Negotiation Updates

The Universities’ Bargaining Team firmly believes in transparent negotiations. We will post our summaries of the negotiations along with occasional links to proposals or tentative agreements within approximately one week from the last day of the negotiations session.  Hopefully our posts will have the effect of opening negotiations to everyone.

Below is the schedule of negotiations that the parties have agreed to so far and summaries of the negotiation sessions that have already occurred.  Please check back here for summaries of future negotiation sessions.

Schedule:

September 23 & 24: Oregon State University (Cascades)

October 7 & 8: University of Oregon

October 21 & 22: Southern Oregon University

November 16 & 17: Portland State University 

December 2 & 3: Western Oregon University 

December 16 & 17: Oregon State University

Summary of Negotiations:

September 23 & 24.

The Universities and Union met Thursday and Friday, September 23 and 24, to kick-off negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement.  The atmosphere during the two days of negotiations was upbeat and positive.  The session began with each member of the bargaining teams providing an in-depth introduction of themselves and the Universities’ Bargaining Team appreciated getting to know the new Union team members as well as learning more about those returning from the last round of negotiations. 

Following introductions each party gave an opening statement that reflected their priorities and challenges.  The Universities opening statement can be found here

The parties worked most of Thursday on finalizing ground rules for the negotiations.  In a commitment to working on a respectful bargaining process, the parties’ agreed to include a Code of Conduct as part of the final Ground Rules.  This is the first time in recent history that the parties committed to a Code of Conduct and it appears both parties are eager to enjoy a productive working relationship. 

On Friday, the parties exchanged a number of proposals.  The Union presented changes to the parking, mutual respect, holidays, and differential pay articles.  They also presented a Letter of Agreement on Pandemic Recognition Pay.  The Universities provided mostly clarifying changes to the non-discrimination, payroll procedures, position descriptions, and safety/health articles. 

The parties’ agreed to several dates and locations to continue the negotiations, all of which can be found above.  The next session is set for October 7 and 8 at the University of Oregon. 

October 7 & 8.

The Universities and Union met Thursday and Friday, Oct. 7 and 8 to continue negotiations.  A great deal of work was done by both teams as they entered these negotiations and during each teams’ caucus time, and was supported by the exchange of proposals addressing changes in 20 separate collective bargaining agreement articles or letters of agreement.    

Most notable of proposed changes sought by the Universities’ bargaining team includes restructuring Article 18: Grievance and Arbitration to require a greater exchange of information at the lowest level of the grievance procedure. The Universities seek this change as they have a strong interest in seeing disputes be resolved at the lowest level, without needing to escalate a grievance through the steps or to arbitration.  Additionally, to insure consistent compliance with certain statutes, the Universities’ bargaining team proposed that certain investigations, such as those within Title IX, must follow procedures outlined within that statute and its regulations, not the collective bargaining agreement. However, in the event that a Title IX investigation may result in an employment action, related provisions in the collective bargaining agreement would be followed. 

The Universities’ bargaining team also proposed changes to Article 8: No Strike/No Lockout.  The changes sought are to identify prohibited work stoppages during the term of the collective bargaining agreement; require picketing to occur only after expiration of the agreement; and make certain that the no strike language applies during negotiations that occur while the agreement is in place. The last change will provide the Universities more flexibility to pivot in response to necessary changes due to certain events, like the pandemic. 

Other articles presented by the Universities’ Bargaining team, related to negotiations procedures, personnel records, discipline and discharge and trial service articles.

The Union presented changes to articles related to legislative action, bereavement leave, overtime, and employer rights. 

As negotiations progress and the parties continue to exchange proposals, some matters may involve more in depth changes that could be viewed as controversial or invoke unenthusiastic reactions. In their opening statements last month, and as conveyed in agreed to bargaining ground rules, the Universities and Union bargaining teams agree to maintain respect for each other and the process in order to actively listen to underlying reasons for proposed changes and engage in conversations and achieving solutions that will improve outcomes and adherence.

The parties are set to meet next week, Oct. 21 and 22, at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. 

October 21 & 22.

Bargaining teams from the Universities and SEIU met Thursday and Friday, Oct. 21 and 22, at Southern Oregon University in Ashland to continue negotiations. Collectively, the teams passed or discussed 15 separate proposals.   

The Universities’ bargaining team passed six proposals as the team continues to focus on proposals that will improve flexibility for the Universities to manage effectively in times of need. For example, during the pandemic the Universities, with the impressive work of classified employees and faculty, were able to remain open and provide students the ability to continue making progress on their educational pursuits. Managing through the pandemic did not come without challenges that had to be addressed, many of those requiring negotiations with the Union. For instance, the Universities developed extended benefits and work share programs to avoid laying off employees, and many of the terms of these programs needed to be discussed with the Union. The bargaining proposal changes sought by the Universities allow negotiations to occur quickly and without the fear of a strike occurring at the end of those negotiations. 

The Universities also proposed changes to the reclassification article to help guide employees and supervisors in the reclassification process. The proposed changes specifically and clearly outline what is needed by a university’s human resources office to review and process a reclassification request. These changes will streamline reclassification requests with the goal of speeding up the reclassification review process. The Universities also proposed that decisions regarding reclassifications remain within the respective university, rather than allowing another university, which may be unfamiliar with the work in question, or an arbitrator, who does not have experience with the Universities’ classification system, to decide within which classification an employee is working.

Other articles presented by the Universities’ Bargaining team, related to sick leave, scheduling, Oregon State University ship operations, and streetcar passes for Portland State University employees. 

The Union presented changes to articles related to layoff, scheduling, personnel records, discipline, no strike/no lockout, the term of the agreement and economics.

Regarding economics, the Union proposed that there be cost of living increases of 5.4% retroactive to July 1, 2021, and 3.5% effective July 1, 2022, and that no employee receive less than an $85 or $100 per month increase in each of those years, respectively.  The Union also proposed that the salaries of selective classifications be increased between 2 and 4 salary ranges in addition to the Union’s requested 5.4% raise; status quo on healthcare (with the exception of expanding the least costly plan language that allows for a 3% contribution), and that employees designated as ‘frontline’ workers from March 2020 to June 2021 receive a one-time payment based on hours required to be worked on campus.

The Universities’ bargaining team is in the process of reviewing the Union’s economic proposal and determining its cost impact against legislative funding that is flat. Unlike previous bargaining cycles that have typically started in February, the Universities now have a clearer picture of their budgets which they received in late Summer, and will know final fall enrollment numbers by mid-November. This information will allow the Universities to better understand the economic impact of SEIU’s proposal and an understanding of what each University can afford.

The parties will next meet Nov. 16 and 17 at PSU in Portland.

November 16 & 17:

December 2 & 3:

Bargaining teams from the Universities and SEIU met Thursday and Friday, Dec. 2 and 3, at Western Oregon University in Monmouth to continue negotiations.

Building off a successful four-day session in mid-November at Portland State University, the parties were able to reach a tentative agreement on an historic 5-year contract that secures compensation increases and healthcare benefits through June 2026.

While the tentative agreement must be ratified by both parties, and such is expected by late December, we are happy to report on the highlights of the tentative agreement which are:

  • A one-time bonus of up to $1,500 for eligible classified employees who were required to work onsite in uncertain times during the pandemic and who contributed to important health and safety initiatives for university community members. 
  • A 3.1% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for all classified employees effective Jan. 1, 2022, and a 2.5% COLA for all classified employees effective July 1, 2022. 
  • Full step wage increases of 4.75% in each of the next four years, representing a total wage increase of 19% for those not topped-out, which is approximately more than 70 percent of represented classified employees. 
  • Continuation of a longevity premium of 2.5% for classified employees who have been employed by a university for at least five years and who have been at the top of their salary range for at least one year from their salary eligibility date. 
  • A commitment to keep entry level wages paid classified employees at all universities above $15 per hour, by eliminating steps of the salary schedule that are below that amount. 
  • Moved 31 employee position classifications to higher salary ranges effective February 1, 2022. This change effects roughly 40% of the bargaining unit. 
  • Addressed 16 administrative job family position classifications by agreeing to move the classifications up two salary ranges from their current range over the life of the agreement, the first move occurring February 1, 2022 and the second occurring February 1, 2025. 
  • Provided employees with paid time that may be used in the event of closures or delays in campus openings due to inclement weather or hazardous conditions. Twenty-four hours of paid time will be in effect from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022. Then 48 hours of paid time will issue July 1, 2022 and be renewed every two years through the life of the agreement. 
  • Modified contract language to allow classified employees to engage in remote work, acknowledging rapid changes taking place in the national employment landscape. 
  • Added Juneteenth as an officially recognized and paid holiday for classified employees. 
  • Provides that all benefits, including healthcare, pension, holidays, vacations, sick leave, personal leave and bereavement, that are part of the current contract with classified employees for 2019-21 will remain effect for the next contract (2021-2026). Some of these benefits are subject to potential changes that may be negotiated during the parties’ economic contract reopener in 2023-2024.

The parties worked extremely hard to reach this very historic agreement and the Universities’ bargaining team is grateful for the hard work and dedication to the negotiation process that the Union’s bargaining team displayed throughout the process.

Should anyone have questions about the terms of the tentative agreement, please contact your Office of Human Resources

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