Local 88 Bargaining Update for 10-24-14

Local88-TransparentLogoWe were scheduled to bargain last Wednesday, October 15th, but after we presented the $15 an hour minimum wage proposal on October 1, management informed us they were very interested in the idea but they would need time to figure out the details and if agreed upon, how it might be implemented. Consequently, they asked that we cancel bargaining on the 15th and set our sights on the next scheduled session, November 5. But just in case they were ready before that, we would hold October 29th as a tentative bargaining date. 

Earlier this week we announced a contract bargaining rally for Wednesday the 29th. Later that day management contacted us and said they would be ready to meet with us on the 29th. In order for the rally to have the intended impact, we have moved the rally to Tuesday, October 28th from 4:30 – 6:00 in front of the Multnomah Building.

Here’s is a recap of the gains we have made in bargaining to this point:

  • An upward pay adjustment can be made to an employee’s wage in order to resolve a pay inequity within a work unit or department. If there is more than one upward pay adjustment in the same classification within a 12-month period, management will initiate a compensation study for that classification.
  • The county will provide the union with a monthly report of hours worked by on-call workers, and the union’s maintenance of membership language will be added, so an employee’s union membership must be maintained through the life of the contract.
  • When management is going to fill a temporary vacancy, the supervisor and the recruiter must first determine whether it is appropriate to be offered as a work out of class opportunity/ temporary appointment.
  • The list of essential employee positions will include the rationale for determining what duties are essential when inclement weather causes the county to be declared closed.
  • Employees who are absent without pay for more than 30 consecutive days on an FMLA or OFLA condition will not lose seniority.
  • The 5 most senior employees who are interested in a transfer are guaranteed an interview.
  • Trainee positions can be created for difficult-to-fill positions, or to develop employees’ knowledge, skills and abilities. Upon successful completion of the trainee period the employee is eligible to be promoted into the classification.
  • The Recognizance unit in DCJ will have days of rest (for overtime purposes) calculated consistent with how the Sheriff’s Office calculates it.
  • Employees in School-based programs will not lose seniority during the annual summer layoff, they will maintain health care benefits during the annual summer layoff and their previous lateral transfer language will be added back to the contract.

One of the most important developments was management withdrawing its proposal that would have allowed them to move the county over to a state-wide insurance plan (PEBB or OEBB) at any time during the life of the contract. We will open up health care bargaining in 2016, and the issue may come up at that point, but for the next two years our current health care standards will remain in effect.

The most significant issues left on the table are financial. Our latest proposal on COLA asks for a COLA of 2.0 for the first 5 months (retroactive to July 1), and COLA of 3.7% for the last 7 months, which would come out to 2.7% for the year (making it budget neutral for the county) but in year 2 the COLA would be compounded by the extra 1%. In years 2 and 3 we asked for a COLA of the Consumer Price Index plus .5% (one-half percent) for each year. Our initial proposal was for an additional 1% for each of the three years, but as we expected, it has been extremely difficult to get any traction on this. Even our current position with the reduced COLA premium is very challenging, and that’s why we need our members to turn out for the rally on October 28th and show management we all stand behind this proposal.

The other financial piece is the $15 an hour minimum wage. 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. The team saw this as a way to help our lowest-earning members, some of whom earn so little they are eligible for food stamps and other public assistance. This proposal is much more appealing to the elected officials than the COLA premium, and even if we can not get the extra COLA, we would win a financial gain for those who are most in need.

When we go into bargaining on Wednesday we expect management to present some proposal for implementing the $15 an hour. Anything beyond that is unknown, and there may be no good news for us on our COLA proposal. Whatever the offer, the team will work through it and bring back the best contract we can get for our members.

As always, thank you for your patience and your support as we’ve worked through this lengthy process.

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Unions Forum on October 28th: Join Us!

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Join AFL-CIO Pride at Work Oregon and a host of labor unions as we invite partner organizations to discuss how we can work together to raise the voices of under-represented communities in order to strengthen our unions and our movement, and create workplaces that are truly inclusive of everyone.

Groups like Basic Rights Oregon, PFLAG Black Chapter, CAUSA, and Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., among others, will talk about the issues that are important to them.  The discussion will include concrete action that individuals and organizations can take to build bridges and strengthen alliances.  We will focus on topics such as the experiences of women in the construction trades, bargaining for transgender inclusive health care, and the experiences of immigrant workers.

We are so excited to have the flyer for our October 28 event “Share Struggles = Shared Victories: Organizing Across Movements”! This event will be Tuesday October 28 at 6pm at the SEIU 503 Hall (6401 SE Foster).

Please share our flyer via email (attached) and/or share the flyer from our facebook page www.facebook.com/prideatworkoregon. Please also print the flyer and hang it up in your workplace and/or union hall!

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.