AFSCME Local 88 Multnomah County

To: Multnomah County Commissioners
From: Local 88 Dentist

Dentists and supporters picketed five out of the six county dental clinics the last week of February in cold and windy conditions. We did this to demonstrate our unity and solidarity with EFDAs, hygienists and OA’s in Local 88. Nearly every union dentist participated in these informational pickets which we plan to continue again next week (Mar. 11—15) unless we see movement from the management bargaining team.

Since August of 2018 we have been working to negotiate a first union contract that covers Multnomah County dentists who are members of AFSCME Local 88. We serve the most vulnerable and underserved patients in our community and we frequently put our patients needs before our own. As dentists, we are proud of the positive impact we’re able to make in our communities but we want to make you aware of a policy change that has reduced the time we can spend with them due to increased patient load, without a change in our pay.

In 2017 MCHD dental management began to cut appointment time from 60 to 50 minutes while also cutting administrative time so that we could see a larger volume of patients. This has resulted in an increase in workload for all employees, less time with patients, and has hurt morale throughout the department. While dental services continue to generate more and more revenue, Multnomah County has failed to provide a competitive salary for its dentists, who on average earn 10% less than their peers in other public health organizations in Oregon and California (even after adjusting for differences in cost of living).

We serve an important population in our community that is too often overlooked and that deserves adequate dental care. We work long days, weekends, and treat anyone that walks through our doors. Although management regularly tells us how important our work is, their contract proposals continue to show how little they value us. Most of us are accustomed to coming to work early, working through our lunch, or staying late on a daily basis. Many of our families know not to count on us being home at any specific time given how unpredictable our schedules have become.

When we decided to unionize for a better contract in mid 2018 we did so in good faith and with the hope that this process would come to a swift conclusion. We feel that the management bargaining team has failed to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that we bring to our profession and our patients and is purposely dragging this on.
We hope you will stand with us and direct the management bargaining team to put people over profits.

At Mid County Clinic on Monday, Feb. 25th
At Billy Odegaard Clinic on Tuesday, Feb. 26th
At SEHC on Wednesday, Feb. 27th
At East County on Thursday, Feb. 28th
At NEHC on Friday, March 1st

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