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Oregon public universities, classified workers union reach tentative contract agreement

Service Employees International Union Local 503

EUGENE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Bargaining teams representing Oregon’s seven public universities and Service Employees International Union Local 503, which represents classified employees working at the state’s universities, reached a tentative agreement in contract negotiations early Tuesday morning, days after the union declared an impasse in talks.

“We are very pleased that agreement has been reached,” said Steve Clark, spokesperson for the universities bargaining with classified employees. “This agreement continues a long and successful history of the university and classified employees reaching resolution in contract bargaining.”

“Classified employees working at Oregon’s seven universities contribute significantly to student success and the mission of each university. In bargaining with classified employees, we sought to appropriately recognize classified employees and their service, while being financially prudent and seeking to limit the impact of cost increases on student tuition.”

The agreement involves classified employees working at Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, the University of Oregon and Western Oregon University, including nearly 40 employees at OSU-Cascades in Bend.

The universities and SEIU bargaining teams have agreed to the following compensation increases over the next three years:

  • 6.50% effective April 1, 2024.
  • 2.00% effective Nov. 1, 2024.
  • 3.50% effective June 1, 2025.
  • 3.00% effective Nov. 1, 2025.

Additionally, the bargaining teams agreed to:

  • A one-time compensation payment of $1,500 paid along with April 2024 pay. This one-time payment will be prorated based upon a classified employee’s FTE.
  • Granting Veterans’ Day as an official holiday at all universities.
  • Expanding opportunities for when employees may utilize a “Special Day” off from work.
  • Expanding the use of sick leave to include personal close affinity relationships in alignment with Oregon law.

Clark said classified union members will vote to ratify the tentative agreement in the weeks ahead. If ratified by union members, the employment terms agreed upon would then be implemented.

The proposed raises are in addition to annual 4.62% “step” wage increases or a 2.50% longevity premium that eligible classified employees receive. The universities also will continue to:

  • Pay either 95% or 97% of the health care premium costs for eligible classified employees and their dependents.
  • Pay the 6% of gross wages PERS “pick-up” for eligible classified employees, which the state of Oregon does not provide for its own employees, in addition to the universities paying employees’ entire regular PERS pension benefit.
  • Pay a minimum wage that is higher than the state’s highest minimum wage.

The bargaining teams began meeting last fall to discuss re-opener economic matters and other issues in a five-year classified employee contract that was adopted in 2021 and continues through June 30, 2026.

“Working collaboratively, the bargaining teams were able to reach tentative agreement on a contract that well recognizes classified employees and contributes to Oregon’s universities remaining financially stable, and accessible and affordable for students in the years ahead,” Clark said.


SEIU Local 503 news release:

SEIU 503 Higher Education Workers Settle Contract With University Management

(Eugene, OR) Thanks to the incredible power workers have been building on our state’s seven university campuses—signing strike pledges, picketing, rallying, participating in worker “spirit” days, delivering our petitions to administration, and more—SEIU 503 higher education workers have reached a tentative agreement (TA) with university management that includes historic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), protects Union jobs by restricting language on contracting out, and a $1,500 one-time payment for university classified staff this spring.
Our Union has been in negotiations with university management since October 2023.
The toplines of the TA include the following:

·                     15% COLAs in the next two years

·                     $1,500 one-time payment in April 2024

·                     Retaining language in the contract that restricts how the universities can contract out Union jobs

Before the contract can go into effect, it must be ratified by a vote of active SEIU 503 higher education members.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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