Stewards Needed By Local 328

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Local 328 Needs Stewards

Local 328 has three types of stewards – Unit Stewards, Investigatory Stewards and Grievance Stewards.

We are trying to build our Unit Steward program and our goal is to have at least one steward in every work unit. Unit Stewards are membership information  specialists and a resource hub for the work unit. We train unit stewards how to establish good two way communication among members and with our union’s leadership. Unit Stewards are trained in how to direct members to resources that our Union provides, including how to connect with stewards who can help them during investigations and grievances. Unit Stewards receive eight hours of paid training.

Investigatory Stewards, as the name implies, represent employees who are being questioned in interviews which could lead to discipline. Investigatory stewards provide support, educate members about the investigatory process, takes notes to make a record of the interview and may ask clarifying questions to assist in the fact finding process. They do not argue or present cases at these meetings. Investigatory stewards receive four hours of paid training.

Grievance Stewards usually begin as either Investigatory Stewards or Unit Stewards. Grievance Stewards file grievances, argue cases at Step 1 grievance meetings, and use contract interpretation skills to file grievances on subjects other than discipline. Grievance Stewards work closely with and are mentored by Lead Stewards and Union Staff Representatives. Grievance Stewards receive eight hours of paid training in addition to the the training they received as unit stewards and/or investigatory stewards.

Stewards are required to attend one quarterly training meeting and are contractually guaranteed paid release time to attend meetings and perform steward duties.

Our Union has grave need of all three types of stewards right now, but especially Investigatory and Grievance Stewards. Please contact Chief Steward Michael Stewart at chief-steward@local328.org if you are interested in becoming a steward or if you would like to talk more with Michael or a staff person about what it involved in being a Local 328 steward.

Get Nominated – National Convention Delegates Needed

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Nominations Open For AFSCME Convention Delegates

Local 328 members will soon receive an election notice at home about the nomination and election of delegates to the national AFSCME convention. Our national constitution requires the local to send a notice of election to all members at their home address.

But this notice is more than a formality. It’s an opportunity to influence the direction and priorities of both Local 328 and our parent organization Oregon AFSCME Council 75 as well as the national union.

Attending convention as a delegate is a great opportunity to learn about our union, help make important decisions about our union’s future while being mentored by experienced member leaders.

If you are interested in getting involved in our Union, being nominated and elected as a delegate is a great introduction to active unionism. We encourage new leaders to step up and get involved. To nominate someone, follow the instructions on the card you receive in the mail. We will have additional emails and blog articles as the opening date for nominations moves closer.

Expect More Attacks On Unions This Year

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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

 

About That Apology…

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A Rare Retraction

On Feb. 11th our Union posted a story about patient transportation management banning AFSCME badges, then apologizing. While the content of the story remains true, management never issued an apology despite verbally agreeing that that was something they should do.

It is unfortunate that Transportation management has taken that stance. Our union was hoping that by agreeing to pull back on their ban and apologize for the violation of member’s rights we could move on and hopefully see this as a trust building opportunity with department management. Obviously, we were mistaken in attempting to do so, as it seems that was not their intention. However, it is important for our union to be the party acting in good faith.

Members in transportation continue to face treatment that workers should not have to face in 2016. Intimidation for union activity, continued favoritism and many other problems are still rampant in the department. We will be continuing to advocate on our members behalf and will not stop. If you have stories or information about transportation please send them to their Staff Rep. Ross Grami, rgrami@oregonafscme.com.

What Does The Death of Justice Scalia Mean For Unions?

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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.

Patient Transportation Bans AFSCME Badges, Then Apologizes

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AFSCME Local 328 members in patient transportation services were shocked last night when supervisors told them to stop wearing union badge extenders and asked them to turn the badge extenders in to their supervisor.

In an apparent reaction to increased union activity by patient transportation services members, supervisors have engaged in a series of actions which seem designed to intimidate and discourage employees from engaging in protected union activity. Members have been told not to speak with or approach Union staff and stewards while on duty even if the conversation was of the incidental “water cooler” type discussion and not interfering with work.

Union representatives who have gone through proper channels to meet and speak with members on break and lunch times have been denied access to the patient transportation break room and have been relegated to an isolated table away from member traffic areas.

Finally, on Wednesday evening, members were told to remove Union badges and turn them over to management. The OHSU dress code and Oregon labor law protect the right of union members to wear Union buttons and Union insignia.

After consulting with our attorneys on Thursday morning, Union staff members Ross Grami and Kate Baker met with Patient Transportation management. During the meeting management agreed to allow AFSCME members to resume wearing their Union badges.

Management further agreed to issue an apology to the members in Patient Transportation.

Members have the right to wear Union badges throughout OHSU. There are some limitations on badge size. In patient care areas there are some restrictions on the kind of slogans or messages that may appear on a badge or button. However, you are always allowed to proudly identify yourself as a member of our Union.

We want to thank the members in Patient Transportation for standing up for our Union rights.

EVS Progress Report, OHSU Files Complaint Against AFSCME

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Significant Progress in Ending Worker Abuse in EVS

A lot has happened since AFSCME Local 328 began our campaign to end employee abuse in Environmental Services (EVS). When our union began the campaign, we insisted on:

  • An independent investigation.
  • An improved complaint policy. (One that didn’t rely on OHSU Human Resources to administer it — due to the inherent conflict of interest on the part of HR representatives who spend their working lives supporting management.)

OHSU has agreed to both of these proposals and we are moving forward with them.

Our union provided information about some specific abuses to OHSU; OHSU has followed up with internal investigations and we have begun to see positive changes in EVS. As we said in an earlier report, we will not be specific about the changes we have seen, for the privacy of the people affected by these changes.

OHSU has agreed to hire a neutral facilitator to conduct labor/management meetings — not just in EVS but also in two other OHSU departments that we believe are problem areas: Food & Nutrition and Patient Transportation.

Through it all, EVS employees have continued to work every day, despite uncertainty and fear of retaliation. They have come forward in increasing numbers to tell their stories. During AFSCME Strong Week, after the Martin Luther King holiday, Local 328 hosted an EVS appreciation event that was well received by EVS employees. At the event, more people began to speak up and express a willingness to talk to the independent investigator once the position is filled. EVS employees have shown exceptional courage in speaking up and exceptional dedication to OHSU and their jobs throughout this difficult time.

OHSU Files Unfair Labor Practice Complaint Against Local 328

Our union’s EVS campaign has not come without a cost, however. Local 328 and OHSU are now involved in litigation, since OHSU filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Local 328 over the rights of union representatives to have access to work areas and non-work areas to meet with workers or attend vigils for EVS. OHSU has alleged several contract violations by the union over the presence of union staff representatives and volunteers in hallways and elevator-access lobbies during our EVS vigils and during AFSCME Strong Week. Like a grievance, a ULP is a means to resolve disagreements — this will get sorted out in due time.

It’s important that Local 328 protects our right to have access to our members at work. It is also important not to overreact and create an unnecessarily adversarial atmosphere — our union needs to be able to work with OHSU effectively on the many joint projects we have in progress and on those committed to in the most recent contract.

We’re Almost There…

Overall, the EVS campaign has been successful in bringing hope to our members that their working conditions will dramatically improve. There has been some fallout over issues of staff and volunteer activities during this period, but we expect to get these issues resolved.

The support of the entire community of AFSCME Local 328 members has been crucial to the success of this campaign.

We expect to extend the positive results we’ve had in EVS to other departments.

 

Questions About Inclement Weather and Holiday Pay?

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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.

3 Comments

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

 

OHSU Opens EVS Investigation

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When Local 328 first “went public” with the issue of employee abuse in the Environmental Services department (EVS), OHSU’s first response was to show concern about our methods: Why did we go public? Why is this coming out of nowhere? Why aren’t you using “the process”? Why are you holding vigils in our hallways? Some of our members were shocked too. Responses ranged from concern that we weren’t filing complaints with the “proper” authorities, to asking why we didn’t do this long ago.

We think it’s safe to say that everyone is learning as we go through this process. Our union is learning that while formal processes are important tools, they are not the only tools, and that public opinion and direct member action can get results when the “proper channels” don’t. We won’t speculate on what OHSU has learned, but we can report on how it has responded.

Since the second week of our campaign, OHSU has been constructively engaged with us on the matter of EVS employee abuse. We don’t agree with every step OHSU has taken, but there is clearly a desire to get to the bottom of our union’s claims and to work with us to create a safe process for members to tell their stories.

  • OHSU has agreed that, going forward, some type of independent investigation is needed, though we haven’t yet held detailed talks about what that will look like.
  • OHSU has agreed that we need to work together to reform the complaint process so that future complaints will be dealt with more effectively and we will begin meeting about that, most likely in January.

Signs of Progress

Last week, OHSU took the first steps toward opening an effective and meaningful investigation. In the interest of not compromising that investigation we are being deliberately vague, but we can assure our members that positive and constructive steps are being taken.

We can further assure our members that if the current investigation backs off or if it isn’t aggressive enough, our union will not hesitate to call that out. We sincerely hope there will be no need for that — our goal isn’t to create conflict but to resolve the problem of employee abuse in EVS and elsewhere at OHSU.

We have also been clear that our union views the current investigation as an emergency intervention and not a substitute for a fully independent investigation.

What Next?

There are other work units with similar concerns and our union is not going to end our workplace-abuse campaign until all of them are investigated and corrective action is taken. When we first started this campaign, we thought it would be necessary to call out each department over a period of weeks in order to raise and sustain pressure on OHSU to take action. We are still going to do that, but hope we will be able to do so in the context of reporting on results rather than fighting to have the problem recognized for each department.

This Isn’t Over — You Can Help!

This isn’t over by a long shot, but we are heading in the right direction. More than ever we need members to be engaged and active around pushing this issue to a successful resolution. You can help by:

  • Continuing to support EVS workers by attending a vigil. We meet at the 9th floor fireplace twice each day — you may sign up for a vigil here.
  • Sharing your story with us. You don’t have to be an EVS worker — our union wants to help end worker abuse at OHSU, not just in EVS. Call (971) 271-7832 and leave a message for us to get back to you.
  • Attend the Bureau of Labor and Industries training on worker abuse and discrimination, sponsored by Local 328 – learn more and sign up here.

Thank you for all you have done so far!

OHSU Moves EVS Huddles, Excludes Union — Union Will Continue Public Vigils

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OHSU has moved Environmental Sevices huddles to a private area in OHSU’s Patient Transportation department. The effort to exclude our union comes after three weeks of union vigils, soon after EVS employees finally spoke up in the morning huddle, in the presence of union observers, against the use of the cleaning agent OxyCide. Within days, OHSU suspended its use of OxyCide and moved the huddle behind closed doors.

Our union is concerned that this decision will have a chilling effect on EVS workers’ willingness to speak up.

Local 328 is pleased that the use of OxyCide has been temporarily suspended pending further evaluation, but our union remains committed to assuring that the problems of worker abuse in EVS are addressed. Our union will continue to work at getting to the truth.

Local 328 Releases Supervisor Misconduct Report Form

In order to deal with worker abuse, that abuse must be documented and reported. Until now, all reports of bullying and abuse of employees have been made through one OHSU process or another. As a result, all investigations, conclusions and file materials were owned and controlled by OHSU and, ultimately, Human Resource.

Local 328 is going to change this by the introduction of our Notice of Supervisor Misconduct form. The form is simple and easy to fill out, and allows members to remain anonymous if they wish. One copy of the supervisor-misconduct report will go to the supervisor, one will go to OHSU HR and one will be retained in the supervisor’s permanent personnel file at the Local 328 office.

The form will serve as official notification that supervisor misconduct has been observed and reported by an independent, non-OHSU party — our union — and that notice has been served on all appropriate parties. We can’t force OHSU to act on the form, but our union will investigate, will help gather facts and will keep a record of what we find.

This brings us to our next initiative.

Local 328 and BOLI to Jointly Present Training in Recognizing and Reporting Workplace Abuse

Local 328 has contracted with the State of Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries to present a six-hour training in how to recognize and report workplace abuse, with specific emphasis on worker intimidation, harassment and bullying. The training will teach members how to report claims to BOLI and what information is essential to making an effective report. The training will examine what worker abuse is and how it differs from illegal discrimination.

The training will be offered to Local 328 stewards and staff on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, at the Doernbecher Vey Auditorium (rm. 11620), from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Lunch and snacks will be provided.

If you wish to attend the training but are not a steward, please use the online registration form. Space will be made available to members who are not union stewards on a first-come-first-served basis. Non-steward attendees would have to attend while off duty (regular day off, vacation day, etc.).

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