After more than six months of bargaining, including two sessions with the state mediator, we have reached a critical point in our negotiations with OUS. Here’s why:
- There are very few issues left to bargain. We’re mostly dealing with OUS’s major takeaway proposals and all the economic issues.
- State workers in DAS have reached and ratified a solid contract settlement that I believe a majority of OUS workers would find acceptable, if OUS offered it to us.
- The law says that either the union or management can now declare an impasse in negotiations and begin a 30-day process that could lead to a strike.
We have two bargaining sessions scheduled in the next two weeks – August 14 & 15 at PSU and August 22 & 23 at Oregon Tech. We will know soon if OUS is willing to reach a fair contract settlement with us.
The good news is that our efforts to push OUS in the right direction are working. Member phone calls and emails, unity breaks, meetings with managers, and local rallies have led to positive changes in OUS’s bargaining proposals. They’ve backed off on their effort to double our health insurance premium share and they’re also willing to essentially drop their efforts to eliminate our layoff bumping rights and daily overtime.
The bad news is that OUS is still pushing some nasty takeaways and they haven’t made a fair economic offer yet. OUS continues to insist that employees pick up any increase in the overall health insurance premium beyond 5%. They’re still saying there will be no step increases for two years, other than their funky bonus proposal. And they are still demanding a serious weakening of our contracting out protections.
The solution is for us to continue doing the things that caused OUS to improve their proposals – and to begin seriously preparing for a strike, if negotiations reach an impasse.
- Sign a strike pledge petition and urge your co-workers to do the same. We’re off to a good start, but we need to keep the momentum going. Your bargaining team is prepared to fight for a good contract, but we need to know you’re standing there with us. If you need a petition, contact the Eugene SEIU Office (541.342.1055) or download one at our UO Local website at: http://local085.seiu503.org/2013/07/30/strike-pledge-forms-launching-today
- Come to the UO Local BBQ on Wednesday (8/14) by the Millrace. Enjoy the food and companionship, practice picketing, buy a quilt raffle ticket to support our strike hardship fund, and show the UO and community that you expect a fair contract.