Talks broke down Monday in negotiations between management and classified staff at Oregon’s public universities. Workers could strike next Monday if no agreement is reached.
The impasse between the SEIU and management is over salary increases for topped out employees and cost of living adjustments across the board.
IT specialist at Portland State University Rob Fullmer says roughly a third of employees are at the top of their pay range. These workers only get a cost of living adjustment which doesn’t keep up with inflation.
Fullmer says that means workers are falling farther and farther behind.
“We work in higher education not because it pays better, but because we believe in the mission. And we can’t achieve that mission if we’re out holding picket signs. At the same time, we can’t continue to fall further and further behind and in this contract that’s not something we’re going to settle for.”
Fullmer says striking is the last thing employees want to do, but 95 percent of union members voted to strike next week if necessary.