Institutions

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).


Oregon State Hospital celebrates 92% membership

OSH-Mbrshp-01_wide

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 www.seiu503.org 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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Hold the line for Healthcare, Hold the line for All

We’re both inspired and frustrated.

Like you, we’re frustrated that management feels that capping healthcare costs is essential for the State but not for frontline workers. We’re frustrated that our proposals to fix some of Oregon’s problems – stopping wasteful contracting and getting Oregon’s money back from Wall Street fraudsters – have been met at the table with resistance.  And, we’re frustrated that state negotiators rejected our offer to extend the contract while negotiations continue.

But we’re also inspired! Thousands of members are taking action this week and next to demand fair contracts and a fair economy. Members are signing strike pledges, conducting informational pickets, and marching on management. We’re proud to be your representatives at the bargaining table.

As we reported last week, management is continuing to propose capping state contributions without capping member contributions. Click here to view the management and unionproposals. This cost-shifting measure means we would bear all the risk if health insurance rates go up more than 5%, as they often do. This proposal opens the door to our premium share rate going up and up every year, with no end in sight.

Management is also proposing shutting down the labor management committee that has been driving positive changes to the HEM program. Have you emailed the Governor’s health advisor on this issue yet?  Please click here to take action.

How could the state’s healthcare proposal impact you?

  • If 2015 health insurance rates go up 10%, as they have numerous times in recent years, the average employee premium share will nearly double from 5% to 9%.
  • What about a 28% increase to insurance rates, as occurred in 2002?  Average employee premium share would more than quadruple to 22%. A $53 premium share would grow to $300.

Strike Authorization Votes July 9-13
Members have made it clear through bargaining surveys and strike pledges that holding the line on healthcare is a priority issue, and that ignoring our proposals for a fair economy is unacceptable. That’s why we are calling for a vote to give the bargaining team the authority to initiate a strike if necessary to move the state.

Please click here for voting times and locations, as well as options for obtaining an absentee ballot. We urge all members who are able to attend an in-person strike authorization vote and engage in this important conversation with your fellow members. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is 12pm on Monday, July 1.

We have bargaining again next on Monday, July 8.

In Solidarity,

State Worker Bargaining Team
Keary DeBeck, Justice
Steven Demarest, Employment
Lee Erickson, ODOT
Dan Ferguson, OYA
Peggy Rinck, Parks
Dan Smith, Oregon State Hospital
Catherine Stearns, DHS-OHA
Mary Stewart, Revenue
Heather Blankenheim, SEIU 503 Staff
Heather Conroy, SEIU 503 Executive Director and Chief Spokesperson
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Organize an action at your worksite: here’s how

 

Download these presentations as powerpoint files to share in your workplace here:

Action Leave Behind

Action Tools

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DAS bargaining update: 6/10/2013

We started to make some progress on language issues at the bargaining table last week. We reached a tentative agreement on telecommuting that will increase opportunities for people whose jobs are flexible enough to allow working from home. In addition, we expanded bereavement rights by adding aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews to the list of people for whom you can take leave.

We are still holding firm on our demand for a fair economic package because ending furloughs is not a raise!!

In regional actions all across the state from Klamath Falls to Tillamook, we have been demonstrating our strength. More than 3500 people have participated in these actions! At the bargaining table, we are moving our timeline forward to be in the strongest position possible to win a fair contract. To that end, we declared “impasse” on Friday. Impasse means that, while we will continue to bargain in hopes of arriving at an agreement, we are fulfilling the legal timelines required to be able to invoke our right to strike.

What can you do to win a fair contract?

  1. Sign yourself and your coworkers up on a strike pledge. We need to demonstrate to the state just how serious members are about a return to economic stability. This is separate from authorizing a strike; a formal vote to do so will likely happen in early July.  Click here to download the strike pledge petition or an FAQ on strike preparations.
  2. Attend a regional meeting in the second half of June to get bargaining updates and discuss strike preparations.
  3. Plan a contract expiration picket at your workplace June 27-July 2.

The Bargaining Team is hitting the road again next week for our second roadshow – we will be visiting worksites and attending regional meetings across the state. Please come share your thoughts and questions!

Also next week:What happens when 40 members pile onto a bus to bring our message of a fair contract across Oregon?  No, it’s not a reality TV show; the Flying Squadron 2013 hits the road on Monday. Track their adventures through photos and video, or better still: invite the Squadron to your worksite for a rally, picket or sit-in!

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