We have a Tentative Agreement for the new Union contract!
The Union and City management met for more than 10 hours July 12 and agreed on our final draft of the new contract. The only thing left is that all AFSCME members and all City Council members will have a chance to vote on the new contract soon. This is a great contract because of your active participation and leadership throughout this process. From getting a record number of bargaining surveys this year, to huge turnout at membership meetings, dozens of members helping distribute bargaining updates, speaking up for your coworkers and more.
The Union Bargaining Team will provide all of you a comprehensive summary of all changes in the new 3-year contract, but here are some of the highlights:
City employees:3% COLA each year for the next three years. (This year's COLA is retro to July 1, so everyone will receive a check for back pay once the contract is ratified by the Union and City Council)
SHA employees: 3%/2%/2% effective October 1, 2021
Selectives (market adjustments) for over 40 Union positions
New differential for CSC crew leaders
Increased Cert pay for Fleet and Building and Safety
Expanded Bereavement Leave (added daughter/son-in-law and increased hours from 32 to 40)
An additional floating holiday for probationary workers (equal to other employees)
Reduced cost medical insurance premiums for many part-time workers
An addition "appreciation" for all AFSCME workers for your sacrifices during COVID
SAFETY and RIGHTS
Improved commitment to safety Citywide
City is expanding its safety team and will work with the Union to address training, emergency communications and more
Expanded member rights (no reductions in rights)
Expanded locker room facilities for Code and Parks
This contract is not final until you and City Council have a chance to vote on it. Here is the process for AFSCME members to vote: As soon as all the new agreements are formatted and combined into one final document, AFSCME will send all members a postcard to your home notifying you of when and how to cast your vote for or against this new contract. Union members and City Council members will have their chance to vote. For the Union's voting, we will hold the vote count at the AFSCME Union Hall and all members are invited to attend the vote count.
June 29, 2021
We had our 9th bargaining session today for the new contract. The morning started out well and we got agreements on several proposals including an agreement on safety and hours and working conditions. However, Management's team came back with another wage proposal that is too low, time-limited (expires July 12), and is directly linked to limits on your rights.
The City is offering less COLA in this contract than previous contracts, even though the City's own budget committee said "With the addition of the City Operations Fee, FY 2020 was the first year in many that the City was able to add to it's working capital." The City Manager shared with staff in December 2020 that the City's is not expecting a big impact to revenue from the pandemic. The five year forecast shows a reduced gap between revenue and expenses.
This is the same place we were in 3 years ago at this time and we showed the solidarity necessary to win more.
Come out to next week's Membership meeting, bring your coworkers and we will discuss and vote on how to proceed.
Summary of wage and rights package proposal:
• Limits to your rights as Oregon Public Employees in exchange for giving us the same bereavement and personal days as other Salem employees
• 2.5% / 1.5% /1.5% COLA for Housing Authority
• 3% / 2.25% / 2.25% for everyone else
• A combo of selectives
June 21, 2021
The Union and management continued to make progress at our last full day bargaining session this week. We shared with management the concerns we have heard from many of you about their "time-limited" bargaining proposals and management's team replaced their most recent time-limited proposal on wages with a package proposal without an expiration date.
We also conveyed the concerns we have heard loud and clear from many of you that you do not plan to give up your rights as Public Sector workers in exchange for fair wages. Krishna Namburi , management bargaining team member and Salem’s Employee, Enterprise and Technology Services Director, made it clear that she and management's team do not expect that either and management has now made a wage proposal that is not packaged with the changes to your rights.
We are very close to getting an agreement on Safety and we are hoping to get that and more finalized at our next session Tuesday, June 29.
June 7, 2021
We had another full day session of bargaining. The Union made 16 proposals plus a counter on a special letter of agreement to improve safety. Our employer only countered on Article 13, which we believe we are very close to an agreement on. Our next session on June 21 will be pivotal and will give us all a good sense of how much it is going to take to finalize a fair contract this round.
The City's lawyer has continued to argue in favor of restricting members’ rights, though he did not make any written proposals on it yesterday. The Union Bargaining Team is clear that our members do not want to trade their rights away for the pay we deserve; we deserve fair pay, safety and our rights.
We made our second proposal on wages yesterday as a package, which means that the employer would have to agree to the whole package, not just pieces of the package.
A minimum of 3% COLA per year and a slightly different pay schedule for SHA.
All appropriate selectives
A one-time Essential Worker Payment to compensate and show appreciation for the sacrifices and risk many of you made by reporting to a City worksite throughout the pandemic
A new differential for workers who are assigned to handle potentially infectious materials
An increase to Essential employees plus the differentials paid to inmate and CSC leaders
May 24, 2021
We are 3.5 months into bargaining for our new contract and Monday's session was very interesting. The City made more full proposals than any other session this year, including proposals on safety and wages. Salem's new HR Director, Krishna Namburi, took a much more active role on the Employer's bargaining team which led to more productive conversation.
A lot of the most significant proposals were made at the very end of the full day session, so the Union team is still working through a lot of the details. We will have a more comprehensive summary for you on June 4.
Here is the plan moving forward:
The Union bargaining team is going to post our proposals for the next session on the Local's website as soon as we make them at the bargaining table so that you are as up to speed as possible.
We will also be discussing all of these proposals as well as your overall goals for bargaining at our June membership meeting which starts at 5:30pm Thursday June 10 at 5:30pm in person at the AFSCME Union Hall (1400 Tandem Ave NE).
May 17, 2021
We had our 5th bargaining session with management yesterday. The new director of Employee, Enterpirse and Technology Services, Krisha Namburi, the new City Assistant Attorney and the Director of SHA all joined us and were a welcome addition. Some of the discussion was encouraging but nothing new was signed off.
We have included a lot of detail below. If you want even MORE details, let us know or come to the 5:30pm June 10 Membership Meeting at the AFSCME Union Hall--In Person!! We will be meeting outside and there will be an area for people who are still staying masked.
Status of key issues
Management provided an informal proposal on wages only for Housing Authority members (2.5/1.5/1.5) and no one else at the rest of the City. They said they plan to make a wage proposal at our next session Monday, May 24. We will share that proposal with all of you as soon as we get it.
Management finally responded to our March 4 proposal on Article 14 Working Conditions (Safety). Management has not yet accepted our proposals on:
creating a standard reporting process for immediate safety concerns,
providing hands on training for the use of power tools,
safety around designated work zones,
an increased differential for employees who oversee the Inmate Work Release Crews and for employees assigned to clean up dangerous materials like needles and bodily fluids or an air quality standard.
Management did indicate that they agree on:
expanding the group that receives a boot allowance,
providing a place for female employees to change their uniforms/work clothing (Code & Parks),
Community Service Crew Leads should receive a differential, and
the first two hours (instead of one hour) it takes to get the annual CDL physical will be on paid time
All of sounds good but none of it is final.
Management's attorney is still claiming that he wants to limit members' rights to file charges with the Oregon Employment Relations Board. We discussed this at length. His argument is inconsistent and we were clear that many of you have said you do not want a contract that limits your rights as Public Sector workers.
The Union is hosting a Citywide bargaining update and rally this Thursday, May 6 from 5-6:15 outside Salem Civic Center. The Mayor and a few City Councilors who helped out with recent safety issues will be joining us.
You can bring your families. We will have sandwiches, balloons for the kids and a raffle. This is your opportunity to show the City that we will fight to support member safety and fair wages.
April 8, 2021
We met for another full day of bargaining Thursday, April 8. This was the last session for either party to open any new articles.
Your Union Bargaining Team's collective summary of bargaining so far is that it has been too slow. For the last session, the Union showed up with proposals ready to share but management was not ready when they showed up. Management's team did not respond to the COLA, selectives or safety proposals we made at the last meetings and could not agree to any future bargaining dates until May 17, 2021. The Union has proposed 3.5% each year for 2 years (a 2 year contract) and the City has only put 1.5% per year for 3 years on the table. Not even close.
So while that is all frustrating, we were able to secure an improvement for part-timers and got Management to back off one of its proposals to restrict members' right to representation on work time. That is about it.
We are also excited to let you know that over 30 members have agreed to serve as your Member Action Team and they will help keep you all in the know throughout bargaining. The 2067 Member Action Team is meeting April 13 at the Union Hall (socially distanced, of course) to make plans for good outreach and bargaining updates and some group activities to show everyone's commitment to a fair contract this summer.
March 22, 2021
We bargained today for about 7.5 hours and made several key proposals that we know everyone cares about: Safety, Wages, Rights & Benefits.
The Union proposed a letter of agreement (LOA) with the City of Salem to immediately address the safety issues in two popular parks.
On COLA, President Kathy Knock proposed 3.5% each year for two years for a total of 7% over the next two years. We also proposed a two-year contract instead of a three-year contract. Kathy explained at the table that for over a year Salem employees have "pivoted, adapted and stepped up to keep the City moving forward." She reminded everyone at the table that "What we do here is a reflection of what we believe about them and what we (the Union) believe is that Heroes Work Here. Now is the time for the City to show up and step up for them. Thank you is not enough. It is time to pay and protect."
In addition to COLA, the Union also proposed a set of "Selectives" for positions that our out of alignment with their comps at other Oregon cities as well as internally here at Salem.
RIGHTS & BENEFITS
We proposed improvements for members in Articles 3, 4, 8, 10, 13 and 18.
Management is still maintaining some troubling proposals, most notably their proposal, which they have made twice now, to limit the amount of work time you can work with your Union Stewards on representation issues. The Union has won several significant arbitrations against the City recently (a termination and a big seniority case), which may be driving their interest in limiting your time with your Stewards.
Management has not offered a new wage proposal since it made a proposal for 1.5% a year for three years at our March 4 bargaining session. STAY TUNED.
Our next bargaining session will be April 8 and right afterward, YOU are invited to the April Membership Meeting where the main topic will be bargaining and the new contract we all need and deserve!
March 4, 2021
The first full day of bargaining the new contract started well and ended with a thud – They proposed cost-of-living adjustments that are HALF what other employee groups at the City will receive for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
After arguing for 4 hours in February, we managed to push back the attempts to limit who could participate on our team and get workable ground rules.
The Union opened three articles to improve employee protections and countered one City proposal, specifically:
Union Security – Ensuring a fully function Union Local.
Sick and Injury Leave – Seeking to raise our bereavement benefits to match what managers get and ensure that employees are not economically impacted by the Paid Medical Leave Act taking effect in January 2022.
Working Conditions/Safety – Adding language to provide pay, protective equipment and training to make sure employees can continue to provide essential City services.
Insurance Benefits – We proposed language to improve part-time employee insurance premium contributions, recognizing that many part-time employees spend half their paycheck on mandatory insurance premiums. We also proposed language to protect employee leave banks during the three-day Workers Compensation waiting period.
The City opened a total of 10 articles, including four related to employee compensation and benefits. They also countered two Union Proposals. Highlights:
Union Security – The City rejected making the contract language clearly consistent with the law and proposed a 250-hour annual cap on the amount of time Union stewards can spend defending you in contract violations.
Sick and Injury Leave – The City denied increases to the amount of bereavement leave and people covered by bereavement. They also were “not interested” in picking up the employee portion of the Paid Medical Leave contribution that will be required January 2022.