7/18/2019 - Management Trolls

Hello fellow scientists!

By now you have probably heard some version of the story about Management bargaining team members harassing ASFCME Local 328’s blog with troll accounts. We’ll get into the story below, but first an update on GRU’s bargaining.

So What Happened on July 18?

Here’s What the Union Proposed

Union Provisions – This article provides protected time for union stewards and the executive board to perform the day-to-day operations of the union

Career Development – A major issue for graduate researchers at OHSU is the lack of a brick and mortar career development center or even a structured set of online resources for career development. This article proposes the creation of this center including minimum office size, staffing, events, and resources it must cover. This proposal also covers mandatory mentorship training for PIs to take a graduate researcher into their group.

GRU Lounge – This article proposes the creation of a graduate researcher lounge for taking breaks and social interaction. This lounge would not be associated with any particular department, program, or school.

Here’s How Management Responded

After showing up 23 minutes late to bargaining, Management said very little in response to the articles proposed by the Union. They provided counter-proposals to the Job Description and Hours of Work articles. In these counter-proposals, Management reiterated their stance that virtually everything we do is academic, only changing the word ‘work’ to ‘employment’ in their new proposal.  Consequently, their Hours of Work counter-proposal included a maximum of 20 hours per week of ‘work’ but stated that “There are no limits on the amount of effort or time required to make satisfactory progress toward a degree as part a member’s educational activities.” Essentially, they proposed that all the work we do we do is academic and that there are no limits on the amount of academic work we can be required to do.

To really hammer this point home, Management also proposed a package of three new articles called Preamble, Scope of Agreement, and OHSU Authority and Responsibilities. In three pages of densely worded legalese, Management proposed that they have the right to remove people from the bargaining unit at any time for any cause because our members are “primarily students.”

Management also expressed a desire to try out a new bargaining format called Interest Based Bargaining (IBB), as opposed to the current format of Position Based Bargaining. We will discuss the differences more in the next issue, but essentially IBB generates contract language from a moderated discussion of personal stories and interests, rather than by passing proposals back and forth. The Union agreed to try this format for the next three sessions.

Note: The first of these sessions happened last Thursday so stay tuned for another newsletter very soon.

Better Know Your Community – AFSCME Local 328

AFSCME Local 328 is the largest AFSCME local in the state, representing about 7,000 OHSU employees. Local 328 started bargaining with OHSU in February. Unlike our union, Local 328 has been around for decades and this round of bargaining is a re-negotiation of an existing contract. Local 328’s Management bargaining team is made up of different people than GRU’s, but both teams include Vice President of Human Resources Dan Forbes. In these negotiations, Management has attempted to take away existing benefits from employees, including cuts to healthcare, a two-tiered system for raises, and a PTO system that incentivizes people to come to work sick. The Union said no to all of the above.

THE IMPASSE

After making frustratingly little headway on bargaining, Local 328 and Management entered formal mediation in June with the Oregon Employee Relations Board (ERB). These extended bargaining sessions including a mediator from the ERB lasted up to 16 hours. After six of these sessions, Local 328 gave management an ultimatum: remove these takebacks or we will declare an Impasse.

Management did not remove the takebacks. Local 328 declared an Impasse. OHSU was deeply shocked and posted about their hurt feelings on OHSU Now.

An Impasse declaration initiates a month long cooling off period from bargaining, followed by another attempt at mediation. If the second mediation fails, Local 328 may go on strike. The vote to authorize a strike will be held on August 19-21.

THEN THINGS GOT WEIRD

Over the last several weeks, Local 328 noticed several instances of trolling on their Twitter and blog. These troll posts were more than just angry comments and included doctored spreadsheets making Union dues look much higher than they are in an attempt to confuse and anger union members. The fakes names listed for the troll accounts, and I am 100% not making this up, were Aanus McFadden and Roy Vragina.

The troll must have been some angry disgruntled employee or perhaps a 12 year old right?

Wrong. It was Management bargaining team member Patrick Frengle. Yes really. But wait, there’s more.

OHSU tweeted an apology for the trolling and stated that Frengle has been removed from the Management bargaining team. But there was one more fishy troll account that wasn’t him, which used the name Peter Pumpkin Eater.

Ok, that one is definitely a small child, right?

Wrong. It was OHSU Vice President of Human Resources Dan Forbes. Dan Forbes who is on Local 328’s bargaining team. Dan Forbes who is the lead negotiator of GRU’s bargaining team, who we were scheduled to negotiate with next Thursday.

Dan Forbes is resigning effective immediately and will no longer be participating in contract negotiations for Local 328 or GRU. We have not heard anything from Management about how this will affect our bargaining. Seriously, Management we would like to know.

Action and Events

PICKET TODAY! Let’s stand in solidarity with AFSCME Local 328 today to demand fair bargaining from OHSU, both for the staff and for the grads. TODAY 4:00

Bargaining – The next bargaining session is currently scheduled for next Thursday August 15th in the School of Nursing room 116. Given recent events this may change but we have not heard anything yet.

Contract Action Team (CAT) Meetings – Every Monday 5:00-6:00 in BRB381. Come to a CAT meeting to help write the contract, build the union, and organize! Free food provided by AFSCME.

Tell Us Your Story! – We are collecting stories from bargaining unit members (you!) to talk about during Interest Based Bargaining. If you have a story about your work that you are ok with sharing, please let us know by replying to this email or contacting us on Slack, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Your stories can be discussed anonymously in bargaining.

I’ll be writing to you again very soon with an update on our first session of Interest Based Bargaining and any more news about this troll thing. Until then, I’ll see you at the picket!

Science and Solidarity,

-       Graduate Researchers United