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As the AFSCME Local 328 bargaining team goes through the process of preparing for contract bargaining, a wide variety of issues are identified as needing to be addressed through negotiation. In order to help work through these diverse issues, they have been organized into four groupings or "buckets."
The buckets are:
- Work-life balance
- Protection of labor standards
Keep in mind that this is your contract and the bargaining team's success in getting good contract language in these four areas depends on your involvement. Keep informed of the support actions that will be happening, and become a bargaining contact who helps get the word out in your work area -- contact Local 328 President Matt Hilton at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Work-life balance -- This bucket addresses on-the-job conditions that impact an employee's life outside of work. Effective addressing of things like time off and workload can reduce employees' stress and improve general physical health.
Community/inclusion -- This area includes the things that give employees the sense that they have a fair opportunity to achieve success in their career at OHSU. These issues can be addressed with language around hiring, training, diversity and career assistance.
Protection of labor standards -- This bucket has to do with ensuring that OHSU complies with existing labor and employment laws. Current laws prohibit working "off the clock" and also cover break time, meal periods, safety and the rights of union stewards.
Economics -- This is the area that is of the broadest concern in that it impacts everyone. This bucket includes cost-of-living increases, health insurance, retirement pensions, vacation accrual, holidays and overtime.
The first three buckets lend themselves to interest-based bargaining -- a process that enables traditional negotiators to become joint problem-solvers. IBB assumes that mutual gain is possible and starts with gaining a clear understanding of the problem and identifying the interests that underlie each side’s issues and positions. For example, if the problem is workload, the union's interest might be that there be reasonable limits on job expectations, while management's interest might be to maximize the productivity of its workforce.
IBB requires the parties to walk a fine line of collaborating without conceding. In recent surveys of Local 328 members, the union learned that our members overwhelmingly want the union to work with management but still protect employees' rights. This approach is difficult, especially once the parties reach the economic issues. For those topics we use traditional bargaining, which is more formal and comes down to a test of strength between the parties. Management will often play hardball and demand take-aways, challenging a union to show its strength. The union demonstrates that strength through the action of its members, the employees of OHSU.
Remember, if you want to help Local 328 keep you and your coworkers informed about negotiations, contact Matt Hilton at email@example.com.