For the purposes of bargaining, members who work for state agencies are divided into four coalitions – DHS, Institutions, ODOT, and Specials. The Institutions Coalition includes: Oregon Youth Authority correctional facilities and camps (OYA), Oregon State Hospital (OSH), Eastern Oregon Training Center (EOTC), Eastern Oregon Psychiatric Center (EOPC), and Oregon Youth Authority Administrative and Field Services (OYA).

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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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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State workers vote to ratify contract

The tentative agreement for the 2013-2015 union contract has been ratified by state worker members. At the ballot count August 17, with just under 5,000 ballots cast, 95% of voters approved the agreement.

We hope you share the pride we feel in the substantial improvements in this contract, as well as in the unity and action demonstrated by thousands of members.  In pickets, purple-ups, strike preparations, and political participation in our communities, the halls of the Capitol and at the ballot box, we demonstrated to management and our fellow Oregonians that we are indeed all “In It Together.”

The next few years will continue to challenge us. There continues to be discussion of a special legislative session later this year to enact further PERS cuts. On the 2014 ballot, anti-union forces are putting forward measures that, if passed, would weaken our collective voice. As we navigate these challenges and prepare for contract negotiations in 2015, we must maintain the great spirit of solidarity—with each other, our clients, and all Oregonians—that propelled us to victory today.

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State Worker Tentative Agreement Summary Video

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State worker bargaining team reaches tentative agreement

For months, state workers have been showing our fellow Oregonians what it means to be “In It Together.”  In hundreds of actions culminating in an overwhelming strike authorization vote, thousands of SEIU 503 state workers sent a loud and clear message that we won’t back down until we have a fair contract.

Our work has paid off. Early this morning, we reached a tentative agreement with the state that we believe is just, returns us to a place of economic stability, and begins to address broader issues Oregonians face.  While we all want and deserve more, we believe that together our campaign brought about the best agreement possible.

Some highlights of the agreement include:

  • Holding the line on 5% premium share, plus a pathway to a 3% premium share in 2015

  • Maintaining the low-wage worker and part-time worker healthcare subsidies

  • Cost-of-living raises of 1.5% effective Dec. 1, 2013 and 2% effective Dec. 1, 2014

  • End step freeze

  • No changes to the 6% pick-up

  • An end to furloughs

  • Healthy workplace improvements, including trauma training, a statewide healthy workplace committee, and enforcement options to address bullying.

More details will be available via email and at in the coming days.

Next steps:

  1. Bargaining Conference: On July 27, elected bargaining delegates will come together in Salem to discuss the details of the tentative agreement.

  2. Membership Vote: Following the conference, a ratification ballot together with a detailed explanation of the tentative agreement will be mailed to all state workers in SEIU.  If you are not a member we encourage you to join with your coworkers and have your voice counted by returning the enclosed membership application with your ballot.

In a recent opinion piece in the Statesman Journal, SEIU 503 Executive Director Heather Conroy made the case that the fight for a fair contract is about more than ourselves–it’s about standing up for our clients, our communities, and Oregon’s middle class. We have been honored to help lead that charge as your elected bargaining team, and we look forward to continuing in that struggle with you.

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State worker bargaining update: pushing for the best contract possible

Our team has been back at the table for the last two days.

On Monday, we got some more movement from management.  They’ve moved to 1.5% effective December on the COLAs, better language around contracting out, and they dropped their email ban proposal.

In addition to wages, we’re still a ways apart on the low-wage worker healthcare subsidy, selectives, and the step slide issue.

We’re hoping to reach settlement on a fair contract this week; however, we are preparing to exercise our power next week if need be. Please plan on joining a strike preparation meeting at your local field office this weekend. Offices will be open 9:00-6:00 both days.

We’re back at the bargaining table again tomorrow and will continue to push to get the best contract possible!

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State worker bargaining update: More progress, but not quite there…

Thanks to the dedication of thousands of state workers throughout Oregon—including giving our bargaining team the authority to call a strike if necessary—the State realizes that we’re serious about negotiating a fair contract that returns us to economic stability.

Highlights of Monday’s bargaining session included:

  • Management offering an economic proposal with 1.5% cost-of-living raises (up from management’s last proposal of 1%) in December of each year.
  • On contracting out, the State agreed to provide vital information on all contracts which will better enable us to prevent waste.
  • We were also able to beat back management’s anti-union email ban and now have agreement to stick with current rules.

We took a break from bargaining at 11pm so both parties could review the budget, and will be back at the table Tuesday afternoon. Watch your inbox for an important bargaining update late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

While we’re still hopeful for a fair settlement, it is important we keep up our momentum with strike preparations. Please join us in your local field office this weekend 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. for strike captain training and to pick up materials.

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Strike authorization vote passes

The votes are in, the ballots are counted, and SEIU 503 state workers have given our bargaining team the authority to call a strike if necessary. Members voted by participating in dozens of strike authorization vote meetings around the state and by mailing in absentee ballots.

Our bargaining team meets with the State again on Monday, where we expect to have an earnest conversation about healthcare and cost-of-living raises, and we will continue to push the State to get Oregon’s money back from the contractors and Wall Street banks that ripped us off. Watch your inbox for a bargaining update Tuesday morning.

Although the bargaining team hasn’t called for a strike at this time, setting a strategic date is critical. The date of a strike determines how much impact we can have at the bargaining table as well as whether full-time workers can complete their 80 hours for insurance eligibility.

To achieve the most strategic strike date (if necessary), on Friday, July 12, our bargaining team filed a ten-day Notice of Intent to Strike with the Employment Relations Board. This notice is a placeholder to satisfy state labor law requirements, and would allow us to strike as early as July 22. It can be withdrawn if our team reaches settlement, changes the date of the action, or for any other reason.

“We would like to thank the thousands of members who voted on this important matter,” said Dan Smith, a clinical psychologist at Oregon State Hospital and bargaining team co-chair. “We take the responsibility you gave us very seriously, and we are proud to stand with you in holding the line for the middle class.”

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