Carla McNelly opened the meeting with the startling statistic that 17 classified staff had been laid off in April. In a somewhat related vein, Kurt Wilcox spoke next in the capacity of his new position, with information about how to attend senate meetings. All classified staff should also have received an email with the details; if you did not, please contact Kurt at email@example.com or (541) 346-5868, for additional information.
Following up, John Allen reminded us to reach out to the union stewards if in need of help with reclassification, layoffs, inequitable treatment, disciplinary actions being taken against you, and so forth. As Kurt was recently laid off and then reassigned, he added his support for the stewards.
Johnny Earl opened the next part of the meeting with bargaining updates. The gist of it: Not a lot is happening in terms of bargaining right now! Except the recent push to have workers call in 4 hours before their shift is due to start if they are sick. It doesn’t take much thought to realize that this is pretty absurd, considering that some shifts start at 6 a.m.! Luckily, this particular point was removed from the table. He went on to remind us that as we move forward, we still need to stand together with our colleagues here and at other universities. The bargaining process — as usual — is bringing forth proposals from USSE that would hurt the lowest-income workers and workers at smaller schools the most. In particular, one proposal from USSE would pay workers at SOU less than at other universities. At the recent rally at SOU, over 100 classified employees turned out–and SOU only has around 250!
Some classified groups have not had raises in over a decade, such as elevator technicians. In addition, IT workers in particular are underpaid severely in comparison to the rest of the market for their skill set. One of the proposals on the table currently seeks to lower the maximum salaries for IT workers, which would also likely lower the base as well. Many IT workers leave the university or the position, and many are made OAs when their work does not warrant it.
The next big news: USSE also wants to cut daily overtime. Clearly, this is dangerous and unacceptable. We all know it’s hard enough to work 8 hours in a day and still achieve a good work-to-life balance; more time over those 8 hours severely cuts into time that would otherwise be spent on personal hobbies, errands, with families, or just living life. That work should be compensated to make up for the extra load. The proposal would change the contract so that overtime could only be paid for hours worked over 40 per week — but suppose that you work several long shifts in a row, reach 40 hours, and are told to take the rest of the week off?
The labor choir closed the meeting with some familiar tunes and some new ones too.
Stay tuned to emails and this page for more bargaining updates.