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 

Impasse

 

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 State 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 agreed to follow during negotiations.  The Ground Rules 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 Employment Relations Board (ERB).  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 seven (7) 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.

 

IMPASSE

What is Impasse?

Impasse is part 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 and at least 15 days of mediation, either party may declare impasse.   In the negotiations with the Union, we were in mediation for longer than the required 15 days. 

 

What happens after a party declares impasse?

After a party declares impasse both parties are required to file their “final offers” and provide a cost summary of those offers 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.