State worker unions reach tentative agreement on ‘lean budget’ raises


Oregon AFSCME and the State of Oregon reached tentative agreement Aug. 9 on a new two-year contract covering just under 3,000 employees at 14 state agencies, including the Building Codes Division, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Liquor Control Commission, and others.

It’s a tight-budget agreement, owing to a sizable state budget shortfall.

“It’s a deal that meets the state’s needs and our members’ needs in a tough economic time,” said Oregon AFSCME Executive Director Stacy Chamberlain. “Our members are taxpayers who live and invest in our communities too.”

The agreement contains no wage increase for the first year, and a 1 percent increase the second year, taking effect June 15, 2018. It also ends the “PERS pickup,” a decades-old agreement in which the employer has paid the statutorily-mandated employee pension contribution — 6 percent of gross pay. To make up for that concession, the contract provides for a 6.95 percent raise on Feb. 1, 2018. The new contract also maintains existing health insurance on the same terms, as well as the existing schedule of step pay increases. And for the first time, the contract will require employers to take action against workplace bullying and “micro-aggressions” — small unintentional sexist or racist comments that contribute to offense in the workplace.

If members ratify it as expected, the contract will run through June 30, 2019.

Oregon AFSCME is the smaller of two large bargaining units of state employees. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503 represents the larger unit, with 19,000 workers. That unit is mid-way through a four-year agreement, except that wages and benefits for the final two years were negotiated this year. Local 503 reached tentative agreement July 25 on similar terms to AFSCME, except that they’ll get a 1.85 percent increase in June 2018. The state also agreed to add a $15 an hour wage floor to the SEIU contract, which will result in raises for several hundred state office workers and janitors. SEIU members agreed to give up their PERS pick-up two years ago.


  1. Very excited to see the first Oregon collective bargaining agreement to specifically address microaggressions. Congratulations to the AFSCME staff and leaders who saw this through! Hopefully others will see this and follow suit, and continue the fight against implicit bias.


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