The SEIU 503 gathered in front of the Kerr Administration building on 1500 SW Jefferson Avenue to fight for a fair contract. Deborah Caroll is a Library technician that have been working at OSU for 19 years, she and other classified staff members that have been working for OSU for a long time will not get a Cost-of-Living Adjustment for the year of 2019. Caroll mentions that while her wages have remained the same, her rent and expenses have gone up leaving her with very little money to survive.
In 2020 the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) will be only 0.75 percent for classified staff, while state workers will receive a 2.5 percent rise. Caroll also shared with us that the management wanted to reduce the personal days that classified staff have. Classified staff usually get two paid personal days per year. These days could be used as a vacation or to attend important events such as a wedding.
Not only OSU staff members joined the rally, also worried community members such as Katherine Dillon, and Kaitlynn Hughes, Linn Benton Community College students joined the rally to show their support. The students mentioned that as a community we should be there for each other.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
― Pastor Martin Niemöller
While the rally was protesting outside of the Kerr Administration building, some executive members walked by. Some members of the rally talked to the executives to share their disagreement with the current Cost-of-Living adjustment for OSU classified staff. The member of the rally handed a banner with the word R-E-S-P-E-C-T to the executive members to voice their opinion about the current unfair contract conditions for classified staff members.
This September 12 and 13 will be the final bargaining meetings on OSU campus before the classified staff members strike, according to Carroll.