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Important Links
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What's New at AFSCME 328
What Do Members Think Of The Union?

Local 328 Surveys Its Members

What do members think of Local 328 - the third in a series of five articles

AFSCME’s online poll produced results in four areas

  • The perception of OHSU by our members
  • The perception of Local 328  by our members
  • The attitudes of members toward upcoming contract bargaining
  • The best way to communicate with members about bargaining

In our last article we focused on the perception of OHSU by our members and the challenges OHSU faces. Today we will be concentrating on “The perception of Local 328 by our members.”

We have been surveying members’ attitudes about AFSCME Local 328 using a scientific methodology and reputable polling firms for well over a decade.

 During that time AFSCME Local 328 has received consistently high approval ratings from members, though there have been fluctuations. 

Currently, approval ratings continue to be high, at a level that is about average for the last ten years. Disapproval levels have increased by about 10% over the last five years, with the sharpest uptick occurring right after the last contract bargaining in 2012. This indicates that there are fewer members with moderate opinions. The fact that there are fewer moderate members means that the  membership is slightly more polarized than previously.

Currently 73% of members approve of AFSCME and Local 328. The all-time high approval rating was 82% in July of 2012 There is about a 5% margin of error in these polls. But clearly, the last contract negotiation, especially the PERS proposals made by OHSU, took its toll.

The increase in unfavorable ratings for the union is mostly among older men and college graduates.  The highest ratings are among self-identified Asian members and women.

Similarly to OHSU, AFSCME’s approval ratings are highest among new employees at 84% but the decline over time is not nearly as sharp or as immediate as the decline in OHSU’s approval ratings. Five year employees show a 75% approval rating and twenty year employees show a 68% approval rating.

“Dr. Joe Robertson” scores 63% and the “OHSU Executive Leadership Team” scores at 42% approval.

The comments members shared were instructive.  Even though members were disappointed with the outcome of the last contract, many members understand that the union’s power is related to the visible support of the union membership. Our steward program took a bit of a hit – several people mentioned that stewards (volunteers) didn’t show up for their investigatory meetings. Members had very positive things to say about the quick response to questions and concerns.  There were consistent comments from members that understand that even with the disappointing results of our 2012 negotiations relating to PERS, without the Union OHSU would take much greater advantage of them.

What can we learn from all this:

  • Members still strongly support their union
  • However, confidence in the union was somewhat shaken by the last contract negotiations
  • Newer and younger members, Asian members and women show high levels of support.
  • Older men and college graduates show somewhat lower levels of support.
  • The demographic with the lowest level of union support – older men – still shows 68% approval. That’s 25% higher than the support which members show for the OHSU Leadership Team.

The Union can feel good about the high level of support shown by its members, but there are warning signs which the union must heed to retain that support: Negotiating good contracts is critical. The union took a hit following the last negotiations in 2012.

Member support drops off slightly over time and among our most educated members.

The greatest support comes from new employees who are making up an increasingly large proportion of the bargaining unit.  Members show great appreciation for the fundamental principle of being union: “Collective bargaining rights” with over 70% positive.

The union needs to consolidate our high levels of support among new employees, women and ethnic minorities. The union will need to shore up support among older and more educated workers.  All of these groups will judge the union on how well it represents their interests in contract bargaining.

The challenge for the union is to balance the need for equity with the need for economic security in a way that is meaningful for all the varied constituencies in Local 328.  The Union is also challenged by our members’ belief that the most important ingredient to successful negotiations is a well-trained bargaining team as opposed to the reality that an informed and active membership is critical to a successful outcome. 

Scholarship Deadlines Approaching
We're now entering the holiday season, but it's also scholarship timeline season, as the deadlines for many scholarship applications are rapidly approaching. Scholarship information is always available, year-round, on the Scholarships page of the Oregon AFSCME website. Read More...
IRB/IACUC Union Members Work with OHSU Management to Implement Revised Class Specs

I enjoyed being part of the team that came together to collaboratively problem solve some pretty big issues and I was glad to be able to help.  - Kaija Maggard, union committee member.

Over the last year union members of the IRB/IACUC work units worked together to reach agreement with their management and OHSU on several important workplace issues

Starting last December, employees reached out to the Union to express concerns that changes being proposed in their classification specifications might cause them to lose their jobs and be forced to reapply for them, or require them to be taken out of the bargaining unit or both.

In a series of meetings which were attended by a majority of the work unit members, we reached a decision to propose working jointly with their management in a labor management committee to work on the communications issues which lead to the members' concerns and to work on transitioning to the new class specs in a way which preserved job security for current employees.

The Labor/Management work group idea was proposed to HR and the IRB IACUC management team, who agreed to proceed. Following the lead of the members, Union staff came to several initial agreements with HR and the work unit management: the group would have specific agenda items which would be agreed upon prior to meeting - we didn't want the labor/management meetings to become a forum driven by complaints. We also agreed that we would schedule a limited number of sessions so that we didn’t embark on an endless process. We wanted some pressure to get on with and conclude our business.

We began meeting in late Spring of 2014 and had scheduled six one hour meetings. This schedule was later revised to seven 90 minute meetings.

We began the meetings with a training on how to use the problem solving process and continued by using the process to set ground rules. When we reached agreement on the ground rules we began working on the problems we had identified: 1) communication and 2) transitioning to the new Class Specs.

We were able to come to agreements on how communication would be handled in the work unit, including improving communication between the management team and union members. We were also able to come to significant agreements about how to transition to a new Class Spec including training, staff development, salary status and job security.

Wendy Stang, one of the Union representatives on the committee commented: “I was very thankful to have guidance from the Union during this issue.  The outcome of the committee work was to everyone’s benefit.”

This process is a reminder that OHSU and Union members can work collaboratively very effectively when the members stand together to bring their interests and concerns forward and fully participate in creating change.

As Kelly Kidner said: It was great to be part of the process and rewarding to see the final results.”

Support Unions This Thanksgiving
Before you put together your Thanksgiving dinner shopping list, check our list of union-made in America food and other items that are essential to a traditional family Thanksgiving feast. Read More...
Exciting Opportunity for Members!

Are you interested in gaining new job skills or abilities? Would you like to help AFSCME Local 328 during bargaining? Would you like to gain more union experience?  Do you enjoy working with people and would like see more of OHSU? If so, we have an opportunity for you!

AFSCME Local 328 begins contract negotiations with OHSU in March of 2015. During this time frame, the union executive board has authorized funding for three members to take a 90-day leave from their job at OHSU to work exclusively for AFSCME. Pursuant to the language in Article 2.11 of our contract, OHSU will maintain the employees’ health benefits, wages, retirement contribution, and seniority points for members on union leave. Employees will be reimbursed for mileage or other applicable costs.

If you’re interested, people check out the attached opportunity and position description documents. Email Local 328 President Matt Hilton for more information at hiltonm@ohsu.edu.


Download: Opportunity.docx
Steward Stories - What Being a Steward Has Meant to Me
by Nana Nash It's clear what stewards do for our members and for the Local, but what doea the experience offer them as individuals? Korina Walters says:  “Being a Union Steward is meaningful to me because I want to help people. I also want to understand my position a bit better with regard to the Union and OHSU. Read More...
Inclement Weather FAQ
With inclement weather in the forecast (already!), we wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about OHSU’s inclement weather procedures. The relevant contract language can be found at the end of this article. Q: Who declares "inclement weather?" A: The OHSU Provost or his/her designee. Q: What does a declaration of inclement weather do for me? Read More...
Workers’ Compensation Shift-Change Grievance Resolved
Workers’ Compensation Shift-Change Grievance Resolved This grievance resolution is yet another example of how our union contract provides job security for members at a higher standard than state and federal laws. It demonstrates the success of a strong contract and a member willing to use it to stand up against injustice. Read More...
What Do Members Think of OHSU?
Local 328 Surveys Its Members - What do members think of OHSU? AFSCME’s online poll produced results in four areas in which we want to present findings to our members: Read More...
On-Demand Meetings
Greetings from your bargaining team-- During this round of negotiations we are trying something a bit different -- “on-demand meetings.” What does this mean? If your department, work unit or building would like to have a face-to-face meeting with bargaining-team members, we will come to you. Read More...
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Upcoming Events
Local 328 Investigative Steward Training
Dec 09, 2014
AFSCME Local 328 office -- 4006 SW Barbur Blvd.
Steward Meeting
Dec 10, 2014
Marquam Room, 1st floor Mackenzie Hall.
Internal Communications Committee (ICC) Mtg.
Dec 10, 2014
DCH 9301
Executive Board meeting
Dec 17, 2014
CDRC 3200
General Membership Meeting
Dec 17, 2014
CDRC 3200
Local 328, Oregon AFSCME Council 75
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