AFSCME Sues State of Oregon Over Malfunctioning New Payroll System

Employees say their checks are incorrect in a variety of ways.

Interstate 5 paving between Woodburn and Salem, May 2019. (Oregon Department of Transportation)

One of the state’s largest public employee unions today filed a lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court against the state of Oregon, asking that the court order the state to fix problems with its new payroll system.

As WW first reported, employees got their first checks from the new system, called Workday, on Jan. 3. Although the Oregon Department of Administrative Services has said it is working to fix the system, state employees, and particularly those who work irregular schedules, such as corrections officers, continue to report unfixed problems.

In its lawsuit, which it filed on behalf of Laurie Frasco, a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees who works in Marion County, and Michael Kennedy, a member who works in Multnomah County, AFSCME is seeking class action status and an immediate fix.

“Since implementing a new payroll system on December 1, 2022, the State of Oregon has incorrectly paid thousands of its employees,” the lawsuit says. “[ASCME] is seeking a court order requiring the state of Oregon to fix its payroll system so that it accurately pays its employees, to suspend unauthorized deductions from wages, to re-report wages to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, and to conduct an accounting of wages to ensure its employees have been accurately and fully compensated.”

Among the issues the lawsuit cites: missing or late paychecks; incorrect pay rates; incorrect and excess deductions from wages for retirement, deferred compensation, health and dental benefits, charitable contributions, and other purposes; inadequate wage statements that fail to accurately show amounts paid and wages withheld; misreporting of wages to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System; incorrect accrual and deductions from vacation and leave banks; and late payment of wages to employees at their retirement or end of employment.

AFSCME is not the only union whose members are frustrated with the new system. A total of five unions, including AFSCME, have filed grievances with the state. One of them, Service Employees International Union Local 503 has fielded complaints about Workday from 2,000 members and is working closely with AFSCME on the lawsuit against the state.

The Oregon Department of Justice, which represents the state in lawsuits, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Workday implementation problems are not new. In December, Multnomah County paid nearly $2 million to employees after the county’s rollout of the system in 2019 resulted in glitches similar to the ones the state is experiencing now.

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