Oregon higher education workers approve strike

OREGON— According to the Service Employees International Union 503, classified workers at seven public universities in Oregon will go on strike at the end of the month.

The Union represents 5,000 workers across the state. They conducted votes at Oregon schools on Monday and Tuesday to find out how many people wanted to go on strike. 95 percent of them said yes.

These members include college support staff, secretaries, custodians, landscapers, food and safety workers, and IT employees.

The Union says half of their workers make less than $40,000 a year and one in six people qualify for food stamps for a family of four.

“Management has shown that they value donors and athletics over student services,” SEIU 503 Executive Director Melissa Unger said. “University employees are taking action because the work they do deserves respect. We will not suffer as a result of management’s misplaced priorities any longer.”

The Union says salaries of administrators and coaches range from $200,000 to over $1 million.

The schools affected include Southern Oregon University, Oregon Tech, Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Western, Eastern and Portland State.

Negotiations will continue at Portland State on September 23rd and if a deal can’t be reached, workers will strike on Monday, Sept. 30.

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