EUGENE, Ore. — A group of employees are threatening to strike on the university of Oregon campus.
The Oregon University System Board held a bargaining session Wednesday on the UO campus to help further a contract settlement with the service employees union, but the union isn’t happy with the offer on the table.
A number of UO employees say they’re frustrated because they say their voices aren’t being heard. They say they deserve better and if an agreement isn’t reached soon, they’ll strike by the start of school.
Members of the Service Employee’s International Union were loud and clear with their message Wednesday.
SEIO and the OUS Board have been in talks about a contract settlement since last February. Now it’s all coming to a head as classified workers say they’ve had enough and are not happy with the offer that’s on the table. Classified workers aren’t teachers, but the receptionists, custodians and librarians at the universities.
“They wanted to take away all the protections we had against contracting out the work that we do. They wanted to take away the entire layoff system that we had that helped people who had been here a longer time stay and retain their jobs,” said Kurt Wilcox, Chief Bargaining Delegate.
UO employee and the union’s chief bargaining delegate Kurt Willcox says the money wasn’t good either.
“Fully a third of the classified workers here at the university and system wide make less than $2,500 a month. That’s an important number to us because $2,500 is the federal food stamp eligibility level for a family of four,” Willcox said.
Some students also stand with those who rallied Wednesday.
“I’m constantly surprised and in some ways disturbed that the Oregon University Systems and the negotiators on the other side of the table don’t seem to recognize that these workers should be treated fairly,” said graduate student David Alexander Craig.
The rally went as far as the president’s office. A university spokeswoman says they can’t talk specifics about the bargaining process, but the university says its committed to finding the best solution for everyone.
“The university values all of its employees and we recognize and also value their right to express their views,” said Julie Brown, UO Communications Director.