This week, classified student services workers throughout the Oregon University System voted overwhelmingly to give their bargaining team the authority to call a strike. Citing an inadequate economic offer and lack of funding for student services, their bargaining team has filed a ten-day notice to strike with OUS.
If plans to strike proceed, classified student services workers on OUS’s seven campuses will walk out beginning September 23.
“There are administrators in OUS whose primary contact with students is going to the occasional Ducks game, and they literally make more money in one month than some of our workers make all year,” said Marc Nisenfeld, a development engineer at Portland State University and chair of the SEIU 503 bargaining team.
Students rely on classified student services workers to help them navigate their college experience, from registering for their first day class to receiving their diploma. Yet these workers have fallen so far behind in this economy that nearly one quarter of them meet the threshold for food stamp eligibility for a family of four.
“The economy has turned around, and people are moving forward. Administrators are moving forward. Goodness knows the Duck’s locker room is moving forward. All we ask is that we don’t fall further behind,” said Nisenfeld.
SEIU 503 represents 4500 classified student services workers in the Oregon University System.