Udate: No strike.

9/26/2013 update: SEIU and OUS have reached a tentative agreement

(I believe a “step increase” is 4.5%).

After a long and often contentious bargaining period with OUS management, our SEIU 503 bargaining team reached a tentative agreement at 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 26.
Details of the agreement will be released in the next several days; some key points are: 

Two full steps. We secured full steps—not half steps—for the life of the contract, so that workers reach their top step after nine years instead of the eighteen-year period management had proposed. The first step increase is guaranteed by 6/30/14 and the second by 6/30/15; however, if OUS receives additional legislative funding in its February 2014 session, the steps would go into effect one year sooner. We believe that goal is within reach. 

Cost of living raises: 1.5% on 12/1/13 and 2% on 12/1/14. 

An end to furloughs, no increase to the 5% healthcare premium share, and dozens of other improvements.

9/24/2013: UO faculty rights and obligations if SEIU staff strike on Monday

From an email sent out by the AAUO faculty union:


WHY HAVE SEIU CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES VOTED TO AUTHORIZE A STRIKE?

For several years, a group of more than 1,500 workers at the UO–including office staff, librarians, computer techs, custodians, housing employees, engineers, nurses, maintenance workers and many others–have been forced to make tremendous economic sacrifices. The UO could not function without these employees–they feed our students, keep our IT system up and our libraries running; they pay our bills, run our offices, and ensure our workplaces are safe, clean and functional. Yet a large number barely make enough to pay their monthly bills.
They’ve had to accept pay freezes, unpaid furlough days, and shell out even more for their health insurance in order to help the seven campus Oregon University System (OUS) balance its budget. During the recent budget crisis, they were the only campus workers effectively forced to take pay cuts. They have fallen so far behind that more than one quarter of full-time classified workers at the UO meet the threshold for food stamp eligibility for a family of four.
Now, the OUS is demanding further concessions–drastic changes to the basic system of pay increases, limited cost of living increases, refusing to provide insurance equity for domestic partners, and rejecting proposals for controlling administrative waste.
In a secret ballot election earlier this month, classified workers at all seven OUS campuses voted overwhelmingly to strike. As they are covered by the same agreement, the strike would affect all of these campuses. (UO workers are thus included in this bargaining with OUS—they are not bargaining directly with the UO).
A strike represents a tremendous sacrifice for these workers–they will receive no pay while they are out and risk bullying and intimidation from supervisors–and was only considered as a last resort following eight months of negotiations and mediation.
CAN FACULTY REFUSE TO WORK DURING A STRIKE?
NO. “Sympathy strikes” are forbidden by state law.  According to Oregon state law, public employees who are not in the bargaining unit on strike and who refuse to cross the picket line are engaging in a “prohibited strike.” (ORS 243.732 & ORS 243.726). That is, it is against the law to refuse to work if your bargaining unit is not on strike. If faculty or GTFs went on strike, this same prohibition would apply to classified workers. This prohibition would apply regardless of whether faculty had elected to form a union or were covered by a contract.
WHAT CAN FACULTY MEMBERS DO TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR SUPPORT FOR STRIKING WORKERS?
**Faculty members are lawfully permitted to engage in a wide range of actions to demonstrate support of striking workers on campus.

For example, faculty can:

  • Join campus actions to publicize the concerns and issues of classified workers. A group of students, faculty and staff, for example, will be leafleting all day on Thursday September 26 when thousands of students (with their parents) move into residence halls. Please sign up here for an hour-long shift on that day.
  • Join the picket lines established by SEIU, within the parameters of applicable state law. SEIU will be organizing picket lines at locations across campus for as long as the strike lasts. Joining the picket line is not prohibited, only refusing to work during the strike. This is an important distinction. Faculty have every right to walk the line in support of their colleagues.
  • Wear buttons and shirts and display posters on office doors and windows in support of classified employees. Office signs and buttons are also available by emailing info@uauoregon.org
  • Contribute to the classified workers strike hardship fund to help striking workers who face immediate financial needs, or donate directly to workers on the picket line (e.g. ordering pizza or bringing water to the picket line).
  • For those holding class during the strike, use class time to discuss issues raised by the strike. As long as there is a connection between these issues and the subject matter of the course, such a discussion falls within the protections of the UO’s policy on academic freedom. With a little imagination, many classes can address the strike issues in a way that is consistent with an instructor’s discretion in choosing how to teach the course material.
CAN THE ADMINISTRATION FORCE FACULTY TO DO THE WORK OF STRIKING WORKERS?
YES. However, United Academics has informed the University Administration that the union reserves the right to grieve and take legal action if faculty are asked to perform work normally done by SEIU members. If you are asked to make photocopies, answer phones, email undergraduates about their program, or do other tasks AND that work is normally done by an SEIU worker in your department, please notify the United Academics office immediately: info@uauoregon.org or call 541-636-4714
ARE FACULTY WHO SUPERVISE GTFs REQUIRED TO FORCE THEM TO CROSS THE PICKET LINE?
NO. Instructors of record who supervise GTFs retain the authority to allocate the contracted hours for the GTF across the term. (For example, most instructors require GTFs to work more hours during weeks when mid-term or final exams are graded, and less during other weeks). Faculty authority to make such decisions about GTF assignments does not change.
ARE FACULTY MEMBERS REQUIRED TO SANCTION STUDENTS WHO REFUSE TO CROSS THE PICKET LINE?
NO. The president of the ASUO, Sam Dotters-Katz, has called for a student walkout on September 30 and has urged fellow students to avoid crossing the picket line as possible. Many students may not show up to class, or will request alternative assignments from faculty so that they do not have to cross the picket line. Faculty retain the same discretion as always to respond to students requesting accommodations for missing class. For example, when the UO football team participated in the national championship game during the first week of classes in the winter term in 2011, the Provost emailed all faculty requesting that they make accommodations for students who would miss class because they were attending the game. Faculty have the same discretion during this time.
DO FACULTY FORFEIT ANY OTHER RIGHTS DURING A STRIKE?
NO. Faculty maintain all existing rights and responsibilities. This includes the free speech and freedom of inquiry protections currently in effect, discretion to use and report sick leave, and the discretion to meet student contact hour requirements as deemed appropriate, including the use of online assignments and field-based assignments. Similarly, if noise associated with the strike proves too disruptive to teaching, faculty may exercise the same discretion they normally have to cancel or relocate class as they deem appropriate.
CHILDCARE CENTER CLOSURES: It is expected that both Vivian Olum and Moss Street child care centers will close or be severely understaffed during the strike, as staff at both centers are represented by SEIU. Faculty have the right to use leave time to care for their children if alternative arrangements cannot be made.
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11 Responses to Udate: No strike.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Can we sacrifice a goat at high noon on the steps of Johnson Hall with each day OUS does not capitulate?

  2. LOL Prof says:

    The SEIU is a joke of a union. If they actually strike they will lose more in one day than they will gain from a two year contract. What a bunch of bums. I for one will be doing whatever I can to assist students and make up for the lazy strikers not working.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As a former OSU classified worker, the SEIU is a joke. They exist to retain the jobs of buffoons who would get fired without protection. The union never did anything good for me in the 10 years I was there.
    As a parent of an incoming Freshman at the Clark Honors College, I would be very disappointed if this foolish strike hindered her education in any way.
    SEIU workers, do your jobs. OUS, cut the fat and pay the workers an equitable wage.

  4. Anonymous says:

    As a former OSU classified worker, the SEIU is a joke. They exist to retain the jobs of buffoons who would get fired without protection. The union never did anything good for me in the 10 years I was there.
    As a parent of an incoming Freshman at the Clark Honors College, I would be very disappointed if this foolish strike hindered her education in any way.
    SEIU workers, do your jobs. OUS, cut the fat and pay the workers an equitable wage.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a former OSU classified worker, the SEIU is a joke. They exist to retain the jobs of buffoons who would get fired without protection. The union never did anything good for me in the 10 years I was there.
    As a parent of an incoming Freshman at the Clark Honors College, I would be very disappointed if this foolish strike hindered her education in any way.
    SEIU workers, do your jobs. OUS, cut the fat and pay the workers an equitable wage.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sigh. The right wing has found UOM. UOM — please don’t post anything about health care or Ted Cruz.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is one also a buffoon who can’t figure out how to post a comment on a webpage and ends up posting it 3 times?

    To the poster above, do you have any credible arguments to make as to why this is a “foolish” strike? Or is name calling all you have to offer? I hope your Honors student child is able to engage in more critical thinking than this.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting that both “LOL Prof” and “Anonymous” who doesn’t know how to post refer to SEIU as “The SEIU,” which is not typical formulation, and both refer to the union as a joke. A prof and a former classified staff member. Sweet.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ve done the math. Yes, some of us are smart enough to do that.

    It will take 13 strike days without pay to lose what I would lose in this two year contract as presented by OUS. So, I have some time to kill. However, since the OUS proposal permanently changes the step structure, the loss is compounded over my entire career and amounts to tens of thousands of dollars. I’m just trying to pay my mortgage and feed my kids.

    A strike is bad for everyone, and it’s the last thing we want to do. I suspect that when your student joins the workforce, they will expect a living wage. We are fighting for our future and theirs.

    Cheers.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps a strike is the perfect antidote for all whose unemployment is running out and don’t have benefits. Many jobs will be available. Strikers can then apply for unemployment benefits and start the cycle over again. This cycle can be repeated ad nauseum. But is there a fly in the ointment? Would our practically free medical insurance be lost? Don’t fret…the governor’s got you covered; just watch those friendly ads on TV. Since retirement benefits don’t even warrant being included in our compensation figures why should we care if that is lost as well? Good luck to those that believe the hype but don’t take the time to compare the size of their pay after taxes (look at your tax return NOT your pay stub). I’m going to work because I’m glad I have a job.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks everyone for your support!!

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