of Oregon, and Oregon
Public Employees Union, Local
503, SEIU, AFL-CIO, CLC
IN FACTFINDING PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO
ORS 243.722 ET SEQ. AND OAR 115-40-010
FINDINGS OF FACT
This Factfinding arises between Oregon Public Employees Union, Local 503,
SEIU, AFL-CIO, CLC ("Union"), and State of Oregon ("State").
LUELLA E. NELSON was selected to serve as Factfinder.
Hearing was held on February 15, 16, and 17, 1995, in Salem, Oregon, and
February 18, 1995, in Portland, Oregon. The
parties had the opportunity to examine and cross-examine witnesses, introduce
relevant exhibits, and argue the issues in dispute.
The Union tape recorded the hearing, but the parties have not agreed to
make those tapes part of the official record of testimony.
The Union submitted a portion of the matter on closing oral argument;
both parties filed post-hearing briefs on or about February 24, 1995.
The Union further submitted a copy of the March 1995 Oregon Economic
Review and Forecast, and letter commenting thereon, which were received on or
about March 2, 1995. The State
submitted a letter in response to the Union's comments, which was received on or
about March 4, 1995.
On behalf of the Union:
Tim Nesbitt, Assistant Executive Director, Oregon Public Employees Union, P. O. Box 12159, Salem, OR 97309
On behalf of the State:
M. Cordy, Assistant Attorney General, Labor Law Section, General Counsel
Division, Justice Building, Salem, OR
97310; and Eva M. Corbin, Labor Relations Manager, Department of Administrative
Services, State of Oregon, 155 Cottage Street NE, Salem, OR
In making her Findings of Fact and Recommendations, the Factfinder
weighed and considered the following criteria set forth in the Oregon Public
Employees Collective Bargaining Act ("PECBA"), ORS 243.746(4), and the
Rules of the Oregon Employment Relations Board ("ERB"), OAR
lawful authority of the employer;
of the parties;
interest and welfare of the public and the financial ability of the unit
government to meet those costs;
of the wages, hours and conditions of employment of other employees performing
similar services and with other employees generally:
(A) In public employment in
(B) In private employment in
average consumer prices for goods and services commonly known as the cost of
The overall compensation presently received by the employees, including
direct wage compensation, vacations, holidays and other excused time, insurance
and pensions, medical and hospitalization benefits, and continuity and stability
of employment, and all other benefits received;
in any of the foregoing circumstances during the pendency of the arbitration
other factors, not confined to the foregoing, which are normally or
traditionally taken into consideration in the determination of wages, hours and
conditions of employment through voluntary collective bargaining, mediation,
factfinding, arbitration or otherwise between the parties, in the public
service or in private service.
Shall there be an across-the-board salary increase, effective April 1,
The Union has proposed an increase of 6.5%.
The State has proposed no increase.
2) Shall there be
selective salary adjustments, retroactive to January 1, 1995?
(a) The State has proposed increases
of two ranges for:
Disability Analyst 1; and,
Disability Analyst 2.
The State has proposed an increase of one range for Communicable Disease
The Union has agreed to the above increases for Elevator Mechanic,
Disability Analyst 1, 2 and Communicable Disease Investigator, subject to
resolution of related issues described in Issues #3 and #4.
The Union has proposed additional increases as follows:
(b) Dental Assistant 1, 2 and Dental
Hygienist: +3 ranges
(c) Electrician, Corrections
Electrician and Electric & Control Systems Tech:
+8 ranges (+6 ranges for Electrician above rate proposed by the State)
(d) Grounds Maintenance Worker 1, 2:
(e) Laboratory Aide: +3 ranges; Laboratory Assistant & Tech 1, 2:
(f) Measurement Standards Specialist
1, 2: +4 ranges
(g) Mental Health Therapy Shift
Coordinator & Mental Health Therapist Coordinator:
(h) Park Ranger 1, 2 and Park
Maintenance Coordinator: +2 ranges
(k) Pharmacy Technician 1, 2:
(l) Radiologic Technician 1, 2:
(m) Refrigeration Mechanic:
(n) Ship's Assistant Cook, Ship's
Cook, Ordinary Mariner, Able Mariner, Boatswain, Boat Operator, Ship's 1st Mate,
Ship's 2nd Mate, Ship's 3rd Mate, Ship's Electrician, Asst Port Engineer, Ship's
1st Asst Engineer, Ship's 2nd Asst Engineer, Ship's Chief Engineer:
(o) Telecommunications Systems Tech:
(p) [withdrawn at hearing, to be
consolidated with non-strikeable unit interest arbitration]
(q) Weighmaster 1, 2 and Senior
Weighmasters: +4 ranges
(3) Shall the implementation
provision for the selective salary increases offered by the State or recommended
by the factfinder be modified from the current contract provision as proposed by
The State has proposed that employees shall not receive an increase
unless their current step is below the first step of the new salary range or
their current rate is not a rate in the higher range; in that event, they shall
be placed on the higher step closest to their current rate of pay.
The Union proposes current language for the implementation of selective
salary increases. That language
(Article 27, Section 5) reads:
... [E]mployees ... shall be placed at that step of the new salary range
which results in a one-step increase; provided, however, that if any employee is
more than one (1) step below the first step of the new salary range, he/she
shall be placed at that first step. ...
(4) Shall the selective salary
increases offered by the State or recommended by the factfinder include a sunset
provision, as proposed by the State?
The State has proposed a five-year sunset provision, after which
continuation of the higher range would revert to the prior salary range unless
justified by market and recruitment or retention factors.
The Union has proposed no sunset provision.
This factfinding concerns employees represented by the Union who are not
prohibited from striking by ORS 243.736 ("strikeable" employees).
The parties' 1993-95 collective bargaining agreement ("the
Agreement") included an across-the-board wage freeze in the first year and
a wage reopener for the second year. The
parties have been unable to agree on wages in bargaining under the wage reopener.
The parties have specifically excluded from consideration the impact of
the recent passage of Measure 8 (requiring employees to pay a 6% contribution
into the Public Employee Retirement System, or PERS).
The Union has agreed that any salary increases awarded in this proceeding
will offset the proposals now on the table for the 1995-97 Agreement.
Those proposals, of course, are not at issue in this proceeding.
Of the criteria in ORS 243.746(4), the parties have identified three
principal areas of contention as to proposed across-the-board and selective
increases. Those areas are ORS
243.746(4)(c), the public interest and ability to pay; 243.746(4)(d), the
comparison with other employees; and 243.746(4)(e) the cost of living.
ORS 743.746(4)(C) PUBLIC
INTEREST/ABILITY TO PAY
The State calculated the estimated cost of the Union's proposals for the
portion of the 1993-95 biennium for which they would be effective, as well as
the costs of those proposals for the 1995-97 biennium.
Those initial estimates, including the cost of those selective proposals
on which the parties are in agreement, are shown as Appendix A, attached hereto.
The parties' ability-to-pay arguments center around that portion of the
proposed increases that would be funded from the General Fund.
Therefore, unless otherwise specified, the figures discussed herein refer
only to General Fund revenues and expenditures.
The state constitution requires a balanced budget.
The state budget routinely incorporates an ending balance.
This provides a cushion against unanticipated expenses or revenue
shortfalls. Until the last two
biennia, the rule of thumb was to keep the ending balance at 2% of the total
budget; an unspecified lower figure is now used.
Appendix B shows the budgeted ending balance versus the actual ending
balance, in millions of dollars, for 1987 through 1997.
The 1993-95 budget appropriated General Funds for personal services of
$1,504.3 million. The December 1994
estimates anticipated the State would actually spend only $1,496.3 million of
those funds by mid-1995. The State
also reduced expenses in other areas below the budgeted amounts, for a total
General Fund savings of $48.1 million in 1993-95.
$12.3 million of the savings came from underexpenditures within
agencies whose employees are represented by the Union.
Each budget includes appropriations to an Emergency Fund to cover
unanticipated expenses arising after the legislative funding process has
ended. A joint legislative
committee, the Emergency Board, rules on agency requests for Emergency Funds
when the Legislature is not in session. If
the Emergency Board does not approve a request, agencies must fund unanticipated
expenses by other means, such as reductions in other program expenditures.
Between 1985 and 1993, the Emergency Board allocated most or all of the
Emergency Fund reserved for compensation changes.
Those sums ranged from $43 million to $96.8 million per biennium.
In the 1993-95 biennium, the Emergency Fund contained $21.8 million for
compensation changes. $15.5 million of this money was earmarked for anticipated
insurance premium increases. The
remaining $6.3 was expected to cover possible salary and insurance increases
for collective bargaining agreements that remained open at the close of the
By the start of the 1995 legislative session, the Emergency Board had
allocated only about $14.4 million of the funds reserved for compensation
changes, largely because insurance premiums did not rise as anticipated.
The remaining $7.4 million in Emergency Funds is added to the beginning
balance for the 1995-97 biennium, and will be reflected in budget revisions.
The proposed 1995-97 Emergency Fund includes $52 million for selective
In 1990, Measure 5 reduced the maximum property tax rates for local
schools over five years, and set maximum tax rates for non-school government
operations. It required the State
to make up lost local school funds from the General Fund through fiscal year
1995-96. A 1992 attempt to raise
the maximum local tax rate for non-residential property failed, as did a 1993
proposed sales tax.
The State has always provided some General Fund support to schools.
As a result of Measure 5, the amount of General Fund school support has
increased since 1990. This increase has included both mandatory and discretionary
funding. Attached as Appendix C is
a chart showing, in millions of dollars, the general fund revenues and school
support (Measure 5 and discretionary) for fiscal years 1988 projected through
fiscal year 1997. The State is not
legally required to replace lost local school fund revenues after fiscal year
1995-96. The proposed school
support for the 1995-97 biennium exceeds the amount needed to replace lost local
school fund revenues by roughly $.5 billion.
Lottery revenues are dedicated to economic development. Since 1993, the Legislature has used lottery
"backfill" to fund economic development programs (including some
school funding) which it formerly funded from General Funds.
Both projected and actual lottery revenues have varied widely.
Accurate projections for coming years are difficult because of the
possibility that Indian gaming may reduce lottery revenues.
Attached as Appendix D is a chart showing the actual and projected
lottery revenues, and the amount of lottery backfill, in millions of dollars.
In 1993, the Legislative Fiscal Office estimated that, for the 1993-95
biennium, the budget would require $7.54 billion to fund services at the level
that prevailed in the 1991-93 biennium. It
projected resources at $6.45 billion. After
accounting for the ending balance, that left a $1.2 billion "current
service gap." The Legislature
took the following steps to fill this gap:
Higher Education Tuition Increases
New Taxes, Fees, and Revenue Enhancements
Federal and Other Fund Shifts
Program Reductions $870.5
According to Cost Analyst Tom Perry, the Legislative Fiscal Office
estimated it would be necessary to reduce positions by 1,762 from a January 1992
baseline in 1993-95. The 1993-95
Budget Highlights shows a planned reduction of 2,140 positions and 1,363.7 FTE's
relative to the 1991-93 biennium. Total
full-time equivalent ("FTE") positions actually decreased from
47,203.26 in 1991-93 to 46,215.14 in 1993-95, a reduction of 988.12 FTE's, or
2.1%. Perry testified the State
laid off 382 employees between January 1992 and July 1993.
The record does not reflect whether any of those laid off found other
jobs in State government. The
recommended 1995-97 budget provides for an increase of 518.89 FTE's, to
46,734.03, an increase of 1.1%. The
March 1995 Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast estimates state government
employment will increase by 1.5% in 1995.
In calculating payroll costs, the State applies an unspecified vacancy
rate for the budgeted positions. The
Union estimates the State saves an average of $159,863 in General Fund payroll
costs monthly for each 1% rise in the unit vacancy rate. Attached as Appendix E is a chart summarizing vacancy rates
within this unit between February 1994 and January 1995.
The budget does not account for savings resulting from replacing
departing senior employees with new hires at a lower step in the salary range.
The average unit employee is at Step 5.4.
The Union estimates the State saves an average of $371 per month in
payroll costs by replacing a Step 5 unit employee with a Step 1 new hire.
Of that amount, an average of 29.5%, or roughly $109.45, comes from the
General Fund. The Union attempted
to estimate the total savings from unit separation figures provided by the
State. Unfortunately, those figures
shed little light on this issue. See
Appendix F for an analysis of the turnover data.
The 1995-97 recommended budget includes a 6.6% inflation factor over the
biennium for services, supplies, capital outlays, and some special payments;
it applies other inflation factors for medical services and a few other areas.
The 1993-95 budget assumed roughly a 6% inflation factor for similar
items; however, it required some agencies to absorb some or all of the
When income tax revenues exceed projections by more than 2%, ORS 291.349
requires a tax credit to taxpayers of the excess, referred to as the
"kicker credit." In
December 1994, the State estimated the combined personal and corporate kicker
credit that would be due in the 1995-97 biennium at approximately $270 million.
The March 1995 revisions estimate the kicker credit at $318.6 million.
The Legislature can suspend the operation of ORS 291.349, as it did for
the 1991-93 and 1993-95 biennia. The
1995-97 recommended budget assumes the "kicker" credit will take
The 1995-97 recommended budget does not recommend funding for an
estimated $216.4 million in contingent liabilities.
The amount of some of the contingent liabilities has been fixed, but the
schedule for payment remains uncertain; the amount of others has not been
determined; and some may be resolved without a net cost to General Funds.
The March 1995 Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast noted robust growth
in jobs, particularly in construction and high technology manufacturing,
during 1994. It predicted a
slowdown by the second half of 1995 and continuing into 1996, especially in
residential construction and durable goods manufacturing.
It noted that personal income grew at an estimated 7.5% in 1994, and
predicted a rate of 6.8% in 1995. Looking
specifically at wage and salary income, it reported growth of 8.5% in 1994 and
predicted growth of 7% in 1995. Predicted
rises in manufacturing and private service wages were virtually tied, at
4.3% and 4.2%, respectively. It predicted that rising mortgage rates and prices, combined
with somewhat less net in-migration, would slow residential construction.
It predicted that Oregon income, population, and employment growth would
exceed the national average into 2001, but per capita income growth would lag
behind the national growth rate.
The 1995 Portrait, Regional Economic Review and Outlook, prepared by the
Northwest Policy Center and U.S. Bank, noted above-average growth in the Oregon
economy for both 1993 and 1994. It
predicted slower growth in 1995 in both employment and personal income.
Standard & Poor's September 12, 1994, Creditweek Municipal report
rated the State AA- and the outlook as "negative."
The AA- ranking placed Oregon in a 9-way tie for 28th place nation-wide.
The basis for the pessimistic outlook was the impact of Measure 5.
S&P noted two pending measures that could radically amend the state's
tax structure, Measures 5 and 20. It
also noted the defeat of a proposed 5% sales tax in 1993, Measure 1. The report recommended reshaping the State's revenue
and expenditure structure. Moody's
October 10, 1994, Municipal Credit Report rated the State Aa; it had last rated
the State A1 in July 1982. Moody's
commented on the hardship evoked by Measure 5 and the potential negative impact
of various then-pending ballot measures.
It predicted the State economy would outpace the national economy.
Both rating agencies commented approvingly on the State's relatively low
debt, the healthy historical and projected growth of the State's economy, and
the increasing diversity of the State's economy.
The State's total balance as a percent of expenditures ranked sixth in
the nation for fiscal 1993, fifth for 1994, and second for 1995. It ranked fourth in per capita net financial assets
(including balances, excess fund assets, rainy day funds, and permanent funds
for resource revenues).
General funds in the five most populous counties of the State increased
between 52.6% and 156.8% between fiscal year ending 1987 and fiscal year ending
1994, and averaged 81.1% over the five counties.
For ten counties reviewed by the State (including Clark County in
Washington), general funds increased between 20.3% and 156.8% in the same
period, averaging 75.3% overall.
The parties did not submit annual State General Fund figures for fiscal
year ending 1987, thus preventing a direct comparison with county revenues for
the eight-year period used by the State. However,
between fiscal years 1988 and 1994, State General Funds rose by 70%.
Using the biennium figures for the eight-year period covered by the
1985-87 to 1991-93 budgets, State General Funds rose by 59.5%; using the 1987-89
to 1993-95 estimates, General Funds rose by 73.2%.
If one subtracts out school support, net General Funds available for
non-school programs rose by 50.6% between fiscal years 1988 and 1994; the
net non-school biennium figures are 45.7% for 1987-89 to 1993-95.
Because of the lack of annual school support figures for the 1985-87
biennium, the same comparison cannot be made for either 1987-94 or 1985-93.
OF THE PARTIES
Emergency Fund allocation best represents the results of the democratic
process, and is therefore the best evidence of the interest and welfare of the
public in striking a balance between funding programs and employee compensation.
The State is relatively unable to pay the proposed increases.
Measure 5 has nearly tripled school support, while revenues have increased
by only 82%. The percent of general
fund revenues available for other programs has declined.
The State is less able to pay increases than are counties, which have not
been as affected by Measure 5. Particularly
after accounting for increased school support, the State's General Fund
increases were about half that of counties.
Further, counties are not affected by the kicker credit.
The counties' ability to pay far exceeds the State's.
The Factfinder should reject the proposed distinction between mandatory
and discretionary school funding. It
is unrealistic and contrary to public interest to end some or all of the
discretionary school funding simply because it is discretionary.
Both bond rating agencies considered Measure 5 to have a significant
effect on the State's outlook.
Lottery revenues are an unreliable source of funds for State programs
because of the variability in revenues.
Declines in anticipated lottery revenues would result in program
reductions. "Backfill" is
only necessary because Measure 5 has diverted General Funds to school support.
Budget flexibility is at an all-time low.
The proposed ending balance is the lowest of the last three biennia, and
is below the 2% rule of thumb. The
State has been unable to raise additional General Fund revenues through two
ballot measures, both of which were defeated by three-to-one margins.
It has turned to program reductions, layoffs, and increased fees to make
up budget shortages. Unfunded
contingent liabilities also present a significant risk to the continuity of
Spending $1 in one year reduces services by $2 in the next year.
Short-term resources used to pay for the proposed increases would have a
detrimental effect on the continuance of programs in future years.
The public interest includes fair and competitive pay for employees who
provide services. The vote against
Measure 15 demonstrated public support for that principle.
The State has not made a general argument for inability to pay affecting
funds other than the General Fund. The
economy is robust, and thus does not establish an inability to pay.
The State has not established it is unable to raise the revenues
necessary to pay for the proposed increases.
There is no need for additional revenues to fund the Union's proposals,
given the growth in General Fund revenues.
These funds are possible offsets to unbudgeted contingent liabilities.
The failure of Measure 7 in 1992 and Measure 1 in 1993 did not affect the
General Fund budget for those years. In
contrast, the defeat of Measure 15 in 1994 preserved resources that otherwise
would have been diverted to local schools.
Despite increased school funding required by Measure 5, net General Fund
revenues increased in 1993-95 and will increase again in 1995-97.
Lottery backfill has increased General Fund expenditures for non-school
programs even more.
Measure 5-related layoffs have ended.
Recent layoffs have not been shown to be linked to Measure 5, and the
1995-97 budget projections will bring State employment back to pre-Measure 5
levels. No evidence exists of
likely cuts in vital programs from the proposed increases.
Budgeting does not trump bargaining.
The Emergency Fund for compensation increases does not define the
ability to pay. However, the
unspent 1993-95 Emergency Fund is an obvious first source for funding these
proposals without reducing resources for 1995-97.
The 1995-97 Emergency Fund is also a first source for funding the 1995-97
"roll-up" costs of the Union's proposals.
Both turnover and the number of vacancies have increased during this biennium.
If the higher vacancy rate continues through the end of the fiscal year,
the State will save an additional $1.63 million over projections during the last
half of this fiscal year. The State
will realize an additional $3.837 million in savings if vacancies are 1% higher
than the assumed rate for 1995-97. If
turnover averaged 2,252 per year, the State would realize an additional $8.065
million in General Fund savings for 1995-97.
The State's budgetary practices are biased toward underestimating
revenues and overestimating expenditures.
If the figures were off by only as much as the 1991-93 biennium, an
additional $188.7 million would be available during 1995-97.
Contingent liabilities should not be considered as evidence of inability
to pay. In this regard, the budget
does not recommend funding for those contingent liabilities, and offsetting
revenue options exist to address those contingencies.
The alleged inability to pay is a matter of priorities. The State has built an inflation factor into the budget for
services and supplies, including payments to contractors and contract employees.
It has also built inflation into school funding over and above
replacement amounts dictated by Measure 5.
It has also built inflation into grants and transfer payments to cities
and counties. School districts, cities, and counties have continued to grant
salary increases for their employees. This
suggests the State is able to pay similar increases to its own employees.
Obviously, spending a dollar this year results in lower resources next
year. The same is true of any
dollar spent in any year, whether the dollar is spent on employee compensation,
school support, supplies, or contractors. The
inescapable impact on future years' resources is a question of priorities, and
does not establish an inability to pay. As
other factfinders and interest arbitrators have found, inability to pay is
established only if spending that dollar will place a severe burden on the
State's finances such that its solvency or its ability to fund vital programs
are endangered. The burden of proof
on this point rests with the State.
Measure 5 continues to affect the analysis of ability to pay. As Arbitrator Calhoun noted in his 1993 award involving the
Oregon State Police, the public has indicated a general unwillingness to fund
services at their previous levels. In
light of this sentiment, the ability to fund services at current levels is a
less compelling aim than ensuring that those services which continue to be
funded are compensated at levels that assure high morale and the maintenance of
a high-quality work force.
The expiration of the State's school funding replacement obligation under
Measure 5 does not make school support funds an unrestricted pot of money for
other purposes. Local government
tax rates for education are capped indefinitely.
For those already at the cap, school funding revenues can rise only to
the extent that property values rise. Without
a change in law, there is no readily available substitute for continued State
school support. However, the end of
mandatory school support does give the State greater discretion in budgetary
priorities in this area. Further,
even if the State elects to continue school support at the levels previously
mandated by Measure 5, that support will no longer be artificially accelerated
by falling local tax caps in 1996-97 and future years.
It is misleading to gauge trends in ability to pay from an examination of
General Fund revenues after subtracting school support, as suggested by the
State. The past few years have been
affected disproportionately by Measure 5's decreasing local school property tax
rate. That series of local tax
decreases has now ended. The impact
in future years will be more stable, as demonstrated by the relatively level
school support in 1995-97 proposed budget.
However, even if one were to take the non-school portion of General Funds
as the measure of ability to pay, the State's ability to pay has increased more
quickly than in some counties, and is roughly comparable to the least prosperous
of the five largest counties in the State.
The record does not establish that the increase in vacancies made
additional funds available for compensation increases.
The State already backs out a predicted vacancy rate in preparing its
budget. It cannot be determined
whether the rising vacancy rates during the past year provided unanticipated
savings, or merely brought payroll savings from this factor in line with expectations.
The record does not permit an estimate of savings from turnover.
From the separation report, one cannot determine how many departing
employees left year-round positions. Even
if one could account accurately for seasonal layoffs, it is unlikely employees
will leave in numbers proportionate to their placement in the various salary
steps. Experience tells us that turnover rates tend to be higher
among new employees in most industries. Further,
certain one-time expenses accompany the departure of employees, particularly
long-term employees with accrued vacation leave.
Recruitment and training of new employees also increases net costs for a
The purpose of a wage reopener is to permit an interim look at finances
during a period of uncertainty. On
this record, the State's financial picture is substantially less bleak than
estimated during the budgeting process for 1993-95.
Revenues are up (even after accounting for the kicker credit), and
expenditures are down. The 1993-95
budget was balanced, as is the proposed 1995-97 budget. No evidence exists that the 1993-95 budget did not maintain
programs the State deemed vital, or that the proposed 1995-97 budget would be
unable to do so.
The State economy is sound and stable.
The State has been more than prudent in spending, with the result that it
has actually underspent its budget. Unanticipated
economic gains have also made greater resources available for the second half of
this biennium and the next biennium than anticipated at the time of the
negotiations for this Agreement. Ignoring those greater resources would defeat the purpose of
the reopener. Thus, whether one
looks at unexpended appropriations or unanticipated revenues, the proposed
salary increases are not beyond the State's financial reach.
For all the above reasons, the State has not established an inability to
pay any or all of the proposed increases. As
Arbitrator Levak noted in his 1985 interest arbitration involving the State
Corrections Division and AFSCME, such ability to pay is a condition precedent to
consideration of the other statutory factors.
ORS 243.746(4)(D) COMPARABILITY
AND ARGUMENTS OF THE PARTIES
Under ORS 243.746(4)(D), addressing comparability requires identification
of (1) "comparable communities," (2) the "wages, hours and
conditions of employment" of both private and public sector employees who
perform "similar services" and "other employees generally,"
and (3) the appropriate weight to be accorded to the compensation for each
such group of employees. In past
cases involving bargaining units of State employees, the parties and neutrals
have pointed to certain identified employers ("comparators").
Those comparators may be divided into "internal comparators"
(other State agencies or bargaining units, including those not represented by
the Union) and "external comparators" (employers and bargaining units
that are not part of the State government).
EXTERNAL COMPARATORS - STATES
The Union points to the four contiguous states--California, Washington,
Idaho, and Nevada--as a group which, together, comprise a comparable community
of public employers. The State
argues that California should be excluded from the mix of state comparators.
Of 11 factfindings and interest arbitrations involving State employees
where the factfinder or interest arbitrator looked to any state comparators, all
but two included these four states in the mix.
One of the exceptions excluded Nevada in 1985; the other excluded the
State of California because it had no employees performing work comparable to
that of unit employees, but included California county employees performing
The Union proposes two alternative calculations for weighting state
comparators. One takes the number
of state government employees in each state, sums those, then calculates the
percentage of the total from each state in weighting compensation data for each
state (herein referred to as the "4 States #1" data).
The other recognizes the disproportionate impact of the major
metropolitan areas of California. It therefore uses only the number of state employees
stationed in the "Northern 30" counties of California (those counties
lying north and east of the metropolitan counties bordering on the San Francisco
Bay). The latter analysis (herein
referred to as the "4 States #2" data) matches the portion of
California used by U.S. Bank and the Northwest Policy Center of the University
of Washington in assessing Northwest regional economies.
Appendix G shows the relative size of the state comparators and their
workforces, looked at through the three prisms used by the parties.
Over 90% of applications for State jobs come from within Oregon, usually
from the local jurisdiction for non-exempt positions.
The State places virtually all of its newspaper advertisements for
rank-and-file jobs in Oregon newspapers. The
largest of those, the Oregonian, circulates in Oregon and Southwest
The Union argues Oregon's economy is no less diverse than California's,
and is becoming increasingly similar to California's. In this regard, it introduced evidence that Oregon's economy
is moving away from natural resource-based industries such as timber, and toward
high technology industries such as electronics and computers.
It notes that, like California and Washington, but unlike Nevada and
Idaho, Oregon contains major metropolitan areas and sits on the Pacific Rim.
To the extent interest arbitrators or factfinders have questioned the
inclusion of any of the four state comparators, the Union notes they have
suggested that Idaho and/or Nevada are the least like Oregon.
In this regard, the Union submitted statistics on non-agricultural
employment shares for Oregon and the four contiguous states.
Appendix H summarizes those statistics.
The State introduced evidence that California dwarfs all other regional
states (and, in some measures, all other states) in total population, workforce
size, population density, and gross state product.
It argues the Union's use of the "Northern 30" acknowledges the
validity of the State's objections to using California figures.
The Union responds that the impact of California's relative size is
accounted for by weighting the figures.
The Task Force Report questioned the practice of using the four
contiguous states as comparators. It
argued the "market" for State employees was Oregon residents,
particularly outside the higher-level professional and management positions.
It suggested comparing lower-level positions with small, medium, and
large Oregon employers and higher-level positions with a Northwest market.
It acknowledged that some State positions exist only in public sector
employment, and thus could be compared only to other public sector employment.
It argued that Oregon's economy was most like that of Washington and
Idaho, and least like California and Nevada.
It recommended excluding California data because of the impact that data
had on the results.
Because of local differences in compensation and the cost of living
within the State economy, the Report suggested segmenting the Oregon market and
developing geographically-based pay differentials.
In 1992-93, 16,915 California drivers' licenses were exchanged for Oregon
drivers' licenses; another 19,499 went to Nevada, and 7,522 to Idaho.
The December 23, 1994, Federal Reserve Bank FRBSF Weekly Letter predicted
that any reversal in California's population exodus would have the greatest
impact on Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
The September 1994 S&P report noted that roughly two of every five
new arrivals in Oregon move from California.
The Union argues this suggests a labor market connection between the two
states. It notes it is not always
possible to document whether an in-state job applicant is a new arrival from
California. In any event, it argues
the labor market is not synonymous with comparability. It submits the migration patterns suggest the two states have
inter-related labor markets. In
response, Perry described three approaches to identifying states which are
"labor markets" for unit employees.
The U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics ("BLS")
designates Metropolitan Areas ("MA's") as a Metropolitan Statistical
Area ("MSA"), Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area ("PMSA"),
or Combined Metropolitan Statistical Area ("CMSA").
MSA's are combined into PMSA's, may become part of CMSA's, if they meet
criteria for population and economic and social integration.
A January 1993 memo adopts MSA and PMSA definitions for major Labor
Market Areas ("LMA's"). The
State urges MSA's as one definition of the labor market.
Oregon contains the Eugene-Springfield MSA (consisting of Lane County),
the Medford-Ashland MSA (consisting of Jackson County), part of the
Portland-Vancouver PMSA (consisting of Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah,
Washington, and Yamhill Counties in Oregon, and Clark County in Washington), the
Salem PMSA (consisting of Marion and Polk Counties), and the Portland-Salem CMSA
(a combination of the Portland-Vancouver and Salem PMSA's).
California contains 13 MSA's, 12 PMSA's, and 3 CMSA's.
The California MSA closest to Oregon is Redding, 147 miles from the
Medford-Ashland MSA. Washington
contains 4 MSA's, 5 PMSA's (of which one, the Portland-Vancouver PMSA, overlaps
the Oregon border), and 2 CSMA's (of which one, the Portland-Salem PMSA,
overlaps the Oregon border). Nevada
contains two MSA's, Las Vegas and Reno. The
closer of those, Reno, lies 394 miles from the nearest Oregon MSA,
Medford-Ashland. Idaho contains one
MSA, Boise City.
(b) State #1
The State Employment Department ("EDD") uses the BLS criteria
to analyze metropolitan labor markets. EDD
defines a "labor market area" as "an economically integrated
geographic area within which individuals can reside and find employment within a
reasonable distance or can readily change employment without changing their
place of residence." In
non-metropolitan areas, the rough rule of thumb is that "at least 15.0% of
the employed workers residing in one county commute to another county to
work." Based on this
definition, EDD has identified eastern Malheur County and the adjoining Idaho
counties as a labor market area. That
area does not contain an MSA.
(c) State #2
At the hearing in this matter, Perry defined "labor market" as
an area within a one-hour commute, or roughly a 60-mile drive.
He testified a "reasonable person" would not commute longer
than an hour. Based on that
definition, he testified it is not reasonable to commute from any of Oregon's
MSA's to MSA's in California or Nevada. He
did not compute the distance between non-MSA populated portions of Oregon and
adjoining states. He concluded
Oregon has labor market connections with Washington and Idaho, but not with
California or Nevada. The
connection with Washington is based on the shared MSA; that with Idaho is based
on the non-MSA labor market area identified by the EDD.
COMPARATORS - COUNTIES
The Union relies on data gleaned from the Local Government Personnel
Institute survey. It uses the five
most populous counties in Oregon--Clackamas, Lane, Marion, Multnomah and
Washington Counties. Those
comparators have been used in past factfindings and interest arbitrations in
this and other State units. Other
combinations of counties have also been used in some proceedings, such as the
"Option 1" counties in cases involving parole and probation officers.
The State argues the county comparators should also include four
additional Oregon counties--Columbia, Yamhill, Polk, and Jackson--and Clark
County in the State of Washington. The
State argues for inclusion of these counties because they are included in Oregon
MSA's. However, it did not submit
wage or employment data for the counties it would add.
The Union's data includes information on the size of Oregon counties the
State would add; however, it does not include wage data.
Appendix I shows the available data on the relative size of the asserted
county comparators. The Union argues that the State has selected additional
counties to survey, at least in part, in an attempt to change the
"yardstick" by which to measure comparability.
The Union argues a county's ability to pay is irrelevant to whether it
should be used as a comparator. Comparators
should be a mix of large and small employers in order to give a
representative cross section of the labor market.
It notes that its comparators account for 59% of unit employees, and 66%
of the unit locations.
EXTERNAL COMPARATORS - PRIVATE SECTOR
Over the years, the State has attempted to do direct surveys of private
employer compensation for comparable jobs.
These attempts have been stymied by confidentiality concerns.
Only about 60 employers responded to the last survey conducted by the
State. The State has discontinued
doing surveys because of the disproportionate amount of resources required to do
them, as well as concerns over collusion and price-fixing.
Instead, it receives the results from independent surveys in which it
participates, and purchases additional private and public surveys.
In 1991, the State commissioned a wage and benefit survey of Oregon
business, conducted by Towers Perrin. After
issuance of the report, the Union commissioned a review, conducted by ECO
Northwest. The two reports diverged
widely regarding the appropriate methodology for conducting the survey, as
well as for interpreting the results. Towers
Perrin's recommendations included a recommendation that the comparators include
a mix of large, medium, and small private sector employers, as well as public
sector employers. However, the
employers surveyed by Towers Perrin all had workforces under 500 employees.
Towers Perrin acknowledged that small employers tend to pay lower wages
than larger employers. The ECO
Northwest study was critical of the recommendation to use medium and small
employers. It pointed out that State service is more akin to working for
a large private sector employer.
The Union has submitted data from some surveys of private industry
employers, as well as prevailing wage rates for public works contracts.
That data will be addressed in the discussion of the proposed
across-the-board increase and the applicable proposed selective increases.
The basic structure of the State's compensation system was affected by
the "comparable worth" requirements of ORS 240.190 and ORS 292.951.
A classification and compensation plan was developed using the Hay point
job study. A major aim of that
study was to eliminate sexual stereotyping.
As might be expected from the prevalent sexual stereotyping in society,
however, the resulting salary structures have, at times, proven seriously out of
line with market realities. Thus,
various "pay line exceptions" to the compensation system have arisen.
Those pay line exceptions now amount to approximately 1/3 of the
In July 1993, most of the AFSCME units received a 2% increase in the
maximum salary range. The non-strikeable
AFSCME Corrections unit received an additional 3% raise plus a flat $65 raise
per step effective July 1994, through a contract settlement in late 1994. The
AOCE unit received a flat $65 raise for each step in January 1993 and a 3% raise
in July 1994. The OSPOA received a
3.6% raise effective July 1994. In
a 1993 interest arbitration for the Union's non-strikeable unit, the Union
sought no general salary increase; however, it sought and achieved selective
increases in 1993 for major segments of the unit, including a 1% increase for
two classifications for which it seeks selective increases in this proceeding
(Mental Health Therapy Shift Coordinators and Mental Health Therapy
Coordinators). It also achieved a
wage reopener in 1994.
The Union argues it agreed to a wage freeze and reopener for the
strikeable unit in the belief that Measure 5 would have a more drastic impact.
Since then, interest arbitrations in other units have uniformly awarded
pay increases. It argues that
similar increases should be given here.
Although the Task Force Report summarized its conclusions regarding
comparability of compensation to "the market," it did not provide
the underlying data leading to those conclusions.
It also did not attempt to correlate its definition of "the
market" to the statutory factors. On
the contrary, it argued the relevant "market" was the source of job
applicants, and questioned the use of some factors specified in ORS 243.746. The Factfinder is a creature of statute.
It would serve no purpose to adopt the Task Force Report's recommended
criteria in place of the statutory criteria.
Although the Task Force Report concluded that "the economies of
California and Nevada are significantly different from Oregon's," it
recommended excluding only California from compensation comparisons with
other states. That recommendation
was based on its finding that "California's inclusion in or exclusion from
the market used for compensation comparisons can significantly affect the
results." The fact that a
particular comparator brings the result up (or, for that matter, down), is not a
basis for excluding that comparator. Exclusion
of the relatively low-wage state of Nevada would also affect the results, but in
the opposite direction. It has a
smaller effect only because of the use of weighted statistics.
Moreover, it is difficult to say that Oregon's economy differs from
California's more than it differs from Idaho and Nevada.
Ironically, the State has begun arguing for California's exclusion at the
same time that Oregon's economy is growing more similar to California's in its
mix of industries. Idaho's small
size makes it unrepresentative at the short end in much the same way that
California is at the long end. Idaho
and Nevada also differ substantially from Oregon in industry mix, urban areas,
and geographic location. Perhaps
the factor Nevada shares most closely with Oregon is the impact it has felt from
California's out-migration. Oregon's
economy continues to most resemble Washington, with whom it also shares a
Pacific Rim location.
Neither the Factfinder nor the parties write on a clean slate.
No perfect match has been found in the search for comparators.
Instead, a combination of communities has become accepted as the best
approximation. For positions which
exist solely or primarily within state government, the four contiguous states,
as a group, have been widely accepted as external comparators.
For positions which also exist at lower levels of government, the five
largest counties have gained almost as much acceptance.
Although there is much room for dispute over the choice of surveys
(particularly as it relates to the size of the participants), there is little
basic disagreement on the principle of including private industry comparators.
Finally, for those positions which overlap other bargaining units
within State service, it is hard to imagine a better comparator than the
State. Historically, both the
parties and neutrals have accorded considerable weight to the need for internal
For at least the past ten years, interest arbitrators and factfinders
have recognized the value of predictability in the use of market comparables.
They have therefore placed the burden on the party arguing for a change
in the comparables, to demonstrate a substantial change in conditions warranting
the change. That burden recognizes
the benefit to using the same market comparables in successive years.
In doing salary surveys and making other preparations for negotiations,
the parties know what communities have been used in past, what kinds of
allowances to make for differences in economies, and how past settlements
based on those comparables have performed in attracting and retaining
qualified employees. At the same
time, such comparables are not engraved in stone.
A substantial change in circumstances could make one or more comparables
less appropriate, or other comparables appropriate to add.
Increasing refinements in analysis may change the manner in which
comparables are used. Thus, in
1985, Tim Williams announced a rough rule of thumb that Oregon's wages should be
above the four-state average. This
recognized the greater similarities to the generally higher-wage states of
Washington and California, while allowing for some comparability with Nevada and
Idaho. The parties later began
presenting weighted data to reflect the impact of California on the 4-state
labor market. This refinement
allowed a more predictable result than the earlier test.
The "northern 30" weighting suggested by the Union in this
proceeding is a substantial step toward overcoming the remaining
"800-pound gorilla" objection to the use of weighted data. Accordingly, in looking at state comparators, the Factfinder
will rely principally on the "4 states #2 data" submitted by the
It is unnecessary to spend considerable time on the mix of county
comparators. Compensation cannot
be gauged in a vacuum. The only
compensation data in evidence excludes the counties suggested by the State.
It cannot be determined whether adding those counties to the mix would
have any substantial impact on the figures.
Moreover, the asserted bases for including most of these counties are
suspect. While these counties lie
within statistical MSA's, the four Oregon counties represent only a small part
of the State population, and thus of the local market within which the State is
most likely to do its recruiting for this unit. Therefore, in looking at county comparators, the Factfinder
will consider the available data--that for the five largest counties.
The mix of private sector comparators changes with each case.
Such comparators do not provide reliable matches for many public sector
positions. Moreover, private
surveys are inherently spotty because of the lack of any requirement to respond
to surveys or make employment data publicly available.
The State included surveys heavily weighted toward small employers.
As discussed infra, data weighted toward small employers is of
comparatively little utility.
The Factfinder is reluctant to place much reliance on either the Towers
Perrin report or the Task Force Report regarding private sector comparability,
nor is she comfortable with all aspects of the alternative analysis of the
Towers Perrin data suggested by ECO Northwest.
Simply put, the methods of analysis in each tend to skew the results in
favor of the party that paid for the report.
One matter touched on lightly by both Towers Perrin and the Task Force
Report affects the review of the other private survey data submitted.
That is the observation, in both reports, that pay scales at small
employers tend be lower than at larger employers.
That observation is consistent with what experience tells us.
The State, of course, is a large employer.
This has major implications for the comparability of data that includes
significant percentages of small employers.
Labor market surveys seek broad participation, in part, because it is
rare to find perfect matches for duties. By
having a representative mix of employers, variations in job classification may
even out. Emphasis on small
employers defeats this purpose. Duties
may sound similar on paper, but those at different sized employers are likely to
have different emphases, affecting the level of skill and knowledge required.
This may make facially comparable positions at small employers
relatively poor real-world matches. Also,
small employers offer non-wage, and sometimes non-economic, rewards that make a
lower salary acceptable. Since a
large public employer cannot match those rewards, identifiable compensation at
other large employers is more likely to be comparable.
In summary, private sector surveys are problematical, but provide some
useful information. However, the
Factfinder places little reliance on those private sector surveys whose survey
population includes many small employers if the resulting data is substantially
at odds with other comparables.
ORS 243.746(4)(E) COST OF
AND ARGUMENTS OF THE PARTIES
The parties are at odds regarding the best evidence of changes in the
cost of living, as well as the period over which such changes out to be
reviewed. Both parties have varied
their use of indices in factfinding and interest arbitration proceedings.
Appendix J summarizes compounded wage increases in this unit, as compared
with annual and compounded figures submitted by the parties for the US All
Cities CPI-U, CPI-W, and Portland CPI-U indices.
In this proceeding, the Union presented data covering mid-1979 to January
1995 from both the US All Cities CPI-U and the Portland-Vancouver CPI-U.
In the recent interest arbitration for the non-strikeable unit, the Union
looked at the Portland CPI for January 1991 to June 1993.
In a 1989 factfinding, it used the All Cities CPI-U index.
The State argues that, to the extent the CPI is used, the appropriate
measure is the All Cities CPI because the Portland CPI sample is too small to be
reliable. In the recent interest
arbitration for the non-strikeable unit, the State looked, in part, at the
Portland CPI figures starting with fiscal year 1985-86.
However, it also urged use of the All Cities index.
In this proceeding, it submitted All Cities CPI-W data.
The State notes that price increases are much more modest now than in
prior years. It argues the cost of
living is not accurately measured by the CPI.
In this regard, it notes that the BLS calls the CPI a measure of
"price change." The BLS
cautions the CPI does not reflect substitution and other strategies for
avoiding price increases, changes in consumer preferences, and quality
improvements. The BLS has
suggested discounting the CPI when using it for escalator clauses.
Federal Reserve Board Governor Alan Greenspan recently testified the CPI
currently may overstate the cost of living by ½-1½ per year.
He also noted that the CPI in effect into the early 1980's
overstated inflation even more by using an inflated housing cost measure.
The BLS suggests that parties using the CPI for escalator clauses take a
number of steps. Most of those
relate to identifying the use to which the CPI will be put. For example, it suggests specifying the precise change that
will occur with changes in the CPI. If
parties wish to "share" inflation risks, the BLS suggests limiting
increases to, e.g., 75% of the percentage rise in the CPI.
The BLS suggests the same use of the CPI if the parties wish an
alternative to setting fixed upper and lower limits for escalation clauses.
One factfinder, Jane Wilkinson, discounted the CPI to 85% in a 1994 case
involving a local school district.
The Union argues that, regardless of the CPI chosen, unit employees lag
behind the cost of living. It
disputes the wisdom of discounting the CPI.
It notes that, by the time a CPI-induced pay raise occurs, employees have
already been paying increasing prices over the period studied.
This lag offsets any distortion induced by the CPI.
Moreover, whatever problems there are with the CPI, it is the only
available measure of inflation. It
argues the purpose of a COLA is to raise the salary structure to keep pace with
inflation, not necessarily to give each employee a raise consistent with that
employee's cost of living. The
Union argues its principal basis for seeking a general salary increase is the
comparability issue, not the cost of living.
The CPI includes the cost of medical services.
The State argues that, to more accurately measure changes in employee
compensation, the State contribution toward employee health insurance and the
BUBB flexible benefit program should be added to salary before calculating the
percentage of wage increases. State
contributions to insurance and flex are flat figures. Their effect on percentage compensation increases is
greatest for low-paid employees. Depending
on whether a particular year's change in insurance and flex contributions for a
particular salary range is greater or less than the general wage increase,
calculating in these payments may increase or decrease the percentage gain in
The State submitted figures showing annual raises since 1986 for an
employee at the top step of Salary Range 13.
As an example of the differential effect of adding in flat contributions,
Appendix K shows the result for raises between FYE 1992 and FYE 1993, when
employees received a 3% general salary increase.
Sample employees are the State's hypothetical employee, an employee at
the 1993 unit average base salary rate (slightly above the top step of Salary
Range 16), and for employees at the top step of Salary Range 5 (the lowest
range) and 38 (the highest range).
It is no secret that no version of the CPI is a perfect measure of
inflation. However, it is the only
available measure. It is therefore
appropriate to use it as the gauge of this statutory factor.
However, as Arbitrator Stratton noted, the best use is as "a
supplemental, rather than a prime factor, in determining whether monetary
benefits should be increased." That
the parties have so used it in the past is suggested by the fact that the
parties have not chosen to tie year-to-year increases in this unit directly to
the CPI through, e.g., an escalator clause.
The choice of CPI's becomes fairly insignificant.
The three versions in evidence reflect similar trends year-to-year,
including during the term of this Agreement.
The Factfinder's personal preference is the All Cities CPI-U, because its
broad base minimizes the likelihood of sampling distortion.
The Factfinder takes notice that medical costs have driven much of
inflation over the past few years. In
recognition of this fact and the varying funding mechanisms for medical care,
the CPI-U index permits parties to back out a separate "medical
services" component. In the
future, backing out the "medical services" component would be the most
reliable means of reflecting the impact of employees savings from medical
benefits. The alternative suggested
by the State would be a more cumbersome means, and not all the figures are in
evidence that would be necessary to do those calculations.
Accordingly, the Factfinder must rely on the data at hand, while
recognizing that the savings on medical benefits have ameliorated some effects
The Factfinder does not read the BLS comments regarding use of a 75%
figure as a recommendation to do so in all or most cases. In context, the cited comments are an example of one way to
share inflation risk, not a recommendation that parties share that risk.
In this instance, unit employees conditionally assumed all of that risk
for the first year of this Agreement, by agreeing to a wage freeze with a
reopener. The need for a continued
share of that risk is more accurately gauged by looking at the other statutory
1: ACROSS-THE-BOARD SALARY
AND ARGUMENTS OF THE PARTIES
The Union proposes a 6.5% general increase effective April 1, 1995.
Unit employees last received a general wage increase of 3% in April 1993.
That increase, in turn, was the first since a 3% raise in December 1991.
47.8% of employees in this unit are at Step 7, the highest salary step.
Another 2% are "red-circled" above the maximum rate. Thus, without a general or selective wage increase, roughly
half the unit will receive no wage increase in the 1993-95 biennium.
Between December 1993 and 1994, step increases raised the average base
salary by 1.46%.
The Union conducted benchmark surveys in the four contiguous states and
the five largest counties. The
benchmark surveys covered minimum and maximum compensation for 26 positions
which the Union had identified as comparable to unit classifications. Appendix L shows the results of the 4-state and 5-county
benchmark surveys, with and without weighting for the number of employees.
The Union also surveyed the comparators for general salary increases.
A simplified version of those results appears as Appendix M.
The Union also submitted 1993-95 salary increase data for 39 large Oregon
school districts (3000 ADM or over). While
some of the data was incomplete, it showed that all districts granted at least
one salary increase in that period, and about half granted increases in both
years. Of those districts for which
data was available, raises averaged 4.1% in 1993-94 and 3.5% in 1994-95.
The 1993-94 school district figures exceeded average national figures
reported by the BLS. BLS data
indicates that state and local government wage rate increases in units covering
1,000 employees or more averaged 2.8% in the second half of 1993 and 1% in the
first half of 1994.
The Union argues unit employees were already undercompensated relative to
comparable employees. This unit
agreed to a wage freeze only because of the uncertainty in the State's finances
arising out of Measure 5. By
incorporating a second-year wage reopener, the Union sought to force a second
look at the State's budget later in the biennium, to see whether funds were
available to make up the shortfall. It
also notes that other State bargaining units have received interim general wage
increases. It argues the unspent
Emergency Fund and the better-than-anticipated revenues keep this from being a
The Union argues the State selected unrepresentative private employers
to survey, at least in part, in an attempt to change the "yardstick"
by which to measure comparability. Some
are disproportionately small outlying employers; further, much of the data
does not account for differences in length of service.
Those columns which do account for length of service--the minimum and
maximum pay rates--show unit compensation lagging by 5-12%.
The disparity is even greater if the more comparable public sector
figures are used.
The Union argues that, even using the Towers-Perrin data, unit
positions lagged 11% behind the market overall.
The unreliability of the State's own salary survey is indicated by the
fact that the State has said it will not conduct further surveys.
However, even that survey showed that rank-and-file employees lag by
6%. The Legislative Fiscal Office
also predicts that by mid-1995 State employees generally will be 12% behind
F. Peter De Luca, Administrator of the Labor Relations Division,
testified that, at one time, the State sought to be a leader on such issues as
However, election results in recent years have convinced State managers
and political leaders that the public no longer wants the State to be a
leader. De Luca testified the
State's "rule of thumb" is that salaries should be roughly 95% of
market, although there have been discussions of dropping the range to
90-95%. If salaries dipped below
90% of market, he predicts the State would find it difficult to hire qualified
De Luca testified the then-Governor opposed general salary increases in
any bargaining units for 1994-95. Because
of the shift in State expenditures due to Measure 5, the State had begun the
1993-95 biennium opposing general salary increases. The Governor believed it was important to continue that
position through the biennium. She
expected general salary increases would be necessary in the 1995-97 biennium.
She considered selective increases acceptable only where (1) the
established salary showed a significant variation from the market salary for
the position, and (2) the State had experienced difficulty with recruitment
The State Economist, Paul Warner, calculated that non-manufacturing
private sector salaries increased by an average of 2.6% in 1993. He estimated they would increase by another 6.4% in 1994 and
4.2% in 1995. After adjusting for
one-time income shifting between 1992 and 1993, the figures would be 4.8% in
1993, 5.3% in 1994, and 4.2% in 1995.
The Task Force Report projected that private sector compensation would
increase by about 4% per year through fiscal year 1996-97.
It predicted State employee salaries and wages would lag the market by
1996 unless there was a comparable increase in the State salary and wage
In 1994, the Legislative Fiscal Office conducted a study of PERS
benefits and total compensation. It
concluded that, because of the generosity of PERS benefits, total compensation
would be comparable if State employees were paid 11% less than in the private
sector. It concluded, however,
that average State salaries were only 4% less than the private sector in 1992.
It predicted the salary freeze would reduce relative State salaries, so
that they would be 12% less than the private sector by the end of 1995.
After the passage of Measure 8, the Legislative Fiscal Office estimated
that total compensation would be comparable to the private sector if salaries
were 1% less than in the private sector.
It found that as of October 1994, average State salaries were 11% less
than the private sector. It
predicted that State employees would be underpaid by 13% by the end of 1995.
The July 1994 Task Force Report concluded that total State compensation
was generally market competitive, with some professional/technical and
managerial positions slightly undercompensated and some office/clerical
positions slightly overcompensated. It
relied on five surveys covering small and medium-size employers as well as
some public sector employers. One
of those surveys covered 15 private-sector employers and three public-sector
employers, representing a total workforce of 8,597 (excluding State
employees). The second covered 71
Portland-area employers, averaging 993 employees.
A third covered 67 hospitals, with no notation of the number of
employees. The remaining two
concerned only professional, management, and executive level employees.
The report noted that salaries and wages were lower at small businesses
(fewer than 100 employees) than in the public sector and medium and large
private sector employers. However, no evidence exists that it adjusted the survey data
for size of employer.
The Task Force Report, Towers Perrin, and Legislative Fiscal Office
reports do not break out data for this unit, as opposed to State employees
generally. This unit includes
roughly 42% of the total authorized State positions.
Compensation Specialist Linda Vogue testified that, when compensation
theory is correctly applied, benchmark surveys will show some classes above
market and some below. She
questioned whether the Union's benchmark survey selected appropriate
benchmarks or made good matches with comparators.
She also testified that one normally would find recruitment or
retention problems where a particular class was substantially below market. The lack of such problems in some of the benchmark
classifications suggested to her that the survey was flawed.
Vogue testified that most private sector employers do not have fixed
wage progression steps. Many
private employers, and the State of Idaho, use an open range with no fixed
steps between the minimum and maximum. Progression
within that range is then determined by performance.
The State submitted consolidated figures drawn from seven outside
surveys of private- and public-sector employers, primarily in Oregon.
Vogue was unaware of the mix of employer sizes represented by those
surveys. Survey participants
include a number of cities, including Portland at one end of the population
spectrum and Condon at the other. Counties
include Clackamas, Douglas, Harney, Hood River, Klamath, Lane, Linn, Marion,
Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Clark (Washington), and King
(Washington). School districts
include Gresham Grade School #4, Lake County #7, and McMinnville #40.
One study included the State of Washington.
Private-sector participants ranged from such national and international
players as United Parcel Service and Hewlett Packard, down to such unlikely
players as the Oregon School of Massage.
Among its surveys, the State found data for 165 comparable classes,
accounting for 9,147 unit employees. The
State calculated the weighted average wage received by all comparable
employees (public and private), as well as the average minimum and maximum
wages received by those employees. It
compared those with the contractual minimum and maximum for the equivalent
unit position, and also calculated the average base rate received by unit
employees in each position. Appendix
N summarizes the overall figures for the surveyed universe.
The State argues the average market-weighted survey wages should
be compared with the maximum base rate received in this unit.
The State did not compare the average tenure of comparator employees to
that in the unit.
Some of the classifications identified in the State survey also appear
in the Union's benchmark survey. Appendix
O compares the Union's "4 States #2" and "Weighted County"
disparities for minimum and maximum salaries (from Appendix L) with the
State's OPEU versus Market disparities for each of the matching classes.
The State submitted a list of unit classes which overlap classes
represented by other unions, showing the minimum and maximum rates in each
class. It has not compared the
average compensation of unit and non-unit overlapping classes overall,
but has done so for classes which overlap classes proposed for selective
increases. Those figures will be
addressed with other selectives issues.
In an attempt to demonstrate the "typical" unit experience,
the State introduced the total compensation experience for a Highway
Maintenance Worker at the top step of his Salary Range, from Fiscal Year
1985-86 through Fiscal Year 1993-94. Highway
Maintenance Workers received a 1-range selective increase in Fiscal Year
1993-94, from Salary Range 13 to Salary Range 14.
This raised the hypothetical employee's base salary at the top step by
$96, or 5.1%. After also
accounting for a smaller increase in insurance and flex contributions, the
State estimated the hypothetical employee's total compensation increased by
4.94% in that one-year period. Approximately
1% of the unit received selective increases in this period.
Without the selective increase, the Factfinder calculates the
hypothetical employee's total compensation would have increased by 0.59%.
The State notes the proposed increase is more than double the rate of
the past year's CPI. In its view,
it is inappropriate to look at alleged loss in purchasing power over many
years, based on negotiated Agreements. It
argues the Union must have concluded the negotiated raises were fair at that
time. The State argues that this
unit is on par with other employee groups, with whom the recent wage freeze
The State argues this unit should not receive an exception to the
uniform position of a wage freeze for the 1993-95 biennium.
In the State's view, nothing has changed since the outset of the
Agreement to warrant a general wage increase.
Both the increase in the cost of living and the unemployment rate have
been consistent with projections at the time the parties settled the
Agreement. The State argues the
$52 million recommended for selective salary adjustments in the 1995-97
biennium will adequately compensate employees for the wage freeze.
The State notes that four of the five county comparators gave salary
increases to offset Measure 8, whereas the State has not done so. Measure 8 prohibits "pick up" increases after
December 31, 1994. Therefore, the
county comparators have been skewed by 5.6 to 6%.
The State observes that the Union's benchmark comparability data omits
any private sector employers. It
argues this omission undermines the utility of the Union comparables.
The profile of the hypothetical "typical" worker submitted by
the State sheds little light on the issue of cost of living. The position chosen is atypical in that it recently received
a selective increase. Selective
increases are exceptions to the general rule.
They do not maintain typical employees' buying power, nor do they
replace general wage increases. They
are intended to remedy a below-market salary for that classification.
The fact that the hypothetical "typical" worker was assumed
to be at the top step does not offset the inclusion of a selective increase in
the wage history. Longevity or
merit increases also are not intended to maintain employees' buying power.
Longevity increases compensate for increased experience, which makes
the employee more valuable than a new hire.
Merit increases are just that--a recognition that the value of the
employee's work exceeds his/her previous compensation.
The goal of cost-of-living adjustments is to make it possible to hire
qualified people, as well as retain them.
Counting on step increases to keep employees even with inflation has
several possible effects, none of them consistent with the public good.
Some of those effects are demonstrated by the evidence regarding the
classifications proposed for selective increases,
discussed in more detail infra.
Finally, looking just at base salary without the selective increase,
the hypothetical "typical" worker earned some $303 per month less
than the average unit employee in fiscal year 1992-93.
As demonstrated in Appendix K, the increase in insurance and flex
payments had a proportionately larger impact on percentage total compensation
gains than they would have had for an average unit employee.
For all the above reasons, the hypothetical "typical" worker
data is of little significance in evaluating the appropriateness of a general
The State's desire for uniformity in settlements does not militate
against a general wage increase. In
the public sector, not all contracts come about through a settlement.
If the State was firmly opposed to any general wage increase,
regardless of the circumstances, then it should not have agreed to a wage
reopener. Having agreed to a
reopener, it must now look seriously at whether circumstances warrant
raises. One relevant factor is
the extent to which other employees have received a general raise--whether it
came about through a settlement or an interest arbitration award.
Without question, the PERS pick-up permitted total compensation to
rival that in the private sector even if cash wages lagged.
Much of the evidence on this point, though, does not support the
propositions for which it is cited. The
Legislative Fiscal Office report, Towers Perrin, ECO Northwest, and the Task
Force all looked at state employees as a whole, not this unit.
If other State employee groups are compensated more or less generously
for their work than are unit employees, then unit employees could be under- or
over-compensated relative to the average figures used in the reports in
evidence. Moreover, as noted, the
commissioned reports reflect the priorities of their purchasers, not a neutral
evaluation of data.
Looking at the results of the salary surveys, it is difficult to
believe the parties are looking at the same unit, even as to those positions
that overlap in their surveys. Indeed,
a review of the survey participant lists reveals they were not looking at the
same unit. The Union was looking
at four states and the five largest counties in the state--that is, at large
public employers, including the counties in which the bulk of State employees
work. The State was looking at
several surveys covering private and public employers of various sizes, some
of whom appear in more than one survey. The
mix of public-sector comparators was heavily skewed toward small towns and
rural counties, particularly in comparison with the areas in which State
employees actually work. Simply
put, the mix of survey participants was not tailored to meet the suggestions
of the State's own consultants.
Another major concern with the salary survey data is that the parties
have not agreed on a methodology for identifying comparable positions.
The Factfinder has grave doubts about the State's identification of
classification matches. She is not much more optimistic about the Union's
identification of matches. As
will be discussed further regarding the proposed selective increases, some of
the Union data supports Vogue's speculation that many comparator positions may
not be close matches. In the
Factfinder's experience, that is not unusual when comparing employee
populations. The identification
of close matches requires making a judgment with limited information.
On the other hand, having many classifications come in under market is
not as unexpected where salary progression has been blocked by wage freezes.
Perhaps the best that can be said is that the survey data is a peek at
some aspects of appropriate compensation.
It is useful to compare unit general salary increases with the increase
in cost of living for prior years. Such
a review indicates the parties picked up most inflation in pre-Measure 5 days,
sometimes with a lag. Given the
cost-of-living data, the obvious intent of the reopener was to review the
impact of Measure 5 and the State's economic condition, then decide whether
the parties could resume shadowing of the cost of living.
Nothing in that agreement suggests an intention to incorporate a
permanent drop in buying power.
The estimates suggest the inflation rate hovered just under 3% for the
first year of the Agreement, and all forecasts predict annual rates around 4
to 6% for the near future. The
Union's suggested increase of 6.5% over the term of the Agreement picks up
less than the most conservatively-estimated inflation for the biennium. Over the life of the Agreement, it picks up less than the 4%
annual increase in private sector compensation projected by the Task Force.
It is close to the compounded effect of increases received in other
State bargaining units, as well as the pre-Measure 8 increases in counties.
Unlike County raises, it will not compensate for Measure 8, but it is
not permitted to do so.
For all the above reasons, the Factfinder recommends a general salary
increase of 6.5%, effective April 1, 1995, in this unit.
ISSUE 2: SELECTIVE SALARY
The Union proposes selective salary increases retroactive to January 1,
1995. The current and proposed
salary ranges, and the costs of the proposed selective salary increases
through fiscal year 1997, are summarized in Appendix S.
The Union surveyed both external and internal public sector comparators
for the disputed classifications. It
also used surveys or other information to determine comparable wages in the
private sector for some of the disputed classes.
The Union used only the top step for comparison.
It notes that roughly half its unit is at the top step.
Appendix P summarizes the figures from the Union's surveys.
In each of the comparisons, the salary figures for unit positions
include the base salary at the top step, 6% PERS, and $38 flex pay.
The State's summary of its surveys included 10 of the job titles
involved in this case. Appendix Q
shows the figures from that summary for those job titles.
The State also introduced evidence of the wages paid to employees in
other bargaining units in the same classifications, as summarized in Appendix
Vogue testified there are adequate applicants on the list for most of
the disputed classifications. The
State surveyed its agency managers, none of whom reported problems recruiting
or retaining employees. According
to Corbin, the absence of applicants on the list for a particular
classification does not necessarily indicate difficulty recruiting.
DENTAL ASSISTANT ("DA") 1, 2 AND DENTAL HYGIENIST
The State currently employs 4.75 DA-2's and 2 DH's in this unit.
One DA-2 took an intra-agency transfer during calendar year 1994.
The State hired 2 new DA 2's during 1994.
It has 59 DA-2 applicants and 5 DH applicants.
DA-2 Roberta Stergios gleaned salary information from the Marion Polk
Yamhill Dental Society, from incoming employees who had recently worked in the
private sector, and from ads in the newspaper.
The Union incorporated that information in its estimate of private
sector wages. Stergios has seen
fellow employees leave for higher-paying jobs.
She testified that, including flex benefits, unit DA salaries may be
almost even with non-unit DA's at OHSU. She
testified that additional duties have been added in the areas of sterilization
techniques, material, and safety data regulations.
In a 1994 survey by the American Dental Assistants Association, Dental
Assistants with four or more years of experience in the Pacific Census Region
averaged $13.74 per hour. Insurance
benefits commonly provided by employers included health (67%), life (71%),
and dental (68%); 67% enjoyed benefits such as continuing education, uniforms,
profit sharing, bonuses, and college tuition.
DH Mary Cyr gleaned salary information from colleagues and temporary
services in private practice. Her
figures indicate that an experienced private sector DH working 21 days monthly
would earn $4,200 in salary alone; she did not attempt to calculate the value
of benefits. With PERS and other
benefits, she calculated the maximum total compensation for a unit DH was
$3,354.70. During a four-month
leave, the State secured a temporary DH to replace her.
The replacement, a new graduate, received $25 per hour; Cyr earns less.
A recent newspaper advertisement offered $200/day plus bonuses for an
experienced DH to come to Clatskanie. Cyr
testified her current job at OSH is more challenging than the DH positions she
previously held at OHSU and in private practice because of the patient
population and the greater amount of regulations in the public sector.
The state has DA positions at OSCI in the non-strikeable OPEU unit, but
is not filling those positions. Such
DA's would be classified in Salary Range 13 within a higher schedule
applicable to OSCI. Range 13 on
that schedule lies between Range 15B and Range 16 in the strikeable unit.
OHSU Dental School DH's, represented by AFSCME, are at Range 20.
The Union identified comparable positions for both the DA-2 and the DH
in public sector entities. The
maximum pay received by each, in descending order within the group of
comparators, is as follows:
CORRECTIONS ELECTRICIAN ("CE") AND ELECTRIC & CONTROL
SYSTEMS TECH ("ECST")
The State employs 49.5 Electricians, one CE, and one ECST.
During calendar year 1994, 11 Electricians resigned and another took an
intra-agency transfer. The State hired 3 Electricians.
It has no ECST applicants, and 27 Electrician applicants.
In September 1994, the Operations Manager for ODOT Region 1 sought to
reclassify the Region's three Electricians to Traffic Signal Technician 2 or
3, at Salary Range 22. The
supporting memo mentioned the job market within the region made it difficult
to attract and retain employees.
In late 1994, the Employer had a severe recruitment and retention problem
among ODOT Electricians. It
successfully proposed a 15% salary differential for Electricians whose duties
included traffic signal maintenance and repair on State highways or other duties
requiring licensure for that work. The
parties agreed this 15% would be offset against any future Salary Range
increases, but not across-the-board or COLA increases.
Of nine authorized journeyman Electrician positions in ODOT Region 1,
only one, Mike Pearson, is currently on the payroll.
He testified ODOT tried to fill four openings, but got only two
applicants. Pearson hired those
applicants, then demoted from a supervisory position back into the unit to
fill a third vacancy; the other two have since left. He testified ODOT had trained 22 employees since 1987, all
of whom had left. Eight of those
went to Oregon municipalities. Five
apprentices left for better paying jobs after completing their training.
In five years as a supervisor, starting in 1988, he has never had a full
complement of employees to train. He
is currently training three apprentices.
As the sole journeyman, he limits himself to "putting out
fires" rather than the full range of facilities work.
He testified the State has been forced to put some unit work out to bid.
Pearson testified that Union scale in the private sector was about $4,000
per month, plus benefits. He
estimated the average monthly salary for other government municipalities was
$3,500, plus benefits. A
recently-trained employee who left in January 1995 provided salary information
for his new employer, Multnomah County. Step
1 Electricians for Multnomah County received $19.24 per hour in wages and $1.21
per hour in pension contributions in April 1993.
Their hourly rate went to $21.46 effective November 26, 1994.
Electricians working at Union scale receive $23.05 hourly.
ODOT recently purchased a list of all licensed electricians in the
Portland Metropolitan Area, and sent 4,000 letters soliciting job applicants in
Region 1. Pearson testified that,
at the time of the hearing, ODOT had not received applications in response.
Pearson testified fellow electricians had told him they did not intend to
apply because the pay was still too low. OSU
Electrician Richard Brooks received the solicitation.
He testified the increase in pay was not enough to induce him to apply
for the job.
The Union compared pay for these classifications to "prevailing
wage" rates issued by the Bureau of Labor and Industries ("BOLI").
The Union calculates that total compensation for unit Electricians equals
$21.42 per hour, whereas total compensation for Electricians working under the
prevailing wage is $31.86 per hour.
Historically, ECST's were paid two ranges higher than Electricians. In December 1994, the Director of Physical Plant urged that
this relationship be maintained in bargaining over selective increases.
The sole ECST, Ken Kranenburg, has four people working under his
supervising electrician license. State
law prohibits him from using his license at more than one location.
As a result, he is unable to be the supervising electrician for his own
business. He therefore employs a
supervising electrician in that business.
The Union identified comparators for Electricians in all four neighboring
states, as well as Clackamas, Marion, and Multnomah Counties. All but Idaho and Washington receive higher wages.
GROUNDS MAINTENANCE WORKER ("GMW") 1, 2
The State employs 38.9 GMW-1's and 22.4 GMW-2's.
During calendar year 1994, 2 GMW-1's resigned, one took an inter-agency
transfer, and three took intra-agency transfers. The State hired 5 new GMW-1's, transferred another in
laterally, and reassigned 3 into the unit; it promoted one GMW-2 in the unit.
It has 104 GMW-1 applicants and 2 GMW-2 applicants.
The Union bases the selective proposal for this class on the disparities
found in looking at state and county comparators.
The Union identified comparators for the GMW-1 in the following
jurisdictions, in descending order of maximum salary:
LABORATORY AIDE ("LA"), LABORATORY ASSISTANT ("LAS")
& TECH ("LAT") 1, 2
The State employs 8.8 LA's, 9 LAT-1's, 12 LAT-2's, and 10 LAS's.
One employee in each category took intra-agency transfers during 1994,
and one LA resigned. The Union
calculates the resignation rate for 1993-94 among LA's at 31% (out of 9.08
FTE's), and among LAT-1's at 10% (out of 9.5 LAT-1's).
The State hired one LAT-1 and two LA's, re-hired an additional LAT-1, and
promoted in one LA, one LAT-1, and one LAT-2.
It has 2 LAT-2 applicants, 24 LAT-2 applicants, 9 LA applicants, and 79
LAS applicants. The Union bases its
selective proposals on the disparities found in salary surveys, and also on the
high resignation rate at the entry level.
The Union identified comparators for the LA's in all four neighboring
states and in Multnomah County. The
maximum salary, in descending order, was as follows:
MEASUREMENT STANDARDS SPECIALIST 1, 2 ("MSS-1 and -2")
The Department of Agriculture employs 14 MSS-2's and a Metrologist
in its Measurement Standards Division (the "Division").
The State's records show that no MSS-2's left during calendar year 1994.
The State hired one MSS-2 in 1994, and currently has no applicants for
this position. Three MSS-2's left
in the 1992-93 fiscal year. Of
those, one left for a higher paying position with the City of Salem, one left on
disability, and one took early retirement.
In the 1993-94 fiscal year, an additional two MSS-2's left for other
positions, one of which was out of state. One
plans to retire this year. Two
relatively junior MSS-2's have announced plans to seek other employment.
MSS-2's inspect and test retail motor fuel measuring devices, large
capacity fuel measuring devices, liquefied petroleum gas meters, and weighing
devices of various sizes. Until
1993, they specialized in one or two program areas.
For example, MSS-2 Christine Parks dealt only with quality control in
packaged products; MSS-2 Clark Cooney dealt only with small scales, gas pumps,
and packaged products labeling and weight; a recently-retired employee dealt
only with bulk petroleum standards. In
an effort to reduce travel costs, MSS's are now expected to maintain competence
in all program areas, and are assigned geographically rather than by program.
All must have a commercial drivers license and be capable of driving
vehicles of up to 45,000 pounds gross weight.
All must have training in all aspects of testing various hazardous
Although the career ladder includes both MSS-1 and 2, the Division
employs no MSS-1's because it is unable to attract qualified candidates at that
level. The Metrologist testified to
various adverse consequences from understaffing and delays in filling MSS
positions. Those include the sale
of substandard fuel, underweight products, and various problems with weights and
measure in Oregon-produced products sold in and out of state.
The Union found comparable positions in California, Idaho, and Nevada for
MSS-2's. All three received maximum
wages at least $120/month higher than the $2,435 in the unit; California came in
highest at $3,200.
MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY SHIFT COORDINATOR ("MHTSC") & MENTAL
HEALTH THERAPIST COORDINATOR ("MHTC")
The State employs 3.5 MHTSC's and 2.7 MHTC's.
During 1994, one MHTSC resigned, two took inter-agency transfers, and
three took intra-agency transfers. The
State has one MHTSC applicant. During
1994, one MHTC came into the unit through an intra-agency transfer, and two
MHTC's were promoted in the unit. The
State has 10 MHTC applicants.
An interest arbitration award granted the Mental Health Therapist series
in the non-strikeable unit a 1% increase in salary effective September 1, 1993.
One unit MHTC has since gone to Fairview Training center for more money
and similar responsibilities as an Information Specialist or Information
Analyst. Within the past 18 months,
one MHTC has left to go into private business, and another to go into real
The Union found no county or private-sector comparators. It found MHTSC comparators in Idaho, Nevada, and Washington.
The maximum salaries, in descending order, are as follows:
PARK RANGER ("PR") 1, 2 AND PARK MAINTENANCE COORDINATOR
The State employs 64.4 PR-1's, 61.3 PR-2's, and 4 PMC's. During 1994, 5 PR-1's and 2 PR-2's resigned; 5 PR-1's and 7
PR-2's took intra-agency transfers; 2 PR-1's and 2 PR-2's were reassigned into
the unit, and a PR-2 was promoted in the unit.
The Union bases the selective proposal for this class on the disparities
found in looking at state and county comparators. The Union identified comparators whose maximum salaries, in
descending order, are as follows:
The State employs 14.3 unit Plumbers.
During 1994, three Plumbers resigned and one took an intra-agency
transfer. The State has one job
applicant for this position, and did no hiring in 1994.
The Union seeks a two-range increase, from 19T to 21T.
This would raise the maximum wage from $2,576 to $2,828.
For June through September 1993, private sector journeyman plumbers
earned $21.87 per hour under Plumbers Local 290's Master Labor Agreement.
Their hourly pay increased by 47 cents in October 1993, 70 cents in April
1994, and 95 cents in October 1994, for a total of $23.99 currently.
They will receive another 95 cents in April 1995.
Total compensation for plumbers receiving prevailing wage under BOLI is
$29.59 per hour. In contrast, total
compensation for unit plumbers is $21.21 per hour.
The Union alleges that two plumbers left the unit for positions
represented by Local 290. The State
then re-classified those two vacancies to Trade Maintenance Coordinators.
The Union identified comparators in all four neighboring states.
The following were the maximum salary rates, in descending order:
The State employs 6 unit Pharmacists.
During 1994, 3 Pharmacists resigned, one took an inter-agency transfer,
and one took an intra-agency transfer. In
that same period, the State hired one Pharmacist and did one lateral transfer
into the unit. It currently has 29
job applicants. The Union bases the
selective proposal for this class on the disparities found in looking at state
and county comparators. In addition
to public sector comparators, the Union used a private survey conducted by the
Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Services.
It also found internal comparators at OHSU for this classification.
It identified comparators in all four neighboring states, and in
Multnomah County. The public sector
data revealed the following maximum salaries, in descending order:
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN ("PT") 1, 2
The State employs 11.7 PT-2's. No
PT's left or were hired in 1994, and the State has 63 applicants for this
position. The Union bases the
selective proposal for this class on the disparities found in looking at state
and county comparators. The Union
also found disparities with internal comparators at Fairview Training Center and
OHSU. The Union identified the
following external public sector comparators, in descending order of salary:
RADIOLOGIC TECHNICIAN ("RT") 1, 2
The State employs 3 RT-1's and 2.4 RT-2's.
It had no turnover in these classifications in 1994.
It has 15 RT-1 applicants and 28 RT-2 applicants.
The Union bases the selective proposal for this class on the disparities
found in looking at state and county comparators.
The Union also found disparities with comparators at OHSU and in a survey
conducted by the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Services. In addition, unit employees conducted a survey of other state
agencies, as well as private employers in Eugene, Salem, Corvallis, and
In August 1994, the X-Ray Department Manager at the University of Oregon
wrote a memo describing hiring difficulties in her department.
She noted that the department had been forced to hire RT's at the top
step of the salary range because they could not get applicants at the lower
The Union identified comparators at all four neighboring states.
The following shows maximum salaries among these entities, in descending
REFRIGERATION MECHANIC ("RM")
The State employs 12.9 RM's. It
had no turnover in this classification in 1994.
It has 9 applicants. The
Union bases the selective proposal for this class on the disparities found in
looking at state and county comparators. The
Union also found disparities with employees at OHSU, and a large disparity with
rates for journeymen represented by Plumbers Local 290.
The Union's Higher Education Chair, Jeff Seekatz, testified the Plumbers
represent more RM's than any other private-sector union.
The Union identified public sector comparators in all four neighboring
states and in Multnomah County. The
maximum salaries, in descending order, are as follows:
The State employs 1 Chief Engineer, 1.9 First Assistant Engineers, one
First Mate, one Second Mate, 2.3 Able Mariners, 1 Boatswain, 1 Ship Assistant
Cook, and 2 Ship Cooks. Only the
Able Mariner classification had any turnover in 1994, with two resignations and
three new hires. The State has 2
Able Mariner applicants, and no applicants for the other positions.
Under the current Agreement, all of the Ship's classes at issue,
including some with no current incumbents, received selective increases of one
range effective January 1994.
Ship's classes in this unit work on board the R.V. WECOMA operated by
Oregon State University. The WECOMA
is funded by daily sailing fees and government grants.
The most recent grant from the National Science Foundation was 20% below
the amount requested. Other
research vessels in other states have suffered similar reductions in NSF grants.
The State alleges the WECOMA is the most costly of three sister ships at
$14,100 per day. Because of this,
it has lost some business to commercial charter vessels and to reductions in sea
days. According to the State's
records, the Office of Naval Research cut back one researcher's sea days in 1994
from 32 to 26 days due to the high fees; a researcher hired a commercial vessel
instead of the WECOMA for a 5-day effort; and another researcher was unable to
afford the WECOMA's rates for a proposed 30-day effort.
The Union's witness allege the WECOMA averages 260 sailing days per year,
except for 1994 when it was in dry dock for at least two months.
At the outset of its exhibits, the Union identified comparators for two
Ship's classes, with the following maximum rates:
California (Able Seaman)
Oregon (Able Mariner)
Washington (Fisheries Vessel Pilot)
California (Boat Operator)
Oregon (Boat Operator)
another exhibit, the Union listed the following comparisons of compensation,
including 6% pick-up in the unit and 15% Sea Pay in the University of Washington
CAL (Able Seaman) $2,203.00
UW (Mariner II) $2,127.00
OSU (Able Mariner)
UW (2nd Mate) $3,137.00
CAL (2nd Mate) $2,858.00
OSU (2nd Mate) $2,514.32
UW (Chief Engineer)
CAL (Chief Engineer)
OSU (Chief Engineer)
TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS TECH ("TCST")
The State has 6 TCST's. In
1994, it had no turnover in this classification.
It has no job applicants for this class.
TCST's received a one-range selective increase, from Salary Range 15 to
Salary Range 16, effective January 1, 1994.
The State higher education system has its own telephone, cable TV, and
computer systems, run out of OSU. TCST's
install, maintain, and repair those systems.
The Union submitted a written statement from a TCST.
In it, he described various new technologies incorporated into their
operations in the past two years. He
also summarized private sector compensation data collected in a survey of wages
at AT&T, U.S. West, and Hewlett-Packard.
In addition, he noted that Technicians at OHSU, represented by AFSCME,
performed the same work for higher pay. The
Union identified public sector comparators, in descending order of maximum
salaries, as follows:
WEIGHMASTER 1, 2 AND SENIOR WEIGHMASTERS
The State employs 6.3 Weighmaster 1's, 72 Weighmaster 2's, and 52.9
Senior Weighmasters (also known as Public Service Representative 4's).
During 1994, one Weighmaster 1, one Weighmaster 2, and five Senior
Weighmasters resigned. Two Weighmaster 2's took intra-agency transfers.
The State hired 9 Weighmaster 1's, and has 166 applicants for this
position. It has no applicants
for Weighmaster 2's, nor has it hired any in 1994.
It hired one Senior Weighmaster, reemployed another, reassigned one and
promoted five more. It has 5 applicants for this position.
In addition to their regular salary, Weighmaster 2's receive a 5%
differential if they possess a certified vehicle inspection license. Senior Weighmasters who possess such a license receive a pay
differential of 2.5%.
The Union identified the following public-sector comparators, in
descending order of maximum salary, for the Weighmaster 2:
(including 5% differential)
OF THE PARTIES
The Union argues that Electricians demonstrate the impact of ignoring
wage gaps until employees began to leave. With
the new 15% pay raise, ODOT is now recruiting Electricians from other State
agencies. The Union argues the
better course is to adjust wages before people start "voting with their
feet" and create a staffing crisis. It
argues that agencies where employees have not yet begun to leave are crises
waiting to happen.
The State argues that selective adjustments are warranted only if the
classification's wage is below market and the State is suffering significant
recruitment or retention problems in the classification.
It argues that a wage within 5% of market rates accomplishes the goal
of making positions market competitive. It
argues the Union has not demonstrated a recruitment or retention problem in any
disputed classifications other than ODOT Electricians.
It argues that the 15% increase for that class has addressed the
recruitment and retention problem. The
State further argues that, in some classifications that have shown turnover,
employees have either gone to other agencies or left for reasons unrelated to
pay, such as retirement or health problems.
It argues that delays in filling some vacancies may occur because of
contractual procedures for filling vacancies, not because of recruitment
The State suggests the weaknesses Vogue identified in the Union's
benchmark survey make the Union's comparability data suspect.
It notes the lack of a mix of private and public sector employers, as
well as the lack of evidence regarding what percentage of the private sector
work force was actually compensated under the private sector rates quoted by the
The Factfinder has previously discussed her reservations about the
State's survey. The Union survey
data for public-sector comparators is set forth to the point of tedium because
the results are so unexpected. Nevada
and Idaho, both of which are routinely characterized as low-wage states,
repeatedly came in first or second in overall compensation.
No evidence exists of a boom in government compensation in those
states. It is more likely that the
comparators are ill-chosen, consistent with Vogue's analysis.
The nature of comparability data warns against making it too singular a
basis for gauging the need for selective increases.
Market data is the start, not the end, of the analysis.
The parties' use of data from their respective surveys implicitly
recognizes that market data is not determinative.
Both parties' surveys suggested large discrepancies from the market, in
both directions, for various classifications (ironically, including the Highway
Maintenance Worker in the State's case). Yet,
neither side has proposed selective increases for most of the arguably underpaid
positions, nor has the State suggested reducing compensation for classifications
its own survey shows are overpaid by as much as 49%.
Thus, neither party can be said to be wedded to the results of these
surveys. They are, however, a
significant factor in the analysis.
The Union relies almost entirely on its survey in urging selective
increases for Grounds Maintenance Workers, the Park Ranger series, Pharmacy
Techs, and the Weighmaster series. The
remainder of the classifications involve additional criteria.
Dental Assistants receive the equivalent of two salary ranges less than
the authorized rate for OSCI Dental Assistants in the non-strikeable unit;
however, there are no OSCI DA's, and the two classes are not precise matches
because of the patient populations involved.
The Union's exhibit does not rely on that figure, and indeed shows DA's
outpacing OHSU DA's by some 2.6% The
state comparator data is unusual in that Washington substantially outpaces
California--which, in turn, is very close to the figure for Idaho.
DA's are slightly behind the county market, but will not remain so with a
6.5% general wage increase. The
record does not support a selective increase for this position.
Matters are different for the Dental Hygienist.
OHSU DH's exceed this unit's DH pay by almost twice the amount of the
recommended general increase. The
state and county comparator data is very quirky, with Washington and Idaho
exceeding California's pay rates and Multnomah County topping all other
comparators. Because the Factfinder
has little faith in these survey results, she will rely primarily on the
internal comparator. Accordingly,
she recommends a two-range selective increase to supplement the recommended
The parties agree that Electricians should receive at least a two-range
selective increase, a conclusion that is amply warranted by the recruitment and
retention record alone. Interestingly
enough, the State's survey suggests a greater wage discrepancy than the Union's
four-state survey. With the
hindsight offered by the recruitment and retention problem for ODOT
Electricians, one could speculate that the inclusion of a substantial number of
private sector employers gave a more realistic picture of the real world market
in this instance. The most reliable
figure on the State's survey
puts Electricians about 18.5% behind market.
Even after the recommended general raise, they will be 12% behind market,
if one adopts the State's survey; they will be 24-25% behind the Union's survey
of the county market and 40% behind the prevailing wage.
The two-range increase offered by the State would not bring Electricians
within the 95%-of-market rule-of-thumb, by its own survey. The lack of response to the 15% differential for ODOT
Electricians also suggests that the current rate is substantially below market
rate. At the other end of the
spectrum, it seems unlikely that the full BOLI prevailing wage rate is the true
market in the public sector, any more than it is in the private sector.
On this record, the State's survey may well be a slightly low
approximation of the appropriate wage. Taking
into account the recommended general increase, a selective increase of five
ranges will put Electricians between the State survey and the BOLI rate, near
the Multnomah County rate that lured away one recent ODOT Electrician.
The Factfinder so recommends.
In view of the ECST's more responsible role under state law as
supervising electrician for State Electricians, the Factfinder recommends
preservation of the current two-range difference.
She therefore recommends a five-range selective increase for ECST's.
No evidence exists regarding historical relationships between the sole
Correction Electrician and other State Electricians' pay scales. Frankly, the Factfinder is a bit uncomfortable leaving that
employee behind the other two Electrician classes, particularly since the
employee currently is roughly at the same pay scale as ECST's.
However, there is simply no basis on this record for determining the
appropriate wage treatment for that employee.
Accordingly, the Factfinder recommends no selective increase for
Grounds Maintenance Workers have fallen slightly behind their closest
comparators, employees at OHSU. However,
the general increase recommended for the unit will more than make up for that
lag, as well as most of the discrepancy identified in the Union's state survey
(and, for that matter, the 4.98% lag shown in the State's composite survey).
They will continue to suffer in comparison with the generous (and perhaps
Measure 8-driven) county figures. However,
on this record, no additional selective increase is warranted.
The Laboratory Aide series has fallen behind its county comparators by
only slightly more than the recommended general wage increase, and behind its
state comparators by less than a salary range.
Other record evidence does not support granting an increase that will put
them above the market. Entry-level
turnover is not as large a concern outside the skilled trades, where there is a
heavy up-front investment in apprenticeship.
It is difficulty in recruiting, or the loss of middle- and senior-level
staff, that tends to suggest that wages may be inducing turnover.
Accordingly, no selective increase is recommended.
Measure Standards Specialists have expanded the scope of their individual
duties in recent years, and some evidence exists that this induced senior
employees to retire early and may be prompting less senior employees to seek
other employment. The fact that the
State does no permanent hiring into what purports to be the entry-level class
within this series suggests that the class structure for the series is below
market. This conclusion is also
supported by the Union's survey. After
the recommended general increase, MSS-2's will remain nearly 20% below the 4
States #2 survey average. This
discrepancy, the accelerated loss of senior staff, and the anticipated departure
of mid-level staff, all point to a selective increase of four ranges, as sought
by the Union. The Factfinder will
The most compelling argument for a selective increase in the Mental
Health Therapy series is the 1% selective increase in the non-strikeable unit.
Even the interest arbitrator there noted the case was relatively weak for
an increase. The Union's state
survey figures are even less persuasive in this instance, because they are in
inverse order to the history of relative wages among Northwest states.
In any event, the recommended general increase more than offsets the
Turnover in the Park Ranger series is quite low.
The state comparator data for the series is surprising.
The Factfinder would be inclined to discount the matches for Idaho and
Nevada, and possibly California, leaving only Washington and Washington County
as strong matches. The general wage increase will bring Park Rangers roughly
equal to Washington, but still behind the county figures. While the matter is not free from doubt, the Factfinder will
not recommend a selective increase to supplement the general salary increase.
The Union's survey data indicates that the recommended general wage
increase will remedy virtually all of the discrepancy revealed for Plumbers.
No other evidence supports the requested selective increase.
Accordingly, the Factfinder will recommend no selective increase.
Pharmacists have fallen behind their colleagues at OHSU by 13.2%. That figure is consistent with the Union's state and county
survey data. Even the State's
survey of maximum rates arrived at a similar conclusion.
Consistent with those surveys, turnover has been substantial in this
class. Assuming a 6.5% general
increase, Pharmacists will continue to lag by the equivalent of at least one
Salary Range. The record does not
support the full three-range increase sought by the Union, but does support a
one-range selective increase. The
Factfinder so recommends.
Pharmacy Techs have fallen behind their State colleagues by almost
exactly the amount of the recommended general wage increase.
The Union's survey data for other comparators is suspect, as it has
Nevada outstripping even California. While
the matter is not free from doubt, the Factfinder will not recommend a selective
increase to supplement the general salary increase.
The Union's public sector survey suggests that the recommended general
wage increase will remedy any shortfall in Radiologic Technician pay.
The State's survey suggests the series will remain 10-18% below market, a
conclusion that is consistent with the upper end of the range of results from
the Union's less formal private sector survey.
In view of the recruiting experience, the Factfinder is inclined to lend
more credence to the more pessimistic figure.
Accordingly, the Factfinder will recommend the two-range selective
increase sought by the Union for this series.
As with the other trades classifications, the Union's discrepancy
arguments for Refrigerator Mechanics implicitly discount the BOLI data.
Its internal and external state surveys suggest that the recommended
general wage increase will put these employees close to market; the county
survey suggests it will take them halfway to market.
The selectives sought are more consistent with the county data than any
other measure. Since the county
data rests on a single county, the Factfinder is more inclined to credit the
state survey. She therefore will
not recommend a selective increase to supplement the recommended general wage
The evidence regarding Ship's Classes was sketchy, at best.
For most of the classes, the Factfinder has absolutely no data to
indicate whether any selective increase is warranted.
The data as to Able Mariner is somewhat in conflict.
Many of the classes received a selective increase barely more than a year
ago. Nothing on the record
indicates the basis for that increase, or the reasons why another is sought so
soon. In any event, these classes
will share in the recommended general wage increase.
On this record, the Union has not established an informed basis for
granting the selective increases sought. The
Factfinder therefore recommends no increase.
Like very few other unit classes, the Telecommunications Systems
Technicians received a one-step selective increase last year. Both parties' survey data suggests they are substantially
below market; indeed, they rank in the lowest handful of benchmark
classifications in the State's survey. To
date, this group of six has not suffered retention problems, and therefore has
not had to address the recruitment issue. If
the survey results are valid, the recommended general wage increase will go only
a small way toward bringing them to market.
The Factfinder recommends the four-range selective increase sought by the
Weighmasters suffer in comparison with Lane County.
Although state comparator data suggests they have fallen behind external
state comparators by approximately the amount of the recommended general wage
increase, even that figure is questionable because of the unexpectedly high pay
for the Idaho comparator. This unit
recently received a differential. For
all the above reasons, the Factfinder will not recommend a selective increase
for this series.
3: IMPLEMENTATION METHOD FOR
SELECTIVE SALARY INCREASES
AND ARGUMENT OF THE PARTIES
Currently, an employee who receives a selective salary increase gets an
immediate one-step increase, and moves through any remaining steps in the range
on the regular annual salary eligibility date ("SED"). The State's proposal would eliminate automatic step increases
for employees affected by a selective salary increase. Instead, employee pay would increase immediately only if the
employee's current step was below the bottom of the new range.
Otherwise, employees would be placed at the step within the new range
that corresponds most closely to their existing rate of pay.
They would then move up through the steps annually on their SED.
Employees would realize the gain from a selective increase insofar as
they would have greater potential for future step increases.
The vast majority of the affected employees are at or near the top step
of their range.
The State notes this change would minimize the financial impact of
implementing new ranges, by deferring the step increase until the employees SED.
The State argues most affected employees have chosen to remain with the
State regardless of the perceived lower pay scale.
It suggests that such factors as job security, just cause standards,
benefits, and job satisfaction could account for this behavior.
The opportunity for additional step increases gives them an incentive to
The Union argues the existing contract language has worked in the past.
It describes the language as a compromise between full immediate
implementation of higher ranges and a "least cost" approach.
It notes that, under the State's proposal, any employee who has not
already topped out in the range will get no pay increase.
It argues this will not aid in retention.
Selective salary increases serve two interrelated purposes. The first is to bring particular classifications' pay in line
with appropriate rates under the statutory criteria. The second, and underlying, purpose is to make it easier to
retain and recruit employees in those classifications.
In the Factfinder's view, it is counter-intuitive to give selective
salary increases to bring employee compensation in line with market rates and
reduce turnover, but then to structure it so that many existing employees will
not see any actual increase in pay at the time, or for years. The Factfinder will not recommend the State's proposed new
4: "SUNSET" ON SELECTIVE
AND ARGUMENT OF THE PARTIES
De Luca testified the principal aim of the "sunset" language
was to avoid perpetual salary increases that bore no relationship to the market.
The State sought a mechanism to recapture selective increases that were
no longer warranted, without having to trade another concession in return.
De Luca testified the concern over recapturing obsolete selective
increases was prompted, at least in part, by criticism from the State Auditor.
The Auditor studied "payline exceptions" to the salary
schedules established through the Hay system.
The Auditor found most payline exceptions occurred through collective
bargaining. He noted the State's
files did not reveal the reasons for many of those payline exceptions.
He also commented that, once in place, payline exceptions tended to
remain forever, without regard to market conditions or other factors.
He suggested that, once the factors justifying the payline exceptions
ended, the payline exception should end as well.
De Luca testified that part of the reason for the concerns noted by the
Auditor was the inherent conflict in the values expressed by the various laws
bearing on state employee compensation. The
Legislature grafted a collective bargaining system onto a merit pay system, then
later added comparable worth criteria.
De Luca acknowledged the proposed "sunset" language was not
perfect, and expressed a willingness to discuss other language to achieve the
State's purpose. He is unaware of
any similar language in other jurisdictions.
De Luca testified that in negotiations over the next five years, the
State would not propose reductions for the selectives at issue here.
He anticipated that the reversion to lower salary ranges would occur
automatically at the end of five years unless the specified factors warranted
continuing them. If the Union
disagreed with the State's assessment of the impact of market factors, De Luca
expected the matter would be subject to the grievance procedure rather than
bargaining. He also acknowledged
that the Union would be free to argue the selective increases should remain
despite market and recruitment/retention data, but based on other statutory
criteria. If the Union and the
State did not agree whether the market and recruitment/retention factors
continued to justify a particular increase, De Luca expected the matter to be
resolved in arbitration.
The Union argues the Hay system is not dispositive of appropriate wages.
It notes the Hay system sought internal pay equity based on job content,
without regard to market factors. PECBA,
however, explicitly makes market factors a part of the equation.
Two conflicting goals thus factor into the resulting pay scale.
Given this inherent conflict, it is hard to say whether there should be
more or fewer payline exceptions.
The Union argues that bargaining reconciles the conflicting Hay and
market systems. It argues that the
parties knew, or should have known, what they were doing when they bargained
selective increases. The State's
failure to maintain files showing the reasons for those increases is not a
reason for eliminating those increases.
The Union argues the proposed sunset clause is illogical. After suggesting in this proceeding that employees cannot
receive selective increases unless the compensation disparity has led them to
begin quitting, the State now seeks to remove those increases after five years
unless employees continue to quit despite the selective increases.
The Union questions whether the State wants to encourage some employees
to quit in five years simply to allow their fellow workers to maintain their
selective increases. It suggests
that if a "medicine" is keeping a patient well, it makes more sense to
keep the patient on that medicine.
The Union notes that salaries can be re-bargained in any Agreement.
It suggests that this is the solution to the State's concern over
selective increases that become obsolete.
As De Luca's testimony made evident, the State's sunset proposal was a
rough cut at dealing with the perceived problem.
Upon closer inspection, that proposal needs to be re-thought.
Initially, the recruitment/retention factor would be a peculiar means of
determining whether a particular selective should sunset.
If, in the year 2000, the State was experiencing no retention or
recruitment problem in a particular classification that had received a selective
increase in 1995, that does not necessarily suggest the selective should be
ended. On the contrary, dropping
the selective could simply re-create the recruitment and retention problem that
led to the selective in the first place. The parties would then have to repeat the process of
negotiating the selective increase.
Further, the enforcement mechanism for sunsetting selectives is one
likely to lead to increased discord between the parties.
As these proceedings demonstrate, reasonable minds can differ regarding
the market rate for any given job classification.
In assessing whether a selective should sunset, the State's fiscal
interest will support concluding that a job classification is ahead of market;
the Union's representative interest will support concluding that the
classification is at or below market. Yet
the proposal would allow the State to take unilateral action to reduce salaries
based solely on its views. Union
disagreement with the State's assessment could lead to an unfair labor practice
charge or a grievance. Either
option would place the parties in a highly adversarial mode.
The least disruptive outcome would be negotiations--possibly leading to
factfinding--to regain the same selectives based on all the statutory criteria
rather than just the two in the State's proposal.
However, this outcome could be achieved with less rancor in the context
of overall negotiations.
It does not contribute to the public interest to engender grievances or
ERB charges. That is a foreseeable
consequence of adopting the State's proposal.
Certainly, the parties are free to agree to try new means of dealing with
old problems. However, factfinding
would be of little practical use to the parties were it to result in a
recommendation for such a disruptive provision. Accordingly, the Factfinder recommends that the Agreement
contain no sunset provision.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND RECOMMENDATION
(1) There should be an
across-the-board salary increase, effective April 1, 1995, in the amount of
2) There should be
selective salary adjustments, retroactive to January 1, 1995
(a) There should be increases in the
following classifications for which the parties have agreed to selective salary
adjustments, as follows:
Elevator Mechanic - 2 salary ranges
Disability Analyst 1 and 2 - 2 salary ranges; and
Disease Investigator - 1 salary range
(b) Dental Assistant 1, 2:
None; Dental Hygienist: 2
(c) Corrections Electrician :
None; Electrician and Electric & Control Systems Tech:
5 salary ranges (including the 2 ranges proposed by the State)
(d) Grounds Maintenance Worker 1, 2:
(e) Laboratory Aide, Laboratory
Assistant & Tech 1, 2: None
(f) Measurement Standards Specialist
1, 2: 4 salary ranges
(g) Mental Health Therapy Shift
Coordinator & Mental Health Therapist Coordinator:
(h) Park Ranger 1, 2 & Park
Maintenance Coordinator: None
1 salary range
(k) Pharmacy Technician 1, 2:
(l) Radiologic Technician 1, 2:
2 salary ranges
(m) Refrigeration Mechanic:
(n) Ship's Assistant Cook, Ship's
Cook, Ordinary Mariner, Able Mariner, Boatswain, Boat Operator, Ship's 1st Mate,
Ship's 2nd Mate, Ship's 3rd Mate, Ship's Electrician, Asst Port Engineer, Ship's
1st Asst Engineer, Ship's 2nd Asst Engineer, Ship's Chief Engineer:
(o) Telecommunications Systems Tech:
4 salary ranges
(q) Weighmaster 1, 2 & Senior
(3) The implementation
provision for the selective salary increases should not be modified from the
current contract provision.
(4) The selective salary
increases should not include a sunset provision.
DATED: March 27, 1995
LUELLA E. NELSON - Factfinder
The "market maximum" figure for Electricians in the State's
survey report is mathematically impossible, since it is smaller than the
"market weighted average."
In this regard, any decrease in the discomfort level for State
negotiators would be offset by an increase in the discomfort level for Union
In contrast, a 1987 factfinding report by Timothy Williams involving
these parties noted, "it is clear that the State is not a leader in the
wages that it pays its employees."
In this regard, at least, the Factfinder agrees with the
recommendation of the Towers Perrin to use general increases to maintain a
competitive salary structure. See
One possible outcome is the hiring pattern shown for Measurement
Standard Specialists--hiring at higher classification levels. This flattens out the career ladder, defeating the purpose of
having such a ladder in the first place.
Another possible outcome is hiring at the top step of the salary
range for a particular classification, as occurs with Radiologic
Technicians. This hastens the
point at which employees "top out," eliminating their ability to
keep pace with inflation. A
third possible outcome is the pattern among ODOT Electricians, where
employees complete their apprenticeship, then leave for higher-paying
Metrology is the science of measurement.
The interest arbitrator noted the case was relatively weak for an
increase, and questioned the county comparators and one of three state
comparators. He nonetheless
granted a smaller increase than requested, based on the remaining two state
An accompanying graph showed that including California increased the
pay of comparator employees relative to state employees. The Report did not chart the effect of removing Nevada from
the mix, or suggest that it be removed.
As Factfinder Stratton observed in a 1989 proceeding involving these
parties, this group represents a blend of large and small states, with a
similar variety of income sources (agriculture, natural resources,
manufacturing, and services).
One might predict that, as with the private sector, adding smaller
counties would tend to move the average downward.
On the other hand, use of weighted data would minimize this effect.
It may well be that the time and tedium involved in including those
counties would more than outweigh the benefit of any marginal refinement of
In drawing this conclusion, the Factfinder places only partial
reliance on the list of top 50 private-sector employers submitted by the
Union. That list is based on
the number of Oregon metropolitan area employees.
The Factfinder recognizes some of the participants in the State's
surveys as larger than the "top 50" if considered regionally,
nationally, or internationally. Even
if such entities do not have a large local presence, one would expect the
large employer factor to affect their salary structure.
Others may be sited mostly outside metropolitan areas (such as
natural resource and agricultural product processing concerns).
The BLS now uses 1982-84 = 100 as the standard reference base.
As a convenience to users, it continues to publish indexes using the
former reference base of 1967 = 100.
Those State employees represented by the Union who are prohibited
from striking by ORS 243.736 (the "non-strikeable" employees) will
go to interest arbitration pursuant to ORS 243.742.
It noted the effect of Measures 5 and 20 on the tax structure; in
addition, Measures 8, 11 and 15 were described as addressing expenditure
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