The following article was written by and shared with us courtesy of Oregon Nurses Association staff representative Courtney Niebel. ONA is currently in the midst of contract bargaining with OHSU. AFSCME Local 328 shares these concerns about parking at OHSU.
AFSCME members who have questions or concerns about parking on the hill are invited to email Chief Steward Mike Bandy, Local 328s representative on OHSUs Strategic Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee, at email@example.com.
members of the Strategic Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee
expressed outrage at the recent STPAC meeting, that employees of OHSU are being
charged higher and higher fees for parking and transportation. We vehemently
expressed the view to the committee that OHSU should not be taking
philanthropic donations from the community to build new facilities, then
demanding employees fund the buildings’ parking structures from their
STPAC are almost unanimously in agreement that parking fees are too high due to
OHSU’s business practices, and understand that the Transportation & Parking
Department has no viable alternative given the budget constraints placed on it.
They are seeking a more sustainable financial solution, hopefully sparing OHSU
employees from a seemingly endless burden of rising fees. We feel it is time
for OHSU to shed itself of the old “company store” model of doing business.
Current employees should not have to pay to build new parking structures that
OHSU is going to use to charge future employees even more money to park in!
Reason Rates Keep Rising
As you know,
OHSU’s T&P recently announced a significant increase in parking rates,
which went into effect on July 1. We’re used to a modest rise in parking rates
annually that seemed to be on par with the cost of inflation, but this year we
are seeing dramatic increases in the cost of some passes. Why such a high
increase this year? The revenue targets given to T&P by the institution
were higher than in previous years, and this is the only way for them to
problem is that the funding structure OHSU has imposed on the T&P is not
sustainable. T&P is considered a revenue-generating department by the
institution, which means that they are required to bring in enough revenues to
cover operations. T&P has no control regarding which operations they must
take on. For example, when OHSU decided to construct the new Collaborative Life
Sciences Building on the waterfront, T&P was told that they would need to
pay for the construction of the parking structure. When T&P receives a
mandate to expend funds to pay for OHSU’s growing need for parking spaces their
only option is to raise parking rates for employees and students because that is
their only source of income.
This is a
structure that many members of the STPAC feel is
unsustainable and unfair. While many other universities have a similar funding
structure for their parking departments, there are few universities with the
unique challenges that OHSU’s location poses and it is doubtful that other
parking departments are responsible for the construction of new lots in
addition to the conventional expenses such as maintenance, attendants and so
on. We know that our parking rates fall in between the rates for the University
of California San Francisco Medical Center (Sunset/Twin Peaks) and the New York
University Langone Medical Center (Manhattan) as the highest in the nation.
Given the cost of living, transportation options and income for employees at
those university medical centers, it is shocking that we would be expected to
pay similar rates to park at OHSU in a much less congested environment.
that T&P is labeled a revenue-generating department by OHSU requires them
to contribute to the overhead cost allocation fund that pays for information
technology, marketing, facilities and human resources, among other
university-wide services. All revenue-generating departments are expected to
pay into the OCA fund to assist with the funding of those departments that do
not generate revenue but assist with the operations throughout the university.
This might make sense if T&P had other income sources besides charging
employees. Instead, employee fees are being diverted to share in OHSU’s cost of
next five months, SkaiDancey,
Director of Facilities and Transportation, will be discussing with the
Financial Officers Group the need for transparency and sustainability in the
T&P funding structure. ONA hopes that these discussions will result in the
decision to alter the funding structure to support the work that T&P does
without pushing the cost onto the backs of the employees at OHSU.
structure at OHSU dictates that T&P is responsible for several costs that
we question. T&P carries debt and depreciation for building and maintenance
of parking lots, and loses money whenever unexpected construction needs to be
done or Sam Jackson Park Road is closed, and has no control over any of these
expenses. So why does OHSU continue to consider T&P a revenue-generating
department and defer the cost of doing business to their employees?
Parking as a
Diversity & Equity Inhibitor
funding model that T&P is forced to live under raises several concerns
regarding OHSU’s stated intent of supporting and sustaining a diverse and
inclusive learning, living and working environment. Since 2000, Portland’s central city has grown
less diverse while the
state and metro area has grown more diverse. This is of great concern
considering that employees are expected to pay the high rates of parking at
OHSU. While OHSU states that it is committed to removing barriers to having a
diverse employee population, this is difficult to sustain when diverse
populations find it harder and harder to get to work at OHSU.
department parking passes, which are often offered as employment incentives to
certain employees such as doctors, professors and critical research staff.
Other employees who are not offered a parking pass as an employment incentive
are disadvantaged and may find it difficult to accept a position as an employee
at OHSU. Given that population demographics show that Portland’s diversity is
moving farther away from the central city, diverse employees may have an
increased challenge when considering employment at OHSU. Many staff work in departments that are at the lower end of the wage
scale for OHSU employees. This is a disincentive for diversity at OHSU and
should be addressed as a barrier to OHSU’s goal for a diverse and inclusive
environment for employees and students.
Robertson, in a recent Directline message
referenced OHSU’s 2013 Diversity Action Plan that states: “Diversity is key to
maintaining a competitive workforce advantage. Integrating diversity within all
areas of the university and all parts of our mission is critical to OHSU’s
strategic goal of being a great organization, diverse in people and ideas.”
In order for
OHSU to fully realize this strategic goal, we believe it is imperative that
they remove one of the largest barriers to recruitment of diverse employees:
the ever-increasing cost of parking. The cost of parking at OHSU unfairly
burdens diverse prospective employees because they typically live farther away
from the university. Given that many employees work in the lower-wage-earning
departments of OHSU, they are doubly burdened by the cost of parking because
they must pay a larger portion of their income in order to park at OHSU. Those who
choose not to purchase a parking pass and take public transportation instead
are further burdened by the distance to travel to OHSU for work. The time spent
traveling, especially if added to a 12-hour workday, is a major inconvenience
We urge the
institution to consider altering the funding structure of the T&P because
it is the right thing to do for all employees of OHSU. The current funding
structure is not sustainable and does not serve the stated goals of the