Health Car for All Oregon: Statewide Strategy Meeting

Health Care for All Oregon member organization’s and local action group’s delegates, individual members and other supporters will gather Saturday, November 15, in Salem, to celebrate victories, plan strategies and strengthen our movement to create universal health care in Oregon.

We will be rolling up our sleeves to do the hard work to reach victory. Included in the day’s agenda will be an update on the HCAO Strategic Plan, a report on progress on our 2015 legislation, a discussion of the post-election political environment and a lobby training focused on our upcoming Health Care for ALL Oregon Rally, February 11, 2015 at the State Capitol.

Register here to attend the HCAO Statewide Strategy Meeting

  • HCAO Statewide Strategy Meeting
  • Saturday, November 15, 2014
  • 10:30 am to 3:30 pm (Registration at 10:00 am)
  • First Congregational Church of Christ, 700 Marion St NE, Salem
  • Lunch will be provided (donations are encouraged)

HCAO now has 98 member organizations and over 13,000 supporters in our database. Local action groups statewide are working week in and week out to educate voters. Twice a year representatives of all our groups gather to strategize, hone our skills and build our momentum and enthusiasm.

Be there prepared to get to work on building a movement to win!

[ Register here to attend the HCAO Statewide Strategy Meeting ]

Local 88 Bargaining Update for 10-1-14

Local88-TransparentLogoIn bargaining on October 1, management presented us with an offer that withdrew their health care proposal.  That proposal would have given the county the right, during the life of the contract, to move our health care over to one of the state-wide insurance pools.  We strongly opposed this for a number of reasons, and were very glad that the county was willing to move off its position.

The remainder of their proposal was unchanged;  it called for a 2.7% COLA for this year, retroactive to July 1, and in the second and third years a COLA of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) with a minimum of 1% and a maximum of 4%.  Our team went into caucus to discuss their proposal and after a great deal of discussion we put together a response that showed some movement on our part.  First, we moved our position of a CPI guaranteed minimum of 2% to a maximum of 4% to their proposal of a CPI guaranteed minimum of 1% and a maximum of 4%.

For contract year 1 we dropped our COLA premium of 1% to a proposed COLA of 2.0% for the first 5 months of this year (July through November) then increasing to 3.7% for the remainder of the year.  The intent is to be budget neutral to the county this year, meaning it wouldn’t cost the county any more than what they have already budgeted, but in July of next year the COLA increase would be based on a wage increase of 3.7% instead of 2.7%.

Remember, IF this proposal is accepted and ratified you would see the retroactive 2% CPI amount as a lump sum in your pay and your ongoing hourly wage increased by 3.7% starting in December.

For years 2 and 3 we dropped our COLA premium from 1% per year to .5% per year.  We recognize that getting anything above the CPI will be difficult, so a more modest position has a better chance of success.

Finally, we proposed that the minimum step one wage for job classifications below this, be increased to $15 an hour, phased in over 3 years.  Some of the job classifications that have steps below $15 include Animal Care Aide, Cook, Library Page, Bridge Operator, OA 1 and Food Service Worker.  We do have county employees who earn so little that they are on food stamps – there is no excuse for that and we need to change it.

The local 88 membership voted to support the $15 minimum wage at the June 18, 2014 General Membership meeting and this proposal is a direct reflection of our commitment to a living wage for all Oregonians, including our own Local 88 membership.

Quality Education Festival on October 19th

Quality Ed Festival - English 2014 PNG

Click on the graphic to download the flyer in English. For flyers in Spanish, click on the link at the bottom of this article.

The local associations of the Oregon Education Association from across the Portland Metro region have worked together to create an upcoming event called the “Quality Education Festival.”  The purpose of the Festival is to highlight the impact that diminished programs have on the students in Oregon schools.  The lack of services means that today’s students are in huge classes, often don’t have real access to guidance counselors, and often don’t have the opportunity to experience physical education, art, music, a library with an actual librarian, etc.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We all know that the reason for the erosion of a full education is because of Oregon’s broken system of funding public education.   The Quality Education Festival will be held on October 19th from 12 o’clock until 3 o’clock The entire Portland Metro community is invited to attend for face painting, student musical and drama performances, and games.  Mixed in among those activities will be opportunities to engage with educators from all over the Metro area who will highlight the importance of a full, deep, real education for all of Oregon’s students.

Many of the members of labor unions across the Metro region send their children to public schools.  Please share the attached documents with your members and let them know that together we can fill Pioneer Courthouse Square on October 19th and let the Governor and the legislature know that it is time to work with families across the state to create the Schools Oregon Students Deserve.

We hope to see your members on October 19th.

[ Flyer in English ]
[ Flyer in Spanish ]

Local 88 Bargaining Update for 9-26-14

KeepCalm-Green

Every Local 88 Member WEAR GREEN on Wednesday October 1st
We want management to see green wherever they look next Wednesday.  Email reminders will go out to the MAT Captains but it is up to each and every one of you reading this article to get the word out to wear and show GREEN NEXT WEDNESDAY!

The county and union bargaining teams did not meet on Wed Sep 17th because the county is sticking to their proposal that would allow them to move our health care over to one of the state-wide insurance pools (either PEBB or OEBB) and Local 88 are not willing to change the proposal for a 1% premium added to the usual cost of living adjustment (COLA). Management must understand this is an issue of integrity, of authentically recognizing the sacrifices given by Local 88 members. When the national recession hit, the county was faced with the reality that critical public services would have to be severely reduced, and in some cases cut altogether. But the Multnomah County Employee’s Union Local 88 stepped up in 2009 with a COLA freeze and step freeze to help balance the county budget. As the recession persisted, Local 88 again agreed to forego another COLA in 2012. The reduced payroll costs meant millions in savings, so programs and services were saved. Now Multnomah County’s finances have stabilized and the structural deficit has been closed. The county is moving ahead, but is leaving the employees behind. The union has asked that they return us a fraction of what was given.  The county have made no attempts to explore options, no offers of a compromise, just “No”.

In response, the bargaining team collected over 1,550 member petition cards and several letters supporting the COLA proposal which were delivered to County Chair Deborah Kafoury at a short meeting on Tuesday, Sept 23. Staff representative and lead negotiator for Local 88 Bryan Lally and Local 88 President Deirdre Mahoney-Clark sat down with Chair Kafoury and a policy advisor, Casey Filice to discuss the financial sacrifice county employees have made. They explained that the pay freezes members took in 2009 and 2012 impacted them not just for that year. The members feel the effects to this day, as the lost income compounds over time.

Also discussed were the other main issue on the table, losing shared control over determining our health care providers. Lally explained that while going into one of the state-wide insurance pools might be beneficial at some point in the future, Local 88 needs to have a say in whether that happens. Our current method for working on health care provides a lot more control over how changes are dealt with; it doesn’t make sense to hand over control to a statewide board unless there is data showing that the move makes good sense.

Chair Kafoury asked pertinent questions and it was a good conversation. Lally and Mahoney-Clark left the meeting feeling it was positive but with no statements from the Chair one way or the other on any position or direction she might direct the management bargaining team to take, however the next bargaining session was proposed for Wednesday, October 1.

We will soon learn if our message requesting equity, a reduction to the ongoing earning reduction, and support from county leadership has been heard.

The bargaining team and member action teams have been instrumental in communication with members across the county and are preparing to escalate member visibility within the community we serve.  The bargaining team met the evening after delivery of the petition cards to Chair Kafoury, to develop future action plans and communication strategies.

Local 88 Endorses Ballot Measure 91

Yes-on-91After a spirited debate on the issue, the voting members present at the last General Membership meeting voted to endorse Ballot Measure 91, The Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act.

AFSCME Local 88 joins our labor partners AFSCME Local 328 (OHSU), UFCW 555, Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC), and our political allies, the Democratic Party of Oregon and the ACLU of Oregon in endorsing Ballot Measure 91.

It is anticipated that Measure 91 will create and fund AFSCME jobs in the areas of Health and Human Services, Public Safety and Regulation and Control.

Some of the salient points of the campaign:

  • Treating marijuana as a crime wastes police resources and tax money on nonviolent offenders while there more serious crimes and public safety issues. Measure 91 allows police to focus on keeping our families safe from dangerous criminals.
  • An arrest or citation for a marijuana “crime”, in which no one is hurt, can ruin a person’s chances at obtaining employment, housing and loans for further education. Measure 91 removes this harsh punishment affecting thousands of Oregonians every year.
  • Marijuana is already here and it is making drug gangs and violent cartels rich. We must regulate, legalize and tax it so the money instead goes to schools, law enforcement and drug treatment and prevention programs.

For details about the measure and campaign, please visit www.voteyeson91.com.

Please direct any other questions to Jason Heilbrun, AFSCME Local 88 Vice President and Political Action Committee Chair at vicepresident@afscmelocal88.org.

Local 88 Bargaining Update for 9-17-14

Local88-TransparentLogoThe bargaining teams did not meet this week (Wed Sep 17th) because the county is sticking to their proposal that would allow them to move our health care over to one of the state-wide insurance pools (either PEBB or OEBB).  We do not agree.

We are not willing to change our demand that there be a 1% premium added to the usual cost of living adjustment (COLA). They do not agree.

We will deliver the green petition cards and member letters to Chair Kafoury on Tuesday 9/23.  This will demonstrate that Local 88 members support the additional COLA, but do not expect that this alone will be enough to convince the county to agree to it.  We will need to continue our efforts through a variety of actions, and success will depend on your participation.

Management must understand this is an issue of fairness, of doing what is right.  When the national recession hit, the county was faced with the reality that critical public services would have to be severely reduced, and in some cases cut altogether.  But Local 88 stepped up in 2009 with a COLA freeze and step freeze to balance the county budget.  As the recession persisted, Local 88 agreed to forego another COLA in 2012.  The reduced payroll costs meant millions in savings, so programs and services were saved.

Now Multnomah County’s finances have stabilized and the structural deficit has been closed.  The county is moving ahead, but is leaving the employees behind.  We’ve asked that they return us a fraction of what we gave, and we are told “No.”  They have made no attempts to explore options, no offers of a compromise.  Just “No.”

Members gave when the county’s citizens needed us to continue providing services.  Now it’s management’s turn to recognize our sacrifice.

Local 88 Bargaining Update for 9-3-14

Local88-TransparentLogoWe are at a major crossroads in bargaining and each side is getting down to their bottom-line positions on the articles that are still open.
The cost of living increase (COLA) is one of the two main sticking points. Typically the parties agree to tie the COLA to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), but this time the union is asking for a three-year contract in which the COLA for each year is 1% higher that the CPI. We are asking for this to reduce the compounding wage loss from our voluntary COLA freezes and step freeze when we helped the county balance the budget in 2009 & 2013.

At this time the county refuses to budge on the COLA, sticking to their proposal of 2.7% for this year and the CPI for the next 2 years.
The other main issue is health care. The county wants to have the ability, if they choose, to change your coverage from the current Kaiser or self-insured system to one of the two state-wide insurance pools known as PEBB and OEBB. We strongly disagree with this because we would be giving up the control we currently have over the coverage. In the current system, if the insurance providers make changes to the plans, we work directly with the county to figure out how to manage those changes so we get the most bang for our buck. If we went into PEBB or OEBB then Local 88 will have no say in what happens, we would just be one of many groups in the pool.
The County has not given much-if any- on a number of the other economic and language proposals the Union has put forward on your behalf. In order to focus on the best contract we can get for the majority of our members we have modified or withdrawn quite a few proposals. We are simply not seeing that type of movement from the County.

We’ve reached the point where our best chance to make progress is through the action of you as union members. That’s why we distributed the green petition cards for our COLA proposal. Based on all the signed cards have been returned, there is strong support for this. If you and your co-workers haven’t received these cards please contact a Local 88 steward or Member Action Team representative ASAP so you can sign and have your voice counted.

Watch the website for upcoming information on our health care proposals.

LERC: The Climate Policy Debate in Oregon

Searching for Consensus:  The Climate Policy Debate in Oregon

  • Friday & Saturday, September 19-20, 2014
  • U of O, Portland:  White Stag Building
  • 70 NW Couch Street, Portland

LERC-logo-01Stories about climate disasters dominate the news, but policymakers are still wrestling with proposals for addressing the problem. This year, the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington, and the Pre- mier of British Columbia, issued a joint statement on the need to combat climate change and promote clean energy. California and British Columbia have mechanisms in place, but methods of “putting a price on carbon” are only now being studied and debated in Oregon.

The merits of a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system are being debated not only among elected officials, but also within labor, environmental, low-income and other organizations; so far, a consensus has proved elusive. Come to this seminar where we will work to develop a common understanding of the problem, a realistic grasp of the policy options, and agreement on provisions that will meet the needs of a broad group of stakeholders.

Speakers Include:

  • Angela Crowley-Koch, Legislative Director, Oregon Environmental Council
  • Elana Pirtle-Guiney, Legislative Director, Oregon AFL-CIO
  • Matt Horne, Pembina Institute, Associate Regional Director for British Columbia
  • Faculty from the Labor Education & Research Center and Academic Extension Program, University of Oregon, and from the Oregon Environmental Council

For more information, contact the Labor Education and Research Center in Portland:  503-412-3723 or bbyrd@uoregon.edu.  Click [ HERE ] to download the event brochure.

 

Website:  lerc.uoregon.edu