What happened at the July 26 session?
Article 31 – Required Driver’s License. This article looks very much like the version that is in the current contract.
Counterproposals and Proposals
Submitted by Union:
Article 5 – Employee Rights. The City would like to remove the ability for people to grieve (i.e., file a complaint with the Union) instances of discrimination, violence, and/or harassment in the workplace by deleting 5.4 in its entirety. This would mean any complaints on these grounds would be subject to the procedure laid out in City policy; a policy and procedure that may change at any time without Union consent. The City will also not agree to listing protected class in 5.3 or, at least, stating that the contract protects classes protected by federal and state law.
Article 9 – Hours of Work and Overtime. The Union submitted its proposal on this article and The City said they needed more time to review the proposal. The Union is looking to increase the Comp Time bank maximum to 96 hours, which is in line with what is afforded by our comparator cities and with the expectation of a 5 year contract.
Article 14 – Leaves. The sticking points are Bereavement Leave and Hardship/Sick Leave Exchange. The Union is proposing to expand bereavement leave to other types of family and to allow sick leave to be used for bereavement.
The Union is also proposing that Hardship/Sick Leave Exchange allow for vacation or comp time in the exchange. The City had previously added limits to this and is now proposing current contract language.
Article 15 – Vacation Accumulation. This is very close to a TA with the majority of the changes clarifying vacation buyback and allowing for buyback requests after the November 1st cut off, if approved by the department director.
Article 22 – Health and Dental Insurance Benefits. The City is insisting that Union members pay 10% of the premium difference for employees choosing to cover a dependent on two-party coverage. Currently, members pay 7% of the premium difference. The City feigned surprise that the Union took this stance – even though this has been the Union’s position all along.
The City persists in its proposal for a prorated contribution (a rate of 1/12 the contribution monthly).
Article 23 – Other Benefits. The Union submitted a proposal for life insurance and AD&D benefit policy for each employee that is equal to one year of an employee’s salary or the bargaining unit’s average annual wage, whichever is greater for each employee. For example, if the bargaining unit’s average annual is $55,000, an employee would be covered for $55,000 if their salary was $55,000 or less. If an employee’s salary was $55,001 or more, the employee would be covered at their present salary.
The City offered to help with reimbursements for fleet mechanic tools of up to $1,000 per FY, but stipulated that when an employee leaves they must return everything reimbursed from the past 12 months. The Union proposed removing this language as it could lead to thousands of dollars in loss to an employee.
Article 25 – Probationary Period. The City is refusing to consider additional pay for Certifications, Licenses and Clearances. The sticking point here is that the City believes the certifications, licenses and clearances are reflected in the job pay and that the City’s class and compensation process is designed to correct these issues. We know that this is not true; Kevin Lynn presented an example in which the same job could require someone work with a certification or not, yet both are under the same title and in the same pay group.
Other positions have a similar problem; for example, the City has multiple job descriptions for Senior Administrative Specialists: “Senior Administrative Specialist”, “Senior Administrative Specialist Police”, “Senior Administrative Specialist – Library”, “Senior Administrative Specialist Parks & Recreation”, and “Senior Administrative Specialist Public Works”. These positions, while listed as having the same classification/title in the contract, have very different job descriptions. One of the major differences is that a police senior admin is required to maintain a CJIS clearance.
City Advertised Job Titles & Descriptions:
https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/corvallisor/classspecs?keywords=”Senior Administrative Specialist”
AFSCME Job Titles: https://apps.corvallisoregon.gov/webdocs/showdoc.aspx?docID=934430
Submitted By The City:
Article 1 – Recognition. The hang up is language about the provision of new hires notification to the Union.
Article 2 – Union Security and Checkoff. Same as Article 2.
Article 6 – Union Representation. The City has rejected the Union proposal to allow the Union to meet with new employees at New Employee Orientation. The Union then asked to be allowed to meet with new employees directly after the New Employee Orientation was complete. The City rejected this as well. It is clear that the City feels that the best way to keep new employees from joining the Union is to keep them away from fellow Union members as long as possible.
Article 8 – Grievance Procedure. The City rejected the Union’s proposal to not force employees, who have alleged a violation against their supervisor, to then have to meet in person with that supervisor. It does not appear that The City thought of a scenario where an employee might not want to meet face to face with the person who had wronged them.
Article 16 – Holidays. The sides are close to a TA on this article.
Article 18 – Wages. The City continues to propose pay cuts. When looking at the proposal as a whole, the City is insistent on cutting wages by proposing to phase out the stipend and not provide COLAs that equate to cost of living changes.
Stipend: Union member Joan Extrom gave an incredibly moving and impassioned presentation about how the elimination of the stipend would adversely affect her ability to get needed prescriptions and to attend doctor’s appointments. The City listened to Joan’s presentation and then turned right around and submitted the same crappy proposal they submitted at the last bargaining session. The City again proposed keeping the stipend whole for 2018-19 and providing one-half of the current stipend for 2019-20 ($375 for Single and $500 for Family), then completely eliminating the stipend for the final three years of the new contract.
COLAs: The City continues with a low proposal on COLAs: 1% for year one, 1% for year two, 1.5% for year three, 2% for year four, and 2% for year five. COLAs can be difficult to estimate into the future; you can’t be sure what the cost of living will be like. For example, our prior five year agreement had our estimated cost of living increases lower than the actual costs.
We know that in January 2018 The City believed that Exempt employees deserved a 3% COLA… so Union gets 1%??? The Union continues to propose 4% for each year. This should help to make up for losses from the prior five year agreement and keep us whole for the next five years.
Article 20 – Special Pay. The Union has proposed an increase in shift premiums for 3pm-11pm shifts and for 11pm-6am shifts. These amounts have not been adjusted for over 20 years. The City flatly rejected the Union’s proposal.
Article 27 – Reduction in Force, Layoff. Bumping rights is the issue. The City believes that it knows what is better for Union members than the Union does.
What happens next?
The City announced that it is seeking mediation because it feels no substantive progress is being made on the main issues – Wages and Health and Dental Insurance Benefits. The Union wanted to continue bargaining, but the City had earlier threatened to go to mediation. Obviously this has been their strategy all along. There will be no further bargaining sessions until a mediator can be chosen and a meeting schedule determined. In the meantime, stay tuned for Union events to keep membership involved and informed. Be assured that the public is, and will be, on our side during these negotiations.
Become a Full Member of AFSCME – Union membership has increased since the Janus decision. Union members realize that there are forces out there that want to eliminate unions and dismantle our family. After the City’s performance at the last bargaining session, it is abundantly clear that the City wants nothing more than the Union to fracture so that they can continue to move positions/work to exempt or casual staff, or even better, eliminate your hard earned benefits and wages. Don’t let them do it. “United we stand, divided we fall” is still true today.
You can also contact a member of the AFSCME bargaining team directly: Carlos Lopez, Tim Bates, Bonnie Brzozowski, Luke Cotton, Jon Pywell, Natalie Summerlin, Shilo Anway (alternate), and Adam Womack (alternate).
What happened at the July 18 session?
The following articles were tentatively agreed to:
Article 12 – Uniforms. Ultimately, it was agreed that the 50% reimburse would increase to $175 every 2 fiscal years, a $25 increase from current contract. We fought for more but at some point we had to take the small win and move on to other Articles. We fought to have Parking Enforcement included but Management argued that Parking Enforcement
personnel are only required to wear black shoes – it doesn’t matter what type of black shoe it is. So, go ahead and spray your tennis shoes black, Enforcement folks.
Article 19 – Job Classification and Wage Adjustments. This is going to revert to current contact language.
Counterproposals and Proposals
Submitted by Union:
Article 1 – Recognition. This has to do with post-Janus bookkeeping stuff. Article 6 – Union Representation. This has to do with New Employee Orientation. The Union strongly feels that we need to have an opportunity to make contact with new AFSCME members at Orientation. A very reasonable request, right? Well, Management for some reason thinks this is a really big deal and isn’t budging. Stay tuned. The Union is going to keep at it.
Submitted By Management:
Article 2 – Union Security and Checkoff. As stated above in Union’s submission of Article 6, the Union is adamantly
opposed to the Union having contact with new AFSCME employees at Orientation. Because then the Union can describe
all the awesome benefits of Union membership? EXACTLY.
Article 5 – Employee Rights. Apparently, Management does not agree with Union that making folks within protected
classes will feel comfortable seeing in the contract that they are welcome as employees. Hence, the hangup.
Article 6 – Union Representation. Both sides are close on this one. Stay tuned.
Article 14 – Leaves. The main issue here is Section 14.8 Hardship/Sick Leave Exchange.
Article 15 – Vacation Accumulation. The main issue here is that the Union is asking for the option to cash out vacation
whereas Management feel that employees NEED to take vacation and not cash it out. We’re not quite sure how
Management knows for sure what is best for employees. But, apparently they feel they know better.
Article 16 – Holidays. Both sides are really close to TA’ing this Article. Article 18 – Wages. Management proposed keeping the Stipend whole for 2018-19 and providing one-half of the current
stipend for 2019-20 ($375 for Single and $500 for Family), then completely eliminating the stipend for the final three years of the new contract. Not only that, Management also proposed a reduction in COLA’s that they previously proposed in order to make up for the stipend add-ins. Crappy? Yes, crappy. The proposed COLAs now are 1.0% for year
one, 1.0% for year two, 1.5% for year three, 2.0% for year four and 2.0% for year five. Obviously, the Union did not even consider this ridiculous proposal. Speaking of ridiculous, Management threatened that if the Union did not accept their
offer at this meeting, there would be no retroactive pay because it would take too much of Payroll’s time and because Tyler Munis is the nightmare that everyone has heard about. The rest of the industrial world can figure out how to deliver retroactive pay, but apparently not Corvallis. Article 20 – Special Pay. The Union proposed an increased in shift premiums for 3pm – 11pm shifts and for 11pm-6am shifts. These amounts have not been adjusted for over 20 years. Also, Bilingual Pay was discussed and each side
discussed language changes to bridge the gap. Article 22 – Health and Dental Insurance Benefits. This is very much tied to Article 18 Wages. Management is proposed
to increase payment of premium difference to 10% for employees choosing family coverage. The current amount
The Bottom Line Contract Negotiation Newsletter Issue #3 – May 2, 2018
What happened at the April 27 session?
There were three series of events that occurred at this session – Tentative Agreements; Counterproposals and Proposals submitted by Management; and Counterproposals and Proposals submitted by the Union.
Tentative Agreements, known as TA’s by people who do this all the time, result when both sides agree to an article. It is “tentative” because none of these agreements are final until the contract is final. There were three TA’s reached during the April 27 session. None of the TA’s were earth shattering, but you have to start somewhere.
The three TA’s are:
Article 7: Labor Management Advisory Team (LMAT) – The agreement is the removal of the requirement to meet at least every other month. Either party may request a meeting to held at a mutually convenient time.
Article 11: Rest Periods/Meal Periods – Just some minor language changes. You still get a rest period and meal period.
Article 13: Cleanup Time – Again, just some minor language changes.
Counterproposals and Proposals
Submitted by Union –
Union Security and Checkoff; Employee Rights; Union Representation; Leave Due to Emergency or Adverse Weather Condition; Vacation Accumulation; Wages (including Medical Stipend); Job Classification and Wage Adjustments; Special Pay; Acting In Capacity; Health and Dental Benefits; Other Benefits; Safety; and Term of Agreement. None of these resulted in a TA and will need to be bargained further.
Submitted By Management –
Hours of Work and Overtime; Uniforms; Leaves; Wages (including the Medical Stipend); Health and Dental Insurance Benefits; Posting Job Vacancies; Probationary Period; Required Driver’s License; and Term of Agreement. None of these resulted in a TA, and will need to be bargained further.
Our Union was very disappointed by Management’s proposal and counterproposals, especially regarding Wages and the Medical Stipend. Management is proposing to completely eliminate the Medical Stipend. They claim that this was always meant as just a “bridge” between the elimination of the HMO plan and the HSA/HRA plan back in 2013. Uh, no way. Our Union knows that this was not he original intent. Our Union also knows that its members see the Medical Stipend as one of, if not THE, most important issue to be bargained.
Equally disappointing was management’s proposal of Article 22.3 they are proposing to have us pick up 2% more of the premiums and asked that we split 50-50 any increases in insurance renewals above 5% in the premiums. Why should
we be held responsible for managements failure to budget and plan ahead accordingly? If they had continued the savings of the change from HMO to HDHP we could have funded the stipend in perpetuity.
THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT in these unbalanced proposals was the change in Article 22.10 b. They want to pay you your contribution at the rate of 1/12th the annual contribution each month. You read that right, they want to fund
your insurance at $250 a month, while you get hung out to dry and buried in medical bills. Forget about getting hired on mid-year!!! In subset E. they want to pro-rate healthcare for new hires. As if waiting 45 days to be eligible for healthcare was not bad enough, when you do get insurance, you will be thousands of dollars behind, just trying to take care of yourself or family.
Management’s response to the Wages proposal of the Union was odd considering they had just tried to take nearly 20% of annual pay for some of our employees. Whereas our Union proposed a 5% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for each of the five years that encompass 2018-2023, Management’s proposal was a COLA of 2.0%, 1.5%, 1.5%, 1.5%, and 2.0%.
What happens next?
Future bargaining sessions are still to be determined. In the meantime, here are some ways to help the Union:
Employee Engagement Sessions – If you are a member of an Employee Engagement team, you have a unique opportunity to speak to Management directly. And in those sessions, you can make it known that some of the core reasons that Union
employees find employment at the City worthwhile are fair wages, benefits and the Medical Stipend. Let Management know that you feel let down by Management’s proposal. Attend a Bargaining Session – Visit the sessions during your non-work time (i.e., breaks or outside of your regular work schedule) and be a presence for the Union. You know that it must make Management uncomfortable to see Union members
united. Good, that’s the idea. This isn’t a kindergarten sandbox, this is a very important time for Union members. Management needs to see that we will not shortchanged. And there are times when it can be extremely entertaining. Here is an example: When Management’s hired gun attorney told us “I really care about all City employees”, our AFSCME lead negotiator responded “That’s good, Todd. That’s why I’m looking forward to Management’s proposal for Wages and Benefits”. It was priceless. You could hear a pin drop in the room for the next 30 seconds. The lesson as always – Don’t try to match wits
with Antonio, you will lose every time. Big shout out to Library staff who have been representing at the sessions. Thanks to all of you.
You can also contact a member of Team AFSCME directly. We don’t bite. At least not that it leaves a mark.
Adam Womack, Carlos Lopez, Shilo Anway (alternate), and Tim Bates (Public Works)
Bonnie Brzozowski (Library)
Luke Cotton (IT)
Jon Pywell (alternate) and Natalie Summerlin (Parks & Rec)
Corvallis AFSCME The Bottom Line
Contract Negotiation Newsletter Issue #2 – April 18, 2018
Welcome back to The Bottom Line, our Local’s contract negotiations newsletter! This issue covers the April 18 negotiation session.
What happened at the April 18 session?
Team AFSCME was very pleased that Management came with a lot of proposals on April 18. Highlights of their proposals
Remove the option for the union to be involved on your behalf in complaints about disrespectful work
environments, workplace violence, and sexual harassment, and discrimination based on a state or federallyprotected
Limit the number of people on AFSCME’s negotiation team to four (not a good option for a diverse bargaining unit
with people in seven different departments).
Restrict the number of stewards per department to three (currently, the limit is one steward per 14 employees).
Ensure that casual staff cannot automatically become union-represented by working 1,040 hours or more in a year.
Restrict the union from taking a grievance filed due to an oral or written to binding arbitration.
Limit the accrual of overtime and compensatory time by not allowing approved leave to be counted as part of the
Require anyone who has availability for callback in their job description to respond to requests for callbacks at least
50% of the time or be disciplined.
In the event of a reduction in force, only allow “bumping” into another position within the affected department.
Allow probation to be extended for up to 3 months (especially helpful if someone had to have a leave of absence
during their probation period).
Eliminate the requirement for your supervisor to allow you to use floating holiday time to cover taking half of
Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve off.
Remove the requirement that Spanish language proficiency be eligible for bilingual pay, allowing the City to solely
define which languages are eligible.
Require anyone who is receiving bilingual pay to perform translation duties upon request. Failure to do so could
result in loss of eligibility for bilingual pay.
If bilingual proficiency is listed as a requirement in a job description (thus receiving the highest level of bilingual pay),
the City can remove this requirement at any time without notice and without any option to grieve their decision.
Because management provided a number of proposals touching on so much of the contract, Team AFSCME only
submitted one proposal:
Require the City to pay the full cost of any physical exams required to maintain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL),
if a CDL is required for your position (the City currently only reimburses $120 of the cost).
As you can see, many of Management’s proposals aim to limit, remove or restrict some of our current contractual rights
and protections. However, remember that this is just Management’s opening wish list, so don’t panic. Team AFSCME will
be working hard to make sure there is movement from the rather extreme positions Management started with.
What is the current negotiation session schedule?
The next session will be on Friday, April 27; this session will be the last chance either side will have to open sections of the
contract for changes. Future sessions are scheduled for May 16 and May 22. We’ll notify you as more sessions are added.
Help still wanted!
Help Management remember that Team AFSCME isn’t just the people at the table; we represent all 220+ members of our
proud union family! Here’s how:
Friday, April 27, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm: We invite you to stop in during your lunch time at a rally at the City offices in
support of a fair contract. Bring your AFSCME lunch sack, wear green, and have lunch on us – Team AFSCME will be there
to answer questions and get your feedback.
Any negotiation session: Visit the negotiation sessions during your non-work time (i.e., breaks or outside of your regular
work schedule) and check out the process. Sessions usually start at 8:30 am and are held at the Madison Avenue Meeting
Join the Action Team: The Action Team works on ways to keep everyone engaged with the negotiation process AND
remind Management that Team AFSCME is NEVER alone when we’re at the table. More people are always welcome to
help plan and execute the good times ahead! It’s a fun way to meet more Corvallis AFSCME people (free child care can be
made available if that’s a barrier to participating). Contact RuthRose Hennessey at email@example.com and
Here are a few ways to get the latest news – and share feedback too! Have a question, need support, or want to cheer a
success or share a concern? Here’s how:
o Web: http://www.afscme2975.org
o Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/afscme2975
o E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact a member of Team AFSCME directly:
o Adam Womack, Carlos Lopez, Shilo Anway (alternate), and Tim Bates (Public Works)
o Bonnie Brzozowski (Library)
o Luke Cotton (IT)
o Jon Pywell (alternate) and Natalie Summerlin (Parks & Recreation)
The Bottom Line Issue #1, our Local’s contract negotiations newsletter. This issue provides an introduction to the people, process, and issues that will be touched on as our new contract is negotiated.
Team AFSCME: AFSCME’s negotiation team is made up of volunteers from our bargaining unit, plus a professional lead negotiator from Oregon AFSCME (your union dues at work!). The negotiation team was selected by AFSCME President Carlos Lopez (Public Works). It includes:
- Adam Womack and Tim Bates (Public Works)
- Bonnie Brzozowski (Library)
- Luke Cotton (IT)
- Natalie Summerlin (Parks & Recreation)
- Alternates: Jon Pywell (Parks & Recreation) and Shilo Anway (Public Works)
- Oregon AFSCME Lead Negotiator: Antonio Gisbert (provided at no additional cost to us)
City Management Team: Members of management’s negotiation team include Mary Beth Altmann-Hughes (Human Resources), Nancy Brewer (Finance) Ashlee Chavez (Library), Mary Steckel and Chad Gordon (Public Works), and Jude Geist (Parks & Recreation). The City has chosen to hire Todd Lyons, an outside lawyer specializing in providing “pro-management labor solutions” to serve as their lead negotiator.
When are the negotiation sessions?
The first session was on February 27 and the second was held on March 21 (more details on these sessions below). April’s sessions will be held on April 18 and April 27. We’ll notify you as more sessions are added.
What’s happened so far at the negotiation table?
February 27: Ground rules were developed to set out to establish clear expectations regarding communication and bargaining in good faith.
March 21: Team AFSCME presented our first ten proposals. Major highlights of our proposals:
- Increase the floating holiday hours to 16 hours per fiscal year.
- Increase the maximum amount of compensatory time that can be accrued.
- Add the deaths of a niece or nephew to the eligible family member list for bereavement leave.
- Allow us to donate vacation and comp time (as well as our sick leave) to another employee in need.
- Expand respectful workplace to include examples of prohibited disrespectful behaviors, and explicitly state your right to file a union grievance about these behaviors.
- Speed up the grievance process by removing two steps (combines the supervisor and departmental director steps into one, and eliminating mediation as an option).
- Preference given to qualified AFSCME employees over casual staff in hiring for AFSCME-represented positions.
- If four or more AFSCME employees apply for an AFSCME-represented position, one of those AFSCME applicants will be hired.
- If you move to a different AFSCME-represented position, you only serve a 3 month probationary period (vs. 1 year).
- Require the City to have a good reason to require a doctor’s excuse for the use of sick leave.
- Make it clear that callback and standby duty are voluntary except during a declared emergency.
- Require a written training plan and a year to obtain City-required licenses and clearances.
- City pays the full cost of required protective footwear every year (currently, the City pays only 50% every two years).
- Clarify what information the City provides to us about our members.
- Add AFSCME participation to the new employee orientation sessions.
- Clearly define federal and state protected employment classes.
After our presentation, it was Management’s turn. To our surprise, they only presented one proposal: a copy of the entire contract with “housekeeping” items. Housekeeping proposals are typically minor error and grammatical corrections; however, the deletion of the medical stipend language was included as “housekeeping”. It seems obvious to Team AFSCME that this is NOT a housekeeping item; it is something that must be bargained fully, not just included in a mass checklist of changes.
Another surprise: for the first time in memory, Management plans to hold off on providing their substantive proposals to us AND they do not plan to respond to the proposals we have provided until they have received ALL of our proposals. Since the last day to submit proposals is April 27, we are baffled by their stance. Past practice has been for BOTH sides to provide proposals and actually bargain contract language from the start of negotiations. April 27 is over a month away, and there is a lot that we could get through in that time. Today’s session ended hours earlier than it would have if Management had held to the past practice. If they refuse to budge on this, it is a troubling signal about their willingness to work with us in the true spirit of fairness that would lead to a timely conclusion to our negotiations.
It seems Management may have forgotten that Team AFSCME is not just a few individuals instead of representatives of a proud union family 220+ people strong. Let’s remind them! Over the next few weeks, our Action Team may be reaching out to you with fun and easy ways for you to help Management remember that Team AFSCME isn’t alone and that when we speak, we speak with a LOUD voice.
BTW, the Action Team can always use more people to help plan the shenanigans! It’s a fun way to meet more Corvallis AFSCME people. Child care can be made available during Action Team meetings at no cost to you as well. Contact RuthRose Hennessey at email@example.com and volunteer!