The Oregon University System and its classified workers have reached a tentative agreement on a 2-year contract, averting a threatened strike on the first day of classes. The agreement was reached at 2:30 Thursday morning .
The agreement includes cost-of-living increases of 1.5 percent on December 1st and 2 percent a year later. It also includes full step increases for workers who qualify. Mark Nisenfeld who works at Portland State University is chair of the bargaining team for Service Employees International Union Local 503. He says he's pleased with the agreement-- and relieved a strike was averted.
Nisenfeld: "A strike is the last thing anybody wanted. A strike is absolutely the last resort and we were being forced into it."
Nisenfeld says the union got a lot of support from students, faculty and the community. SEIU represents 43-hundred cooks, custodians, nurses and other behind the scenes staff at Oregon's public universities. Nisenfeld says the union is still frustrated with the inequities between growing administrative salaries and the cut-backs and pay freezes SEIU workers have faced in recent years.