Contract-Ratification Vote Scheduled

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The ratification vote for the OHSU/AFSCME 2019-2022 contract has been scheduled for Sunday, September 1, through Sunday, September 8. More details coming soon!

In the meantime, mark your calendars for a ratification-FAQ town hall on Wednesday, August 28, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. We’ll use this time to answer questions about changes to the contract and about the ratification process.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments — we’ll answer them here, but will also compile them and share the answers at the town hall. Please also let us know what type of information you’d like to have about the tentative agreement.  We’ll be preparing some comparison tables and will share the draft new/changed contract language, but we want to be sure we’re communicating the information our members want to know, in a format that will most helpful to folks.

92 thoughts on “Contract-Ratification Vote Scheduled”

  1. Can Radiation Therapists and Dosimetrists be added to the preceptor differential as we have students throughout the year?

      1. I second this for Laboratory staff. We have students come through a few times a year and it’s doing new employee training repeatedly. Next contract it would be great if we could work that in.

        Thanks for all your hard work!

      1. Who do we advocate for it to? I am the union steward for the Radiation Therapy/Dosimetry staff and would love to try to help advocate for this! Many of us do a lot of teaching.

        1. Yes, folks can email me but starting with your coworkers then going to management and making your case first is the best route. Because the contract calls out specific classifications it will be extremely helpful to have their support.

  2. Hello, and congratulations! I have a question. Will the details of the contract about pay increases have any affect on the starting pay of someone who will begin employment with OHSU on 9/9?

    1. Unfortunately, I think you’re going to just miss the upcoming across-the-board pay increase for this year. One generally has to be an employee at the time of ratification (which would be 9/8), in order to be eligible. I’m sorry!

      1. Thank you. Does that mean no pay increase at all for that year, or just something lower that had already been set?

  3. I am not familiar enough to know what ratification vote is. Can you explain that a little bit, or tell me where I can find information. You guys have been amazing with information, and keeping us posted. I do truly appreciate it.

    1. The ratification vote is how our membership votes whether to accept the tentative agreement—the language in the TA doesn’t take effect until ratification.

      One needs to be a dues-paying member to be eligible to vote. The vote will be conducted online, via our website, so one can vote at any time during the voting period. I have to double-check on this, but I believe we’ll also have voting stations at a few different locations.

      1. Hi, is the ratification vote similar to a strike authorization vote, do we need 60% of members to vote yes? Thanks in advance.

  4. A search on O2 for retaliation directs people to contact HR, will we push for that to be amended after ratification?

    1. We’ll certainly request that the Code of Conduct pages be updated to reflect the fact that AFSCME-represented employees can contact our union directly regarding violations—it would be a good way for OHSU to demonstrate that it really does want to “build trust, transparency and accountability.” Regardless of whether that happens, we’ll feature the information prominently on our website (which will undergo a complete overhaul within the next few months) and will also work to educate folks about this option.

      1. Jennifer,

        I have no skin in this game, but you should really consult me about the Code of Conduct. I violated the Code of Conduct at least 10 times and did nothing wrong, but I know how the CoC is enforced at OHSU better than anyone on the planet. The people in charge are not fair, impartial, or honest.

        I have a lot of experience and am trying to be helpful.

        Buddy

    2. Jordan, As a former OHSU faculty member who was found guilty of retaliation twice, I need to comment. The retaliation charges against me were fake and made up by HR because the Dean’s Office didn’t like me, but they went through Forbes and his underlings, and they were glad to do the dirty work. The real problem here at OHSU is that OHSU administration has no integrity (e.g., the trolling accounts, which was a symptom of the larger problem), so my suggestions are that the union should demand that all violations of the Code of Conduct (or any other OHSU policy) be adjudicated by a fair and impartial committee, not by HR. This committee should be composed of faculty and employees, not administrators.

  5. I am wondering if the new contract has modified our current language of 3 occurances in 3 months.

    Thank you bargaining Team! You rock! Solidarity, Heck Yeah!

    1. No changes. Management had wanted to get that timeframe extended, putting our members at greater risk of attendance-related discipline, but ended up pulling the proposal close to the very end of mediation.

  6. A birdie once told me that OHSU is/was planning to freeze pay increases for employees in order to “catch up” others making less as their way to abide by Oregon’s new equal pay law (giving bigger raises to those wronged/making less doesn’t make sense apparently). Is this being addressed/considered in any way?

    1. OHSU had initially proposed a whole slate of proposals (including freezing pay increases) that it stated were necessary to comply with the pay-equity law (some background can be found here). However, SB 123, which was passed by the Oregon legislature a couple of months ago, made a number of changes to the original law, including that employees may be paid differently for work of comparable character based on factors contained in a collective bargaining agreement. So, OHSU ended up pulling these proposals.

  7. Will the Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 tiers stay the same as the table currently posted on the 02 site or will that be updated after the AFSCME 3.25% COLA?

  8. Couple of questions!

    1) Do we know for sure yet when the $1000 in-lieu of back-pay payment will be paid out?

    2) We have several Relief (0.0 FTE) employees in our department. Will they get any of that $$?

  9. I know the c-tran bus passes have always been more than the tri-met passes, but now that tri-met has gone down to $50, the c-tran passes should have gone down also. They are almost $400. I would like to have this addressed.

      1. Why didn’t the union address this when OHSU made the final offer? I expected it to be a little bit more, but it’s more than a little more.

  10. Hi Jennifer,

    I notice that ratification is set to take place 9/1-9/8. The bonus based on FTE is to come the paycheck following ratification.

    I am switching positions on 9/9 from 1.0 to 0.75 FTE, and am curious at what point are they determining your FTE bonus will be based on: when the contract expired in July, when ratification happens, or when the bonus is applied?

  11. Question about anniversary raises. salaried workers are going back to quartile structure for annual raises. when does that take effect? if we have an anniversary in july, august, or September before the new contract is ratified does that mean we only get a 1.5% raise from the previous contract instead of the potentially higher raises from the quartile structure?

      1. Said employees have their 1.5% raised after the contract was agreed upon but before it is ratified. but they haven’t received them yet

        1. We think the best course of action in this case would be for the employee to discuss with their manager that since an agreement was reached before their anniversary, it would be appropriate to utilize the new percentages for the employee’s raise even though the contract is not yet ratified. (It’s the sort of thing that an employer who wants to restore trust would do.) If the employee gets push back, they should follow up with our union via the eZone.

          1. Branching off of this, previously the salaried employees received 1.5% with merit based increases added to that. With the switch to progression increases do employees still receive merit based increases in addition to the progression increases?

  12. Question: How is it that OHSU can now require employees to submit to a 3rd party biometics screening or we pay a surcharge??
    Does the Union have ability to push back on this? Majority of employees in my department have expressed concern with this and would like to know what we can do.

  13. Speaking of the newly required Spark “benefit” I am not comfortable sharing my personal information, let alone my blood (and all data that goes with it), with a third party vendor. Also, as noted on O2, if your blood values are outside of normal you will get a call from this vendor to discuss your results. I am in no way comfortable speaking with someone who is not my PCP about my health information. Further, I have never heard of a “benefit” that penalizes you for not using it. The opt-out penalty of $33.44 a month is no small amount. I feel as if this program is asking me to choose between my privacy and paying my bills.

  14. When I first heard about this Spark “benefit” I thought it couldn’t apply to AFSCME employees because it would’ve needed to be bargained for, not just imposed with no warning. But I guess that’s not the case.

    I feel like when they decided in July to impose this, they were expecting the union negotiations to end with insurance take-backs that made it so none of us had our full insurance premiums covered anymore, and therefore this new requirement could be posed as a way to “earn back” some of that insurance money we were newly paying. They could’ve called it a “credit” in that scenario. Instead, they were forced to remove the insurance take-backs to avoid AFSCME strike, and now they have to call it a surcharge. Joni Elsenpeter practically said as much in her comment on O2 – she said her preference would’ve been to call it a credit, but since people on the employee-only plan already don’t pay premiums, it ends up having to be called a surcharge.

    The whole thing seems really shady to me.

    1. I agree with S. James that the whole wellness surcharge seems questionable and would really appreciate some insight from our union reps about this plan. For myself, I will not participate in any health evaluation/biometric screening. I visit my PCP at least twice a year and that is all discussed with my doctor. Nor do I feel it is necessary to prove, by using the alternative waiver, that I am in charge of my own health. As far as I am concerned this is one more nail in the coffin of OHSU’s relationship with its employees.

  15. Can we get some kind of official post about the Spark “benefit” that they are strong arming us into? Matt, Frank, and other AFSCME leadership is on the Employee Benefits Council. I am very upset about this, and am not looking forward to losing $400 a year because I don’t want to participate in a third-party biometric screening.

    Due to my spouse’s employment, I have double coverage and their employee wellness plan at another medical center just has us do a couple of options on their list (biometric is one) of 8 and then they give us $700 each for our health expenses for the year. I know there are better and more competitive options out there.

    This is just a terrible way to make us pay them to not give up our data. I am very upset and the contract was a very narrow win for us, we haven’t enough time to forget and this isn’t the way to smooth over anything. And the bottom line, someone is upset that their department is not attracting enough participation. Make the program better and more accessible to the majority of the workers. Lack of participation should tell them the majority don’t see any value in participating, and a financial penalty is not a way to get that participation up without strong feelings. I am just so FRUSTRATED

      1. What happens if we reject this contract as a result of the Wellness “benefit”?

        Do you go back to the negotiating table with OHSU, does it revert to their last/best offer, or ???

        1. I responded to your other comment asking about this—let me know if you’d like me to copy & paste info here, too.

          Can I ask why you would reject our union’s contract because of OHSU’s wellness requirement & surcharge? I understand that people are very upset (believe me, I’m no happier about it than any other employee), but our contract and the wellness surcharge aren’t related. The wellness requirement isn’t something that was talked about at the bargaining table, it isn’t something that’s part of our contract, and it will be imposed on OHSU’s employees whether or not Local 328’s contract is ratified. EBC decisions—about things like plan design, wellness programs, whether we use Moda or not—happen outside of the bargaining process.

          1. True dat. That wellness surcharge racket that management be sneakily pushing ain’t just for us union folks. Other OHSU employees, including the three other unions, unclassified staff, faculty and others all have to put up with the same swindle.

          2. Buy you knew about during negotiation and could have included it. You could have polled us to see what we wanted you to do.

            I would rather have PTO than this crap. And I don’t want PTO in the slightest.

          3. I will have to drop my union membership to make up for the theft. But maybe that was their goal, to weaken the union.

          4. So Matt who is on the EBC didn’t share with the other members on the contract negotiation team that this did this to us? Is the EBC sworn to secrecy or something?

            And is it a known absolute that the OHSU president would have voted yes if the EBC was dead-locked? Voting yes when you didn’t want it is caving and giving up your say. That isn’t the kind of action I want the union to take for me.

            But I guess in the end the union is the loser in this if I can’t get out of the penalty without releasing ANY private/health/health care information.

      2. Hi, Jennifer.

        Awaiting Matt’s article, but I feel like this requirement is violation of our patient privacy. We’re employees and patients, and should be treated as such. I have blood work done twice a year and a PC physician that follows up with me if anything is wrong. I’d gladly show proof of my labwork (minus results) in place of a third party collecting personal health information.

        Thanks for your time.

  16. If the ratification vote is 9/1 – 9/8, and the conclusion is to ratify the contract, when is the ratification date? 9/8? I’m asking because my anniversary date is 9/19 and I’m salaried.
    Thanks!

        1. If the contract isn’t ratified, we would go back to the bargaining table and more negotiations with OHSU. Since that hasn’t happened previously, I’m not sure whether we’d continue from the point where we left off (i.e., working with the language in the tentative agreement) or if we’d need to go back to the final offers and negotiate based on those terms.

          As you know, our union feels that ratification of the tentative agreement will result in a contract that’s very good for our members. If our membership agrees, we hope that folks vote yes.

  17. I have heard that our union reps on the EBC voted to approve this surcharge. Is this correct? If so why wasn’t the membership consulted before allowing OHSU to put their hands in our pockets. Is the union now opening our pockets for OHSU to reach into? I feel this is a violation of our rights to choose how we manage our health. Why can’t we reject this contract and go back to the table with this as a demand. OHSU has no business making healthcare decisions for me.

    1. Yes, they did. The wellness surcharge would have passed even if our reps on the EBC had voted no, unfortunately—we don’t have enough votes to block something in the EBC. By opting to vote yes and be part of the process, we were able to advocate for changes that kept things from being even worse. Matt Hilton is writing an article that will address this and hopefully help folks understand the reasoning behind the decision. (I’m really sorry that we didn’t have that ready for our members at the time the surcharge was announced.)

      I understand that people are very upset about the wellness surcharge (I am too!), but our contract and the wellness requirement aren’t related, despite the timing of OHSU’s announcement. The wellness surcharge isn’t something that was talked about at the bargaining table, and it isn’t something that’s part of our contract. OHSU makes its decisions about insurance-plan design, wellness programs, whether we use Moda or a different vendor, etc. outside of the bargaining process. This isn’t something that can be bargained over, unfortunately.

      The wellness requirements will be imposed on OHSU’s employees whether or not Local 328’s contract is ratified. Ratifying our tentative agreement will result in a contract that’s very good for our members. If our membership agrees, we hope that folks vote yes.

  18. I don’t understand why people are criticizing and blaming the bargaining committee for the wellness surcharge that OHSU is implementing. Jennifer has clearly stated that this topic is not under AFSCME’s control and not part of our contract negotiations. The AFSCME bargaining team did a TREMENDOUS job throughout the bargaining process and got OHSU to agree to a better contract than we had previously, and we should all be very grateful for that. I suggest to anyone who is opposed to the wellness surcharge, that you voice your opinions to OHSU — I don’t agree with it either and will let OHSU know as well.

  19. @BB. I don’t blame the bargaining team for this Surcharge. The bargaining team did a tremendous job and I am very appreciative of that work. With that said I do blame the union for supporting this surcharge and selling out our personal health information and genetic material. This invasion of our privacy can’t get any higher and we should not stand for this attack.

    With that said I plan to vote no on this contract in the hopes others will follow along. Then we either get this testing requirement removed or we should strike. I also plan to speak with a lawyer about the legality of this surcharge.

    The union should not be trading my genetics for anything. As far as them voting yes to be part of the process because they can’t win is a ridiculous logic in my opinion. If a group of friends are going downtown to vandalize buildings and you’re the only one that doesn’t think it is right, do you vote yes and vandalize to keep your friends? I wouldn’t my integrity means more to me than the those friends. I hope it was a big trade for our genetic material and personal information. We should be fighting this with everything we have. Where do these tests stop? At what point do we decide OHSU can’t control our lives. Just like we said in the contract negotiations if we allow them to take back now then they keep taking back in the future. If you give in to blood tests and health evaluations today then you eventually let OHSU tell you what you can eat, when you sleep, who you can see, and so on.

    OHSU can’t have my blood. They already get my sweat and tears.

    1. As I mentioned in my earlier reply: voting no on the contract will not keep the wellness requirements from being implemented. For almost all of our members, going on strike for even just a few days would result in a financial hit greater than the cost of the surcharge to opt out of OHSU’s invasive health-evaluation requirement.

      If the contract isn’t ratified, we would go back to the bargaining table and start negotiating again. Since that hasn’t happened previously, I’m not sure whether we’d continue from the point where we left off (i.e., working with the language in the tentative agreement) or if we’d need to go back to the final offers and negotiate based on those terms, so there would be a risk that we’d end up with a new agreement that’s not as good as the one we’re asking our members to ratify. The wellness requirements wouldn’t be on the table though, so what would our members want us to renegotiate? The current tentative agreement will result in a contract that’s very good for our members, and that’s why our union recommends a yes vote.

      I’m not a member of the EBC, but I know that our union’s yes vote wasn’t about keeping our friends. We want a collaborative working relationship with OHSU, yes, but I don’t think anyone in our union’s leadership thinks of OHSU as a “friend.” (If that ever changes, that’ll be the day I bow out, to be quite honest.) I know that it’s not likely to change anyone’s opinion of OHSU’s wellness requirements, but I hope that Matt’s article that’ll be coming out later today will at least help our members understand why our reps on the EBC voted the way they did.

      1. I say we vote no and then you go back and negotiate for OHSU to cover the penalty for AFSCME union members with no other changes.

  20. And the financial hardship created by not complying with OHSU is also an issue. Therefore making the test no longer optional. These are Dark times!

  21. Perhaps the timing of the protection money (nicely packaged as wellness surcharge) announcement is designed to confuse y’all union members and to stimulate infighting in order to get members to reject the ratification vote. If that is indeed the case, OHSU management really made a wack move. Wouldn’t be surprised if Dan Forbes Is behind this.

    I ain’t falling for the OHSU management’s version of Montezuma’s Revenge. The union could have let us know about the EBC proposals few months ago but the focus was on contract negotiations. OHSU probably used that to their advantage. I’mma hold on until we hear from Matt about what awful alternatives were proposed.

    Going forward, perhaps it would help if most union members collectively engage in discussions which affect us (such as the EBC surcharge wellness bullsit, OHSU 2025 crowdsourcing ideas, employee feedback surveys, diversity climate discussions) throughout the year. It don’t do us any good if most of us come out of the woodworks every three years only during the bargaining season.

    I don’t always see eye-to-eye with the union on everything, but as far as negotiating the current contract, they got my mad respect. Blaming the union bargaining team for the wack wellness surcharge is like blaming OHSU for crappy commute traffiic—things that are out of their control.

    1. THIS. Thank you Dots.

      We can hope for the best but beware for more thorny surprises that suddenly OHSU or management decides to remind us of that weren’t at the forefront of negotiations. Think of it as your “Labor day surprise”.

  22. I plan to vote for ratification of the new contract. The gains made by the new contract far outweigh the cost of opting out of the wellness requirements regardless of what I think of management’s tactics.

  23. Just wondering, will the ratification vote be online?? I will be travelling abroad until the 9th, but would still like to voice my vote!

  24. I was wondering how we would be informed about voting. Since starting at ohsu I have changes my personal email and do not access to it now. I believe I am a full member eligable to vote. So what do I do to get in on the vote?
    Never mind. I think I found the hyperlink to the info below.

    1. Yes, you are a member according to our records. Information about how to vote can be found in this post and here.

      Also, the voting information was sent via email (to OHSU addresses) and posted on Facebook as well as here. We usually try to use all three methods to ensure that everyone gets our information. :)

  25. The ‘Yes’ vote cast by our EBC reps was conjured from fear and presumptions. President Jacobs had no intention to break the tie with a ‘Yes,’ vote, but that should have been obvious from the outset given everything that has transpired since the social media scandal. There was no reason to vote ‘Yes’. No more trying to be cagey or play politics. We have leverage now. So, if we want to say ‘No,’ we should say so!

    1. The decision wasn’t based on presumptions, but on what we had been told. Regardless, the EBC clearly made too many assumptions in this case without getting sufficient input from employees. That won’t happen again. There have already been changes to the makeup of our representatives on the EBC, and we’re committed to doing what’s best for our members, letting folks know what’s being discussed at the EBC, etc.

  26. My group has been asking how the bonus will get paid out. Will it come before the raise? Will it be a separate check or added to a paycheck pushing us into a new tax bracket?

    1. It should be paid in the same check as the raise. It will be taxed at a higher rate, but this would have been the case even if it were being paid in a separate check. Your regular wages should be taxed at the regular rate, however.

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