Eugene, OR -

Union leaders representing staff workers at Oregon's public universities say there's been progress in contract talks, so they're putting off a strike deadline.

The 4,500 workers such as cooks, custodians and nurses had been looking at a strike as soon as Sept. 23.

But on Monday, union bargainer Marc Nisenfeld told the Eugene Register-Guard that will be delayed a week to Sept. 30 -- the day fall classes are set to start.

University system leaders have vowed to start classes on schedule.

Negotiations are to resume Wednesday. Wages are the sticking point.

The system has offered cost-of-living raises of 1.5 percent in year one, 2 percent in year two. The union wants 2.5 percent both years. The system offered a year of step increases. The union wants two.