Side-by-Side Comparison of Final Offers
Below is a comparison of the main proposals from AFSCME’s and OHSU’s final offers, which were submitted to our mediator on Monday, July 29.
|Length of contract||3 years||5 years||OHSU reverted back to its earlier position re: contract length.|
|Tiered language||No||OHSU is still proposing splitting our unit with tiered language (PTO, across-the-board increases, one-time-payment)||This is a non-starter. Contract tiers are a way for employers to divide and conquer a workforce. OHSU added additional tiered language from their supposal position.|
|Across-the-board wage increases||10.5% over 3 years (3.5% increase each year, for all employees)||14.1% over 5 years for employees making $22/hr or less (2.82% average increase per year); 13.1% over 5 years for all others (2.62% average increase per year)||Both teams made some movement. OHSU reverted back to its earlier position re: tiered wage increases. As we’ve said before, our members cannot accept such low increases when OHSU has publicly stated that they are “on track for a record $150 million profit on record revenues of $3.2 billion.”|
|Inflation/CPI protection||No||Possible additional wage increase for eligible impacted employees; would not be triggered until 2022||This would be applied if overall wage increases (across-the-board and step increases) for AFSCME-represented employees have not kept up with inflation.|
|One-time payment||No (AFSCME previously withdrew our proposal for a 1% lump-sum payment)||$500 for up to 0.49 FTE; $1,000 for 0.5-1.0 FTE; $1,200 for employees making $57.69-$86.53/hr;
$1,500 for employees making $86.54/hr or more
|OHSU has introduced another proposal where employees would receive different benefits based on their hourly wage (after previously rejecting our proposed percentage-based lump-sum payment. OHSU’s cost summary indicates this proposal would cost almost $7.7 million — Our position is that these funds would better serve our employees in the form of higher across-the-board wage increases for all. We’re also unclear how a higher one-time payment to the highest-paid members of our bargaining-unit meshes with OHSU’s stated goal to help lower-wage workers.|
|PTO||No||Optional for current employees, mandatory for new employees||The majority of our members have said “no PTO” — even on an optional basis — for two years. A different proposal for new employees is unacceptable.|
|Vacation||1 additional day for all employees hired after 9/11/98||1 additional day for employees at 0 – 5 years||Employees both new and long-term have stated in OHSU employee-engagement surveys that burnout is a problem. This is a patient-care issue.|
|Weekend differential||Year 1: 3%; Year 2: 5%; Year 3: 7%||No||Weekend shifts are hard to fill and our workers end up working overtime to cover these shifts.|
|Preceptor pay||5%||No||We were heartened when OHSU previously appeared to willing to recognize the preceptor work done by our employees. OHSU has reverted back to its previous position, however, declining to offer a preceptor differential.|
|Float differential||3% (~1 range higher) for NRM Ancillary float pool, Ambulatory Care Operations float pool, and clinical depts. w/ a designated float||No||Prior to negotiations, HR had requested we bring this to the bargaining table. We remain perplexed that OHSU has made no movement here.|
|TriMet passes||$50/year||$50/year||AFSCME agreed to this OHSU proposal on July 2. This is great for our members!|
|Hardship fund||$100,000/year dedicated needs-based funds for lower-wage workers, to be administered by AFSCME||Average $100,000/year funds to assist w/ housing, food insecurity or transportation, to be administered by AFSCME||We look forward to creating this program to help our members in need!|
|Wage increases retro to 7/1||Yes||No||We believe that a retro payment of the across-the-board increases is the fair option for our members.|
|Term of agreement||No change to current language (economic provisions take effect the first full pay period after ratification)||Delay effective date of economic provisions to after two full pay periods after ratification||AFSCME is opposed to introducing contract language that would delay the effective date of pay increases, changes to differentials, etc. for this and future contracts.|
|Appendix A (salaried employees)|
|Progression increases||Yes||Yes||Salaried employees will receive the same progression increases as hourly employees. This is fantastic!|
|Meal and rest periods||Yes||No||We believe that all employees should be able to take rest periods for their own well-being and so they are able to provide great patient care.|
|Time tracking||No||Yes (e.g., for grants/ projects or supporting an FTE increase)||We are very close on this.|
|Pay for work on holidays||Yes||No||We believe that all employees should receive a premium for working on a holiday.|
|Community advisory board||Yes||No||Our proposal has little associated cost. There currently is no venue for all OHSU constituents (all of whom have endorsed the advisory board or expressed interest in participating) to discuss ways to improve our workplace and our community.|
|Staffing task force||Yes||No; OHSU has instead proposed to arrange twice-yearly meetings between Local 328 and OHSU leadership||Our proposal has little associated cost. Departments are so short staffed that patient care is often delayed. Short staffing also causes employee burn-out. We don’t understand OHSU’s unwillingness to more frequently address its staffing issues.|
Remaining Sticking Points
Tiered Contract Language: There are a number of reasons our union is strongly opposed to this. It’s a well-known way for employers to divide a bargaining unit and weaken a union. This article explains it a bit more. We’re stronger together, and we want a contract that’s fair and equitable for all of the employees we represent.
As individual employees, we all have issues that are important to us, and may be interested in contract language that will most benefit us personally. We ask that our members consider the two final offers in terms of which one would benefit the greatest number of our represented employees, and consider what future contract negotiations would look like if our bargaining unit were split into smaller subsets of employees who aren’t all advocating for the same thing.
Tiered language can result in resentment between the two groups of employees who receive different benefits and wages based on hourly wage or hire date. Many contracts ago, a past bargaining team accepted language that allowed for lower vacation accruals for employees hired after 9/11/98. The tiered accrual language still comes up as a source of hard feelings to this day. It’s partly because of this instance of tiered contract language that our union is so opposed now to introducing tiers in other areas of the contract. (The current bargaining team is attempting to make the accruals more equitable for both sets of employees by proposing an additional vacation day for all employees who are accruing at the lower rate.)
Tiered language also weakens a union’s ability to negotiate fair contracts — employees who have different benefits are unlikely to advocate for one another in the same way that a unified bargaining unit would. We say this based on past experience — when OHSU came for the PERS pick-up in 2012, we were unable to build enough support to fight it, because the take-back didn’t impact UPP folks. If we agreed to optional PTO for current employees and mandatory PTO for new employees, during the next contract negotiations (when OHSU will almost certainly take another shot), we won’t have enough member support to fight mandatory PTO for everyone. Employees with PTO are unlikely to withhold their labor or be willing to give up other contract language so that other employees can keep the VAC/SIK system they prefer. Mandatory PTO for new employees now likely means mandatory PTO for all employees in the future.
PTO: While there are certainly some members who would prefer a PTO system to the current VAC/SIK system, the vast majority of our membership is opposed to PTO (even on an optional basis). That opposition has been consistent since before bargaining. There’s a reason that all of the unions at OHSU — who represent employees who punch a clock — are opposed to PTO. Despite OHSU’s insistence that PTO will offer flexibility to our members, it’s faculty and managers who benefit the most from a PTO/EIB model — employees who don’t have to use their accruals to cover a late arrival due to child-care issues or an early departure for a medical appointment. Under a PTO/EIB model, there will be employees who feel they need to come to work sick in order to preserve their accruals for vacations and spending time with their families, even though OHSU is now offering five days of PTO to offset the 40-hour requirement to access one’s EIB. This will put patients (and coworkers) at risk of catching contagious illnesses from employees, and that’s not something we can support. Employees who rarely get ill or need to use sick time to care for sick children may benefit from PTO, but it doesn’t help the majority of our members.
Across-the-Board Wage Increases: In our July 19 supposal, Local 328 had asked for increases of 12.0% over three years (4.0% increase per year) and OHSU had asked for increases of 6.5% over three years (average increase of 2.17% per year). We decreased our request in order to move closer to OHSU’s position. In its final offer, OHSU has reintroduced language proposing a higher across-the-board increase for lower-wage employees (now for those making $22.00/hour or less) — but only for the first year of a long contract. Local 328 continues to believe that higher increases are a better way to help lower-wage workers — that’s why our final offer proposes increases of 3.5% per year, for everyone. The wage increases in OHSU’s final offer will average 2.82% for lower-wage workers and only 2.62% for others. This simply isn’t in line with the realities of living in the Portland metro area.
Local 328’s bargaining team is dedicated to ensuring wages that adequately support the costs of living and working in this area, treating future employees as fairly as current employees, protecting a time-off system that doesn’t encourage employees to come to work sick and keeping our bargaining unit strong for the future.
We’ve said since the beginning, repeatedly, that we hope to reach a fair settlement with OHSU at the bargaining table, and that a strike is an option of last resort, and that hasn’t changed. OHSU’s final-offer post on OHSU Now suggested that you should “encourage your union to get back to the bargaining table by voting ‘no’ on a strike.” Our union is getting back to the bargaining table — on August 13 and 30, as we’ve noted previously and as OHSU’s itself indicated yesterday.
OHSU’s suggestion also misrepresents what our scheduled strike-authorization vote means. A “yes” vote means that a member is willing to strike, but it doesn’t mean our union will automatically go on strike. Instead, it will mean that our bargaining team is authorized to call for a strike if necessary to move OHSU toward a more fair contract. If we have strike authorization but are able to make movement at the table, we’ll remain focused on reaching an agreement at the table. The term “final offer” is defined by statute, and the fact that both teams have submitted final offers doesn’t mean that one offer needs to be decided upon immediately, or that additional movement won’t still be made during mediation.
In the meantime, it’s important that our members take a stand now. We need to come together with allies, community partners, elected officials and our union family and make our voices heard! In a little over a week, we all have a chance to show OHSU’s leadership that we won’t sacrifice our patients’ safety and our own well-being so that executives can haul in more bonuses. Our represented employees deserve better, and OHSU can do better. Join us at our informational picket on Thursday, August 8, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Defend our patients, our contract and our OHSU!