State mediator called in for SEIU bargaining impasse

Update: Noah McGraw has more in the Emerald, here.

More on their bargaining situation is posted here. My understanding is that UO would be happy to make a deal, but the bargaining is done with all the state universities, and the others aren’t sitting on the excessive cash reserves that UO VPFA Jamie Moffitt has been accumulating.

[A commenter says I’ve got it wrong – actually UO is hoping to split its staff off from the university system-wide bargaining, and then crush them.]

From an email sent to UO’s SEIU staff union members:

WILL WE HAVE A SETTLEMENT OR PREPARE TO GO ON STRIKE?

Dear Sisters and Brothers, and Community Allies

Join SEIU 085 Classified Employees at the University of Oregon at our annual Solidarity BBQ and hear the bargaining update from Chief Bargaining Delegate Johnny Earl on THURSDAY AUGUST 13TH at 11:30 AM – 1 PM at the Millrace overlook lawn across Onyx northwest corner of Franklin. 

Paycuts and Takeways. Even with 18% more money in the budget for UofO,  Management’s proposal attacks overtime, increases  our healthcare premium share from 5% to 10% and takes away the healthcare subsidy for those who can least afford it.

Theodora Ko Thompson, UO BA ’04, MS ’07 , President, Local 085 University of Oregon

SEIU Service Employees International Union

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10 Responses to State mediator called in for SEIU bargaining impasse

  1. No, says:

    UO would not be happy to make a deal. They are using the other schools as an excuse to try to lure UO’s classified employees to break away and form a smaller union. They would then be free to treat them exactly as they treated the GTFs in the last bargaining cycle. OUS did the same thing in the past, encouraging classified employees to break away from DAS/State employees with the promises of higher pay. To date, University classified employees have salaries that significantly trail behind their State worker counterparts. It is classic divide and conquer.

    • uomatters says:

      Thanks for this correction.

    • Max Powers says:

      There is no system anymore. There is no OUS. They are all different employers. There are not the State of Oregon anymore either. They have vastly different resources, with some of them them having very little. SEIU fails to acknowledge that new reality, calling it “union busting.” One small university had its faculty and admins take furloughs last biennium while SEIU got raises. Another is in serious financial peril. When most of your budget is tied up in people that is where you go when you are in trouble. Increases in PERS costs eat that up too. Some of those schools can’t afford to keep giving their cash to SEIU at the expense of their faculty particularly.

      • dmca says:

        Max,
        Just because everything you say may be true does not refute the other point; I believe it is true that OUS SEIU did worse for itself than the State Employee unit. I also think that it is correct to say that the administration (AKA not the University) would say and do whatever to have more dollars for Administrative and Athletic Bloat and capital sucking “projects” that are not in the best interest of the University.

        Basically I hear in your arguments that perhaps a well run state system could serve the the Educational mission of the State better than this bloated overly complex redundant mess. Maybe it is time, as a state we should just close down, auction off or combine, all the Universities and Community Colleges except the best couple as indicated by each circumstance and build a single Oregon Post Secondary Public Education system again?

      • University Branding says:

        Your complimentary pair of Nikes is being shipped to you via campus mail.

      • New Year Cat says:

        However, they are not “giving their money to SEIU” any more than at UO faculty are bargaining so that UO can “give its money to United Academics”. They are bargaining over pay, benefits, and contract language that affect YOUR CO-WORKERS, Max (assuming you work on campus), the lowest-paid of your co-workers and those who do the grunt work so that faculty can teach, students can have clean housing and safe food, and so that the campus looks great and the buildings are maintained safely. SEIU staff are the lowest paid, earning far far less than VPs or coaches on any campus, and less than the faculty for whom they do support work.

        Also you are incorrect in that they are all different employers. Staff are bargaining with United Shared Services Enterprise representing the former OUS schools.

        The concept of “equal pay for equal work” also applies here, as job descriptions and titles are standardized across the schools.

        • Max Powers says:

          They are different employers. USSE only exists because the small institutions can’t afford to perform some services on their own like payroll, bargaining, etc. There aren’t enough staff at those schools. If the bigs had their way I am sure USSE would dissolve tomorrow.

          What I am saying is that while SEIU employee certainly deserve increases, they have to temper their fight with the reality of the financial condition of all of the players. I don’t disagree that SEIU employees are incredibly valuable, the reality is there are a good number of SEIU employees on a lot of those small campuses who make more than many other employees. IT employees who make more than their supervisors and average 7.25% raises every year. There are many SEIU employees who make more than the academic advisers and financial aid professionals. It is easy to look at the coaches and VPs who make big salaries but the middle folks get left out.

          We could debate all day long about what “administrative bloat” looks like but I would submit that there are campuses in the system where that does not exist. I realize that SEIU views the future state as a utopian society where the mom and pop operations pay as much as the corporate giants. The fact of the matter is you have some “mom and pop” universities and some corporate giants. Their resources are vastly different. SEIU employees probably were better off being part of the State, but that ship sailed. Why not have all of the legislators SEIU has bought and paid for put them back in the State system by statute?

          The problem you have is the people who are trapped in the middle, that are not getting anywhere at those small schools, “Officers of Administration” that are not SEIU and are not “Administrators” They are just unclassified. Are you lumping them into the bloat? There are a lot of them and they are essential to student success.

      • Payroll Guy says:

        So Classified Workers should bow down so we don’t take from the faculty. Sounds like your talking point is coming from Johnson Hall.

        Your message as I read it: Only some workers deserve a living wage.

        • dmca says:

          Payroll,
          I do not think that is what Max is saying… assuming your are replying to Max.

          I think he is stating the truth that at EOU and SOU definitely as well as PSU (shh!) the well really is dry. Start with stunning state disinvestment in education, OUS asleep at the wheel for a decade, add add in bad management or just bad location and fore some there are not enough students to skin at these schools to pay Multiple Gotts for AVP this or VP that, Advancement, Communications, Reacharounds, etc. not to mention condos… retail buildings… no wait… multi-use living learning centers or research parks (brown-field tax write-off and developer wet dream) that pump unrestricted other funds but fail to add any substantial education space, although even these may be better than PK Courtside, PK Park or PK Links (complete with an old school white old guys only private golf club?) So yea the Postsecondary Education (like ODE?) is now officially fucked (sorry UOM that will be the only one promise).

          That all said I think the writing is on the wall. Like the end of the limp OUS, bargaining will revert to each school thereby increasing the cost 4-6 fold, and everyone in the toilet. Some ‘universities’ will close, merge, or become a community college, some community colleges will begin to offer four year degrees, and even then we may find that the presumptive crown prince, will not be the one sitting atop the Oregon throne in the end.

          • Max Powers says:

            Exactly! There are schools where there really is not enough funding to continue the way things have gone lately. At some of those schools, at least at SOU, Classified staff have received raises while everyone else, including Faculty, took furloughs and received no increases over the last biennium. This includes people like academic advisers who make about 35k/year while Classified IT workers who make 65k/year got raises and Classified Nurse Practitioners who make 90k/year got raises. I know and fully understand there are classified employees who do not make enough, but there are also those who make plenty. Just as there are officers of administration who make very little and those who make plenty.

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