Oregon University System

OUS members in SEIU t-shirts behind a large banner that says 'No Contract? No Peace!'

Oregon University System members work as classified employees at seven campuses in Oregon: Eastern Oregon University, Portland State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Southern Oregon University, University of Oregon, and Western Oregon University.

Higher Ed Bargaining Update: Some Steps Forward – Some Steps Back

Click here to view more photos of the rally!

Click here to view more photos of the rally!

Pay, Benefits Under Negotiation – Take-Aways of Rights Still On the Table

Our bargaining is taking place at a time – less than a month after the Legislature finished their work – when Oregon Higher Education has been granted historically large budget increases, ranging from 13 percent to 28 percent, depending on the university. Many SEIU members across the campuses helped elect legislators who appreciated the important role of Higher Education in Oregon. These members also fought to secure funding increases. As part of the university communities where they work, classified employees should share in these budget increases, and have a fair and respectful contract. There ought to be good progress in bargaining.

However, two more days of bargaining this week brought some steps forward mixed with some steps in the wrong direction. Join your voice to those of your co-workers to let Management know you expect a settlement that will honor your work and the contribution classified workers make throughout Oregon Universities.

First, the good news:  Management has…

  • … increased their wage offer very slightly.  They changed their offer from .5 percent increases every 6 months (for four incremental increases) to a new offer of 1 percent on January 1, 2016 and 1 percent on January 1, 2017. In terms of dollars earned over the two-year period, the new proposal would be a small improvement, but at the end of the two year period, both proposals are at around 2 percent “roll-up” and both fall far short of what our bargaining team has in mind. See some of our current key proposals below.
  • … backed off their step freeze proposal in favor of normal steps. Having a step freeze on the table during a time of economic improvement has never made sense to the Union bargaining team.
  • … backed off their proposed health insurance limit, which would have pushed the risk for healthcare increases further onto workers.  This is a welcome change in the management proposals, and represents “good news.” However, the proposed deletion of the existing low-wage worker subsidy of $40 was not withdrawn. See below for a proposal in the “bad news” category.
  • …given us a proposal package that includes SOU, which insisted for months on having a separate pay and benefits proposal, along with the other six universities.
  • … agreed on a fair appeals process for the classification & compensation restructuring the universities are planning. If the classification/compensation restructuring continues forward, there will be an agreed-upon process for panels – consisting of equal numbers of management and union representatives – to hear appeals of decisions about where positions were allocated in the new structure.
  • … made two small but positive language changes related to a few differentials. One of these affects the bilingual differential, the other the shift differential. For the bilingual differential, it would continue to apply in the future to any employees whose positions specifically require bilingual skills, but there would no longer be a secondary requirement that the person was “recruited for” bilingual skills. The change related to the shift differential would make it easier for employees seeking a flexible work schedule to be granted that flexibility because the shift differential would not apply, in those cases, to any time that carried over into the hours between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. (the normal shift differential hours).

Now, the bad news (with a comparison to Union proposals on similar topics):

  • Even though Management improved their wage offer a tiny bit, it is still the same total 2 percent by the end of 2 years – an insufficient amount by far.  The Union proposal is currently 3.5 percent in the first year and 2.5 percent in the second.
  • On healthcare, Management has now replaced the insurance limit it withdrew with a doubling of the premium share requirement (i.e. workers would pay 10 percent of premium instead of the current 5 percent).  The Union Team proposal is to hold the actual cost of workers’ premium-share the same; to keep the low-wage worker subsidy; and to grant part-time classified workers the same rights regarding health insurance as those received by part-time unclassified employees.
  • SOU may have now “come into the fold” and joined the other six universities in the latest proposals, but instead all seven universities say they reserve the right, in the future, to go their separate ways on pay and benefits, thereby threatening to undercut the principle of equal pay for equal work across all seven universities. Our bargaining team has made clear we are bargaining for one classified worker contract across the entire state, with equal wages and benefits for everyone in the same jobs.
  • Management is continuing their proposed take-aways of long-standing member rights regarding Overtime and Layoff. The former proposal would change the calculation of “time worked” for the determination of overtime liability; the latter would reduce employee options for bumping in the event of a layoff. Our Union proposals simply continue the existing rights in these areas.

Additional Union Proposals

To date, Management is also rejecting additional Union proposals, including:

  • Over 20 proposed selective salary increases in specific classifications
  • A low-wage floor across-the-board (pegged at approximately $15/hour)
  • An additional step added to to the top of every salary range
  • An early-retirement incentive program
  • A proposal to set staffing ratio limits on the number of administrators and supervisors compared to classified employees
  • A proposal for a university-wide committee process to engage the whole community in the discussion of tuition affordability

Supporters Rally for Fairness

Over 75 OSU supporters rallied outside the Management Bargaining Team meeting room and sent a clear message – chanting, singing, and marching – that we want a fair contract and now’s the time to settle it. Click here to view photos from the rally.

Next Dates

The next bargaining dates will be on August 10-12 at WOU, with the State Mediator helping the process. Click here to make YOUR voice heard–sign the petition to campus presidents!

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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: Some Progress at the Table, But…

DSC_0720

Click the picture above to view more photos from the rally!

…Management Still Seeking Take-Aways on Rights, Healthcare Cost Shift to Workers, 1-Year Step Freeze, and Insufficient Raises

Members Send Message with Rally and March Through Admin Building (Johnson Hall).

At the University of Oregon, last week, over 150 classified workers, students, and faculty showed their support for the union bargaining team, and sent a message to the Management Team, by rallying in front of Knight Library and then marching across campus and through the Administration Building with chants and signs calling for Management to “Stop the Take-Aways” and agree to a “Fair Contract.”

During the rally, members heard a report from Union Bargaining Team Chairperson, Marc Nisenfeld; sang spirited songs with the UO Labor Choir;  and heard pledges of solidarity from students (The Student Labor Action Project and Associated Students of Oregon at UO), unionized Graduate Students (Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation);  and faculty union President, Michael Dreiling (United Academics). SEIU Local 503 President Rob Sisk and Executive Director Heather Conroy also addressed the crowd to pledge  the support of all 55,000 SEIU Local 503 members to do whatever must be done to win a fair contract, and remind everyone that by standing up for a better university system, we are standing up for all Oregonians.

Still on the Table:  Attacks on Member Rights; Shifting Costs & Risk in Healthcare to Workers, a Freeze/Delay on Steps, and Sub-Sub-Par Raises

Even with some progress to report from this round of bargaining, significant threats from management proposals are still on the table, not to mention union priorities that have still not been addressed. They insist on moving Higher Ed workers backward through salary step freezes and forcing the costs of future health care cost increases onto workers. Moreover, they continue to refuse to engage with us over our proposals to streamline administrator/classified staffing ratios, or have a campus-wide committee process on keeping tuition affordable. And, they are still seeking to take away existing rights workers have in Overtime and Layoff Protections. For example, they have proposed to:

  • Shift more of the increases in health care costs to employees
  • Delay step increases for a year, each year (i.e. freeze steps, again, for a year)
  • Provide inadequate raises – of only ½ percent every half year
  • Take away existing worker protections and rights (changing the way overtime hours are calculated, and reducing bumping rights in a layoff – two of the “Big 3” issues we had to fight off in our last contract bargaining)
  • SOU still reserving the right to deviate from an eventual statewide settlement (that all six other universities are committed to)
  • Reject our proposed added step at the top of the pay scale, or our $15/hour wage floor, and
  • Reject our proposal to equalize classified part-time worker health coverage with unclassified part-time worker health coverage.

Some Progress:  11 More Articles and Letters of Agreement Resolved

At the end of two days of bargaining, with the support of members rallying and getting engaged, the teams were able to reach Tentative Agreement on 11 more contract provisions. While this is good progress, it still leaves serious issues to be addressed, as described above. Some of the resolved issues include:

  • Management withdrew their contracting out proposal which would have made it easier to contract out members’ jobs
  • With University Presidents committing in writing to continue the “Fee Privilege” program, our team withdrew our proposal on the subject.  A Union proposal to apply the discount program onto e-learning classes was dropped after multiple attempts to persuade the Management Team.
  • We gained the right to make and receive hardship donations to and from other newly established SEIU 503-represented  classified bargaining units (i.e. the UO and PSU police units).
  • The contract will provide for two additional steward slots at WOU, to allow for the growth in workforce and shift coverage.
  • The universities agreed to update their systems into the 21st Century and accept monthly data exchanges about union membership and other sign-ups or cancellations.
  • The parties agreed to move the contract provisions for how to deal with “bully boss” (or inappropriate workplace conduct) problems, from the back of the contract into the body of the contract to make it more visible and accessible.
  • With the creation of “Local Boards” on all campuses, the contract now will allow for a union observer to attend those boards (unless one of the Local Board members is already an SEIU designee).

Union Calls for Mediation

The law allows for either party in public sector bargaining to call for the assistance of a state mediator after 150 days of bargaining has elapsed and the parties are still not at settlement. The SEIU Local 503 bargaining team has called for this mediation process starting on July 20 at our bargaining session at OSU, with the hope that a mediator will be able to get bargaining going more rapidly.

Union Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against Universities for Refusal to Bargain over Classification/Compensation Appeals Process

To be fair to the employees affected by any classification/compensation plan restructuring, a reasonable system for dealing with appeals or challenges to the allocation decisions made during a transition from the old to the new system ought to exist. Our bargaining team is seeking to bargain for a fair appeals process, while management refuses to bargain over it, and have only been willing to discuss it within the Classification/Compensation Committee, where the Union merely has an advisory role. Given the impact such allocation decisions can have on employee compensation and because of the general importance of this subject, the Union is seeking a ruling from the Employment Relations Board to require Management to bargain over the subject.  If we prevail, this issue will be added to the list of remaining bargaining proposals to still be addressed.

Email Your President:  Respect Classified Employees!

Thank your University President for telling their team to withdraw their bad contracting out proposal, but let them know there’s a long way to go. Demand RESPECT as a member of the campus community and insist that your President tell the Management Bargainers to

  • Stop pushing take-aways of our existing rights!
  • Drop proposals to shift the risk and costs of healthcare onto workers!
  • Provide a respectable raise that helps make up for lost ground, and keep steps intact!

Next Bargaining Sessions:

July 20-21:  OSU

Aug. 10-12:  WOU

You helped set our bargaining priorities now it’s time to show your support for those priorities. Please show your support by attending the rally at your campus.

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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: So Close, Yet So Far

Higher Ed PSU rally 6/18/2015

Click the photo above to view more pictures from the Higher Ed bargaining rally at PSU!

In two frustrating days of bargaining at PSU last week, we came close to resolving another group of articles about non-economic, or “language” issues, except the universities could not reach agreement with us to use 21st century technologies and systems in our monthly exchanges of bargaining unit and membership data. So, even though we came close, we’re still far apart: this means a package of 12 articles and Letters of Agreement, including one of the major three “Takeaway” articles from two years ago – the article on Contracting Out – remains unresolved at least until our next bargaining session, July 9-10 at UO.

We’re also far apart on other remaining issues: Management is continuing to put forward its two other major “Takeaway” proposals from two years ago; i.e. to take away various existing overtime pay rights (including the 8-hour/day overtime rule) and to seriously restrict bumping rights for employees during layoffs. In addition, they are still proposing other serious attacks on current worker rights, such as the rights of employees who transfer between universities to carry over accrued leave balances.

Moreover, our efforts to achieve a fair appeals process for the pending classification and compensation restructuring and placement project through a parallel Committee process have made good progress, but still fall short of what our members need for fairness. Our Bargaining Team recognizes the importance to our members of getting this issue resolved correctly. And, of course, we are still far apart on almost all the pay and benefits issues, from health care coverage to cost of living adjustments, from differentials to selective salary increases, and more.

The members and the campus and surrounding community gave our bargaining team a boost, with a strong showing of over 100 supporters rallying in the Parks Blocks and then marching and chanting to the site of bargaining. PSU faculty leaders Kelly Cowan (PSU-FA/AFT President) and Gina Greco (PSU AAUP Leadership) addressed the crowd on the importance of Solidarity and in support of our slogan “In It Together;” and Jobs with Justice and student activists joined PSU members and SEIU’s traveling Flying Squadron of activists from around the State in sending a message to Management to settle this contract fairly. As bargaining resumed in the afternoon, workers from PSU’s Helen Gordon Center stood vigil, and dozens of marchers and Flying Squadron members attended to remind the Management Team of our bargaining issues, while our team presented our latest set of proposals.

Contract Extension?

Our Bargaining Team has requested that Management agree with us to extend the existing contract in light of the fact that it expires on June 30, and we are still far from concluding our negotiations. Management’s bargainers have committed to give us an answer by June 24, when they expect to be able to confer with their VPs.

We did get written confirmation of Management’s agreement to extend the existing low-wage worker health care subsidy through August. Our Bargaining Team’s proposals include continuing that subsidy through the next contract term, while Management is proposing to remove the subsidy.

Tell us about your community connections: Please click here to take a brief survey about your ties to your community. The information we are gathering can help us make connections between our members, their campuses and their communities, which in turn will strengthen our community ties if we wind up needing to seek their support during a contract dispute. Please take five minutes, click on the link and fill in the survey to assist with this effort.

Our next scheduled bargaining sessions are on…

  • July 9-10, UO
  • July 20-21 OSU
  • August 10-12, WOU

 

Your SEIU Local 503 Higher Ed Bargaining Team
Marc Nisenfeld, PSU (Chair)
Trisha Guy, WOU
Johnny Earl, UO
Gloria O’Brien, OSU
Helen Moore, EOU
Colleen Martin-Low, SOU
Gregory Marks, PSU
Bob Klem, OIT (Alternate Chair)

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Higher Ed Bargaining: Outstanding Issues

Here is a list of just some of the key outstanding issues at the bargaining table:

  • Raises (COLAs): Management is proposing just 2 percent over the life of the contract (4 increases of 1/2 percent.)
  • Steps: Another step freeze? Management is proposing essentially a one-year step freeze.
  • Health care: Management is proposing to shift even more of the risk for health care cost increases onto workers by capping increases in their contributions to 3.4 percent.
  • Take-Aways:
    • Contracting Out: making it easier to contract out classified workers’ jobs,
    • Overtime: eliminating our right to overtime after eight hours (and calculating the 40 hours only on “time worked”), and
    • Layoff Rights: restricting bumping rights during layoff to just one opportunity.

Union proposals:

  • Wages: Provide decent cost-of-living increases; add a step at the top of all salary ranges; and ring up the wage floor (as part of our statewide campaign for a $15/hr minimum);
  • Steps: No step freeze.
  • Health Care: Continue existing insurance programs, with 95 percent/5 percent (or 97 percent/3 percent) premium share split; parity with faculty and unclassified employees on fully paid health insurance for part-time employees.
  • Campus Administration: Streamline manager-to-staff ratios, focus attention on the “bully boss” problem, collaborate with entire campus communities to achieve the goal of affordable tuition, protect against misuse of student or temporary workers, and do more to assist workers looking for a clearer career path and advancement.
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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: What Part of One Contract – What Part of No Don’t They Understand?

Our hopes that last session’s signing of several Tentative Agreements (TA) would jump start our bargaining and get the momentum going seem to be in vain as we once again appear to be in a holding pattern gaining little ground in our two-day bargaining session at Eastern Oregon University.

The high point of the two days was a spirited rally sponsored by our EOU Local 081. With SEIU 503 Executive Director Heather Conroy in attendance, our members were joined by faculty, students, an Associate Dean, and even an EOU Board of Trustees member who turned out to show their support and affirm that WE ARE IN IT TOGETHER.

Southern has yet to join the other six campuses in negotiating one wage and benefits package for all seven universities. In addition, management has several other proposals that attempt to treat workers differently, essentially creating more division between our campuses. A couple of examples are:

1.    If an employee transfers to a different university, the amount of their sick leave accruals that can be transferred will be determined by the new university’s policy. Currently, all accruals are transferred.

2.    If an employee transfers to a different university, the amount of their vacation leave accruals that can be transferred will be determined by the new university’s policy. Currently, the employee may elect to retain and transfer up to 80 hours

What part of ONE CONTRACT don’t they understand? (Click here for a list of key outstanding issues.)

Additionally, management has returned to the “Big Bad Three” from our last contract campaign:

1.    Attacking our layoff rights

2.    Making it easier to contract out our jobs

3.    Reducing overtime eligibility

We weren’t interested two years ago and we’re not interested now. What part of NO don’t they understand? (Click here for a list of key outstanding issues.)

Click here to send your Vice President, Finance and Administration a message that these divisive proposals have to go if they want to settle this contract. We won’t stand for separate treatment. We won’t stand for our rights being attacked and gutted.

Our next bargaining sessions:
June 8 and 9 at WOU
June 18 and 19 at PSU
July 9 and 10 at UO
July 20 and 21 at OSU

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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: Moving Past The Small Stuff

In our first-ever sessions at the Bend OSU-Cascades Campus, bargaining took a small step forward last week: We were finally able to reach agreement with management on two sets of proposals involving dozens of articles in our contract. Management opened most articles, then later decided not to propose any changes. We signed off to close them.

The remaining articles mostly involved technical language adjustments, such as recognizing the phasing-out of the Chancellor’s Office and its role, or other so-called “housekeeping” changes. While the number of articles we resolved is high (over 40), these agreements primarily represent that our bargaining is moving past the beginning stages.

A more substantive agreement in these articles included that management backed away from their proposal to reduce the burden of proof in some arbitrations over employee grievances.

Article Number
Title Brief Description
1 Parties to Agreement Technical change: “OUS” phasing out.
3 Scope of Agreement Technical change: “OUS” phasing out.
6 Legislative Action Technical change to allow for joint legislative action with the union on a university-by-university, or all 7 universities basis.
7 Separability Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
8 No Strike or Lockout Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
9 Employer Rights Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
11 Employee Assistance Program Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
12 Child Care Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
14 Negotiating Procedures Technical change to reflect the seven universities no longer working through Chancellor’s office.
15 Parking Technical change: “OUS” phasing out.
16 Personnel Records Minor modifications in terminology.
17 Discipline & Discharge Agreement reached on technical changes. Mangement proposal for investigatory suspensions without pay withdrawn.
18 Grievance & Arbitration Agreed on a rotating panel of arbitrators and replacement of panelists, on procedure for grievances at Step 3, and on scheduling of grievance meetings. Proposals to reduce the burden of proof in some cases, or to change the arbitration practices, were withdrawn.
19 No Discrimination Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
23 Payroll Computation Procedures Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
26 Stand-by Duty/ On-Call Duty Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
27 Travel Expenses Recognizes former “OUS policy” to become “university policies.”
29 Moving Expenses Recognizes former “OUS policy” to become “university policies.”
30 Penalty Pay Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
31 Affirmative Action Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
33 Veterans’ Preference Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
34 Trial Service Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
35 Transfer During Trial Service Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
37 Job Sharing Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
38 Voluntary Demotion Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
39 Personal Leave Days Agreed to continue current language. Management withdrew proposal.
41 Bereavement Leave Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
42 Holidays Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
44 Leaves of Absence Without Pay Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
45 Pre-Retirement Counseling Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
46 Search and Rescue Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
49 Vacation Leave Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
50 Academic Year Positions Agreement reached to continue current language. Union proposal to document departmental policies for summer work assignment was withdrawn.
54 Position Descriptions/ Performance Evaluations Agreed to trigger Position Description review upon written request of employee.
56 Safety and Health Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
57 Joint Comm/ Consultation Comm Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
59 Computer Workstations Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
62 Uniforms, Protective Clothing and Tools Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.
64 Technological change Agreed to continue current language: Management proposal to deny employees displaced by technological change access to transfer to another university’s vacancies was withdrawn.
67 Commercial Drivers’ License Article opened by management; no proposals presented by deadline.

Additional similar agreements on several Letters of Agreement were also reached.

Serious issues still remain on the table, including management-proposed “Take-Aways” of current rights or benefits and union-proposed improvements, such as:

  • SOU is still—alone among the seven universities—refusing to commit that their employees will receive the same statewide pay and benefits as all other university classified workers in Oregon! Click here to ask legislators to stand with us and tell management: No matter where they live and work, every higher ed worker deserves a fair deal and a living wage!
  • Management’s overall proposals for pay and benefits include raises of half percent twice each year, a one-year step freeze, cost-shifting in health care coverage, and other signals of wanting to depress classified workers’ pay and benefits, even for introductory proposals.
  • Management’s main attacks on established classified workers’ rights and protections are still on the table, including making it easier to contract out classified workers’ jobs, eliminating our right to overtime after eight hours (and calculating the 40 hours only on “time worked”), and restricting bumping rights during layoff to just one opportunity.
  • Union proposals to bring up the wage floor (with our statewide campaign for a $15/hr minimum), to raise the top with an added step at the top of the salary ranges, to provide decent cost-of-living increases, to streamline manager-to-staff ratios, to focus attention on the “bully boss” problem, and to collaborate with our entire campus communities to achieve the goal of affordable tuition.

These and other important remaining issues will be more front-and-center in upcoming bargaining sessions. Our next bargaining dates and locations are:

May 28-29 at EOU

June 8-9 at WOU

June 18-19 at PSU

July 9-10 at UO

July 23-24 at OSU

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Higher Ed Bargaining: Outstanding Issues

Here is a list of just some of the key outstanding issues at the bargaining table:

  • Raises (COLAs): Management is proposing just 2 percent over the life of the contract (4 increases of 1/2 percent.)
  • Steps: Another step freeze? Management is proposing essentially a one-year step freeze.
  • Health care: Management is proposing to shift even more of the risk for health care cost increases onto workers by capping increases in their contributions to 3.4 percent.
  • Take-Aways:
    • Contracting Out: making it easier to contract out classified workers’ jobs,
    • Overtime: eliminating our right to overtime after eight hours (and calculating the 40 hours only on “time worked”), and
    • Layoff Rights: restricting bumping rights during layoff to just one opportunity.

Union proposals:

  • Wages: Provide decent cost-of-living increases; add a step at the top of all salary ranges; and ring up the wage floor (as part of our statewide campaign for a $15/hr minimum);
  • Steps: No step freeze.
  • Health Care: Continue existing insurance programs, with 95 percent/5 percent (or 97 percent/3 percent) premium share split; parity with faculty and unclassified employees on fully paid health insurance for part-time employees.
  • Campus Administration: Streamline manager-to-staff ratios, focus attention on the “bully boss” problem, collaborate with entire campus communities to achieve the goal of affordable tuition, protect against misuse of student or temporary workers, and do more to assist workers looking for a clearer career path and advancement.
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Same Contract for All; Stop Take-Aways!

Southern Oregon University Rally 4/23/15

SOU workers deserve the same respect, pay and benefits as classified workers in ALL 6 other Oregon public universities!

This was the message in a spirited rally at SOU on Thursday. (See photos.) With TV and other media watching, over 100 classified workers, faculty and student supporters gathered to take SOU Finance VP Craig Morris to task for refusing to make the same pay and benefits commitment to SOU workers as the other universities have pledged. SEIU bargaining team Chair Marc Nisenfeld told the SOU crowd:  “Our bargaining team stands with you!  Our campuses stand in solidarity with you because if this happens to you, it could happen to any or all of us!  We are In It Together, and we will continue this fight!” [click here for a side-by-side comparison of some of the main proposals on the table] 

We need to continue to persuade each university’s VPs of Finance to make sure workers are offered one contract across the state. Join the bargaining team and send messages to SOU VP of Finance Craig Morris and President Saigo to urge them to change their position and keep SOU a true member of the Oregon University Community.  We need to send a strong message that university workers across the state stand in unity:

http://seiu503.seiu.org/page/speakout/sou-leadership-keep-sou-a-true-member-of-the-oregon-university-community

The rally wasn’t the week’s only highlight.  Higher Ed members have been pushing for action on many fronts, and we’re starting to see results:

  • A successful first step in the Capitol! With the help of member lobbying, including a 3rd Higher Ed Lobby Day on April 20th, we’ve now seen our Shared Services Bill (HB 2611) pass out of the Legislative House and on to the Senate. Of particular interest to us is that the bill requires universities, for at least another six years, to engage in statewide bargaining with classified employees, and to continue with PEBB and PERS. We expect to have this Bill heard by the Senate the morning of Tuesday, April 28.
  • SEIU members helped press for the continuation of the staff fee privilege as a statewide benefit for all University employees.  All 7 University Presidents have now signed on to a letter to continue the benefit (although the costs to pay for the program are being reallocated).  To ensure the benefit cannot be withdrawn unilaterally, our bargaining team is also pushing for a similar proposal in our contract

At the bargaining table at SOU last week, our bargaining team kept repeating the message: “No take-aways!” In article after article – from Overtime rules to Sick Leave – we made the point.  In all, we exchanged proposals in over 28 articles and Letters of Agreement, though without signing off on any, yet. Meanwhile, we are also pushing for management to end their refusal to bargain over our proposals such as staffing ratios of administration to classified, tuition affordability, and an appeals process for the classification/compensation system. These are important issues and they deserve our attention in these negotiations. [click here for a side-by-side comparison of some of the main proposals on the table]

These and other issues will be brought up in our next bargaining sessions, at the Bend OSU Cascades Campus, on May 7th and 8th. Please join us! Our next scheduled dates, after that, are May 28th and 29th (EOU), and June 4th and 5th (TBD).

Your SEIU Higher Ed Bargaining Team

Chair: Marc Nisenfeld
EOU: Helen Moore
OT: Bob Klem
OSU: Donna Stevenson
PSU: Greg Marks
SOU: Colleen Martin-Low
UO: Johnny Earl
WOU: Trisha Guy

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There They Go, Again!

Higher Ed Management Proposals Not Unified Across State, Return to the “Big Three,” Attack Health Care, Steps, and More

We met for bargaining on Thursday and Friday, April 9th and 10th. This session ended on a very discouraging note. While we were hopeful of an early settlement, it is apparent that we will be digging in for a long and contentious fight for a fair and equitable settlement.

You may remember that management had proposed bargaining only economics this cycle. Our response was that we could agree, provided we would have one unified” economic package that was fair and equitable across all campuses. Management would not commit to unified economics until the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) finalized their new funding model, which they did on Thursday, April 9th.   Based on that model, management decided to give us two separate proposals for wages, health insurance, and other financial issues. One would cover SOU and the other would cover the other six campuses.

Although these proposals are currently identical, they were presented separately to allow SOU the ability to “opt out” if the negotiations proceed to a settlement that SOU Management does not support. Without the commitment to a full statewide approach, our team is continuing with the full bargaining process.

What follows are some of the“lowlights” of the Management proposal. Our team will continue to push for our proposals. Let your bargaining table rep know your thoughts. (See below for email addresses of bargaining team members.)

Management’s proposals

Salaries

  • Step increases delayed one year in each of the two years
  • COLAs .5% December 1, 2015, .5% June 1 2016, .5% December 1, 2016, and .5% June 1, 2017
  • No selective increases
  • Decrease salary increases in the IT Comp plan

Health Insurance

  • A cap (as yet undefined) on the employer premium contribution in the first year
  • A limit of 3.4% premium increase in the second year. Amounts above 3.4% would be our responsibility
  • Elimination of the Part Time subsidy

A Sampling of Major Language Takeaways

  • Eliminate the requirement to do a feasibility study when contracting out our jobs
  • Eliminate overtime after 8 hours a day and calculate the 40 hours using only “time worked”
  • Restrict bumping rights to one opportunity
  • Require call-in notification 4 hours prior to requesting sick leave
  • Drastically reduce management’s “burden of proof” when presenting their case to an Arbitrator

In addition to these, management is refusing to negotiate the appeals process for the new class and comp system despite the current contract requiring such negotiations.

 

It is time to fight back! Please join your Local leaders and your Bargaining Delegate in visiting your FADM Vice President to demand a fair contract. A contract that is equitable and fair across all seven campuses. Click here to join in.

Register for our next Higher Ed Lobby Day (April 20). Travel to Salem to meet with your legislators to lobby for adequate funding for Higher Ed as well as their support for our Fair Shot campaign. Click here to register.

Upcoming bargaining sessions

  • April 23rd and 24th at SOU
  • May 7th and 8th at OSU Cascades in Bend
  • May 28th and 29th at EOU
  • June 7th and 8th location TBD

Please plan to visit your Team and observe bargaining when we come to your campus.

 

Your Higher Ed Bargaining Team:

Marc Nisenfeld, Chairperson (marc.nisenfeld@gmail.com)
EOU: Helen Moore (hmoore13@yahoo.com)
OIT: Bob Klem (13thtribe@live.com)
OSU: Gloria O’Brien (obrieng60@gmail.com)
PSU: Greg Marks (marksg99@hotmail.com)
SOU: Colleen Martin-Low (horsetrails97537@gmail.com)
UO: Johnny Earl (johnnyearl59@yahoo.com)
WOU: Trisha Guy (tridguy@gmail.com)

 

 

 

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Higher Ed Bargaining Team: Ready to Bargain a United Contract! In It together!

Over the last 5 weeks, we’ve been exploring bargaining over economics only with a condition: We are committed to having the same economic settlement for all classified Higher Education SEIU workers, but management is still trying to keep its options open. The universities can settle a fair contract if they prioritize workers. We sent a clear message:  We can wait no longer.  We will be ready to begin bargaining a full contract at our next session, April 9th and 10th, unless they commit then that all workers will be treated equally in economics-only bargaining.

Please support your bargaining team and send a message of unity to your campus VP of Finance.

Our team also presented our proposal for a joint appeals process when the new classification system is implemented. Lastly, Elevator mechanics, Groundskeepers and RNs made strong compelling selective presentations.

Oregon State University SEIU members, students and faculty joined a noon rally to hear a report on bargaining and show their unity for a strong contract and for our Fair Shot priorities.

We will meet again on April 9 and 10 at the University of Oregon. We expect to determine with management then whether we will bargain economics only, or return to traditional bargaining.  We are ready to move in either direction but need you to send a clear message to the VP of Finance on your campus and ask them to prioritize workers during their budgeting and insist on one economic package for all seven campuses.

Mark your calendars: Another way to help your bargaining team is to attend the Higher Education Day at the Legislature on April 20 to speak directly to decision makers about our priorities.

Our next bargaining sessions are:
April 9 and 10, at UO
April 23 and 24, at SOU
May 7 and 8, at Cascades Campus (Bend – OSU)
May 28 and 29, at EOU
June 7 and 8, TBD

In Solidarity,

Higher Ed Bargaining Team

Marc Nisenfeld, PSU (Chair)
Bob Klem, OT (Alternate Chair)
Trisha Guy, WOU
Johnny Earl, UO
Gloria O’Brien, OSU
Helen Moore, EOU
Colleen Martin-Low, SOU
Gregory Marks, PSU

 

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