Multnomah County may be near deal on contract

Multnomah County workers picketed outside the East County Health Center in Gresham Sept. 7, one of a series of union contract actions in recent weeks. | PHOTO COURTESY OF OREGON AFSCME

BY COLIN STAUB

AFSCME Local 88 and Multnomah County are closer to agreement in negotiations over a new three-year contract covering more than 3,000 Multnomah County employees. 

In bargaining sessions Sept. 1 and Sept. 8, Local 88 presented a new economic proposal. The union previously proposed a 7.9% increase in year one, and cost-of-living adjustments of 2% to 8% in years two and three, based on the consumer price index. In its latest offer, for the first and second years the union proposes a 5% raise plus a bonus of $2,000 or 2% of annual income, whichever is greater. Eben Pullman, business representative for AFSCME, says that equates to about a 7.5% total compensation increase each year.

In the third year Local 88 is proposing that the bonus be converted to an across-the-board increase.

The two sides’ economic proposals are fairly close. AFSCME and the county agree on the first year details. In the second year, the county proposes lowering the bonus to $1,500 or 1% of income, whichever is higher. In the last year of the county’s proposal, however, workers would get across-the-board increases of between 1% and 4%, based on the consumer price index.

County negotiators have also agreed to Local 88’s proposal for a $20 minimum wage for County workers.

The two sides meet again to bargain on Oct. 6.

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