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Oregon Universities Reach Deal With Service Employees Union

OUS Summary of Contract

  • Full salary steps given to all employees on their eligibility date in each year of the contract
  • 2.25 percent cost of living increases given Dec. 1, 2015 and Dec. 1, 2016
  • 95 percent employer paid healthcare contributions and an opportunity for employees to have 97 percent of their contributions paid provided they choose a least costly plan in their area
  • A $40 subsidy given to employees earning below a set monthly amount to assist with their portion of the healthcare contribution
  • Specific salary increases, in addition to the above, given to certain classifications to bring those classifications in-line with the market
  • A four-year contract that includes a reopener in 2017 to address economic areas only
  • Changes throughout the contract, which recognize the independence of the universities

The Oregon University System settled a contract Thursday with its largest union, after reaching an impasse last month.  

A statement from university administrators calls it a “fair and reasonable deal” for both sides.  

“The Universities and SEIU worked diligently for the past nine months to address each other’s interests, while keeping in mind the needs of the students that we all serve,” said Brian Caufield, director of labor relations with the University Shared Services Enterprise. 

Mark Nisenfeld has been on bargaining teams for the Service Employees International Union going back to the 1990s.  

He points to a few significant victories for his 4,400 members: a cost-of-living increase, a price break on health insurance for some employees and a salary boost for staff at university-based early learning centers.

A summary from SEIU noted that nine employee groups were elevated into new salary ranges, including the early childhood teachers (raised two levels) Nisenfeld mentioned, as well as para-legals (raised three salary levels), and elevator mechanics (raised five levels).

Nisenfeld calls it a decent contract.  

“It’s one that I’m really proud of,” Nisenfeld said. “I haven’t been more proud of a contract in all my years of doing it.”    

SEIU members are expected to vote on it over the next few weeks.

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