Strike vote nears at Oregon universities

Sep 12, 2011

SALEM, Ore. - Workers at Oregon’s seven state universities are nearing a possible strike authorization vote on Thursday. The union representing nearly four thousand higher ed workers issued a report Monday blasting the state's university system.

The SEIU accuses the Oregon University System of being top-heavy with administrators. The union also says the schools have gone on a building spree that means money that could fund services is now going to pay off construction debt.

A representative from the university system didn't respond to a request for comment before our deadline. The new round of criticisms comes as union and higher ed negotiators prepare to sit down Wednesday for what could be a final attempt to avert a strike.

SEIU lead negotiator Marc Nisenfeld works at Portland State University. He says his colleagues don't want to strike, but they feel the stakes are too high to back down now.

"It wouldn't be just about this contract that we're striking, it would be about all future contracts and all power to negotiate a fair contract forever," Nisenfeld said.

The SEIU represents mostly blue-collar workers on college campuses. The fall semester starts later this month.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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