Eight months of bargaining comes down to a productive marathon overnight session

A 19-hour mediation session led early Thursday morning to a tentative contract settlement between the Oregon University System and the Service Employees International Union Local 503.

The union represents about 4,000 classified employees and support staff on the state's seven university campuses.

SEIU Local 503 members have negotiated for nearly eight months on a new contract to replace one that expired June 30. The union told state university officials that if no agreement was reached by Wednesday, Sept. 14, members could vote to strike on all campuses.

Union members were especially upset that they were required by the universities to take unpaid furlough days but school officials and administrators were not facing the same requirement.

SEIU members will hear details Thursday of the tentative two-year contract proposal. The union will vote by mail on ratifying the new contract.

Oregon University System Chancellor George Pernsteiner thanked the bargaining teams for their efforts to reach the agreement during a marathon session that ended shortly before dawn Thursday.

'The OUS classified staff are an integral part of all of our campuses and our collective work to help students achieve success at our universities,' Pernsteiner said.

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