DAS Bargaining Reaches Tentative Agreement

Scott's picture

The big news today is the announcement that the DAS bargaining teams have reached a tentative agreement. The following arrived by e-mail just before 3:00 AM this morning.

Dear SEIU member:

After eight months of negotiations, we have reached a tentative agreement with the State on a new two-year contract.


From the start of bargaining, we have sought to keep state workers on the job serving Oregonians and to ensure that we do not shoulder more than our fair share of the burden necessary to see the State through the worst economic crisis of our lifetime. We feel that this agreement meets those goals.

Here are the highlights:

1. We protected fully paid family medical coverage. The State will pay for premium cost increases of up to 5% in each year. Increases between 5% and 10% will be paid partly by the State and partly from PEBB reserve funds. The state subsidy for part-time employees' health insurance will increase so that part-timers' premium costs do not rise.

2. There will be a one-year step freeze from 9/1/09 through 8/31/10. While this is a significant sacrifice, it is a huge improvement on the two-year step freeze the State had proposed. Employees who receive a step in July or August 2009 will have that step "rolled back" on 9/1/09 and then restored on 9/1/10. They will keep the money they got from the step in their July and August paychecks.

3. We protected the new 10th step. This means that all bargaining unit members will get one step at some point during the life of the contract.

4. There will be no cost of living adjustments during the contract.

5. We will take 10, 12, or 14 furlough days over the next two years. These days will mean real sacrifice, both for workers and for the Oregonians who rely on our services, but the impact will be much less than the 24 days the State had proposed, and less than employees of many other states have taken. Employees earning less than $2,450 a month will take 10 days. Employees earning $2,450 to $3,100 will take 12 days. Employees earning more than $3,100 will take 14 days. While some agencies will implement furlough days on a "floating" basis, in most agencies offices will be closed on the designated furlough dates. Furlough days will be pro-rated for part-time and seasonal employees and will count as time worked for accruals and insurance. A fact sheet with more details on furlough implementation will be available soon.

6. In addition, there are other changes that will benefit members, including a classification study covering support staff and health care positions that must be finished in time to bargain salary rates in 2011 and an extra year of recall rights for laid-off workers.

7. More details about these highlights and other aspects of the tentative agreement will be posted soon on our website, .

We will be holding a bargaining conference on Saturday, August 15 for elected bargaining delegates to review the tentative agreement and vote on whether to recommend ratification. Following the bargaining conference, all members will receive ratification ballots by mail. You must be a member to vote. If you need a membership application, please check with your union steward or call your local SEIU office: http://www.seiu503.org/contact/Field_Offices_and_Staff_Directory.aspx.

As central bargaining team members, we knew from the outset that these would be the toughest negotiations we had ever faced. And they were. But under the circumstances, we believe this settlement, combined with a legislatively approved budget that minimizes layoffs and cuts in services, is a victory for fairness.

We would not have achieved anything like this if we had not contributed our time and voluntary CAPE  contributions to elect legislators willing to stand with us to protect services, our jobs, and our rights. We would not be here, either, without support from community allies like AARP, Children First, Oregon PTA, and without the alliances we forged with Oregon's other public sector unions.  But there is little doubt about who played the most important role. You did. You organized worksite unity actions, confronted your agency managers, testified at hearings in Salem and across the state, lobbied legislators, marched through the streets of Portland and, finally, generated thousands of phone calls to the Governor. It is because of these actions and our unity that we have reached a tentative agreement that is far better than what we once faced: a full two-year step freeze, thousands of potential layoffs, and 24 furlough days. We are stronger together.

In unity,
Kermit Meling, ODOT
Bill Kinyoun, ODW
Karen Miller, DHS
Theresa Arndt, DOE
Dan Smith, OSH
Dan Ferguson, OYA
Rob Sisk, DAS
Trish Lutgen, ODE
Marc Nisenfeld, OUS
Nat Elder, OUS
Linda Burgin, SEIU
Donna Glathar, SEIU
Leslie Frane, SEIU


Scott's picture

Re: DAS Bargaining Reaches Tentative Agreement

 The announcement from SEIU 503 was followed up later in the day by a news release from the Governor's Office:

HALL Stacey R * Governor's Office [mailto:stacey.r.hall@state.or.us] On Behalf Of DILKES Angela * Governor's Office
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 12:23 PM
Subject: NEWS RELEASE: Governor Announces Contract Agreement with SEIU & AFSCME







Theodore R. Kulongoski











July 28, 2009 




Anna Richter Taylor, 503-378-6169 Jillian Schoene, 503-378-5040 Rem Nivens, 503-378-6496 Lonn Hoklin (DAS), 503-378-2627  
Governor Announces Contract Agreement with SEIU & AFSCME


Agreement includes 12- month pay freeze, up to 14 furlough days  


(Salem) - Governor Ted Kulongoski today announced a tentative contract settlement with the state's largest unions that meets the savings targets set during the legislative session for the 2009 - 11 biennium, trimming $32 million from current contract costs. The agreements also meets the Governor's long-held goal to save jobs and preserve services by asking every state employee to share the burden of challenging budget times. 


"This is a much needed and greatly appreciated contribution to the goal of sustaining services for Oregonians," Governor Kulongoski said. "It represents the spirit of shared sacrifice and mutual effort that will get us through these hard times. I am very proud of our unions and their members for doing their part in this difficult budget environment."


The settlements with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represent 21,500 state workers, will reduce costs through a combination of pay freezes and unpaid furlough days. If ratified in upcoming membership votes, the new contracts will take effect Sept. 1 and extend until the end of the state's two-year budget period on June 30, 2011. The settlements with SEIU and AFSCME are expected to serve as a model for settlements with other state unions and will extend to the state's 7,400 unrepresented and management employees as well. When applied to all of the state's executive branch agencies, the savings will total approximately $71.5 million for the 09-11 biennium. The savings do not include the Oregon University System, which negotiates separately with faculty and classified employees. In addition to the savings achieved through the negotiations and state employee compensation actions, the state will achieve $39 million in administrative and legal cost reductions identified in part in the legislative budget to reach to the $130 million savings target. The highlights and associated savings of the tentative settlement follow. Salary Freeze

  • No cost-of-living increases.


  • No salary increases for 12 months, from September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2010.


Þ    The 12-month freeze will save $30.7 million when applied to the entire workforce in all of the state's executive branch agencies.






  • An average of 12 unpaid furlough days, ranging from 10 days for the lowest-paid workers to 12 and 14 days for higher-paid workers. The furloughs include 10 statewide closure days for all state offices except 24-hour institutions. The first of these closure days will be Oct. 16, 2009.


Þ    These furlough days will save $40.8 million when applied to the entire workforce in all of the state's executive branch agencies.



Health Insurance



  • The state will pick up the first five percent of any premium increases for health insurance and will ask the Public Employees Benefit Board to pick up from its reserves any increases between five and ten percent.


Þ    The state's commitment reflects the $32 million budgeted for this purpose by the legislature for all state agencies and the Oregon University System.  



Duration of the Contract



  • A 22-month contract, from Sept. 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011. The 2007-09 contract has been extended through Aug. 31, 2009 while awaiting ratification by the unions' memberships.


Scott's picture

Re: DAS Bargaining Reaches Tentative Agreement

Two things to note in the release:

  1. AFSCME settled at the same time as SEIU. This apparently breaks with their tradition of settling early, undercutting what SEIU is negotiating for. This, of course, undermines the efforts to bargain by SEIU.
  2. As good as this deal sounds, the Public Employees are still shouldering more than their-fair-share of the budget cuts. Remember that the Legislature said only $65 Million was to come out of compensation. Doing the math, we're taking cuts of $30.7 Million + $40.8 Million = $71.5 Million! That's a whopping $6.5 Million more than legislated. That's a full 10% more for those of you who like percentages.
Scott's picture

Re: DAS Bargaining Reaches Tentative Agreement

At least one agency HR department made sure to forward the Governor's announcement to all of their staff. Did your agency? If so, which agency do you work for?

Scott's picture

Re: DAS Bargaining Reaches Tentative Agreement

There is an FAQ at the SEIU 503 web site covering information related to furlough days and step increases. If you've been following along here at Eye On The 503, the primary point of interest is the list of mandatory furlough days for the coming biennium.