August 7, 2009 Volume 110 Number 15

AFSCME 328 reaches new contract at OHSU

AFSCME Local 328 has reached a tentative agreement at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU).

Local 328 represents some 4,000 employees at OHSU located in Southwest Portland who work in a variety of professional and technical positions, including administrative assistants, housekeepers, pharmacists, grounds-keepers and information technology specialists.

The union was on the verge of declaring impasse on July 30 when OHSU moved off some of its demands to reduce health insurance coverage.

The old contract expired June 30.

The tentative three-year deal calls for a one-time signing bonus of 1 percent of each employees’ 2008 gross pay, plus 2.5 percent raises in July 2010 and July 2011.

If approved, there will be a change in the step system for wages starting in October 2009. Steps 1 through 4 will remain the same; employees will advance by half steps each year for steps 5 through 7, effectively creating a 10-step system and adding three years to reach the top step. But it also includes the addition of a 3 percent longevity step for all employees who have been at the top step, either under the current plan or new plan for five years, effective July 2010.

Employees in the OHSU health plan will continue to receive 100 percent of their medical insurance premiums paid. OHSU will pick up 88 percent of the premium for family coverage.

OHSU will maintain its 6 percent contribution to the University Pension Plan, and the union also was able to get improvements in severance language regarding contracting out.

“Thanks to our members’ activism and willingness to take a stand, the union bargaining team was able to reach a successful conclusion to this year’s negotiations,” said Local 328 Bargaining Committee Chair Philip Curtis. “There is no doubt that OHSU officials and executives took notice of the successful petition drive, bargaining update meetings and other union activities staged in support of this contract.”

The union bargaining team is recommending ratification of the agreement. An online voting process began Aug. 3.

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