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.

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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

Local 88 Labor Day Picnic: Monday, 9-1

labor-day-picnic-9-1

  • Labor Day Picnic
  • Oaks Park, Portland
  • September 1, 2014
  • 10am – 5pm

Hot Dogs, Burgers and Salads from 11am-2pm
Political Speeches begin at 1pm

Local 88 Members, families and invited guests will receive
Food/Drink script and up to 4 Ride bracelets per family *
* Members who do not need 4 ride bracelets may leave them for members who need more than 4. A waiting list for additional ride bracelets will be kept at the Local 88 table.

Parking is limited. Consider riding your bike or catching
the train for $5 round trip.Visit the Council 75 website at www.oregonafscme.com for more Picnic and Train information.

Click the image at top to open a downloadable flyer.

Local 88 Bargaining Update 8-20-14

Local88-TransparentLogoAt Wednesday’s bargaining session the Local 88 team offered a proposal that offered some movement but stuck to our position on the highest priority issues.  We are at the point in bargaining where we have to focus on the issues that affect the greatest number of people and are of the highest importance.  With that in mind we decided to abandon our proposals on the following topics:

  • option to cash-out 40 hours of vacation a year
  • expansion of bereavement leave to cover aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews
  • requirement that staff be put on a Monday-Friday day shift while serving jury duty
  • giving employees the right to choose to accrue comp time in lieu of overtime pay
  • access to a County-paid C-Tran Express pass
  • flexibility on how to spend boot allowance (for those who are eligible to receive it)
  • altering the vacation bid process for 24/7 staff in the Sheriff’s Office
  • expanding the shift trade window in the Sheriff’s Office from 2 pay periods to 6 months

Our decision to move off these positions was not made lightly.  We had to weigh the likelihood of getting these things against the total value of what we are asking for.  For example, a County-paid C-Tran Express pass for every employee who lives in Vancouver would cost the County an additional $250,000.  That reduces the amount of money available for getting a COLA above the CPI rate.  Other things, like the employee right to choose comp time instead of cash for overtime, could probably not be won without trading away something significant.  Since it was not a high priority among the membership, we felt that a big sacrifice was not justified.

The proposal we presented today continues to ask for a COLA equal to the CPI rate, plus 1%, for the next three years, with a COLA minimum of 2% and maximum of 5%.  We are also asking for compensation studies on the Correction Tech, Facility Security Officer and Access Services classifications.

On health care we want to have a say in whether the County moves into one of the state-wide health care pools (PEBB or OEBB).  Our current system for dealing with health care changes gives us much more control and provides benefits that we believe are better than what the state pools offer.

We are also still asking that bereavement leave be increased by two days in the case of the death of an employee’s spouse or child.

We have modified our position on essential employees.  We initially asked for 3% premium pay for all hours worked when the County is declared closed due to weather.  We are now asking that the County provide a written explanation of the essential duties required of each position that is designated essential.  The idea is to limit who is labeled essential so that only the truly indispensable employees are called in when there is a weather event.

Finally, we are still proposing a change to the Sheriff’s Office addendum which would allow 24/7 staff to bid on their location, in addition to shift and days off.

We are getting down to brass tacks in the bargaining process and it will not be easy to successfully negotiate the things we are asking for.  We are going to need your support.  A petition to support bargaining will be distributed soon and when we have collected the cards they will be delivered to the County Chair.  We have strength in numbers, and we’ll need our strength to win a good contract.

Local 88 Bargaining Update 8-13-14

Local88-TransparentLogoAfter finishing our bargaining session Aug 6th, management informed us they would provide their financial proposal prior to the Aug 20 session so that we’d have time to prepare a counter-proposal.  We received their proposal Aug 12 and the team met on Aug 13 to discuss it.

The management proposal is as follows:

COLA – the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of 2.7% for the first year, retroactive to July 1, 2014.  The following 2 years the COLA would be equal to the CPI for each of those years, with a minimum of 1% and a maximum of 4%.  As you may recall, the union’s proposal calls for a COLA of the CPI plus 1% each year of the contract, with a minimum of 2% and a maximum of 5%, plus the extra 1%.

Health Care – Things would basically stay the same for the time being, but if in the future the county believes it is advantageous to move into one the state insurance pools (PEBB or OEBB) they could make that decision without bargaining with the union.  They would have to bargain the impact on our members, but they would not have to bargain whether to join one of those pools.  Basically the decision would be entirely up to them, and we are not interested in giving them that kind of discretion around such a major subject.

Also in the management proposal; during the life of the contract either party could require the other to re-open bargaining on health care.  (Typically, you can only have mid-term bargaining if both sides agree to engage.)  It is much more likely that management would utilize this language rather than the union.

The county’s offer did show some movement on their part.  Their previous offer on COLA did not offer retro pay back to July 1.  They also removed a piece that offered a major medical coverage plan for full-time employees that we predict results in a bad deal for our members.

A number of the union’s proposals were not included in management’s offer, meaning they are proposing that those items would not be part of a new contract.  Among the subjects they did not include: employee option to cash out 40 hours of vacation time once per year, employee choice to take accrue comp time rather than get overtime pay, expanded bereavement leave coverage, additional days of bereavement leave for the death of a child or spouse and premium pay for essential employees.

During the August 13 evening meeting, the bargaining team talked about how to respond to management’s proposal.  Each team member spoke to the proposal and what each was hearing from the members about priorities.  It took a full 2 and a half hours of debate and evaluation of different counter-proposal scenarios to reach agreement for a Aug 20 counter-proposal that represents the priorities our members expressed in the bargaining survey and brown bag meetings and shows management we are serious about what we are asking for.

Stay tuned and watch for Member Action Team (MAT) Updates and information sharing.

Volunteer Member Organizer Training

Want to build power at work?

Member Mobilization 
Volunteer Member Organizer Training

VMO training datesPublic Employees are facing greater and more frequent threats on their rights at work than ever before. Learn the tools you need to build power and fight off these attacks. Get ideas about how to increase membership in your local House Visit your fair share brothers and sisters to sign them up as union members!

  • Sept 20 9am-7pm
  • Sept 21 11am-6pm
  • 1400 Tandem Ave NE, Salem
  • Meals and Hotels will be provided
  • RSVP to Hilary@oregonafscme.com
  • 1-800-792-0045 ext 4128

Click [ HERE ] to download a flier.