University administration offered a new proposal to our bargaining team on Tuesday, taking their draconian healthcare cuts off the table but failing to meet us on wages. SEIU members at all seven universities pushed back hard against the healthcare cuts, and it paid off. But, unfortunately, management’s new proposal still puts our members in fragile economic positions, and we can’t accept that.
After all the hard work getting the legislature to invest an additional $100 million in higher education, management is proposing meaningless raises (0.5% in each year of the contract) and a ½ step freeze for both years of the contract. No other public employees are being asked to take step freezes in Oregon. The economy is strong. State funding is strong. Management can afford to do better. We deserve better!
After years of cuts and reduced funding, in 2019, the Oregon Legislature increased funding to the Public University Support Fund by $100 million to a record $837 Million, 13.7% higher than the present 2017-2019 biennium. If we got the exact same contract that State employees got – 2.5% and 3% COLAs, plus steps – it would only cost $41 million.
If they need to make cuts, there is room to chop from the top. Presidents of Oregon’s largest public universities are all paid over $600,000 a year, more than six times as much as Oregon’s governor. Dozens of administrators make over $500,000, and almost 200 people make over $200,000 a year.
Meanwhile, the average university worker makes $36,136 a year, and 1,485 workers earn less than $2,177 per month, the income threshold for SNAP eligibility for a household of three. Under the current offer, it will take new employees 19 years to reach market wages for their jobs.
We remain far apart on wages. The fact that management made some movement shows that your work is paying off, but we know the universities can do better; they certainly did better for their administrators, most of whom received at least a 3% raise retroactive to January of this year.
Management did not propose a new contract extension. Our current extension expires July 31. Click here and read this FAQ to find out what this means for you.
Summary of Economic Proposals
|Union’s Proposals||Management’s Proposals|
|Wages||4.5% COLA July 1, 2019
4.5% COLA July 1, 2020
|0.5% COLA in 2019
0% in 2020
0.5% COLA Jan 1 2021.
|Steps||Regular step increases each year of the contract
Add a step at the top and eliminate lowest step the first year of the contract
|Half Steps (change salary schedule to 19 steps which would mean it would take 19 years to top out)
No new steps for workers who have topped out
|Healthcare||1% premium on lowest-cost plan
5% premium on highest-cost plan
|Current Contract Language (3% and 5%)|
|Retirement||Current contract language, which protects us against potential cuts||Current contract language|
|Vacation||Increase to 350 hours/80 hours cash pay-out||Decrease accrual cap to 180 hours.|
|Personal Leave||Increase to 32 hours per year||Decrease to 16 hours per year|
|Meal Discount for Dining Services||Maintain $1 meal for dining services employees||Increase cost of shift meal to $3 for UO|