Implementing our Contract: Five Things You Need to Know

On October 8, hundreds of United Academic members gathered at the EMU ballroom to ratify our first Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

UA members drove this process from beginning to end. We surveyed our colleagues to understand issues and priorities. We met together in meetings across campus to develop our bargaining proposals. And led by our Bargaining Team, we negotiated with the Administration over ten months to reach an unprecedented agreement.

Our union, now more than 1,000 members strong and representing every classification and unit on campus, must now turn its attention to implementing our contract. Our ability to transform our university through this agreement depends on you.

You can view and download the ratified CBA here. The 45 articles in the contract cover many issues: raises & benefits, tenure & promotion, shared governance, facilities, NTTF review and promotion, job security and many other areas.

Here are five things about your new contract you need to know:

1. SALARY INCREASES ARE COMING

The first salary increases for all bargaining unit members are scheduled to appear in your November paychecks.  This will include the 2013 fiscal year across-the-board raise of 1.5%, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013. It will also include the $350 one-time payment, prorated by FTE.

Salary increases for the 2014 fiscal year (2013-14 academic year) will include another 1.5% across-the-board increase and a 2% merit pool increase for both tenure-track faculty and non-tenure-track faculty.  The plan is to have these increases, retroactive to July 1, 2013, reflected in the January 2014 paycheck. 

2. DUES DEDUCTIONS: WHAT TO EXPECT AND WHEN TO EXPECT IT

At our October 8 union membership meeting, UA members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a dues rate for union members of 1.1% of gross pay.

In accordance with the CBA and applicable state law, the UO will also deduct “fair-share” fees for faculty who are in the bargaining unit but who have elected not joined the union. Our union is obligated to fully represent all bargaining unit members, regardless of their membership status, and these fees cover those costs. These “fair share” deductions will also be at 1.1% of gross pay.

Deductions of both dues and fair share fees are expected to start with the November paycheck, and will include a catch-up deduction pro-rated for October.

Our union will hire an independent auditor to examine our books at the close of the fiscal year (June 30). The auditor will determine what percentage of our union’s expenditures have been used for bargaining and contract enforcement, and non-members can then apply for a rebate of any fair share fees they have paid in excess of that amount. Our union will hold adequate funds in escrow for this purpose. This is all common procedure for unions.

3. MERIT RAISES: WHAT’S UP NEXT?

The CBA requires units to develop a fair and transparent process for distributing merit raises.  Because of a shared desire to implement these raises as soon as possible, the union and the administration have agreed to an abbreviated policy development process.

For this merit raise, faculty should be given the opportunity to provide input into their unit’s merit policy; that input should be given substantial consideration by the administration. However, this process will necessarily have to happen quickly in order for the merit increases to appear in our January paychecks.

A more extensive process will be used in future policy development for merit increases.

4. INITIAL RECLASSIFICATION OF ADJUNCT NTTF POSITIONS

One major goal of the CBA is to stabilize and regularize the non-tenure-track faculty positions at the UO and to reduce reliance on adjuncts to those situations that are truly of a temporary and limited duration.  This initial reclassification process is meant to have units examine all their current adjunct positions and reclassify those that should really be Career NTT positions.

We anticipate that over 400 adjunct faculty will be considered for this reclassification to Career NTTF, and many will be reclassified soon.

The administration has been working with unit heads on the initial adjunct reclassification process and held a training workshop on this issue on November 7.  A UA Implementation Committee is also working closely with the administration to ensure this process is conducted in all units in accordance with the intentions of the CBA.

5. DEVELOPING INTERNAL GOVERNANCE POLICIES

A major goal of the CBA article on governance at the unit level is to provide transparency in policy development, to ensure that faculty are able to exercise their governance responsibilities regarding academic matters in the unit, and to provide for appropriate and equitable participation of both TTF and NTTF in governance. 

Faculty in each unit should begin discussions soon to craft internal governance policies.  Faculty need to develop an internal governance policy that addresses how decisions are made and documented in their unit.  This discussion needs to give all faculty, including adjuncts, the opportunity to participate. This initial policy should address how the unit is governed, the committees that are needed for governance and the membership and selection process for committee membership.

The internal governance policy has to be developed before other policies because it will shape how policies in general are to be developed in the unit.  The Implementation Committee will be developing an Internal Governance Policy Template to provide guidance, so be on the lookout for that soon.

Because reclassification will not likely be completed before policies need to be developed, the administration has agreed that it is important that adjunct faculty have a voice in this initial policy development. 

Faculty in each unit may develop an internal governance policy in which adjuncts will have a reduced governance role in the future.  This will be appropriate as the university moves toward a reduced reliance on adjuncts in temporary and limited situations. 

This internal governance policy will be forwarded to the unit director and upward to the appropriate dean or provost designee.  If changes are necessary, they will be sent in writing back to the faculty for more discussion.

YOUR ROLE IN IMPLEMENTING OUR NEW CONTRACT

While the union and the administration are working together for a smooth implementation of the CBA, we all realize there will be complicated and unexpected situations that arise. 

It is critical that we catch potential problems as early as possible so that we can transform the provisions of the CBA into everyday practices. 

UA members in each unit are critical to this process. YOU are the eyes and ears of the union in your unit. You should identify and discuss any problems or challenges with your colleagues and alert UA leadership as necessary. Please contact United Academics at info@uauoregon.org or 541.636.4714.

UA staff and volunteers are also available to meet individually, in groups, or by unit to answer any questions you might have about contract implementation.

We will soon be holding elections for our leadership positions. Until that time, a group of United Academic members has volunteered to work on contract implementation, finances, membership, and other issues.

We need YOU to become involved in this important work to build a strong union and to transform our University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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