The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the
State of Oregon have reached agreement on a new two-ye
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
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
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
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.
The Oregon AFSCME Central Table Bargaining Team "pulled an all-nighter"
with the state July 2-3, but finally, at about 5 a
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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