Frequently Asked Questions

The Universities' Bargaining Team developed frequently asked questions that typically arise during negotiations and has answered those questions below.  Additional questions and answers may be added as negotiations proceed, but if there are any questions you have that are not answered below, please email your questions to seiunegotiations@usse-oregon.org and we will respond as soon as possible.  Please click the highlighted words to "jump" to the FAQs related to the particular topic. 

University Shared Services Enterprise 

The Collective Bargaining Agreement 

Negotiations 

Mediation

Impasse

Strikes

UNIVERSITY SHARED SERVICES ENTERPRISE

What is the University Shared Services Enterprise?

Senate Bill 270, approved by the Oregon Legislature in the 2013 Legislative Session, established the Work Group on University Shared Services, consisting of the Presidents of the seven public universities or their designees.  The legislation tasked the Work Group with developing a recommended “shared services” model that would deliver efficient and effective administrative operations to participating universities in a manner that focused on quality, responsiveness and customer service and that sought to achieve cost savings, economies of scale, accountability, transparency and streamlining.  The Work Group recommended establishing, and ultimately did establish, the formation of the University Shared Services Enterprise, or USSE for short. 

USSE provides essential support to Oregon's Public Universities (OPUs) allowing each to focus on mission-critical, student-centered outcomes.  

For more information on USSE, please visit:  https://usse-oregon.org/ 

For more information on USSE's Labor Relations Services, please visit:  https://usse-oregon.org/labor-relations

 

Are all the Universities going to negotiate collectively with SEIU?

 

Yes.  The law requires that universities with a governing board continue to bargain collectively with statewide bargaining organizations that existed when the legislature passed Senate Bill 270.   SEIU Local 503 was the only statewide bargaining organization that existed at the time the legislature passed Senate Bill 270. 

The Universities are committed to negotiating together and have signed an SEIU Collective Bargaining Statement of Work agreeing to bargain collectively with SEIU for a successor contract with SEIU.  

 

THE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT

Which Universities are covered by the current contract with SEIU Local 503?

Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon Sate University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, University of Oregon, and Western Oregon University.

 

Which employees at those Universities are covered by the current contract?

The classified employees.  These employees are in approximately 270 different classifications ranging from academic and administrative support, allied health, housing and dining, maintenance and operations, information technology, public safety, and more. 

 

How many classified employees are covered by the current contract between the Universities and SEIU Local 503?

            There are roughly 4,500 classified employees covered by the contract.

 

When does the current contract between the Universities and SEIU Local 503 expire?

            The current contract expires June 30, 2019.

 

NEGOTIATIONS

What are Ground Rules?

Ground Rules are simply guidelines that the Universities and Union agree to follow during negotiations.  The Ground Rules between the parties were agreed to in January of 2019.

 

When did negotiations begin?

The current collective bargaining agreement and the Ground Rules set forth that negotiations officially began on February 1, 2019.  

 

When will negotiations occur next?

The dates, times, and locations of when negotiations take place are discussed and agreed by the Universities and Union either at the end of a negotiation session or shortly thereafter.  We will post the dates, times, and locations of negotiations under the Negotiation Updates tab.

 

Where are negotiations held?

Most negotiations will be held within the Willamette Valley, either at Portland State University, Oregon Tech’s Wilsonville campus, Oregon State University, Western Oregon University, or the University of Oregon.  The parties may also hold negotiations at either Eastern Oregon University, Oregon State University Cascades or Newpoert campuses, Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls’ campus, or Southern Oregon University.  The Universities and Union are committed to visiting as many campuses as possible, and will make every effort to do so.

 

Who is on the Universities’ Bargaining Team?

The Universities’ Bargaining Team includes Chris McLaughlin (EOU), Sandi Hanan (OIT), Viki Dimick-Jackson (OSU), Terrill Bartee (PSU), Alana Lardizabal (SOU), Chris Meade (UO), Judy Vanderburg (WOU), Ramon Diaz (Notetaker), and Brian Caufield (USSE).

 

What is the PECBA timeline?

The Oregon Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA) provides that the Universities and Union must engage in good faith bargaining for at least 150 calendar days.  If no agreement is reached after the 150 days, either party can begin the mediation process by requesting the assistance of a mediator that is appointed by the Oregon Employment Relations Board.  The parties are required to be in the mediation process for at least 15 calendar days from the date of the first mediation session.  If no agreement is reached during mediation, the parties can continue mediation or either party may declare an impasse.  If an impasse is declared, both parties must file with the mediator a Final Offer and cost summary within 7 calendar days of declaring impasse.  Those Final Offers and cost summaries are available to the public.  Once filed, there is a 30-day “cooling-off” period to allow for more negotiations in an attempt to reach an agreement.  If the parties still are unable to reach agreement, upon proper notice to the other party, the Union can strike and the Universities can implement all or part of their Final Offer.

For more information on negotiation under PECBA, please visit the ERB’s website at: http://www.oregon.gov/ERB/Pages/PECBAOverview.aspx

 

Why do I have to wait until after a negotiation session to get a summary of the Universities' proposals?

The Union is the exclusive bargaining representative of the Universities' classified employees, and the law requires that the Universities must first present proposals to the Union before discussing those proposals with their employees.  After those proposals are presented to the Union, the Universities can provide summaries or copies of those proposals.  We intend to do just that under the Negotiation Updates tab.

 

MEDIATION

What is mediation?

Mediation is the second phase of the negotiations process outlined in PECBA.  As discussed above, PECBA is Oregon’s statute governing public sector labor relations.  When the parties have completed at least 150 days of direct bargaining, either party may request that the Oregon Employment Relations Board assigned an independent mediator to assist the parties in finding common ground and resolving outstanding issues.  

 

How long does mediation last?

There is no set timeframe for how long the parties can be in mediation with the assistance of a mediator, but there is a requirement that before either party declares impasse 15 calendar days must past from the first session the parties hold with a mediator.

 

Are mediation sessions open to the public?  

No.  Mediation is a confidential process.  Offers made during the mediation process are considered confidential unless a party makes an offer that it identifies as public to the other side.  If that occurs, then the contents of that offer is considered public.

 

IMPASSE

What is impasse?

Impasse is phase of the negotiations process outlined in the PECBA.  When the parties have completed at least 150 days of direct bargaining and at least 15 days of mediation, either party may declare impasse.  

 

What happens after a party declares impasse?

Once impasse is declared, both parties are required to file their “final offers” with a cost summary to the Oregon Employment Relations Board.  After the final offers and cost summaries are filed, there is a 30-day cooling-off period. 

 

Does declaring impasse mean that negotiations end?

No.  The parties are obligated to continue negotiating until an agreement is reached. 

 

Does declaring impasse mean that the Universities will implement their own terms?

No.  Implementation, if any, can only occur after the cooling-off period has ended and only after the Universities provide sufficient notice to the Union of what terms, if any, they intend to implement.  Sufficient notice means that the notice must be clear as to the terms and date of implementation.  In addition, the Universities are required to provide such notice in advance of the implementation to allow the Union with a reasonable amount of time to consider the terms of implementation. 

 

Does declaring impasse mean that the Union will strike?

No.  A strike, if any, can only occur after the cooling-off period has ended and only after the Union provides the Universities with at a 10-day notice.  The notice must specify the first day of the strike and the reasons for the strike, including the list of unresolved issues.  The notice may be sent during the 30-day cooling off period, although a strike cannot occur until after the 30-day period has expired.

 

STRIKES

Who may strike?

Once SEIU submits a lawful strike notice, members of the SEIU bargaining unit, including trial service employees, may participate in the strike.  These employees may also choose not to strike and come to work. 

 

Who may not strike?

Any employee not represented by SEIU is prohibited from participating in a strike called by SEIU.  This includes:

  • Temporary employees, unless they are included in the bargaining unit;
  • Members of other unions not engaged in a lawful strike;
  • Unrepresented employees;
  • Unclassified employees, administrative professionals; and,
  • Student employees.

 

Must an employee participate in the strike?

No.  The decision to participate or not participate in the strike is entirely an employee’s personal decision.  

 

May an employee who participates in the strike change his/her mind and return to work during the strike?

Yes.  An employee who participates in the strike may change his/her mind and return to work only once.  If the employee leaves on strike a second time, he/she will not be allowed to return and must remain out on strike through the duration of the strike.

 

May the University replace striking employees?

Yes.  The University may hire or contract with temporary replacements.  In a strike over the economics that does not include any unlawful activity by the University, the University may permanently replace striking employees for whom there is an “operational necessity” for replacement.  But, striking employees retain the right to make unconditional offers of reinstatement, to be reinstated upon such offers if positions are available, and to be placed on a preferential hiring list upon such offers if positions are not available at the time of the offer.

What is the status of an employee out on strike?

Bargaining unit employees who lawfully exercise their right to strike are considered on strike and not working and, therefore, may not use any form of paid leave while engaging in strike activities.

 

Will an employee out on strike accrue vacation leave?

No.  Vacation leave does not accrue for an employee who participates in a strike.

 

What happens if an employee is on an approved vacation and the strike begins?

An employee already on vacation prior to the first day of a strike may continue his/her vacation as originally scheduled.  Should that vacation leave expire after a strike begins, the employee must return to work on the next scheduled workday.

 

Will an employee who participates in the strike accrue sick leave?

No.  Sick leave will not accrue for an employee who participates in the strike.

 

May an employee who participates in the strike use sick leave if he/she becomes ill during the strike?

No.  An employee who participates in the strike will not be granted sick leave with pay for illnesses arising during the course of a strike. 

 

May an employee who participates in the strike use compensatory paid leave (“comp time”)?

No.  Use of compensatory paid leave will not be granted to an employee who participates in the strike. 

 

May an employee who participates in the strike use personal leave ?

No.  Use of personal paid leave will not be granted to an employee who participates in the strike.

 

May an employee who participates in the strike receive unemployment compensation?

Generally, no.  An employee who participates in the strike is not eligible for unemployment compensation. 

 

May an employee who participates in the strike receive a pay advance?

No.  An employee who participates in the strike may not receive a pay advance.

 

May an employee who participates in the strike use military leave?

Yes.  Rules regarding paid and unpaid leave of absence for military duty are unaffected by a strike.

 

May an employee who participates in the strike receive workers' compensation?

Generally, no.  An employee who participates in the strike is not eligible for workers’ compensation for injuries that occur while participating in a strike activity, but may be eligible for injures that occurred on-the-job prior to the strike.  An employee who does not participate in the strike and who suffers an on-the-job injury or injury going through a picket line may be eligible for workers’ compensation. 

 

May an employee who participates in the strike have their trial service credit extended?

Yes, only if the employee participates in the strike more than 15 calendar days in a month.  If so, the trial service credit is extended by the number of days he/she participates in the strike beyond the 15 calendar days.  No extension of trial service credits occur if the employee participates in the strike for 15 days or less.

 

What are lawful strike activities?

Bargaining unit members who participate in a strike may picket, carry signs, and distribute handbills.  This right may be limited in time, manner, and place to prevent injury to persons, damage to property, or disruption of classes or activities.

These activities are governed by each University’s policy relating to such, but in general may occur on any sidewalk or inside any building other than classroom buildings, research and laboratory buildings, libraries, the Student Health Center, or any area or building designated for authorized access only. 

 

What are unlawful strike activities?

Picketing or any other strike activity cannot interfere with the normal flow of persons or vehicular traffic into and from buildings.  This includes interfering with other employees reporting to work, visits by the public, students attending classes, business operations, or deliveries by trades people.