Union Rights, Benefits Didn’t Come Easy

Dear union sisters and brothers and colleagues, we face challenges this year. Reorganization in units and departments means uncertainty about budget priorities. The truth is that any changes will impact people who work with the university and their families.

Vice-President Johnny Earl, our chief bargaining delegate, is currently negotiating with the universities over the economic terms of our contract with the help of delegates from the other six institutions. The defeat of Ballot Measure 97 during November increased the challenge. Johnny needs all of our support.

We are the Union

Union rights are our rights as workers. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is yours; it represents our rights to take ownership in this university. The union is not about me or anyone who stepped forward into leadership roles. Each and everyone of us who are represented by SEIU here at the University of Oregon have ownership rights, and we need to protect and preserve what we value.

If you value the medical benefits you and your loved ones receive through your job, you need to be engaged and involved. If your workload increased, and you value the overtime pay for work beyond eight hours during a day or paid vacation leave, you need to be engaged and involved. These are the rights we must protect and preserve and refuse to let the university take them away.
The phrase “Thank a union” exists, because people recognize the valuable accomplishments of labor unions for people. We owe the people who fought for our rights for the following.

Weekends Off

Massive union strikes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries won shorter work weeks and weekends off. Americans could be home with loved ones instead of constantly working.

Paid Vacations

With summer coming to a close, take time to thank your union for the paid vacation time that enabled you to rest and relax with your family.

Family and Medical Leave Act

Unions lead the fight for a law that grants eligible employees the right to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave annually.

Breaks at Work—Including Lunch

Now federally mandated, breaks weren’t always an employee right. People who studied breaks argue they provide important rest that improves a person’s safety and productivity.

Sick Leave

Without paid sick leave, many workers couldn’t afford to take the time necessary to recover from illnesses and accidents.

Paid Holidays

Labor Day is one of nine paid holidays most employers in the U.S. offer. Thank unions when you’re with family and friends next holiday.

40-hour Work Week

Americans once worked 60 hours and more during a week. Thanks to union negotiations, 40-hour work weeks and 8-hour work days became standard during the 1950s.

More Reasons to be Thankful


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SEIU Local 085