Rolling towards a Strike? Prep, Bargaining Continue

If we don’t reach a fair agreement that respects workers, we will Strike on Monday, September 30th at 7 a.m. //

purple bowling pin strikes pins

Member Q&A

Q: Any progress in contract talks?

We are hearing that a bargaining proposal from management that was deeply unfair to our food services employees is now off the table. Classified employees need to keep up the pressure so SEIU can keep up the pressure and keep winning at the bargaining table!

Q: Have we heard anything from Salem?

“Yesterday Governor  Brown called and said a few words of encouragement to the Team. We informed the Governor about the problems we are having with the universities and she’s going to speak to them next. I let her know about the GTFF filing for Impasse at the UO.” –085 Chief Bargaining Delegate Johnny Earl

Q: Any updates on our outreach to construction labor?

“We are in communication with the trade unions, and they plan to support us in any way they can. PLAs (Project Labor Agreements) restrict what they can do, but we expect a strike to have a significant impact.”
–085 President Louie Vidmar

Q: Are other elected officials and Labor organizations supporting us?

Yes! More than 40 highly influential allies are standing with the Classified staff at Oregon’s universities.

Q: What are COLAS and why are we fighting so hard for them?

Over the past decade, Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) for higher ed workers have not kept up with the actual cost of living in Oregon. Inflation has been eating away at your pay.

COLAS exist to prevent inflation (CPI) from eroding the dollar value of your step raises over time. Unfortunately, recent contracts offered by the universities have fallen short and left you poorer.

COLAs for classified staff at Oregon’s public universities have averaged 1.3% over the past decade. In the same period, average annual CPI was 2.19%. Since 2009, accumulated CPI has outpaced our accumulated COLA by 8.95%.


Higher Ed COLAs vs. CPI over the last decade

Year Effective Date COLA CPI Portland/Salem
2009-2010 0.00% 0.10%
2010-2011 0.00% 1.30%
2011-2012 12/1/2011 1.50% 2.90%
2012-2013 1/1/2013 1.45% 2.30%
2013-2014 12/1/2013 1.50% 2.50%
2014-2015 9/1/2014 2.00% 2.40%
2015-2016 12/1/2015 2.25% 1.20%
2016-2017 12/1/2016 2.25% 2.10%
2017-2018 10/1/2017 1.00% 4.20%
2018-2019 7/1/2018 1.00% 2.90%
Average 1.30% 2.19%
Accumulated 12.95% 21.90%


Q: Our department head at staff meetings announces work anniversaries each month. Mine was just 25th. As a member who is topped out on steps, adding an additional step increase is up there with COLA. Is the bargaining team still pushing for the step?

Yes, our Chief Bargaining Delegate and the Bargaining Team are still negotiating for all the terms we have proposed. Nothing is off the table!

Q: Is it true that Classified staff in higher education earn less on average than other state employees in Oregon, such as those with the Department of Administrative Services or DAS?

On average, we are now paid 10% less than other public employees with comparable benefits earn.

Q: Does UO management have strike plan in place?

Mark Schmelz, UO’s Chief Human Resources Officer sent out an all-staff email at 5:15 p.m. today. UO’s plan seems significantly short on details compared to the one distributed by Oregon State’s Edward Feser (Provost and Executive Vice President) and Michael J. Green (Vice President, Finance and Administration) to OSU employees earlier in the day at 1:56 p.m. Will UO Provosts and VPs share their insights soon?

Breaking: Management plans for providing FREE parking for temporary workers at the 13th Avenue Garage (formerly called Columbia Garage) underneath the Ford Alumni Center

A member reports, “I have become aware of possible plans for parking temporary workers. The 13th Avenue Garage (formerly called Columbia Garage) underneath the Alumni Center usually has a kiosk attendant. In the absence of that attendant (who is SEIU represented), the plan is to open the gate arms and let anyone park there for free. Normally, staff have to pay $40/mo to park in the garage, or else pay $2/hr. Temporary workers will be directed to park there. ”

Note: FREE Strike parking on Monday, Sept. 30 beginning 6 a.m. at The 13th Avenue Garage (formerly called Columbia Garage) underneath the Alumni Center.


Q: Besides this website, what other resources are there for Strike Prep info?

  • If you Facebook, join the SEIU 503 Higher Ed Workers Facebook group. It’s often the place with the fastest breaking news from union leaders. Lots of Members are posting here too.
  • Keep an eye out for updates via email (NOT your U of Owe work email) and text messages. (There are concerns that some members haven’t received all notifications; make sure you have provided the Union with a personal email address and/or signed up to receive texts.
  • Email our Field Organizer at
  • Statewide SEIU 503’s website. Eugene Field Office: 541-342-1055

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SEIU Local 085