PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Contract talks between Oregon Health and Science University and thousands of union workers are at an impasse.
The AFSCME Local 328 union represents 7,000 workers including pharmacists, radiology technicians and housekeepers — almost half of OHSU’s 16,000 employees.
Union members have been working without a contract since it expired on June 30.
Sticking points in the negotiation include wanting higher wage increases than what was proposed and employees do not want the proposed paid time off system — they want to keep the separate vacation and sick day system they have now.
“We feel its a significant patient safety issue that when people are sick they should feel empowered to take out their time when they are sick, so we don’t have to go into work and sacrifice vacation time,” respiratory therapist Casey Parr said.
In a statement, OHSU said “Most large hospitals in the Portland metro area — our competitors — offer PTO systems.”
In a significant compromise, OHSU has proposed to make it optional for current AFSCME members.
Last offers from both sides are due to the mediator Monday at 5 p.m. There is also bargaining scheduled before a strike vote on August 19.