Category Archives: Union News

Diagnostic Imaging Techs Gain CNI Agreement

CNI in Diagnostic Imaging
By AFSCME Staff Representative Dennis Ziemer

Discussion of CNI – Critical Need Incentive – discussions of implementing a CNI started with the Techs in General Radiology during the fall of 2015.

CNI is Critical Need Incentive. It is often used when a staffing level starts to show signs of too much work and a dwindling pool of staff to do that work. It requires two basic ingredients to work:

1. People who can fill-in extra hours/shifts and
2. Extra pay to encourage others to do the work while giving others the option to leave for the day.

In November, 2015 union members and staff representative Dennis Ziemer met with management every few months to describe the staffing crisis. Many staff were just giving up on the idea of any relief. Many decided to just not have a life outside of work, and others started to consider working somewhere that was staffed appropriately.

In May, 2016 the problem got worse when a proposed CNI was roundly rejected by Techs as unusable.

Without CNI as an option, everyone is subject to a last-minute assignment of mandatory overtime.

Mandatory overtime is a difficult thing to encounter when you are at work. It is even harder to adjust to when you are a young parent, have others who depend on you, have a pet to take care of, or basically have a life outside your job.

Picture yourself having to make alternative arrangements for those responsibilities because you are told you must stay for another 4 hours. Now multiply that situation by the number of days you work in a year, while your boss attempts to resolve the “perfect storm” that has outraged you and the angered 50 of your colleagues.

As the summer of 2016 approached there didn’t appear to be any work toward a new draft of CNI.

Several staff took it upon themselves to create the much needed CNI plan. Megan Evans and Meghan Thomas and several GenRad Techs were responsible for creating and then describing the proposal to the Director of Diagnostic Imaging, Brad Reed. Brad initially thought it hit the mark, meaning it appeared to have exactly what would be needed to get approved by OHSU.

The amount of money for assigned shifts was not what was originally sought, but it was sufficient in the eyes of the Diagnostic Imaging Techs. Ultimately AFSCME and OHSU agreed to $12 per hour as the CNI. The plan was endorsed by OHSU. In fact, the plan was applied to all Imaging Modalities: General Radiology, Mammography, CT, MRI, Ultrasound, Vascular Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine and PET.

The Techs in all these operations unanimously approved the document. AFSCME 328 Executive Board in turn unanimously approved the Letter of Agreement on CNI for Diagnostic Imaging at their September meeting and returned it to OHSU for implementation. Local 328 President Matt Hilton signed the document.

A few bumps occurred in the implementation process but the Techs report that they are now receiving the CNI.

Summer Celebration — AFSCME Strong BBQ


It’s been a whirlwind year for Local 328.  Join us at the Mac Hall Fountain on Wednesday, July 13, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. to celebrate with a BBQ lunch. (Food is guaranteed for the first 500 attendees, so don’t wait till the last minute to arrive.)

So, what are we celebrating?

Last summer, our union made a commitment to fight off anti-worker, anti-union efforts in the courts and on the ballot, nationally and at home here in Oregon. The cornerstone of that effort is our AFSCME Strong campaign. The point of the campaign is to solidify our membership so that we maintain a strong union despite the attempts of corporate-sponsored groups to attack our right to collect dues and fair-share fees.

With the assistance of AFSCME International, in January we had a successful weekend blitz where we visited fair-share fee payers and converted more than 250 of them to dues payers.

We embarked on an organizing campaign to create and grow a unit-steward program that would assist us with workplace organizing and help convert existing dues payers to maintenance-of-membership dues payers. To date we have trained and deployed more than 100 unit stewards and are proud to say that in this group of people are some of the smartest, most engaged people we have ever worked with. As they grow with our union, many of them will inevitably move into leadership positions.

Our union is in good hands, now and in the future.

Challenges met.

Our members successfully organized around the plight of Environmental Services (EVS) workers at OHSU. Over the course of last winter and into this spring, were able to work with OHSU to achieve significant changes in the EVS department that will benefit the employees for years to come.

With the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked over the Friedrichs case and let stand a lower court’s decision that affirmed the right of unions to collect fair-share fees. Similar cases are in the pipeline and, inevitably, some of them will make their way to the court after Scalia’s successor is confirmed. The people behind these cases have deep pockets and have been attacking unions for decades. They aren’t quitting any time soon, but the temporary reprieve was welcome and allowed us to focus on preparing for the ballot-measure fight to come.

We were aware of two anti-union measures being circulated that would have had even more devastating effects on public-employee unions than the Supreme Court case. One was being circulated by groups funded by the timber industry and the other by Loren Parks from Nevada. We have been fighting measures like these for years and have developed expertise in fighting them in the courts and through election turnout. This year, the Oregon Supreme Court sided with labor and agreed with the ballot titles assigned by the Secretary of State. These titles did not poll favorably for the measures and one of them was withdrawn. The other is still technically “out there,” but there is no active signature-gathering taking place.

Going back to the days of Bill Sizemore, Oregon has not had an election cycle without an anti-union measure on the ballot. This year may be an exception, but next year and the year after that will not be.

Our future is bright.

We have a lot to celebrate.

  • We have made huge progress toward securing our union’s future against anti-worker attacks that will no doubt continue to challenge us.
  • We have engaged 100 new activists.
  • We have a plan to fight off anti-union attacks and are executing it successfully.

Thank you for being a part of it. Come and celebrate our union with us!

EVS Independent Investigation Results.

On Monday, June 20th, EVS employees at OHSU received a joint communication from AFSCME and OHSU advising that the independent investigator appointed to look into issues of employee abuse at the OHSU Environmental Services department had completed her work and issued a report.

The report was a comprehensive review of the charges made by AFSCME Local 328 regarding the working conditions of EVS employees, based on in depth interviews with approximately 30 EVS workers.

This independent investigation is unprecedented for OHSU and Local 328 and is a direct result of our members standing up for themselves with on the job actions, their willingness to share their stories publically on social media and in person and their willingness to support each other.

When our Union began this process we had three demands:

  • An independent investigation
  • An effective labor management process where workers can be heard and have their issues addressed
  • A reform of the internal complaint process when workers are victimized by managers or coworkers.

The independent investigation has been completed and a report issued.

The report outlines findings in nine areas where the investigator found evidence to support our union’s claims:

  1. Cultural insensitivity and bias in the workplace
  2. Disrespectful behavior down, up and across the workgroup
  3. Perceived favoritism
  4. Roles, duties and expectations not clear or standardized
  5. Lack of accountability
  6. Operational practices cause lost productivity and waste
  7. Staffing issues
  8. Perceived inconsistent application or disregard of rules
  9. Not enough transparency and communication

Each finding was accompanied by a list of recommendations. OHSU and AFSCME Local 328 have scheduled a series of meetings to review and plan to implement the recommendations. As we implement recommendations we will report to our members on our progress.

The labor/management committee (LMC) is active in Environmental Services.

A facilitator has been hired and the teams for labor and management have been selected. The goal of labor/management meetings are to raise and resolve issues other than contract violations or interpersonal problems – in other words, to look at workplace problems that often get overlooked because communication between workers and management has broken down. Initial meetings of the labor management committee have been effective.  The two teams have already brainstormed a list of potential issues and plan to prioritize them at their next meeting.  Additionally EVS management will begin introducing  LMC representatives at EVS huddles.

The reform of the internal complaint process has not been resolved at this time.

The investigator made some recommendations about the way complaints should be reported but did not make recommendations about changing the complaint process itself. This is an area where we will need to have ongoing discussions before we can report that it has been resolved.

So what does it all mean; what have we learned?

We learned that an active membership raising public awareness of a problem can be a spur to action. We learned that OHSU will respond when presented with compelling evidence. We learned that the best way to get OHSU to respond is for workers to stand together and take the risk of telling their stories about how they are affected by their working conditions.

We’ve learned that OHSU is willing and able to take corrective action AND work in collaboration with the union to make changes when called upon, including personnel changes, when necessary.

We’ve learned that workers really are stronger together.

We want to thank our stewards and leaders, especially Chief Steward Michael Stewart and President Matt Hilton, the members who put their names out publically on social media to tell their stories, the EVS workers who had the courage to meet with the investigator, our members from all over campus who wrote messages of support, wore buttons and attended our vigils, the EVS workers who broke tradition and began speaking out in the morning huddles, the members who were inspired during this time to step up and become unit stewards to help their coworkers, the nurses who wore buttons and supported our EVS workers and everyone else who was touched by the stories of our workers and who didn’t turn a blind eye.

Thank you.

EVS Update

Some of you may remember the independent investigation that was to happen in the Environmental Services Department (EVS). If not, here’s some background. Back in November 2015, AFSCME began an employee-abuse awareness campaign. For far too long, employees went to OHSU Human Resources, OHSU’s Affirmative Action office, OHSU’s Integrity office and even our union without seeing real change. Our union’s campaign was quickly noticed by HR, OHSU’s legal team and management. We were asked to meet with OHSU representatives and attempt to solve some of the problems the EVS employees were facing.

Local 328 pushed for an independent investigation of the situation and OHSU agreed. Both parties interviewed investigators and Cathryn Dammel was selected to investigate the EVS situation. Since Ms. Dammel was unfamiliar to our members, we wanted a few minutes with each employee to reassure them that they should be very open and honest with her; OHSU agreed.

I do not believe that OHSU thought too much about how it was going to schedule more than 30 hour-long interviews. The EVS employees are not a group of folks that you can simply send an Outlook appointment to—many of them do not use computers. In addition, English is not the first language for the majority of the employees who would be interviewed. Many of them work on the second and third shifts. OHSU gave Local 328 less than 24 hours’ notice of the interview schedules for the employees. We reached out to our stewards for help — even on such short notice, Local 328 steward and board member Bernie Delaney offered to meet almost every employee prior to his/her meeting with the investigator.

The interviews started on March 29—one employee was interviewed that day. On the second day of interviews, only half of the scheduled employees showed up — the others did not because they were not working that day or were unaware that they had been scheduled for an interview. On March 31, OHSU realized that it could not get our members to the interviews without our help. Local 328 steward and board member Debbie Brock Talarsky and staff representative Ross Grami went to work — they spent all of the following day reaching out to the affected members to ensure that the following week of interviews was set. Debbie and another union steward, Johanna Colgrove, escorted almost all of the rest of our folks to their interviews.

This process could not have happened without the dedication of our stewards, Ross and — especially — all of the EVS employees who found the courage to speak up once again about the abuse, this time in hopes that OHSU listens.

Expect More Attacks On Unions This Year

by: Peter Starzynski, Campaign Manager, Keep Oregon Working

The 2016 Legislative Session has come to a close, and Oregon workers have won big: Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a broad coalition led by labor groups, community advocates and our legislative leaders, Oregon now has the highest minimum wage in the country! This is a huge victory for working families, and we are once again leading the way when it comes to policies that work for everyday Oregonians.

While we couldn’t be happier about the passage of the minimum wage increase, we know that when we win these big fights, corporate interests strike back. We’re expecting the big businesses who fought the minimum wage increase to redouble their efforts to attack working families, both at the ballot and in the courts.

Attacks at the Ballot: IP 62 and IP 69

In addition to the landmark minimum wage increase, another recent event is making it more likely that we’ll see even greater attention placed on anti-worker attacks. The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia all but assures that the Friedrichs decision, which would have dealt a blow to unions nationwide, won’t be decisively determined in 2016. This means the forces behind that court case will do what they’ve done for decades: refocus on the state level. In Oregon, that means ballot measures.

Anti-worker interests are more committed than ever to run ballot measures that would cut wages and benefits for Oregon workers. Corporate lawyer Jill Gibson, who is representing the timber industry on IP 69, recently told Oregon Public Broadcasting in response to Scalia’s passing: “There wasn’t as much need to do it before, but now it’s critical.”

In case you need a refresher on the two anti-worker initiatives making their way to the November ballot, IP 62 is Nevada millionaire Loren Parks’ initiative, which would make it harder for unions to organize in the state by allowing for “free riders” and limiting the activities members pay for. IP 69 would make it harder for unions to organize and would actually require that employers discriminate between union and non-union employees.

The Oregon Supreme Court will be issuing their decision on the ballot titles for these two measures soon, which means you’ll soon start to see paid circulators hitting the streets. If you see anyone collecting signatures for either initiative, please collect as much information as you can and fill out this petition report as soon as you’re able to.

What You Can Do

We need you to stand with us now more than ever. There are three things you can do:

  1. Take the pledge to stand with us and fight back against the attacks facing Oregon workers.
  2. Talk to your co-workers and friends about these initiatives, and ask them to take the pledge, too — we need more working Oregonians to stand with us and fight back.
  3. Let us know about any anti-worker activity you see or hear about! Whether it’s signature collection for anti-worker initiatives, Freedom Foundation representatives showing up at your worksite, or getting anti-worker flyers in the mail, you can help us stay on top of what our opponents are up to by filling out this form.

In solidarity,

Peter Starzynski, Campaign Manager, Keep Oregon Working


What Does The Death of Justice Scalia Mean For Unions?

Many of you know that there is a case pending before the Supreme Court which could dramatically alter the ability of public employee unions to collect agency or “fair share” fees. The case, known as “Friedrichs v California Teachers Association” was heard by the court in January, but no decision has been issued. Most observers of the court projected that unions would lose that case by a 5 to 4 vote. It was widely felt that Justice Scalia would have been one of the majority voting against fair share fees.

Now, with the court divided 4 to 4, the lower court decision, which affirmed the rights of public employee unions to collect fair share fees will stand and public employee unions will continue to collect agency or fair share fees.

The looming Friedrichs case had a galvanizing effect on unions across the country spurring a wave of organizing and rethinking the very nature of the relationship of unions with our members.

This has been a positive development at Local 328, changing everything from how we do new employee orientations, to how we handle grievances, our steward program, membership outreach, our method of communications  and our willingness and desire to use direct member actions to draw attention to and resolve workplace issues.

One thing is certain. This is only a temporary reprieve. There will be new court challenges to unions in the future, there will be statewide ballot measures, there will be attempts to eliminate fair share fees in the legislature.

The well-funded groups attacking unions will view this as a setback, not a defeat. We become complacent at our peril.

As Shaun Richman said in his article for In These Times:

The actual crisis in labor is rooted in a framework that has turned unions into agencies for workers, instead of organizations of workers.”

Read the entire article in In These Times.

There are also good articles in the LA Times, Labor Notes and The Atlantic.

Labor will be missing an opportunity if we do not continue the changes that Friedrichs sparked. We will find ourselves facing that problem again, inevitably.

We have been warned, the rest is up to us.

Questions About Inclement Weather and Holiday Pay?

Many employees have asked questions about how the inclement weather day last Monday will affect their holiday pay. If your time sheet isn’t coded properly you could lose holiday pay. OHSU Human Resources has placed an FAQ on their managers’ blog which our union believes is both accurate and helpful.  It is important that timekeepers code any missed time on Monday in accordance with the information below in order to assure there are no mistakes with your holiday pay. OHSU has told us that timekeepers will be getting the same information via email.

Reprinted with permission:

FAQ: Pay and timekeeping during inclement weather

Many of you have had questions about pay and how to record time for various situations arising from this week’s inclement weather. A good general reference is the attendance and leave guidelines matrix that outlines by employee representational group how pay is impacted based on multiple scenarios.

Some additional clarification specific to this week’s circumstances is included below. Please note that timekeeping practices only apply to hourly employees; in most cases, no changes in Kronos are necessary for salaried employees.

Q1: When do I apply the attendance and leave guidelines (e.g., no loss of pay if employee arrives within two hours of scheduled start time) for work on Jan. 3, 4 and 5?

OHSU declared inclement weather operations to be in effect from 5 a.m. Monday, Jan 4 through 4 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5. Any scheduled work between these hours would be subject to the attendance and leave guidelines.

While these guidelines do not apply for scheduled work prior to 5 a.m. Monday, managers are encouraged to use their best judgement and discretion when considering attendance issues during Sunday shifts. In particular, if an employee made every reasonable effort to report to work as scheduled but was unable to do so because of the weather, the resulting late report or absence should not be considered an occurrence. Employees should be granted use of accrued vacation or compensation time upon their request.

Q2: Under the attendance and leave guidelines, if an employee reports to work within two hours from their scheduled start time, they are paid for the entire shift. How do I record in Kronos the time they did not actually work?

For scheduled hours during the time inclement weather operations were in effect, use LWP (Leave with Pay) and add the comment “Inclement Weather” for any time the employee was not working but should be paid. For example, if an employee was regularly scheduled to start at 7 a.m. but did not arrive until 8 a.m., the LWP code and Inclement Weather comment should be used between 7 and 8 a.m. This will ensure the employee will be paid at their regular pay rate for the entire shift.

Note: You may notice a pay code in Kronos of IWT (Inclement Weather Team). This is a differential code and should not be used for time missed due to weather. The comment “Inclement Weather” can be added when using other pay codes.

Q3: Many employees did not work Friday, Jan. 1 due to the holiday, and Monday, Jan. 4 was their next scheduled working day. If an employee didn’t work Monday, Jan. 4 due to the weather, will this affect their holiday pay?

It could, depending on how their time is recorded in Kronos for Monday, Jan. 4. For employees who are otherwise eligible for holiday pay but did not work Jan. 4, record time as follows:

  • If employee’s unit was open and employee has vacation and/or comp time accruals he/she wishes to use, record time as VAC or COM (AFSCME)/CMP (ONA).
  • If employee’s unit was open and employee has no available accruals or prefers to take the day as unpaid, use the code TRK with the comment “Inclement Weather.” TRK is a tracking code only; the time will still be unpaid. However, using the usual code UNP will prevent holiday pay if the employee did not work Jan. 1 (HNW in Kronos). Using TRK will ensure the holiday pay is not impacted. If there are circumstances in which the manager believes an employee should not receive holiday pay, work with your HR Business Partner.
  • If employee’s unit was closed, employee may use accruals if available or take the time as unpaid. For unpaid time, use the code REQ (Required Leave without Pay). Again, REQ will record unpaid time but not impact the holiday pay.

Q4: If an employee opts to use vacation time to be paid when their shift is cancelled, should we record it as both VAC and REQ in Kronos?

The pay code VAC should be used when an employee wants to use vacation time. You can change an REQ code already entered to VAC and add the comment “Inclement Weather.” REQ and VAC cannot be used for the same time period. REQ is unpaid time; VAC is paid time.

Q5: Our unit was closed, however we did not provide at least two hours’ notice prior to an employee’s scheduled start time. Do they receive pay?

The employee should be paid for two hours; the remainder of the scheduled shift is unpaid (record as REQ in Kronos) or the employee may use vacation or comp time.

Q6: One of the employees in my unit wants to cover missed time with vacation accruals. However, he has a pre-scheduled, pre-approved vacation in the near future and will not have enough accruals to cover that time. If he uses his accruals for missed time due to weather, is he still allowed to take the pre-scheduled vacation?

Managers are encouraged to allow employees to take any future approved time off as unpaid if they do not have enough accruals due to using them during inclement weather. Work with your HR Business Partner.

Q7: One of the employees in my unit missed work due to lack of child care since schools were closed. How should this time be treated?

Managers are encouraged to allow employees to use vacation and/or comp time accruals in these circumstances. If an employee must take unpaid time, the absence should not count toward disciplinary occurrences. Work with your HR Business Partner.


Posted by: Lisa Carter in Leave and Attendance Management
On: Thursday, January 7, 2016
Tags: inclement weather, Kronos


Correction re: Timing of 3% Raise

After clarification with OHSU Human Resources, Local 328 regrettably needs to offer a correction to the July 13 President’s Message ratification email.

HR had requested express notification on Monday, July 13, of the contract-ratification vote results; we incorrectly assumed this to mean that HR would work with Payroll to process this year’s 3% across-the-board raise for payment on the July 17 paycheck. That is not the case.

The new 2015-2019 contract states that the first across-the-board raise of 3% goes into effect on the first full pay period after ratification. You will begin earning the higher rate starting July 13 and the raise will start appearing in your paycheck on July 31.

We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

Union Dues

There have been several questions lately about our Union dues and what they are used for.

On our web site, for general reference, you will find two documents. One is a two-page document containing a pie chart of the general distribution of dues money and a list of the differences between paying union dues and being a fair-share fee payer. The second document is a pie chart showing a breakdown of dues for a person earning $4,185 per month, which is close to an average wage for an AFSCME member in Oregon. OHSU employees average a bit more than that, but the chart will give you a good idea.

We are often asked “What do I get for my dues?” It’s a fair question.

In addition to paying staff salaries and supplying office space and all the infrastructure that goes with maintaining a state and national organization, you get direct economic benefits.

It’s a well-researched fact that union members, on average, earn significantly more than non-union members. But let’s break it down even closer to home than that.

All we have to do is look at proposals OHSU made in bargaining this year and during the last contract to see the economic benefit of having a union.

This year, OHSU has proposed extending the time to reach the top step in the pay range from 10 years to 17 years. If they succeed in that, it will cost the average OHSU employee about $13,000 in lost wages. If we fight that off and succeed in maintaining the 10-year top-out, that will save the average worker $13,000, and over that period of time she or he will pay about $4,000 in union dues. That’s $9,000 dollars extra in your pocket that you would not have if no one was here to tell OHSU “no.”

Let’s look at another case. This one won’t make you happy, but let’s look at it anyway. Last bargaining, OHSU proposed cutting the PERS 6% pickup. Without a union, they would have just done it, and been done with it. We were able to bargain a one-year delay in implementation and an 18-month 5% subsidy followed by a 6-month 3% subsidy. Those subsidies put about $7,800 dollars in each PERS employee’s pocket that they would not have received without a union. During that time, those employees would have paid about $1,700 in union dues. That’s about $6,100 dollars that the average PERS employee gained by having a union.

Multiply this by all the nickel-and-diming OHSU would get away with year after year and the big take-backs on health insurance and other benefits that are waiting in the wings when no one is here to stop them.

Your 50 bucks a month in union dues is the best investment you have.