Bargaining-Session Update: May 7

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We have another long update for you today! We know this is a lot of information to absorb — if you have any questions at all about the below items, please let us know in the comments.

Local 328 presented about 50 pages of counterproposals to OHSU this morning, including:

  • Paid Time Off: We rejected OHSU’s PTO package proposal, countering with current contract language (i.e., keeping the existing VAC/SIK system). We offered a counterproposal re: the annual voluntary cash-out — accepting the change to one cash-out period per year, but keeping the option to cash out up to 80 hours of VAC. In a number of cases we re-proposed our initial proposals that improve the contract (e.g., increased vacation accruals, removing language re: suspension of seniority rights).
  • Benefits: We rejected OHSU’s proposed cuts to insurance contributions, the spousal surcharge and other benefits take-backs. We rejected OHSU’s proposed changes to disempower the members of the Employee Benefits Council and re-proposed our initial proposal to eliminate the presidential tie-breaker from the EBC language.
  • Article 2 (Stewards): We rejected OHSU’s proposal to make time spent on steward activities for our union and the employer ineligible for overtime. The teams are moving closer to agreement on the total number of stewards and number of hours allocated to each type of steward.
  • Preferred Hire List: Overall, the teams are moving closer to agreement. We re-proposed our initial proposal to add FTE modifications to scenarios that are eligible for layoff protections.
  • Grievance Steps: Both teams have made movement in the contract language regarding the grievance process. We proposed allowing limited information requests at the Step 1 meeting, to help move the grievance process along in a more timely manner. Late in the day OHSU made a counterproposal with some movement toward agreement; a tentative agreement was also reached on one section of this contract language.
  • 2.9.1 Union Communications: We rejected OHSU’s proposal requiring our union to provide the employer with an advance copy of any email we send to all members or to all non-members. Late in the day OHSU re-proposed their language requiring advance copies of our union’s emails. (The current contract only requires such notification when we send an email to the entire bargaining unit.)
  • 7.2.5 Posting of Varying Work Schedules/7.2.6 Changes in Work Location: We are moving closer to agreement on this language, which addresses how work schedules are posted and how changes to an employee’s work location are handled. Late in the day OHSU made a counterproposal with some movement toward agreement.
  • 7.4 Availability of Additional Work: We rejected OHSU’s proposal to bypass seniority when assigning employees for non-overtime work that becomes available due to a short-notice call out (i.e., when someone calls in sick).
  • 23.3.1 Notice: We are moving closer to agreement on changes that will allow the union to better meet the representation needs of swing-shift and night-shift employees. Late in the day OHSU made a counterproposal today with some movement toward agreement. 
  • 23.3.5 When Attendance Is the Issue: We rejected OHSU’s proposal to trigger progressive discipline when an employee has three attendance occurrences in a 180-day period. We proposed maintaining the current language of 90 days. Late in the day OHSU countered with a proposal to count attendance occurrences in a 160-day period.
  • 23.6 Unauthorized Absences: We maintained the language in our initial proposal seeking to clarify that unauthorized absences are limited to no-call no-shows or walk-offs. Late in the day OHSU made a counterproposal today with some movement toward agreement.
  • 29.1 Term of Agreement: We rejected OHSU’s proposal seeking to have economic provisions (e.g, across-the-board wages, changes to differentials) not take effect until two full pay periods after the new contract is ratified. Current language states that all provisions go into effect the first full pay period after ratification. Late in the day OHSU re-proposed delaying the effective date of the economic provisions of the contract.
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing MOU: We agreed to modify this memorandum of understanding to add breathalyzer sampling as an option for testing for alcohol. We rejected OHSU’s proposed language that we see as imposing not-for-cause drug testing.

OHSU has not yet responded to our union’s economic proposals (we will likely see some of these responses next week), but did offer the following counterproposals today: 

  • 18.1.1 Posting & Awarding of Position: OHSU rejected our proposal to add an option for salaried employees to job bid for certain positions as an hourly employee. We responded today by re-proposing our language.
  • 18.1.2 Placement/18.2.4 Provisions Applicable to Internal Applicants Only: OHSU maintained its proposal that would require employees to stay in their old departments for up to eight weeks before releasing them to a new position in another OHSU department. We responded today with a counterproposal to maintain current contract language — our union feels that four weeks is more than adequate for management to handle these transitions.
  • Preferential Hire List: OHSU made a number of PHL-related counterproposals, with movement toward agreement on the following sections of the contract:
    • 5.10 Extended Medical Leave
    • 19.7 Employees Placed on Preferential Hire List
    • 19.7.1 Removal from List
    • 20.2.6 Employees Removed Following Transfer to New Department or Work
    • 20.2.7 Employees Removed Following Transfer Within Department or Work Unit
  • Staffing Task Force MOU: OHSU rejected our memorandum of understanding seeking to establish a task force to discuss concerns re: significant staffing issues.
  • Peer-to-Peer Group Counseling/Support MOU: OHSU accepted the concept behind our MOU seeking to establish a task force on implementing critical-incident debriefing training and group counseling in the wake of difficult/tragic events affecting a work unit. We feel that OHSU’s proposed changes to the MOU will need some revisions to establish sufficient support for members of our bargaining unit, but we were heartened by the afternoon’s discussion.

We are pleased to report that Local 328 and OHSU have reached tentative agreement on more than 20 sections of the contract, including:

  • 2.18 Union Conventions: This new article addresses how departments will cover employee leave when more than one member in a department is elected as a union convention delegate.
  • 7.2.7 Changes to Work Schedules: Language has been added to require 14 days’ notice of schedule changes that are necessary to provide an employee with transitional duty during recovery from an on-the-job injury.
  • 7.12 Inclement Weather/Modified Operations: Changes have been made to seven articles to reflect new terminology (“modified operations” instead of “inclement weather”) and current practice.
  • 14.2.5 Court Appearance: Immigration hearings have been added to the court appearances that are eligible for this type of leave.
  • 14.2.6 Election Leave: This leave has been protected for our members who work in states that don’t have vote by mail.
  • 14.3 Workers Compensation: This information will remain in the contract, instead of being moved elsewhere as OHSU had proposed. Some minor changes have been made to the language, including changing “physician or nurse practitioner” to “medical provider.”
  • 19.5.7 Qualified: We accepted OHSU’s proposed new language clarifying that the employees going on the preferred hire list are responsible for ensuring their application documentation is accurate.
  • 20.2.8 Employees Removed Following Placement Under Section 19.4: We agreed to language specifying that employees may remain on the PHL for one year.
  • 24.1.2 Time Extensions/24.1.4 Grievance of Specific Matters: Changes were made to this language that will help streamline the grievance process.
  • 26.3 Pay to Park Hours: We agreed to non-substantive changes that reflect current practice.
  • 27 Health and Safety: We agreed to non-substantive changes (such as changing “Environmental Health & Radiation Safety” to “Environmental Health & Safety”). Language has also been added to note that employees may contact OSHA directly for assistance.
  • Community Employment Committee MOU: Both teams had presented updates to this memorandum of understanding to reflect its establishment and goals for the future. Our union agreed to OHSU’s proposal.

Upcoming Events & Activities

  • May 1 – mid-June — Bargaining Survey: Take this very important bargaining survey to give our union direction re: settling vs. striking. Since we start mediation on May 21, the sooner you take the survey, the more helpful your feedback will be.  
  • May 22 — Bargaining Town Hall: Attend our next town hall on Wednesday, May 22, from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. Hollie Hemenway, director of HR and Employee/Labor Relations and a member of OHSU’s bargaining team, will be in attendance.
  • June 13 — Bargaining Rally: Participate in this event on Marquam Hill at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 13. After the rally, join us for food, drink, and guest speakers. More details will follow soon — in the meantime, share and RSVP to the event on Facebook.

Member Input Needed

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In a perfect world, OHSU would understand that its proposals are unreasonable, unfair and unnecessary and pull them from the table. In the real world, if our members want our union to settle, it is extremely likely that our next agreement will include PTO, higher health-insurance costs, and other undesirable contract language. If, however, our members let us know they are willing to withhold their labor, our bargaining team’s responses to OHSU at the table will reflect the will — and the power — of our membership.

It has never been more important that we hear from our members. Please take our members-only bargaining survey now  and share the link with your AFSCME coworkers. Since we start mediation on May 21, the sooner you take the survey the better.

Our bargaining team has been your voice at the table for months, but we simply cannot fight OHSU’s bad proposals alone. As the end of our current contract nears, we need our members to tell OHSU that enough is enough. In the end, a strong majority of our membership must be willing to take direct action themselves in order to prevent OHSU’s proposals from going into effect.



We don’t have the ability to just say no to OHSU at the bargaining table, unfortunately. Under the PECBA statute, if either team declares impasse and Local 328 is unable to reach an agreement with OHSU after a cooling-off period, OHSU will be able to implement what’s called a last, best and final offer. Unless there is a strike, if this final offer includes PTO and the health-insurance take-backs, then those will go into effect.

While our contract remains in effect until June 30, Local 328 members need to start thinking now about what sort of future they want and what they’re willing to do about it. If the survey responses show that our union has strong member support for a formal work stoppage, that doesn’t mean we will go on strike at this point. A strike is the last option in a long process, and we have a variety of tools we can use before it comes to that.

Bargaining-Session Update: April 30

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Our union spent the day working on counterproposals to unresolved contract language still on the table. Since we had notified OHSU that our team would be in caucus all day, the OHSU team did not join us at the Oregon AFSCME office today. Our bargaining team had a very productive caucus day and developed dozens of counterproposals to OHSU’s proposals, including language on hours of work, the preferential hire list, steward/officer hours, discipline, grievances, and drug/alcohol testing. (Some of our counters to other OHSU proposals may simply be to keep current contract language.)

We expect that both teams will have a full slate of counterproposals to share when we meet again on May 7. Details about our union’s counterproposals will be included in next week’s bargaining update, after our proposed language been presented to OHSU. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts in the comments below and take a very important bargaining survey (see additional information at the bottom of this post).

We also reviewed dozens of letters of agreement to determine whether we want these to roll over to the next contract. Going forward, our union intends to include these LOAs in the printed contract (and PDF) so that all contractual language can be found in one place. 


A number of our proposals are awaiting a response from OHSU, including:

    • Across-the-Board Wage Increases — offering a 5.0% increase the first year of the contract and a 4.0% raise the second
    • Lump Sum Payment — offering a $100 or 1% (whichever is greater) payment in November
    • Longevity Rate — restoring longevity status to some employees who lost it with the 2015 contract
    • Differentials — offering a number of new differentials: weekend, float, advanced certification and preceptor 
    • Free Bus Passes — offering free transit passes to AFSCME-represented employees upon request (for TriMet, C-TRAN and other transit systems)
    • Community Advisory Board — establishing a task force uniting faculty, students, nurses, all four unions and others to look at issues such as health-care costs, housing and transportation issues, clinic access and employment opportunities
    • Peer-to-Peer Group Counseling/Support — establishing a task force on implementing critical-incident debriefing training and group counseling in the wake of difficult/tragic events affecting a work unit
    • Staffing Task Force — establishing a task force to discuss concerns re: significant staffing issues
    • 403(b) Contribution Match — requiring OHSU to partially match voluntary contributions to a 403(b) retirement plan (similar to ONA’s contact)
    • Reimbursement of Certification Expenses — reimbursing employees for certification fees that meet eligibility requirements
    • PERS Pension Rates — requiring OHSU to contribute 2% of PERS participants’ earnings to a 403(b) retirement account if the legislature passes a requirement for participants to contribute to PERS
    • Tuition Discounts — allowing our union to negotiate parity with ONA’s tuition-discount language
    • Time Off Between Regularly Scheduled Shifts — compensating employees at time and a half for shifts worked after a shortened rest period
    • Posting & Awarding of Position — expanding job-bid language
    • Preferential Hire List Task Force — establishing a task force to ensure that the PHL placement process is easily understood by employees and managers
    • Co-Branding — requiring that initiatives/projects developed jointly between Local 328 and OHSU are co-branded

Upcoming Events & Activities

    • May 1 – mid-June — Bargaining Survey: Take this very important bargaining survey to give our union direction re: settling vs. striking. Since we start mediation on May 21, the sooner you take the survey the better. Details will be shared in a President’s Message email being sent later this week. 
    • May 8 — OHSU Employee Career Fair: Explore career paths and workplace opportunities at this event being held Wednesday, May 8, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the BICC Gallery. Learn more here. 
    • May 22 — Bargaining Town Hall: Attend our next town hall on Wednesday, May 22, from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. Hollie Hemenway, director of HR and Employee/Labor Relations and a member of OHSU’s bargaining team, will be in attendance.
    • June TBD (if needed) — Strike-Related Membership Meeting: If our survey indicates member support for a formal work stoppage, we will hold a special membership meeting in June, with a formal vote whether to authorize the bargaining team to call a strike.
    • OHSU is conducting a employee engagement survey through Tuesday, May 20. Share your experience on work environment, OHSU leadership, compensation and more here. 

Who Do You Want to Make the Benefits Decisions at OHSU?

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**This article was originally posted on March 29.**


Since this article was first posted, OHSU has responded to our proposal with language that is even less collaborative than the current contract language. OHSU wants to strip the decision-making power from the Employee Benefits Council, turning it into a body that merely makes recommendations to OHSU’s vice president of Human Resources.


Local 328 is disappointed in OHSU’s March 21 characterization of our union’s proposal to eliminate the tie-breaker from the Employee Benefits Council voting process. The EBC was designed to work by consensus, and functioned well for about 17 years before the tie-breaking language was added to the contract. Our proposal isn’t radical at all, merely a return to the language that served OHSU employees well for many year.

OHSU stated in its email that it is considering the possible “ramifications” of returning to language that allowed for fair decision-making by representatives from management, AFSCME and ONA. Local 328 is more concerned about the demonstrated actual harm we feel has been done to our members by putting all of the power over your health-insurance options into the hands of a single person. (A person whose annual base salary is more than $1 million, no less.)

In 2018, the EBC was in the final stages of changing our third-party administrator from Moda to Aetna. Then-President Robertson overruled the EBC and we were left with Moda. Dr. Robertson also cast a tie-breaking vote resulting in OHSU deciding to offer a high-deductible insurance plan. (Local 328 doesn’t generally recommend this type of plan because of concerns for employees who may not have the ability to fully pay the deductible in an emergency.)

Last year OHSU also floated the idea of imposing a spousal surcharge on employees paying for health insurance for a spouse who could obtain coverage through his/her own job. Our union believed this should be decided during bargaining, but OHSU felt it should be decided at the EBC. So, we took the case to arbitration — and won. OHSU might still propose this during our current negotiations, but how do you think it would have been decided at the EBC? Under the current contract language, it would likely have ended up in a tie and ultimately been imposed on employees by a tie-breaking vote by Dr. Jacobs.

The language Local 328 has proposed will return the EBC to a labor/management cooperation model that has been remarkably effective until recently, one where all voices have a say. Shouldn’t we all want that?

For the record, here is the change proposed by Local 328: “Every reasonable attempt will be made to make consensus-based decisions utilizing evaluative criteria developed by the Council. If consensus fails, the matter(s) will be voted by the parties collectively (e.g., ONA one (1) vote, AFSCME two (2) votes, and the Employer three (3) votes). If the Council is still unable to reach a decision, the matter(s) in dispute shall be referred to the OSHU President or his/her designee, whose decision shall be final and binding on the Council, the Employer, the Union and the ONA. Two (2) Union, one (1) ONA and three (3) Employer Council members shall constitute a quorum.”

You can read more about our concerns about the current EBC process here.

 

Bargaining-Session Update: April 23

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**This update was originally posted on April 23.**


Don’t forget to join us at our town hall on Wednesday, April 24, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. This is your opportunity to give our union direction as we develop our counterproposals over the coming weeks. The town hall will be live-streamed here for members who are unable to attend in person. Light refreshments will be served.

Our Union’s Proposals — Many Beneficial MOUs

Today was the last day for either team to submit new proposals — everything is now on the table that’s going to be.

This week Local 328 presented the following proposals:

  • 22.1.2 Tuition Discounts — Proposed language to allow us to negotiate parity with ONA’s tuition-discount language.
  • Community Employment Committee Memorandum of Understanding — Updated this MOU in order to continue and expand the work of this valuable committee.
    • Since its establishment in 2015, this committee has addressed the needs of underserved employees and has offered scholarships to more than 85 employees through the NW Promise and SW Corridor grants. Upon completion of the applicable education, these employees are able to move into higher paying positions with more career mobility.
  • New MOU: Task Force on Peer-to-Peer Group Counseling/Support — Introduced an MOU that would establish a task force on (a) implementing on-site group counseling/support in the wake of tragic/difficult events (death of a coworker, death of a long-time patient, etc.) that affect a work unit and (b) creating a training program for AFSCME members to to provide critical-incident group debriefings to AFSCME-represented employees in affected work units.
  • New MOU: PERS Pension Rates — Introduced an MOU that would require OHSU to contribute 2 percent of a PERS participant’s earnings into a 403(b) retirement account if the Oregon legislature passes legislation requiring PERS participants to contribute to the PERS pension plan.
    • These contributions would be made only through the end date of the contract, and would cease if the legislation requiring employee pension contributions is later determined to be unlawful.
  • New MOU: 403(b) Contribution Match — Introduced an MOU stipulating that OHSU will partially match our represented employees’ voluntary contributions to a 403(b) retirement plan, similar to language in ONA’s contract.

As we move into the second half of negotiations, now is the time for our members to get active, make your voices heard and think about what the various proposals mean for you — and think about what you’re willing to do to fight OHSU’s proposed take-backs

OHSU’s Proposals — Much to Absorb

OHSU presented several proposals today, including the following:

  • 7.4 Availability of Additional Work — Introduced language allowing the provisions of this article to be waived in the event of a short-notice call out (when coverage is needed with less than 48 hours’ notice).
  • 29.1 Term of Agreement — Introduced language stating that economic provisions of the contract (e.g., new differentials, across-the-board increases) wouldn’t take effect until after two full pay periods following contract ratification.
    • Current contract language states that provisions of the contract are effective the first full pay period following ratification.

In addition, OHSU presented a pay-equity package proposal that could have a significant impact on the pay of our bargaining unit. OHSU presented the package as its solution to legal requirements of Oregon’s Pay Equity Law that went into effect on January 1. Components of this package include:

  • Suspending annual reviews done by the Market-Based Wage Committee for the duration of the new contract.
  • Changing the pay rate associated with voluntary and involuntary demotions.
  • Changing the pay rate associated with promotions and lateral transfers.
  • Changing the pay rate associated with upward, downward and lateral reclassifications.
  • Eliminating progression increases in some cases.
  • Changing the rate of pay for flex staff.
  • Holding back from any across-the-board increases, for the duration of the contract, the equivalent of 0.5% of the bargaining unit’s base wages “in order to address pay equity.”

This package proposal is what OHSU feels is necessary to comply with the law, but acknowledged that it would be open to discussing other ideas. Our union doesn’t necessarily agree with OHSU’s interpretation of the law’s requirements. We will work with Oregon AFSCME’s legal and political teams to help ensure that OHSU’s compliance with this law does not unnecessarily burden our members. Stay tuned as this develops. In the meantime, you can comment here.

Tentative Agreements

The team reach tentative agreements to (a) increase the differential for the snow-removal team, (b) increase the per-transport bonus for PANDA employees and (c) require supervisors to give written feedback sooner — between 30 and 90 days — to employees in their probationary period (except in cases where the orientation period is greater than 90 days).

Bargaining-Session Update: April 16

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**This update was originally posted on April 16.**


We have a lot to report this week!

Mid-Bargaining Town Hall

April 23 is the last day for either of the bargaining teams to present new proposals, so our union will be hosting a second town hall after everything is on the table.

Join us on Wednesday, April 24, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60 to learn more about OHSU’s proposals and let us know your thoughts. The town hall will be live-streamed for members who are unable to attend in person. Light refreshments will be  served. A link to the live-stream will be emailed prior to the event. You may email questions in advance to bargaining@local328.org in advance.

This is your opportunity to give our union direction as we develop our counterproposals over the coming weeks — we hope you join us!

OHSU’s PTO Proposal

First, we feel it’s important to inform our members that our bargaining team was disappointed that OHSU chose to send their “not your mother’s PTO program” email during negotiations. During conversations earlier in bargaining, our teams established an understanding that we would give each other advance notice of this type of communication. We feel that OHSU’s email showed a lack of respect toward the bargaining process and our team.

Although OHSU’s communications claim that its PTO proposal package isn’t a take-back, our union disagrees with this characterization. OHSU’s proposal is a warmed-over, slightly tweaked (for the worse) version of its 2017 proposal that our members strongly opposed. Among other things, OHSU’s package proposal:

  • Creates new barriers to utilizing accruals for sick leave
  • Reduces vacation cash-out upon termination
  • Reduces annual vacation cash-out opportunities

Our union will be talking about OHSU’s PTO proposal in much more depth over the coming weeks. Please comment and let us know your thoughts and questions about this proposal. OHSU absolutely reads these comments, so this is your chance to share your feedback with OHSU leadership.

OHSU’s Proposed Insurance Take-backs

Despite OHSU’s unprecedented financial success, today its bargaining team also proposed the health-care insurance take-backs that our union has been expecting. Key changes include:

  • Decreasing OHSU’s contribution to employee-only insurance coverage from 100 percent to 95 percent (for full-time employees)
  • Decreasing OHSU’s contribution to all other tiers of insurance coverage from 88 percent to 83 percent (for full-time employees)
  • Imposing a $100/month spousal surcharge on employees whose spouse is covered by OHSU’s insurance when the spouse could be covered by their employer’s insurance (a flat fee — whether the employee is full time or part time, whether or not the employee earns only $15/hour)
  • Overhauling the Employee Benefits Council, turning it from a collaborative body that makes decisions about our benefits to one that merely makes recommendations (final decisions about your benefits would be made by OHSU’s vice president of Human Resources)

OHSU’s earnings are $62 million above budget, yet it wants to nickel-and-dime its employees. OHSU is a health-care institution, yet it has proposed making its health-care insurance more of a financial hardship for its own employees. OHSU’s financial performance improves year after year after year, yet it feels it bears an unsustainable, “disproportionate share” of its employees’ health-care costs.

Community Advisory Board

On a more positive note, today our union presented a proposal that we’re very proud of: a memorandum of understanding to develop a community advisory board. We already know that OHSU has a huge impact on the health care of those in our community and throughout Oregon. Local 328 believes that OHSU has the power to do even more for the common good.

Our proposed advisory board would gather together various constituencies at OHSU: all four labor unions, the Faculty Senate, the PA Board, the Advanced Practice Nurse Council, the OHSU All-Hill Student Council, the OHSU House Officers Associations and OHSU management. These parties would meet to look at issues such as health-care costs, clinic access, housing and transportation issues, educational and employment opportunities, sustainability and government and policy matters. Non-OHSU stakeholders (community groups, representatives from local government, etc.) would be invited in on an ad-hoc basis. The advisory board would periodically submit a report of recommendations to the OHSU president and the leaders of the various participant groups.

Local 328 currently has commitments from a significant majority of the above groups and are in the process of working with the others, and we have buy-in from community groups such as Portland Jobs with Justice. We intend to work together regardless of how the proposal plays out. We hope that OHSU will join us.

Other Notes from Today’s Session

In addition to our community advisory board proposal, this week Local 328 also presented the following proposals and counterproposals:

  • 10.9 Transport Work — A $10 increase (from $65 to $75) to the bonus PANDA employees receive for each transport assignment.
  • New: Staffing Task Force — A memorandum of understanding to convene a task force to discuss concerns regarding significant staffing issues at OHSU.
  • Appendix A: Contract Variations Applicable to Salaried Employees — We proposed a number of changes to this appendix, including:
    • Removing a number of the contract exceptions so that salaried employees have more parity with hourly employees
    • Increasing vacation time:
      • 1st – 5th year: increase from 15 days to 18
      • 5th – 10th year: increase from 17 days to 19
      • 10th – 15th year: increase from 19 days to 20
      • 15th – 20th year: increase from 21 days to 22
      • After 20th year: increase from 24 days to 25
    • Adding shift differentials that match those of hourly employees
    • Adding options to earn overtime
    • Adding a process for salaried employees to change to hourly status

Over the past several weeks, a number of proposals have been presented by both teams and are still in play, including:

  • Making changes to the steward program
  • Limiting unauthorized absences to no-call/no-shows only
  • Offering free transit passes
  • Introducing not-for-cause drug testing
  • Changing the grievance process

After presenting our final new proposals next week, our union’s bargaining team will focus on negotiating the above proposals, the various economic proposals, and more. As we move into the second half of negotiations, now is the time for our members to get active, make your voices heard and think about what the various proposals mean for you. Again, we encourage you to comment here and on Facebook page, as well as join us at the town hall on Wednesday, April 24.

Bargaining-Session Update: April 9

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**This update was originally posted on April 9.**


Financial Reality

For our bargaining unit — Per Local 328’s housing/transportation survey last year:

  • Housing is a source of stress for 42 percent of respondents, with 40 percent struggling to afford housing payments.
  • More than one-third of respondents spend more than 40 percent of their income on housing.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents have moved at least once in the last five years in order to find more affordable housing.

The consumer price index for Portland in 2017 was 3.9 percent; for the west region (Portland-specific data not available) in 2018, it was 2.9 percent. Wages for our bargaining unit have not kept pace with the ever-increasing cost of living in or near Portland.

For OHSU — Per PowerPoint slides (“FY19 February YTD Results and Preliminary FY20 Budget”) that will be presented at the April 11 OHSU board meeting, OHSU reports:

  • Operating income through February is $116 million.
  • Earnings are $62 million above budget.
  • Revenues are up $83 million compared to budget.
  • Cash on hand of $1.5 billion.

AFSCME’s analysis of OHSU’s “Financial Statements and Supplementary Information” (June 30, 2018 and 2017, with independent auditors’ report) determined that OHSU has discretionary funds of $11.8 billion.

Bargaining-Session Summary

This week Local 328 presented our second round of economic proposals plus some additional proposals and counter-proposals, including:

  • 8.1 Across the Board Increases — A 5 percent increase the first full pay period following contract ratification and a 4 percent increase the first full pay period following July 1, 2020.
  • New: Lump Sum Payment — A lump-sum payment of 1 percent or $100 (whichever is greater) the first full pay period following Nov. 1 (for employees who were members of the bargaining unit at the time of contract ratification).
  • 12.1 Accrual of Vacation Time — Additional vacation days:
    • 1st – 5th year: increase from 12 days to 15
    • 5th – 10th year: increase from 15 days to 17
    • 10th – 15th year: increase from 18 days to 19
    • 15th – 20th year: increase from 21 days to 22
    • After 20th year: increase from 24 days to 25
    • No change for employees hired prior to Sept. 11, 1998.
  • 18.1.1 Posting and Awarding of Position — Expands the job-bid language so that posted salaried positions with a fixed schedule can be converted to an hourly position at the bidding employee’s discretion.
  • New: Preferential Hire List Task Force — Establishes a joint task force to ensure that the requirements, responsibilities and steps needed to successfully completely the PHL placement process is easily understood by employees and managers.

OHSU proposals and counter-proposals included: (a) modifying 5.28 Relief Employees to require employee availability for a range of two to six days per pay period (a change from four days), (b) rejecting proposed new language re: the handling of bullying complaints (OHSU did indicate a willingness to continue working on the issue) and (c) rejecting the union’s proposed change to 20.1.3 Written Feedback to shorten the time a manager has to provide written feedback during the probationary period (OHSU countered with language re: making an effort to provide feedback within a reasonable time after an employee’s orientation). OHSU also presented a number of proposals to change the language around the preferential hire list throughout the contract.

The Local 328 bargaining team spent the afternoon working on proposals and counter-proposals.

Bargaining-Session Update: April 2

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**This update was originally posted on April 2.**


This week Local 328 presented our first round of economic proposals to OHSU. Our union’s bargaining team proposed language stating that:

  • New: Weekend Differential — A 7 percent differential will be paid for all hours worked between 11:00 p.m. on Friday through 11:00 p.m. on Sunday.
  • New: Float Differential — A 10 percent differential will be paid to employees whose position is formally designated as a float position; a 5 percent differential will be paid to other employees who are occasionally assigned to work as a float.
  • New: Preceptor Work — A 7 percent differential will be paid to employees who perform assigned preceptor duties.
  • New: Advanced Certification Differential — Employees who are certified by a national organization in a specialty area (not including certifications required to legally practice or required by the employer) and who are working in a position in the area of their certification will be paid a differential of $1.25 per hour.
  • New: Reimbursement of Certification/Recertification Fees — Employees will be reimbursed for certification/recertification fees that meet eligibility requirements.
  • 7.7 Time Off Between Regularly Scheduled Shifts — When an employee works two consecutive shifts with less than 10 consecutive hours off between the shifts, the employee will be paid time and a half for the entirety of the shift after the shortened rest period.
  • 9.1.4 Scheduling and Assignment of Overtime — In the rare event that an employee is required to work more than 16 hours in a 24-hour period, the employee will be paid double-time for those hours.
  • 10.8 Inclement Weather Team — An employee working on snow removal as part of the inclement-weather team will receive an additional $10.00 per hour (up from $8.00 per hour).

The Local 328 bargaining team spent the afternoon finalizing additional economic proposals. OHSU chose not to offer any proposals or counterproposals today. The final date that either team can present new proposals is April 23.


If you wish to observe all or part of a bargaining session, email Matt Hilton at president@local328.org in advance to make arrangements. To arrange a worksite visit for you and your coworkers to ask questions and give feedback about bargaining, use the Contact Us form on the Local 328 website.

BARGAINING-SESSION UPDATE: MARCH 26

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Bargaining Town Hall

Ask questions of members of our bargaining team at our town hall on Wednesday, March 27, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. Light refreshments will be served. If you are unable to attend in person, the event will be live-streamed — check your email for the link. You may email questions in advance to bargaining@local328.org.

Bargaining-Session Summary

This week our union made proposals regarding:

  • Handling complaints of bullying or intimidation
  • Protecting whistleblowers
  • Protecting our represented employees from OHSU contracting out our work
  • Requiring managers to give feedback to new employees between the 30th and 60th day of probation (instead of between the 30th and 110th days)
  • Giving employees the opportunity to contact OSHA for assistance and requiring the presence of a union representative during OSHA investigations

OHSU offered several proposals and counter proposals, including:

  • Adding unnecessary employer oversight over our union’s email communications
  • Requiring additional, not-for-cause drug testing for employees in applicable positions

The Local 328 bargaining team spent most of the day finalizing our economic proposals. Our team will present these proposals to OHSU in the coming weeks — stay tuned!


If you wish to observe all or part of a bargaining session, email Matt Hilton at president@local328.org in advance to make arrangements. To arrange a worksite visit for you and your coworkers to ask questions and give feedback about bargaining, use the Contact Us form on the Local 328 website.

A Steward’s Perspective on OHSU’s Counter-proposal

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— guest post by lead steward Trisha Crabb —

When the discussion first arose about proposed contract language regarding stewards earning overtime, I had two immediate and completely opposite thoughts:

  1. I can understand how a business operation would be concerned about making sure overtime work is earned appropriately.
  2. I believe there are a number of OHSU departments whose supervisors would use this proposed change to schedule stewards for overtime, knowing that the costs would not have to be paid out of the department’s budget because that employee used steward time during a pay period.

Then I attended our monthly steward meeting and my position evolved.  It is very clear to me that this is a specific and targeted proposal to chill union activity. OHSU’s proposed steward language targets people who are committed to helping make OHSU a better place for AFSCME-represented employees, and, by extension, all other OHSU employees.

Since I serve as a lead steward, I was able to run a report to clarify for myself exactly what kind of activity we are talking about here. We are not talking about our unit stewards, who use one or two hours of steward time each month to attend a meeting and participate in incidental training or communication events. Rather, OHSU’s proposal targets the activity of a core group of employees who step forward to provide assistance to fellow employees experiencing a wide range of challenges.

From January 1 through March 18, Local 328 stewards resolved 126 cases. These ranged from answering questions (Can I be pulled from my current position to go work in another department for a day due to staffing issues? If I don’t have enough accrued time to cover an approved and paid-for vacation, will I face disciplinary action if I take the time off as unpaid? Do I need to pay back a retention bonus if I make an internal job change?) to representing employees in investigatory meetings over matters like attendance problems, parking violations, personnel conflicts, policy violations, and dismissal hearings.

Our union’s stewards have also worked together with Local 328 staff to close cases involving wage adjustments, layoff procedures and rehiring challenges. Sometimes these cases involved changes that not only affect the single employee involved in the case but also make sweeping changes throughout OHSU.

Early in negotiations, AFSCME proposed an increase in the number of stewards and hours our union has available to help enforce the contract and assist employees. Here’s why: As of about a week ago, there were 43 OHSU employees with active cases, who need the support of our union’s stewards and staff representatives. Our union represents almost 7,000 OHSU employees, with only about 30 stewards rotating through handling cases on a daily basis.

Although our union asked for an increase, we don’t expect a huge jump in the number of stewards we have, and our bargaining team explained our reasoning at the table. Why has OHSU stated that it agrees with our union’s proposal to increase the potential number of stewards, yet made a counterproposal that would create a financial hardship for many of our current stewards and potentially dampen our union’s ability to recruit new stewards? Steward overtime costs shouldn’t be a huge concern to a financially sound institution with a multi-billion dollar budget, but the financial impact and emotional toll on the affected employees is high. So why exactly is OHSU presenting a proposal that would change how the pay is handled for a small handful of employees?

OHSU is legally and morally obligated to treat its employees with the same levels of respect and manage its employees using specific processes, often governed by a union contract — processes that protect both the employee and the employer. AFSCME Local 328 stewards play an active and critical role in ensuring that OHSU’s contractual obligations are followed, and this work benefits OHSU itself as well as its employees. Our stewards not only assist with enforcing the language of our written contract — they also foster a spirit of communal effort to that ensure that all people are treated with dignity.

OHSU strives to set the standard for integrity, compassion and leadership (at least that what its marketing messages imply) and is working to become a national leader in health care and research. You don’t become a leader by stifling the activities of people working every day to uphold the standards of transparency, fairness, and service excellence. I hope that OHSU will pull its steward language off the table and show us that it truly values the hard work our stewards do for OHSU and our union.

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