Legislative Session Summary

Posted by  Ashley Bromley   in       Oct 6, 2017     31 Views     Leave your thoughts  

by Ashley Bromley, Executive Director

During the busy 2017 Legislative Session, the AAUP-Oregon Legislative Committee tracked 190 bills and took official positions on 39 of these. While we were not successful in securing passage of all the bills we supported, none of bills that we opposed, including a suite of bills that aimed to slash PERS benefits, were passed.

The greatest disappointment of the session was the Legislature’s failure to pass meaningful tax reform. We continue to lack sufficient and stable funding for education, health care, and other critical services.

Several of our priority policy bills were signed into law, including:

  • Union Rights for Supervisory Faculty (HB 3170): HB 3170 amends the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA) to allow faculty who take on roles like chair, head, program director, or principle investigator, the right to protections under collective bargaining agreements, even though a small part of their duties are currently considered supervisory under PECBA. A compromise amendment requested by the universities clarifies that supervisory faculty should be in a separate bargaining unit from those they supervise and that the language applies only to newly formed bargaining units.
  • Cultural Competency Training (HB 2864): HB 2864 requires Oregon’s community colleges and public universities to establish a process for recommending, and providing oversight for the implementation of, cultural competency standards for campus constituents.
  • Post Doc Retirement Benefits (SB 214): We worked alongside the universities to revise SB 214, a bill that would take post-doctoral scholars out of PERS. Most post-docs never vest in PERS, and the employer contributions are lost. Under the amended language of SB 214, post-docs would get an employer match for a different retirement fund. The language around post-doc work has also been clarified to remove the employer’s incentive to outsource bargaining unit work to post-docs.
  • Security Agreements for Private Sector Unions (SB 1040): AAUP-Oregon supported SB 1040, which corrects a bad court decision that threatened union security agreements for private sector unions.

You can review a list of all bills on which AAUP-Oregon took a position here (excel file download). If you click on the bill number, you will be taken the website of the Oregon Legislature where you can access complete information, including the full text of the bills, submitted testimony, and other supporting documents. Our successes this session resulted from the hard work of the Legislative Committee and the members who showed up for lobby days, testimony, and rallies. We look forward to a busy and productive short session starting in February.

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