Contacts: Di Saunders - Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 503-807-5539

Source: Joe Sicotte, OUS Bargaining Team Leader, and Associate Vice Chancellor - Office: 541-346-5765


Agreement Reached Between Oregon University System and

SEIU Classified Staff on Contract Negotiations

PORTLAND, August 22 - Oregon University System and the SEIU 503 successfully settled contract negotiations for classified staff late yesterday. The settlement will now be taken by SEIU to its membership for a ratification vote. 

OUS declared "impasse" on classified staff negotiations with SEIU on August 8 due to lack of movement in the process, and both SEIU and OUS submitted a Final Offer to the SEIU on August 15. Declaring impasse in not an uncommon practice; SEIU declared impasse in 1999 and 2001.

Richard Jarvis, chancellor of Oregon University System said, "OUS took the initiative to settle the bargaining process so that students, their families and the campus communities - representing almost 90,000 individuals across Oregon - would not be negatively impacted as Fall term begins. Throughout the bargaining process, we kept in mind the broad constituency that is impacted by financial and other decisions made," added Jarvis. "Any additional resources that come to bear as a result of the settlement impact every Oregon taxpayer and every student and their family that attends public higher education in this state. That is a responsibility that OUS takes very seriously."

The economic crisis in Oregon has left no state agency untouched, including OUS institutions. Tuition increases, staff and faculty layoffs, program shutdowns, course and class section eliminations are some of the outcomes of the 11% budget reductions faced in 2001-03. The additional 9% decrease expected for the 2003-05 biennium will mean more of the same in the next two years. In was under these economic realities that OUS structured its approach to negotiations with the SEIU. The Governor has passed down a mandate to agencies, including the Department of Higher Education, that there be no salary increases or bonuses paid out in the next biennium for OUS faculty and staff in order to direct limited state agencies' resources to programs and services. 

OUS's final offer was similar to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) settlement agreement with SEIU in many areas, but in others it differed because universities serve a student population who have a different set of needs, interests and concerns than the population who DAS employees serve; OUS receives only 20-25% of its revenue from the state, while DAS is funded 100% by the state. 
The contract covers classified staff at the seven OUS institutions: Eastern Oregon University; Oregon Institute of Technology; Oregon State University; Portland State University; Southern Oregon University; University of Oregon; and Western Oregon University. Each of the seven institutions has a collective bargaining representative at the negotiating table from OUS and from the Union, with OUS and SEIU providing team leaders to their respective groups.

"A lot of hard work and time was put in by the OUS campus bargaining representatives, and that effort showed in the final results," noted Jarvis. "The individual commitment and dedication of the bargainers, and the campuses involvement since the beginning of the year, is what enabled us to reach agreement and be able to start the new academic year with a focus on our students."
Summary of key "economic" contract areas:

  • Salary: While restricted by state mandate on pay increases, the OUS settlement maintains valuable insurance benefits, and a pay supplement: 
       o A $350.00 one-time lump-sum payment for all eligible employees to be disbursed in November 2004. Part-time employees will receive a prorated amount. To be eligible for the payment, employees must have been employed continuously on or before July 1, 2003 until the November 2004 payment. 

  • Insurance: Full-time employees who work 80 paid regular hours in a month receive fully-paid health insurance. Part-time employees who have at least 80 paid regular hours in the month receive a pro-rated benefits contribution and subsidy sufficient to maintain the benefits provided as of June 30, 2003. 

Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to  




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