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.

In it Together: SEIU members at UO support Graduate Teaching Fellows

Graduate Teaching Fellows rally on the UO campus, holding signs that say "Ready to strike"

SEIU Local 085 members at University of Oregon value and support our graduate employees

WE STAND TOGETHER with the University Senate, the University of Oregon Faculty United Academics (UA), the Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN), and the Student Labor Action Project (S.L.A.P.), a student organization fighting for social and economic justice, in support of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) fight for an equitable contract that honors and values their work, and provides medical and parental leave.

For the past several years we have faced tough bargaining for continued health care benefits and fair wages. Our workload has increased, and they tried to take away our overtime and layoff rights.

The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) has voted to authorize a strike. Our GTFs do not want to strike. Similar to us, they would rather agree to an equitable contract that meets the needs of graduate employees. Our GTFs are paid minimum wages that fall more than $200 below what the University of Oregon’s own Financial Aid Office estimates it costs to live as a graduate student, and they have no form of paid leave from work if they are ill, injured, or have recently had children.

We know how important health care benefits are – the value of medical and parental leave – for our individual well being, and what it means for our families. While we deal with the University Shared Services Enterprise (USSE), the GTFF deals directly with the University of Oregon. In either case, the tactics are the same: they claim there is not enough money while paying $300 an hour for a lawyer to sit at the table. Now they are delaying and refusing to consider fair proposals. Our three Unions, along with the Teamsters and the UO PD Union (also part of SEIU), represent approximately 5000 employees who make this University the place of quality education  and learning that our students deserve.

You can show your support!

SEIU Local 085, representing Classified Staff, will be coordinating with the GTFF to join together in action to support a fair contract for the graduate employees. Keep watching your email and Union bulletin boards for notice of these actions. Bring your rain gear and plan to join us.

Our Union contract prevents us from engaging in “any strike, or walkout or commit any other acts of work stoppage during the term of this Agreement“. What we do on our own time, however, is ours. You are encouraged to take actions in support of GTFF members such as walking picket lines or passing out flyers before or after your regular work shift, during your lunch or break time. You must make sure, however, not to do anything that can be viewed as withholding your labor or refusing to go to work. If you wish, you may take vacation or comp time to come out and lend your support to our fellow unionists.

The University’s Academic Freedom Policy encourages open and free discussion of a wide variety of issues. Really, nothing is off the table, including discussions of the issues around why the GTFF is on strike. Share your thoughts and reasons for supporting them with co-workers, supervisors and other interested parties. Also, hang some GTFF strike signs in your work space. There is a great In It Together sign with the logos of GTFF, SEIU and UA available on our web site: http://local085.seiu503.org/

In the event that you are asked to perform the work normally done by a GTF, evaluate whether such duties are in your position description. If not, this likely constitutes work out of class. Our contract does not expressly address this issue, so it would be best to not refuse, though you could mention that you will do so under protest. If you feel that you are not qualified for these duties, be sure to bring this up to your supervisor.  All communications, including the original instruction, should ideally be in writing. We also want you to contact a Union Steward should you be placed in this position. Please call the Steward Hotline at 541-346-0321 to report a request to do the work normally performed by a GTF.

AND you can SIGN THE SUPPORT PETITION: http://gtff3544.net/

Join UO faculty, staff, and students and tellUniversity administration that GTFs deserve a fair and equitable contract.

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Higher Ed Bargaining starts now! Complete the survey today

What are your priorities for our union contract negotiations in 2015? How will you help yourself and your coworkers win a fair contract? How will we use our power at the bargaining table to lift standards for all Higher Education constituencies, including students? Our higher education bargaining team needs your ideas and suggestions to win the best possible contract–for us, and for our communities.

Please take 15 minutes to complete an online bargaining survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2015HigherEdSurvey

Bargaining team members will use the ideas you share to develop proposals and determine our top priorities.

We know that bargaining is most successful when members are engaged in the process. Please complete the survey today to make your voice heard!

In Unity,

Your SEIU Higher Education Bargaining Team,

Marc Nisenfeld, PSU & Chair
Angie Barry, WOU & Alternate Chair
Johnny Earl, UO
Donna Stevenson, OSU
Helen Moore, EOU
Colleen Martin-Low, SOU
Gregory Marks, PSU
Bob Klem, OIT

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PEBB announces September face-to-face meetings for 2015 health plans

PEBB has just announced that they will do a series of meetings around the state to inform us about our health care choices for 2015.  Increased communication is something our committee has pushed for and we are glad to see an expanded list of in-person meetings happening prior to October open enrollment.  Click here to find the meeting closest to you – the meetings start this Thursday, Sept. 4th.

As a reminder, there are two big pieces of good news around our health insurance:

  • We will receive our cost of living adjustment (COLA) this month (3 months early!) – the 2% COLA will go into effect on Sept. 1, 2014 thanks to union contract language that puts money unspent on healthcare into our paychecks.  This is a direct result of health care premiums going slightly down in 2015.
  • If full-time members choose the least costly plan in their area, their premium share will be reduced from 5% to 3%.

These steps forward are due to increased member activism around contract negotiations and healthcare, and to effective advocacy by our union PEBB representatives. Despite these gains, we still believe the state has a ways to go in improving our work environments so that we can all be healthier.  We will provide updates as we make further recommendations to PEBB.

In Unity,

Your PEBB Member Advisory Committee (PMAC) Representatives
Keary DeBeck, Labor Chair for the Committee, Dept. of Justice
Cary Fardal, Oregon State Hospital
Wednesday Martin, DHS Vocational Rehabilitation
Shaun Parkman, Oregon Health Authority
Siobhan Martin, SEIU Staff Advisor
PMAC@seiu503.org

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Two big wins for state and university workers put money in members’ pockets!

Exciting news: two more wins coming out of our 2013 contract campaigns with the State and OUS!

As you know, healthcare has been and will likely continue to be a major point of contention in contract negotiations. In 2013, our bargaining teams negotiated two key provisions that would not only hold the line, but begin to regain some of the lost ground around healthcare. Today, we’re happy to report these victories have been realized:

1) Reducing the 5% premium share down to 3% for those members who select the lowest cost plan in their area, even if there’s only one plan to choose from. This necessitated at least 95% of members having more than one plan to choose from, and PEBB’s recent plan selections made this a reality. Not only does this put more money in members’ pockets but it also expands healthcare choices for members in rural Oregon. Click here to see which plan has the lowest costs in your county. (updated 7/30/2014, pdf download)

2) Moving up the effective date of the next cost-of-living raise (COLA) if healthcare costs come in below projections. Based on the rates recently adopted by PEBB, it now looks like the effective date of the COLA will be moved up at least to September 2014 (instead of the originally planned 12/1/14). We expect to know the exact effective date within the next week and will keep you updated.

More information on these provisions can be found in the State worker contract Article 31 and the OUS worker contract Article 21 and Article 24.

These victories were possible because of the great power of members coming together to push for fairness, and from the aggressive and strategic work of our PEBB representatives in advocating for better healthcare quality and pricing. And none of this would have been possible without our strong voice in the Capitol, powered by the Citizen Action for Political Education (CAPE) program. Please click here to contribute to CAPE to strengthen our voice and enable future healthcare victories.

At a time when public sector workers are suffering enormous roll-backs to their healthcare, it’s exciting to see that we can work on positive solutions that bring down costs and share those savings with front-line workers.

In Solidarity,

Heather Conroy, SEIU 503 Executive Director
Keary DeBeck, State Worker Bargaining Co-Chair
Marc Nisenfeld, OUS Worker Bargaining Chair
Dan Smith, State Worker Bargaining Co-Chair

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Update from the OUS Class and Compensation Committee (CACC)

Since January 2012, OUS has been engaged in a comprehensive study and restructuring of the classified employee classification and compensation system. SEIU representatives have served on an advisory committee to work with OUS and their consultant group on this study. We stress ‘advisory’ because we have no say over the decisions being made other than to give input and recommendations.  The input we have provided has mainly reflected issues and concerns raised by our members through surveys, focus groups, and Local meetings, where we have repeatedly provided updates on this project.

At this point, OUS has made clear that it intends to completely restructure the classification and compensation system.  OUS plans to create 16 new “Job Families” and to combine a number of current  classifications within each “family.” For example, the Administrative Support family will contain all of the classifications considered to be Admin Support. The new classifications within each family will replace the current classifications.

This is where we, once again, need your help!  We are now at the phase for OUS to begin drafting new class specs for each of the new classifications that they have identified.  The new specs will be “rolled out” in 4 parts each containing 4 Job Families, We will receive the new specs and then have a short time frame to “review and comment.”   As each job family is rolled out, we will contact members in the affected classifications to review the new specs and provide us with feedback.  We will submit comments to OUS based on the feedback that we receive as well as our own experience.

The salaries for the new classifications will be negotiated in our next contract.

What can you do in the meantime? Review and update your current position description, right away. When it comes time for placing people into their new classification, the placement will be done based on the information in their position description.  Suggestions for how to update your position description here: http://www.seiu503.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/10/files/2014/05/OUS-CCAC-PD-Rewrite-Suggestions.pdf

Watch for an email from us as soon as we have the draft class spec into which you will be placed.  If you have questions, please contact one of the people on the Committee, below.

Your Class and Compensation Committee (CACC) representatives,

Marc Nisenfeld, Portland State University
Johnny Earl, University of Oregon
Carl Christy, Southern Oregon University
Trisha Guy, Western Oregon University
Paul McKenna, Local 503 SEIU

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OUS Classified Workers Win Timely Step Increases through Union Power!

You will recall that last September, after a strong contract campaign that came within days of a system-wide strike, OUS agreed to many of our bargaining team’s economic demands, including COLAs increases, status quo on healthcare premiums, and full steps for each year of the contract.

Because some of the smaller campuses continue to struggle financially, our steps were scheduled to take effect at the end of each contract year unless we could win additional funding during this legislative session.  Specifically, OUS agreed that if the state legislature approved $1.15 million in supplemental funding, classified staff on all campuses would receive their full step increase retroactive to their regular schedule (on our SED dates).  Today we’re excited to announce that the legislature approved this funding and our victory has been secured!  We’re thrilled that this real economic benefit will help all members eligible for steps.

To see how this may affect you, click here. More details about the implementation plan and timelines will be shared soon.

This victory is the result of our historic contract campaign in which thousands of members, students, faculty, and other allies stood in solidarity.  It also comes as a result of many SEIU members from across the state meeting with key senators and representatives over the past several months to gain their support.

We are already making plans for 2015 and YOU can help.  Just like we’ve been saying all along—we can win because we’re IN IT TOGETHER!  We need to continue our work to elect strong legislators who support us, our campuses, and our work for students.

Join CAPE today and help lay the groundwork for us to win in 2015!

Thanks to all of the members who have participated and supported our bargaining team.  It was an honor to work alongside you for the respect we all deserve!

In Unity,

Your OUS SEIU Local 503 Bargaining Team

Marc Nisenfeld, PSU (Chair)
Helen Moore, EOU
Bob Klem, OIT
Donna Stevenson, OSU
Rob Fullmer, PSU
Bob Sexton, SOU
Kurt Willcox, UO
Angie Barry, WOU

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OUS 2013-15 Contract

Please note:  This CBA is the new 2013-2015 OUS Collective Bargaining Agreement, except for some appendices and a subject index which are still being prepared.  We wanted to make the main body of the new Agreement available online as soon as possible, and will amend the posting with the appendices and subject index when they are ready.

http://www.seiu503.org/files/2013/12/OUS-2013-15-Contract.pdf

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We did it! OUS Contract Ratified!

We did it! After months of members standing up for a fair contract and a better OUS, we have ratified our 2013-2015 contract!

We believe this is the best agreement that we could reach given financial realities of some OUS campuses (click here to view a summary of the ratified agreement). We will continue to bring public and legislative attention to important issues like living wages, adequate funding for student services, and administrative bloat.

Our new contract will go into effect on November 1. As a reminder, the first COLA (1.5%) goes into effect on December 1.

We’re proud of the campaign that won this contract. The student and faculty support we received was overwhelming because they know that a better OUS means fair treatment for all workers. Nearly 500 members have signed the student and faculty thank you note… have you signed yet?

Most importantly, this contract is only possible because thousands of members from Portland to Ashland, from LaGrande to Newport, stood strong and united for fair treatment and a return to economic security. The strength, tenacity and courage that we showed throughout the campaign is nothing less than awe-inspiring.

We’re honored to have served as your 2013-2015 OUS bargaining delegates.

In it together,

Your SEIU 503 OUS Bargaining Team
Marc Nisenfeld, PSU
Helen Moore, EOU
Bob Klem, OIT
Donna Stevenson, OSU
Rob Fullmer, PSU
Bob Sexton, SOU
Kurt Willcox, UO
Angie Barry, WOU
Rich Peppers, SEIU 503 staff
Paul McKenna, SEIU 503 staff

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OUS Ratification

On Sept. 26, our SEIU 503 OUS bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with OUS management. Now that an agreement has been reached, it’s up to us—the members—to decide if we want to ratify the contract. Our bargaining team recommends a “yes” vote. Click here to view a summary of the tentative agreement.

We strongly encourage all members to attend a ratification meeting to discuss the agreement with your fellow members and colleagues, have your questions answered and vote on whether to ratify the agreement. The schedule of meetings follows. If you are unable to attend a meeting, please click here for information on absentee voting.

Campus Date Time Location
PSU 10/7/2013 12:00-1:30 p.m. SMSU 294
10/7/2013 5:15-6:45 p.m. SMSU 298
EOU 10/7/2013 12:00 p.m. Hoke Hall Room 339
WOU 10/8/2013 12:00-1:30 p.m. Columbia room in Werner University center
10/8/2013 5:00-6:00 p.m. Santiam room in Werner University center
HMSC 10/9/2013 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. upstairs in the Old Library classroom
OSU 10/10/2013 7:30-8:30 a.m. Linus Pauling Institute, Rm 402
10/10/2013 12:00-1:00 p.m. Memorial Union, Rm 213
10/10/2013 5:15-6:30 p.m. Strand Agriculture Hall, Rm 111
UO 10/9/2013 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. EMU Ben Linder Room
10/9/2013 3:00-6:00 p.m. EMU Ben Linder Room
10/10/2013 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. EMU Ben Linder Room
10/10/2013 4:00-6:00 p.m. EMU Ben Linder Room
10/10/2013 9:30-10:30 p.m. Fenton Hall Room 110
SOU 10/7/2013 8:00 a.m. Stevenson Union Rm 313
 10/7/2013 12:00 p.m. Stevenson Union Rm 313
 10/7/2013 2:00 p.m. Stevenson Union Rm 313
 10/7/2013 5:00 p.m. Stevenson Union Rm 313
10/9/2013 12:00 p.m. Stevenson Union Rm 313
OIT 10/10/2013 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Mt. Bailey (College Union)
10/10/2013 4:00-5:30 p.m. Mt. Bailey (College Union)

Absentee voting information

If you are not able to attend a ratification meeting, you may still vote absentee. Upon request, a ballot will be mailed with information about the tentative agreement, a secrecy envelope, a return mailing envelope and mailing instructions.

Click here to request a ballot.

Ballots must be received at SEIU 503 Headquarters by 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 21. Ballots received after that time will not be counted.

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Win It Together: OUS workers reach tentative agreement!

After a long and often contentious bargaining period with OUS management, our SEIU 503 bargaining team reached a tentative agreement at 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 26.

 Details of the agreement will be released in the next several days; some key points are:

• Two full steps: We secured full steps—not half steps—for the life of the contract, so that workers reach their top step after nine years instead of the eighteen-year period management had proposed. The first step increase is guaranteed by 6/30/14 and the second by 6/30/15; however, if OUS receives additional legislative funding in its February 2014 session, the steps would go into effect one year sooner. We believe that goal is within reach.

• Cost of living raises: 1.5% on 12/1/13 and 2% on 12/1/14

• An end to furloughs

• No increase to the 5% healthcare premium share

• IT Compensation: Just like our step amounts, IT comp plan ranges will remain intact, but raises will be delayed to the end of each year of the agreement unless further funding is provided by the state legislature in the February session.

• Low Income Healthcare Subsidy: Though the low income healthcare subsidy was suspended with the expiration of the contract at the end of August, it will now be restored retroactive to September 1st, and going forward for both years of this agreement.

…and dozens of other improvements!

We’re proud of this agreement, and the campaign that achieved it. We also believe that this is the best agreement that we could reach given financial realities of some OUS campuses. We will continue to bring public and legislative attention to important issues like living wages, adequate funding for student services, and administrative bloat.

This victory belongs to all of us: the workers who show up every day to serve the students of OUS, who turn out to actions and make their voice heard, and most especially, the thousands who sent the message that we would do whatever it took—including walking a picket line—to get the most fair contract possible.

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