Category Archives: Bargaining 2019

BARGAINING-SESSION UPDATE: MARCH 12

Bargaining Town Hall

Our union will be holding a town hall for our members on Wednesday, March 27, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in UHS 8B60. Light refreshments will be served. This is your opportunity to hear from and ask questions of members of our bargaining team.

The event will be live-streamed for those of you who are unable to attend in person — a link to the live-stream will be emailed the day of the event. Please feel free to email your questions in advance to bargaining@local328.org.


Bargaining-Session Summary

You may have noticed that OHSU is emailing their own updates about our weekly bargaining sessions; however, the employer has offered no opportunity for employees to ask questions or give feedback about these updates. We encourage our members to comment on the updates posted here and to our Facebook page. You may also ask questions of your unit steward or email them to bargaining@local328.org.

On our third day of bargaining with OHSU, our union proposed:

  • Allowing employees to use vacation time, at their discretion, to cover FMLA absences
  • Clarifying inclement-weather language to reflect current practice
  • Involving AFSCME in a review of what positions should be considered drug testable

OHSU proposed some changes to the steward program that our union feels could be detrimental to our ability to represent employees and enforce our contract. OHSU also proposed doubling the time departments have to place employees into new internal positions — an employee could be required to wait up to eight weeks to be able to move into a new position.

The teams reached tentative agreements on nine sections of the contract today, including:

  • Establishing a memorandum of understanding that will clarify in what scenarios employees are allowed clean-up time
  • Allowing AFSCME-represented employees — for the first time in more than 30 years of representation — to file complaints about sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, etc. directly with Local 328

Get Involved/Stay Informed

Unit stewards will be distributing buttons to wear to show your support. You may also email us at bargaining@local328.org to request one.

Stop by one of Local 328’s bargaining Q&A tables for swag and information. Tables are currently scheduled as follows:

  • Thurs., March 14, CHH 3171, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Thurs., March 21, BICC Gallery, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Fri., March 29, CHH 3171, 12 noon – 2:00 p.m.
  • Thurs., April 11, CHH 3171, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Wed., April 17, BICC Gallery, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wed, April 24, UHS 8B60, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.

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 give feedback and ask questions about bargaining, use the Contact Us form on the Local 328 website.

 

Bargaining-Session Update: March 5

Bargaining-Session Summary

The Local 328 and OHSU bargaining teams met for the second time on March 5. Our union proposed changes to nine sections of the contract, including:

  • Providing free transit passes (TriMet, C-TRAN, etc.) to AFSCME-represented employees
  • Broadening layoff language to protection employees affected by FTE increases (not just FTE decreases)
  • Requiring departments without computer access to post printed schedules 28 days in advance, indicating both where and when employees will be working
  • Requiring that initiatives and projects developed jointly between OHSU and our union are co-branded
  • Allowing represented employees to file complaints about such matters as sexual harassment, discrimination, etc. directly with our union (rather than using only OHSU or state reporting methods)
  • Preserving election leave for employees working in states that don’t have vote by mail

OHSU proposed changes to a number of sections of the contract, including requiring that cab fare home after mandatory overtime will be reimbursed rather than paid for up front, adding to the language about unauthorized language and making some non-substantive changes. 

The teams exchanged counterproposals today and reached tentative agreements on nine sections of the contract.

Get Involved/Stay Informed

Be on the lookout next week for bargaining-themed buttons and a “Bargaining Support Ideas” trifold brochure. 

Stop by one of Local 328’s bargaining Q&A tables for swag and information. Tables are currently scheduled as follows:

  • Thurs., March 14, CHH 3171, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Thurs., March 21, BICC Gallery, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wed., March 27, UHS 8B60, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Fri., March 29, CHH 3171, 12 noon – 1:00 p.m.
  • Thurs., April 11, CHH 3171, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Wed., April 17, BICC Gallery, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wed, April 24, UHS 8B60, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Please regularly check and comment on the updates posted to our Facebook page and our blog. You may also ask questions of your unit steward or other union contact, or email questions to bargaining@local328.orgIf 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 give feedback and ask questions about bargaining, use the Contact Us form on the Local 328 website. 

Bargaining-Session Update: Feb. 26

Bargaining-Session Update

The Local 328 and OHSU bargaining teams met for the first time on Tuesday, February 26. Our union proposed changes to more than a dozen sections of the contract, including:

  • Broadening the definition of family, to include more than just “traditional” immediate family members (applies to bereavement leave and use of sick time)
  • Expanding when bereavement leave can be taken and adding the option to take bereavement leave unpaid (rather than requiring the use of accruals)
  • Streamlining the grievance and arbitration processes (reducing the number of steps in some cases, asking for more notice when union representation is needed, prescheduling arbitrators)
  • Increasing the number of hours our stewards and officers have available to assist our represented employees and strengthen our union

Formal negotiations with OHSU ended mid-day. The Local 328 bargaining team spent the rest of the day in caucus and participating in debriefing exercises.

Stay Informed

We sent a lot of emails this week, but don’t worry — we won’t bombard you with emails going forward. You can expect a weekly email summarizing what happened during the bargaining session. We may also send an a occasional email letting you know about any upcoming activities or bargaining actions.

In addition, a short video report will be posted to our Facebook page each Tuesday evening after the day’s negotiations and caucusing have ended. You can also find updates here on our blog. We strongly encourage you to regularly check — and comment on — these reports and updates. You are also encouraged to ask questions of your unit steward or other union contact, as well as email questions to bargaining@local328.org.

Get Involved

Our union encourages members to observe our sessions. If you wish to observe all or part of a bargaining session, email Local 328 president Matt Hilton in advance to make arrangements. Please note that this must be done on your own time (i.e., using vacation time or on off-time, rather than on the clock).

Local 328’s ground team would love to set up a bargaining Q&A table at your worksite to get feedback and answer any questions you and your coworkers have about bargaining. To arrange a worksite visit, use the Contact Us form on the Local 328 website.

PRESS RELEASE: AFSCME Local 328 Calls upon OHSU to Negotiate a Fair Contract

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.

Union and Management Bargaining Teams Announced

By Matt Hilton

Greetings Brothers and Sisters of AFSCME Local 328,

As you are likely aware, our union begins bargaining with OHSU on February 26. We’d like to introduce our team as well as list the members of the management team.

Local 328 Bargaining Team:

The members of the AFSCME Local 328 team are:

  • Matt Hilton, Local 328 President & Chief Spokesperson (Call Center Representative, IT.Call Center Operations)
  • Ashley Larkin (Physical Therapist, HC.8A Rehab)
  • Casey Parr (Respiratory Care Practitioner 2, HC.Respiratory Therapy)
  • Claire Irvan (Program Technician 1, HC.Centralized Managed Care & Price Estimates)
  • Haley Wolford (Vet Research/Health Tech 3, PC.Non-Primate Op)
  • Jennifer Barker (Financial Analyst 1, CR.Oregon Institute Of Occupational Health Sciences)
  • Jim Cherveny (Respiratory Care Practitioner 2, HC.Respiratory Therapy)
  • Karyn Trivette (Physical Therapist, HC.8A Rehab)
  • Kasey Zimmer-Stuckey (Ultrasound Technologist, HC.Ultrasound Service)
  • Michael Stewart (Medical Assistant 1, HC.Internal Medicine Clinic)
  • Mike Bandy (Sr. Building Systems Control Tech, FO.FM Utilities Maintenance)
  • Roger Clark (Pharmacist, HC.InpatientPharmacy)
  • Kate Baker (Staff, AFSCME Council 75)

The members of the OHSU management team are:

  • Amar Khouma (HC Professional Services Apps Manager)
  • Amy Wood (HR Business Partner)
  • Carolyn Bruebaker Moore (Pediatric Ambulatory Care Director)
  • Emily Boring (Delivery & Fleet Services Manager)
  • Esperanza Zozobrado (Sterile Processing Director)
  • Haley Sands (Nurse Manager 2)
  • Hollie Hemenway (HR & Employee/Labor Relations Director)
  • Patrick Frengle (Financial Consultant)
  • Paul Southerton (Retail Food Service Manager)
  • Steve Osgood (Core Lab Manager)
  • Mike Brunet, chief spokesperson (Garvey Schubert Barer)
  • Brian Morrison, ex-officio advisor (Garvey Schubert Barer)

Please send any bargaining-related feedback or questions to bargaining@local328.org.

Stronger together,

Matt Hilton, President, AFSCME Local 328

Rehab Employees Raise Concerns

Interviews with employees of OHSU’s Rehabilitation Services Department have raised concerns about staffing, patient care, and pervasive contract and labor law violations. In addition issues of internal equity and managerial ethics were also raised. This is the first in a series of reports on these allegations.

All names will be kept confidential in these reports, though more specific information has been shared with OHSU Human Resources and will continue to be shared as we develop it. For now, we are attempting to work with OHSU as we did in the EVS cases, but should grievances and other legal actions become necessary we won’t hesitate to pursue them.

Health Care Benefits

Local 328 Staff were initially contacted by employees who were concerned that they were being unethically denied full time health care benefits by Rehab Services management. According to our union contract there are four classes of represented employees at OHSU – regular FTE employees, relief employees, flex employees, and limited duration employees. In addition, regular FTE employees may be full or part time.

Flex employees do not get health care benefits. Relief employees receive health care benefits based on the number of hours they’ve worked in the previous six months.

Limited duration and regular FTE employees receive health care benefits based on their FTE. LD and Regular FTE employees who are .75 FTE or higher receive full benefits with the maximum employer contribution. Employees between .5 and .75 FTE receive part time benefits which provide the same health plan but with a significantly lower employer contribution, and therefore a much higher out of pocket premium cost for employees.

For the last few years Rehab Services Management has frequently hired therapists as .5 employees, with the notice that extra shifts may be available to be worked. In fact, for many employees those extra shifts were not only available but expected and that extra work resulted in several “part time” employees working full time hours for indefinite periods of time without full time health care benefits. Some employees raised concerns surrounding this without any action from management. Others felt that even though they were losing significant money on their health care benefits, they might face retaliation by losing their extra shifts if they protested about the loss of benefits.

We were given one example of a member who was initially hired on as a flex position in 2015 and was told the flex position would be a way to track hours worked and validate the need for more FTE in the pediatric rehab setting. Her position soon changed to relief and she was able to accrue full time benefits. In September 2017, a .95 employee changed to a .8, making a .15 FTE position available. The relief employee was told if she wanted to maintain her seniority and hours worked, she would have to take the .15 FTE position, otherwise a new hire would have seniority and likely take her hours. In October 2017 she took the .15 FTE out of fear of losing hours worked and routinely worked 30 to 40 hours a week for a year without health care benefits.

Another example is an employee who was a .5 FTE and worked for over a year full time. He requested to receive an increase in his FTE as he needed full time benefits for him and his family. He was told no by management and recently quit to work for Shriners where he now receives full time health care benefits.

Some quotes from union members we interviewed:

“I was hired for Saturday/Sunday and always worked more than that”

“People are being hired under the pretense that these are part time jobs and know they are going to work you more than that and not give you benefits.”

“They don’t hire people with experience because they cost more. They hire new grads because they are cheaper and will put up with not getting benefits.”

“They create unsustainable positions – for example sat/sun only with 10 hours shifts – only desperate people take these jobs and they don’t stay.”

The number of employees working consistently over their FTE has been reduced recently, but for many, in the previous few years, they have lost hundreds of dollars per month in healthcare benefits beginning the day they were hired, with full knowledge by management that they would be routinely expected to work extra shifts. Rehab management frequently frames full time benefits as a privilege and not as a benefit for actual hours worked.

OHSU must end the practice of unethically hiring employees as part time and then working them full time in order to save money on employee health care benefits and must further end the unethical practice of keeping employees who have a demonstrated history of working full time hours listed as part time FTE. It is, perhaps, excusable to hire an employee and not anticipate the number of hours they will actually have to work, it’s an intentional and unethical act to keep them working for months or years in excess of their FTE and not upgrade their FTE status with full knowledge of the negative impact this is having on employee health care benefits.

Next Article: Pervasive Wage and Hour Violations In Rehab Services

Top Ten Contract Articles – Article 9 – Overtime and Premium Pay

With contract bargaining coming up it’s helpful to review the contracts most important articles – those articles that have immediate impact on your working life. Check earlier articles in the blog for more contract article information.

Article 9 contains the answers to your questions about overtime and how it is assigned, calculated and paid.

What is overtime?

  • OT is work beyond your regular shift or beyond 40 hours per week. [9.1.1]

How much do I get paid for OT?

  • Time and one half. [9.1.2]

How is OT calculated? What is included in the calculation?

  • OT is calculated on a daily basis, unless you sign a waiver of daily OT — then it’s calculated weekly. All hours worked plus vacation taken count toward OT. [9.1.3]

How is OT scheduled and assigned?

  • Generally OT is offered in seniority order and, if no one volunteers, assigned in reversed seniority order. [9.1.4] (See our Mandatory Overtime tip sheet for more information.)

Can I be required to work OT if I don’t want to?

  • [9.1.4.c] (See our Mandatory Overtime tip sheet for more information.)

How do I get home if I’m required to work late and miss my bus?

  • Under some circumstances, OHSU may be required to pay for a cab for you. [9.1.4.e]

Is there a limit to how many hours I can work?

  • Yes — no more than 16 out of 24 hours. [9.1.4.g]

Is there a limit to how many hours I can be required to work?

  • Yes — you can be “mandatoried” for no more than 60 hours per quarter. [9.1.4.f]

Do I have to take OT earnings in the form of pay?

  • Not always — you may be able to take some as “comp time.” [9.1.5]

Can I be called back to work once I go home for the day?

  • [9.2]

If I’m called in, is there a minimum I must be paid?

  • Yes — two hours. [9.2.1]

Do I get paid extra for working a holiday?

  • Yes — time worked on a holiday is paid at time and one half in addition to any holiday compensation you may be eligible for. [9.4]

If you have any questions about OT work and your rights, please read the contract language (available in the Your Union Contract tab at www.local328.org) or contact your unit steward for additional help.

What You Need To Know Today About The Employee Benefits Council

Why Should You Care About the EBC and Consensus Decision-Making

A Short History of the EBC

First off, what the heck is an EBC anyway? EBC stands for Employee Benefits Council. It’s a group set up by the Local 328 contract to review health-related benefit plans, recommend plan-design changes and review and recommend contracts with various benefit-plan providers. The EBC is made up of 12 representatives: six from management and non-represented employees (managers, supervisors, faculty, research staff and the HR Benefits office) and six union representatives (two from ONA and four from AFSCME).

The EBC was designed to work by consensus; that is, it tries to get unanimous agreement on changes to benefit plans. Plan changes can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, in the years leading up to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the EBC tried to contain costs while maximizing coverage in order to avoid paying the so-called “Cadillac tax” that the ACA called for if health-insurance premiums rose above a certain level. Another example is that the EBC chose to limit the massage benefit, because we saw heavy use by very few people, using out of network providers, which drove up premium costs for everyone else.

Choices about changes like this are hard to make, because no matter what we do in the drive to contain costs and provide excellent benefits, some people will feel like they’ve been helped and others will feel like they’ve been hurt. The consensus process is meant to be a check against rash decisions or financial decisions that will disproportionately hurt others. Among the groups represented on the EBC, AFSCME is unique in that we represent employees, in about 300 job classifications, whose wages vary tremendously. We try to ensure that whatever we do, it does not leave our lower-paid workers in a position where they cannot afford their health care. An extra $25 or $50 has a very different impact on someone making $15/hour than it does for someone making $90,000 or more a year.

Through all of the EBC’s decisions, the consensus process has been the glue that has allowed all of the representatives to make decisions that, over the years, have kept our health-care benefits at OHSU affordable and accessible. So what happens when the EBC can’t reach consensus? Well, our contract addresses that. If consensus cannot be reached, then the EBC votes on the decision. Management/OHSU has three votes, ONA has one vote and AFSCME has two votes. If the vote ends in a tie, OHSU’s president casts the tie-breaking vote.

In all our union’s years of sitting on the EBC, we do not recall ever having to vote or ever having OHSU’s president break a tie.

Until now.

Consensus Breaks Down

This year has seen the first cracks in the foundation of consensus decision-making with the EBC. Within the last two months:

  • The EBC was in the final stages of reaching consensus on recommending changing the third-party administrator of our health plan to Aetna from Moda. President Robertson overruled the EBC and decided that OHSU would remain with Moda.
  • The EBC could not reach consensus on whether to offer a high-deductible health plan in addition to our current plan. The chair of the committee moved quickly to a vote and the vote was tied 3-3, with all union votes being against offering such a plan. President Robertson cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of offering a high-deductible health plan.
  • Several years ago the EBC was approached by our consultants with a proposal to raise deductibles rather dramatically, in an attempt to keep premiums down. In a compromise designed to keep health care affordable, the EBC reached consensus to raise deductibles by $25/year over several years. HR Benefits is now proposing throwing this agreement aside and imposing new, dramatically higher deductibles.
  • HR Benefits has also proposed adding a spousal surcharge of $50/month for every employee whose spouse opts for OHSU’s health insurance when they are eligible for health-care coverage through their own employer. Our union contends that a spousal surcharge is a premium increase, not a plan-design change and therefore needs to be raised at the bargaining table not at the EBC. Local 328 has filed a grievance on this matter; our grievance has already been heard by an arbitrator and we are awaiting a decision.

The EBC has functioned by consensus decision-making for more than two decades. The breakdown of that model will have consequences far beyond the meeting room of the EBC. It will be felt in paychecks, at doctors’ offices and at the bargaining table.

 Where Does This Leave Us?

Why is HR Benefits proposing these changes that take money from OHSU’s employees’ pockets? Well, they have been given marching orders to save more than a million dollars on the OHSU’s health-care benefits budget.

Why? We have asked and have not been answered — unless you consider “to maintain the viability of OHSU” to be an answer of sufficient specificity to justify taking money back from our members and other OHSU employees.

Who made this decision? Asked and not answered.

Are these marching orders coming from Huron Consulting Group, which just decided that it would be a swell idea to grab a million or so benefits dollars back from employees? Asked and not answered.

How are management votes tallied at the EBC? Who decided how their three votes are cast? Asked and actually answered: they don’t know. In the one case where we voted, all management representatives were in favor of the high-deductible plan. They haven’t decided what they would do if the management representatives’ votes were ever split.

HR Benefits has indicated that the spousal surcharge will not be dealt with until we get an arbitration decision. Make no mistake — we will deal with the spousal surcharge at the EBC if our union loses the arbitration or at bargaining if we win the arbitration. This is not going away.

The proposed deductible changes will be dealt with at the EBC. The EBC has dealt with deductibles in the past. We suspect we will not reach consensus on ending the compromise deal we made and instead imposing new, higher deductibles. That will force a vote. You can see where this is going.

The move away from consensus decisions in the service of taking dollars away from our members and others — for secretive and unspecified reasons — is profoundly dangerous. The EBC has worked and worked well for more than 20 years — because of the internal checks and balances required by successful use of consensus decision-making.

Forcing votes on contentious issues and letting them be decided by tie-breaker votes by a brand new OHSU president just prior to our union embarking on contract bargaining is a risky proposition for all concerned. It unnecessarily raises the stakes at the bargaining table and, more importantly, undermines a model of labor management cooperation that — in the case of the EBC — has been remarkably effective for more than two decades.

Let us know what you think.

 

 

Message From Local 328 President Matt Hillton

Greetings Brothers and Sisters of AFSCME Local 328,

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced its decision in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case. The decision overturns a previous 9-0 precedent that had ensured fair public-sector labor continuity for more than 40 years. Five individual justices have now settled case law that impacts millions of public-sector unionized workers in the United States. This ruling, which our union has been preparing for, creates a more difficult landscape for us to navigate, and inevitability means there will be “free riders” availing themselves of benefits that their coworkers have paid for.

I want to be clear — this case wasn’t brought by chance. There’s a correlation between this case and the work of the Freedom Foundation and other right-wing anti-worker groups. Union density translates to higher wages and better benefits. Weakening public-sector unions will have a negative impact on the earning power of working-class Americans. Income inequality in the United States is at its greatest level since the Great Depression; even so, there’s a select class of people who want to reap even more from an already rigged economy. For example, the type of person who gave $28.5 million in dark money to promote Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court obviously expects a return on his or her investment. The United States is an economic superpower with the largest economy in the world — a weak labor movement ensures that more and more of the wealth created by workers flows to the top 1 percent.

At one point in our country’s history, more than a third of jobs were unionized. Even non-union employers were pressured to keep wages and benefits high, because their employees would otherwise leave and seek better-compensated jobs with union employers. Economic conditions at this time meant that someone could provide for a family and own a home on a single income. In the 1950s, a CEO earned about 20 times more than the typical employee. Today, the average CEO of a large company makes 271 times more than a front-line worker does. In 21 states, the minimum wage is only $7.25. More than half of personal bankruptcies are due to medical bills. Nearly one in three private-sector workers, and 70% of the lowest-paid workers, do not have paid sick time. After decades of corporate attack, private-sector unionism dwindled to 20% in the 1980s and stands at only 6.5% today. Public-sector unions have been the last bastions for working people, at 34.4% membership, but the Janus ruling instantly reduces that number.

Brothers and sisters, know this: In spite of this ruling, our union is still very much here. The Supreme Court can’t take away our union. Billionaires’ money and greed can’t take away our union. OHSU can’t take away our union. Any decision to weaken our union will be made at the individual level.

 You have a choice when it comes to signing your membership card. When Act 10 passed in Wisconsin in 2011, AFSCME represented nearly 63,000 employees. Individuals made the decision to drop their membership, and today that number is less than 20,000. On the flip side, federal-employee unions have been required to survive in a “right to work” environment for some time. This hasn’t stopped the American Federation of Government Employees from growing its membership by 100,000 since 2012. This hasn’t stopped the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 82 union in Portland from achieving a membership rate of almost 95 percent.

Our power comes from collective action. Our union’s ability to represent our members’ interests and ensure fairness at OHSU is directly tied to the number of employees who have made the commitment to belong to our union. What kind of union do you want negotiating with OHSU early next year — a weak one or a strong one?

I’m extremely proud of the work done by our union’s member leaders in preparation for the court’s decision. We have consistently budgeted prudently. Over the last few years we have put significant effort into growing our executive board, our steward program and our unit-steward ranks. I thank every activist and volunteer who’s taken the time to talk to coworkers. It’s because of you that our members know the value of our union and it’s because of you that Local 328’s membership numbers keep growing.

In the days ahead, let’s talk. Come to an AFSCME table in the cafeteria. Speak with your unit steward. Email bargaining@local328.org with feedback about contract language you’d like to see. Attend a future bargaining listening session in your department. Be informed. Talk to your coworkers about our union. Consider if you’d like to volunteer in some sort of capacity during negotiations.

Please attend, or watch online, our bargaining town tall on Wednesday, July 11, at 12 noon in UHS 8B60. (The live-stream link will be emailed out the day of the town hall.) After the town hall, dues-paying members will be voting to determine how they want our bargaining team to be structured. We elect our bargaining team in late August.

We are stronger together, and AFSCME strong!

In solidarity,

Matt Hilton, President

AFSCME Local 328

 

Top Ten Contract Articles – Article 8

This is the second in our series of top-ten contract articles. Article 8 deals with what is, for many people, the most important reason to come to work: their pay and their raises. Our contract has extensive language protecting your rights to wages and raises.

There is much in this article that we won’t be able to cover in a one-page tip sheet, but here are the most important highlights (along with the number of the section of our contract where the language appears):

  • Across-the-board raises — This section of our contract deals with our across-the-board raises of 3.0%, 2.25%, 2.25% and 2.5% during the term of the contract. [8.1]
  • Progression increases (formerly known as step increases — How much they are each year? How do they change over the course of your employment? Employees get larger increases early in their tenure and then they decrease over time — it takes about 13 years to reach the top of the pay range. [8.2]
  • Merit increases — Merit increases are PERMITTED by the union contract, no matter what your supervisor says. [8.3]
  • Market-based adjustments — How do they work? Are you under- or overpaid according to the labor market based on surveys? OHSU’s Market-Based Wage Committee, which includes representatives from our union, meets once a year and reviews all AFSCME-represented classifications. [8.4 – 8.4.4]
  • Pay changes upon status changes — How do your wages change when you demote, transfer, promote, get reclassified (upward or downward) and return from layoff? It’s complicated. You will need to read the article to see how your individual circumstances should be handled. Please contact our steward program through the eZone (unionlabor.org/logIn/logIn.cfm) if you need help applying the contract language to your situation. [8.5 – 8.5.4]
  • Travel expenses. [8.6]
  • Your final paycheck when you end your employment at OHSU. [8.7]
  • Under-/overpayments — What happens when you are overpaid or underpaid? You may be required to repay money if you are overpaid; our contract explains the process for that. [8.8]

This tip sheet doesn’t cover everything in Article 8 — to fully understand your rights, please read the contract language (available in the Your Union Contract tab at www.local328.org) or contact one of our stewards for assistance.