Why does any employable Oregonian need rental assistance?
espite very low unemployment, Governor Kate Brown has "engaged in conversations with legislative leaders and housing advocates to find a path forward for a legislative solution that involves updates to current tenant protections in state law, including the extension of current safe harbor protections for Oregonians who have applied for rental assistance, as well as using state resources to continue assistance at the state and local levels."
Her actions beg the question, why does any employable Oregonian need rental assistance? According to the Oregon Employment Department, "Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.7%
in September from 5.0%, as revised, in August." That was even better than the national rate where the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.8% in September from 5.2% in August. Additionally, the Employment Department is projecting job increases
through the year 2030.
Oregon Housing and Community Services has announced that nearly all federal rental assistance funding in Oregon has been allocated to or requested by applicants, and that the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program will pause accepting new applications starting on Wednesday, December 1.
According to Governor Brown, “Since March 2020, Oregon has distributed historic amounts of rental assistance to meet the unprecedented need created by the pandemic. Every Oregonian deserves a warm, safe, dry place to call home––and during a public health crisis it has been critical to ensure that Oregonians stay housed. That is why I have worked closely with the Oregon Legislature since the beginning of this pandemic to provide a range of resources to support both renters and their landlords.
“Because of the work of Oregon Housing and Community Services and community-based partners, Oregon is currently ranked 7th in the nation for the distribution of rental assistance and has remained in the top ten nationally for more than a month. However, thousands of Oregon households remain at risk of eviction and need assistance as quickly as possible. Disproportionately, due to systemic disparities in Oregon housing, this burden has fallen to Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and people of color.
o be clear: Oregon has sufficient federal resources to help all eligible households who have applied to date. OHCS and its partners continue to process every complete application quickly, prioritizing those outside of current safe harbor protections. But with nearly all remaining federal funding requested by existing applicants, it was critical for OHCS to give Oregon families ample notice today that, without additional funding, the program will soon need to pause taking new applications.
“We know that the need for this critical assistance continues. Additional funding is needed urgently to ensure Oregon’s rental assistance program can meet the ongoing need––an ask I have made directly to U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, who administers the federal rental assistance program. It is not likely, however, that the U.S. Treasury will be able to deploy additional resources for rental assistance immediately.
“It will be impossible to serve every Oregon family that is struggling with rent with state resources alone. Those conversations will continue, with the goal of bringing forward a proposal for the Legislature to consider in a special session in the upcoming weeks.” It is not clear if the Governor is seeking additional federal funds or a change in laws that requires housing providers to support non-paying tenants.
|Post Date: 2021-11-15 11:23:43||Last Update: 2021-11-15 12:09:08|
“I just need you to put a shirt on”
ow well did students survive one year of online school in their pajamas? What did one year of unstructured learning actually teach kids? Now the ugly head of “comprehensive sexuality education” has emerged in the form of Rape Culture. Oregon Department of Education’s Sexuality Education Newsletter, November 5, 2021, sent to colleagues’ states, “Each month offers us opportunities to build allyship and support for all students, through K-12 comprehensive sexuality education.”
They list eight events from October 20 to November 20 and closed with, “Each of these markers in time asks us to hold space for the sorrows and joys of students with system-impacted identities past and present, while reinforcing our commitment to education equality for all Oregon students.”. When has education supported so much activity on non-basic curriculum that schools are rated on? Southridge High School parents are finding out their students have become overly conscience of sexuality that lacks social responsibilities resulting in improper behaviors.
At a November 2 staff meeting, teachers at Southridge High School, Beaverton, were given a philosophical story of diverting a water leak with metal spouts but never fixed the leak as a comparison to Rape Culture. It defines the culture as acts of sexual assault and harassment that are enabled and normalized by a metal spout. Then teachers were asked: How can we take time to educate ourselves on the impact of the sexualization of students?
Why were they asked to rationalize a rape culture? Girls at Southridge High devised a protest where they sexualize themselves by wearing lingerie that shows their nipples among other things and writing "tame your boys" and "rape culture" across their chest. When a male teacher told a girl she needed to put on a shirt, she accused the teacher of sexualizing her. His response was, “no, I just need you to put a shirt on.” When the harasser claims to be the victim, there is something wrong.
In an email, Principal David Nieslanik, acknowledges the incident did occur and gave the responsibility to the assistant principal. He mentions that “a small group of students met with him that felt targeted by some staff based on their gender and perceived sexualization of their gender. The conversation was on entry points to conversations about sexualization.” Nieslanik explains that no mention was made of sexual comprehensive education or dress code. Subsequent to their meeting several students that were in the meeting, who identify as femme presenting and feminine protested sparsely dressed.
When questioned, Principal Nieslanik said he immediately talked with the girls about how they present the purpose of their protest, which has turned to the dress code. His approach is education for staff and students around what really is the issue. Change how they protest away from little clothing to make a point to a more inclusive, thoughtful way; and have a conversation at the November staff meeting about where staff is in this broader conversation of living and teaching in a sexualized western culture to help navigate supporting students in a healthy way around students’ voice.
A staff meeting was called November 2 that expressly said focus would be around the theme of sexualization of students within the community. An attendee revealed that instead of how to enforce the district’s dress code, the teachers were reprimanded for speaking to the girls. They commented, “If a picture was taken by anyone in the school and sent around it would be considered distributing child pornography, but they were allowed to walk around school basically naked and that’s ok.”
Code 11, Disruptive Appearance/Student Dress, states: “students may be directed to change dress or grooming if it interferes with the learning process or school climate, is unclean, or threatens the health or safety of the student or others…Immodest attire may be disruptive. When immodest attire is considered disruptive, the student will be expected to alter the mode of dress.”
Another teacher who was present, said the girls who were protesting were at the staff meeting and basically told the staff they will dress how they want and they have to deal with it. They commented on how bold she was, and the principal appears to not be moving to enforce the dress code. The School Resource Officer confirmed that the principal does not appear to be doing anything about it.
ubsequently, Northwest Observer has learned that there has been another event. It is thought by teachers that the lack of addressing dress code limits has exhilarated protests.
Parents have not been notified of the incidents that are still happening on campus. Rick Puente, Beaverton School District Safety Administrator, was asked to comment and he had no idea these incidents have occurred.
Freedoms should go hand-in-hand with responsibility. But students are being confused between responsibility and rights. Oregon Department of Education pushes Critical Race Theory, inclusive and diversity, and that is being manipulated by such organizations as Center for Equity and Inclusion, which ultimately takes away the freedoms students think they are fighting for. When kids are allowed to run the school, what can we expect from education?
|Post Date: 2021-11-14 15:27:42||Last Update: 2021-11-14 15:38:45|
“Conduct that is not punishable by death under SB 1013 would be disproportionate”
he Oregon Supreme Court has reversed the death sentence
imposed on defendant Dayton Leroy Rogers and remanded the case to the Clackamas County Circuit Court for resentencing. Rogers' modus operandi
was to pick up prostitutes and take them to secluded areas
. He took at least six of them into the forest where he tied them up and killed them.
The court, in an opinion authored by Associate Justice Adrienne Nelson, concluded as it did in Oregon v. David Ray Bartol
that since the rules for aggravated murder had changed, it was disproportionate, and reversed and remanded the conviction. It is likely that a lower court will sentence Dayton to a lengthy sentence, instead of death.
While defendant's appeal was pending, the legislature enacted SB 1013, which amended the death penalty statutes such that, among other things, all of the forms of murder that previously had constituted aggravated murder -- including the theories of
aggravated murder under which defendant had been convicted -- were reclassified as murder in the first degree and were no longer subject to the death penalty
In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Adrienne C. Nelson, the Supreme Court reversed defendant's sentence of death, concluding that, in light of the Court's recent decision in Bartol, maintaining defendant's death sentence for conduct that is not punishable by death under SB 1013 would be disproportionate and, thus, would violate Article I, section 16
Article I, Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution says that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed. Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted, but all penalties shall be proportioned to the offense.—In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law, and the facts under the direction of the Court as to the law, and the right of new trial, as in civil cases."
redefined aggravated murder to just a few extreme cases in Oregon. According to the new law, aggravated murder -- eligible for the death penalty -- is limited to the following:
1) Criminal homicide of two or more persons that is premeditated and committed intentionally [under, or accompanied by, any of the following circumstances] and with the intent to:
a) Intimidate, injure or coerce a civilian population
b) Influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion or
c) Affect the conduct of a government through destruction of property, murder, kidnapping or aircraft piracy or
2) Murder in the second degree, as defined in ORS 163.115, that is:
a) A) Committed while the defendant was confined in a state, county or municipal penal or correctional facility or was otherwise in custody and
B) Committed after the defendant was previously convicted in any jurisdiction of any
homicide, the elements of which constitute the crime of aggravated murder under this section or murder in the first degree under section 3 of this 2019 Act
b) Premeditated and committed intentionally against a person under 14 years of age
c) Premeditated, committed intentionally against a police officer as defined in ORS 801.395, and related to the performance of the victim’s official duties or
d) Premeditated, committed intentionally against a correctional, parole and probation officer or other person charged with the duty of custody, control or supervision of convicted persons, and related to the performance of the victim’s official duties.
SB 1013 was passed mostly along party lines during the 2019 session. Republican Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) joined House Republicans Ron Noble (R-McMinnville) and Duane Stark (R-Grants Pass). Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. The bill was put forward as a committee bill from the Senate Committee on Judiciary, and as such, has no named sponsor, though Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) chaired the committee at the time the bill was introduced.
According to some insiders, this decision not only reverses the death penalty in this case, but imperils the entire Oregon Constitution where any provision of the Constitution can be redefined by merely redefining the terms.
|Post Date: 2021-11-13 06:45:19||Last Update: 2021-11-12 17:08:40|
Governor Called to Rescind EQC Pick Over Ethical Concerns
he Oregon Senate is set to vote soon on the Governor’s most recent nominees to various boards and commissions. The Governor has nominated Amelia Schlusser, a staff attorney for a green energy advocacy organization, to sit on the Environmental Quality Commission.
According to the Senate Republican Caucus, the nature of Ms. Schlusser’s work for an organization that promotes policies the EQC has jurisdiction over raises serious ethical concerns.
They contend that in her position at the Green Energy Institute (GEI), Schussler advances their goals to pursue 100% decarbonized energy, taxing industries that use energy that emits carbon, and opposes the use of fossil fuels. She has admitted that she “regularly communicates with policymakers” and “participates in regulatory proceedings convened by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality,” the Department which is overseen by the EQC.
“This nomination from the Governor is a power-grab that raises serious ethical questions,” said Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Getting paid to advocate for government policies that she would directly oversee if confirmed is the clearest conflict of interest I can imagine. The Governor should immediately rescind this nomination. If the Governor fails, the Senate should not vote to confirm.”
e cannot ignore this obvious conflict of interest that would permanently damage the credibility of the Environmental Quality Commission,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby). “The Governor should rescind this nomination of Ms. Schlusser, who works for an advocacy group that regularly lobbies this commission. Giving any organization that kind of direct influence would be clear favoritism. We must hold our state to higher ethical standards than this.”
“This kind of nomination by the Governor destroys the public’s trust in our government,” said Senator Fred Girod (R-Lyons) who sits on the Senate Rules Committee with Senator Knopp. ”There are more ethical ways for the Governor to stack these commissions with extreme environmentalists, but the Governor opted to nominate someone with a clear conflict of interest.”
Oregon law currently does not have any qualifications for appointment to the Environmental Quality Commission. An initiative petition
to create regional and professional criteria is currently being circulated for the 2022 ballot.
The Senate Rules Committee will take up the nomination on Monday, November 15 at 12:45pm.
|Post Date: 2021-11-12 15:47:31||Last Update: 2021-11-12 16:01:31|
“This is a great day for individual liberty in America”
The Freedom Foundation
celebrated a major milestone this week as it assisted its 100,000th public employee in opting out of union membership.
Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Harris v. Quinn and its 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME
, no public employee in the country can be compelled to pay union dues just to keep their jobs.
Following the rulings, the Freedom Foundation launched a massive educational outreach and public interest litigation program to inform public employees about their First Amendment right to stop unions from seizing dues from their paychecks and to help them overcome hurdles put in place by unions and state officials to thwart employees from cancelling the deductions.
“We know from experience that public employees are eager for information about their rights and don’t want to subsidize the extreme agenda of government union bosses,” said Freedom Foundation CEO Aaron Withe.
“This is a great day for individual liberty in America and a major accomplishment for the Freedom Foundation, but we won’t stop until we empower every public employee in the country with the ability to make an informed decision about union membership.”
The Freedom Foundation was founded 30 years ago in Olympia, Wash., with a mission to promote individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government. In 2014, the organization realized that unions representing public employees were the single biggest opponent to these ideals and focused its energy on ending the stranglehold they have on the policymaking process at every level of government.
“Over the years, government unions have seized billions of dollars in dues from the paychecks of people who had no choice in the matter and used it to corrupt politicians who make the whole enterprise legal,” explained Withe.
While the Freedom Foundation’s efforts began in Washington, they steadily expanded to Oregon, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This summer, the Freedom Foundation broadened its activities to all 50 states and has quickly become the nation’s recognized leader in the fight against government unions’ oppression.
Already, the Freedom Foundation has sent millions of pieces of mail and emails to public employees, utilized digital advertising and traditional media, and even deployed an army of paid staff to visit public employees at their homes and workplaces to inform them about their rights.
Government unions not only fail to inform public employees of their First Amendment rights but have actively worked to thwart their rights by implementing practices and backing state policies making it easy for unions to sign people up for membership but exceedingly difficult for employees to cancel the deduction of dues from their paychecks.
At their most extreme, some unions have even resorted to forging employees’ signatures on union membership forms, a practice the Freedom Foundation continues to expose and dismantle through multiple federal lawsuits.
“We knew government unions weren’t going to walk away from their coercive dues collection practices on their own, but helping 100,000 public employees escape union exploitation proves we know how to fight back and that we’re on the right track,” said Withe.
In total, the Freedom Foundation estimates that the resignations have already cost government unions a whopping $150 million in lost dues revenue, money that cannot be used to corrupt politicians and advance unions’ job-killing, high-tax, socialist agenda.
|Post Date: 2021-11-12 10:49:57||Last Update: 2021-11-12 10:57:27|
There is simply no bar to a variety of tax increases
The Consumer Price Index experienced its largest 12-month increase in 30 years, evidence of rising inflation.
In the face of record revenue
, the Oregon Legislature raised or created several taxes during the 2021 session, led by House Speaker Tina Kotek. With a Democrat supermajority in both chambers and a Democratic governor, there is simply no bar to a variety of tax increases. This was on the heels of the crushing Corporate Activities Tax, which raises over $1 billion annually.
Ahead of the upcoming 2022 Legislative Session, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) is warning against policies that will increase the cost of living in Oregon.
“Rising inflation will hurt Oregonians,” said Leader Drazan. “Our state budget is a runaway train, doubling in 10 years while raising the cost of living. With the shocking rise in inflation, I will oppose any bills that increase costs for Oregon families. Fiscal policies that dig into their pocketbooks to fill state coffers are going to push people out of their homes and out of our state. We should do everything we can to eliminate regulations that raise costs so families can keep their homes and jobs.”
In its September Economic Forecast
the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis indicated that persistent inflation is a risk, and looks for help from federal monetary policy:
"In recent months inflation is running hot. Much of this can be explicitly tied to reopening sectors of the economy, or shortages in the automobile industry. However, even stripping away these likely temporary issues, the risk remains that underlying inflationary pressures will remain above the Federal Reserve’s target moving forward. Therefore the risks are not whether inflation will be above target or not – it already is – but what exactly the Fed is going to do about it."
|Post Date: 2021-11-12 10:30:04||Last Update: 2021-11-12 10:32:37|
Also, wear a mask
eginning Jan. 3, 2022, the City of Portland will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all vendors, consultants, contractors, volunteers and grantees who perform in-person work for at least 15 minutes at the City’s indoor facilities. Between Nov. 8 and Jan. 3, all who perform in-person work for at least 15 minutes at the City’s indoor facilities will be required to wear a KN95 face covering.
Allegedly to protect community and employee health and safety, this new policy follows the City’s recent vaccination requirement for employees. Recommendations were developed by a city workgroup.
“We’re committed to helping Portland recover from this pandemic by making City worksites as safe as possible,” said Biko Taylor, the City’s chief procurement officer. “We’re also committed to making this policy as simple as possible for local businesses and volunteers, who are essential to our city’s economic health and vitality.”
The new policy was issued by the City's Chief Administrative Officer in coordination with the City's Procurement Services team.
Vendors, consultants and contractors with active contracts must complete the “Attestation Questions” in their profile on the City’s BuySpeed vendor portal by Jan. 3, 2022. The questions document if a vendor, consultant or contractor has workers or subcontractors subject to this requirement; and if so, that they comply or have a medical or religious exception verified by their employer.
Workers with medical or religious exceptions approved by their employers will be required to comply with following regulations when performing work inside a City worksite for more than 15 minutes:
- Testing for COVID-19 twice a week (negative test result within the past 72 hours)
- Wearing a fit-tested N95 mask, provided by the vendor, consultant or contractor
- Maintaining six feet of distance from others whenever possible
- Performing the work required remotely when feasible
Approximately 2,500 vendors, contractors and consultants will be impacted by the City’s policy. They perform a wide range of jobs, from construction projects to custodial services to equipment and product supply.
The process will be slightly different for the City’s volunteers and grant recipients, a group that includes everybody from advisory committee members, to volunteers with Portland Parks & Recreation's No Ivy League and the Bureau of Emergency Management's Neighborhood Emergency Teams, to Civic Life grantees. Adults spending more than 15 minutes inside a City worksite will be asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to the activity, working directly with their City of Portland liaison. Volunteer and grantee information will be reviewed for verification only.
Out of respect for privacy, no copies will be taken.
Without satisfying one of these two requirements, volunteers and grant recipients will not be able to participate in their scheduled in-person activity.
|Post Date: 2021-11-11 18:23:15||Last Update: 2021-11-11 18:37:25|
“The most impressive and diverse group of rising stars we’ve ever seen”
th Congressional District Candidate Lori Chavez-DeRemer
(R-Happy Valley) is celebrating being named to the 2021-2022 E-PAC “Women to Watch” list.
House Republican Caucus Chair Elise Stefanik says this group is “the most impressive and diverse group of rising stars we’ve ever seen,” and that we “will be Majority Makers!”
Chavez-DeRemer reacted to the news:
"I feel incredibly honored to have been included on this list of spectacular candidates, but none of this would be possible without your support. Chair Stefanik is working hard to make sure Republicans take back the House next fall and restore our economy and our freedom in America.
"Our campaign cannot slow down. We must move full steam ahead and keep speaking out against the Biden Administration and it’s unconstitutional and harmful policies that are hurting Oregonian’s ability to fill their gas tanks, heat their homes, and put food on their table."
|Post Date: 2021-11-11 10:24:12||Last Update: 2021-11-11 10:54:14|
Berschauer will continue to lead the county
Progressive Yamhill, Save Yamhill County, AFSCME, The Yamhill County Democratic Party, lame duck Commissioner Casey Kulla and the Recall PAC were all disappointed when the County Clerk declared their petition to recall County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer short of the required amount of verified signatures after 5 pm. on Wednesday. Over 8,000 signatures were turned in but enough were disqualified leaving the petition short of the required 6875 signatures.
Volunteers from the groups list above, with a dozen Yamhill Republican Party members representing Berschauer’s interest, observed the signature verification process over six days. Normally petitions with over 4000 signatures are sampled rather than having each signature inspected. The sampling method quickly threw out over 1500 signatures bringing loud protests from the petitioners. In this instance the County Clerk decided that due to the presence of attorneys for both sides and the high profile nature of the recall attempt, each signature would be verified.
The signature gathering process involved numerous $18 an hour individuals from the Metro area who may have lacked familiarity with proper procedure. Some signatures contained a happy face, unlike the signature as it appears on a drivers license. Few signers read the charges against Berschauer that were listed. Those charges included false statements. False statements are allowed on recall petitions due to the political nature of the initiative. Several refused to sign stating that disagreements on policy choices of elected officials should be decided when they run for re-election.
The disgruntled vowed to make another attempt at recall. The names and addresses of all who signed the petition are now public record. Because recalls are rare in Yamhill County the Secretary of State’s office was asked to offer guidance. Even with full oversight, Save Yamhill County questioned The County Clerk’s integrity in spite of his impeccable record of fair and impartial public service spanning more than a decade. Numerous complaints against Save Yamhill County involving improper reporting of expenditures starting in August are outstanding. A recall election would have cost the County $90,000.
|Post Date: 2021-11-11 09:44:25||Last Update: 2021-11-11 09:54:03|
Hazard pay for County employees, because Covid
he Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 9, approved immediately investing more than $30.4 million in homelessness services, behavioral health and public safety, using a mid-year surplus to address the community's most pressing issues.
The county says this is in response to community needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdowns and sets aside hazard pay for eligible County employees who continued to serve the public during the lockdowns.
Highlights from the budget include additional shelter beds and street outreach teams, new investments in behavioral health supports, increased capacity for vector control, and additional measures to address criminal justice reform and prevent gun violence.
“A surplus that comes at this size is rare,” Chair Deborah Kafoury said. “A surplus that arrives at such a critical, trying time in our community’s story is even more rare. And with the help of staff who have dedicated their careers to serving our community, we readily identify multiple areas where a surge of funding could help us to meaningfully improve the lives of the people who have been disproportionately harmed by this pandemic.”
The surplus was the result of the Board both increasing the business income tax rate in 2020 and extending the tax filing deadline to May 2021, and a stronger than expected economic recovery. Final tax collections — which came in after the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget was adopted — were more than $30.4 million above what was forecasted in May 2021.
Typically, the County would incorporate such revenue into its next budget, for FY 2023. But, the county says that because of the magnitude of the issues facing the community, the Board decided to spend it immediately.
“We want to make sure we’re responding to the most urgent needs in our community, specifically those that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Budget Director Christian Elkin. “We want to center our investments on the County’s role as the safety net government and Local Public and Mental Health Authority.”
|Post Date: 2021-11-10 18:28:08||Last Update: 2021-11-10 18:50:35|
Vehicle tags, trip permits and titles
regonians will see fees rise about 3% when they renew their vehicle tags, get a trip permit or apply for a vehicle title next year.
The fee increase will take effect Jan. 1, 2022, and is the third of four scheduled fee changes under Oregon’s historic House Bill 2017
transportation investment package. The final fee increase will start in January 2024.
Supposedly, these improvements are to include hundreds of millions in improved city streets, updated sidewalks and bicycle routes in school neighborhoods, reinforced bridges and roadways to withstand earthquakes.
DMV is starting to mail vehicle registration renewal reminders with the updated fees for tags expiring after the first of the year. If your tags expire in January or later, you will need to pay the new fee even if you renew before the end of 2021 – whether online, by mail or in person.
The vehicle fees most Oregonians are familiar with are passenger car registration and titles.
Under Keep Oregon Moving
, passenger car tags and title fees are based on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency rating. Drivers of electric vehicles or vehicles that are rated at more than 40 mpg can pay the full fee for two or four years up front, or they can pay a lower fee and a monthly per-mile charge for miles driven in Oregon if they join OReGO
Passenger vehicle registration fees cover two-year periods, except for new vehicles, which begin with a four-year registration.
The registration fee for electric passenger vehicles enrolled in OReGO remains unchanged at $172 every two years.
|Post Date: 2021-11-09 17:46:16||Last Update: 2021-11-09 21:23:26|
“The challenge we are trying to address is the increasingly unaffordable cost of health care”
s if dealing with government regulations regarding COVID-19 and continual upward pressure on healthcare costs weren't bad enough, Health Maintenance Organization Kaiser Permanente in Oregon and Southwest Washington is engaged in labor negotiations with its nurses union -- which may result in a strike if a resolution is not reached by November 15.
According to the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, "[n]early 3,400 workers from Kaiser Permanente in Oregon have voted to authorize a strike. With a staggering 90% participation rate, the vote count was to strike by 96%, meaning of those who voted, 96% voted Yes. This is an unprecedented strike authorization vote, showing total unity amongst Kaiser workers to stage a strike over issues like safe staffing, patient care, and a fair contract."
The dispute seems centered over wages. Arlene Peasnall, senior vice president of human resources at Kaiser Permanente says that "On November 2, Kaiser Permanente offered Alliance leaders an updated economic proposal that provides Alliance-represented employees as much as 4% a year in pay increases, with no takeaways to the market-leading benefits and retirement programs. The proposed wage increases are on top of the already market-leading pay and benefits our employees receive, as confirmed by independent wage surveys and the government’s own data compiled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services." According to the union, "Kaiser has made inaccurate claims that its workers are paid above market rate, but in reality their current offers amount to a pay cut that would pull them below the market average."
Kaiser calls out wages in a statement on the current negotiations. "The challenge we are trying to address in partnership with our unions is the increasingly unaffordable cost of health care. And the fact is wages and benefits account for half of Kaiser Permanente’s operational costs.
"We remain committed to working together with labor for the benefit of our workforce, members, and the communities that rely on us. We believe we can reach an agreement with the Alliance that meets our shared interests and avoids an unnecessary and harmful strike, especially as we continue to battle this pandemic.
"If a strike actually occurs, our facilities will be staffed by our trained and experienced managers and the contingency staff we will bring in as needed, and our physicians will continue to be available to care for patients."
|Post Date: 2021-11-09 09:23:09||Last Update: 2021-11-09 10:02:59|
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