Frequently Asked Questions
When will I get my raise?
The 3.1% salary increase is effective August 1, 2022, and employees will see that reflected on their September 1 paychecks. That is four full months earlier than we initially bargained.
Why didn’t we hold out and get the state to give us the additional 4% we initially asked for?
Adding additional raises on top of what is already in the contract would have meant many millions of dollars of unbudgeted expense for agencies. While some agencies may be able to afford some additional wages, we know many cannot. So, based on all the information available, our bargaining team made the assessment that this is the best outcome we could win right now for all members and that not taking this deal wouldn’t have meant we could get more money, but would have meant we would have to wait until December for our COLA to go into effect. Additionally, because we are in the middle of a contract and don’t have the right to strike while the contract is in effect, we are limited in the pressure we can put on the state.
Why didn’t we just say no to the hiring bonuses, wouldn’t the state have come back to us with more money?
This is essentially what happened. When we issued a demand to bargain over the hiring bonuses, the state was only obligated to bargain about the hiring bonuses – how much, who qualifies, etc. Based on guidance from member feedback, we told the state that we could not agree to hiring bonuses unless the state would agree to improve wages for existing employees, not just spend money to attract new ones. We let the state know that we were willing to walk if they did not make that happen. Even though the state had no legal obligation to bargain with us over current employee wages in the middle of a contract, they agreed to invest an additional $39 million in our members’ wages by moving the 3.1% COLA up to August 1, and our team did not think walking away, leaving that money on the table, and making members wait another four months for their raise made sense.
What can we do now to prepare for bargaining in 2023 and the fight to win meaningful raises?
This is really important. We know we need to build a bargaining campaign that can pressure the state to give our members the raises they deserve, raises that ensures State jobs are family wage jobs, and that recognizes the historical inflation that began to rise just months after we settled our current contract. We must start preparing for a strong campaign now, and that begins with a strong membership. We encourage leaders to work with their organizer to build membership campaigns in every sublocal and worksite.
The State is about to issue a record-breaking kicker, sending out billions of dollars to Oregonians, why can’t they spend some of that money on COLAs for us?
The kicker is in Oregon’s constitution, and can only be changed by a vote of all Oregonians. The state has no ability to stop that payment from going out, or to spend it on something else.
How much does it cost the state to move the COLA up to August 1? How much will they spend on hiring bonuses?
It will cost the state $39 Million to move the COLA up four months. We won’t know how much they will spend on hiring bonuses until October when the time period for hiring bonuses ends. Even if every current vacancy got a hiring bonus (which can’t happen) at the maximum amount allowed, it would still be much less money than the cost of moving the COLA for all employees.
Does management get to pick and choose who gets a hiring bonus?
It is up to each agency to determine which positions they want to offer a hiring bonus. According to state policy, the bonuses must be tied to a position and not a person, so the state cannot pick and choose individuals to receive the bonus, but they do have the authority to determine which positions qualify.
Will I get a hiring bonus if I move to a position that is being offered a hiring bonus?
The hiring bonuses are meant to incentivize new employees to join the state workforce, so only new-to-state service employees will be eligible, or current employees promoted into positions that qualify for hiring bonuses.
How does Oregon’s Pay Equity Law impact the hiring bonuses?
SB 1514, passed in the February legislative session, excludes hiring bonuses from the definition of ‘compensation’ under the Pay Equity Law until September 28, 2022 which means that these bonuses wouldn’t be included in any pay equity analysis.