Oregon universities and workers’ union reach contract deal

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Bargaining teams from Oregon’s seven public universities and the union representing about 4,500 classified employees have reached a tentative agreement on a labor contract.

KTVZ-TV reports a statement issued by the universities says the settlement averted a strike by the workers’ union, SEIU 503, which would have begun on Monday. That’s the first day of classes for some Oregon institutions, including the University of Oregon.

The union represents public university workers who work in maintenance, food preparation, tech support, grounds, custodial services and financial aid assistance.

Sticking points in the negotiations had included demands for higher cost of living increases and additional pay step increases for workers who are “topped out” at the top of their scale.