After back-to-back marathon bargaining sessions, our SEIU 503 State Worker Bargaining Team has reached a tentative agreement on our wage and benefit reopener!*
Together through our unity and actions we:
- Held the line on healthcare by maintaining the 1% premium share for lower cost plans and 5% for costlier plans. This was a top priority for us, and we prevailed. Management was insisting on a 7% premium share until the final hours. We sent a clear message that we wouldn’t tolerate cost-shifting on healthcare.
- Secured 2 normal step increases. Two years ago we pushed management to agree to a four-year contract, and we were able to secure steps for the length of the contract at that time. Having steps secured was pivotal to being able to push management in other priority areas like healthcare and a living wage for all workers.
- Won a 1.85% cost-of-living raise on 6/15/18. After months of actions and lobbying in the capitol we were able to get $100M secured for state worker wages and benefits, which means we were able to secure steps and a meaningful cost-of-living raise despite a very challenging budget environment.
- Established a minimum monthly salary of $2600, effective 6/15/18. After years of work on this, we can finally say that all state workers in Oregon make a living wage!
- Negotiated increases to shift differentials, the creation of a multilingual differential, and other increases for specific classifications. More details on these wins will be on our website soon.
As you know, this bargaining process was coupled with a challenging legislative session where SEIU 503 members relentlessly lobbied and campaigned for increased funding across all state-provided services. Because SEIU 503 members made their voices heard in the capitol, we significantly lessened the impact of a $1.4 billion budget deficit. Among other things, our work led to the defeat of 40 bills attacking PERS retirement, doubled funds dedicated to state worker compensation to $100M, and helped realize the need for a modest but vital investment of $30 million to improve Oregon’s child welfare program.
At the bargaining table, the state’s initial offer included increasing employee premium share and no cost-of-living pay increases, but we insisted on holding the line. Unity among our members gave us the bargaining power to maintain healthcare, protect our retirement, and lift wages for everyone in this tentative agreement!
*UPDATE: On Sunday, July 30, 2017, SEIU 503’s Elected State Worker Bargaining delegates unanimously elected to recommend a YES vote on our wage and benefit tentative agreement. In the following weeks, we will hold a series of in-person ratification vote meetings at our largest worksites around the state, in addition to our traditional mail ratification vote. Full summaries of the contract changes will be available at these meetings and mailed to members.