2019 Together We Rise: Higher Ed Bargaining Survey

Together, We Are Stronger
2018-19 Higher Ed bargaining will begin soon! Delegates from campuses throughout the state have been elected and will begin preparing to negotiate our next collective bargaining agreement with Oregon’s Universities. In order for the Bargaining Team to best represent our priorities at the table, it is essential that we hear from every member working in Higher Ed about ways to improve your compensation, working conditions, and overall quality of your work experience.

We are coming out of years of deficit budgets and contracts that — while avoiding layoffs and seeing modest pay increases — have failed to keep wages up with the ever rising cost of living expenses in our state. Please take some time to complete this survey. 

Worksite Communications
We need a strong communications structure to ensure that all represented workers have the opportunity to provide feedback on bargaining and stay up to speed on important developments. We must be ready to fight hard for what we deserve. 

Wages and Benefits
Despite years of recession-era bargaining where we saw raises below the amount we need to keep up with real cost of living increases, we did see some some successes in our past bargaining cycles. In 2017 we were able to once again fend off attacks on PERS in the legislature — over 40 altogether — and we continued to push hard on funding revenue which has been an ongoing effort for over a decade. We didn’t win the revenue reform that Oregon needs, so making sure corporations are paying their share to fund the services we provide is a fight we have to take on again this bargaining cycle. Despite not having adequate revenue, we still achieved the following at the bargaining table: 
  • Secured regular step increases for the duration of contract
  • Won cost-of-living increases in all 4 years of contract
  • Maintained status quo on health insurance premium share 
  • Negotiated increases to differentials
We have an opportunity to make real economic gains this bargaining cycle. Complete the section below in order to guide our bargaining team toward your priorities. 
Rank the following wage and benefit issues in order of their importance to you (1 = most important, 6 = least important):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Healthcare & Retirement
Our ability to make even more gains and secure meaningful wage increases while protecting our benefits will depend largely on who we are bargaining with and who is setting the budget. Voting for pro-worker candidates and beating back anti-government ballot measures in the election this November will be one of the first steps you can take to support our bargaining efforts. We need a pro-worker Governor and legislators to be able to pass revenue reform and set a budget that prioritizes the services we provide.

Our PERS pickup is vulnerable because it is open to legislative attacks. If you were guaranteed that your take-home pay would not be reduced in any way, would you be interested in the following: Rather than having the state continue to pick up the 6 percent by paying it directly into our PERS accounts, have the state increase member wages by 6 percent (plus payroll tax costs) and then each member would pay that 6 percent through a pre-tax payroll deduction into their PERS account.

In their recent contract negotiations, SEIU 503 members at the City of Beaverton were able to secure two weeks of paid family leave for new parents that will not count against sick or vacation time. One of our priorities in the 2019 legislative session is working to create a statewide program for paid family leave in the Legislature that would provide partial wage replacement for all workers. 

PEBB (Public Employees' Benefit Board)
We know that the universities have expressed interest in finding cost savings by switching to a less generous health insurance plan in the past and with the expiration of a law keeping them in the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB). We expect this to come up in 2019 bargaining.  Leaving PEBB would likely mean shifting costs to workers through higher out-of-pocket costs and more limited coverage.  Even though we don't bargain plan design, it's clear in our contract that we are in PEBB and we have a voice on the PEBB board when it comes to plan design. 
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1-extremely important, 5-not important), how important is it to you that we stay in the PEBB system and protect status quo on healthcare?
1 2 3 4 5

Workplace Issues and Having a Voice at Work
Wages and benefits are important, but they aren’t the only factors that make our work manageable and satisfying. Having the resources we need to do a good job, a voice in policies and procedures, and a respectful workplace are also important.
Below are some workplace issues that have been suggested to our bargaining team. Pick 5 of the following items and rank them in the order of their importance to you   (1 = most important, 5 = least):
1 2 3 4 5

Recommendations for Contract Proposals
Do you have other ideas to recommend for 2019 contract negotiations? Make them here!
The bargaining team may contact you for follow-up information about your proposal.
Proposal 1

Proposal 2

Proposal 3

Proposal 4

If you have more proposals, please email the Bargaining Team at HigherEdBargainingTeam@seiu503.org
Building Public Support
Public support will be essential to win a good contract. We need to build and maintain coalitions with individuals and groups, while also connecting our bargaining proposals to issues that impact not only us, but also our friends, neighbors and communities. We are all in this together.

Together, we can win a stronger contract
Our ability to win a good contract is directly related to our unity, strength in numbers, actions we take on the job and in our communities, and whether the public sees us as fighting for issues that they also care about. Over the next year, we will need to make our voices heard at the ballot box, in the Capitol, and in our worksites. This means we ALL have an important part to play. Below are some ways that you can join with your coworkers to win a strong contract.

Which of the following can we count on you to do (check all that apply)?
Build worksite power to support our bargaining proposals:
Build political power to set the best possible budget, pass supportive legislation, and defeat attacks on our jobs and services:
Speak to friends and neighbors about our contract negotiations:
Will we need to strike in 2019?
Our strength comes from our united member voices and collective strength in numbers. We saw our employer try to divide us in 2015. Our members and bargaining team fought back to win fairness and equality for all. If our employer continues to try to divide us and refuses to agree to a contract that treats all members fairly, we would consider going on strike. Your SEIU 503 bargaining team is committed to making sure preparations for such an action are in place well before any strike vote occurs. Our vote to authorize a strike in 2013 helped bring home a fair contract. A strike would only occur if a majority of members vote to authorize a strike and the bargaining team determines a strike would help us win a fair contract.

Additional Suggestions

Optional Demographic Information
SEIU Local 503 is committed to honoring the diversity of all members. This optional demographic information helps us understand the social identities of our membership. If you prefer to skip this page, scroll to the bottom and click on the "Next Page" button.

Stay Connected
To ensure that you have access to critical updates and the opportunity to offer feedback and input during contract negotiations, please make sure your contact information is up to date.

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