February 26, 2019
PORTLAND, OR — AFSCME Local 328 began contract negotiations with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) today, with the two bargaining teams meeting weekly over the next several months to develop a successor agreement for the current contract, which expires June 30, 2019.
With AFSCME-represented employees working in numerous OHSU clinical, research and academic locations, these negotiations will have ramifications for workers not just in the Portland metro area, but also in Ashland, Astoria, Monmouth, Scappoose and Longview, WA. Local 328 understands the broad impact their contract will have on the community and is focused on negotiating a contract that will allow their represented employees to best support OHSU and the community.
While OHSU has been operating on various levels of cost containment since January 2017, departments and employees have been expected to do more with less; however, OHSU currently enjoys unparalleled growth and record-setting profits.
The last two contracts with Local 328 have seen OHSU shift pension costs to employees by as much as 6 percent of base salary, as well as lengthen by 30 percent the amount of time it takes an employee to reach the top of the pay scale. In a 2018 survey conducted by the union, almost four in ten Local 328 members reported difficulty paying their rent or mortgage, with a similar number reporting having moved at least once in the previous five years in order to find more affordable housing. More than 15 percent of survey respondents reported spending more than 50 percent of their income on housing.
“Will shared sacrifice result in shared prosperity? What sort of responsibility does a public medical institution have in relation to its own employees’ health and well-being? As more and more families are struggling, employees simply will not tolerate additional attempts to shift costs onto them” said AFSCME Local 328 president Matt Hilton. “AFSCME Local 328 calls upon OHSU to show that it values its employees as much as it does prestige, by bargaining a fair contract that shares the rewards of success” continued Hilton.
AFSCME Local 328 represents approximately 7,000 OHSU employees in more than 300 job classifications. Represented positions range from pharmacists to food service workers, environmental services technicians to database administrators, medical assistants to HVAC control technicians. The sole academic medical center in the State of Oregon, OHSU is the fourth largest employer in the state and the largest employer in Portland. OHSU sees more than 319,000 patients each year, has more than 5,500 students and trainees and offers more than 200 community health programs through Oregon. AFSCME members help OHSU meet its vision of improving the health and well-being of Oregonians and beyond.