Lack of Computer Access/Duty Time to Read Work Emails
The first order of business on Thursday was to discuss a two-part issue. Local 328 has gotten a lot of feedback from members who are unable to check their work emails because they don’t have reasonable access to a computer, while others have a computer available but don’t have time during their work day to read their work emails.
The two bargaining teams had very different perceptions about the extent of the problem, but after a great deal of discussion we managed to reach a tentative agreement. The terms of agreement are as follows:
- OHSU commits to informing employees, supervisors and managers that time must be made available for employees to read work emails and other OHSU communications and complete required online trainings. This time should not be during breaks, lunches or other off-duty time.
- Employees who feel they are being denied access to a computer or the time to read emails are encouraged to raise the issue with their supervisor. Any union concerns about the adequacy of computer time and access will be brought to the attention of the appropriate Human Resources business partner; if it is not resolved, the issue will be taken to the HR-AFSCME monthly meeting for resolution.
- These terms will appear in the contract as a letter of agreement.
Tentative Agreement on Proposals
We reached tentative agreement on several proposals, including:
- 9.1.3 — Calculation of Overtime: Time worked outside of regularly scheduled hours, for which time-and-a-half is paid, doesn’t count as time worked in the calculation of overtime. (This does not change how overtime is currently calculated.)
- 19.2 — Layoff – Temporary and Contract Employees: Contract workers must be laid off before regular employees who are in the same classification and the same work unit, and performing the same work. Contract workers who are in the last six months of their contract can be retained if they cannot be readily replaced by existing regular employees.
- 19.10.5 — Lack of Work on Holidays: The word “department” will be changed to “work unit” in this section. This recognizes that not every work unit within a department has the same demand during holidays.
- 20.4 — Evaluation Periods – Extensions: A probationary period can be extended by mutual agreement between the employee and his/her supervisor.
Employee Performance and Contract Rights
Management brought an issue to the table that generated a lot of conversation and controversy. OHSU has an interest in restricting seniority-based rights for employees who are judged to be poor performers and/or employees who have received discipline. These rights could include things like vacation bidding, job bidding, salary progression increases, overtime assignment and layoff.
While the union shares concerns about effectively managing performance issues, there was a lot of disagreement about the best way to approach the problem. Based on the number of stories and interests expressed by each team, it became clear we would not have time to come to agreement in this week’s session, so the issue was put on hold until next Thursday.
Employee Resource Groups
We used the remaining time to get started working on the issue of employees’ ability to attend Employee Resource Group meetings. Many of our members have told us that they would like to participate in an ERG but can’t get the time away from work to attend the meetings. We will also pick this issue back up when we meet next week.
While we didn’t reach agreement through interest-based bargaining on many topics today, we worked through some thorny issues that required much discussion and critical thought. The union’s team did a great job representing the interests that our members have brought to us. Overall, the IBB process is progressing well.
April 16 is the deadline for presenting economic proposals, so the union will have several major new proposals to report on. Until then, keep an eye on the website and like the new AFSCME Local 328 Facebook page to get all the latest news.