On December 13th, our Oregon AFSCME Statewide Bargaining Team sat down for the first time with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Team representing the state of Oregon. The tone was overall positive and there were no fireworks to report. The teams quickly agreed to ground rules and to future bargaining dates, beginning on January 26th, 2017. This was expected as the first session of bargaining is more about starting the state-mandated 150-day bargaining clock than passing proposals and diving into the weeds.
After the teams broke for the day around 11 a.m. our AFSCME team stayed in caucus and finalized the bargaining survey, crafted communication messaging, and, in the afternoon, went about brain-storming potential proposal ideas and strategies. That said, the bulk of proposal writing will come when we have bargaining surveys and have better view of the memberships goals and contractual wants. Bargaining surveys will be released electronically next week.
Over the next few weeks we will continue to prepare for the January 26th session and the legislative session that is nearly upon us as well. As many of you are aware, the state budget will have a huge impact on our bargaining. The fact is right now the budget situation is grim. The current Governor’s budget has a $1.7B hole that is balanced with cuts and tax increases that still have to pass the legislature. It is crucial that our membership be ready to engage at the Capital like never before. Expect to be asked to participate in Lobby Days, as every member who participates will help us get the money to secure a fair and solid contract.
Lastly, to keep up with what is happening in bargaining, we will be doing live updates via our facebook page, facebook.com/oregonafscme, during every bargaining session. Join us there and keep thinking of ways to support your bargaining team. Happy Holidays and solidarity!