Rally at the Capitol!

RallyattheCapitol$15

Oregon Needs a Raise ! • Rally at the Capitol (Salem)
Saturday, Jan. 24, Noon—1pm

Bills for a $15 minimum wage are being introduced in the State House and Senate for the 2015 session. Low-wage workers, union members, faith and community allies — ALL OUT for 15 !

1 PM—3PM Statewide 15 NOW gathering (meet & greet, share stories & strategies, get tools for the campaign) at the nearby Ike Box, 299 Cottage St NE
REGISTER:  at www.15NOWpdx.org — RIDES AVAILABLE

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New Contract COLA Pay Q&A

1.       On what paycheck will the members see the 2.7% COLA increase to their hourly wage?  

Time worked 1/1 through 1/15 will be paid at the post COLA rate on paycheck dated 1/30/2015.  The new pay rates will be displayed on the printed timesheets for pay period 1/16 through 1/31 but may not be displayed on the timesheets for pay period 1/1 through 1/15 because these timesheets are usually printed early.

2.       When will the members see the retroactive COLA pay?

The retro amount will be paid on the paycheck dated 1/30/2015.

3.       Will the retroactive pay be a separate payment?  

No.  The retro pay will be part of the normal paycheck and will be a line item labeled “/552 Difference from a prev. per”. It is not an option to issue manual checks for these retro payments.

4.       Will the retroactive COLA pay be attributed to the time period it was encumbered (July-Dec 2014)?  Members are very concerned about this question as it pertains to taxable income.

IRS regulations state that the wages are taxable when paid not when earned so the retro will be taxed on the paycheck that it is paid on and will be taxable wages for the 2015 tax year.

Details on the $15 Minimum Wage Increase

$15MINWAGE

Multnomah County’s Board of Commissioners approved the AFSCME Local 88 bargaining agreement for 2014-2017.  At this time there are technical questions still to be answered.  When will the 2.7% cola be applied to the member hourly wage, when will members receive the retro cola payment  (we know not before January) and what tax year will the retro cola payment apply.  As soon as the president has these answers they will be shared with the membership.

As part of the agreement with Local 88, the county will raise the minimum wage for part-time and full-time county employees to $15 per hour by the end of the contract in 2017. The Local 88 president and vice president informed leadership that temp and on-call workers would not receive the same raise.

After the board voted on the agreement, County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced that this key wage increase in the agreement will be extended to several hundred on-call and temporary employees who are not part of Local 88 and are not part of the Local 88 agreement.

This move is by executive decision out of a sense of fairness to all of the county’s lowest-paid employees.  The action that Chair Kafoury announced will extend the phased-in wage increase to about 400 on-call and temporary employees.  Most of these employees work for the Elections Office during elections, or as library pages.

News Links on the $15 Minimum Wage:

Labor Scholarships • Deadline Approaching!

scholarship

It’s the holiday season, but it’s also scholarship timeline season, as the deadlines for many scholarship applications are rapidly approaching. Scholarship information is always available, year-round, on theScholarships tab of the Oregon AFSCME website.

Here is a sampling of the scholarship opportunities available:

AFSCME International

AFSCME Family Scholarship — $2,000 for up to four years, for graduating high school seniors. A downloadable PDF application form is attached to this article, or there is more information online.Deadline is Dec. 31, 2014.

Gerald W. McEntee Scholarship — $5,000 one-time scholarship for members only. Online application only, but there is a fact sheet about the McEntee scholarship attached to this article. Please note that members must apply for the Union Plus scholarship (see below) in order to apply for the McEntee Scholarship. After completing the Union Plus scholarship application, members will be asked if they are AFSCME members and if they click yes they will be asked to write an additional 500 word essay in order to apply for the McEntee scholarship. Deadline is Jan. 31, 2015.

Union Plus Scholarship — $500 – $4,000 depending on merit of application. The Union Plus Scholarship program, sponsored by the Union Plus Education Foundation, helps union members and their families defray the cost of higher education. Since 1992, the program has awarded over $3 million to deserving students. Online application onlyDeadline is Jan. 31, 2015.

The national union also offers a few other, more specialized scholarship opportunities. Check out the full list at the AFSCME International website.

Oregon AFSCME Council 75

Donna Danner Memorial Scholarship — The Donna Danner Memorial Scholarship Fund is named after one of Council 75′s most beloved members. Donna Danner was a union activist at Local 328 (Oregon Health & Science University) for many years before her premature passing from complications from a brain tumor in November 2000. There are two $1,000 scholarships and five $750 scholarships awarded annually. Apply online through the state scholarship commission; use Code 315MX.

Cornelia Valentine Murphy Scholarship — The Murphy scholarship was established in the name of the former Council 75 Political Coordinator by her brother, Paul Murphy. Cornelia Murphy died from cancer in May 2006. There is one $500 scholarship awarded annually. The Murphy memorial is an endowment fund that needs donations in order to keep the scholarship alive. Contributions can be made through Council 75. Apply online through the state scholarship commission; use Code 500MX.

Bill Lucy Scholarship — This new award was established in 2014 in the name of AFSCME International’s Secretary Treasurer from 1972 to 2010. His decades of service include collaborating with Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis during the 1968 sanitation workers strike. It was during this strike that King was assassinated. There are two $1000 scholarships awarded annually for students of labor studies or political science. Apply online through the state scholarship commission; use Code 690.

Note: All Oregon AFSCME-generated scholarships are administered through the state scholarship commission, officially the Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC). All OSAC-based scholarships have an official deadline of March 31, 2015, but applicants are encouraged to complete the application process as close to Jan. 1 as possible.

Increase in Maximum Dues

The Local 88 maximum dues per month are currently capped at $65.80 ($32.90 per paycheck). This maximum amount is indexed to the maximum dues of the national AFSCME organization and each year a calculation is done to see if the national average wages of all 1.6 million AFSCME workers has increased.  In 2014, there was a small national increase. This means that starting with the January 31, 2015 paycheck there will be a maximum dues cap increase of $0.65 ($0.33 per paycheck), and the new maximum dues per month will be capped at $66.45 ($33.22 per paycheck).  This ONLY affects employees who have reached the maximum dues amount each month. The majority of members will see no increase in dues, which remains at 1.4% of base wages, as outlined in the Local 88 Constitution.

Local 88 Vote Ratifies Contract!

I am pleased to announce the Local 88 tentative agreement with Multnomah County passed with a 94% approval in this week’s vote.  Facing challenging weather conditions, many Local 88 members visited ballot box sites to vote on ratification of the tentative agreement reached with Multnomah County leadership for a three year contract.

Local 88 Bargaining Team

Local 88 Bargaining Team

There were ballot boxes available at various sites and times on Thursday & Friday with sites open as early as 7:15 a.m. and as late as 7:00 p.m. Many members braved freezing rain to get to a voting site on Thursday during the day or on their way home.  Friday voting was a bit easier including ballot boxes at the Central Library and Multnomah Building which were available all day.

Our ballot box volunteers did an outstanding job to get to the voting sites, even in East County where the weather took a nasty turn. I am truly grateful for their dedication to the union member’s right to vote. At the end of the day Friday beginning at 6:30 p.m. our Election Committee Chair Gary Sinnen and co-chair Tom Newsom worked with other volunteers to see the ballots verified and counted, reporting the approval of ratification to me at about 7:30 p.m.

It is difficult to offer special thanks to any one person in this effort as so many put so much heart into making this negotiation fruitful.
As our union staff representative on the county’s joint labor and management Employee Benefit Advisory Team (EBAT), Issa Simpson was essential to the bargaining team regarding our Health Care benefit language, understanding the statewide insurance pools of the Oregon Employee Benefit Board (OEBB) and Public Employee Benefit Board (PEBB) and what management’s health care proposals meant.  Simpson’s extensive knowledge of healthcare in general and our contract language in particular was critical to keeping our bargaining position strong and moving management off their proposal to take away our voice in determining our health care providers.

Lead negotiator Bryan Lally kept the bargaining team focused and was skillful in managing expectations and how to bargain at the table as well as in caucus with each other.  The members of the bargaining team worked together well, representing their department constituents, even when disagreeing with each other over positions or language.  At the very beginning of this process the team worked to determine what articles to open and what proposals would be put on the table using the survey taken last spring and member input from the Member Action Team site visits and emails. We took the responsibility very seriously and came prepared with our ideas, research and desire to reach a strong contract for all members. Moving off of original proposal language took serious debate and only when at least 6 out of 9 bargaining team members (2/3rds) agreed on changing a position was language then adopted for the table. The most difficult decision was to move off of the COLA + 1% however management made it extremely clear they would not move off the CPI only amount.

I have been told over and over how glad members were to see a $15 minimum wage added to the contract and I am proud of the AFSCME Local 88 membership for voting to support this position and the bargaining team for proposing this in our negotiation. When management came back to the table with their $15 hr counter proposal that included phasing out the Library Page classification and creating a new position, Access Services Assistant, our team was ready with an ad-hoc committee of Library Staff Rep Issa Simpson, Chief Steward Nicole Newsom, library bargaining team member Shandra Baur, L88 Vice President Jason Heilbrun and a few Library members. This committee did hours of work to get the proposal language as member friendly as possible and keep the power of the contract in our hands.  Simpson also arranged site visits with Heilbrun and Newsom to bring the proposed changes to many Library staff, to educate them and learn of the concerns we will have to address as we move through this process.

Member Action Team (MAT) Captains took our bargaining messages to and from the members in the work sites and encouraged the site actions which kept folks involved and supportive of the bargaining team and proposals on the table.  I am extremely am proud of the work these MAT Captains have done, many who have not had much active contact with the Local.

Moving forward we must wait for the Board of County Commissioners to vote on county approval of the contract as written. There will be no regular board meetings Nov 20 & 27. The next regular board meeting is Dec 4 and we expect this contract vote to be on that agenda. With the presumption of a yes vote by the board the next step will be for an update to the payroll system.  I have been told not to expect the retro COLA pay until January.   If that information changes I will communicate the information a.s.a.p.

Thank you to the Local 88 membership for your attention and involvement in our contract but more importantly, Thank You for the hard work you do every day supporting the community we serve and supporting each other.  Our Work Matters!

Respectfully submitted,

Deirdre Mahoney-Clark
President, Local 88

Specific Contract Changes In Detail for Vote

Greetings AFSCME Local 88 Members:

The Local 88 bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the County for a new contract.  We believe this is the best agreement we can get at this time and recommend a yes vote for ratification of the tentative agreement.

Although there were certainly economic and contract language proposals we tried to include in this agreement, we simply could not move the County beyond what you see here.

If Local 88 members vote to ratify this agreement, the next step will be for the Board of Commissioners to ratify.  That should occur in November.  If Local 88 members vote this agreement down, the bargaining teams would return to negotiations. It would be very difficult to make significant improvements without moving toward and/or going to strike.

Thank you to all members who took part in actions such as the post card to the commissioners, green Wednesdays and the rally.  Although those actions may not have resulted in the outcome you hoped for, they did strengthen us as a local.

Please review the information below regarding the tentative agreement prior to voting.

Summary of Changes Negotiated to the Local 88 Contract • November, 2014

 

Article 2 – Definitions

The initial (new hire) probationary period cannot be extended unless the employee has been absent for 3 or more months during their first year.

 

Article 5 – Union Security, Representation & Business

The County will provide the union with a monthly accounting of temp hours worked and a list of who has retired form Local 88 jobs.

Employees who sign up for union membership must maintain their membership for at least the first year of the contract.  Every year, starting on the anniversary date of ratification, there will be a 5-day window period during which a member can opt to go Fair Share.  Those who wish to continue their membership do not need to take any action; memberships will not lapse.

 

Article 10 – Other Leaves

The county will provide an explanation for what duties make a position essential when the County is declared closed due to a weather event or other emergency.

 

Article 11 – Health & Welfare

The health care plans and cost sharing remain the same for the time being, but there will be a re-opener available starting January 1, 2016 if either party wishes to initiate bargaining on that topic.  This re-opener allows us to maintain the best level of benefits possible as the Affordable Care Act gets implemented.

 

Article 14 – Compensation

The COLA will be a 2.7% increase, retroactive to July 1 of this year.  We anticipate the retro money will not show up in paychecks until January.  The COLA in Years 2 & 3 in this contract will be equal to the Consumer Price Index as management did not move off the position and we could not get the additional 1%.  Minimum COLA is 1%, maximum COLA is 4%.

A minimum wage of $15 an hour for the county’s lowest-paid workers.  This will be phased in over three years, with the minimum raised to $13 an hour in 2014 (retroactive to July 1), $14 on July 1, 2015 and $15 an hour on July 1, 2016.  This increase would apply to any classification that currently has steps below $13 an hour.

Facility Security Officers and Corrections Technicians will be included in the biennial compensation bargaining, with any negotiated increase being retroactive to July 1 of this year.

 

Article 15 – Classifications & Pay Ranges

Special pay adjustments may be made to maintain equity within a unit or department.  This may occur when a new employee is hired at a higher step than veteran employees who are doing the same work; in that case the other employees’ pay may be increased to match the new hire.  If a pay adjustment is granted to the same classification in the same work unit more than once in a 12-month period, management shall initiate a compensation study for that classification.

When the County uses a temporary employee rather than offering a work out of class opportunity, they must, upon request, provide an explanation for why a temp was used.

 

Article 21 – Seniority & Layoff

Those who are out on unpaid status for more than 30 days due to a FMLA or OFLA condition shall not lose seniority.  This is not retroactive, it becomes effective at the time of ratification.

Laid off employees may receive an offer of recall by email or certified letter.   Those who are offered recall must respond within 7 days of receiving the offer of recall.

 

Article 22 – Shift & Work Assignment

Training positions may be created for up to 24 months.  To be eligible, an employee must not have received discipline in the previous 2 years or have negative marks on the previous year’s evaluation.

When a transfer opportunity becomes available, those on the applicable transfer list will be notified and the 5 most senior qualified employees who are interested are guaranteed an interview.

 

Addendum F – Dept. of Library Services

To the extent permitted by law, the $15 minimum wage language will remain in effect if the Library employees are transferred to an independent Library district.

All Pages will be reclassified to the Access Services Assistant classification no later than July 1, 2016.

No employee who is a Library Clerk at the time of ratification will be reclassified to a lower classification except by mutual agreement.

An ad hoc labor-management committee will be created specifically to address the issues concerning the implementation of the minimum wage and the Access Services Assistant classification as well as the reclassification of Library Pages.  The committee shall have 8 members from the union and 8 from management and shall convene within 90 days after the ratification of the contract.

 

Addendum G – Dept. of Community Justice

Employees in DCJ’s Recog unit will follow the Sheriff’s Office method of determining days of rest for purposes of overtime and double-time.

 

Addendum H – Drug & Alcohol Policy

It is a violation of the drug & alcohol policy for employees to solicit drugs or alcohol while on the job or while on County premises.  Employees may be required to undergo a D& A assessment regardless of whether discipline has been issued or a last chance agreement has been entered into.  Violation of a last chance agreement can lead to termination without a pre-termination hearing, but the employee retains the right to grieve the termination.

 

Addendum I – Office of the Sheriff

Memorializes the Sheriff’s Office method for determining days of work and days of rest for purposes of overtime and double-time.

Addendum J- School-Based Employees

School-based employees who work a 10-month year will not lose seniority during their summer layoff.  They will also receive benefits as a full-time employee provided they begin layoff after June 15 and work at least 2 shifts from July 16 to July 31 and either work 2 shifts from August 16 to August 31 or return before September 1.