OHSU and AFSCME collective bargaining teams have met regularly since March to work on a new contract. After months of negotiations, AFSCME Local 328, which represents about 7,000 employees, has notified OHSU of their intent to declare impasse and will be filing tomorrow, meaning that bargaining moves to the next phase. To be clear, a strike has not been declared.
What happens next?
Both the OHSU and AFSCME bargaining teams are now required to submit their final offers on all outstanding issues, as well as a cost estimate for their final offers, within 7 days, by Sept. 7. These final offers will be published by the mediator. OHSU will share its final offer with the OHSU community at that time.
Following submission of final offers, a 30-day “cooling off” period begins. During the 30 days, OHSU and AFSCME will likely agree to meet and continue negotiations. The OHSU bargaining team is committed to reaching an agreement and will continue to reach out to AFSCME and make efforts to resolve differences.
Does this mean there will be a strike?
A strike — or work stoppage — is possible, but OHSU will continue to make efforts to avoid one. A strike hurts everyone: Employees on both sides of the picket line, and especially patients and others that OHSU serves. OHSU is prepared to continue to operate in the event of a strike, but is hopeful that parties will reach acceptable terms for a new contract.
Are AFSCME-represented employees working without a contract?
Technically, yes; the contract expired June 30, 2022. However, the law requires both OHSU and AFSCME to generally maintain the terms and conditions of employment that were in place under the expired contract. Terms and conditions of employment include many provisions of the contract, including pay and benefits. Working without a contract has very little impact on an employee’s day-to-day experience in their job.
For previous bargaining updates, visit the Labor Relations page on OHSU News.