Oregon University System classified staff union will vote on strike authorization in early September

Political science professor Joe Lowndes, center-right in the background, looks on as Kurt Willcox address the crowd in early May. Willcox is the chief bargaining delegate for SEIU 503 (Service Employees International Union). (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Political science professor Joe Lowndes, center-right in the background, looks on as Kurt Willcox address the crowd in early May. Willcox is the chief bargaining delegate for SEIU 503 (Service Employees International Union). (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Posted by Eder Campuzano on Thursday, Aug. 22 at 12:57 pm.

The union that represents the University of Oregon’s classified staff will decide on Sept. 9, 10 and 11 whether or not to go on strike.

SEIU Local 503 on Monday announced that contract negotiations with the Oregon University System, a body governed by the State Board of Higher Education of which the UO is a member, have reached an impasse. Contract negotiations will continue.

The bargaining group laid out a list of reasons for the strike authorization vote. Among the concerns the group has voiced:

• OUS proposals leave 1,200 classified employees eligible for food stamps — SEIU says the university system shouldn’t be a “poverty-wage” employer.
• Raises and step increases have been lackluster over the last four years.
• The OUS should recover lost income from banks that practice “misleading and fraudulent financial practices” rather than from students and faculty.
• The OUS should allocate more resources to faculty and students rather than “high-salaried” administrators.

Earlier this month, Oregon State’s Daily Barometer reported that classified staff at the school had left chalk messages in front of the OSU student union that read, “Sorry students, fall term might be delayed,” and “The university may force staff to walk out on strike to get a fair contract.” Administrators there assured students that school would start on time.

SEIU members also protested at the UO back in June in the midst of contract negotiations.

Bargaining continues Thursday and Friday at Oregon Tech and the UO’s SEIU members will vote on the strike authorization Sept. 10 and 11 in Columbia 150.



  • Michael

    Hope the strike goes well, the University is bloated with an ever-increasing number to highly paid administrators who provide no educational value to the students and only serve to increase tuition. Money should go to the University employees who do actual, useful work.

  • Diana

    Thank you for everyone supporting the strike! Something needs to change.