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Even Union Dentists Are Hitting The Picket Line

Published Tuesday, April 2, 2019
by nwLaborPress.og
Even Union  Dentists Are Hitting The Picket Line

(MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON) - A group of Union-represented Dentists in Oregon recently hit the picket line on their lunch hour to let the public know they want a fair contract.

Last Spring, 28 Dentists employed at seven Multnomah County clinics voted to join Oregon American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) after the county increased their patient load by 20% in 2017 - to about 22 patients a day - without giving them any say in the matter, or any increase in compensation.

Union and management have been negotiating since late August, but they’ve had a hard time reaching agreement on a first contract.

Pay is a key sticking point.

Oregon AFSCME Rep Eben Pullman says Dentists working at Multnomah County Health Department are underpaid compared to other Dentists locally.

The job requires a Doctoral Degree in Dental Medicine or Dental Surgery, but their starting pay is just over $100,000, and annual pay tops out at $161,000, compared to top pay of $220,000 for Dentists at the Veterans Administration (VA), $193,000 in the State Corrections System, $175,000 at the non-profit Virginia Garcia Clinic Network, and $170,000 for Dentists at Clackamas County.

Dentists also want a standard Union Grievance and Arbitration Process so Dentists can defend themselves in cases of discipline.

Instead, county managers want to create a kind of disciplinary panel made up of Dentists, a proposal the Union thinks could be unworkable.

In mid-February, a delegation presented a petition to Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury signed by a majority of the Dentists and explained their position to her directly.

The two sides are scheduled meet to bargain this week.

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