Ore. universities, support staff bargaining

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- With students scheduled to return to campuses in less than two weeks, higher education officials and the union representing support staff members are scheduled for last-minute contract bargaining this week.

The Salem Statesman Journal reports (http://bit.ly/nrjrwA ) that negotiations are scheduled to resume Wednesday at Western Oregon University.

If the talks fail, the classified employees have scheduled a vote at each of the seven campuses for Thursday. The vote could put the state's latest offer before the membership, which could either accept it or authorize the negotiating team to call a strike

University officials say they're making contingency plans to hold classes in case the nearly 4,000 employees go on strike. The fall term begins Sept. 26.

Union members say furlough days are among the economic issues that remain unresolved.

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com