BY COLIN STAUB
More than 7,000 workers at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) could strike as soon as Oct. 7. The workers are represented by AFSCME Local 328 and include most staff at the sprawling medical campus—health care practitioners, hospital technicians, pharmacists and more. With three campuses in Portland, OHSU is among the largest employers in the city.
By the time the previous contract expired in June 2022, union and management had reached tentative agreement on most contract language—but not on economics. Raises in Local 328’s previous three-year contract were 3.25%, 3%, and 3%. When bargaining turned to economics in April, Local 328 proposed across-the-board wage increases of 9%, 8% and 8% over the three-year contract, later dropping that to 8%, 7% and 7% in its final offer. OHSU initially proposed raises of 2% a year. Its final offer is a 4% increase after ratification, 2% in January, 4% for the second year, and 3% for the third year.
On Aug. 31, Local 328 declared that bargaining had reached an impasse. Under Oregon’s Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act, that triggered a requirement that both sides submit their final offers to the state Employment Relations Board by Sept. 7, followed by a mandatory 30-day cooling off period before a strike can take place. The earliest date a strike could be called is Oct. 7.