Why did the union make the economic proposals we did? Why are differences in the union’s proposal’s and OHSU’s proposals so vast?
As bargaining currently stands, OHSU and Local 328 have both made initial proposals but have yet to respond to each other’s proposals. We will be responding to each other at the end of May. You may read a detailed description of the union’s proposals on our blog.
Many factors were considered in developing the union’s proposals:
- OHSU’s excellent financial health and rosy revenue forecast.
- An economy that is generally improving.
- Member responses to union surveys
- The financial impact of the PERS take-backs on employees and OHSU’s stated intent to eliminate the 3% PERS subsidy at the end of the current contract.
- OHSU’s stated intent to not extend our contract if we are not done bargaining by the end of June.
- The knowledge that when OHSU needed sacrifice, AFSCME-represented employees sacrificed — even though it felt like that sacrifice wasn’t shared by all at OHSU.
- The fact that “the market” is an uneven playing field for workers — “the market” is determined by non-unionized employers that don’t have to negotiate with their workers on compensation.
- The fact that we have a union and a union gives its members power—if the members are willing to exercise it.
The differences in the philosophy — our interests — of OHSU and AFSCME may be summed up quite simply:
- OHSU believes that in order to be a leading health-care, education and research center, they must attract the best employees. They believe that by implementing a series of take-backs on wages (which is what the PERS take-back was), pay progression and UPP retirement contributions; driving wages closer to market average and alternately incentivizing and punishing the more senior workers to encourage them to leave the work force they can attain a benefit structure (that nice bell curve where there are very few people at the top) that is only slightly above average, but just enough above to attract new, less senior workers.
- AFSCME also believes that in order for OHSU to be a leading health-care, education and research center, it must attract the best employees. We believe that the way to do that is to maintain our position as a market leader in compensation; provide individual family security through excellent health-insurance and retirement plans; offer meaningful work-life balance by giving employees some control over schedules, overtime, vacations and holidays. OHSU can retain the best employees by not forcing them to work off the clock or through breaks to keep up with increasing workloads, by staffing adequately, by creating an inclusive and welcoming climate (not just for faculty but for everyone in our OHSU community) by providing job security, by preserving our employees’ institutional knowledge and by honoring workers who have given most of their adult lives to this organization.
That’s the difference — the union difference.