Union News Roundup, March 2022

It’s been a while since we sent an update about what your union has been up to, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy!  Here's an update on recent and upcoming union happenings.

At the beginning of February, your elected officers participated in in a series of virtual forums co-sponsored by AFSCME Local 328 (representing the staff at OHSU), Graduate Researchers United, and the OHSU chapter of the Oregon Nurses Association about the findings of the Covington report and ways in which OHSU employees can work together to hold the University accountable for it’s stated goal to eliminate discrimination and harassment at the University. These forums were a great opportunity to network with the other unions on campus and discuss ways we can collaborate to bring about a culture of greater fairness, equality, and transparency at OHSU. We also nominated Xiao-Yue Han, general surgery resident and long-time HOU activist to OHSU’s oversight committee, charged with overseeing the process of implementing the recommendations of the Covington report aimed at ensuring that OHSU lives up to its professed ethos of being a safe place to work for all employees. We look forward to hearing about the progress of this committee.

Also last month as part of AFSCME Strong week, we set up a table at the base of the tram to give free coffee to our members on their way to work. Once again, your elected officers were on the scene for one of our first opportunities since the start of the pandemic to engage face-to-face with members from other departments and hear about the issues that are most important to you!

You may be wondering about what we’ve been doing with the results of the transportation survey we created in cooperation OARFF, circulated at the end of 2021. After we presented our findings to management at our regular Labor Management Committee (LMC) meeting, HR arranged a meeting between the LMC and representatives from the Office of Parking and Transportation, which took place last week. We presented our findings to them and discussed some possibilities for improving transportation options for our members. Among other topics, we explored expansion of the LyftOff program to make it more useful for our members, especially on weekends and at other times when the tram is not in operation. Those discussions are ongoing, but we hope to have progress to report in this area in the next month or two. While immediate changes to the availability and cost of parking are unlikely to be within our grasp right now, we heard this concern loud and clear from many who completed the survey, and hope to address it further in our next contract.

We also recently resolved a grievance in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine regarding CME funding that we’ve been working on since August. Under the settlement we negotiated, long-serving residents in the department saw flexibility in usage of their CME funds restored after a unilateral move by the department to constrain when those funds could be used. The settlement wasn’t perfect, but it ensured that those residents who were previously promised flexible timelines for using their CME funds  got that flexibility back. We anticipate this will be another important topic when we return to the table to negotiate a new contract.

 Finally, we’ll soon be taking a vote on some important amendments to our union’s constitution. Members will receive a ballot in the mail, so if you’ve moved recently, please let us know so we can ensure you receive your ballot.  The results will be announced at our next general membership meeting on May 2nd.  Look for more details about that coming soon.

To participate in the constitution vote, you’ll need to be a member, so please  sign up here if you aren't currently part of our union.  Our local number is 4820. A strong, active membership is what allows us to successfully engage in the kinds of advocacy described in this newsletter. We hope you’ll join us in our work to make OHSU a better place to learn, work, and practice medicine.