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.

2014 Local 88 Contract Voting and Q&A

We will vote on the proposed 2014-2017 contract Thursday Nov 13 & Friday Nov 14.

Q&AAs soon as the time and locations for the contract vote are finalized they will be sent in a county email to Local 88 members and posted on our website.

Please bring your county identification or picture identification when you come to vote.

Current regulations do not allow mail in or absentee ballots. Our members can only vote in person at a locked ballot box. Fair share members are not allowed to vote, by law.
Union cards will be available at each voting location to sign up for membership to become eligible to vote.

Information on the contract changes with more detail will be posted to the Local 88 website as soon as possible so you know what you are voting for. A hard copy of the changes will be available for review at each ballot box.

The COLA is retroactive back to 7/1/2014. Assuming the contract is ratified, it then goes to the Board for approval. We do not expect to see the retro COLA payment before January 2015.

Future COLA in this contract will be CPI only as management did not move off the position and we could not get the additional 1%. Minimum COLA is 1%, maximum COLA is 4%.

Voting is not on County paid time, it will need to be before or after work, or on break or lunch. We will have ballot box hours as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 7 p.m. in various locations across the county. The locations and times will be provided as soon as the location reservations are confirmed.

HR will encourage supervisors to be flexible with employees’ breaks and lunch to allow them to go vote and come back to work.

We are working on finalizing the contract language, formatting, etc. and expect to have an electronic draft in due process. We will provide links to that for employees on the Local 88 website when available.

Local 88 Officers and Staff Reps are recommending a yes vote to ratify this contract language.

Q & A

Why will it take so long to get our COLA?
There must be a notice to members of the contract ratification vote, arrange the location and time for the ballot boxes and then hold the vote and count the ballots.

Once the ballots are counted and if the contract language is ratified, the county Board must also vote on contract approval at a regularly scheduled Thursday Board meeting. After approval by the board, the payroll department must update member payroll data and validate the information. This takes time but will be completed as soon as allowable and possible.

How do I know what I’m voting for? Where is the new contract language?
The tentative agreement language is being incorporated into current language and as soon as this is complete it will be shared with the membership on the Local 88 website. There will be copies of the language changes available at each voting location so members may review it before voting if they wish.

I can’t come to a ballot box, may I vote by mail, email or proxy?
No, each member must show identification and be on a county provided list of employees and initial next to their name on the list before they are issued a ballot. Ballots are cast then and there, into a locked ballot box.

I don’t know if I’m a union member or fair share. Can I vote anyway?
If your name is on the county list as fair share you may not vote on the contract. There will be union cards to sign if you wish to become a member at which time you may vote on the contract and enjoy all the benefits of union membership.

I already signed a union card. Why is my name on the list as fair share?
It takes time for your information to make it into the database and show up on the list as a member. You may sign another card at the ballot box and then vote.

Tentative Agreement Reached on Contract

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014 AFSCME Local 88 and Multnomah County reached tentative agreement on the 2014-2017 contract.

contractThere were additions bargained besides the health care, COLA and new minimum wage. We addressed several issues that needed attention.

Highlights of the agreement are as follows:

  • 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.
  • Year 2 & 3 COLA in this contract will be CPI only 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.
  • 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.
  • The county will provide an explanation for what duties make a position essential when the County is declared closed.
  • 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 will maintain their membership for at least the first year of the contract. After that point there will be an annual time period for dropping membership.
  • Those who are out on unpaid status for more than 30 days due to a FMLA or OFLA condition shall not lose seniority.
  • 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.
  • Special pay adjustments may be made to maintain equity within a unit or department.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Deirdre Mahoney-Clark
President AFSCME Local 88

Unions and the Fight for Fifteen

On November 15th Portland Labor Notes and $15 Now Pdx presents an exclusive event with cutting edge union leaders from Seattle and San Francisco. They’ll be speaking at the Portland AFL-CIO hall about their experiences leading their cities successful campaigns for a $15 minimum wage.

Oregon unionists have much to learn from these movements that have poured fresh enthusiasm into the national labor movement. Come wearing your union shirt to learn and discuss how we can apply the experience of these cities in our own Fight for $15.

A light brunch will be served at 10:30am – please RSVP on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1493026704296431/

  • November 15th, 10:30am
  • Oregon AFL-CIO hall: 3645 SE 32nd Ave, Portland Oregon

Our Guest Speakers:

  • Nicole Grant is a Seattle-based organizer for the IBEW, and was directly involved in Seattle’s $15 minimum wage campaign. She is the President of the Washington Young Emerging Labor Leaders (YELL) and is Vice President of the Washington State Labor Council
  • Alysabeth Alexander is Vice President of Politics for SEIU 1021 in the San Francisco Bay Area. SEIU 1021 was instrumental in leading the campaign for a $15 minimum wage that has since became a ballot initiative that voters are expected to approve in November.

Local 88 Bargaining Update for 10-29-14

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Local88-TransparentLogoLocal 88 held a contract rally at the Multnomah building on Tuesday October 28 with members and community partners who turned out to support the bargaining team and the contact proposals on the table, including a 2014 COLA proposal that would not cost the county budget any more in FY15 but allow us to begin next year with an additional 1%.

We also had support for the proposed $15 per hour minimum wage, to be phased in over three years with the groups $15 Now Pdx, Jobs with Justice and the Overpass Light Brigade coming to march and chant with our union members.

The bargaining team met with management on Wednesday October 29 to bargain. It was extremely challenging to find out leadership did not make any counter proposal on the COLA language. Their offer remains the 2.7% retroactive back to July 1,2014. I have personally written to and spoken to the commissioners and expressed how upsetting that proposal is, especially after we presented leadership with over 1,500 petition cards asking for the COLA Plus and moving our position to reduce the year two and three figures.

The bargaining team knew from the outset that getting anything above the CPI was shooting at the moon and hoping for a hit but we fought for the additional wage because we did the right thing taking those freezes. I have received emails from members who think the $15 minimum wage took the COLA proposal away from us. This is incorrect as we spent months fighting for the COLA Plus with no success before the $15 minimum wage was put on the table. The reality is that the $15 minimum wage was the financial increase the county was willing to agree to. To ignore that would mean we were leaving money on the table.

For those who don’t know, the Local 88 membership voted at their June 18, 2014 general membership meeting to support a $15 Portland minimum wage. Our bargaining proposal was a direct reflection of our commitment to a living wage for all Oregonians, including our Local 88 members, a number of which actually qualify for public assistance. Management did take the historic step of returning to the table to bargain our $15 an hour minimum wage proposal. Bargaining lasted until 7 p.m. with no tentative agreement as there are technical details still to be discussed on the minimum wage.

The bargaining team is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday, November 5, and we will continue working on this and other language in an attempt to finish bargaining on that day.If we conclude bargaining on November 5th we will then work to schedule the ballot box vote for contract ratification. This will not happen overnight but I will see it is expedited and concluded as soon as legally possible. If we do not conclude bargaining on Wednesday there will be an update on this website with our next steps or options.

Thank you for your time and attention and all the support you have given the bargaining team.

Respectfully Submitted,
Deirdre Mahoney-Clark
President, AFSCME Local 88

Medical and Dental Plan Rate Changes Effective January 1, 2015

There are no significant changes to plans or coverage levels for calendar year 2015. The percentage of the employee contribution remains the same; MODA enrollees will pay 6.75% of the premium cost and Kaiser enrollees will pay 5% of the premium cost .

medical-caduceusHowever, there are premium cost changes for the 2015 plan calendar year, primarily due to increasing costs in the healthcare industry overall. What has changed is the amount of the total premium cost to the county and that will result in an increase to your contribution. Rate sheets may be viewed below with more detail on the Local 88 website.

Local 88 has very strong, valuable contract language that requires the Union’s agreement before the County can make changes to your insurance plans. These decisions about plan design are discussed by the Employee Benefit Advisory Team (EBAT).

The types of decisions we make range from which insurance providers we contract with to the amount of co-pays and deductibles. We review information about how often our members use various services, (no personal information is seen) the cost of those services, potential increases in premium costs, ways contain those costs with the least adverse impact to our members and their families. Also current changes in the law (Affordable Care Act-ACA) and the potential impacts to insurance coverage. Due to the incremental changes made in 2012 and 2013, the 2014 plan year had no cost increases for the Moda Medical and Dental plans, and the Kaiser rate increases were less than they would have been without changes and negotiations.

Five AFSCME members from various County departments as well as AFSCME Staff are on the EBAT. Representatives from other labor unions in the County also attend these meetings, and while all Unions receive and discuss information about benefits in the EBAT, we each retain the right to make decisions for our own members. With increasing healthcare costs and changes occurring at the state and federal level, it has taken, and will continue to require, significant strategic thinking and creativity to control these costs. Some changes will be advantageous, and others difficult for employees and their dependents. The EBAT approach to this challenge has been to make smaller, incremental changes over a longer period of time to minimize impacts on employees.

Effective for plan year January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015, monthly Premium Adjustments for Kaiser and Moda Medical and Dental Plan rates are as follows:

Medical

  • Kaiser Medical: +4.0%
  • Moda Medical: +5.5%

Dental

  • Kaiser Dental: +6.4%
  • Moda Dental: -15.4%

The rates for 2015 (shown below) were arrived at by using last year’s rates and multiplying by the % increase for each plan. They include only the single and family tiers. For complete information on the employee +1 and Major Medical Plan, click [ THIS LINK ].

Healthcare Costs 2015

 

For complete information on the employee +1 and Major Medical Plan, click [ THIS LINK ].