Published: November 22, 2021

Our team spent four very long days last week at Portland State University bargaining with management, working to win the best contract possible that recognizes how essential we all are to keeping the universities working. You’ll see below that management’s official position at the bargaining table is completely unacceptable. We’ve made our priorities clear. We know that we need to see a contract that raises wages for all, closes the gender pay equity gap, recognizes our work during the pandemic, and ensures respect in the workplace, which includes no anti-union takeaways.

While we’re disappointed with management’s current position on economics and all the takeaways they’re proposing, we want you to know we’ve been working on a possible solution that would mean money in members’ pockets as early as the beginning of the year. We’re not there yet, but we made progress these past few days. And while there are no details to share now, we’ll keep you posted as things progress.

Keep Building Power and Purple-up Campuses: The power we built two years ago that brought us to the eve of a strike, and ultimately won us our current contract, continues to have impacts at the bargaining table today. Without a doubt, that effort, along with continued union building the past two years, is the reason management is even considering a path forward that could get money in our members pockets much earlier than we thought possible. We have to keep building on that power, and make sure our union power can be seen on every campus, every day. Talk to your organizer or campus leadership to get purple supplies and learn other ways to get involved and support our bargaining efforts and our union.

Next Bargaining Session: We are scheduled to meet with management on December 2nd and 3rd at Western Oregon University. More information to come on actions planned at WOU those days. For all the other campuses, please purple up to show your support for our union!

Proposals on the Table:

Priority Proposal Union Universities
Cost of Living Raises 5.4% effective July 1, 2021 and 3.5% effective July 1, 2022 Nothing
Steps Steps each year Nothing
Gender Pay Equity 4 range increase for classifications predominantly filled by women that have been historically and structurally underpaid Nothing
Longevity Increase longevity pay to 3% Nothing
Health Insurance Increase number of plans that qualify for the 3% premium share; increase income threshold for $40 subsidy Nothing
Pandemic Pay One time payment for employees who had to work at least 480 hours on campus during the pandemic, payments vary between $1050 – $1550, plus additional payment of $575 for people who worked 200 or more overtime hours on campus last year Nothing
Respect in the Workplace Strengthen Article 64: Mutual Respect, and give us the ability to grieve violations of this language. Prohibits employees from accusing a supervisor of being hostile; removes violation complaint process
Remote Work New article affirming Universities’ commitment to remote work, and ensuring that requests for remote work are responded to in a timely way and are not arbitrarily denied. Nothing
Inclement Weather/Hazardous Conditions Protect our 48 hours of inclement weather and make sure  people working remotely can access this leave when needed Deletes the 48 hours of inclement weather leave
$15 minimum wage Ensures all employees are paid at least $15/hr Nothing

In Unity,
Higher Education Bargaining Team
SEIU Local 503