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PSU, faculty set talks before strike date

Portland State University has responded to the strike vote by union-represented members of its faculty.

The union issued 10-day strike notice Thursday morning.

“The Administration has forced our hand to call for the first public university strike in Oregon’s history,” said Mary King, president of the union representing faculty, the American Association of University Professors.

After multiple rounds of bargaining over the last year, the ten-day strike notice means it’s expected the strike will begin April 16.

Despite the strike notice, PSU and the union will resume negotiations Friday to try and reach an agreement on faculty pay and other contract issues.

“PSU has offered raises that are fair within our fiscal constraints. We have agreed to improve job security for non-tenure track faculty,” said President Wim Wiewel. “We want a settlement, not a strike.”

According to PSU, last week the administration modified its earlier offer to increase salaries and job security for union members. In addition to the salary offer below, PSU said it would increase job security for fixed-term faculty by reducing the years to seniority from six years to four years and by increasing the minimum percentage of fixed-term faculty with seniority on multi-year contracts from 45 to 60 percent.

Here is PSU's latest salary offer:

• Fixed-term faculty earning below $40,000: 2 percent to 7.59 percent increase in 2014 plus 2 percent increase in 2015.

• Academic Professionals earning below $40,000: 2 percent to 5.81 percent increase in 2014 plus 2 percent increase in 2015.

• Fixed-term faculty and Academic Professionals earning between $40-50,000: 2 to 3 percent increase in 2014 plus 2 percent increase in 2015.

• Fixed-term faculty and Academic Professionals earning more than $50,000: 2 percent increase in 2014 plus 2 percent increase in 2015.

• Tenure-related faculty: 2 percent increase in 2014 plus 2 percent increase in 2015.

• The largest increases would go to the lowest paid AAUP-represented faculty and academic professionals.

PSU said its goal is to keep students on track with their courses, but some services would be disrupted by a strike. The impact on classes is difficult to predict because not all union members would strike and many classes are taught by adjunct faculty who are not represented by the the union. Specific plans will be announced if a strike becomes imminent.

Updates are posted on www.pdx.edu/oaa/2013-2015-psu-aaup-collective-bargaining-update. This site also includes links to previous contract offers, data on faculty and administrative salaries, faculty fact sheets and frequently asked questions about a potential strike and other relevant information.

This marks the first time in Oregon history university professors have issued a strike notice. Concerns from faculty include student-centered learning, faculty stability, and pay.

Jim Redden contributed to this story.