A joint committee of University Administration and United Academics leadership continues to meet weekly to implement the considerable changes that the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) calls forth.
Beginning with the series of first round raises (averaging 5% for all tenure track and non-tenure track faculty), and the reclassification of hundreds of faculty from adjunct to career positions, and on to implementation of internal governance and merit policies, the United Academics implementation team has worked to assure that the terms of the contract are followed.
This has not always been easy or straightforward, and there have been several instances where the salary increases were not implemented correctly, compelling us to file a class action grievance. In the weeks ahead, we will report on the progress with this and other grievances that United Academics has initiated on behalf of faculty in the bargaining unit.
RECLASSIFICATION OF NON TENURE TRACK FACULTY
A primary aim of the CBA was to transform and improve the working conditions of Non-Tenure Track Faculty (NTTF). For too long at UO, and institutions across the country, the disinvestment in higher education has come at the expense of faculty and the academic mission. Provisions in the CBA provide for longer contracts for Career NTTF, an equitable voice in shared governance, eligibility for promotion, and NTTF merit raise pools. In addition, the CBA mandated the campus-wide reclassification of adjunct faculty into the Career NTTF track so that the more than 400 adjunct faculty, most of whom — by the University’s own policies — should have been Career NTTF, could benefit from the gains in the CBA.
The reclassification process has not been without challenges–as would any change of this magnitude in a large organization like UO. We have not yet seen all the results of this process. United Academics leadership has worked hard to make sure the administration follows not just the letter of the CBA, but also our shared agreement to create stable and predictable employment with better than living wages for the more than 700 NTTF.
We will continue to challenge attempts to return to the old ways of doing business. Delivering on the promise of academic and research excellence dear to the University leadership demands that we treat all faculty better. Throughout bargaining, United Academics made it clear that departments and units were responsible for hiring decisions, appointments, and assignments; what we always hoped for with reclassification was more stable, living-wage jobs for more Career track faculty and fewer contingent adjunct positions.
If you are an NTT faculty and disagree with the outcome of the reclassification process in your unit, you may have the right to file a grievance. Many union leaders have been working on this issue for many months and are dedicated to making sure that all units on the campus honor the agreement. If you need someone to talk to about the process or need help with a potential grievance, please do not hesitate to contact the United Academics office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541.636.4714.
OUR UNION DEMOCRACY: FIRST REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY HELD, March 5, 2014.
United Academics is a democratic organization with elected members on the Executive Council and in the Representative Assembly. Our constitution and bylaws define the contours of a robust democratic union, calling on members from every faculty classification and rank across every unit on campus in a proportionately structured decision-making body.
Representatives are elected by members in their units. Stewards serve as voluntary contacts for members in local units and help relay important information between local units and the executive and legislative leadership of the union. Every faculty member in the bargaining unit is materially invested in this organization through the dues or fair share fees you pay to sustain the union. We welcome every faculty member to join this body and to assert their interests, no matter where one stood as we organized our union.
The Executive Council has been meeting frequently to build the operational features of United Academics, hiring an Executive Director (David Cecil) and an Administrative Assistant (Kristy Hammond), developing election procedures for delegates to our state and national affiliates, developing accounting and office procedures, and much more.
The Representative Assembly is comprised of faculty from every major unit across campus and every classification of faculty. On March 5, the Assembly met for the first time and conducted our first legislative efforts. In the months ahead, this body will work with members and the executive leadership to form the bargaining platform for the next round of contract negotiations. Stewards will play an important role in communicating with Reps and members of the Executive Council. If your department does not have a steward, consider nominating yourself or a colleague.
RAISES: MOVING US TOWARD OUR AAU COMPARATORS
After years of stagnation, the faculty’s first union contract has produced significant raises. Here are the results for tenure track faculty. Historical data on NTTF’s are hard to get, but the percentage raises for union NTTF’s and researchers are similar.
The final raises from this contract will show up in the paychecks of 9 month faculty in September. Despite the raises, we forecast that salaries will be about 9% below the average of AAU publics as of next fall. The gap is particularly large for full professors in certain departments. And we know that many NTTF’s are still paid very low salaries.
What will raises be in 2015 and 2016? We don’t know; the chart below just shows a projection of 8% per year. Bargaining will start in earnest in December. We look forward to hearing your priorities as we begin caucusing through the Collective Bargaining Committee and the Representative Assembly in the spring.