Bargaining-Session Update: June 4

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Our members deserve a fair contract with no take-backs, and we have the power to get it. OHSU proposes financial take-backs every contract because it thinks our members will just accept them, but you have the power to say “enough is enough” and prove OHSU wrong. Please participate in the following actions to help us win a fair contract:

    1. OHSU’s first bargaining forum with HR director Hollie Hemenway will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, June 5, from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. in Richard Jones Hall rm. 4320. We encourage our members to attend (wearing green and wearing your AFSCME buttons and stickers, of course) and respectfully engage as OHSU presents information about its proposals. Come prepared with your questions! 
    1. Join your coworkers at our family-friendly bargaining rally and BBQ on Thursday, June 13, starting at 4:00 p.m. on the Mac Hall lawn. Join us for all or part of the gathering. This fun 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. Please RSVP here!
    1. Our bargaining survey will close on Friday, June 14. If you haven’t yet done so, please take the survey now. 

Today, the teams worked on negotiating changes to Article 28 Labor Management Committee. In the morning, our union presented a counterproposal to OHSU that would:

    • Reinforce the Career and Workplace Enhancement Center’s commitment to the career advancement of members of our bargaining unit.
    • Clarify the roles of the LMC and the CWE Center.
    • Add to the services provided by the CWE Center — English-language learning, basic computer skills, classes scheduled during off shifts, etc.
    • Give priority placement in classes to bargaining-unit members.
    • Authorize charging a fee for class registration for employees who aren’t members of the bargaining unit.
    • Maintain language stipulating that the Local 328 president shall appoint the AFSCME representatives to work-unit labor-management committees.
    • Propose a charter template to assist in the formation of work-unit labor-management committees (similar to the templates used to create consensus agreements).
    • Approve LMC funding for the next two years.

OHSU responded to our LMC counterproposal late in the day. The teams will continue working on this contract language in future sessions. In addition, the teams reached tentative agreements on the following sections of the contract:

    • 5.X Student Worker: adds a new definition to this section of the contract
    • 7.2.5 Posting of Varying Work Schedules: adds language requiring printed work schedules to be posted in work areas where computer access isn’t readily available
    • 7.2.6 Changes in Work Location: adds new language addressing how work is assigned and how much notice is given when a department needs to change a work location
    • 15.2.4 Employee Premium Deductions: changes when insurance premiums are deducted from employees’ pay (to essentially reflect current practice)
    • 16.1 Plan Election: decreases the time frame for pension-plan election to 90 days from date of hire
    • 26 Parking: changes the name of this article to “Transportation and Parking”
    • Memorandum of Understanding #3 Code of Conduct: deletes this language (new related language has been added elsewhere in the contract)


92 thoughts on “Bargaining-Session Update: June 4”

  1. I am wondering why none of the online live steam questions were answered? Should we expect those to be answered in an email from Hollie Hemenway? Very upset at the fact that they left no time for questions.

    1. I like how we were walked through the process of negotiation in lieu of giving the employees time to ask questions. That wasn’t a town hall or open forum. They are intelligent professionals who know their proposals hurt and steal from the worker, they don’t want to field questions hopefully because the non careerist part of their soul isn’t comfortable with lying and selling out their fellow human beings face to face. It’s one thing to screw people over on paper in a board room, it’s another to have to look them in the eye.

    2. Hollie said she would be posting the remaining questions and answers to them on OHSU now. I personally saw her take the remaining post-it notes containing member questions with her after the forum. She did give out her email towards the end of the presentation so if you feel you have unanswered questions please feel free to email her.
      I would personally like to thank those members who stood up today and asked Dan the harder questions aloud and drifted away from the “approved” question format. Know that this bargaining team understands your passion and supports you while heartedly. We can, however, only go as far as your support takes us so grab as many people as you can find and get to our rally on Thursday June 13th at 4:00 pm. Let OHSU know we are serious about not accepting any takebacks

  2. Confused,
    After drawing the short straw and having to stand up in front of impowered people and try to feed them a huge load of bs that no one believes I would not want to stay around and answer unscripted questions eather.

  3. Next time I would like to see an HR rep field questions with an even more smug, smirky, and dismissive attitude. That would be great! As someone in a presumably high ranking HR career, I love how he acted like a “real” PTO where your accruals are in one single bank to be used at the employee’s discretion was a “new” concept for him. You know, a plan that might actually attract and retain talent. For someone claiming to have so much market research and analysis to dismissively speculate as to whether businesses even offered “such a plan” was pure bullshit. My second job offers such a plan for a start.

    Who does Holly think she is fooling when she says PTO isn’t cost saving, even though she has to admit that slicing the termination cash out is financially beneficial? Yes, it is financially beneficial or “cost saving” to suddenly free up (steal) MILLIONS of dollars for OHSU to use. Not cost saving? You are literally STEALING the money your employees earned when the leave. Yes, you should have to have enough cash parked in the bank to pay your employees the money they earned. It is not your money to use.

    1. Yeah, they say this change to a “PTO” benefit is to make recruiting easier, but it isn’t really a PTO program it is just some lipstick and re-naming of the existing sick/vacation system with some minor tweaks toward what a real PTO system would be.

      Give us a real PTO system, or leave it as is…

    2. Exactly, John. It was quite odd that a single-bank PTO system seemed to be a novel concept to OHSU. In the interest of transparency, I think our members would also love to hear more about how OHSU’s financial standing would be affected by having a large chunk of the vacation cash-out liability wiped off their books. Whether or not the change would be “cost saving” to OHSU, it would certainly be to their financial benefit–they should talk more about this, in the interest of transparency.

  4. The fact that they know how mad people are about their proposals and yet left 15min for Q and A’s shows how much they don’t care to hear our opinion. Cherry picking questions that are easy to answer is not the way to make their employees feel like they are heard. Telling us things that we already know and wasting time just tells me they think we are idiots and don’t deserve to have an opinion.

    Also, saying that “we all have coworkers that use their sick time to prolong their vacation” to me was very unprofessional. Why should we get punished because of maybe a couple of people needed an extra day off, this place is SO stressful that I refuse to assume they are abusing the system.

    1. Trust is part of the contract. If a small fraction of people abuse the sick time that they have earned and may never have occasion to use than that is on the individual. That does not represent the hard working co workers I know. I don’t know about the shiftiness in HR’s department, but my coworkers skip lunch, forego breaks, stay late and hold their bladders for five hour stretches just to make this place run. Those are the people I work with.

      1. I would say half of my coworkers are in some form of PT due to overuse injury. We sacrifice our shoulders, wrists and backs to lift, scan and care for patients. Should these people have to wait until they have worked enough hours to earn enough PTO to spend on pain management and physical recovery before they can access their EIB, just so they can get to the point where they can start the clock all over to wait and work enough hours to earn the time to even request a day off for leisure? HR frames this as a way to receive more time off?

    2. Wow I missed that part. I suffer from a chronic illness and specifically schedule my vacation time to account for that, most people do. It is really hard to work with a condition in the first place, a vacation takes more out of you because it’s not a regular routine. I do it for my family.

    3. Exactly, NR.

      When OHSU tried to get AFSCME’s support for PTO in the fall of 2017 they were a bit less blatant and merely insinuated that they were concerned about sick-time abuse. As we said then, our union believes that OHSU already has a way to deal with this. If managers feel sick-time is being abused, both OHSU’s attendance policies and the AFSCME contract give them tools to deal with employees who are suspected of this. I guess it’s easier to roll out a blanket change that will hurt thousands of employees who don’t abuse the system than it is to actually manage the few who do.

  5. A friend and fellow coworker wanted to know if OHSU is planning on freezing executive bonuses for the entirety of the time that it takes to figure out pay inequities? Or at least what percentage will they personally pay to comply with the law?

    1. That would be an excellent question for Hollie. She did give out her email towards the end of the presentation.

  6. I was a little frustrated when they said we would not be talking about increases since that is one of the last things to take place at bargaining. However, it’s also hard to negotiate about 5% insurance premiums and a spousal surcharge when OHSU’s offer is a 1% raise increase with a possible .5% payout.

    For example, an employee makes $60,000. A 1% raise is $600, so $60,600. Take out the 5% insurance premium (which I believe was $15.90 per pay period so $413.40) and you are at $60,187. This doesn’t even include if premiums increase more than 5% and doesn’t include a $100/month for spousal surcharge. And this just gets worse for people making less than 60K.

    So yes, as an employee I would like to talk about this since it’s important to know what my pay will look like.

  7. Regardless of the lack of time for Q&A, I was very disappointed by the presentation given by Holly. The way to gain buy-in is not to through presenting financial information, particularly unsupported data.

  8. I woke up early to attend the HR session. I came to work on my own time. I felt very much like the hour was wasted. Holly opening with the fact that we think we know what their proposals are about, but we don’t. That’s presumptuous to say the least. We were there because we know EXACTLY what their proposals are about. We were their because we care to ask questions. I had to leave and clock in by 8am. I caught the first half, submitted by questions online after I got to work. None of my questions were addressed. I expected to get at the very least my questions answered, on my own time, at 7:30am. Their sheer avoidance of questions, cherry picking what they wanted to answer, and wasting the first 45 min of the session was disappointing.

    We are UNION STRONG.

    1. I’m sorry about the way OHSU’s presentation turned out, Johanna, and that you spent personal time to hear information you already have.

      OHSU really seems to think that the reason our members don’t like their proposals is because they don’t understand them. No, we don’t like the proposals because we DO understand them.

  9. One of my favorite parts of this town hall was Hollie saying to us, “I don’t think a lot of people really understand the spousal surcharge,” proceeds to explain it to us, then two seconds later states, “it’s pretty straight forward, really.”

    Does she think we are all dense? We know what it is, who it is intended for and what the cost will be. We are angry because WE DON’T WANT IT. Not because we don’t understand it.


    1. Exactly, L. It’s insulting for OHSU to continue messaging as if our members don’t understand take-backs like the spousal surcharge. We DO understand it–we just expect better.

  10. PTO costs (my losses) are somehow necessities to provide this amazing benefit to attract a competitive market.

    I suggest the Bonus Club contribute to this amazing benefit to attract a competitive market.

  11. I don’t understand OHSU management’s big push to change the way we accrue and use vacation/sick time.

    Most workers are fine with it the way it is.

    Why isn’t management?

    Most workers never asked for a change.

    Why is management?

    At the end of the day, the hospital management operates to increase revenues and decrease costs.

    To them, workers are a cost. A cost that needs to be whittled down to ensure they receive higher bonuses.

    I understand the drive to make more money. We could all use a little more.

    But what I don’t understand is the constant nit picking and cutting of benefits at every contract round to take away what workers and their families rely on.

    Just leave things the way they are and enjoy your millions without taking away from our livelihood.

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  12. I appreciate that there was a live forum. However, questions should have been fielded from the audience live. I decided to raise my hand and ask specifically about the scenario of using vacation PTO and then not having enough hours to cover sick PTO. The answer is in fact that yes, you would be on time off without pay.
    This to me is unacceptable, especially if you have sick leave available in your EIB to use.

    If OHSU wants to implement PTO, then it should actually be true PTO. This program is not a true PTO program.

    I am also very disappointed we could not ask other questions as there was no time.

    1. We thought it was a bit of a sham as well to only field “approved” questions. I would hope that HR would not attempt to censor us next forum on the 19th at 2:00 pm. The most productive part of the day occurred when members voiced their concerns aloud. Management saw the frustration among the membership. Thank you for speaking up. And please don’t stop

    2. Thank you for asking your question about the PTO, Michelle G. I agree it is completely unacceptable there could ever be an occasion that an employee will be required to take unpaid time if they are sick if they have no PTO, yet have EIB. This could be disastrous for our lowest paid colleagues who work paycheck to paycheck. Many do not have any cash reserves to help get them through a time like this, hence the term paycheck to paycheck.

      I should point out that not everyone uses their vacation time for a fun happy vacation, not that this should matter. Many would use this time for family needs, such as caring for their own children during gaps in school or childcare. People will be exhausting their PTO for reasons other than fun vacations or sickness. So to think someone has no choice but to use up PTO for something like a basic necessity and then get sick, and have to go unpaid while their sick time is in jail, is beyond cruel. These are the people who will be coming to work sick because they will have no choice.

      But according to OHSU this is not likely to happen. And anyway, you will be accruing PTO at a higher rate, even when you are using your PTO! They are smarter than we are and know better than us. They do not care about us, we are not people to them.

      1. Yes, I felt he kind of blew off this question like no one would run out of vacation time. We don’t accrue that much, especially newer employees. I know a lot of people with kids that use vacation during the summer essentially for child care. And while this year we didn’t have snow days, we have before and many of us use vacation time to cover that as well. On top of this, many of us don’t have the ability to work from home.

        It’s very possible to be low or run out during the year. This wasn’t addressed effectively or constructively in answering a very valid question.

      2. It is totally contrary to the HR’s B.S. wish for people to have “time away” to spend with their families and decompress. We have to accrue and spend this supposedly encouraged “time away, decompression” just to access a sick bank that we also earned. And if we don’t have it accrued, we can’t access EIB. We have to take sick days of UNPAID. OHSU is out of their minds with greed.

      3. I would like to address the “lowest payed colleagues who work pay check to pay check ” . Just because someone makes less money doesn’t mean that they don’t have savings. Alot of people who make a large salary are living paycheck to paycheck. Alot of people who make a smaller salary have been saving for years. I have heard this many times. People, no matter how much they earn, can withstand or not. Please, don’t judge us like that. We keep our hats where we can reach them.

        1. Elizabeth, I apologize if you took offense to my comment. I am not judging. I have been a low wage worker and lived paycheck to paycheck and it seems your definition of this term is different than many. For many low wage earners who live paycheck to paycheck, an unpaid day or two or three could be disastrous. My comment was meant to draw attention to how someone in Dan Forbes’ financial situation might not see this as too much a problem to go without pay for a few days, but to someone else it could negatively impact their life, and their families lives, greatly. His response was flippant and I did not appreciate it.

          Kudos to you for having a savings.

    3. Michelle, thank you for speaking up and reminding OHSU that you have a voice and that it should be heard. You asked a very important question that shed a lot of light on how awful this “PTO” system would be for employees and patients alike.

      My father in law broke his neck on vacation and had to stay in the hospital, my mother got a concussion while on vacation and was unable to work when she returned home. These are very real and highly possible scenarios, contrary to what Mr. Forbes believes.

      Mandating that an employee stay in a hospital bed, or miss work, unpaid, due to an accidental injury that was obtained while on vacation is completely uncalled for and unacceptable and is a punishment for taking much needed and much deserved time off.

    4. We all agree that live questions would have been preferable. If OHSU wanted to prescreen the questions, surely there was a better way than trying to rustle through piles of hastily written Post-it notes.

  13. Disappointed, but sadly not surprised. Felt like they were just running out the clock with information we have already been presented with. Using the last few minutes to single out the easy post-it questions rather than take on the more complicated and divisive issues.

  14. One way they could revamp our current vacation/sick time is by having less criteria for people converting sick time to vacation time. Make it so anyone could convert (vs only people who call out 3x a year or less) and maybe if could be quarterly (vs once a year). This would help people who have large balances of sick time that aren’t accessible to use. It could benefit people who have sick time and oh my gosh had more than 3 sick days. What are we? Humans? Who work with patients who are sick?! Having this kind of criteria encourages staff to come to work when they are sick so they can have this benefit to convert sick time to vacation time. It benefits OHSU because its a 50% conversion. (40 hours sick for 20 hours vacation). If they allowed more people to do this it would decrease the payout and cash on hand to cover these hours. JUST AN IDEA.

  15. Our patients require skilled medical professionals. OHSU will not be able to care for their patients if staff are not treated and compensated professionally. It is already difficult to find qualified professionals for open positions.

    1. To piggy back on your comment…

      If OHSU caps vacation pay out at termination to 50% up to 40 hours ( worth only 20 hours of full pay), do they think people won’t be encouraged to take a vacation to use up as much time as they can and then come back to give notice? This may save OHSU a lot of money, but how would this be helpful to the departments who are already short staffed?

      1. Hi Brian. Quick correction—in OHSU’s proposal, the cash-out will be 50% of up to 80 hours. Still a terrible deal compared to current contract language. I’m glad you’ve brought up departments that are short-staffed. Employees in such department are already burdened by having to make do with inadequate staffing, and in many cases it’s difficult for them to get vacations approved due to operational needs. In the current system, they at least have the opportunity when they leave OHSU to cash out unused VAC that they didn’t get to use. Under the proposed PTO system, they won’t even have that.

  16. Since I’m at the Richmond clinic and have a sometimes-not-very-amenable schedule, I wasn’t able to attend this, and won’t be able to attend the rally on the 13th.

    Thank you for maintaining this blog to keep us all abreast of developments. Even if logistics make it difficult for me to pay attention, I’m still watching and listening. I still want to see OHSU offer equitable pay, strong benefits, and respect to all of its employees, not just leadership!

    1. We appreciate your support! And I firmly believe in being seen and heard, but that doesn’t just mean by OHSU management. Talking to each other about the proposals and the effects on each of us, wearing green and meeting on coffee breaks, and simply caring for the betterment of us all is AMAZING! Keep it up!

  17. Already looking for new employment. That “town hall” did nothing but confirm that OHSU is headed in the wrong direction. A hospital that used to be at the top with their retirement and benefits package is now SUB PAR. Holly, you can tell us all you want that we are still above surrounding hospitals with our benefits package. Our friends live in the area and work at other hospitals. The benefits used to outweigh the LONG COMMUTE, PAYING FOR THAT COMMUTE, LONG WORKING HOURS, AND VERY DIFFICULT WORK (BOTH MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY). Now that OHSU chips away at all of the benefits, there is NO REASON TO STAY. #OHSUStrike2019

    1. Absolutely! The logistics of working here are a nightmare. If OHUS wants to join the market we can go work somewhere where we can actually drive and park to get to work. I ride a bicycle 20 miles a day round trip, year round to work here. I stay for the benefits. I have job opportunities elsewhere. If they erode any benefit to being here, people will leave for easier work, commute and schedules.

  18. If you want to know what our non-union employees (doctors, administrators, etc) think of the new PTO arrangement that was implemented for them, just ask.

    So far I’ve found 0 out of 5 people in favor of the change. They are not happy about it. Not a formal poll but not a good trend either.

    The nurses union declined the PTO proposal.

    We should too.

  19. I start work at 7 AM, it was a difficult time to attend plus it was a difficult place to find and no signs. I’ve been working at ohsu for over 20 years and have never experienced this kind of treatment from OHSU. I’m extremely embarrassed, disappointed, and sad that OHSU is treating it’s employees in such as degrading manner by not only giving them good benefits but trying very hard to take away what they have earned. It’s really sad that employees of a large reputable hospital such as ohsu won’t be able to afford medical care or even get cost of living increase. And they want to take away our sick and vacation time by tricking us that nothing will change??!! seriously? If everything stays the same why change it to PTO? How long do we have to work at ohsu before we can afford to retire, 40, 50 years??? I’m outraged.

    1. it is sad, but AFSCME has been complicit in this don’t forget. ONA always seems to negotiate better. AFSCME should stop trying and use our DUES$$$ to hire professional negotiators. … .Then I woke up … I will die an early death before an american union becomes efficient

      1. How would “professional negotiators” help Local 328 get a better contract? Below is something I said to another commenter—it still applies. The reason ONA “seems to negotiate better” is because their members have been and are willing to strike, and OHSU knows that.

        “We occasionally hear the suggestion to have lawyers negotiate for us and I never understand why people think having a lawyer at the table for the union would change anything. Even the most golden-tongued attorney isn’t going to be able to get an employer to say “Why, you’re right—let’s give these hard-working employees 5% across-the-board raises! Free health insurance for all!” That’s just not how it works. If we had lawyers negotiating for us, they’d do the same thing our employee-based bargaining teams have done: gauge the willingness of the members to fight for a better contract and act accordingly. If the members aren’t willing to take direct action to tell the employer that their proposals are unacceptable, a lawyer would negotiate the best settlement possible—just like our bargaining teams have had to do in the past. If the members are willing, though, that’s a different story. In the end, if an employer’s lousy proposals are still on the table unchanged, the ONLY thing that will move them to make a better offer is if they know a union’s members are fed up enough that they’re willing to go on strike. Our ability to get a fair contract lies in our members’ hands, not in a lawyer’s.”

  20. I also got up and headed in early to attend this. It was disappointing to be lectured on their expectations of our behavior for this forum, like we would be a bunch of unruly school children otherwise. It was disappointing to sit and listen to Hollie SLOWLY spew out the same info we have already been privy to, and to sit there quietly (per their expectations!) jotting down my questions on a post-it and waiting patiently to have them answered, only to not have them answered because they wasted time telling us everything we already know. I sacrificed sleep for this. But I guess this is what we are expected to do. It’s all about our sacrifice and in the end the executives get their bonuses.

    I did not get the impression they had any intention of engaging us, they only wanted to tell us what is best for us. As if we are too dumb to know any better.

    Thank you AFSCME, for the coffee and donuts. It’s interesting that you provided these treats for a forum that OHSU hosted…

    1. We appreciate all of our members coming out and showing support and interest in the bargaining process. We’re sorry that so many folks took time out of their day, some rearranging their schedules to do so, only to leave with their questions unanswered.

  21. I feel like this whole PTO proposal is rushed. If you want us to accept a PTO proposal, make a fair proposal. The 5 days of PTO to get to your EIB is crazy. The EIB is our time, our hard earned time. I am not sure what goes on in the other departments, but we don’t have people that abuse sick time. Sure a person or two might need a mental health day, but I rather they do this and return ready to give their patients 100%. In addition, the loss of payout when you leave. Again, it is our earned time. We should get it paid out at 100%. There is no reason for us to pay OHSU when we leave. We pay to get to work, you want us to pay to get health benefits, and you want us to pay you to leave. It’s comical really.

    OHSU why aren’t you listening? We are your people. These are basic needs we are requesting. There is no reason for you to punish the people that work hard for you every day. We are the ones that make this hospital run, treat us with respect. We are sick of being abused. Standing up for yourself is not hateful speech, it’s freedom of speech.

  22. OHSU is the kind of abusive relationship your mother tells you to avoid at all costs. It’s this new well behaved girlfriend in the beginning. As you age, she gets a little crazier. As time goes on you get more involved , and one day you wake up to the severity of her abuse. That’s how I felt this morning, like I’d just woken up.

  23. I wasn’t able to make the meeting because I work evenings, but was VERY disappointed that management is so disrespectful and inconsiderate. I listened to all my co workers who did attend and I can say that AGAIN

  24. For the workers that these proposals effect, it comes down to one thing- providing excellent patient care. If OHSU doesn’t take care of it’s employees, we cannot provide the kind of care our patients deserve. If OHSU wants to maintain it’s high level of respect in the state and beyond, please hear our comments and respect that we are here for the right reasons.

    I will be bringing my small children to the rally on the 13th to help show that these OHSU proposals will negatively impact my family. #afsmestrong

    1. We’ll have activities for children! Parents and grandparents grab the kids and come to the Rally.*

      *No “cost sharing” ….free games …
      free prizes ….no catch ….no post its

  25. Friends of mine are shocked when I tell them how I work for a place that says it is the best hospital in Oregon and yet I do not have medical covered fully. I’m exposed to every disease under the sun and this is the thanks I get?

  26. I love all the comments and all the devotion that we all have to our work, family, and sense of humanity in the posts. Has anything been found out about the comments regarding us being too poor? This is just how they are trying to break up our solidarity. Lots of people who make alot of money don’t save, lots of people who don’t, save alot. Don’t count out those of us who live on humble means. Talk to EVERYONE! Pick up or print out a stack of small fliers and hand them out to the people who you see every day. We all need each other!

  27. Ground Rules: Follow the Code of Conduct and treat everyone with respect.
    Rules not followed by OHSU at their employee forum today and here’s why:
    1. The claim that PTO is not a cost saving measure is a lie. PTO is a cost saving measure. The cash out is at a lower rate than currently provided. The money from the reduced cash out rate goes somewhere- is called cost savings.
    2. The claim that you accrue more time in a PTO bank is a lie. My higher level math skills demonstrate that the 4 additional days to the PTO come from the 12 SIK days I currently get . Guess what 12 minus 4 is? 8- the number of days in the EIB. But guess what? I can’t get to those 8 days until I use 40 hours of PTO as sick time. And I can only convert 32 hours of my current sick time to PTO. 40 minus 32 is 8. 8 additional hours of PTO that won’t be available for vacation. Not more time, less.
    3. Choosing not to present OHSU’s wage increase proposals when speaking about creating the “reserve” fund for complying with the pay equity law is a lie by omission. Garnishing 0.5% of the proposed 1.5% wage increase to fund the “reserve” to comply with the law is important financial information that is not “premature” for individuals to consider when budgeting for their households.
    1. Dan Forbes description of an employee’s scenario for PTO usage as “narrow” was disrespectful. He didn’t like to admit the inconvenient (to management) and universal (not narrow) truth that if you are an employee that doesn’t use sick time, but does exercise what management says is the purpose of the PTO by using the time for vacation, then you run the risk of not being able to access the EIB hours if you become ill or injured and would have to take LEAVE WITHOUT PAY. His failure to stand still, maintain eye contact, and answer the question was dismissive behavior.
    2. Running out of time to answer questions is understandable and inevitable. Purposefully drawing out your answers to avoid getting through questions is disrespectful. Dan Forbes did not answer the question; why change the employee benefits council? Instead, he discussed examples of how an OHSU president could make decisions to save us all. His examples assume the president is a benevolent dictator that will choose for the greater good. Our country understands the folly in this assumption, and it’s why we value checks, balances, civil discourse, disagreement, democracy and voting.

    My questions that might be answered by OHSU:
    1. Why can’t OHSU afford to obey the law?
    2. What are other sources to fund the “reserve” to obey the pay equity law?
    3. What percentage of unclassified employee wages will be withheld to fund the “reserve” to comply with the pay equity law?
    4. OHSU bargaining team- would you accept a 1.0% wage increase?
    5. Why can’t PTO be one single bank of time with out restriction or stipulation of use?
    6. Why can’t OHSU lead the “market” in wages, benefits, parental leave, vacation, labor relations and legality?
    7. Why doesn’t OHSU follow its own ground rules?

    1. Also Jackie:
      Dishonest –
      When Dan Forbes said that other organizations don’t give true parental leave and there are catches indicating that 3 weeks at 100% would be above market and on top of other benefits. This is false.

      Nationally – top medical schools give an average of 8.6 weeks (almost all of these are 100%). The 3 weeks at least should be ON TOP (as he claims) not offered and then forcing a cost-saving PTO proposal to pay for it.

  28. After the disappointment of yesterday I decided to go read the Pay Equity Law myself. The text states:

    “The amended law provides authority to courts to grant employer motions to disallow awards of compensatory and punitive damages in civil actions alleging violations of the pay equity law if the employer demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that the employer:
    – Completed within three years before the date that the employee filed the action, an equal-pay analysis of the employer’s pay practices in good faith that was reasonable in detail and scope in light of the size of the employer and related to the protected class asserted by the plaintiff in the action; and
    – Eliminated the wage differentials for the plaintiff and has made reasonable and substantial progress toward eliminating wage differentials for the protected class asserted by the plaintiff.

    My interpretation based on that text is that OHSU is pushing to have us cover their potential pay inequity so that they can avoid future civil suits.

    It’s infuriating that OHSU is attempting to couch their low across-the-board proposal in the guise of equity. Rather than take the time to analyze and address the issue they’d prefer to pit us against one another by freezing pay and reducing pay through benefits takebacks. This only harms our most vulnerable members, those that the equity law is intended to protect.

    1. Thanks for adding this here! I haven’t had time to read it, but it helps to actually read. OHSU is basically trying to pull the wool over our eyes, not surprised.

    2. If they freeze my pay I’m leaving. I can go to a different hospital and have way less stress and get paid the same. I’m not going to pay for their mistakes. If during the investigation an employee is getting paid less than they should be I think it’s the managers fault and their bonuses should be frozen until that employee has equal pay.

  29. I think that one of the most disheartening things about this process is how hard we all work every day. Our department alone has over doubled in size in the past 20 years. Our revenue in Ultrasound is one of OHSU’s biggest money makers. We are consistently adapting to OHSU’s change and growth. We went from 8 employees to over 20. We went from 4 clinics to 7. We rotate weekly, and are prepping for yet an 8th clinic. It is mentally and emotionally demanding to keep all of our skills up to above par in each area, because that is what OHSU has come to expect of us. We have been through some rough years, but we have all stuck it out. We have all made it to the top. The growing pains were unbearable some days, most days. Now that we are finally getting a chance to breathe, we have to fight for a fair contract. We do so much, for once I want OHSU to reward us with something other then a tote bag.

    How about a contract that we, your employees can be proud of? Is that too much to ask?

  30. OHSU- stop taking away from your hardworking employees and start eliminating your no-good management. Nutrition services and EVS are still dealing with discrimination but that is nothing new. Ambulatory services are being overworked because management/HR will not approve positions (remember, we are only a cost to OHSU) so our workload doubles and no over time is allowed.
    Also…. you can have the best doctors in the world but ask them how they would manage without support staff :)

    AFSCME members- lets make sure our community is aware of how OHSU really treats it’s employees.

    1. Over it-Your comment about ambulatory services being overworked and understaffed is the exact reason why we proposed a staffing task force. We were pretty surprised when OHSU declined our proposal and instead told us that if staffing issues are not being addressed by management, “employees can always go to their managers, manager.” Anyone whose ever been in this situation knows that this is not a viable option. This is not a financial issue, it’s a safety issue that effects both employees and patients alike.

  31. Bargaining team-
    According to O2, unclassified on PTO right now get 208 hours of PTO and 64 hours of EIB? 208 is 26 paid days off and 64 Sick hours according to this policy
    We can’t even get 15 days of vacation for our first 5 years of employment and keep our sick accruals? 12 days! I get 12 days a year for time off. It sounds like employees use their sick time bc the are burnt out compared to HR and management who are getting 26 days of “vacation”. More than double the time off!!

    Even the unclassified that aren’t covered by PTO (according to the O2 Vacation leave accruals by representational group) get 176 hours or 22 days.

    OHSU- Why can’t you offer up more PTO and/or vacation rather than take from our already limited accrual bank?!!!

    1. 12 days a year- Thank you for pointing that out. I actually had a conversation with an unclassified Physician this morning who said that because they get 5 weeks of PTO, they don’t really mind that they have to use 40 hours of PTO before accessing their EIB. The discrepancy is very apparent and incredibly unfair.

  32. I’ve thought a lot about what was presented at the OHSU forum. The piece that stuck with me the most was the claim that our health insurance was “too good”.

    We all know that the healthcare system in this country is a mess. In truth, it’s ridiculous that health insurance is tied to employers. But it’s the system we have.

    OHSU is the vanguard in patient care. OHSU is the vanguard in research. OHSU is the vanguard in teaching the next generation of healthcare providers. In those areas, the question is never “are we doing too good a job?” Instead, the question is “what can we do better?”

    Medical bills are the major cause of bankruptcy in the US. But it’s true that we have excellent health insurance at OHSU that allows us access to amazing healthcare. Instead of portraying that as a negative, it should be a proud positive. Part of being a vanguard in the healthcare industry.

    OHSU can excel at patient care, research, teaching….and the employees that help all that happen.

  33. I attended last week’s bargaining forum.
    Question OHSU: You said you would like to hear our questions and comments. I have several, specifically in response to evidence that other employers (in this country as well as in the Portland metro area) offer TRUE flexible PTO systems, PAID parental leave, and excellent healthcare benefits with NO COST to employees. You know, since Dan Forbes said that this is unheard of in the market? But that OHSU would consider it if other employers were offering it? (yeah, right!)
    OHSU, where are you hosting a forum that employees can ask any and all questions, and where you will provide direct answers? As far as I can see, there is no OHSU-sponsored place for employees to post questions and receive answers re: bargaining and proposals in a public forum viewable to all – not on OHSU now, not on the O2 bargaining page.

    1. It always impresses me when a educated person like Mr Forbes tries to play stupid (but then I’m easily impressed). These TRUE PTO plans have been in manufacturing for more than two decades. One bucket of hours used for “personal time off” as needed by the employee without any penalties as long as it was NOT abused. In fact if scheduled time off AND no call off time each quarter, you would be rewarded with a extra 1/2 of PTO.
      But those manufacturing companies have a moral compass when it comes to their employees & they want them to remain on the job. Hollie said it herself in the last meeting, OHSU needs to make sure “THEIR” funds remain intact for the life of the contact. This implies a lack of concern for its employees.

  34. Another question:
    If our contract expires, I understand OHSU and AFSCME typically agree to extend the current contract until negotiations are complete for the new contract. What happens to our annual raise? Normally we receive some sort of % raise every July. However, if we do not ratify a new contract until, say, September or October, then it seems like AFSCME employees miss out on $ for several pay periods …. will OHSU back pay the difference?

    1. In the past, there was no raise immediately. This was probably because the annual COLA typically changed between years so . . . which figure do you use?
      Once the contract is signed, the new COLA is retroactive to the first pay period after the end of the previous contract.

  35. I have a question on the PTO, It is clear you cannot access your EIB until you use the 40 hrs. PTO first. It was stated that if you did not have any PTO available for sick you go without pay. Is this for 40hrs unpaid or a combination of unpaid and paid to equal 40 hrs. then you can get EIB. If you don’t have any PTO when tragedy strikes, Could you have hundreds of hours EIB that might never be accessible? Many don’t carry short term disability because they have so much sick time. These scenarios have not been addressed. Is it another hidden take back? I am so frustrated that you could not ask your questions.

    1. Hi DT. Under PTO, whether/how much any of your time off during an unplanned longer illness/injury would depend on (a) if you’ve used any PTO for sick-leave purposes earlier in the year and (b) what your PTO balance is at the time of the absence. I’ll give a few examples that will hopefully clear things up. Suppose you get injured, need to have surgery, and end up missing two weeks (80 hours) of work; you have 100 hours of EIB. In this scenario:

      (1) If you have 40 hours of PTO at the time of your injury and haven’t used any PTO for sick time yet this year, your absence would be covered by 40 hours of PTO and 40 hours of EIB; if you previously used 20 hours of PTO for sick-time reasons before the injury, your time would be covered by 20 hours of PTO and 60 hours of EIB.

      (2) If you only have 20 hours of PTO at the time of your injury and haven’t used any PTO for sick time yet this year, 20 hours of your absence would be covered by PTO, 20 hours would be unpaid, and 40 hours would be covered by EIB; if you previously used 20 hours of PTO for sick-time reasons over the year, your time would be covered by 20 hours of PTO and 60 hours of EIB.

      (3) If you have 0 hours of PTO accrued at the time of your injury and haven’t used any PTO for sick-leave reasons yet this year, you would need to take 40 hours unpaid and then the remaining 40 hours of your absence would covered by 40 hours of EIB—this would be the worst-case scenario under PTO (a full 40 hours unpaid even though you have plenty of EIB that you can’t yet access and even though you hadn’t called in sick at all until your injury). If you have 0 hours of PTO available but used 20 hours of PTO for sick-leave reasons earlier in the year, you would only need to take 20 hours unpaid and the remaining 60 hours would be covered by EIB. If you have 0 hours of PTO at the time of your injury, but have already used 40 hours of PTO for sick reasons over the course of the year, your absence would be covered by 80 hours of EIB.

  36. OHSU wants us to participate in the “cost sharing” of the organization. Only fair right?
    When I think of the words fair and share I think of equity and equality.
    OHSUs proposals are neither.
    OHSU wants the cost savings generated by below cost of living wage increases, a horrible PTO proposal, withholding wage increases to create a legal aid fund and charging more for health care.
    OHSU does not want to cost share when it provides better wages and more vacation to management and executives.

  37. Jennifer asked me what the benefit of professional negotiators could be to AFSCME. Kind of obvious to me, but perhaps this comparison would help.

    Athletes sure don’t let amateurs negotiate their contractual details.

    “Sports agent Scott Boras (right) has negotiated more than $2.3 billion in current MLB player contracts, clearly showing the value that competent representation can bring professional athletes.”


    Source: Forbes (

    1. A sports agent negotiating a contract for an individual athlete doesn’t really compare to collective bargaining for 1000’s of people at a hospital/medical school.

  38. The comparison of professional athletes having a sport agent or lawyer negotiate a contract to a union having members bargain a contract is silly. Both entities rely on the same thing to get what they want; THE WILLINGNESS TO REJECT THE OFFER and NOT WORK.
    The assumption that our bargaining team members are incompetent because they are not lawyers is false.
    I know plenty of incompetent attorneys.
    I know our bargaining team members are smart, resourceful, professional, honest and hardworking.
    I know the power of negotiation is in what we as members are willing to do, just like an athlete, in order to get a great contract- STRIKE.

  39. I also know our bargaining team members are supported not just by competent lawyers who specialize in labor law but also by specialists in financial forensics and other researchers.
    And I know that anyone, regardless of degree or education, can look at OHSUs proposals and determine that they are terrible. And then refuse the offer and STRIKE!

  40. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
    According to the (Google) Lund report there are four “pay equity” lawsuits pending decisions. I suspect my “cost sharing” future PTO fees/fines/loopholes may be redirected to the present lawsuits in progress. And then there’s medical.
    Is ohsu ready to talk about raises yet?

    1. Hi Tami. The way OHSU’s proposal is written, the funds that would be held back from our cost-of-living increases would only be used to correct pay-equity issues within our bargaining unit. We continue to feel that the institution shouldn’t penalize AFSCME-represented employees for pay inequities that would have been caused by management and leadership, not by our members. We also believe that OHSU needs to be transparent about how other employee groups will be asked to chip in to help with this problem. The many pending lawsuits against OHSU would seem to indicate a problem with pay equity amongst the faculty–will the people who make hiring & compensation decisions at that level be asked to go without a portion of their annual increases and/or bonuses?

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