Bargaining Updates

May 3, 2024

Today in bargaining, we focused on Safety and Staff Retention.  We want to make sure we work in a safe environment and have the training and tools we need to protect ourselves and others.  In response, the county consistently emphasized the cost over staff safety.

Safety

  • The Union proposed an Adverse Weather & Climate Conditions policy that would codify language in the Adverse Weather MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) and prioritize staff safety when transportation and telework are not safe or possible. We also requested the Joint Safety and Health Committee prioritize addressing hazardous air quality and heat index. 
  • The Union proposed safety articles to expand safety footwear allowance to all classifications who would benefit from specialized footwear.  The County is unable to respond to this request without considering the entire wages and benefits package, forcing members to consider safety over compensation.
  • The Union proposed expanded language in the Unsafe Acts section of the Safety Article, stating employees shall not suffer disciplinary action when refusing to perform work that would jeopardize their license or certifications.


Staff Retention

  • The Union proposed common language related to stale discipline (stale discipline is discipline that occurred more than 2 years ago), and the County is pushing back saying we already have a system that works.  We know from experience this system does not work.  
  • The County previously proposed continuing education reimbursement to all Nurse's Unit members, since they need it to retain licensure and certifications.  Today, the Union proposed expanding that same reimbursement to the General Unit to ensure equity in licensure and certifications reimbursement and renewal. 
  • The Union proposed additional language around the County providing appropriate and relevant supervision to behavioral health employees to ensure employees meet supervision hour requirements and receive the proper guidance and training in their specialized fields.

Preparation for May 8 General Membership Meeting
Don't forget, we have a member's meeting on May 8th at 5:30pm via zoom.  Link to meeting
Based on member feedback, Wages and Benefits is one of our highest priority bargaining items.  To prepare for the meeting, please consider the following:

  • What are your bare minimum needs for your wages?
  • What are your expectations for COLA (Cost of Living Adjustments) for the next three years?
  • Would you prefer a market adjustment or a step adjustment?
  • What are your thoughts on the County's proposed changes to benefits?  As a reminder, here's what they are proposing:
    • Despite the County touting benefits as one of the most attractive components of our wage, the County is proposing cutting into health benefits in an attempt to balance their budget.
    • County is proposing to sunset the Co-Pay plan starting January 1, 2025, even though this is the most commonly selected plan among AFSCME members. 
    • The County is pressuring members to look into the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) even though only 2 comparator counties have HDHP plans.
    • The County is requiring employees to complete the Live Well Center Credit to receive full HDHP HSA/HRS-VEBA funding.  
    • The County is proposing a tobacco use surcharge for members.   

If you have any questions, concerns, or want clarification, please reach out to the bargaining or CAT (Communication Action Team) team member.

Our next bargaining session is Wednesday, May 29th.  Please wear green when we are bargaining.

Your bargaining teams:
Nurses team:  Karen Blundon, Tessa Friason, Myndi Kuykendall and Tia Morehouse

General team:  Lyle Clingman, Tim Jenkins, Rachelle Johnson, Jenn Mower, Ryan Porteous, LaRece Rivera, Jenny Tinsley, Mary Troffaes

April 24, 2024

Today the General & Nurse's Bargaining Units met with the County and received the County's wage & benefits proposal.  Below is a summary:

Wages

  • Based on the County's wage analysis to comparator counties, the County proposes a one-time Market Adjustment (3% increase) for all AFSCME members.
    • The County considers 5% difference in wages to our comparator county's wage "within error"
    • The County considers 10% difference in wages to our comparator county's wage "competitive"
    • The County considers >10% difference in wages to our comparator county's wage out of alignment and will consider a market adjustment to get within 10%
    • Less than 1 in 10 classifications will receive an additional market adjustment
  • The County is proposing a 4% COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) based on CPI (Consumer Price Index)
    • Example, inflation for 2023 was 4.29% so the County is proposing a 4% COLA for 2024.
    • For 2025, the County is proposing a 1% to 4% COLA, dependent on the 2024 CPI rate.  We are not sure when we will know the actual CPI rate for 2025.  

Benefits

  • Despite the County touting benefits as one of the most attractive components of our wage, the County is proposing cutting into health benefits in an attempt to balance their budget.
  • County is proposing to sunset the Co-Pay plan starting January 1, 2025, even though this is the most commonly selected plan among AFSCME members. 
  • The County is pressuring members to look into the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) even though only 2 comparator counties have HDHP plans.
  • The County is requiring employees to complete the Live Well Center Credit to receive full HDHP HSA/HRS-VEBA funding.  
  • The County is proposing a tobacco use surcharge for members.   

We will share our wage & benefits proposal to AFSCME members after we have presented it to the County during bargaining.  If you have questions about the Bargaining Session or looking for more information, please reach out to a Communication Action Team (CAT) member.  Word of mouth is a great way to stay connected & for our Bargaining team to keep AFSCME members engaged.

We are planning on hosting an after-hours AFSCME General Membership meeting on Wednesday, May 8th starting at 6:00pm to share a bargaining update and answer your questions.  The meeting link is:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82222149449?pwd=xEvBnUsOIKo22KhJcB7BrI0mfLa9ab.1

Out next bargaining session is Friday, May 3rd.  Please wear green when we are bargaining.

Your bargaining teams:
Nurses team:  Karen Blundon, Tessa Friason, Myndi Kuykendall and Tia Morehouse

General team:  Lyle Clingman, Tim Jenkins, Rachelle Johnson, Jenn Mower, Ryan Porteous, LaRece Rivera, Jenny Tinsley, Mary Troffaes

March 20, 2024

Today your bargaining teams met with the Lane County Management bargaining team to begin bargaining a successor agreement. We met for half of the day and was able to agree to ground rules and additional bargaining dates through the summer. The County also provided proposals for several articles for both General and Nurses Units. The articles for each unit are listed below. Besides ground rules and bargaining dates, we have not agreed to any of the County’s proposals.

Ground rules: Adding 2 members to general unit team and 1 member to nurses unit team. Paying team members for a full day for the days we are scheduled for a half day, allowing us time to prepare for the next session, Identified the 6th session as the cut-off date for new proposals. We can counter proposals but will not be able to open any articles not previously opened.

Bargaining dates:

  • Half days: April 17, April 24, May 2, May 29, June 5
  • Full days: June 17, July 10, July 17, July 31, and August 28.

County proposals for General Unit

  • Definitions: Adding Limited Duration Employee, Reassignment and Salary Sanction. Changing permanent position/employee to regular position/employee. “Lane County has no permanent positions or employees.” Adding clarifying language or fixing grammar.
  • Article 1: changing “permanent” to regular.
  • Article 3: clarifying language around dues
  • Article 4: adding ORS
  • Article 5: Adding Salary Sanction as an option for suspension, extending timelines in the discipline process.
  • Article 6: adding “or designee” for step 1; extending timelines for the grievance process
  • Article 9: adding flexing option for non-exempt employees, changing overtime language so that overtime begins after 8 hours in a day that is worked time and 40 hours in a week that are worked (rather than paid time). Overtime is now recorded to actual time worked rather than to the nearest 10th hour. Memorializing language from MOU for meal/rest periods for Juvenile Justice Specialist.
  • Article 14: clarifying language around clinical supervision.
  • Article 20: 2 year contract, instead of typical 3 year contract
  • Appendix A: Adding list of non-represented positions. Recently the board approved job title changes for non-represented positions, so they more closely match their job duties.
  • Appendix B: Adding LMD Tech 1 and 2 to the flex series Appendix C: Adding LMD Tech 1, 2 and Sr; Community Service Worker, Sr, MHO Care Coordinator 1 and 2; changing Waste Management Fee Collector to Waste Management Site Attendant.
  • Appendix C: Adding classifications

County proposals for Nurses Unit

  • Definitions: See Definitions for General Unit, adding transfer and demotion
  • Article 3: See Article 3 for General Unit.
  • Article 4: Similar to Article 4 for General Unit
  • Article 5: Same as Article 5 for General Unit
  • Article 6: Same as Article 6 for General Unit
  • Article 9: Adding flex option for non-exempt employees, overtime is recorded for actual time worked (rather than to the nearest 10th hour).
  • Article 14: Continue medical education (CME) for NP/PA upto $2500/year; Sr EPDH/EPDH upto $1500/year; Community Health Nurse 1 and 2 upto $500/year; LPN/PCC upto $300/year, MA 1 and 2 upto $200/year.
  • Article 18: Added “assigned to school based preventative services” to this article.
  • Article 19: Length of contract is 2 years rather than the typical 3.
  • Appendix A: Adding Medical Assistant Apprentice to flex series
  • Appendix B: Adding classifications to list
  • Appendix C; Adding Classifications to list

Bargaining Teams:

  • General Unit: LaRece, Jenn Mower, Mary Troffaes, Ryan Porteous, Lyle Clingman, Jenny Tinsley
  • Nurses Unit: LaRece, Jenn Mower, Tessa Friason, Karen Blundon, Tia Morehouse, Myndi Kuykendall

We have an email address set up for contract questions and comments. If you want to ask a question or comment on the proposals, please use your personal email to contact [email protected]