SOU classified workers to strike on first day of classes

ASHLAND, Ore. —  Oregon public universities and classified staff have failed to come to an agreement on a new contract. Roughly 5,000 workers from seven universities, including Southern Oregon University and Oregon Tech, are planning to strike Monday morning.

SOU starts classes Monday morning. Even if there’s a strike, the university says everything will be business as usual.

“Other than the potential for people picketing on campus, it should be operations as normal,” Joe Mosley, SOU, said.

With seven Oregon public universities failing to come to an agreement with university classified workers, preparations are on for a strike Monday morning.

“Students and families get worried of ‘Well, will this hinder my first week?’ You know? Will this hinder my financial aid? Will this hinder, pay checks or processing or anything on campus.’ Your first week you’re already nervous enough,” Britney Sharp, SOU Student Body President, said.

SOU has roughly 185 classified employees across 41 departments, from custodial to academic offices.

“Our priority will be academic and student support programs. We want to make sure that the experience is seamless for students,” Mosley said.

The university says students don’t need to be concerned. Everything on campus will still be fully operational.

“When we heard about the potential for a strike, many departments started having the conversations of ‘Alright if this area and this member would be striking, who is going to pick up these tasks?'” Sharp said.

“The rest of us who are still on job will pitch in wherever necessary to make that happen,” Mosley said.

SOU says there’s still hope an agreement can be reached.

“Negotiations have come up right to the edge of a strike a couple times since then, but it’s always been resolved and we’re hoping that that’ll happen again this time,” Mosley said.

The strike is set to start 7 a.m. Monday on the SOU campus. Classified university workers haven’t gone on strike since the 90’s. Another bargaining meeting was held Friday with more over the weekend if necessary.

Anna Weeks is the anchor of NBC5 News at 5 and 11 and Your Place @7 with Anna Weeks. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a degree in Digital Communication Arts and a minor in writing. Previously, she interned with the National Association of Broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Originally from the Portland area, Anna loves exploring Southern Oregon. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, and watching sports.
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