From the President: COLA Special Update & Member Action

With the beginning of the new fiscal year employees expected to see a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in their paychecks.

Because we are bargaining the contract, and the amount of the COLA is one of the things we are negotiating, the cost of living adjustment will not appear until we have concluded bargaining.  At this time we do not know when that will be.

Our COLA was rated the number one  issue in the member survey response and MAT brown bags.  Our proposal (below) is the result of an analysis of the accrued percentage of pay loss to members from one step and one cola freeze (we did not include a third freeze shared by all unions and management).  The bargaining team deliberated and debated with great care to arrive at a reasonable increase, over the life of the contract, to put on the bargaining table.

The proposal we have made is that for the next three years, the COLA will be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus an additional 1% (with a minimum of 2% and a maximum of 5%, meaning we would not get less than 2% or more than 5% if the CPI fell outside that range, plus the 1%).

We are asking for the additional 1% each year to partially recoup the compounding payroll losses we took on the COLA freeze and step freeze during the last two contracts.

The CPI for this  year is 2.7%, so if our proposal is successful, this year you would receive an increase of 2.7% plus 1% for a total of 3.7%.

Our chances for achieving this COLA rest with YOU.  We need your Member Action Team support during the contract actions so the county knows we are communicating, we are engaged and we expect to be recognized for the financial sacrifices we took to support the County during the Great Recession.  

Your work matters!

In Solidarity,
Local 88 President, Deirdre Mahoney-Clark


Local 88 Bargaining Update for July 2

Bargaining Update for July 2, 2014

At Wednesday’s bargaining session management offered a package proposal on some of the less-contentious articles we are negotiating.  The idea is to reach agreement in several areas at once and move them off the table so we can focus on the tougher proposals, which mostly involve money.

Local88-TransparentLogoA package proposal is an “all or nothing” offer at contains several articles, and mixes together some things the union wants along things that the county wants.  If the other side disagrees with anything in the package then the offer is voided.  The county’s package included the following terms.  Portions that were originally proposed by the union are designated as “(U)” and those proposed by the county are designated “(MC).”

Article 2 – Reduce the probation extension from 6 months of absence to 3 months, meaning if a newly-hired employee is out for up to 3 months during the one-year probation, then 3 months are added on to the probation.  (MC)

Article 5 – The county will provide the union with a monthly report of how many hours on-calls have worked and also a report of who has retired in the past month.  The union’s maintenance of membership language would be incorporated. (U)

Article 21 – If an employee is out for more than 30 days under FLMA or OFLA, that time will not be deducted from their seniority. (U)  Reduce from 14 days to 7 days the time a laid off employee has to respond to a notice of recall. (MC)  Form a work group to look at including county-wide seniority in the ti-breaking process for those who have the same classification seniority. (MC)

Article 22 – Incorporate the language from of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for trainee program of up to 24 months.  Upon successful completion of the program the trainee would be promoted into the classification they’ve been training in. (U/MC)

Addendum H – make it a violation of the drug & alcohol policy for an employee to solicit drugs or alcohol during working hours. (MC)  The county would not be required order an assessment if an employee has violated the policy. (MC)  If an employee is on a last chance agreement and violates the policy again, the county could terminate the employee without holding a pre-termination meeting. (MC) The employee would retain the right to file a grievance. (U)

Addendum J – Incorporate the language of an MOA that preserves the seniority of school-based employees who work a ten-month year.  Incorporate an MOA that preserves the health care coverage of the school-based employees.  Incorporate the language of an MOA dealing with lateral transfers of employees in DCHS. (U/MC)

The Local 88 team was willing to agree to most of what the county was offering, but we noticed that the deal didn’t include language that we had proposed that would require the county to fill positions by conducting an internal-only recruitment before having an external recruitment.  We knew this was a big ask and that it would be difficult to get agreement on it, so we offered a counter-proposal that agreed to the terms listed above, and added that any county applicant who is qualified would be entitled to an interview.

The county was not willing to agree to this, mainly due to the complications it would create with existing civil service rules.  However they committed to the continuing discussion on this issue and trying to come up with something that would work for both sides.

We also responded to the management proposal on health care, which was independent of the package proposal.  Our proposal does not change any of the current plans or premium percentages; instead it is an attempt to create a way for the two sides to bargain on health care as changes from the Affordable Care Act are phased in.

Our next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, July 23.

AFSCME’s Statement Regarding the Holding in Harris v. Quinn

AFSCME LogoHome Care, Child Care Providers Resolute in Face of Supreme Court Decision

Washington, DC — AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders said home care and child care workers will continue to stand up for quality care in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn today.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision does not dampen the resolve of home care workers and child care providers to come together to have a strong voice for good jobs and to give care to millions of seniors, people with disabilities and children,” said AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders.

The ruling places at risk a system of consumer-directed home care that has proved successful in raising wages, providing affordable care and increasing training. The number of elderly Americans will increase dramatically in the coming years.

Child care workers make it possible for working parents to support their families without the agony of trying to juggle their jobs and their kids. States need to build a stable, qualified workforce to meet the growing need for home care and child care – and having a strong union for care providers is the approach that has proven most effective.

Today’s ruling did not hand anti-worker extremists the victory they’d been hoping for because the Court did not revoke collective bargaining rights for public service workers or care providers. It did not eliminate existing contracts.

“That would have been a fundamental gutting of the American Dream,” Saunders said. “But make no mistake – Justice Alito’s opinion made clear that the relentless assault on workers’ rights will not abate.”

As always, AFSCME members nationwide will remain steadfast and fight for the simple rights and dignity that every working American deserves. A court ruling doesn’t change our obligation as proud union workers and it doesn’t negate our obligation to keep fighting to restore the American middle class.

# # #

AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services, and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

Online Applications: Local 88 LERC Summer School & Local 88 2014 Leaderhip Conference

Local88-Logo-colorLocal 88 members interested in attending either (or both) the LERC Summer School and/or the 2014 Leadership Conference can apply using the online forms linked below.  The links also contain dates and agendas for both events.

To apply for the Local 88 LERC Summer School, August 1 – 3, click [ HERE ].

To apply for the 2014 Leadership Conference, October 3-5, click [ HERE ].


Register Now for HCAO’s Annual Meeting June 14

Health Care for All Oregon (HCAO)HCAO (Health Care for All Oregon) member organization and chapter delegates, individual members and other supporters of single payer healthcare in Oregon (and the US) will gather Saturday, June 14, in Portland, to celebrate victories, plan strategies and strengthen the movement to create universal health care in Oregon.

Register now to attend the:

3rd Annual Health Care for All Oregon Membership Meeting
Saturday, June 14 10:30 to 4:00 pm (Registration starts at 10:00 am)
Portland 1st Unitarian Church, Fuller Hall, 1211 SW Main St, Portland.  Lunch will be provided.

Click here to register for the HCAO Annual Meeting.

As the list of single payer supporters and local chapters grows in Oregon, Health Care For All’s committees are busy building the infrastructure to support legislative and ballot initiative victories. Representatives from Mobilization, Education, Communication, Organizational Development, Equity (ad hoc), Finance and Legislative committees will offer opportunities to engage as volunteers in this growing coalition.

Come and help us decide on next steps in the campaign! Delegates will vote on this year’s slate of officers. Help build the infrastructure and leadership to take us to victory in this movement to create a truly just and effective system of health care in Oregon and in America.

Tentative agenda summary:

  • Welcome and overview
  • Highlights of Organizing Progress
  • Strategic Plan Review—Challenges and Opportunities
  • Lunch
  • Finance and Fundraising Update
  • Break Out Groups—Facing Challenges/Building Infrastructure for Victory
  • Nomination and election of Board, Officers and Committee Members
  • The Road Ahead—Announcements/Next Steps

Click here to register for the June 14 HCAO Annual Meeting

- Lee Mercer, HCAO Vice President

Your Vote Isn’t Safe Anymore


Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The right to vote is a fundamental part of our democracy. Yet, after decades of hard work to make voting accessible to every American, we are going in reverse.

Politicians and judges around the country are mercilessly eroding the right to vote.

It’s time to take back the vote. Join me.

From blatantly discriminatory state voter ID laws to last year’s disastrous Supreme Court decision to do away with large chunks of the Voting Rights Act, your right to vote is no longer something you can count on.

Now it’s something we have to fight for.

Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA). It would repair some of the damage that the Supreme Court wrought on the Voting Rights Act last year, and prevent future voter suppression.

But not all members of Congress signed onto the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA). That’s where you come in. Remind them that Americans take their right to vote very seriously. Urge them to take action to advance the bill immediately.

AFSCME has a long history of standing up to make America a more just nation. Together, we will achieve the inclusive electoral process that democracy demands.

Join me in demanding Congress take action now on the Voting Rights Amendment Act. It’s your right to vote. It’s up to you to protect it.

In solidarity,
Lee Saunders,

AFSCME Local 88 Bargaining Update June 4, 2014

By Byran Lally, AFSCME Representative

MAT Teams 04Wednesday was the last day either team could present new proposals in bargaining. Most of the articles to be bargained had already been opened by one side or the other, so it was mostly counter-proposals being made.

The only new article opened was Addendum I, which covers the Sheriff’s Office. The proposal would provide more flexibility in vacation bids for the 24/7 staff. It would also allow 24/7 staff to bid not only for shifts and days off but also location. In addition, we proposed expanding the time frame for a shift trade, from two pay periods to 60 days. Finally, we proposed to incorporate the terms of a Memorandum of Agreement that explains the current MCSO process for determining days of rest for purposes of overtime.

MAT Teams 01We added a piece to our proposal on Article 10 Other Leaves; it would require that any employee serving jury duty would be switched to a Monday to Friday day shift so that they wouldn’t have to report to work after attending a full day of jury duty.

There was a counter-proposal offered on Addendum H Drug & Alcohol Policy, which agreed to include the prohibition against soliciting alcohol or drugs in the workplace and clarified that if a last chance agreement is violated the employee can be terminated without a pre-termination meeting. However the employee would retain the right to grieve the termination.

MAT Teams 02Most importantly, Local 88 made a counter-offer on Article 14 Compensation. Management is offering the current Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 2.7% as a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), and the next two years would be the CPI rate with a minimum of 1% and a maximum of 4%. We responded with a proposal for a COLA of CPI plus 1% each year for the next three years, with a minimum of 2% and a maximum of 5% (plus the 1%).

This is an effort to recoup some of the earnings lost during the COLA freezes and step freeze we took when the county was in financial trouble. We shared in the pain, so now that the economy has improved and the County is financially stable, we need to share in the gain.
Management did not offer any counter-proposals during this session. We were not very surprised by this because there is new County leadership with the election of Chair Deborah Kafoury. Their team will have to meet with her to receive direction on what her position is on the articles at issue.

All Local 88 members need to understand that the additional compensation we are asking for will not be easy to get. Our strength at the table is dependent on your support.

MAT Teams 03

Bargaining Update 5-21-14

On Wednesday Local 88 presented one new proposal and one counter-proposal. The new proposal offered changes to Article 20 Workload & Standards. The first sentence would read “It is the County’s right to establish a reasonable workload for employees.” The addition of the word “reasonable” is an attempt to address situations where numerous duties are added to an employee’s workload while their co-workers’ workloads remain the same. The employee can feel overwhelmed and may think they have to work through their breaks and lunches in order to meet unrealistic expectations.

Another proposed change is that employees be provided with an updated job description within 30 days of either starting a new position or experiencing a significant change in duties.

The counter proposal was on Article 22 Shift Work & Assignment. Local 88 made the initial proposal on this article, asking that when a permanent vacancy is being filled, internal applicants must be considered before there is an external process. In the last session management presented a counter-proposal that did not include our idea but proposed that when a vacancy is opened up to those in a work unit, only one transfer may occur, and the position that is left open by the transferee could then be filled by an external recruitment if management chose. They also asked that employees only be allowed to transfer once every twelve months.

We countered that with a proposal that continued with our internal recruitment language, limited the number of work unit transfers to three iterations, and included their one-year transfer limitation. These are not concessions we made lightly, but in order to get the internal recruitment language we will have to give in some areas. Management did not give any indication as to whether they would agree to our counter.

Management brought two new proposals and one counter-proposal to the table. One of the new proposals was Article 14 Compensation. They proposed a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of 2.7% for this year, which is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Portland area. For the next two years they offered a COLA at the CPI rate with a minimum of 1% and a maximum of 4%.

The other new proposal was on Article 11 Health & Welfare. They proposed adding a third health coverage choice, the Moda Major Medical Plan (does not include vision) which would be 100% employer paid for full-time, three-quarter time and half-time employees. They also asked for a re-opener on health care, meaning we would continue to bargain health care as the Affordable Care Act changes are implemented. Finally, the proposal would give management the discretion to join either the Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB) or the Oregon Educator Benefits (OEB) state-wide insurance pools.

The counter-proposal was on Addendum J School Based Employees. It included the language from our proposal about the maintenance of seniority for 10-month employees and added lateral transfer language that was part of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
The next bargaining session is June 4, and it is the last opportunity to being new issues to the table. The Local 88 bargaining team has been working on new proposals for that session and we look forward to having everything on the table so we can start working toward tentative agreements.