State Workers

State Worker bargaining focuses on family

DAS Barg 2015AYesterday, we introduced a new set of proposals centered around the theme of “Families.” Many of these proposals focus on ways to update workplace policies to reflect the needs of families such as job sharing, telecommuting and teleworking, and adjusting work schedules. Following the lead of other Oregon employers, such as Intel and Laughing Planet Cafe, we are also proposing paid parental leave to bond with and care for a new baby or adopted child.

We know that when workers have the right balance between their work and family life, everyone benefits. Helping workers to achieve that balance is not restricted to the bargaining table, both Heather Conroy and Steve Demarest testified at a legislative hearing this week at the capitol on paid sick leave for all Oregonians.

Our first lobby day is an Economic Justice Lobby Day on February 24, where we’ll be fighting for a Fair Shot for All. Joining us for a Lobby Day is one of the best ways to support bargaining right now.

We meet with the management team again on March 4. Do your part to win a fair contract by joining your co-workers for a weekly purple-up day and participating in a rally at your worksite in mid-March. On March 17 & 18, we’ll be holding over 100 rallies across the state to emphasize that we should all have a Fair Shot – in our contract and in our communities.

Sign up for Lobby Days now!

In Unity,

State Worker Central Table Bargaining Team

Steve Demarest – Co-Chair, Employment Department
Mary Stewart – Co-Chair, Department of Revenue
Wayne Ground, Dept of Human Services / Oregon Health Authority
Brant Johnson, Oregon State Hospital
Sandi Kalin, Department of Administrative Services
Noel Magee, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Rolando Ramirez, Oregon Youth Authority
Mike Scott, Oregon Department of Transportation
Heather Conroy, SEIU 503 Executive Director
Heather Blankenheim, SEIU 503 Staff

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Institutions Coalition Update 2-18-2015

Support Institutions Coalition bargaining – join the March actions!

Our coalition got off to a great start last Tuesday night, by coming to an agreement with management on several Letters of Agreement.

In our next sessions we will pass the bulk of our proposals—based on your bargaining surveys—aimed at improving working conditions and worker rights for members at all of our agencies.

On February 24 many members of our bargaining team will participate in the Economic Justice Lobby Day at the Capitol, a great way to support bargaining and our legislative priorities. Join your fellow Union members and register today at SEIU 503 Lobby Days 2015.

March 17 & 18 are statewide Days of Action. Plan on participating in a solidarity action in your worksite and sign the pledge card now that says you’ll be there. These actions come right before our meeting with management where all initial proposals are due, so it’s an important way to show management that you support your bargaining team and are willing to fight for your priorities.

Our next bargaining session is scheduled at SEIU HQ in Salem on March 4 at 6:00 pm. All members are welcome to attend.

In Solidarity,

Your 2015 Institutions Coalition Bargaining Team

Rolando Ramirez, Co-Chair – OYA Woodburn
Brant Johnson, Co-Chair – OSH Salem
Cary Fardal – OSH Portland
Rene Lopez – Pendleton Cottage
Steve Guy – OYA Woodburn
Randy Davis – OSH Salem
Janet Ferris – OYA Tillamook
Jeff Hodson – OSH Salem
Doug Dryden – OYA Albany
Kerry Rechiro – OSH Salem
Jose Moreno – OSH Salem, Alternate
Dan Smith – OSH Salem, Alternate
Dan Ferguson – OYA Woodburn, Alternate
Donna Blakely – OYA Salem, Alternate
Mike Hurd – OYA La Grande, Alternate
Brad Fairbank – Pendleton Cottage, Alternate
Jamaal Anthony, SEIU 503 Staff
Molly Malone, SEIU 503 Staff


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Human Services Barg Update 2-16-2015

Our coalition got off to a great start last Thursday night, by coming to an agreement with management on a few Letters of Agreement. Although we did not talk about them at our first session, we also are ready to move on a number of other issues, like lateral transfers, trial service for some classifications, and mentoring for CW & APD case managers.

We will be bargaining on Thursdays, and our next session is scheduled at SEIU HQ in Salem on February 26 at 5:30. You are welcome to attend. February 24 is our first Lobby Day for the Fair Shot Campaign. This should be a fun and exciting day at the Capitol with Legislators. This campaign sets us up for the budget battles in 2016. Join the fun and register today at This is our fight for the future.

March 17 & 18 are statewide Days of Action. Plan on doing something purple in your worksites and sign the pledge card. This action really moves our contract campaign forward and your participation makes it all happen.

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Specials Coalition Kicks Off Bargaining!

The Specials Coalition Bargaining Team met with management for the first time last night. This initial meeting was short, but cordial. We exchanged ground rules for bargaining with management’s team and they were mutually agreed upon.

The teams held a brief discussion about our future bargaining dates. We are currently discussing the dates to ensure that all interests are being considered. Bargaining dates will be posted once they’re determined.

The best way to support bargaining right now is to join us for lobby days. Our first lobby day is an Economic Justice Lobby Day on February 24, where we’ll be fighting for a Fair Shot for All of us – visit the Fair Shot website for more information and to sign the petition.

Please support the Coalition team by attending bargaining nights. And, wear that purple on Wednesdays!

In Unity,

The Specials Coalition Bargaining Team

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Lobby Days 2015: Our chance to make our voices heard at the Capitol

SEIU care providers at a lobby day at the Oregon State CapitolDo you want to make sure everyone, including SEIU 503 members, has a fair shot to get ahead? Do you want to improve the quality of public services, increase wages and win retirement security for all Oregonians? Come talk to our legislators about the issues that affect you, your family, your community and your job.

SEIU Lobby Days are our chance to make our voices heard by lawmakers. They are our opportunity to impact decisions on the state budget and to hold legislators accountable to pass legislation that will help working families make ends meet and will support strong communities. In recent legislative sessions, members came to the Capitol and helped establish fiscally sound manager-to-staff ratios, restore funding for services for seniors and people with disabilities, avoid layoffs, and pass foreclosure protections.

Sign up here to tell your story at the Capitol.

In 2015, join other SEIU members and allies to protect quality services and living-wage jobs by lobbying our legislators. Come tell your story and stand up for a strong budget that prioritizes both our workers who keep Oregon running and the Oregonians who rely on us. Legislators need to hear your perspective from the front lines, not just the voices of corporate lobbyists. Our stories will help ensure all Oregonians, including SEIU 503 members, have a fair shot to get ahead.

Sign up today! Join your co-workers and tell your story in Salem.

See you at the Capitol!

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Isn’t it time we all had a Fair Shot?

Fair Shot OregonAfter great success last year in making sure our elected officials were ready to stand up for women and working families, Fair Shot For All—a group of labor and community organizations united for economic justice—is expanding our coalition and sharpening our focus to pass policies that give all Oregonians a fair shot at success.

Here’s a snapshot of the Fair Shot priorities for the upcoming legislative session:

  • Raising the minimum wage;
  • Ensuring all Oregonians earn paid sick days;
  • Ending profiling;
  • Making saving for retirement easier; and
  • Creating opportunities for people with prior convictions and arrests to get work.

And at the same time many families are struggling to get by, out-of-state corporations are reaping record profits. Each year, Oregon taxpayers hand over $1.7 billion to subsidize corporations’ reliance on a low-wage workforce. And to make matters even worse, those same corporations have invested millions in lobbying to keep Oregon’s corporate taxes the lowest in the nation—a grotesque case of corporate double-dipping.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

In 2015 we’re going to keep fighting at the bargaining table, in the capitol and in our communities to make sure working families in Oregon are getting a fair shot at getting ahead, not just getting by. Together, we’ll be sending a signal to lawmakers that when we pursue solutions that address inequality and create opportunity, we all benefit.

We hope that you’re “In It Together” with us and this groundbreaking coalition. To receive the latest updates on the campaign and how you can help, follow Fair Shot Oregon on Facebook and Twitter and share with your friends.


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State Workers elect central bargaining team

StateWorkerBTElected bargaining delegates from throughout Oregon met on Saturday to talk about bargaining priorities and strategy, including winning good wages and benefits for state workers and fighting for a fair economy for all Oregonians.

Delegates also chose our union’s leadership team for bargaining. Our elected central table bargaining team is:

Steve Demarest, Employment Department
Wayne Ground, DHS/OHA
Brant Johnson, Oregon State Hospital
Sandi Kalin, Department of Administrative Services
Noel Magee, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Rolando Ramirez, Oregon Youth Authority
Mike Scott, Oregon Department of Transportation
Mary Stewart, Department of Revenue

The elected bargaining team will be joined by Heather Conroy, SEIU 503 Executive Director, and SEIU 503 staff member Heather Blankenheim.

The team will meet soon to discuss our bargaining priorities for 2015-2017. If you are an SEIU 503 represented state worker, please take a few minutes to complete your bargaining survey.

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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

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Oregon State Hospital celebrates 92% membership


Oregon State Hospital workers took time during their lunch break today to celebrate their 92% worksite membership rate. Local leaders here know that OSH works best when workers say “Union Yes!”

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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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