given 26 years to this hospital. I’ve cried when our patients have died. I’ve cried when a life has been saved. I’ve worked with some of the most amazing and talented people that are truly the envy of other institutions. OHSU is blessed to have them.
    I can honestly say that in all my years here, I’ve never been as insulted as I am now at the leadership of this hospital.
    I can no longer recommend this place to prospective employees.
    All I can say is, we can’t afford NOT to strike.

    1. Thanks for your support, Kim.

      I just wanted to clarify something about OHSU’s proposal for raises. They’re proposing 1% (1.5% – 0.5%) for employees who make more than $19.23/hour and 2% (2.5% – 0.5%) for those making less. So an employee making $15.00/hour would receive the higher amount. Local 328 is opposed to this proposal because (a) we see it as a divide-and-conquer tactic to weaken our union and, most importantly, (b) we think that ALL of our represented employees need and deserve the 5% and 4% raises we’ve proposed.

      1. So, if I make 19.23, I get a 38 cent raise. But, if I make 19.24, I get a 19 cent raise? No split and we should get the same “bonus” as the Unclassified got – 10%.

  25. I’m shocked and appalled at the way this bargaining session has taken this turn. “Too poor to strike”? Wow. That’s not something you should brag about OHSU. That comment alone ought to get folks fired up. I know I am!
    I used to be proud to work here. Now, not so much….

  26. I was so proud when I was hired. To work at the best hospital in the state. To be a part of something so great. 6 years later, and I’m disgusted by the greed shown by this institution. I’m ready to strike.

    1. Thank you for the support, Jason. I hope management is reading and taking to heart all of the comments by employees who feel so disillusioned and no longer feel proud to work at OHSU. It doesn’t need to be this way!

  27. Thank you for the clarification. I saw the email this am regarding the two forums. It is now even more critical we have a strong presence there. I will be reaching out to all of the union members in my area and unit to let them know we need to be there in person if at all possible.

  28. Once again, I am completely un-surprised by the huge chasm of difference between OHSU’s actions and their lip-service mission statement. I think a strike might illustrate how much OHSU needs us. And maybe even teach them what the word respect actually means. Thanks for all your hard work, y’all!

  29. Maybe if I made the “average” employee salary of $87,000, I wouldn’t mind a 1% increase so much. But I don’t, so I do.

  30. I just want to note that the voluntary vacation cashout doesn’t seem to be a super helpful option for preparation for a possible strike – I think we would want to take the cashout sometime about pay period 16 or 17 which wouldn’t allow for much of a cashout (if I’m reading the form correctly) if you don’t accrue vacation time very quickly (can only cash out time accrued since pay period 14).

    I also wonder if this may be taxed at a higher rate, which could really not be worth it.

    Just something to think about so hopefully folks can prepare in other ways (I will be).

    1. Maybe not a contract issue but I want Executives to know their penny pinching does negatively affect inpatient care. We have a severe lack of k-pads (low temp heating pads). These are so helpful to minimize aches and pains, our long term (2 months) patients love these. But these are rarely available. RNs can offer pain meds or the plastic pop to activate disposable packs. Meds or k-pads? Just check with a HUC or Equipment Pool to confirm. Any of you have a heating pad at home? Hot tub?

      1. And a bunch of other things –
        short staffing = pt’s being missed
        short staffing = employee burnout
        short staffing = months of waiting for an appointment
        short staffing = employee turnover
        However short staffing = higher executive bonus’

  31. Thanks Kate for elaborating,
    I wanted to keep my comment brief for Executives speed reading through our comments.

  32. Too poor to strike? Why should it surprise anyone that the higher ups have this attitude? They have grown complacent and accepting of the fact that their patients are too poor to pay them, but the execs have found a way to live comfortably with that fact. Go on, execs: stuff your pockets with public funds and with the savings accounts of impoverished sick people, and then take away the benefits of your service workers. Turn around and snicker at the poor people, and convince yourselves you’re superior simply by virtue of the fact that you make more money, superior just by virtue of having more.

    “Don’t worry; the lowly wage slaves are too poor to strike. They’ll accept whatever table scraps we shovel at them. And, we’ll take away their PERS, knowing all the while that when we ourselves retire, we execs, we’ll bankrupt the entire PERS program with our $20,000+ monthly payouts.”

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