August Bargaining Update

Scott's picture

Bargaining continues of course. While the DAS coalition moves forward with a tentative agreement, the rest of the bargaining units continue to fight hard battles.

The first update from the Union came out on August 4th:

Although we have reached a tentative agreement with DAS, our fellow SEIU state workers in the Oregon University System are still at the table and they are facing a long hard fight for fairness.

Not only do OUS negotiators still want up to 24 unpaid furlough days for classified employees, a level way above our settlement with DAS, but they also continue to insist on a contract modification that would allow management to impose UNLIMITED unpaid furloughs at will (in 15-day increments). In addition, and different from DAS, OUS appears not to be asking this sacrifice of all employees, and is in effect putting an unfair and disproportionate share of the burden of balancing the budget on classified workers' shoulders.

These proposals are outrageOUS and our brothers and sisters in OUS need our help. We must take a stand. Please make a call and/or send an email to the Chancellor.

The points are simple - you may use these in your email or phone messages, or create your own:

Be fair to classified workers:  Withdraw the proposal in Article 51 that would allow you to impose unlimited unpaid days off at will on us, and settle this contract with fairness and equity. We deserve no less than what our fellow state workers in other state agencies have won.  Don't try to balance the budget on the backs of classified workers. The sacrifices must be shared by all!

Send or call in these messages to: Oregon University System - Chancellor George Pernsteiner at  and/or (503) 725-5703.


Scott's picture

Re: August Bargaining Update

I wholeheartedly agree that we should call or e-mail  the Chancellor. While we're at it, maybe the Governor would like another round of calls to his office. It seems to me that even the high-and-mighty OUS management must ultimately answer to the legislature and the Governor.

Scott's picture

Re: August Bargaining Update

Apparently, the FAQs for the DAS Furlough Days and Step Freezes aren't easy or obvious to find. They've been sent out by e-mail and I keep pointing people to the SEIU 503 web site, but it must be harder to find than I thought.

So here they are, in what may be an easier location to find:

Frequently Asked Questions about Steps 

The following questions and answers are based on the tentative contract agreement reached by the State of Oregon and SEIU on July 27, 2009.  This agreement is subject to ratification by the members of SEIU, Local 503 OPEU. 

  1. How many steps will I get during the biennium?
 Everyone will get one step during the biennium.  One step is equal to approximately 4.75%.  
  1. How long will the step freeze last?
There will be a step freeze from 9/1/09 through 8/31/10.  During that time, no employee will get a step increase.  Regular steps will resume on 9/1/10. 
  1. What happened to the new tenth step that took effect on 6/30/09? 

The tenth step is protected in the new agreement.  However, because of the one-year step freeze, no one will move to that step until the second year of the contract.  

  1. What happens if I got a step increase on July 1, 2009 or August 1, 2009?

That step will be "rolled back" on September 1, 2009.  You will not have to re-pay the money that you received in your checks for July or August, but starting in September, you will return to the rate you were earning on June 30, 2009, before you got your step.    

  1. Are there any exceptions to the roll-back?

Just one.  On June 30, 2009, a tenth step was added to the top of the salary scale and the first step was eliminated from the salary scale.  On July 1, 2009, anyone being paid at the "old" first step, regardless of salary eligibility date, moved to the "new" first step. That change is permanent.  Since the "old" step one is no longer part of the salary scale, no one will return to that step or be hired onto that step.  

  1. What happens on September 1, 2010 to employees who were "rolled back?"

All employees who were rolled back will automatically have their step restored on September 1, 2010.   

  1. What happens on September 1, 2010 to other employees?

Starting September 1, employees will get their regular steps on their regular salary eligibility dates.  If you are currently at the ninth step, you will move to the new tenth step on your first salary eligibility date on or after 9/1/2010.  If you are currently at a lower step, you will move to the next step on the scale on your first salary eligibility date on or after 9/1/2010.  

  1. What about employees who get promoted during the step freeze?

An employee who is promoted or reclassified upward will still receive an initial increase upon promotion or reclassification upward during the freeze period (except that no one can be placed on the new tenth step during the freeze period).  Employees who promote during the freeze will receive an additional step either six months after their promotion or on September 1, 2010, whichever is later.   

  1. What about employees hired during the step freeze?

Employees hired in July or August, 2009, will get their first step increase on September 1, 2010.  Employees hired on or after September 1, 2010 will get their first step increases on their normal salary eligibility dates, since they will fall outside the freeze period.



Frequently Asked Questions about Furlough Days 

The following questions and answers are based on the tentative contract agreement reached by the State of Oregon and SEIU on July 27, 2009.  This agreement is subject to ratification by the members of SEIU Local 503, OPEU.  

  1. How many furlough days do I have to take?

Employees who earn less than $2450 per month will take ten furlough days during the biennium.  Employees who earn more than $2450 but less than $3100 per month will take twelve furlough days.  Employees who earn more than $3100 per month will take fourteen furlough days.  These pay rates are based on your gross pay rate, before deductions.  

  1. When do I take the furlough days?

Most agencies and programs will be closed on ten specific days during the biennium.  (For exceptions, see #3 below.)  Those closure days are:   

Friday, Oct. 16, 2009

Friday, Nov. 27, 2009

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday. June 18, 2010

Friday, Aug. 20, 2010

Friday, Sept. 17, 2010

Friday, Nov. 26, 2010

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday May 20, 2011 

For OSAC and PERS, 2/15/10 and 2/21/11 will be substituted for 11/27/09 and 11/26/10.   

Unless you are covered by the exceptions in #3 below, you will take ten furlough days on the dates listed above.  If you are required to take more than ten furlough days, you will take the additional days on a floating basis (see #4 below).  

  1. Which agencies and programs are not subject to the closure days listed above?

Management presented a list of certain programs in which furlough days will be scheduled on a floating basis, and there will be no fixed closure days.   If your program appears on the list below, you are most likely subject to floating furloughs, but please double check with your supervisor to make certain. If your program does not appear on the list, your program was designated by management to be subject to the office closures listed in section 2 above.   

  • Department of Education:  Many job classifications at the Schools for the Deaf and Blind only
  • Oregon Youth Authority:  RN's, LPN's, GLC's, Social Workers and Cooks at 24/7 facilities
  • DHS Institutions: Many job classifications at Oregon State Hospital, Blue Mountain Recovery Center, Eastern Oregon Training Center & Pendleton Secure Residential Treatment Facility
  • DAS State Data Center and Technology Service Center: ISS3, 4, 5, and 6's in Service Operations Center & Production Control
  • DCBS:  OSHA  Industrial Hygienists and Occupational Safety Specialists only
  • Board of Dentistry: to be determined
  • Department of Justice: Administrative Services Division, Appellate Division, Civil Enforcement Division, Crime Victims Services Division, Criminal Justice Division, General Counsel Division and Trial Division
  • Department of Forestry: Will go by closure days listed in Section 2 EXCEPT during fire season (June through October), during which most employees will take furloughs on a floating basis
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife: Certain employees based in hatcheries and wildlife areas; employees conducting critical biological sampling, and multi-jurisdictional regulatory processes
  • Department of Parks and Recreation:  Field Operations and Support and Portland Reservation Office
  • ODOT: Many job categories in Motor Carrier Transportation Division and Highway Division
  • Department of Treasury
  • Veterans Affairs: Many positions in Claims and Counseling, Conservatorship Program, and Home Liaison Officers
  1. How will floating furlough days work?

If you are required to take floating furloughs, either because you work for a program listed in #3 above or because you must take twelve or fourteen days and your office is only closed for ten days, you will have your choice of days off subject to operating needs.  You will submit a furlough request form at least thirty days before the start of each calendar quarter indicating your requested furlough days for the next quarter.  Supervisors must respond no later than fifteen days before the start of each quarter.  

  1. When do furlough days begin?

Nothing in the tentative agreement takes effect until union members ratify the contract.  We expect the ratification vote to be complete by the middle of September. If the contract is ratified, floating furlough days can be scheduled at any time after that point.  As noted above, the first office closure day is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2009 for employees in agencies/programs subject to office closures.  

  1. How will furlough days affect my benefits?

Furlough days will count as time worked for vacation, sick, and personal leave accruals and for health insurance purposes.  Furlough days will not count as time worked for the purposes of overtime pay or PERS.  

  1. How will furlough days work for seasonal and part-time employees?

Part- time employees will be pro-rated based on their regularly scheduled hours. Seasonal employees will be pro-rated based on their regularly scheduled hours during the months in which they are employed.


  1. What happens if I am regularly scheduled for more or fewer than eight hours on a furlough day?

Employees who are scheduled for more or fewer than eight hours on a furlough day may, with supervisory approval, adjust their schedules in a manner consistent with the practice that is used in their worksites during weeks with holidays. 

  1. Can I use vacation or personal leave when I am on a furlough day?


  1. Can management "cancel" a furlough day?

Management may require you to work on a furlough day in emergency situations based on operational needs.  If you are normally eligible for call-in or penalty pay for working on a scheduled day off, you will get that pay if management cancels your furlough day.  If management cancels your furlough day, you must reschedule the day, but management can only require you to reschedule a day once.

  1. Must furlough time be scheduled in eight hour blocks?

Yes, except for part-time employees who regularly work less than eight hours a day.  

  1. How do I code furlough days on my timesheet?

A special timesheet code will be created. 

  1. Will furlough days affect how long my trial service lasts, my salary eligibility date, or my seniority?


  1. What if I don't schedule or take my required furlough days?

If you don't schedule or take your required days, management can schedule them for you. 

  1. If I'm subject to floating days, can I take all of the days at once?

No, the days must be distributed evenly among the calendar quarters in the biennium.  With permission of your supervisor, you can distribute them unevenly, but you can't take more than two furlough days in one month.  

  1. Can I still get overtime pay in a week I take a furlough day?

Yes.  Furlough days don't change the regular overtime rules.  If you normally get overtime after eight hours in a day, that rule is not affected by your taking a furlough day on another day the same week.  But remember that furlough days don't count as time worked for calculating overtime, so if you normally only get overtime after forty hours in a week, you can't count your furlough day toward your total hours in the week for the purpose of calculating overtime. 

  1. What if my office is closed for a furlough day on a day that is my regularly scheduled day off?

If a designated closure day falls on your regularly scheduled day off, you will take the furlough day on another day that you select, subject to operating needs.  

  1. Can management require me to take a furlough day on a paid holiday?

No, but employees subject to floating furloughs may choose to schedule their furlough days on holidays at their sole discretion.  

Scott's picture

Re: August Bargaining Update

With regards to #18 in the FAQ on furlough days, I have to comment.

Please don't take a furlough day on your paid holiday!

This would only serve to further inflate the ego of the Governor. Not only does it give them a stand for trying to take away our paid holidays, it isn't in your own best interest. It gives the State one more day of work, for no more pay. That's one of the reasons they wanted furlough days on the holidays in the first place. They wouldn't have to pay you, and you'd have to work on another day to get paid.

This is just wrong. Don't do it. Just say, "NO."

Scott's picture

Re: August Bargaining Update

Wow, the days have flown by. I'll try to catch up on some of the stuff going on.

Back on August 26th, an update from the Capitol Mall meeting was sent out:

At the MALL meeting today we discussed the importance of voting on the contract.  Some locals are doing organized get out the vote events where they are collecting ballots over a lunch hour and delivering them to the Union office.  BALLOTS ARE DUE SEPTEMBER 8.   As was stated in the email alert that went out this morning, everyone should have received their ballot.  Members needing replacement ballots should call the union office at 503 581-1505.

We also talked about the struggle in bargaining at OUS which was also mentioned in the email alert.  We are phone banking in Salem on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for the next 2 weeks.  We need to have conversations with as many of our OUS members as possible.  Please check your calendar and join us for a night of phoning, September 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 or 10.  Let us know when you are coming, so we can order enough food for dinner.

In addition to phone banks we will be leafleting at football games in September.  If you are interested in helping to leaflet at any of the games  listed below, please email Barbara Kellogg at [e-mail removed to protect against spammers; she's listed at the SEIU 503 web site], and she will get back to you with details of the event.
  • September 5 - Football - PSU at OSU
  • September 12 - Purdue at UO
  • September 12 - SOU at PSU
  • September 19 - Dixie State at WOU
Lastly we discussed doing an organized community service event on our first furlough closure day.  DCBS has already begun organizing a food bank support event and are asking members to donate food over the next month and will deliver it to the food bank on October 16 and are asking members to volunteer for 1/2 day at the food bank.  Dave Bolton from DCBS and Shanon Jackson from ODOT will help to coordinate the event.  Dave will get specific information Donna Glathar who will prepare a worksite flyer for us to use in our worksites to solicit donations as well as volunteers.  We hope to do some media event around the events that day.   We talked about other events we could do on future closure days.  Habitat for Humanity was one suggestion.  If you have others bring it to our next MALL meeting.


Scott's picture

Re: August Bargaining Update

And on August 28th, this plea to help our OUS Brothers and Sisters went out:

Dear Brothers and Sister of SEIU Local 503,

Our Union Brothers and Sisters of the OUS bargaining unit still need our help.  They are face with a far worse fate than what was handed to us- Up to 21 furlough days, a step freeze fro the next 2 years and no firm commitment to shared sacrifice by management or other staff.  If that were not bad enough, there are no contract protections for the PSU recyclers who voted to join our Union.  That should be enough on its own to make your blood boil.
We can not sit and watch this happen to our Union Brothers and Sisters.  They are the same ones who rally with us on health care, sit next to us during phone banks to help us gain a fair ( well as fair as it will be this time) contract and most importantly, they are members of SEIU Local 503, OPEU just like you and me.
They have bills to pay, families to support, taxes to pay and they are they ones who keep the University Systems going.  They do far more than what their job titles say. I know, many I know who are part of the bargaining unit I am honored to call my friends.
Please join me this Friday and Monday by holding a Unity break at your worksite to show support of our OUS members.  Please take that unity break and call Chancellor George Pernsteiner @ 503-725-5703.  Please tell him enough is enough and our members need fair treatment and a fair contract.  Please encourage your friends, neighbors and others to do the same.
We are a large group with a mighty roar, let's stand up for what is right.  Give George a call.
In Unity,
Amy L. Tucker
Member, SEIU 503, OPEU
PS.  Please forward on.  Let all get on board!!!


Scott's picture

Re: August Bargaining Update

And another urgent plea regarding the horrible OUS bargaining:


OUS support help needed

 On August 21, after the Union rejected management’s offer of 21 furlough days and a 2 year wage freeze for classified workers in the Oregon University System, management walked away from bargaining.

 We finally got a new bargaining session scheduled for Friday September 4 at Western Oregon University. You may ask why then and there?  The answer is obvious.  When bargaining occurs on one of the larger campuses, we have more members, so the rallies are bigger and louder.  Western is a relatively small campus and when coupled with a bargaining session the Friday before a holiday weekend, management is banking on a relatively uneventful day.

 We need to make sure that management gets more than they expect.  We need a large crowd prepared to send a strong, loud message that OUS workers are State workers too and should not be expected to make a greater sacrifice than their brothers and sisters working in DAS agencies. 

 Take a long lunch and come to a noon rally at Hammersly Library on the Western Oregon University Campus in Monmouth.  Western is about a ½ hour drive from most Salem worksites.  Be sure to bring your whistles and thunder sticks.  Email [e-mail removed to protect from spammers] if you plan to attend, so we can make sure we have lunch for everyone. 

I know it's late, but still important infomation. The Chancellor needs to be shown the door. Or maybe taken out behind the wood shed. The Governor should tell this guy to take a permanent furlough. Time for the Chancellor to face some shared sacrifice.

Scott's picture

Re: August Bargaining Update

Apparently this petition to the Chancellor failed:


To sign this petition on-line, click here:

We the undersigned citizens of Oregon petition Chancellor George Pernsteiner to negotiate a fair settlement with classified employees in the Oregon University System.

Classified employees provide essential services to our entire community and are fundamental to a quality education.  Without their work, the university can not function and our children will not have the support they need for a quality education. If there is not progress at the bargaining table, this could jeopardize the start of the Fall term.

The new contract in the state provides the structure for a fair settlement with shared sacrifice, but OUS is demanding greater sacrifice than asked of other state workers and other university employees.

The obstacles to settlement remain:
        1)  OUS’ demand for unlimited unpaid furlough days imposed at will (in 15 day increments);
        2)  OUS’ refusal to follow the pattern set by the DAS settlement including unpaid time off and steps;
        4)  OUS’ unwillingness to bargain for our newest members, the PSU student recyclers;
        5)  OUS’ unwillingness to commit to shared sacrifice from other administrative staff.

Please use your influence to remove these obstacles and negotiate a fair contract for OUS workers.

To sign this petition on-line, click here:

This message is from the SEIU Local 503
Member Alert System.


Re: August Bargaining Update

There has been a tentative settlement for OUS. It might not be posted yet on the 503 site but watch the site for updates..........

Scott's picture

Re: August Bargaining Update

That's great news. Not being part of OUS, I only have limited information unless someone posts here or feels something is important enough to contact me (or the web site).Do we have any details?

This still doesn't change my mind about what needs to happen to the Chancellor.