8/18/07

Oregon's labor gov't in contract giveaways

The second-largest state workers union in Oregon has been given a generous two-year labor deal with the state. Council 75 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees reached a tentative agreement Thursday night with state negotiators for a 2007-09 contract, said Don Loving, union spokesman.

The deal affects about 4,000 state workers. As expected, AFSCME was given the same increased pay and benefits package offered to SEIU Local 503. State officials hope the SEIU economic terms will become a template for other bargaining unit contracts. That includes a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment retroactive to July 1, and a 3.2 percent COLA in the fall of 2008. The state will continue to cover workers' health premiums.

Oregon is the only remaining state that continues to pay 100 percent of workers' health premiums, Loving said.

AFSCME also won improved pay grades for 16 job classifications. That will affect about 200 workers, Loving said. In addition, "we got what we consider excellent improvement in contracting-out language," he said.

Workers now may take three days' bereavement leave to attend a funeral of an immediate family member. In the past, they had to use sick days, Loving said.

The definition of an immediate family member was expanded to include grandchildren and foster children.

(statesmanjournal.com)

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