OPB workers ratify contract bringing raises and bonus

SEIU Local 503 represents a group of 26 workers at media nonprofit Oregon Public Broadcasting. | PHOTO COURTESY SEIU


An informational picket and some public pressure may have made a difference in contract negotiations between Oregon Public Broadcasting and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503.

When workers’ previous contract expired June 30, management was proposing a new three-year contract with no guaranteed raises, only merit-based increases at management’s discretion. With inflation running close to 9%, that wasn’t very enticing. OPB CEO Steve Bass’s compensation (nearly $532,000 in 2019) suggested OPB could afford at least a modest pay bump. Workers and supporters gathered outside OPB’s Macadam Avenue headquarters in Portland Aug. 2, demanding a better deal. 

OPB upped its offer to 4% in year one and just 1% in the subsequent years. Workers wrote to OPB’s board of directors, laying out the difference between those raises and inflation.

In the end, management proposed a 4% raise in year one and merit-based raises of at least 1.5% in years 2 and 3. Under the merit formula, some will see raises closer to 2.75% or 3%, according to SEIU. The contract also provides a $1,500 bonus.

Workers voted unanimously to ratify the contract in early October. It runs through June 2025.

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