If what you are about to hear sounds familiar this is some of our language from our opening statement.
Higher Education in Oregon is facing unprecedented challenges. Tuition rates are climbing, the student loan crisis is soaring, and our public universities are seeing less investment with each passing year. Clearly, we can all agree, the legislature needs to increase their investment in higher education. We have been working tirelessly with the legislature to make higher education student success and support a priority in this legislative session.
Meanwhile, we just learned yesterday that unemployment is at its lowest rate in ten years. Though the economy is in a stronger place than during any contract negotiation in a decade, classified university workers are falling further behind. The cost of basic necessities like food and utilities are soaring. The cost of rent and home ownership are creeping steadily out of reach for classified workers. The market study data we shared with you verifies that our wages have not kept up with these rising costs and our members are at a breaking point.
It is time to prioritize student services and frontline workers. Classified workers expect a contract that improves economic security for all of us. Again, our top economic priority is to bring our wages and total compensation in line with the job market. Our workers dedicate their careers to higher education because they believe in the mission, but that shouldn’t mean sacrificing their ability to make ends meet. Our opening economic package reflects this.