Oregon has recently employed a predictive scheduling system to control working hours. The trade unions in Oregon have been mainly supportive of the work schedules. However, they are well aware that employers will take advantage of every loophole possible. Therefore, these trade unions have been encouraging workers to report any cases of abuse as well as retaliation against those who report malpractice. Even then, the implementation of the work schedules requires cooperation between the employers and employees.
It is true that public sector workers have some advantages because Oregon state institutions have stuck to the rules that were set down in the law. Some departments have even gone beyond the minimum standards and provided additional benefits such as paternity leave or extensions of time of work in order to care for a sick relative. One of the remaining issues for public sector workers is how to make use of flexi arrangements without breaking the law.
Oregon and Trade Union Membership
The workforce in Oregon is one of the most unionized in the USA. The state had achieved a union membership of over 16% of the employed workforce. This is within the top 10 states in terms of unionization. However, the public sector (over 50%) still has a higher level of membership than the private sector (just over 9%). Right from the beginning, it was clear that the public sector was more likely to comply with employment law reforms than the public sector. This includes the famous Muller case about working hours and sex discrimination.
When the work schedule rules came into force in Oregon, the trade unions were happy about the changes insofar as they prevented the exploitation of workers. However, there would always be some workers who felt that they were likely to get better employment contracts if they negotiated their own working hours with the employer. This is particularly true of small businesses where employees are afraid that they will lose their jobs through closure if they put too much pressure on the employer. That is why some of the laws had exceptions for small businesses.
Key Issues for Workers in Oregon
Despite the largely positive trade union response, a number of key issues remain to be resolved including:
- The fact that many people are reluctant to admit that they are union members for fear of discrimination
- Oregon workers who are leaving the trade union movement because they feel that it is coercive for them in a hostile work environment
- The highly competitive economy which means that employees have to bargain for any job regardless of the working conditions
- The internal problems of the trade unions which mean that sometimes they do not have a good reputation with the public
There are also concerns that the rules are not always followed. This is not just because the employer is trying to avoid their obligations. It may also be because the worker is conniving with the employer in order not to enforce the key regulations that govern working hours.
Advice for Employees
If you have a query about your work schedules or wish to prosecute your employer for malpractice, contact HKM Employment Attorneys at 503-389-1130. It is best to have the right information and support from the experts when dealing with this complex law.