Classified university employees postpone strike date one week

2013-09-17T08:00:00Z Classified university employees postpone strike date one weekBy JAMES DAY, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
September 17, 2013 8:00 am  • 

The union representing classified workers at Oregon State University and the state’s other public universities has postponed its strike date one week, according to bargaining team chair Marc Nisenfeld.

Service Employees International Local 503, which represents dormitory and food service workers, maintenance, library and laboratory tech employees, originally set Sept. 23 as a strike date.

But Nisenfeld said Monday that the union saw some movement and creativity over the weekend by the Oregon University System and that “we need some time to work on it.

“It’s better to stumble into peace than rush into war.”

The new strike date is Sept. 30, the day classes are set to open.

The two sides will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday in mediated talks in Eugene, and Nisenfeld said he is “willing to do whatever it takes, even if the talks go into Thursday or Friday. We’re ready to do that.”

OUS director of communications Di Saunders confirmed the Wednesday bargaining session but said she had not yet received written notification of the change in the possible strike date.

“We are committed to a settlement that recognizes the need for fair compensation and benefits within the limited means of all of our campuses,” interim OUS Chancellor Melody Rose said in a statement released by her office.

“Regardless of the outcome (of negotiations), OUS campuses are prepared,” the statement said. “Classes will begin on time, and campus services will proceed uninterrupted.”

The SEIU local covers about 4,300 employees, including 1,400 at Oregon State and 1,500 at the University of Oregon.

Key sticking points in the negotiations include wages and a request by OUS to change from nine years to 18 years the time that it takes for an employee to get to the top of the salary scale.

The SEIU is asking for cost-of-living increases in the next two years that total 5 percent. The OUS is offering 3.5 percent.

Contact reporter James Day at or 541-758-9542. Follow at or

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. JimDay Staff
    Report Abuse
    JimDay - September 17, 2013 9:18 pm
    Greetings. Jim Day here. Thanks for the comments. Here is the paragraph from the story that notes the step increase issue:

    Key sticking points in the negotiations include wages and a request by OUS to change from nine years to 18 years the time that it takes for an employee to get to the top of the salary scale.

    Keep reading!

  2. JMS
    Report Abuse
    JMS - September 17, 2013 12:21 pm
    Giving someone (for example) a 2% pay raise instead of a 4% pay raise is not a pay cut. Quit misrepresenting the facts; it just invalidates you.
    Report Abuse
    TORRENT - September 17, 2013 11:32 am
    This article has baffled me!

    The Ultimate Torrent Search Engine! a>
  4. DAL
    Report Abuse
    DAL - September 17, 2013 11:15 am
    This article does not mention the fact that OUS management expects their classified workers to accept a step increases cut in half — yet another draconian pay cut to punish the folks who keep OUR Universities working for OUR students.

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