Rachael McDonald

Classified workers at Oregon's 7 public universities have tentatively agreed to a new contract. The union was planning a strike vote next week if a settlement couldn’t be reached.

Rachael McDonald

The 5-thousand classified workers at Oregon's 7 public universities are negotiating with administration for a new contract. The old one expired in June. These are the people who clean classrooms, shelve books and cook for students.

"My name is Shawna Schultz, and I am a food service worker."

Schults works in Carson Hall, one of the U of O dorm buildings.

Schultz: "I supervise students. Teach them the rules of the kitchen and we service our guests and also maintain a very safe environment for our students."

Caregivers at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center have agreed on a two-year contract. Over 300 members of  S-E-I-U Local 49 had been without a contract for the past year. Jesse Stemmler is with the Service Employees International Union. He feels the walkout in late October was key:

Stemmler: “Having the three-day strike, and just seeing the overwhelming support was really a big help for these workers. This is a process, and the contract has been settled. This is by no means an end to the important work they’re doing.”

SEIU Local 49

Health care workers and their supporters held picket signs and rallied for fair wages and benefits Thursday outside Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital.

Last November about 120 hospital employees in Lincoln City voted to unionize and join SEIU Local 49. Union spokesman Jesse Stemmler says they've been bargaining with hospital management since then. But he says the workers don't feel they're receiving the same compensation as those at other Samaritan hospitals, including Newport, Corvallis and Albany.

Desmond O'Boyle

About 75 health care workers and union members protested in front of McKenzie Willamette Hospital in Springfield Thursday. The employees have been trying to negotiate a new labor contract since January when the last one expired.

Workers chanted, played drums, and marched around the hospital. Ken Charpie  is a Medical Laboratory Scientist at McKenzie-Willamette. He says the raise employees are slated to receive won’t offset higher health care costs.

Ken Charpie
Karen Richards

Community before profit. That's the message caregivers from McKenzie-Willamette hospital's union want their management to adopt.

Since the hospital went for-profit in 2003, members of SEIU Local 89 say the Mckenzie-Willamette Medical Center makes more money than almost every hospital in Oregon. It also has one of the worst records for charity care. They'd like to re-balance that trend. Tuesday, union members read a message to the hospital's leadership:

(GROUP) "This holiday season, caregivers are being let go while those left are faced with having to do more with less."

Multiple cities in Oregon participated in rallies held nationwide Thursday to support pay raises for fast food workers. Similar rallies were held earlier this year. Rob Sisk is with the Service Employees International Union Local 503. He says he hopes union members show up at the rallies.

Sisk: "I think it should attract anybody who is in the philosophy and morals behind the Occupy movement. We need to keep those issues out front and keep going after them, until there's economic justice and parity in this country."