This post covers the new contract agreement for State employees.
We’re thrilled to share that as of July 16th, the contract was settled with big victories for State workers! Scroll down for highlights and additional details, and join the conversation in the SEIU Local 503 State Employee Facebook group!
Throughout a global pandemic and wildfires that ravaged our state, State workers upended their lives and sacrificed their personal safety to keep Oregon safe and running. They have proven how essential they are again and again, and this year, we brought that fight to the bargaining table. When management pushed back on issues that were important to State workers, our members doubled down and demanded to be shown the respect that they deserve.
Finally, their hard work has paid off, and we won 5.6% cost of living raises over two cycles, hazard pay, steps for both years of the contract (that’s over a 9% wage increase for many workers) , expanded telework options, improvements for essential employees and hazardous/inclement conditions leave! The victories we made in raises this year, make the last two contract years some of the most successful in State worker history!
✓ Survey members to identify key issues
✓ Campaign to pressure management
✓ Win a “salary pot” through the Legislature’s budget process
✓ Settle a “Tentative Agreement”
✓ Ratify by a vote of all dues paying members (you must be a member to vote)
✓ Get our raises and member benefits
Membership Is Key
In order to vote on your contract or get access to member benefits, you must be a member of SEIU 503. You can sign up online at any time, call us at 1-844-503-SEIU (7348), or speak to a union steward in your worksite.
State employees will see up to a 5.6% raise in the new contract. All State Workers will receive a 2.5% cost of living adjustment (COLA) effective December 1, 2021, and a 3.1% cost of living increase effective December 1, 2022.
Management’s initial proposal was a two year contract with a 2% raise in 2021, and a 1.85% raise in 2022. Due to the historic victories that the State saw this legislative session, SEIU members and our State Bargaining Team pressured management to do right by our members and put a better deal on the table. Thanks to the member participation and the actions they took to support bargaining, we won.
Steps both years of the contract!*
Remote Work & Alternate Schedules
State workers have proven they can do their jobs well and efficiently under the most trying of circumstances. The new contract encourages working remotely where it is a viable option that benefits employee and agency; Cannot be arbitrarily denied or rescinded; Employees will have access to inclement weather leave language if a utility outage prohibits working remotely; Agency will provide necessary technology equipment and office supplies to employee working remotely. Employees will also be able to request any alternate schedule that works for them, and if certain criteria is met, the schedule will be approved.
COVID Hazard Pay
One-time payment for workers with at least 480 hours (12 weeks) that meet the following conditions: 1) had regular close contact with others outside of their household (less than six feet); and 2) had routine (more than 15 minutes per person(s)) close contact with others outside of their household; and 3) could not perform their job duties from home or another setting that limits the close or routine contact with others outside of their household.
Workers who meet the above criteria with 480 – 1039 hours will receive $1050
Workers who meet the above criteria with 1040+ hours will receive $1550
Workers who qualify for one of the payments above and also had 200 or more overtime hours during the same time period (March 2020 – June 2021) will receive an additional $575.
Management’s initial proposal included no recognition of the risks essential workers took during the pandemic.
Adds Juneteenth as a holiday, and expands use of “Special Day” to the entire calendar year; employees required to be on-call on a holiday will receive on-call pay at the holiday rate of pay.
Essential Worker Differential
$1/hr for employees required to work in person when situations exist that would otherwise allow employees to utilize inclement weather/hazardous conditions leave**
Inclement Weather/ Hazardous Conditions/Wildfire Protections
Improvements to essential employee and hazardous/inclement conditions leave; Adds protections for unsafe air quality; Protections for workers who lose access to their home due to natural disaster, and more!
In a year where healthcare has been on the mind of every individual and family, we held the line and fought to maintain worker premium shares as they are in our Collective Bargaining Agreement (1% or 5% depending on plan). We pushed to keep overall premium increases under 3.4% for health insurance plans in 2022. Considering that the cost of healthcare goes up by 7% every year, this is a big deal.
PEBB is also expanding fertility coverage to include IVF and IUI procedures at the low cost shares our members benefit from on their plans. As fertility coverage is frequently not covered by health insurance plans, this is a big win for families, and those trying to conceive.
For PERS, we held the line this year and were able to maintain the status quo on State Workers’ Pension and IAP. This is not a topic we directly bargained over, but is a priority for our Union during the legislative session.
Payroll Process Updates
Management heard from many of you about concerns around changes to payroll processes, we shared those concerns at the bargaining table as well. Ultimately, management realized they can’t move forward to bargain any changes until they have input from members. We’ve agreed to form a joint labor/management committee to explore impacts of any potential changes to the payroll process. If management wants to move forward they would have to bargain for those changes in our next contract cycle.
At employee’s request a steward may be present at meeting to discuss a worker’s ADA accommodation request
Response due 30 days after all necessary documentation received by management
Agency may notify employee of need for extension
*Employees who “topped out” will receive the COLA increase, but they will not receive steps; Employees who become “topped out” during the first year of the contract will not receive a step in the second year of the contract.
**This differential will not apply to employees whose primary job functions include responding to inclement weather or hazardous conditions or who live at their work site.
Photo above: The State Bargaining Team hard at work!