OHSU, AFSCME Agree On Labor Contract

07-11-2005   Portland, Ore.

Union members ratify terms for four-year contract to promote stability for the work force and the university

Oregon Health & Science University and AFSCME Local 328 have reached agreement on a four-year contract. The union's membership voted during a four-day period, July 7-10, to accept the agreement with 96 percent of the votes in favor of ratification.

"Both bargaining teams worked hard to understand the concerns of the other. The teams demonstrated a focus on problem solving and brought a lot of creativity in developing solutions that both sides could support. Once again it shows that when both sides work together, OHSU as a whole institution benefits," said Philip Curtis, AFSCME Local 328 president.

The bargaining teams worked collaboratively during a 15-week negotiating period to achieve an agreement that balances both employee and business interests.

"AFSCME Local 328 is a valuable partner to OHSU, and we are pleased to have reached an agreement that fosters our mutual success," said Rick Bentzinger, OHSU vice president for human resources. "The varied roles of AFSCME members throughout the university contribute significantly to OHSU's leadership in education, research, clinical practice, scholarship and community service."

The contract will be in effect from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2009. This contract length helps to provide stability for employees and the organization during what is expected to be a period of significant growth and change at the university. The contract features a 3 percent across-the-board wage increase for each year with effective dates of the increases staggered to help manage overall expenses.

More than 4,000 AFSCME-represented employees work at OHSU. These men and women hold a variety of professional and technical positions, including administrative assistants, housekeepers, pharmacists, groundskeepers and information technology specialists.

AFSCME Local 328 conducted the ratification vote and members cast their ballots on a secure Web site. Union members without home-based Internet access were able to vote from Union-provided computers at OHSU. The high turnout confirms for AFSCME that this method of contract ratification provides the greatest access for its members.