All posts by Jennifer Barker

“Make Them Change or Make Them Leave”

 

—guest post by Local 328 unit steward Jackie Lombard—

Thank you to our union staff and to the union attorney! Thank you to our union leadership at all levels.

To my fellow employees: You may have a “Forbes” or a “Frengle” for a manager or director. You may have a bully for a boss. We all know someone at OHSU who works under a corrupt, negative and abusive individual.

We all know.

Here’s what you can do to help yourself or a coworker:

  • Take notes about your boss’s behavior and conversations. Take the notes right in front of them.
  • Read the Local 328 contract and the OHSU Code of Conduct.
  • Send an email to your boss after every conversation to document the encounter and the information that was discussed.
  • Contact our union to help you, and take your notes with you. Our union can help you file a grievance for contract violations, file unfair labor practice complaints with the state and STAND with you, literally, when you talk to HR or you boss or your boss’s boss.
  • Organize in your work area and collectively KEEP TALKING, KEEP QUESTIONING, KEEP GOING UP THE CHAIN until your boss stops or is removed.

It’s hard. It’s scary. It will take persistence and time. Believe me, I know. But it is the only way to change this organization. It will work. Just ask anyone from Rehabilitation Services.

We cannot rely on Dr. Jacobs, the OHSU board, anyone in the executive leadership or many directors or managers to do the right thing and abide by the OHSU’s Code of Conduct. They have at worst created and at best known but done nothing about a workplace culture that promotes and supports “Aanus” and “Pumpkin Eater” and “Vragina” behavior. This can be seen in the results of past and current employee engagement surveys, in OHSU’s bargaining strategies, in the current censorship on OHSU Now, in the continued employment of managers and directors known to their peers and to HR to be “problematic” and in the utterly inadequate apology from Dr. Jacobs for the behavior of Dan Forbes and Patrick Frengle.

WE have to make them change or make them leave.

Finally, we are not just stronger together — we are unstoppable. Stand up for your coworkers and reject OHSU ‘s lies by voting to strike if OHSU doesn’t show up on August 13 and give us what we ALL need and deserve: RESPECT, by means of not just a fair but a great contract.

Unfair Labor Practice Complaint Filed Against OHSU

 

A copy of the unfair labor practice complaint against OHSU that we filed with the Oregon Employment Relations Board yesterday can be found HERE. This ULP is in relation to the social-media trolling activities of Patrick Frengle and Dan Forbes. We are requesting multiple, significant remedies. Please read the information in the ULP (the remedies can be found at the end of the PDF) and let us know if you have any questions.

As you can imagine, the last five days (has it only been five days?) have been hectic for our bargaining team and staff. We know our members are anxious for information about how recent developments will affect the actual negotiations process, so we wanted to publish this information for you as soon as possible. Stay tuned for additional communications about our awesome informational picket, links to press we’ve gotten this week,  member actions we have planned for next week (wear green on Monday!) and more. Solidarity!

What Exactly Happened & What OHSU Can Do Next

 

This has been a whirlwind of a week!

On Tuesday, August 6, employees were notified on OHSU Now that a member of OHSU’s bargaining team, Patrick Frengle, had behaved inappropriately, noting that this “…team member had been posting on AFSCME’s social media channels using several aliases — often referred to as ‘trolling.’” Mr. Frengle was removed from management’s bargaining team. The following evening, OHSU president Danny Jacobs issued a statement on OHSU Now regarding the resignation of OHSU’s vice president of Human Resources [Dan Forbes] related to “his role in this activity.” 

So what exactly happened here?

Mr. Frengle had created at least two fake Twitter account to troll our union with. (See our previous post for details.) One of his troll posts included a spreadsheet he had made, using false numbers, to artificially inflate the cost of Local 328 dues, and he appeared to be attempting to influence employees to drop their union membership. He also misrepresented, in multiple posts, our union’s positions re: wages and tiered contract language. During the course of monitoring Mr. Frengle’s troll accounts and documenting the connections to him, our team noticed that another suspicious Twitter account (“PeterPumpkinEater,” who was posing as a West Campus employee) had been interacting with his posts.

Our bargaining team believed that this other account was also linked to management’s bargaining team, so we began documenting social-media connections to the person we suspected was interacting with Mr. Frengle. “Peter” had liked many of Mr. Frengle’s anti-union troll posts and engaged in what appeared to be a coordinated back-and-forth discussion claiming that our union’s dues are regressive and harmful to lower-wage workers. On Monday, August 5, Local 328 staff called Dan Forbes to let him know of our concerns that a member of OHSU’s bargaining team had been trolling our union on Twitter. Mr. Forbes did not ask who we suspected of this behavior. During this phone call with Dan Forbes, the suspicious “Peter” account was deleted from Twitter. The following day, after Mr. Frengle had admitted responsibility for the trolling, we shared information about the “Peter” account with a member of OHSU’s administration. Dan Forbes’s resignation was announced the day after that.

Why is this so serious? 

As stated by Oregon AFSCME’s executive director Stacy Chamberlain, “…these actions, at best, demonstrate an utter lack of respect for the workers at OHSU and their union. At worst, it is an attempt to illegally interfere in the bargaining process. We are continuing our investigation into this matter and the scope of the trolling by the management bargaining team members. We will take ALL appropriate legal action to protect our members rights to bargain a fair contract!” Oregon AFSCME’s attorney has sent OHSU a litigation hold/preservation notice/stop destruction request, calling for an investigation and a cessation of the use of public resources in unfair labor practices.” 

Throughout AFSCME Local 328’s negotiations with OHSU, our members have expressed frustration about not being listened to by management and feeling disrespected by OHSU. The last few days have confirmed our bargaining team’s worst suspicions. We are deeply disappointed in OHSU, and have serious concerns about how trust can be restored moving forward. We are concerned about the integrity of the bargaining process thus far given the actions of these two men, especially considering Dan Forbes’s leadership position at OHSU and his significant role in our negotiations. Mr. Forbes is the person who sat across from our bargaining team explaining OHSU’s pay-equity proposals that would have punished our members for management’s mistakes. He is the person who stood in front of our members at OHSU’s bargaining forums trying to persuade us of the merits of OHSU’s PTO proposal. Dan Forbes is the person who would have had been the tie-breaker for benefits decisions that couldn’t be agreed upon by the Employee Benefits Council. He began attending our bargaining sessions back in April. Given his apparent animosity toward our union and his disrespect toward the bargaining process, how can our members have any confidence in OHSU’s integrity at the bargaining table since then (or even from the beginning)?

Dr. Jacobs’s message states that “OHSU remains committed to bargaining in good faith with integrity and transparency in the bargaining process.” Has OHSU even been bargaining in good faith? He also said that OHSU recognizes “we have work to do to regain your trust and are committed to moving forward with integrity” and that our employees are “our best asset.” OHSU’s actions over the coming days will let us know how sincere this sentiment is.

What steps can OHSU take to help regain the trust of our ~7,000 members?

  • Conduct a through investigation into this matter and prove to our members that the bargaining process has been fair. Are the figures that have been shared with our union and our members accurate? Have other members of management’s bargaining team engaged in similar behaviors? Were other members of OHSU’s team aware of the actions of Mr. Forbes and Mr. Frengle? Was anyone in management, on or off OHSU’s bargaining team, responsible for the blog comment discussed here? What is happening within upper management such that this sort of behavior is encouraged and participated in? 
  • Stop disabling comments on bargaining-related posts on OHSU Now. OHSU claims that “Labor laws and collective bargaining agreements place restrictions on how OHSU and the union communicate about contract negotiations, which are not conducive to an open forum like comments.” There is nothing in our collective-bargaining agreement that limits OHSU’s ability to host comments on the OHSU Now website, and members of our bargaining team have made repeated comments on OHSU Now letting OHSU know that our union has no concerns regarding such comments.
  • Restore the OHSU Now commenting rights of all employees who had these rights revoked as a result of having had their bargaining-related comments deleted. 
  • Rescind any formal coaching or discipline that may have been imposed on any member whose manager was contacted as a result of the member’s OHSU Now comments.
  • Make it clear to management at all levels that unfair labor practices — such as publicly disparaging our union’s dues structures in an attempt to reduce our members — will not be tolerated. 
  • Share credit with Local 328 on joint ventures. If OHSU truly values its relationship with AFSCME, it will begin formally recognizing our role in the Career & Workplace Enhancement Center, grant opportunities, etc. Our union’s final offer includes co-branding language that we hope OHSU will recognize the value of and agree to. 
  • Seek the input of employees at all levels of the organization and recognize that we can work together to improve OHSU and our community. Our union’s final offer includes language to form a community advisory board that would work toward those ends.
  • Listen to employees who’ve raised concerns about staffing levels at OHSU and work with us to ensure safe staffing. Our union’s final offer includes language to form a collaborative staffing task force.
  • Stop pushing union-busting contract proposals that would split our bargaining unit and weaken our union: no mandatory PTO for future hires, equal across-the-board wage increases for all members of our bargaining unit, etc. 

Local 328 hasn’t silenced people. Members of our bargaining team haven’t hidden behind fake names to troll OHSU on social media or share misinformation about OHSU’s bargaining positions. We haven’t played games — like floating outlandish proposals just to say later that we’ve made movement, or backtracking from our previous positions. Our message hasn’t changed since February: we’re here trying to negotiate a fair contract with OHSU for our bargaining unit. We want to work with management to help make OHSU the best place it can be, for employees and patients alike. 

OHSU: On Tuesday, August 13, let’s negotiate a fair contract that respects and rewards the sacrifices and hard work that Local 328 members provide OHSU every day. Enough is enough.

Respect for All?

 

We’d like to thank our members and other supporters for sharing and responding to our article about our management troll. As OHSU’s Twitter reply to us indicated, the person in question has been removed from OHSU’s bargaining team, and we’ve received confirmation that he has admitted responsibility. 

Our bargaining team is grateful for this, but we are concerned about how this person’s attitude toward our union and our bargaining positions may have influenced management’s discussions and decisions about negotiations. We also suspect that one other member of management’s bargaining team may have participated in the trolling to some degree. As such, our trust in OHSU’s ability to negotiate a fair contract with us has been severely tested. We are weighing our best course of action and expect to have more to share about this situation over the next couple of days. We’ll update our members with additional information as we can.

Our ~7,000 represented employees have been integral to OHSU’s success. We deserve a fair contract and we deserve respect. Looking outside our own bargaining unit, we believe that everyone who works at OHSU deserves respect. We believe that this incident reflects a systemic problem at OHSU. We urge OHSU’s executives to take this opportunity to reflect on what type of organization they want OHSU to be going forward. It’s time to right the ship, and OHSU can take the first step by negotiating a fair contract with AFSCME Local 328.

Final Offers!

 

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.

Issue AFSCME OHSU Comments
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.

What’s Next?

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!

Final Offer Info Coming Later Today

 

We know that everyone is anxious to see the details of Local 328’s final offer and our take on OHSU’s final offer. We’re working on detailed communications about this and will get a post up later today, as soon as we can.

In the meantime, you can review the information from our July 19 supposal (here) — in our final offer we made some movement from those numbers but, in general, our positions have remained close to what we proposed then. If you have any questions, please post them here.

Thank you for your patience. Solidarity!

Mediation Update: July 19 — Impasse Declared

 

Our bargaining team started the day by developing a comprehensive package supposal, which we presented to the management team at approximately 11:00 a.m. During this presentation, we let OHSU’s representatives know that we were willing to declare impasse if the following were included in their response to our supposal:

  • PTO
  • Health-insurance take-backs
  • Tiered language that would pit employees against one another (i.e., different benefits and wage increases for employees based on hourly salary or hire date).

In the late afternoon, OHSU presented a supposal that did not meet the above criteria. After extended discussion about the ramifications, the Local 328 bargaining team declared impasse at 6:15 p.m.

What happens next? On Tuesday, July 23, our team will meet to develop and cost our last, best, final offer on economic proposals. This offer will need to be presented to OHSU by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 29. At that point the mandatory 30-day cooling-off period will begin. Additional mediation with the OHSU team will be scheduled to take place soon after the start of the cooling-off period.

For more than six months, AFSCME Local 328 has conducted surveys, visited worksites, hosted town halls and listened to our members’ feedback — our bargaining team took that to heart, and we tried our best to negotiate a fair contract at the table. We know what’s at stake, so we didn’t settle for a substandard contract. We understand that OHSU’s proposed take-backs will hurt our represented employees and families. We know that a fair contract will help our members give the best care to OHSU’s patients and the best support to OHSU’s research and academic missions. We’re disappointed that OHSU’s executive decision-makers didn’t recognize that.

Now more than ever, we need EVERYONE to come together to fight for a fair contract. It’s imperative that our members participate in the following events:

  • Informational Picket
    • Thursday, August 8, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., Mac Hall lawn
    • Family, friends and non-AFSCME-represented coworkers are invited to attend! Snacks and water will be provided. RSVP here.
  • Strike-Info Town Hall
    • Wednesday, August 14, 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m., UHS 8B60
    • Get information about the voting process, strike preparation and next steps. Sign up to help us get out the vote!
  • Strike-Authorization Vote
    • Monday, August 19, through Thursday, August 29
    • Voting will take place online as well as in-person on Marquam Hill and various off-site locations.

“If Our Union Can’t Fight for Us, Who Will?”

—guest post by member Anna G.*—

I began my career at OHSU in 2012. When I was choosing which clinical site to spend my externship at, OHSU was the very first choice on my list. I still remember the butterflies in my stomach when I received confirmation that I would be learning at this institution. My face lit up with pride and glee every time I told someone where I worked. My family was absolutely ecstatic when they learned that I would be starting my career at OHSU. I was the first woman in my family on both sides to graduate from high school, much less go to college. There were times when my grandmother would tell strangers in the supermarket while I took her shopping, and the glow in her face as she did this would bring me tears of joy. I couldn’t have been more proud and delighted to be affiliated with OHSU.

Not long after I started at OHSU, the first round of AFSCME contract negotiations came about. It was disheartening to learn that so many take-backs had occurred. I especially remember the longer duration for step increases and how it would take more years of employment to reach the top of my pay scale. Even so, I still held onto the joy and pride I felt to be part of such an amazing hospital.

A couple more years went by and I started to feel a bit more ragged. The workload and patient population had increased substantially, yet the staffing levels had not. I was being forced to work a lot of mandatory overtime to make up for it. I had to stay late and come in on my days off on a weekly basis. As a single mother, this was very taxing. I was starting to miss out on my children’s lives, due to having mandatory overtime constantly hanging over my head. I couldn’t afford OHSU’s high parking rates, and instead rode public transit to work from across the city — my three-hour round-trip commute added to my frustration. Even with all the hours commuting and working at a fast pace, I was still a proud employee of OHSU.

Then everything took a turn for the worse — a coworker started harassing me. After a year of asking him to leave me alone and stop paying me so much unwanted attention, I faced my fear, risked humiliation and spoke up, asking for help from my supervisor. I thought that my courage in seeking help with the situation would be dealt with appropriately — after all, it’s OHSU, the hospital that talks about diversity and “respect for all” as easily and as often as the rain falls in the Pacific Northwest.

My concerns were alternately ignored and dismissed by my supervisor, and the harasser’s behavior was allowed to continue. My coworkers started to become concerned. I became an empty shell of a woman. I feared coming to work. My self-worth and self-esteem had all but disappeared. I was told that I was creating discontent in the workplace and was made to feel as though all this was somehow my fault. His actions were being validated by inaction and the whole thing was being swept under the carpet. With nowhere else to turn, I reached out to my Local 328 representative.

Within 10 minutes of the conversation, my union rep had me on the phone with two different departments for help. My rep went to bat for me in all of the management offices in my department, demanding that something be done. My rep gave me the advice I needed and made me feel heard and that someone was on my side. Even with my union representative fighting for me, I still had to utilize the justice system in order to ensure my safety at work. After all the time, anxiety, sleepless nights and heartache, I was finally able to come to work without fear of sexual harassment. I was able to start to breathe again — or so I thought.

The retaliation from OHSU that ensued after this hit me like a ton of bricks. All I ever did was cry for help, but I was punished for bringing light to my situation. How dare I tarnish the golden name of OHSU?

All this went on while my department was consistently understaffed, while my overworked coworkers and I attended meetings where staff were told about record-breaking exam numbers for our department and record-breaking profits. Now OHSU wants to take more away from me and my family. My family and I used to feel pride and joy about my employment at OHSU. Now that has been replaced by fear, sadness and distrust.

We need our union to fight for us. I can’t imagine how my situation would have turned out without our union supporting me. I can’t imagine how much worse OHSU would become without our union keeping it in check. Our solidarity means more now than it ever has.

*Name has been changed.

Working Without a Contract

 

As OHSU’s July 3 email mentioned, “The law requires OHSU to maintain the terms and conditions of employment that were in place under the expired contract. Terms and conditions of employment include many provisions of the contract, including pay, benefits, staffing and scheduling practices, and other employment practices.”  OHSU and AFSCME have been in this position in years past and members have not noticed any significant change in their work lives. 

Below is additional information about specific areas you might be wondering about.


Compensation: Progression increases on your anniversary date will still go through. Extra hours worked will still be paid at the overtime rate. Swing-shift and graveyard workers will still receive their differentials. Holiday pay is still in effect.  The only compensation matter affected is that there will be no across-the-board raises in July. The amount of these raises is being negotiated, and is one of the issues on which Local 328 and OHSU are still far apart.

Scheduling: Your approved time off is still valid.  Your work schedules will still be the same. Open shifts will be bid on as usual.  Overtime will be assigned in the same manner it was prior to the contract expiring. 

Insurance: Absent a strike, health-insurance premiums will continue to be paid on the first of the month and our represented employees should experience no disruption in coverage.

Seniority: Seniority rights are still in effect. Departments should be following the same staffing and scheduling practices they were previously.

Grievances: For now, the grievance procedure from our 2015 – 2019 contract remains in effect through Friday, July 12. Local 328 and OHSU have an agreement to review this specific extension on a weekly basis and it’s expected that it will continue. However, an extension of the grievance procedure is not required, so it could be suspended while we’re working without a contract. In that event, instead of grievances, our union would file unfair labor practices against the employer to formally resolve issues. 

Job Bidding/Transfers: The job-bid process still applies, as does the 4% pay increase.


If you have additional questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below or contact us at 1-844-758-6466.