PSU Teachers and Administration Reach Resolution

by Chris Belluschi '14

The campus of Portland State University. (Photo: Kelvin Kay)

The campus of Portland State University. (Photo: Kelvin Kay)

On March 11, the faculty at Portland State University (PSU) voted to authorize a strike. The reasons for their discomfort included a disagreement on faculty salaries, lack of availability of multi-year contracts, and the faculty union’s role in policy changes. Due to Oregon law, the faculty was forced to wait 10 days before officially striking, which would have taken place during the second week of April.

Had the strike gone into effect, the administration would have brought in substitute teachers where possible, but many classes would, unavoidably, have been shut down.

Randy Blazar, a professor of sociology at PSU, said that “We had to threaten to strike to get them to actually respect the faculty. It’s sad we had to go through all this to basically just stay where we are and not go backwards. Unions, people. They matter.”

It’s clear the faculty did not take this matter lightly. The administration reached an agreement with the faculty union after days of bargaining, and for now all seems well. The outcome of the near-strike will give the teachers a 2.5 percent raise increase for the next two years, meaning salaries will jump $40,000 across the board, and in addition non-tenure-track faculty will receive longer contracts, in essence allowing for better job security.

PSU president Wim Wiewel sounded relieved when he summed up the recent events: “The PSU community – faculty, students, administration and staff – can now come together for a successful and uninterrupted spring term.”