By Don McIntosh
Rejecting a 2% wage increase as too little too late, Oregon public university support workers voted by over 95% to authorize a strike in balloting Sept. 16-17. SEIU Local 503, issued a 10-day strike notice immediately afterward, with the strike to begin Monday, September 30 at 7 a.m.
The strike would involve about 5,000 SEIU Local 503 members at Oregon’s seven public universities. Their wages have risen just 13% in 10 years, while the cost of living has risen 19% in that time. This year, university administrators gave managers 3% raises while sticking to a 0% offer since February for the clerical support staff, custodians, and cafeteria workers of Local 503. On Sept. 13, the employer offer increased to 2%, but members want to make up for lost ground. The union is proposing raises of 3% and 3.25%.
“We’re asking for a cost-of-living increase that reflects the cost of living,” says Local 503 spokesperson Jay Parasco.
Further bargaining will take place Sept. 23.