Monday, December 09, 2013
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September 24, 2013
MONMOUTH -- A last-ditch effort to avoid a strike across the Oregon University System will take place Wednesday (today) during a bargaining session between Service Employees International Union Local 503 staff members and OUS administrators.
If Wednesday's meeting ends as the dozens of other meetings between the two parties have this year, then classified staff will strike as early as Sept. 30, the first day of fall term.
With the strike looming, administrators at Western Oregon University are looking at implementing its contingency plan to keep school services running.
"It's a very formal plan that provides for all aspects of this university in the event of a strike," WOU president Mark Weiss said. "I'm hopeful that this will be solved, but I'm saddened it's even gone this far."
Weiss did not provide explicit details but said part of the plan would include shifting employees and other tactics.
The last time staff across OUS went on strike -- fall 1995 -- it lasted just shy of a week.
However, this year's bargaining meetings have done little to bridge the gap between staffers and administrators where major issues are concerned, leaving both sides only further entrenched in their proposals.
"Everyone is hoping we can come to a resolution so this (strike) doesn't happen. It's going to impact so many people," Angie Barry, bargaining representative for WOU classified staff, said. "OUS knows that. They're hearing it from their presidents. They know."