ASHLAND, Ore. – Just more than a week after Medford teachers ended their strike, SOU professors narrowly avoid a strike of their own. After about eight months of negotiations, their union has accepted a deal that amounts to what they say is a pay freeze.
Union leaders say about 80% of their members voted to accept the contract in light of financial challenges that have resulted in layoffs and furloughs for a number of staff members.
They say they accepted the terms reluctantly, but understand the money isn’t there to justify salary increases.
“What could we say if we got a five or six percent raise and we’re watching our colleagues get laid off,” said union president Jim Rible. “It just wouldn’t sit well.”
That contract will stay in place for the next two years. Meanwhile Portland State University and Eastern Oregon University continue to work toward contract settlements after facing similar budget concerns.