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State Bargaining Update
State Central Table reaches agreement on new two-year contract
Jul 19, 2013
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the State of Oregon have reached agreement on a new two-ye

AFSCME-represented state employees have a new contract with the State of Oregon, following a long bargaining session that began the morning of July 18 and ended with a tentative agreement just after midnight on July 19.

 

The contract covers about 3,000 state workers, AFSCME's "central table" group of 20 state agencies. AFSCME also represents another 3,000 Oregon Department of Corrections employees; those workers are still negotiating separate agreements.

 

The settlement includes the following:

 

  • Cost-of-living adjustments of 1.5 percent on Dec. 1, 2013 and 2 percent on Dec. 1, 2014.

 

  • Continuation of the current 95-5 premium share split on employee health, dental, vision and basic life insurance. There are also some insurance subsidies for lower-wage and part-time employees.

 

  • In calendar year 2015, employees who choose the least expensive PEBB plan available to them will have the opportunity to see the insurance co-pay decrease to 3 percent. This piece of the agreement becomes operational if 95 percent of employees statewide have at least two plan options available, which is expected to happen.

 

  • Also in 2015, for every 1.6 percent that PEBB's projected composite rate is below the 5 percent increase built into the plan, the scheduled 2 percent Dec. 1, 2014 COLA will be paid one month early.

 

  • Steps will be unfrozen. Employees due step increases over the course of the contract will receive them.

 

  • Additionally, an agreement to rectify the "step slide" that occurred for employees hired before July 1, 2009, who did not receive a step increase that less senior workers did receive during the 2009-10 fiscal year. Employees in that situation will be granted an extra step increase effective July 1, 2013.

 

  • No furlough days over the life of the contract.

 

  • Inclusion of nine classifications in an upcoming state market survey. Those classifications include Administrative Specialist 1-2, Compliance Specialist 1-3, Executive Support Specialist 1-2, Information System Specialist 1-8, Office Coordinator, Office Assistant 1-2, Office Specialist 1-2, Program Analyst 1-4 and Public Service representative 1-4.

 

"We worked hard and bargained many extra hours to protect and benefit our rural members with the insurance language," said Oregon AFSCME Executive Director Ken Allen. "It was important to make the state recognize there are fewer options in some areas, and that in some cases, the 'least expensive plan' may in fact be the only one. Our Central Table team stayed united on that issue, and bargained hard to make sure this was a benefit for all AFSCME members, no matter where they live and work."

 

Local agency tables will wrap up their negotiations in the next three weeks, and then the tentative agreement will be subject to a statewide ratification. The contract is retroactive to July 1 and runs through June 30, 2015.


July 2-3 Central Table Update
Jul 03, 2013
The Oregon AFSCME Central Table Bargaining Team "pulled an all-nighter" with the state July 2-3, but finally, at about 5 a

By EILEEN TILQUE

Council 75 Staff Rep

 

The Oregon AFSCME Central Table Bargaining Team "pulled an all-nighter" with the state July 2-3, but finally, at about 5 a.m. and after 18 hours of negotiating, the two sides broke off talks without coming to an agreement.

 

In mid-afternoon, the state brought in their "best" economic offer, which included a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase on Dec. 1 of both 2013 and 2014 and, troublingly, the state's tiered heath care scheme that the union said was unacceptable in earlier bargaining was re-proposed by the state.

 

Council 75 Executive Director Ken Allen, the union's chief negotiator, did not mince words in telling the state's chief spokesman, Craig Cowan, how unhappy he was. He pointed out that the state was saving millions from the PERS legislation passed this session and the fact that PEBB had a 0 percent increase this year. The state's tiered health care proposal would put members with families at risk, and Allen reiterated that AFSCME would not accept a deal that included the current health insurance proposal.

 

The state side then broke for a caucus that ran over six hours. They finally returned at 12:50 a.m. with a new "what if?" proposal that included an insurance change that was more palatable to the union with some potential minor tweaks.

 

The AFSCME team caucused to hammer out a counter-offer, which was given to the state at 2:30. The state took that offer and caucused again to "run the numbers." They returned at 4 a.m. with questions about those numbers that, ultimately, an hour later, were still unresolved. When it became apparent that despite some progress in closing the gap, no deal was imminent, the two sides agreed to call it a night at roughly 5 a.m.

 

The parties will meet again on July 18.




Page Last Updated: Aug 08, 2013 (11:48:00)


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