There will be some extremely important decisions made this week on campuses throughout Oregon. OUS and the university presidents will decide whether or not to finally offer us a fair contract. Our bargaining team will decide if we have sufficient member support to conduct a successful strike. And every classified employee will decide whether to commit themselves to strike in order to secure that long overdue fair contract.
It’s very disturbing that OUS and our universities have put us in the position where we have to choose between providing services to our students and walking off the job just to maintain our current step system and win a modest wage increase. But then their whole approach to these negotiations has been disturbing.
They’ve sought to intimidate us and undermine our job security from the very beginning with their insulting communications and their proposals to eliminate our contracting out protections, our layoff bumping rights, and even our daily overtime. Worst of all, these attacks have come after four years during which classified employees have had to sacrifice more than any other campus group.
Still, the power is in our hands to beat back these attacks by sticking together and standing up to our Bully Boss! We have fought back with rallies, marches, phone calls, emails, strike pledges – even valentines – and we defeated all their previous takeaway proposals. Now that we’re bargaining over money, OUS says they need to cut our steps in half and make people wait 18 years to get to the top of their salary ranges. This, too, is unacceptable. And we can win this battle just as we beat back all their other takeaways.
Make no mistake about it, though, striking is serious business. If we go out next week, this will not be a symbolic protest where some of us stay away from work for a couple of days. This will have to be a determined, sustained, and united effort. The most important thing each of us can do this week, after making our own decision to strike, is to volunteer in some capacity to help make the strike successful. That definitely means signing up to walk a picket line, but you can also help with food, child care, communications, leafleting, etc. Please use the link below to see your options and to sign up.
Our bargaining team will be back in negotiations on Wednesday at WOU. Like you, I sincerely hope that OUS and our universities will make it possible to reach a fair contract settlement. But if they don’t, we must – each of us – decide whether we’ll strike together with our co-workers or accept further erosion to our jobs and standard of living.
Click here to sign up! Or copy the URL to your browser.
In It Together,