Oregon Public university workers and administrators reach a contract agreement on Monday, Sept. 28. Courtesy of the SEIU website

Planned strike for first day of classes averted

Oregon university workers and administrators reach agreement

A new contract agreement for Service Employees International Union workers comes after months of negotiations between Oregon Public university workers and administrators. The tentative agreement reached on Saturday, Sept. 28 covers higher wages, stable healthcare costs, as well as other workplace benefits. 

A strike by university workers planned at Portland State for the first day of classes if an agreement was not reached will no longer commence.

 “I am pleased to announce that Portland State and Oregon’s six other public universities have reached an agreement with SEIU to avert a strike,” stated PSU President Stephen Percy in a press release. “It’s great news that on Monday our full campus community will be here to welcome our new and returning students on their first day of class.”

Negotiation victories include a larger cost of living adjustment—up to 5.10% raises over two years—as well as stable healthcare costs with no proposed increases as planned and paid leave for inclement weather.

“This is a win for the 4,500 workers who dedicate their lives to Oregon universities,” said Executive Director of SEIU Local 503 Melissa Unger via the SEIU website. “Together, we fought back take-aways proposed by management on wages, health care, steps and personal days and won higher wages for all workers.”

Benefits such as healthcare and leave such as personal, bereavements, holidays and sick days remain unchanged. 

The agreement covers the six public universities in Oregon, including PSU, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Western Oregon University and Southern Oregon University. 

“We were only able to come this far because you [and] your coworkers were ready to stick together and walk out on Monday,” read a statement on the SEIU website. “This hard-fought victory is a testament to the strength and solidarity of you and your coworkers. We have never built a campaign this strong, which is why we won the best contract we have seen in over a decade.”