SALEM — Oregon state employees staking out bargaining positions for a new two-year contract have proposed some items that fall outsided the areas of pay and benefits.
The state’s largest public sector union wants the state to investigate, sue and sever ties with banks that acted illegally before the Great Recession, crack down on managers who bully and end contract work if union members show they can do it for less.
Local 503 of the Service Employees International Union also seeks economic benefits, the Salem Statesman Journal reported Friday.
Among those are dropping furlough days, boosting wages, granting a cost-of-living adjustment between 2 percent and 6 percent in each year of the contract and adding vacation days.
The state Department of Administrative Services is analyzing the proposal.
The interim chief human resources officer, Clyde Saiki, said the department will consult with other agencies before it makes a counteroffer in early March. The proposal must stay within Gov. John Kitzhaber’s $81.5 million budget for collective bargaining.
The two sides are working on a two-year contract that coincides with the state’s budget cycle, which begins July 1.
Under Oregon labor law, the state has to bargain over required items such as wages, hours and benefits, said Portland labor lawyer Todd Lyon.
But it doesn’t have to negotiate “permissive" subjects beyond the direct terms of employment, and workers can’t go on strike over those issues, Lyon said.
Employees will argue that it’s wrong for the state to constantly need to cut employees’ compensation when there are businesses and people who haven’t paid Oregon taxes and banks who lost the state’s money through illegal activity, said the head of their bargaining team, Dan Smith. He’s a forensic psychologist at the Oregon State Hospital.
“Just like our neighbors and family members, we’ve suffered in the Great Recession caused by big banking’s illegal and irresponsible greed," Smith said. “Today we told the state that we refuse to balance the budget on workers’ and Oregonians’ backs while big banks and high-priced contractors aren’t held accountable."
He said bullying bosses create “burdensome situations" for employees, who fear retaliation if they report on them.