Oregon AFSCME E-lert
April 20, 2015
Edited by Don Loving,
Council 75 Communications
Greetings! We're approaching
a major deadline at the capitol ... The union works to make sure Oregon's
pre-school expansion benefits and includes our child care providers ... There's
actually some good news from Congress! ... and more. Welcome to this week's e-lert.
* * *
DEADLINE APPROACHES — As we wade deeper into the 2015 legislative
waters, we begin to come upon some mandatory deadlines. One of those occurs tomorrow,
as April 21 is the deadline for any introduced measure to move out of its first
committee. Otherwise, the bill dies.
Here are some AFSCME bills
of interest — most of which have been covered in detail in previous
editions of the e-lert — in
danger of falling victim to the April 21 deadline:
- HB 2804 — Pertains to overtime for nurses working in the Department
- HB 2806 — Prohibits DPSST from revoking certification for a
corrections officer if a CO voluntarily enters an EAP program. DOC
maintains this does not happen anyway.
- HB 2807 — Grants P&F PERS status to community college teachers
working inside prisons.
- HB 3321 & HB 3322
— The paired contracting transparency measures. Council 75 Political
Director Joe Baessler says
these measures should safely bump over to the House Rules Committee.
More on this topic next
* * *
PRE-SCHOOL EXPANSION — Council 75 Political Coordinator Eva
Rippeteau reports success in
changing a nuance of HB 3380 to
ensure the move to enhance and expand pre-schools in Oregon includes qualified
Local 132 (Child Care Providers) members.
Four- or five-star rated
care centers, including licensed in-home programs typical of Local 132, are in
line for increased funding provided the provider has a bachelor's degree or is
on the "path" to one.
"The question is what if you
have a degree, but is; outside of early childhood development?" says Rippeteau.
"We have Local 132 providers with degrees in history or communications or
whatnot that ended up in child care and have been doing it for 20 years. Should
your years doing child care 'count' under HB 3380 if your actual degree isn't
in child care or development? That's the issue we need to resolve."
Rippeteau says House
Education Committee Chair Rep. Margaret Doherty (D-Tigard), a former staff rep for the Oregon
Education Association, made certain to ask for clarification on this issue from
the state's Early Learning Division, with the intent of 'fixing' the issue in
the rule-making process. We will update this issue as it develops.
* * *
PAID SICK DAYS CONUNDRUM — Baessler says a big potential monkey wrench
has been thrown into the discussion about paid sick days. There's been a strong
move all session to exempt small employers from mandatory paid sick time, and
now that discussion is spilling over into possible conflicts with local
measures already passed by the cities of Portland and Eugene.
"We support the concept without pre-exemptions for local employers in Portland and
Eugene," says Baessler. "Having the state come down with a law that overrides
the local measures is putting a bad idea within a good idea, and we're not
interested in that. Our own Council 75 attorney Jennifer Chapman says the massive preemptions some are calling for
would cause a myriad of legal problems. We do not want to go there."
Baessler says the union will
continue to support the paid sick days concept that leaves the Portland and
Eugene local laws untouched.
* * *
QUICK HITS — The AFSCME-sponsored bill allowing
Corrections employees to be compared with Oregon's five largest counties rather
than neighboring states in bargaining is still alive, but in trouble. Mary
Botkin, contracting with the union
to do Corrections and PERS issues following her December retirement, says cost
is the sticking point. "The Department of Administrative Services placed a huge
fiscal impact statement on the bill, a number that essentially says we would
win 100 percent of the time, which everyone understands doesn't happen in
bargaining," she said. "But it's very difficult to get a 'bad fiscal' off of a
bill. We're still trying." ...
Political Coordinator Ralph
Groener has spent the bulk of his
recent time going door-to-door visiting with legislators regarding three
issues: the Stabilization and Crisis Unit (SACU) budget, HB 2618 (the SACU P&F PERS bill) and wage increases for
IDD group home workers. On the budget (HB 5026), there's growing consensus to use money spent on
overtime on the Local 1246-represented group homes to hire more permanent
staff, including regional crisis teams. HB 2618 remains a work in progress, but
is still in the mix. Groener's goal on the wage increase for IDD group home
workers — AFSCME represents several hundred in private non-profits around
the state — is to make sure any increases from the state aimed at the
homes is targeted as a specific budget line item. Some private providers took
money intended for wages from the '13 Legislature and used it for other
purposes. The '13 money was only tagged in a budget note, which does not have
full force of law; making it a line item would mean workers got the money. ...
Rippeteau urges members of
Local 132 to call their legislators and ask for support of HB 2015, the
expansion of Employment-Related Day Care (ERDC). "This bill is the vehicle to
increase child care subsidy rates, which impacts many of our AFSCME-represented
providers," said Rippeteau. The measure is currently in the Ways and Means
Committee awaiting further action. Click here
if you need help identifying your state representative and/or senator.
* * *
YOU'RE INVITED — This upcoming weekend (April 24-26) is the
biennial Oregon AFSCME Convention, to be staged this year in the downtown Salem
Convention Center. While you must be an elected delegate or alternate from your
local to officially participate, there is a general seating area and any member
is welcome to attend the proceedings.
In addition, you are
specifically invited to a Friday afternoon legislative luncheon that begins at
1 p.m. All Oregon lawmakers have been invited to attend. We can't tell here
exactly who is coming and who isn't, but this will be an informal,
meet-and-greet setting that offers an excellent opportunity to discuss issues
of concern directly with legislators. It too will be held at the Salem
Convention Center; contact Oregon AFSCME Political Organizer John McGovern if you need more
* * *
Finally, this from
Washington, D.C. ...
TIMBER PAYMENTS GET
TWO-YEAR EXTENSION — There is
some good news for beleaguered Oregon timber counties: legislation to revive at
least partial federal payments to timber-dependent counties in Oregon and
elsewhere across the nation has received final congressional approval.
The latest two-year
extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act, as it's known, means about $185
million for Oregon counties both this year and next. There are some large,
rural Oregon counties that include over 50 percent federal forestland within
their boundaries. Many of those counties — Josephine and Coos, just to
name two — are primarily represented by AFSCME. The union has been a
major player, both in Oregon and in Washington, D.C. over the years, in
fighting for SRS extensions.
For the past several years,
SRS has seen 11th hour, one-year extensions tucked into a wide
variety of legislation, one time even a funding bill for the Middle East. This
latest two-year extension was attached to a bill passed by the Senate related
to Medicare payments to physicians. It passed the Senate 92-8, has already
passed the House, and President Obama is expected to sign it.
More from the Oregonian.
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