The Oregon Coast United Employees (OCUE 6020) approved a contract with Oregon Coast Community College (OCCC) this week. After months of bargaining ended in an impasse, negotiations went into mediation. During the third mediation session, a tentative agreement was finally reached. Nearly two-thirds of the union members then approved the contract, which ratified the collective bargaining agreement with the college.
“We won some major concessions, but we also had to make some major concessions,” said OCUE President Marion Mann. “We won two new articles dealing with intellectual property and sabbaticals, and for a small community college, that’s huge.
“The major sticking points were financial,” said Mann. “OCCC was hesitant to commit because they were uncertain about student enrollment. I credit AFT-Oregon Field Rep Miche Dreiling for the idea to link a one-time payment to full-time enrollment, as that really brought us over the finish line. If enrollment exceeds projections, the one-time payment will become a structural increase.”
“Marion, Oscar Juarez, and the rest of the bargaining team have really gone above and beyond in these negotiations,” added Dreiling. “It’s been a long, hard-fought journey to get here, and we couldn’t have done it without the enthusiastic support of our members.”
“It was truly heartwarming how the community, students and the board supported this effort,” said Mann. “We engaged in a ‘community awareness campaign’ to help exert pressure on the college. Despite our wins during this round, there is still a lot of work ahead as we continue to be the lowest paid faculty in the state of Oregon.”