OREGON UNIVERSITY CLASS-COMP STUDY—UNION COMMENTS SCIENCE AND LAB JOB FAMILY--DRAFT
I. LABORATORY SERIES General Comments
Classifications are Excessively and Inappropriately Broad
The draft class specifications for the Laboratory series within the Science and Laboratory job family erroneously attempt to combine functions into the same classification and job series that do not logically belong together and that contain distinctly different kinds of laboratory work. Even more troubling, these class specs also collapse existing classification series into single job classifications, thus failing to properly differentiate between levels of complexity and responsibility within various occupations. To compensate employees performing more complex and more highly responsible duties at the same level as
employees who do not have the same level of duties and responsibilities would be grossly and patently unfair.
Class Specifications Conflict On the Number of Levels Within the Laboratory Series
The Lab Assistant class specification states that “This class is the first level in a four level Laboratory series. The Lab Technician class specification states that “This class is the second level in a five level Laboratory series.” The Senior Lab Technician class specification states that “This class is the third level in a four level Laboratory series. The Laboratory Technologist classification is the fourth level in a four level series. The Laboratory Chemist class spec states that “This class is the four level in a four level series.”
Evidently, the drafters of these class specs never made up their mind as to whether this series should have four levels or five levels. It’s also not clear which class would be the fifth level in a five-level series or the fourth level in a four-level series -Lab Technologist or Lab Chemist. This ambiguity needs to be resolved. (We argue below that Lab Technologist, which replaces the current Medical Lab Technologist, belongs in the Allied Health job family rather than in the Laboratory series. There is also an argument for treating Lab Chemist as a stand-alone classification similar to Microbiologist and retaining the current three-level classification series structure both of those classifications.)
1. Laboratory Assistant
The Lab Assistant classification improperly combines employees currently classified as Laboratory Animal Technicians with worker dealing with human health issues.. Working with animals requires very different kinds of knowledge, certifications, and skills than those of other laboratory workers who deal with human health/clinical settings.
Lab Animal Techs 1s/2s have to understand animal anatomy and physiology, behaviors and be able to monitor animals’ responses. They also do excisions of tissue samples, injections, and euthanize animals when necessary. These technical skills of Lab Animal Technicians are not recognized in the Lab Assistant classification. The class specifications should also include reference to interactions with principal investigators and responsibilities for supporting research activities and data collection. Also certifications with the American Association of Lab Animal Sciences are becoming the industry standard and this is not mentioned.
The Laboratory Animal Technicians feel they’re being downgraded by being placed in the entry level of this series and very broad Laboratory Assistant classification. This will hurt their long term careers, if they leave for a job in the field outside the university.
The draft class specification for Lab Assistant also improperly collapses workers currently classified as Lab Aides and those classified as Lab Assistants into the same classification. Combining these workers into the same classification in this way fails to provide recognition for the higher levels of responsibility for a Lab Assistant relative to a Lab Aide. The draft Lab Assistant class specifications do not draw sufficient distinction between employees that works with lab media prep, sterilization, and glassware care and those without such responsibilities.
Also the description of communications skills in the Skills section of the Lab Assistant classification is so broad as to become meaningless. (This language is repeated in all the classifications in the Laboratory classification series, so this point applies with respect to other classifications as well.)
2. Laboratory Technician
The draft class specifications for the Lab Technician classification improperly assign Medical Lab Technicians to the wrong job family.
Medical Lab Technicians work in a health facility, deal directly with patients, and identify as health workers, not science laboratory workers. They should have a stand alone classification like nearly all the other classifications in the Allied Health job family.
Also the draft class specs fail to recognize the technical and specialized skills of these positons. Furthermore, there is no mention of credentials, certifications or licenses for the medical health field. The current job titles to the Medical Lab Technician and Medical Lab Technologist classifications that are grouped here in the Laboratory series need to stay the same. They are specific to the medical field of expertise and classifications outside the UO and within the medical health community. 1 and MLT-2 have specific certifications to each
Similarly the Medical Technologist requires a Bachelor’s Degree and significant clinical lab experience--with distinct ASCP/NCA certifications as well. (See below.) The term "medical" is crucial to the job distinctions. Any change to this will create difficulty in filling these roles for those applying to these positions from within the health community. Also--the key element missing from each of these
distinguishing characteristics is support to "medical" laboratory staff. Again-these employees will strictly be working in a "clinical lab setting" supporting the work of medical practitioners.
3. Laboratory Technologist
Like Medical Lab Technicians, Medical Lab Technologists have been assigned to the wrong job family. These employees work in a health facility, deal directly with patients, and identify as health workers, not science laboratory workers. They should have a standalone classification like nearly all the other classifications in "Allied Health
A huge concern is changing this job title to exclude the "medical" or human aspect; or changing the class summary to exclude "human" illnesses and disease, or the "assessment of health of humans" in all facility types. The Medical Laboratory Technologist is specific to Allied Health Services--or the clinical lab setting. Positions in this occupation are primarily found in hospitals and health institutions. These employees are not involved with scientific research or animal studies.. They strictly test and analyze patient specimens to assist medical practitioners in diagnosing, evaluating, and treatment of human patient illness and disease or assist in the assessment of overhaul human health. They should be classified under the Allied Health job family and grouped with Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Pharmacists, Medical Doctors, etc.
Medical Lab Technologists do not do research in the clinical laboratory, Rather, they perform testing and analyses on human patient specimens only for the purpose of assisting in the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of illnesses and diseases. These workers do not do “research” or "conduct scientific observations" which implies research.
The current class, Medical Laboratory Technologist, is a stand-alone class not part of a series. First and foremost, a Medical (more commonly known as Clinical) Laboratory Technologist is a medical professional, also known as an allied health professional. Everything they do is to assist physicians and other clinicians in diagnosing, evaluating, and treating the illnesses and diseases of their patients, the university students. Also taking "Medical" off of the job class title will lead to great confusion,
particularly in recruiting for vacant positions, which is already a difficult task due to the low salary range compared to the community at large.
Medical Technologists are known within the medical field as specialized healthcare employees, the same as a Pathologist, Hematologist, Toxicologist, Pharmacist, Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nurse, etc. They adhere to all state/federal regulations as pertains to all medical personnel in the healthcare system plus certifications/regulations specific to clinical laboratories. It makes it very difficult to combine this position with any other series due to job duties, certifications and state regulations.
This Section should be amended to read: "Incumbents conduct ...STANDARD AND COMPLEX chemical...tests." Each clinical laboratory in the state is distinguished/accredited to do either
waived/standard/or complex testing. The words "human" or "assessment of health of humans" should also be added.
The Distinguishing Characteristics section of the Lab Technologist classification is very sketchy and not at all helpful in helping to differentiate this classification from other levels in this series. (As noted above, our recommendation is to pull this classification out of the Laboratory series and move it to the Allied Health family as a stand-alone classification.)
Under the “Essential Duties" section of the draft class specification, current Medical Lab Technologists collect specimens including blood (phlebotomy) and instruct patients on collecting specimens including urine, stool, and oral fluid, but this is not mentioned. Rather than following "research procedures or protocols" they follow clinical laboratory procedures and protocols which follow governmental clinical laboratory regulations as well as professional clinical laboratory guidelines.
Also under Essential Duties, the third paragraph states “Analyzes samples of biological material for chemical content or reaction. ” This statement is too general or simplistic. Although it is true that human specimens are ˜biological materials,” this description does not capture what Medical Lab Technologists do. Medical Lab Technologists strictly analyze human bodily fluids (and some solids, such as stools) by not only conducting chemical tests but by using a whole host of other methods of standard and high complex testing to provide the analytical information and interpretation of a patient’s health to a healthcare provider in helping to diagnose, evaluate and treat human disease or illness. We suggest changing this wording to read as follows: “Analyzes human patient samples by conducting standardized and highly complex tests, analyzing data for accuracy of results and provides technical information and interpretation of results to healthcare provider.”
Also, the draft Laboratory Technologist class only refers to analyzing samples. Medical Lab Technologists actually collect samples from patients, (in addition to analyzing them) and there is also critical medical clerical work in their jobs.
The Minimum Qualifications as stated are not clearly worded. They should be changed to read as follows: Either 1) Bachelor's Degree in Medical Technology; OR 2) Bachelor's Degree in related field such as Chemistry or Microbiology AND one year of work experience in a clinical laboratory; OR 3) an equivalent combination of education and work experience etc
The current Medical Lab Technologist classification position requires an employee to have completed a specialized one year internship through a recognized school as part of or following the Bachelor's degree. Employees must also successfully pass the registry competency examination through the American Society Of Clinical Pathologists. An acceptable alternative to Bachelor of Medical Technology degree is a
Bachelor degree in Chemistry or Microbiology. Current basic life support certification required. Licensing and Certifications
Medical Lab Technologists work in a field which is closely regulated by federal and state laws and by credentialing organizations, but none of that comes through in the new class specs.
Realistically, no university would hire a Medical Lab Technologist without national certification for MT, CLS, MLT, etc from organizations such as ASCP or the Board of Registry.
However, under the “Licensing/Certifications", section of the Laboratory Technologist draft class spec, none are listed. These requirements should be added to the class specification. They should also be taken into account in setting compensation levels for a Medical Lab Technologist classification. Universities that fail to require such credentials for Medical Lab Technologists face potential liability issues.
The “Knowledge” section of the class specification refers to knowledge of “chemistry and biological analysis and testing of environmental samples.” However, only a very small portion of the testing done by Medical Lab Technologists is on environmental samples. The vast majority of testing is done on patient samples. “Patient samples should therefore be added or should replace “environmental samples.” “Skill In”
As with other class specs in this series, the description of communications skills in the Skills section is so general as to become virtually meaningless. The wording in this case should be expanded to include reference to "physicians and other clinicians” in addition to coworkers and supervisors.
This Section should also include reference to ability to work independently with no other personnel working at same time and ability to multi-task and work at rapid pace with multiple interruptions and frequent re-prioritization of workload.
Under the “Working Conditions” section of the class specification, the last statement should also include reference to “biohazardous materials.” (This statement should be added to all class specifications in the Laboratory series.)
4. Laboratory Chemist
The draft class specification for Laboratory Chemist combines three existing classifications—Chemist 1, 2, and 3.
There is a reason that there are different levels within the current Chemist classification series. According to the General Description section of the current Chemist 3 class specification, “a Chemist 3 serves as a specialist with expertise in a specialty area of chemistry involving the design, development, and application of state-of-the-art analytical methods and procedures to complex and unusual problems.” A Chemist 1, on the other hand, “performs standard chemical and physical tests and procedures on a production basis” and employees at the Chemist 1 level “generally do not exercise independent scientific judgment in the interpretation of data nor make recommendations on the application of findings.”
The higher-level duties of positions currently classified at the higher levels within the current Chemist classification series will not go away as a result of the collapsing of these classifications into a single classification. This example graphically illustrates the problem with collapsing existing classification series into a single classification as discussed above.
As one employee put it in response to a Union questionnaire: “There is no information indicating that there is the possibility of advancement within the series once I am categorized as a Laboratory Chemist, unlike now when I have the opportunity to advance from Chemist 1 to Chemist 3 as I learn new skills over the years.”
The same point about collapsing classification series applies to the Microbiologist classification, a stand-alone classification which combines the existing Microbiologist 1, 2 and 3 into one classification.
The current class specs for Microbiologist 1, 2, and 3 closely mirror the class specs for Chemist 1, 2, and 3. Combining the three levels of the current series into one classification will have the same unfair,
inequitable and illogical effect as described above for the Laboratory Chemist classification. III. SCIENCE TEECHNICAL SERIES
The same general comments about collapsing classification series into single classifications as discussed above also apply to the Science Technical series. The Science Aid collapses Seed Certification Aid 1 and 2 into a single class. The Science Technician collapses Biological Science Research Technician 1 and 2 and Seed Analyst 1 and 2 into a single class, with similar inequities as a result.
As one employee put it in his response to a survey question: “I think there should be greater differentiation between the classes so that employees get more leadership opportunities at lower levels and have incentives to move up the job ladder.”
The MQs for Science Technician appear to be insufficient. The current MQs for Biological Sciences Research Tech and 2 include a requirement for “two years of college-level courses in a specific field of biological science.” The MQs for BSR Tech 3 include a requirement for a Bachelor’s Degree in a specific area of biological science. The educational requirement in the MQs for the new Science Aid and Science Technician classifications, however, is only a high school diploma or a GED. We would suggest retaining the educational requirements from the existing BSR series.
In other words, the Science Tech MQs should mirror the current BSR 2 and the Senior Science Tech should mirror the current BSR 3 However, the reference to “biological science” should be changed to “biological science or related field,” as stated in the draft specs. There are multiple types of science technicians so physical sciences should be included, especially chemistry.
Also an Oregon Drivers’ License should be required. Senior Science Technician
The Senior Science Technician classification attempts to combine four very different jobs into one new classification: 1) a Physical Plant job (Preventative Maintenance Planner), 2) a more research-oriented job (Biological Sciences Research Technician 3), one that is more storeroom oriented (Science Storekeeper), and 4) a more educational and laboratory-management-oriented job (Science Laboratory Preparator). Including such varied jobs under one classification does not appear to make much sense. In particular, it might make more sense to retain Science Lab Preparator as a separate stand-alone classification, like the Microbiologist..
Essential Duties of Senior Science Tech should be expanded to include the following: --Responsible for operation and routine maintenance of lab equip and computers. --Instructs staff and student workers in proper operation of equipment.
--Student laboratory class development and support.
--Supervises daily activities of student employees who are assisting in the lab including orientation and training of students in procedures and safety, including proper handling/operation of materials and equipment;
--Deals with hazardous waste and chemicals.
--As assigned, conducts a variety of laboratory tests, which include: selecting and preparing specimens and media; cultivating, isolating, or assisting in identifying microbial organisms; identifying anomalies in data and recommends corrective action; following research procedures or protocols.
--Analyzes samples of biological material for chemical content or reaction
-Operates laboratory equipment and tools in quantitative or qualitative analysis; maintains, calibrates, cleans, and tests sterility of equipment and tools.
Also add reference to materials/equipment preparation and maintenance, laboratory procedure testing, and laboratory classroom preparation and maintenance. including hazardous waste management.
In addition, Science Lab Preparators serving Biology Departments regularly have Essential Duties that include preparing microbiological specimens and media, and cultivating and assisting in identifying microbial organisms.
Knowledge and Skills
Knowledge for classification should include
--Ability to identify and assess chemical hazards, risks and exposures
-- Knowledge with regard to hazardous chemical storage, labeling, and disposal of hazardous wastes, --Knowledge of applicable rules and regulations;
Skills for this classification should include:: --Implementing protocols and procedures; --Handling hazardous waste and materials; --Developing and maintaining laboratory records Minimum Qualifications
A Bachelor of Science degree should be required as a Minimum Qualification for this classification. (Also see discussion under Science Technician, above.),
As one employee put it: “I think employees in this classification should have at the very minimum a Bachelor of Science degree. My co-workers and I are setting up advanced labs, and unless you have already taken chemistry you would have no idea of the hazards this involved. It would be very difficult for
someone without the proper background to do safely.”
Working conditions should include "Employees are regularly exposed to low levels of hazardous substances including chemical, laser light, high voltage, weak radioactive sources, vacuum systems and hot/cold gases and liquids. In the future will grant writing/administration be required; hints this will be added to responsibilities.”
iv. INSTRUMENT TECHNICIAN SERIES
As discussed above with respect to other classification series, the Science Instrument Technician series combines several existing classification series into single classification. For example, Instrument Technician--Electrical 1-3 and Instrument Technician—Mechanical 1-3 are combined into Science Instrument Technician. Similar comments as discussed at length above also apply to the proposal to collapse these series into a single classification.
Sr. Instrument Technician
Some employees who are currently classified as Instrument Technicians do not work in “scientific” areas. For example, one such employee is an Instrument Technician 2 who manages production in an architectural fabrication lab. Does such an employee belong in a "scientific" classification? His projects include woodworking, metals and plastics fabrications and testing function. Perhaps the classification should be
modified to include reference to workers who fabricate mechanical and electrical equipment for academic pursuits other than science.
Science Instrument Technologist Essential Duties
Some positions in the current Instrument Technologist classification perform duties related to medical equipment, e.g., installing, repairing, and maintaining medical equipment, such as imaging equipment like Ultrasound, X-ray and Nuclear Medicine equipment. (Standard titles for such positions include
Biomedical Equipment Specialist , Clinical Engineer, or Healthcare Technology Management Engineers). Duties of positions such as these do not appear to be reflected in the draft class specification for Instrument Technologist.
Also we suggest adding the following to the list of Essential Duites: --Liaison with Facilities for CEE projects.
--Lab teaching and supervision of students. -Training of TA's for teaching and research labs.
--Conducting Safety Orientations for new students and staff as needed. --Inspecting labs for safety problems.
Include reference to knowledge of hydraulics, including power hydraulics, and materials science. Also, more needs to be included on the knowledge nd use of laboratory instrumentation.