We were back at the negotiating table yesterday, Wednesday, November 1st, the first bargaining day for us since our comrades at Southwest and St. John went on strike. We put forward a new economic proposal: Across the Board (AtB) raises of 13% the first year, 6% the second, and 6% the third year of the contract for everyone. We also have adjustments specifically for number of different grades, such as Nucmed, Nucmed/CT Hybrid, Vascular, Echo, and their various Lead positions.
We decided to hold firm on a number of demands we are making for this new contract, including Tier, standby, and training pay, all differentials, our new proposed IV/NIOSH compounding rate, and a lump sum payment for longevity, as well as a higher key certification.
Our fight continues for issues like predictable variable shifts, new language for our staffing committee, increasing our Paid Time Off (PTO) bank limits (as well as for non-PTO requests to not take PTO slots and for no reduction in PTO slots for weekends), and against paybacks for approved PTO requests. We also want to keep the “pending list” for those who are trying to get PTO requests approved, and we need to have the COVID PTO bank returned to those employees who still have a balance available. When the COVID PTO was taken away, those who still had some hours available lost them, which essentially created a disparity in the available sick time that was offered and undermined our ability to take sick time as the pandemic continues.
The employer said they “could not” counter Hours of Work (10), Wages (14), or PTO (15) without talking to upper management, their bosses, to get approval. This shows that there are influential managers who are not in the room, but still have a say in how negotiations will go.
This means that the ball is in their court. We are waiting for them to come back and answer our many proposals and they know what would be acceptable to us. The question is if they want to put patients and staff first and settle this contract, or if they want to drag this out and continue fighting to maintain inequity in their hospital.
We have almost two weeks until the next bargaining session, which is, again, caused by management’s unwillingness to set bargaining dates and finish this process. You can join us on November 15th at Riverbend in Room AF from 11:00am - 7:00pm, and make sure to wear red that day in solidarity. We also want to invite you to our next general membership meeting on November 8th, at the OFNHP union hall (1020 Harlow Rd) at 6pm, where we will discuss our next steps and possible solutions. We also need your voice on our strike survey, so click here and fill it out if you have not already.
We made movement on some serious issues, including having good conversations on issues that had proven tough in the past. We provided management with five new article proposals and they said they needed additional time to write a counter-proposal. What we did not, receive, however was a counter on our wage proposal, which significantly larger than the insulting low proposal they had brought in. We need substantial raises to bring our unit up to living wages that are competitive in the market. They countered our PTO proposal, but with a proposal that was far below what we could accept.
Management is also refusing to give us the same call pay as they give our RN coworkers, a sign that they see us as less important despite our essential role in the care model. Just as they did with our colleagues at Southwest and St. John, management seems committed to keeping us in poverty wages and without a voice. Enough is enough, we are going to do what it takes to fix the short staffing crisis at Sacred Heart and to finally get our wages to a level commensurate with the skyrocketing cost of living in Oregon.
Now we have to start asking ourselves some questions: what will we accept, and what are we willing to do to get it?
We bargained again on Friday, October 13th, and the session began with the employer countering our proposal on Article 14 - Wages and Compensation. This is what we were waiting for, including the economic proposals that are so critical for raising up our base wages and solving the staffing crisis. We sent them a comprehensive proposal to bring us up nearly 30% over the life of the contract, which is what is required to bring us up to market rate. Instead, management gave us an insulting proposal of 3% the first year (after ratification), 2% for 2024, and 2% for 2025. This outrageous proposal was torn up in front of management by our bargaining chair, sending them a message: we are done with your insultingly low offers.
Management also offered a twenty-five cent increase to evening and night shift differentials. We did have some movement on the Wage Security language, and they offered grade adjustments for a number of positions including Neurodiagnostic Technologists, Radiology, and NucMed Leads.
We also called an additional question: why is PeaceHealth discriminating against the Techs? We work the same hours and shifts and have the same call requirements as the RNs, yet they were offered much more. Instead of acknowledging our concerns, management simply said “this is the proposal.”
Our colleagues at PeaceHealth Southwest will be walking out on strike on Monday, October 23rd, and we intend to support them as we are able. Many of you joined the “die in” that took place at the University District hospital this past Friday, where we protested the lack of patient access that their facility closure and short staffing has created. This is part of their punitive attack on our union members, and they have threatened to sever the healthcare insurance of the striking workers at Southwest and Lab Professionals. This is an unconscionable attack on healthcare workers and it is going to require all of us collaborating in solidarity to fight back.
Check the two bargaining dates we have coming up (listed below), come out if you are available, and wear red in solidarity!
- 10/20: Riverbend Conference room 200 CD 0900-1700
- 10/25: Riverbend Conference room 200CD from 0900-1700
On Wednesday, August 27th we were back at the table with management and volley’d proposals back and forth. The union counter proposed management’s offer on Article 11, highlighting that job postings must be accurate, posted in the unit for a full seven days, and addressing how the postings were listed, how Classification Seniority is understood, and what the policy is towards reinstatement. Similarly, we proposed language on Article 17 to address situations when a worker's wellbeing is being compromised by a workplace situation. We want to remind everyone that it is your own choice on whether or not to activate your leave through the new paid-leave provision in Oregon and this will not forfeit unused time from OFLA/FMLA. We also proposed language on personal leave, the ability to request unpaid time off, and that union leave not cost PTO.
For Article 14 we proposed extensive provisions, including across the board wage increases: 23% for the first year, 5% for the second year, and 6% for the third year of the contract. Our wages are far below competitive at this point and it is time that PeaceHealth rectify this issue if they want to attract and retain qualified staff. We are proposing a simplification to the "anniversary date" for step progression and a reform to how prior experience is applied.
We also proposed a significant differential increase: Evening shift, $4.00; Night shift, $9.50, with a longevity night shift increase to a full $11.50 after twelve months of night shifts; Weekend differential, $2.00; Trainer/Preceptor, $2,00; Shift Lead/Charge/Facilitator, $4.00, whose duties include finding coverage for uncovered shifts.
We also proposed lump sum longevity payments, increasing Cardiovascular Surgical Techs to increase guarantee pay to 95%, $2.00 differential for Pharmacy Techs in IV room or compound/package NIOSH medications, the removal of Ghost Steps 23-27, wage security language, as well as clarified language on how a review of wage adjustments can take place.
Management countered our proposal on Article 10, but it was largely unsatisfactory. We rejected a huge number of their proposed provisions, including a provision regarding the duplication of overtime, meals and breaks schedules, Per Diem availability and their responsibility to acquire minimums, and a number of other specific details from their large offer. We did, however, accept a number of proposals from their counter that we thought made sense, including incentive pay for workers taking on additional shifts after already working in excess of what was assigned, that Per Diems on regular pay rate will be "low censused" before a full or overtime employee at their overtime or premium pay rate, and Veteran's Day language, leading to us reaching a Tentative Agreement (TA) on Article 4.
We head back to the table on both the 2nd and the 4th, where we will continue getting to the fine details while also addressing big questions related to our economic proposals. If you can attend bargaining, it is a good chance to show your support for the team and to see exactly what kind of offers management is putting forward. Either way, wear red! Check the bargaining dates below and we will send out additional updates as they are ready.
- 10/2: Riverbend 09-1700 200BE
- 10/4: UD Cusack room 09-1700
- 10/13: Riverbend 09-1700 in 200CD
- 10/20: Riverbend 09-1700 in 200CD
- 10/25: Riverbend 09-1700 in 200CD
We also wanted to let you know that a coalition that OFNHP is a part of will be holding a “die in” protest at Sacred Heart on Friday, October 13th. This coalition formed to fight for the University District hospital, but we are also demanding better patient access, safe staffing, and a just contract for the Techs.
Bargaining started on Monday, September 18th, as we continued to negotiate over what kind of access our members have to bargaining sessions. We believe that we should create the most transparency, while management has tried to limit access by employing a “sign in” system.
Once we got into the issues, management countered many of our proposals, such as one that would ensure union access to work spaces and allow stewards to be paid for their representational time (which would cost PeaceHealth less than $400 a year). They also countered proposals on veteran and disability status and union membership updates, but they also expressed some agreement with pieces of the proposal.
Both the union and management proposed competing successorship language, which would determine whether or not the union agreements would be honored if PeaceHealth was sold to another entity. We offered a new language to update our MOU language around per diem pay, which would offer $480 for a twelve hour shift and comparable rates for shifts with fewer hours. We also asked for an increase to the LMC meeting time, to increase the size of the Health Benefits Committee, and added a staffing committee to match the demands of the new staffing law we won earlier this year. We countered management's Article 14 proposal, to increase the max accrual of PTO that is allowed to employees and to ensure that union leaves and leaves of absence do not take PTO. We also demanded transparency on PTO requests and for equitable placement. Management wanted to alter our Just Cause previsions, such as disciplining a member if they find past wrongdoing far into the future.
What we did reach a Tentative Agreement (TA) on was to extend the Grievance timeline, helping for effective steward investigations and representation.
The next day, Tuesday, September 19th, we were back in negotiations and working on finishing our counter-proposal on Article 10, which included numerous changes such as adding call-back language, removing pyramiding and duplication from section 10.3, eliminating non-payment for back days, providing a predictive PTO template for FTEs, doubling the Report Pay notice time, increasing On-Call/Standby Call Back pay, and several other additions. We proposed a three year contract period for this Collective Bargaining Agreement and added lost time language for illnesses like those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic (to be paid by the employer).
Management, for their part, countered our Article 15 proposals, saying a flat "no" to our proposal to increase PTO accrual. They did agree to moving PTO donations to the Negotiating Committee and they will not include travelers or unfilled positions for the PTO slots that are available (but they refuse to increase PTO slots). PeaceHealth seems to believe that they own their staff seven days a week. Management is asking for PTO requests to be submitted one day at a time and they are pushing back on calls for transparency on how these slots are filled. They have also refused to give us back the COVID PTO bank balance, showing their unwillingness to acknowledge that COVID remains a relevant threat to healthcare workers. This highlights the continued inequality in how Techs are treated.
Make sure to continue wearing red at our upcoming bargaining dates and try to attend if you can. We will now be sharing information about what a strike could look like if we were forced to by management’s disrespect. You can find out more at our Strike FAQ on the website (and in a pamphlet we will be distributing).
Our upcoming bargaining dates:
9/27/23 at Riverbend - room 200CD- 0900-1700
10/2/23 at Riverbend - room 200BE- 0900-1700
10/4/23 location tbd
10/13/23 location tbd
10/20/23 location tbd
10/25/23 location tbd
August 21st Bargaining Update
We had been scheduled to bargain on Monday, August 21st, but management’s bargaining team had an emergency and we were forced to reschedule. So our next bargaining session will be on August 30th at Riverbend 200ALL from 10am - 5pm.
We are still trying to grow our Contract Action Team (CAT), which is the network that gets all of our members plugged into bargaining, so we need more of our bargaining unit members to get involved as members of the CAT. When you join the CAT you have an opportunity to make a real impact, strengthen our union’s position, and help shape the future of our workplace.
If you’re interested in getting involved with the CAT, reach out to our Internal Organizer, Leslie McKenna (lmckenna@ofnhp) or CAT leader Jill Dougall (email@example.com).
We need all members of the unit to keep wearing red on our bargaining dates, and we have set several through next month.
Upcoming Bargaining sessions:
8/30/23: 10-5 pm Riverbend 200ALL
9/6/23: 10-5pm location TBD
9/13/23: 10-5 pm location TBD
9/18/23: 10-5 pm location TBD
August 16th Bargaining Update
Yesterday, our bargaining team met with management for the second time. This was supposed to be our third bargaining session, but management had canceled our last one. The Bargaining team opened with impact statements that emphasized the importance of our work. We are Essential, Effective, and Equally essential in delivery of healthcare just as much as RN’s. We should be treated equally.
Ground rules were proposed, and we had mutual agreement on most of them. What management disagreed with our union about was whether or not “open bargaining” is to be allowed, which means whether or not members of our union can observe. PeaceHealth management wants to limit the number of observers present and require sign-up sheets. OFNHP pointed out the immediate disparity of treatment to that of ONA, whose RNs were allowed to observe bargaining.
The medical center was likewise unable to coordinate subsequent dates for bargaining within their own team, leaving us with only a couple of dates set.
This means we should brace for a prolonged and challenging negotiation journey ahead. The way that we can stay strong and wind is by standing together, united in our efforts to achieve fair terms and recognition. Our next bargaining session is on August 21st, followed by August 26th, and we are asking that our members wear union stickers on both of those days as are available. This is a great way to show management that we are united and that we will do what it takes to win a fair contract.
August 4th Bargaining Update
Yesterday, August 3rd, we met management at the table for our first bargaining session. This is the start of the campaign to win our next union contract, which will determine our wages, benefits, and working conditions for several years to come.
This first session was built around establishing ground rules and setting up tentative bargaining days over the next month. Our Bargaining Team, which includes members from across our unit, proposed ground rules in writing.
In this session it was established that these upcoming bargaining sessions would be open to PeaceHealth employees in our Bargaining Unit, and members of our unit could be invited to speak about the issues being negotiated even if they were not on the Bargaining Team. This means that we will have opportunities to raise your voices during this process and to ensure that management knows that we represent all of the Techs.
We established the dates for August and will still have to parse out the bargaining dates for September. Our Bargaining Team proposed dates for September, but PeaceHealth leadership was unable to confirm if they would work or not. Our bargaining dates for August include:
- August 16th
- August 21st
- August 30th
Now our campaign begins! We will have multiple actions that you can get involved in as this campaign progresses, but the first is what we call a “Red Up!” All this means is that all of the Techs will be wearing red, our union’s color, on the date of the next bargaining session. That means wear your union colors on August 9th since that was originally supposed to be a bargaining date until management canceled. We will use this action send a message to management that we are united in our demands for better pay, benefits, and working conditions!
We will keep you updated as our campaign progresses and make sure to check in with your Contract Action Team (CAT) leader, who will be your point of contact to get the latest news from the table. The only way we can expect to win a great contract is if all of us are able to get involved and to pressure management to agree to common sense proposals. When we are united we are more powerful than when we’re alone!