Proposed Changes to the Pay Schedule
How would you feel if OHSU wanted to pay you $13,000 less than you currently make? If their contract proposals were to go into effect then you would experience a serious hit to your income. How much you would lose would depend on your current pay range and what quartile you are in, but make no mistake, it would be a loss. How would this happen?
During contract bargaining, OHSU management has proposed to reduce the annual pay increase that employees get on their anniversary. Currently, if an employee’s pay rate falls within the first quartile, their anniversary increase is 4.25%. Once an employee moves into the second quartile, the increase is 3.0%; in the third quartile it is 2.75% and in the fourth it is 2.5%. Typically, employees who start at the very bottom of the pay range make it to the top in their eleventh year.
Management has proposed that the annual percentage increases be reduced so that employees move to the top more slowly. Under OHSU’s proposal it would take 17 years to get to the top of the pay range rather than 11.
Below is an example of how a pay rate would be affected by the change, using the current pay range for a PAS Coordinator 1 (grade A28):
|Year 1 wage
|Year 2 wage
|Year 3 wage
|Year 4 wage
|Year 5 wage
|Year 6 wage
|Year 7 wage
|Year 8 wage
|Year 9 wage
|Year 10 wage
|Year 11 wage
|Year 12 wage
|Year 13 wage
|Year 14 wage
|Year 15 wage
|Year 16 wage
|Year 17 wage
*Based on a work year of 2,080 hours
Notice that by year 6 you would more or less break even, but in year 7 your wages would begin a sharp decline and would not recover for another 10 years. All told, over the 10-year period you would make $13,000 less under the change that OHSU proposes.
Keep in mind that not only would your pay be reduced, so would OHSU’s contribution to your retirement plan; the less you make, the less they contribute. In addition, instead of being eligible for the longevity increase in your 16th year of employment, you would not hit that milestone until your 22nd year.
OHSU’s proposed changes to compensation will clearly reduce your earning potential. Their justifications for such a wallop to your wallet? First, that current labor costs are unsustainable. Second, that they want to be more in line with what other hospitals are paying their employees.
Regarding sustainability, OHSU has provided no objective, independent analysis that its labor costs are a problem. It seems that when times are bad, employees are asked to share the pain, but when things are going well, there is no share in the gain. In fact, regardless of whether OHSU is riding high or scraping by, the message remains the same: employees need to take cuts.
As far as achieving parity with the compensation at other hospitals, it appears that OHSU wants to be a leader in all ways except in how their employees are compensated. Rather than lead the way, OHSU wants to be in the middle of the pack. In essence, they are saying that you are not worth what they are paying you. Does that make you feel that your effort is valued?