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.

Local 88 Bargaining Update 8-6-14

Local88-TransparentLogoThe Local 88 bargaining team reached tentative agreement with the county on a number of articles we’ve been going back and forth over. Now that those items are off the table, the remainder of our bargaining will be devoted mainly to financial proposals, like the cost of living increase and health care. Our next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, August 20.

The following is a summary of the articles we have reached agreement on:

Article 2 Definitions
If an employee is absent for up to 3 months of their 12-month probationary period, the probation can be extended for that amount of time. The previous language allowed a probationary employee to be absent for up to 6 months.

Article 5 Union Security
The county will provide the union with a monthly report of hours worked by on-call workers

The county will provide a monthly report of retirees from Local 88 positions

The union’s maintenance of membership language will be added.

Article 15 Classifications & Pay Ranges
Management can make an upward pay adjustment to an employee’s wage in order to resolve a pay inequity within a work unit or department. The union will be notified of the occasions when this is done and will be provided with the reason the adjustment was made. 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.

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. If management decides to fill it with a temporary employee, they must, upon request, provide the rationale for the decision.

Article 21 Seniority & Layoff
Management and the union will create a work team to study the seniority tie-breaking process.

Employees who are absent from work for more than 30 consecutive days on an FMLA or OFLA condition will not lose seniority.

Article 22 Shift & Work Assignment
When a laid off employee is offered a recall to employment, they have 7 days to respond to the offer

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.

Addendum G Department of Community Justice
The Recognizance unit will have days of rest (for overtime purposes) calculated in the same way the Sheriff’s Office calculates it

Addendum H Drug & Alcohol Policy
It is a violation of the drug and alcohol policy to solicit drugs or alcohol in the work place

Employees who violate the drug and alcohol policy may be required to undergo an assessment at management discretion

If an employee violates a last-chance agreement then they are not entitled to a pre-termination meeting, however they retain the right to grieve the termination

Addendum J School Based Employees
Employees will not lose seniority during the annual summer layoff

Employees will maintain health care benefits during the annual summer layoff

Previous lateral transfer language will be added back

Local 88 Bargaining Update for July 23

The bargaining teams picked up where we left off the last session, trying to come to agreement on a package proposal that includes Articles 2, 5, 21 and 22 and Addenda H and J (for a summary of the proposals, please see the July 2 update at the union website, afscmelocal88.org).

Local88-TransparentLogoThe biggest sticking point has been around the union’s proposal that there be an internal hiring process before outside applicants are considered.  We were unable to reach agreement on any substantial change to the language so our team presented a package proposal that deleted the internal hiring piece and instead proposed that the five most senior employees who want to transfer would be guaranteed an interview (the current language allows for three).  We also added a proposal on Article 15 to the package, which would require the county to offer temporary vacancies as work out of class opportunities before filling them with temps.  In addition, we offered to drop our proposed changes to Article 20 and Addendum B if there was agreement on the entire package.

Management responded with a package that agreed to the change in the transfer language, but not the work out of class piece.  It also added our proposal on Addendum G and a modified version of our proposal on Addendum I, which agreed to only one of the four sections we wanted to see changed.

The day ended with our team telling management that we could not agree to their package proposal, because although we are in agreement on many parts of it, the work out of class issue is very important to us and we need to keep it on the table.

We meet again on Wednesday, August 6.  Hopefully on that day we can find a path to agreement on these articles so we can move on to the financial proposals, including health care and the COLA.

Postal Heritage Day

Celebrate the 239th Birthday of the People’s Postal Service
Protest Privatization of Our Post Offices!

Ben Franklin, our first Postmaster General in 1775, would be rolling in his grave! Staples and the US Postal Service have cut a deal that jeopardizes our nation’s public post offices, the sanctity of the mail and thousands of good jobs at living wages. Staples has contracted with the USPS to staff post offices installed within their stores. In pilot openings last fall, 82 post offices were launched inside Staples stores with low-paid, poorly trained worked workers (the average Staples worker makes $18,000 per year). If the pilots are ‘successful’, the USPS plans to open post offices inside every one of the almost 1,600 Staples stores nationwide, beginning this September.

Don’t forget:

Portland Rising BBQ

Noon – 3pm, Sunday, August 3rd

Site B, Columbia Park, 7701 N Chautauqua Blvd.

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.

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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.