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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