State of Oregon workers ratify union contract

By MALLORY GRUBEN

Nearly 25,000 Oregon state workers represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 503 have a new union contract.

On Aug. 22, Local 503 announced that members voted to ratify a two-year contract that provides 13% raises and a one-time $1,500 “cost of living” bonus. Under the agreement, no state worker will make less than $21 after April 2024.

The agreement also makes it easier for workers to meet with union leaders to discuss grievances, and it creates a committee to monitor how state agencies handle complaints about equity, discrimination, and bias.

Local 503 represents workers at more than two dozen state agencies, including the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Hospital, and Oregon Department of Human Services. It is the state’s largest labor union. Nearly 10,000 members participated in the ratification vote, which passed with 91% approval. Local 503 said that’s one of the highest ratification turnouts on record.

Another 7,000 state workers are represented by Oregon AFSCME, including 3,300 who were voting last month on a contract with identical raises. They had not finished that vote when this issue went to press.     

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