Legislative Session Winds Down
The 2021 Legislative Session will come to an end this week. Despite challenging dynamics this has been a positive legislative session for our union. Increased resources meant that state budget writers were able to craft Agency budgets that will fund critical services and preserve jobs, rather than cutting them. Nearly every Agency budget has been passed by the Legislature at Current Service Level or higher, including big investments in the Department of Forestry, in Higher Education, and the Department of Human Services. What’s more, Members at the Oregon State Hospital also fought incredibly hard and won a $20 million special purpose appropriation that will force Hospital management to come to the table on safe staffing. A big thank you to all our members across the state who took action in support of OSH members!
In addition, through the Legislature we get salary pots to support our contract negotiations. This session we worked hard to maintain and build a salary pot that will support maintenance of strong health care and pensions, COLAs, and Steps. Unfortunately, as many of you have probably heard by now, one bill that is not moving forward is House Bill 3409, our essential worker pay bill. While we’re disappointed this bill didn’t prevail, we have an opportunity, as union members, to continue this fight at the bargaining table.
Bargaining Heats Up
Over the past 8 months our bargaining team has been working to compile input from bargaining surveys, worksite meetings, and a lot of one-on-one conversations into bargaining proposals that represent the priority issues of concern to our members. As with most things the past year, the bargaining process has been impacted by COVID, but we are finally starting to see movement and momentum at the bargaining table. We don’t have any new tentative agreements this week to share with you, but we’re making progress and should have more to report next week – we’re also expecting a new economic proposal from management next week, so stay tuned for that update. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen wins on a variety of issues that will help us make progress towards:
Better and safer working conditions,
Improved union rights and steward protections, and
More flexibility and opportunities for work-life balance.
Tell the Governor: We Deserve Raises AND Hazard Pay
As you read above, the Legislature will not pass the essential worker pay bill this session. This news means that essential workers across Oregon will not get the recognition they deserve for working through a pandemic. At least not right away.
For union members, however, there is another pathway to getting the respect and pay we deserve: contract negotiations.
Prioritizing hazard pay for essential workers and winning cost of living raises for everyone to ensure our members don’t fall behind, are top economic priorities for our bargaining team.
We need all of you to call the Governor – and ask her to support these priority proposals. When we join together in collective action we clear a path to victory. Get instructions on how to reach out to the governor and make sure that once you make a call that you record the conversation on that webpage so that we can track our progress along the way.