The Oregon AFSCME Central
Table Bargaining Team met with state representatives May 17 at the Salem AFSCME
office. This was the first meeting between the two sides since the Oregon
Legislature received the state's May revenue forecast the day before, the document
state budgets and other financial decisions are based on. Not surprisingly,
that news framed much of the May 17 Central Table discussion.
Council 75 Executive
Director Ken Allen, the union's chief negotiator, told state counterpart Craig
Cowan that now is the time for the two sides to strike a deal.
"We should strike while the
iron is hot," Allen told Cowan. "The state's financial forecast is good.
Now it's time for the state to get serious on economics. It's all about how
much the state has for steps and COLAS, and how much state workers are behind
in the market."
Allen noted in addition to
the revenue forecast, PEBB has announced no rate increase for next year's state
employee insurance and PERS employer rates were recently announced to only be going
up 0.7 percent, not 5.5 percent as previously expected.
Allen said the union doesn't
want to see Oregon's economy going well and state workers still suffering.
"We're tired of being the
lowest priority," said Allen. "And when I say 'we,' that's inclusive of all
state workers. No one has done well in the last five years. Your managers are
telling me this too. Shame on the Legislature if they think they can ignore
this. Our other public employers are not stupid — they will look for
workers from the state."
- Oregon AFSCME Research Coordinator Rob Glase
made a presentation on salary selectives, focused on the state's Admin and
- Allen noted that with all of the noise regarding
PERS, some AFSCME members are rushing to retirement. Others, he said, will
look to switch to local government jobs, keeping their PERS status but
earning better wages than what they are currently earning with the state.
The next Central Table
session is scheduled for May 30. The state is scheduled to bring an economic
proposal to that session, one that should include PERS, insurance, salary steps
and possibly COLAs.