September 14, 2001

Contact: Bob Bruce, 503-725-5714
Cell, 503-807-5539

OUS Modifies Final Offer to Classified Union

EUGENE -The Oregon University System today modified its final offer in negotiation to settle contract talks with the Service Employees International Union Local 503, of the Oregon Public Employees Union (SEIU/OPEU).

The union represents some 3,700 classified workers of Oregon's seven public universities. To settle a re-opener on salary and benefits, the OUS modified final offer proposes a two (2) percent cost of living wage increase, or a flat $40 increase, on Jan. 1, 2002, a second three (3) percent increase on Feb. 1, 2003, continuing annual step increases, plus selective salary increases in 22 employment classifications totaling $215,420 in improvements.

The offer also guarantees fully-paid health coverage for full-time employees in 2002 and 2003. If the insurance premium increase in 2003 exceeds an $85 guaranteed subsidy increase, the agreement would seek additional funds from insurance reserves or a one-month delay in the effective date of the February 2003 salary increase, to keep employees from paying any costs out-of-pocket.

The modified offer also proposes contract language changes on overtime, contracting out, layoff and union rights.

Because of uncertainty in the state's economic future, the offer also proposes that both salary and benefit changes be re-opened for negotiation if there is any reduction in the current OUS biennial budget.

Bargainers were unable to reach agreement Friday after more than 48 hours of continuous negotiation. They are expected to meet again with the state mediator on Friday, Sept. 21.

Meanwhile, the union has issued a second notice specifying Sept. 24 as the strike date against OUS campuses if agreement cannot be reached. The notice was issued to replace an earlier notice that OUS had challenged through the Employment Relations Board as illegal under Oregon law. The earlier notice failed to specify a strike date.

SEIU/OPEN represents clerical, paraprofessional, skilled trades and service personnel at Oregon's seven public universities. OUS member campuses include Eastern Oregon University, LaGrande; Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls; Oregon State University, Corvallis; Portland State University; Southern Oregon University, Ashland; University of Oregon, Eugene; and Western Oregon University, Monmouth.


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