Why I Joined the Union: Classified Employees welcomed into Local 6020 (AFTOCUE) Page 3
Summer 2013 AFT-Oregon welcomes Palma as newest Field Coordinator
AFT-Oregon questions â€œPay-It-Forwardâ€? this legislative session
Scappoose classified employees win wage increases, more job security in latest agreement
Acosta elected to MESD board
2013 Legislative Wrap-up
AFT-Oregon taking action on student debt crisis
Thanks to members who testified in the 2013 Legislature
AFT-Oregon welcomes Palma as Field Coordinator Federation News Vol. 13, No. 3 Summer 2013 Federation News is published six times annually by AFT-Oregon, AFT, AFL-CIO, 10228 SW Capitol Hwy., Portland, Oregon 97219. David Rives, President Belinda Reagan, Executive Vice-President Bryce Peake, Secretary Michael Morrow, Treasurer Steve Wojcikiewicz, Vice-President Political Action VICE-PRESIDENTS Vickie Brumit John Copp Kelly Cowan Jeff Grider Sarah Grider Devin Hunter Bernadette Kapocias Dana Rognlie Tim Taylor Kevin Weitemier LIAISONS (without vote) Val Jack, Retiree Chapter Elex Tenney, Local 5017, Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Tim Stoelb, Local 6732, Oregon School Employees Association
Rodolfo Palma, AFT-Oregon’s new Field Coordinator brings years of experience as an organizer beginning in his college years, and including a two year stint in Chile as it emerged from an oppressive dictatorship. More recently he was a project staff organizer for AFT-Michigan and its local affiliates, where he also assisted in efforts to protect workers from the tea party controlled legislature which passed devastating “rightto-work” and “pay check deception” bills during his tenure. Palma was born in Chile and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 8-years old. As an adult, he chose to move back to Chile in 2001, to reconnect with his extended family and his heritage. The country was still recovering after decades under a repressive dictatorship, which was overthrown in 1988. He said his time there gave him a new appreciation for the rights enjoyed by workers in the United States. “Chile’s union movement was in rebirth, with membership at 10 percent,” said Palma. “People were still leery of joining unions, because under the dictatorship many people were murdered for trying to organize a union,” said Palma. “Most public services were privatized, so you would see firefighters on the street begging for money for their services, and many of the roads were in disrepair,” he said. During his time with AFT Michigan, Palma worked to organize graduate researchers at the University of Michigan, helped K-12 teachers in Detroit recommit for dues after the legislature passed “pay deception” legislation which made it illegal to collect dues via paychecks. He also worked to fight a right to work bill, which passed during a lame-duck session. Palma said he looks forward to his new challenge with AFT-Oregon. “My goal is to help strengthen economic democracy in any way I can within our Locals,” he said. “I will help members to fight for what they are worth, and for a better world. Every time I help a Local win, it’s part of something much bigger—a better world where kids have access to education, and people can afford homes,” he added.
David Cecil, Chief of Staff Jillian Smith, Managing Editor
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Member address information changes should be made with the Local union office or officers responsible for membership records. Locals are responsible for reporting and updating membership information directly to the national office. AFT-Oregon uses address information provided by Locals to AFT for printing and labeling newsletters and member information. Prompt changes are important.
AFT-Oregon salutes outgoing executive council members AFT-Oregon would like to extend a thank you to all executive council officers whose terms will end on June 30, 2013. These members have volunteered their time to help guide the direction of the state federation. Most of these members also hold volunteer leadership positions in their Locals. For all their hard work, AFT-Oregon salutes the following outgoing officers for their dedication and service to members. Rodger Gamblin, Secretary Ruth Kosto, Treasurer Louise Currin, Vice-President Political Action Vice Presidents Ed Degrauw Deborah Hall Larry Reaney Katie Stofer Joel Yoder
AFT-Oregon welcomes classified employees to Local 6020 (AFTOCUE) Classified employees at Oregon Coast Community College have chosen Local 6020 (AFTOCUE) as their union representative. Union authorization was given by a majority of these employees who signed cards to have a second unit added in the union representing faculty at the college. The Employment Relations Board confirmed authorization cards signed by a majority of employees and certified the new unit in May.
AFT-Oregon has MOVED! AFT-Oregon moved to a new location in June, 2013. Please note our contact information in your files. 10228 SW Capitol Hwy Portland, Oregon 97219 Phone: 971/888-5665 FAX: 971/888-5498
Kimberly Jones Why I Joined the Union Kimberly Jones, a Financial Aid Specialist for three years at Oregon Coast Community College, led the effort to organize classified employees into Local 6020, AFT-Oregon Coast United Employees. Jones used the G.I. Bill to achieve a B.A. in History from the University of Arkansas, and a Masters in Education from the University of West Virginia. I have worked at other colleges where I was a union member. So, I know the benefits that classified employees have with a union. What prompted us to seek representation was watching classifieds take cuts, while the unionized faculty managed to avoid any concessions during the recent economic crisis. Management’s excuse was that they couldn’t “touch” faculty because of their contract. So, classified bore the brunt of the cutbacks—that was a powerful lesson. I knew our union would be stronger if we joined faculty in Local 6020 (AFTOCUE), rather than attempt to organize our own. Local 6020 member Sharon Beardsly mentored us
Kimberly Jones and her fellow classified employees at Oregon Coast Community College are now members of Local 6020 (AFTOCUE)
along the way. Her experience was helpful, because she knew the history of the classified’s struggle during the initial union campaign. The faculty have been very supportive of our campaign. We informed management in January, had all the signed cards by March, 2013. We have been working this summer to reach a tentative
agreement. We also plan to work with faculty to rewrite the local’s constitution. As for the future, I’m a strong believer in shared governance, where faculty, classified staff, students, and the community—all stakeholders, not just the administration are involved in the decision-making process at the college.
Scappoose classified employees win wage increases, more job security in latest agreement Classified employees in the Scappoose school district will receive a boost in wages and increased job security thanks to a new two-year collective bargaining agreement reached in August. Local 3662 (SFCE) President Teresa Huff said the gain is a welcome change after previous bargaining sessions. “We achieved a fair and reasonable agreement that gives raises for the first time in two years,” said Huff. “Management made a point to say these increases are not ‘valuebased,’ and that our work is very important to the district,” said Huff. Highlights include a step increase plus one percent COLA for each year, stronger language around discipline matters and more protection around “for cause” dismissal. Insurance coverage will be restructured in the second year in order to comply with Affordable Care Act standards, without loss in benefits for employees and their families. The Local is preparing for a ratification election.
2013 Oregon Legislature Some relief for schools; cuts in retirement benefits AFT-Oregon members were out in full force during Oregon’s 2013 legislative session to advocate for school funding, tuition equity, and protecting the secure retirement for many in public service. They also advocated for the involvement of faculty, school employees and students on decision-making boards. They gave testimony during legislative hearings, sent letters to lawmakers, attended Legislative Education Day and rallied on the steps of the capitol and on college campuses in support of issues that matter to members and their communities. “The good news is funding is being restored to education and other public services,” said AFT-Oregon President David Rives in his review of the session. “The bad news is that these levels are still under what they were four years ago, especially with increasing enrollments, higher tuition, and increasing demands to demonstrate accountability,” he said. Rives added, “While corporations and the wealthy continue to resist providing additional revenue to fund public education, public employees are being forced to give up their retirement security. The only source of additional revenue for education is coming on the backs of the many have dedicated their lives and careers to education for lower salaries than in other professions. There is no sense of shared sacrifice and that is extremely unfair.” Here are the highs and lows from this session. Public Sector Accountability: HB 3342, the Public Dollars Accountability Act, will keep public employers from spending money to either promote or deter unions in their workplaces, as well as ensuring that our state laws around union organizing are enforced uniformly. This bill is important since many public employers have hired union-busting law firms and consultants to interfere with their employees’ self-determination in organizing efforts. With the help the testimony of Deborah Green and Yvonne Braun of United Academics this bill passed the House and Senate. Payment Parity for NPs and PAs: HB 2902, requiring insurers to reimburse Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants the same rate as physicians when they provide the same mental health or primary care service and bill insurers using the same codes passed the legislature. This upholds an important principle--“equal pay for equal work”--and is a move against the trend of underpaying employees solely based on their job classification. Institutional Boards: SB 270 creates institutional boards for the University of Oregon, Portland State University, and possibly Oregon State University. It also creates a path for the technical and regional universities to create their own boards a few years down the line. AFT-Oregon strongly advocated for representation from staff, students and faculty, but met resistance from those opposed to employees and students on boards (despite the long tradition of shared governance in higher education). We were able to ensure that each institutional board will have 1 faculty, 1 staff, and 1 student, but the voting rights for staff and faculty positions will be determined by the governor at the time of appointment for
From Left: Local 4671 (HCU) members Carol Conner and Linden Becker, along with members of Local 6732 (OSEA) met with Rep. Ben Unger during Legislative Education Day in March.
Local 2277 (PCCFFAP) members Maurge Delaney and Frank Goulard testify in committee during the 2013 Legislative Session.
the tenure of each appointee’s term. Deborah Olson from United Academics was able to make the trip to Salem to highlight our concerns with the legislation. We will continue to work to convince this governor, and all future governors, to give faculty and staff full voting rights on these Boards. The HECC Bill: HB 3120 provides the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) authority to establish policy for the Community College and Workforce Development department (removing that authority from the State Board of Education) and gives HECC oversight over the chancellor’s office. This will be particularly beneficial for community colleges, where the opinions of our members and others concerned with education can receive more attention than on Continued on Page 5
Members who testified in the 2013 session AFT-Oregon members filled the halls of the State Capitol this legislative session, meeting with legislators, attending committee hearings, testifying on bills, marching in rallies and attending Legislative Education Day (LED). They volunteered their time to advocate for increased funding for education, to improve the quality of health care and to provide input for proposed changes that impact members’ day-to-day lives. Thank you to the following AFT-Oregon members who testified on behalf of members in the 2013 legislative session.
United Academics members Deborah Green and Yvonne Braun testify during the 2013 legislative session.
AFT-Oregon President David Rives Yvonne Braun, United Academics Maurge Delaney, Local 2277 (PCCFFAP) Shirley Geiger, Local 2277 (PCCFFAP) Deborah Green, United Academics Devin Hunter, Local 4671 (HCU) Frank Goulard, Local 2277 (PCCFFAP) Michele Marden, Local 2277 (PCCFFAP) Teri Mills, Local 2277 (PCCFFAP) Deborah Olson, United Academics Emily Plec, Local 2278 (WOUFT)
2013 Legislative highlights: the current K-12 state board. The post-secondary system of education will also benefit with community colleges and universities being united under a common board. AFT-Oregon strongly supported having two faculty, two students, and one staff with full voting rights on the HECC, but we were not successful and these positions will be nonvoting. Achievement Compact Committees: HB 3120 also requires meaningful faculty participation on achievement compact advisory committees in community colleges and universities. Faculty participation in developing these policies is an important step towards ensuring a voice for our members in decisions on their campus, and will help ensure that the accountability goals of the compacts are implemented in a way that benefits students. Higher Education Reporting: HB 2152 will standardize annual reporting by the Oregon University System, individual universities, and the community colleges to the Oregon Legislature. These reports will require universities and community colleges to report the ratios of supervisors to nonsupervisory employees and administrators to students. These reports will help the state to get a better idea of university costs and provide some baselines for employment groups by campus and system wide. Tuition Equity: The Legislature passed HB 2787, Tuition Equity, granting undocumented youth, who have graduated from an Oregon high school and have been accepted to an Oregon public university the right to pay in-state tuition. The passage of this bill culminates 10-years of battle by AFTOregon members to get this bill passed. It is a tremendous victory for our students and our state. Pay it Forward: HB 3472 creates a study committee that will develop a pilot program for “Pay it Forward, Pay it Back,” a system that connects student tuition to an individual
Continued from Page 4 long-term payroll tax. Students at public universities and community colleges would pay no tuition when they enroll. In exchange, they would agree to pay a percentage of their income (1.5% for community college, or 3% for a 4-year school) for 20 years to “pay forward” the cost of instruction for the next generation of students. AFT-Oregon has many concerns about this program, and is working with other labor unions and student groups to find ways to relieve student debt and increase funding for postsecondary education. There are strong doubts about how this scheme would be able to fund our colleges and universities in a time of austerity budgets. We’re also extremely concerned that the state would use this program to justify the continued abdication of its responsibility to provide an affordable and accessible public education. Contracting Out: SB 805 would have forced school districts to adopt sound fiscal policies to understand their costs prior to contracting out. This legislation would have clarified that cost/benefit analyses must be conducted prior to making the decision to contract for services, rather than prior to issuing a request for proposal. It would also have ensured that sale of district and contractor assets such as buses should not be considered in the cost/benefit analysis on a short-term (less than 10 year) contract. Lastly, it would have protected employees by making sure that lower employee wages and benefits cannot be the sole reason for contractor cost savings. Unfortunately, despite these common sense rules, SB 805 never even received a vote in the House or Senate. Corporate Kicker for Community Colleges: HB 2305 would have directed any monies intended for the “kicker” refund to corporations to go to the Community College Support Fund. This measure passed the House by a vote of 46 – 16, but got stuck in the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee and was not brought up for a vote.
Members take opportunity to meet with Senator Wyden AFT members had the opportunity to meet with Oregon Senator Ron Wyden during a NW Labor Council Breakfast held earlier this week. Wyden started the conversation by thanking union members for electing him to office before taking questions from the audience. Members asked a range of questions about the postal service, high tuition and trade agreements. Although Senator Wyden has a high lifetime voting record, he hasn’t always been on the side of labor. For instance, he has supported NAFTA-style trade agreements that are seen as being responsible for the decline in US manufacturing. In response to the trade conversation Senator Wyden discussed his legislation to take away tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. “I was impressed by Senator Wyden’s willingness to engage union members on a wide range of issues, including jobs, the situation with the postal service, the economy, and trade agreements,” said Kelly Cowan, AFT-Oregon Vice-President and Local 3571 (PSUFA) president. “He seemed open to having future conversations about positions where we may or may not agree.”
Back Row, from left: Steve Wojcikiewicz, Local 2278 (WOUFT) President; Kelly Cowan, Local 3571 (PSUFA) President; and Senator Wyden. Front Row, from left: Shannon Andrews, Local 6069 (CGE); Emily Plec, Local 2278 (WOUFT); Louise Currin, retired Local 111 (PFSP) member; Jeff Grider, Local 3922 (PCCFCE); Belinda Reagan, Local 111 (PFSP) President; and Michael Morrow, Local 2277 (PCCFFAP).
Rives and Goulard appointed to Higher Ed. Commission AFT-Oregon President David Rives and Local 2277 (PCCFFAP) President Frank Goulard have been appointed to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) by Governor Kitzhaber. Rives will be a voting member of the commission. One of the jobs of the HECC will be overseeing community colleges, which will now be aligned with universities, instead of K-12 schools as they were in the past. “Bringing together community colleges and the universities in Oregon is a positive move as the state coordinates efforts in postsecondary education,” said Rives. “The involvement of Frank and I as education professionals on the commission is essential in determining policy to maintain a quality education system and increase student success.” The HECC was re-chartered by the Oregon Legislature in 2013 through House Bill 3120.
AFT members were among those to testify on the bill and encourage legislators to give faculty, students and staff a vote on the commission. The commission oversees a complex system that enrolls more than 380,000 students
in eight public universities, 17 public community colleges, 67 private for-profit and independent colleges and universities, and that receives state general fund appropriations of $835 million per biennium.
The commission is made up of nine voting members, including at least one from each congressional district, and five non-voting students, faculty, and staff. Voting members are subject to Senate confirmation.
AFT-Oregon questions “Pay It Forward” impact on future students
In the last legislative session, Oregon joined the national discussion about the student debt crisis. The Legislature passed a bill to have the Higher Education Coordinating Commission look into “Pay It Forward, Pay It Back,” which would have Oregon’s students attending college with no immediate cost, but paying for their education by remitting 3% of their salary to the state for the next 20 years. While AFT-Oregon strongly believes that we must work to alleviate the burdensome debt our students are graduating with, we have some serious concerns about this particular solution. The “Pay It Forward” program as drafted in the Legislature does not address some key points and does not satisfy some basic principles that should be the foundation of any solution to the student debt crisis, including: Public education is a public good, not a private responsibility - Pay It Forward does nothing to address the ongoing lack of support from the state for our colleges and universities. There is no provision for funding to start the program; most likely the need-based scholarship program would be appropriated as one source. Students in the science and engineering fields often anticipate earning relatively higher salaries and may avoid Oregon’s colleges and universities. The Higher Education division of AFT has written an interesting, in-depth study of the Pay It Forward program and its flaws. To view, visit: www.afthighered.org.
Resolved...AFT-Oregon taking action on members’ resolutions Each convention, AFT-Oregon members pass resolutions on a variety of subjects. Many are incorporated in AFT-Oregon’s legislative and other programs and goals. Whenever you see action taken by members on certain bills during the legislative session, or a call to volunteer for a campaign, such as “Marriage Equality,” or a simple informational article, chances are those same ideas were topics in resolutions passed by AFT-Oregon members during annual conventions. The following are actions, or articles related to 2013 convention action. To view resolutions passed at the 2013 convention, visit: www.aft-oregon.org.
AFT-Oregon tackles student debt and higher education funding AFT-Oregon hosted a forum in June for Local presidents and leaders to brainstorm a campaign on how to tackle the student debt crisis and better advocate for post-secondary funding. The forum came in response to a resolution passed at the 2013 AFTOregon convention calling for development of a plan to tackle these issues. “The discussion about student debt was full and wideranging. There was too little time to explore the many intriguing perspectives, talking points and proposals that we touched on. I look forward to continuing to address this very complex but urgent issue,” said Cammie Hering, Local 3571 (PSUFA) Secretary. Colleges and universities have responded to ongoing state disinvestment in education by cutting funding for instruction and increasing the financial burden on students. As a result, tuition has skyrocketed over the last decade. This is an unsustainable path for public higher education. “First we have to make the connection between cuts in funding, the reliance on contingent faculty, tuition increases, and revenue streams so we can rebuild our post-secondary system,” said David Rives, AFT-Oregon President. “Then we can reach out to other education advocates, students, and community partners for their input and together build a strong campaign to fund colleges and universities in our state.” “Oregon, with only 5.8% of the state budget going to higher education, ranks third lowest in the nation in funding,” said Jeff Grider, Local 3922 (PCCFCE). “The state should not make it worse by forcing students to shoulder a disproportionate amount
Members discuss strategies for tackling student debt crisis. From Left: David Rives, AFT-Oregon President; Jeff Grider, Local 3922 (PCCFCE); Steve McAllister, Local 3544 (GTFF); and Cammie Hering, Local 3571 (PSUFA).
of the cost. Nor should we be cutting the salary of the hardworking employees who provide said education. Instead, we should focus on reinvestment in our public higher education institutions.” Participants discussed the principles for an affordable public education and ways the union can influence key decisions on tuition, revenue, and funding. Information garnered at the event will help AFT-Oregon to develop an action plan and a political strategy for the coming year to improve the situation for student tuition and post-secondary funding.
Reverse mortgages can pose a risk for seniors Delegates to the AFTOregon Convention approved a resolution in 2013 to warn citizens of the dangers of reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages have been on the rise in the past several years with the collapse of the real estate market. And while they seemed a valid option for senior citizens who were unable to sell their home, the pitfalls far outweigh the benefits, causing many seniors to default on their
loans. A reverse mortgage, which is run by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), allows those who are at least 62 years of age to borrow against the equity in their home. Unlike a traditional home equity loan, a reverse mortgage doesn’t need to be paid back immediately, perhaps not even during the lifetime of the borrower. When the home is sold, the borrower or the estate will need to repay the lender
any cash received from the reverse mortgage, plus interest and other fees. Any remaining equity in the home belongs to the homeowner or the heirs. What many seniors fail to consider is the up to two percent mortgage insurance premium due up front on the home value – not the amount borrowed – as with regular forward mortgages. For example, if you own a $400,000 home, the upfront MIP would be $8,000
– whether you borrow $30,000 or $200,000. And, the main risk is that the homeowner would be gambling on their future and ability to maintain the home’s upkeep, taxes and insurance costs. If those needs go unmet, the loan would be considered in default and the homeowners could find themselves out on the street in their golden years. Visit www.aft-oregon.org to read AFT-Oregon’s resolution on this important issue.
Federation News AFT-Oregon aft, afl-cio Find the link to become a fan of AFT-Oregonâ€™s fanpage on facebook: www. aft-oregon.org
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10228 SW Capitol Hwy. Portland, Oregon 97219
Mark your calendar AFT-Oregon has MOVED!
AFT-Oregon moved to its new location in June, 2013. Please note our new address and phone numbers in your files. 10228 SW Capitol Hwy Portland, Oregon 97219 P: 971/888-5665 F: 971/888-5498 September 26-29 Oregon AFL-CIO convention, Bend November 11 Veterans day (office closed) November 15 AFT-Oregon executive council meeting, Portland November 15-16 AFT-Oregon Local Presidents Conference, Portland November 28-29 Thanksgiving holiday (office closed) December 24-26 Christmas holiday (office closed) January 1 New Years holiday (office closed)
Footwear discount on name brands you trust AFT-Oregon has partnered with NW Scrubs, a family-owned Portland company, to provide members with a fantastic discount on footwear. Members save 25% on name brands including Dansko and Crocs. NW Scrubs has provided affordable, name brand products to customers for over 6 years, and have helped over 30,000 customers get great products at affordable prices. They strive to make your in-store and online shopping experience simple and enjoyable. To receive your 25% discount, sign into the password protected portion of the AFT-Oregon website, www.aft-oregon.org. by using your AFT Membership number (on your AFT membership card). You can also present your AFT membership card at either store location. Store locations can be found at: www.nwscrubs.com. Please note that you cannot receive your 25% discount directly through the NW Scrubs website. For more information, or to request a flyer to help promote this great benefit in your worksite, contact your AFT Member Benefits Representative, Susan Miller at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 971/888-5665.
Cash back on all expenditures with new AFT endorsed credit card AFT has just re-launched its popular union endorsed credit with a new provider, Capitol One, which is a U.S. based bank. Members will receive 1.5% cash back on all purchases when using the card, and will receive unlimited rewards, which can be redeemed at any time. Other benefits include a 0% rate for balance transfers for 12 months, and no annual fee. For those members who do not want a cash back card there is a card with an interest rate about 2% lower. Both cards will also carry the same hardship grants which will each be increased about 25% over what was offered through our previous card. While those benefits will be part of the card program, the grant programs are administered through Union Privilege, the benefits arm of the AFL-CIO. Apply today via the benefits section at www.aft-oregon.org, or at: www.aftcard.com. You can also call 800/522-4000. Please have your AFT Membership number or card handy.
AFT+ now offers discount on HP computers AFT+ has added Hewlett Packard products to its computer and electronics discount program. Receive up to 30% off HP, or up to 30% off Dell products by accessing the benefit through the Union Plus website www.unionplus.org/computers/dell-hp-discount, or calling a toll-free number with a discount code. The number is: 866/433-2018 and your discount code is EP14472. Please have your AFT Membership number or card ready.
Pet Insurance changed to fit your needs Members can now tailor the AFT Pet Insurance program to better fit their petâ€™s needs. Members signing up for new coverage can now choose from four base coverages. Existing members will be offered the chance to switch their coverage to the new plans when they come up for renewal. Details on coverage and rates can be found at: www.unionplu.org/AFTpets or 866/473-7387.