Universities and union reach agreement, strike averted

Oregon

A strike was threatened to happen Monday if an agreement wasn't reached by midnight on Sunday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s 7 public universities were able to avoid an impending strike by reaching an agreement with SEIU 503 on Saturday, days ahead of the beginning of the fall semester.

The agreement includes a total of 5.1% cost of living adjustment over the next 2 years as well as a full step wage increase of 4.75% in each year of the next contract. The contract moves 15 job classifications to higher salary ranges and provides employees with 48 hours of paid time in the event of campus closures or delays.

Portland State University Interim President Stephen Percy said he commends “The efforts of both sides for working diligently to reach a settlement.”

A strike was threatened to happen Monday if an agreement wasn’t reached by midnight on Sunday. Employees haven’t gone on strike since 1995.

SEIU 503 represents workers in various departments, including food service, technology, financial aid and office assistants. The union wanted a cost-of-living increase of just over 6% over 2 years.

The public university system was offering a 4% increase before the agreement was reached.

“We want cost of living increases that will allow those who are stepped out to keep up with inflation or for them to get a higher salary range,” said Rob Fullmer, a union employee at Portland State University.

Fullmer said the universities should invest more in quality employees.

“I am also grateful for the commitment of their more than 600 union members who are critical to our academic and administrative departments,” said Percy.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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