Oregon University System (OUS) workers represented by SEIU Local 503 will be voting on whether or not to strike Sept. 9, 10 and 11. The union, which represents classified employees at the University of Oregon and other schools, posted on its website on Aug. 19 that "management’s proposals still do not fit with our vision for the kind of university system Oregon needs." Classified employess include nurses, office specialists, analysts and more. As the UO's human resources page says, "Classified employees carry out work that supports the academic work of the university faculty and researchers, enriches the student learning experience, and enhances the beautiful campus environment."
SEIU writes of why it has declared an impasse and is calling for a strike authorization vote:
1. OUS shouldn’t be a poverty-wage employer. Management’s wage proposal leaves more than 1,200 classified workers eligible for food stamps.
2. OUS should honor the sacrifices of classified workers over the last four years, rather than insisting on cutting down the step system and offering miniscule raises. Instead of taking financial pressures out on classified employees and students.
3. OUS should recover lost income from the banks who helped crash our economy with misleading and fraudulent financial practices.
4. OUS should focus resources on classrooms and student and faculty services instead of high-salaried administration.
Declaring an impasse doesn't stop bargaining and mediation, it's a required step before a strike. The next bargaining session is Aug. 22 and 23 at Oregon Tech. SEIU says that more than 200 members, students, and faculty came out for a Solidarity Rally at UO.
To raise money for the Strike Hardship fund, a classified worker from Southern Oregon University Anne Wadley is raffling off an Oregon-themed quilt. Go here for more info and where to buy tickets.