Higher Ed Members

Higher Ed 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 Workers Reach Tentative Agreement!!

HEbargainingteamAfter months of bargaining—our SEIU 503 Higher Ed bargaining team has reached a tentative agreement with the employer!

We won this settlement because workers like you have come together in unity to push back against an employer that fought hard for takeaways. Make no mistake: The employer wanted us to settle for much less than we’re worth. Only through members coming together in union were we able to win an agreement that benefits all workers.
Details will be available soon, but we wanted to share some highlights with you right away:

  • We held the line on healthcare, despite pressure from the employer to make front-line workers shoulder more of the cost, which would have resulted in lower take-home wages;
  • We maintained steps in the face of the employer trying to freeze steps for the length of the contract;
  • A 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) effective Oct. 1, 2017, and a 1 percent COLA effective July 1, 2018;
  • Nine selectives and differentials, and agreement on a very low-cost meal purchasing plan for UO food service workers.

In the coming weeks, we will share the plan for ratification votes at campuses around the state. Please watch your email for a meeting on your campus.

Again, thanks to the hundreds of SEIU 503 members who showed up and won an agreement that lifts all workers. We’re excited about this agreement, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at a ratification vote soon!

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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: This is Unacceptable.

On July 17 and 18 at WOU we came away from yet another round of bargaining with University Management. We’re still far apart in terms of what we feel is a fair contract. We maintain that we deserve a fair cost of living increase (COLA), the ability to maintain our healthcare premium share contribution, and be able keep our steps. During the legislative session, our work lobbying and campaigning for investments in education were pivotal in winning new revenue that resulted in an increase of $72 million in education funding. Yet management continues to propose a COLA of capped at .5 percent, along with no steps and an increase in our healthcare contribution to 7 percent.

This is unacceptable.

SEIU Local 503 Proposals University Management Proposals
Salary:

  • 2.5 percent, effective 7/1/2017.
  • 2.5 percent, effective 7/1/2018.
  • Wage floor of $2600/ month, effective 7/1/2017.
Salary:

  • CPI capped at .5 percent, effective 12/1/2017.
  • CPI capped at .5 percent, effective 12/1/2018.
  • NO to $2600/ month wage floor.
Steps:

  • Continuation of step increases.
Steps:

  • Freeze steps through 6/30/2019.
Healthcare:

  • 95/5 except the lowest cost plan available to the employee.
  • 97/3 split on the lowest cost plan available to the employee (status quo).
Healthcare:

  • 93/7 split on all plans except the lowest cost plan in PEBB.
  • 97/3 split on the lowest cost PEBB plan.

Differential increases:

  • Increase high work differential by $.75 per hourl
  • Increase hazmat differentials by $.50 per hour.
  • Increase and expand eligibility for shift differential and lead work differential.
Differential Increase:

  • Increase high work differential and hazmat differentials by $.25 per hour.
  • No change on shift differential or lead work differential.
Meals Cost LOA, OSU:

  • Status quo.
Meals Cost LOA, OSU:

  • Expand LOA to include UO, increasing costs for UO workers.
Salary Selectives:

  • 34 classifications.
Salary Selectives:

  • Electrical Control and Systems Tech to Salary Range 27.

Now is the time to turn up the pressure on campus. More than ever, we need to make it clear that we deserve a fair contract and will stick together for the win! Our next bargaining session is August 7-8 at the Bend Cascade Extension. Be on the lookout for unity breaks, purple up days, and other actions on the horizon. Contact your organizer by email or at 1.844.503.SEIU to learn how you can get involved on your campus.

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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: Mediated Bargaining at OIT

Our Higher Ed Bargaining Team met with university management on June 14-15 in Klamath Falls at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT). This was the first session in which a Mediator was present. We agreed to focus on the remaining open articles not directly related to salary and benefits, such as Sick Leave, Holidays, and Salary Administration. Our plan is to address salary and benefits during our upcoming July 17-18 sessions at WOU.

There was agreement reached on clarifying procedures for Hardship Leave, winning the right for members in ongoing hardship to accrue up to 40 hours of vacation time after the initial qualification. We also won positive language addressing a major concern of our members regarding inclement weather campus closures. With regard to Work Out of Class (WOC), we locked in a recent arbitration win that addresses how WOC pay is applied.

As the legislative session comes to a close, we should have a clear idea of where we will be in terms of our overall state budget situation by our next bargaining session.

Meanwhile, it is vital that we keep the pressure for revenue at a fever pitch.

After months of relentlessly pushing for revenue, we are finally seeing some big corporations acknowledging the need to increase corporate taxes. But the business associations who lobby in Salem are still pushing for legislators to make cuts public employee compensation and services for seniors and people with disabilities. We can’t let them balance the budget on our backs.

Join SEIU 503 members across Oregon on June 21 for a statewide day of action to support corporate tax reform and investments in public services.

Portland
Target: Oregon Business Council
8:00 AM, Wednesday, June 21
Standard Insurance building – 1100 SW 6th Ave, downtown PDX

Salem
Target: Association of Oregon Industries
12:00 PM, Wednesday, June 21
The Association of Oregon Industries – 1149 Court St NE (near the Capitol)

Eugene
Target: US Bank (Oregon Business Council board member)
12:00 PM, Wednesday, June 21
Johnson Hall, U of O campus, on 13th Street between University and Kincaid

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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: No New Proposals from Management

During our June 1-2 bargaining session at Western Oregon University, management came with no new proposals or counters to any outstanding proposals. To put this into perspective: a .5 percent increase translates to an average increase of $18 per month or $.10 per hour. An increase of 2 percent to the health care premium share relates to a $29 per month or $.17 per hour increase in health care cost. This would result in a pay cut for a majority of our members.

SEIU Local 503 Proposals University Management Proposals
Salary:

  • 3 percent, effective 7/1/2017.
  • Inflation + 1 percent, effective 7/1/2018.
  • Wage floor of $2600/ month, effective 7/1/2017.
  • Continue steps.
Salary:

  • 0.5 percent, effective 12/1/2017.
  • 0.5 percent, effective 12/1/2018.
  • NO to $2600/ month Wage Floor.
  • Freeze steps through 6/30/2019.
Salary Selectives:

  • 34 classifications.
Salary Selectives:

  • 0 classifications.
Healthcare:

  • 95/5 split on all plans except the lowest cost plan in PEBB.
  • 97/3 split on the lowest cost PEBB plan.
Healthcare:

  • 93/7 split on all plans except the lowest cost plan in PEBB.
  • 97/3 split on the lowest cost PEBB plan (status quo).
Differential increases. Zero differential increases.
Additional personal leave hours. No additional personal leave hours.
Additional campus closure days. No additional campus closure days.

We Can’t Wait for universities to do the right thing. We need every member to make their voice heard on June 6th as we rally the Capitol in Salem. It’s time to show management that we’re ready to fight for a fair contract! Click here to register now. Also, please mark your calendars for our next statewide day of action for fair contracts and a just budget: June 21.

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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: Don’t Balance the Budget on Our Backs

Our bargaining team met with management on the campus of the University of Oregon on May 8-9. We continued to hear more salary selective presentations from union members working in information technology, campus safety, maintenance, custodial coordinator and other classifications. Management has said they will be sending us their economic proposal this Friday, May 12th — the latest time they are able to do so under our bargaining ground rules.

Just 6 percent of the state’s tax revenues come from corporations, while everyday Oregonians like us pay the rest. It’s time corporations paid their fair share. Classified staff are facing potential layoffs and students are looking at skyrocketing tuition increases. We can’t wait any longer. Our legislators need to act NOW and pass a commonsense revenue overhaul that requires large corporations to invest in the communities they profit from.

During this week’s bargaining, UO classified staff united with co-workers, community members and students on the steps of Johnson Hall, UO Chief Steward John Taylor called upon legislators to demand that large corporations start investing in Oregon. Members of SLAP, GTFF and United Academics gathered in support, sending messages of support and unity with SEIU members. “It is undeniably true that education is severely underfunded in Oregon as Salem continues to hang us out to dry. But it’s never admin that feels the pinch, it’s always the students and the workers,” said SLAP’s Rio Lehman.

How can we continue to support bargaining? Show up for our students, and show up for each other. Contact your legislators today and remind them that they have a choice: balance the budget on the backs of students and staff or require large corporations to invest in Oregon.

Upcoming Bargaining Sessions:

  • 6/1-2 – WOU
  • 6/14-15 – OIT

On April 13 and 14, we learned that one of our team members had recorded a bargaining session for personal reasons. As a team, we took immediate action and demanded that all recordings be deleted, and we united around an internal commitment that no team members will record future sessions. Our bargaining team members also agreed that — despite not being under any legal obligation to do so — we would respect the integrity and transparency of the bargaining process and disclose what we learned to management and the terms of our internal commitment.

We intend to continue moving forward with the bargaining process in good faith, and hope that management does not allow this to distract from the important work that lies ahead of us in securing a fair contract.

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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: Nothing New from Management

On April 27-28 we met with University management at WOU for our third negotiating session of the 2017 economic reopener. The session included an intimate meet and greet with WOU staff on the 27th, with a great turnout from SEIU members as well as faculty and community representatives. At the table, we were able to hear selective salary adjustment presentations on behalf of Library Technicians and the Ship’s Complement at OSU. We proposed a 3 percent COLA (effective 7/1/17), inflation plus 1 percent (effective 7/1/18), continuation of regular step increases and health insurance contributions, plus additional leave days for closures due to inclement weather.

Management, however, has not given us any new proposals. Additionally, our proposal to extend the dates for employees to use the “special day,” (which would cost the university nothing) was rejected.

How can we continue to support our bargaining team? Unite with students, and unite with each other. Attend a bargaining session when they are at your campus, contact your legislator today, and urge them not to balance the budget on the backs of students and staff. And remember to register for the June 6 Better Oregon Budget Day at the Capitol in Salem.

Upcoming Bargaining Sessions:

  • 5/8-9 – University of Oregon.
  • 6/1-2 – Western Oregon University.
  • 6/14-15 – Oregon Tech.
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Higher Ed Bargaining Update: Bargaining at OSU

We have yet to see an economic proposal from management, but they have committed to providing us with their initial economic proposals by May 12. Our proposal includes a cost of living increase (COLA) of 3 percent for the first year and inflation plus 1 percent in the second year. We are seeking to maintain steps and keep employer health care contributions at their current level. In addition to new paid holidays, we’re looking to add 5 leave days that are to be used to cover campus closure days due to inclement weather.

The universities continue to paint a bleak picture of the budget outlook. PSU and UO have already announced big increases to tuition of 9 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively. We have reiterated that we expect the universities to make fair compensation for classified staff a budgetary priority.

Winning a fair contract will require legislators to decide to no longer remain 50th in the country in corporate tax collection, and start holding large corporations accountable to the communities that support their business. We made that statement loud and clear on April 13th with rallies and actions across the 7 university campuses. At OSU, students and faculty, including allies from ASAP (Allied Students for Another Politics) and American Association of University Professors (AAUP), rallied in support of classified staff, whom they deemed the heartbeat of the university.

“The workers at this university (OSU) ought to be its pride and joy….our struggles are kindred, in that we are forced to bear the heavy weight of corporate and administrative greed, and that we are compelled to resist with unity and solidarity,” said Andrew Barton of ASAP.

How can we continue to support bargaining? Stand with students, and stand with each other. Contact your legislator today and urge them not to balance the budget on the backs of students and staff, and demand that large corporations invest in Oregon! Click here to take part in the April 18 Digital Lobby Day action and remember to register for the June 6 Better Oregon Budget Day at the Capitol in Salem.

Upcoming Bargaining Sessions:

  • 4/27-28 – Western Oregon University.
  • 5/8-9 – University of Oregon.
  • 6/1-2 – Western Oregon University.
  • 6/14-15 – Oregon Tech.
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Higher Ed Bargaining has Begun!

On March 30 and 31, SEIU 503’s Higher Ed bargaining team met with management for our first bargaining session of the 2017 economic reopener. Bargaining this year is limited to economic issues, including salary, insurance, sick leave, holidays, and personal leave.

The bargaining team made it clear to management that we expect them to make classified workers a budgetary priority. We presented proposals to management based on bargaining surveys completed by the members, including:

  • A 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) effective 7/1/2017;
  • COLA equal to inflation plus 1 percent, effective 7/1/2018;
  • Minimum salary of $2600 per month, the monthly equivalent of $15 per hour;
  • Additional leave days to cover campus closures for inclement weather;
  • Adding President’s Day and a floating day as recognized holidays.

Management responded by painting a bleak picture of the universities’ economic outlook. They backed up their statement by proposing to increase the cost of meals for housing workers at U of O, who are among the lowest-paid workers in our bargaining unit. This is not acceptable. 

Our next bargaining dates are set for April 13-14 (OSU), April 27-28 (WOU), May 8-9 (UO), June 1-2 (WOU), and June 14-15 (OIT).

Here are two ways we can support our bargaining team:

It’s not okay for the universities to balance the budget on the backs of classified employees. It also doesn’t make sense for the State to cut funding for education and other vital services when we are 50th in the nation for corporate taxes. It is time for Oregon to invest in its universities; and for Oregon’s universities to invest in their employees.

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Victory at UO!

In early May, housing and food service members at UO – many of whom are student workers – received an email from administration advising them that beginning next September, they would be charged for meals that were once provided as a benefit of the job. This could potentially offset wages for these members, typically the lowest paid on campus, by nearly $700 per year. The offsetting of any wages or benefits is something that needs to be bargained, not imposed.

uo meal

Members gather before meeting with admin to review proposed meal costs.

Nearly 20 classified staff at UO united and spoke out at meeting with food and housing services administration to protect this long-time benefit. “I manage student workers at the American English Institute,” classified staff member Zach Benedict told administrators. “Many of them only work in food services because of the meal benefit. It’s the one meal they can depend on.” Classified staff quickly moved a petition gaining over 300 hundred signatures in support of the food service workers that was delivered to UO administration in handful of days.

Just five days after the initial meeting with UO admin, classified staff hand-delivered over 100 completed petitions demanding that a charge in meals be bargained in the January 2017 economic re-opener. On Friday, June 10, UO’s Director of Human Resources Wes Fowler contacted SEIU 503 and stated: “We have seriously considered the concerns raised by you and your members, and your stated desire that this issue should instead be negotiated during our mid-term bargaining session starting in January 2017. For that reason, the University will defer this issue and raise it again during mid-term bargaining next year.”

By quickly moving into action, the members of SEIU 503 Local 085 were able to protect meal benefits for the next academic year and prevent a nearly $700 reduction in wages for hundreds of members and student workers.

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Higher Ed workers win contract settlement!

We did it! Because higher ed workers have been standing strong together at campuses around the state, our bargaining team has won a contract settlement that features some of the highest cost of living adjustments (COLAs) higher education classified workers have seen in decades. The settlement also protects steps, health insurance benefits, and premium-share splits while shutting out the “Big Three” take-aways management initially proposed. It also corrects long-standing inequities against part-time workers and includes selective salary increases for seven classifications (a much higher number than usual).

Your bargaining team is very proud to be able to present this tentative agreement to the membership for ratification, and we look forward to answering all of your questions about the agreement and about bargaining during the ratification process.

Some of the highlights below; more details on the tentative agreement will be available during the ratification process

COLAs: 2.25 percent (12/1/2015), and 2.25 percent (12/1/2016)

Steps: Normal Steps

Health Insurance:

  • Protected existing premium splits
  • 95 percent (employer) – 5 percent (employee)
  • Possible 97 percent – 3 percent split if employee opts for lowest available plan
  • Part-time employees of .75 FTE or higher get “full coverage” (like unclassified PT)

No take-aways: Major take-aways beat back on contracting out, layoffs, overtime.

Selectives:

  • Campus Dispatcher (1 Range)
  • Co-Gen Engineer (1 Range)
  • Early Childhood Assistant (2 Ranges)
  • Early Childhood Associate Teachers (2 Ranges)
  • Elevator Mechanic (5 Ranges)
  • Mid-Level Nurse Practitioner (2 Ranges)
  • Paralegal 1 (3 Ranges)
  • Paralegal 2 (3 Ranges)
  • Paralegal 3 (3 Ranges)

Union rights:

  • Two new steward slots at WOU
  • Chief Steward mentoring rights increased

Term of agreement: Four years, with a reopener after two years on economics only.

Temporary workers: Temp workers now eligible for shift differential.

This settlement has not come easy: Management’s early economic proposals included major take-aways across the board on member rights, harsh health insurance proposals like an employer contribution cap, a one-year freeze on steps, and more.

It’s only because workers stood strong together throughout bargaining that we were able to beat back this slate of attacks and move higher ed workers forward. We benefited from the activism on the near-strike of two years ago, from members’ work to help elect a pro-worker legislature and governor who then funded higher education with record-high budget increases, and from thousands of members who raised their voices to protest management’s attempts to pay as little as possible and take away hard-won union rights.

Please watch for more details on the tentative agreement and on ratification information and voting meetings soon, and contact your organizer or bargaining table representative if you have questions in the meantime. We look forward to seeing you at a ratification vote on your campus soon!

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