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October 06, 2015
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Bargaining updates

Check out this page for news and commentary on bargaining.


HR walks away from the table
Jan 06, 2014
Newsflash: On Monday, January 6, 2014, the HR's chief negotiator submitted a declaration of impasse to the state mediator.
Download: FAQs about impasse.pdf

HR comes back to the table
Oct 15, 2013
The DCTU reached tentative agreement with HR on twelve contract articles! See the list here. The team also proposed a settlement package offer on articles 6, 9, 13, 35, and Schedule A, which includes our COLA.
DCTU files Unfair Labor Practice
Oct 08, 2013
On Monday, September 30th, the District Council of Trade Unions filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) with the Employment Relations Board. The complaint focuses on two issues: unilateral changes to vacation time and holiday pay, and not bargaining in good faith.
Download: ulp complaint DCTU.pdf

Mediation summaries
Sep 22, 2013
News flash: HR has agreed to another bargaining session tenatively scheduled for 10/15/13. 9/27/13 update: The DCTU bargaining team held a caucus meeting to go over management's response to the DCTU's evening proposal on 9/24/13, recieved on 9/26. The "last, best mediation offer" can be found here.
Working without a Contract
Jul 09, 2013

What does it mean to be working without a contract?

As the contract expires, we move into what a “status quo” period.  During this time the terms of the collective bargaining agreement remain in effect with two exceptions:  the “No Strike Clause” and the arbitration provisions of the Grievance Procedure.  Although the collective bargaining agreement now permits the union to strike it remains an unfair labor practice under the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act for the union to strike until a legal impasse is reached.  Likewise, it is an unfair labor practice for an employer to violate a provision of the contract during this period.  In other words, for the time being, nothing should change for employees.

Contract Expires
Jul 07, 2013

DCTU logo

July 1, 2013

DCTU- Working without a contract.

The District Council of Trade Unions is a coalition of 7 unions—representing over 1600 union members-- that operate jointly in bargaining with the City of Portland. As of June 30th, our collective bargaining agreement with the City expired and today our local's DCTU affiliated members are officially working without a contract.

Our bargaining team stands firm with the members of DCTU who are concerned about their job security, job protections, and their personal privacy and will continue to advocate at the bargaining table for a fair contract.

The most glaring issue in this year's negotiations has been the City's attack on contract language restricting outside contracting. Across the country we are witnessing the wholesale privatization of public services. Here in Portland we see the same trend. We have learned that our best protection as city workers and as tax payers is article 6 of our collective bargaining agreement, which prevents the City from arbitrarily contracting out our work to low wage, non-union employers. It also saves tax payer money through a requirement to demonstrate cost savings before contracting out the work our members do.

And because the City refuses to agree to a retroactive Cost of Living Adjustment upon settlement, collectively our members will lose $4,000 a day for every day that HR continues to drag their feet on addressing the issues our members are most concerned about. Never before has the City denied union workers a retroactive COLA settlement. This is a dramatic incentive for the City not to bargain in good faith and reach a timely agreement.

It’s time for a response from the DCTU. We will be holding worksite assemblies in the coming weeks to discuss how to beat back these takeaways and win a fair contract. Contact your union for details and ways to get involved.

Stand up for city services
Stand Strong with the DCTU

Jun 18, 2013

Summary of City of Portland’s 6/4/13 Settlement Proposal

                                                                                                                                       Revised 7/27/13 MKH

Article 6 – Job Security and Outside Contracting 

The City’s 6/4/13 proposal would gut existing contract language. If the City's team prevails on this proposal there would be no contractual limit on contracting out, laying the foundation for the wholesale privatization of our work-- no reporting requirements; no accountability. The reintroduction of this proposal without modification ignores the work done for weeks in the joint bargaining sub-committee.



Article 7 – Standard Day Shift Hours


The City’s 6/14/13 settlement proposal packages did not include a proposal on article 7. But on 3/26/13, the City’s team did offer a proposal with take backs in article 7.  While the City’s bargaining team is going after our comp time in article 9, they are also pushing for concessions in scheduling that could reduce our overtime accrual. Proposed changes to Article 7 would allow your supervisor to change your schedule from week to week to change your shift—even for just one day--if you have a late night meeting or an early morning construction job, thus avoiding the obligation to pay overtime. Your schedule will be a moving target, without the predictability your family relies on. This is a quality of life issue for workers and their families.



Article 9 – Overtime


There has been some movement by the City on this issue. The City’s team proposes an 80 hours bank for comp time up from 40 hours in their first offer. Current contract language allows for the employee to accrue up to 80 total hours at any one time but the City's proposes to limit comp time accrual to 80 total hours in a calendar year. Employees would not accrue more comp time even if they have used all their comp time and have no more hours in the bank.

What’s more, the employee would only receive comp time in lieu of overtime pay by mutual agreement between the employee and their supervisor. If the employee transfers to another bureau, comp time will only transfer by mutual agreement of the employee and the receiving bureau. Comp time carried over to the next year would count against the next year’s accrual limit, and payout of comp time at the end of the calendar year would require mutual agreement of the employee and their supervisor.

What this means: Use of comp time will be capped at 80 hours and hours carried over will count against the next year’s 80 hours. But without the supervisor approval the employee cannot accrue comp time nor cash it out at (calendar) year’s end. Coupled with changes to article 7 (scheduling) the City’s package is an attack on the 8 hour day.


Article 11 – Working Out of Classification


The City's proposal removes the requirement that an employee be "willing" to accept an upgrade. It also removes the definition of full-time and references to seniority and the eligibility list. According to the modified language, the City would no longer be required to notify the union if an employee is upgraded for more than 30 days.

What this means: The supervisor could force an employee to accept an upgrade against his will-- with no time limit! The supervisor can even upgrade temporary employees with less than 6 months experience. Seniority would no longer be a consideration for an upgrade and there would be no contractual requirement to maintain an eligibility list for upgrades and promotions. Working out of class will be at the sole discretion of the City.


The Bottomline: The City wants to use upgrades to get around the necessity to staff and train appropriately.



Article 12- Seniority


The City's proposal removes the "25% limit" on the practice of choosing the second most senior qualified bidder for vacancies occurring within a bureau. Management would always be able to choose between the top two most senior qualified candidates.

When the DCTU originally agreed to accept the current contract language giving management greater flexibility in promotions 25% of the time, the City's team promised they would never eliminate the 25% limit.

What this means: The City's package increases management discretion and the risk of cronyism politicking and favoritism. If the City doesn't like you (perhaps because you are a union activist) they can get around promoting you.



Article 15- Holidays


The City's team is backing off their initial proposal by agreeing to comply with the arbitrator's ruling on the Personal Holiday pay issue. After six months of service the employee is entitled to three personal holidays paid out at 3 times their normal shift length. This is important for the employees working alternate schedules and ten hour days. NOTE: “Normal shift length” will be determined by taking a snapshot of each eligible employee’s work schedule on the first day of the first pay period in January.

The first hours taken off on vacation leave in a calendar year shall be considered personal holidays.

What this means: If you go on vacation before you use all your personal holiday pay the City will count your first vacation hours as Personal Holidays.


Article 17- Health and Life Insurance


As TAed with caveat that DCTU could reopen in bargaining as part of financial package
Proposal adds one rep to Labor/Management Benefits Committee for 189 rep from Housing bureau and one more rep appointed by the City. 95%/5% premium share is maintained. The City and DCTU agree to reopen this article if changes in health care legislation at federal or state level that affect health care benefits paid by City.

Same as above, plus an increase in life insurance from $10,000 to one times annual salary up to $50,000 per bargaining unit member. Benefit does not transfer if you leave City employment or retire. This increase is supposed to be the sugar that helps the sick leave concessions they are promoting in article 18 go down.



Article 18 – Sick Leave


The City appears to be using changes to article 18 to get around "just cause". Under the City's proposal, the "just cause" standard would not apply to disciplinary action regarding sick leave usage. The proposal also outlines a new set of conditions for misuse/excessive use.

It doesn't matter if sick leave is used appropriately (i.e. used when the employee or child is actually sick). Using over 64 hours of sick leave in one year could be cause for disciplinary action.

The City’s proposal removes the 6 month time period restriction--sick leave probation could be indefinite. If you use sick leave while on probation, you must produce a note from your doctor to get paid for the first day of sick leave, encouraging workers to come to work sick. Sick leave probation is not subject to just cause protection. Privacy issues arise if managers aren't trained properly for sick leave probation interviews.



Article 19 – Family and Medical Leave


Additional period of leave, extending parental leave to a total of 6 months at employee's request



Article 27- Wage Scales


According to the City’s proposal, managers will be able to bypass the wage steps outlined in Schedule A. At management's discretion new hires and promoted employees can be placed above the entry wage rate, at a higher step than existing employees with more seniority.

If the City truly believes that the wage scale is too low to attract the most qualified candidates for open positions, the City ought to leave our seniority protections alone and instead increase wages in that classification for all employees.

Combined with changes proposed to articles 11 and 12, the City's package offer is an assault on seniority protections and leaves the door wide open to cronyism, politicking, and favoritism.



Article 38- Effective Date and Duration of Agreement

City proposes 4 year agreement







First Year (2013-14) 1/2 COLA (at .9%) paid after ratification by both parties (and not retroactively applied).

3rd 4th and 5th years: Full COLA up to 5% paid on July 1of those years



New premium ($1.16) for Senior Electrical Inspector and Senior Plumbing Inspector who are assigned the duties of Chief Inspector.


New premium ($.80) for certain new certifications with no min. hours. 






There are over eighty Letters of Agreement between affiliate unions of the DCTU and various city bureaus. The City has moved away from their original proposal to eliminate all letters of agreement for alternative schedules in certain work units. The 6/4/13 LOA package added back 14 of the LOAs permitting alternative schedules.


There are several LOAs for work units specifying the terms and conditions for stand-by pay. The DCTU bargaining team may reconsider these LOAs in light of the City’s article 9 proposal restricting the usage of comp time.

Mar 25, 2013

On Tuesday March 19th, the City's team further complicated negotiations by re-hashing contracting out and overtime. Read more about the specific proposals here and here

Download: Article 6 poster.pdf

Feb 28, 2013

The bargaining team for District Council of Trade Unions met with the City’s team on Tuesday, February 19th. The first day of negotiations addressed ground rules for the bargaining table. The Union team also introduced a first offer focused on the chief concerns of the DCTU membership: job security, protecting sick leave, and maintaining wages and health benefits. Bargaining sessions will be held on Tuesdays. 

On Tuesday, February 26th, the City’s bargaining team proposed a tall stack of changes to our long-standing collective bargaining agreement. The City’s chief negotiator informed the DCTU team that their proposal package would focus on “improving equity” as well as “savings and efficiencies” to address budget constraints. Taking a closer look reveals an interest in command and control issues over economics. It appears to be an all-out attack on our union seniority rights.

See the attached newsletter for more information or follow this link.

Download: tabletalk 2.28.13.pdf

Page Last Updated: Jan 08, 2014 (18:27:00)
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