September 18, 2009 Volume 110 Number 18

Classified workers at Oregon University System reach deal

Negotiators for more than 4,000 classified workers on seven campuses in the Oregon University System who are represented by Service Employees Local 503 have reached a tentative agreement on a new two-year contract.

The settlement, reached Sept. 25, ended eight months of sometimes acrimonious bargaining. The pact covers workers in 272 classifications who provide a broad range of support for academic departments, student services and campus maintenance. The pact calls for eight to 16 unpaid furlough days over 21 months pegged to salary levels and a one-year freeze of scheduled step increments.

The agreement is similar to ones covering 21,000 state workers represented by SEIU and AFSCME. Those contracts were ratified last week.

Initially, the State Board of Higher Education had demanded far deeper cuts from university workers than the state did from its employees. This included unlimited furlough days and a two-year step freeze.

It reached a boiling point late last month, and workers began preparing for a possible strike.

“From the beginning we said we were willing to pitch in and reach an agreement that helps balance the budget and protects the important services our members provide in support of students, faculty and the educational mission,” said Marc Nisenfeld, a development engineer at Portland State University who chairs the union’s bargaining team. “It took a while to get there, but this settlement achieves those goals.”

Home | About

© Oregon Labor Press Publishing Co. Inc.