300 Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Gain Unprecedented Job Protections

Non-tenure track faculty account for nearly 66% of the teaching and research faculty at the UO. They drive an enormous part of the university’s work and our campus could not function without the intellectual leadership and labor they provide.

A longstanding goal of United Academics has been to ensure that NTT faculty receive the resources, respect, and security to which they have long been entitled.

This week, we have reached a milestone in this effort.

The collective bargaining agreement signed last October provided for a process to reclassify many NTT adjuncts to career positions. As a result of this process, we are proud that a large majority (73%) of adjuncts have been reclassified in longer-term, more stable positions.

For some 300 faculty, the reclassification now promises greater job security, better pay, opportunities for professional advancement, promotion, and eligibility for sabbatical guaranteed by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

This transformation is critical for NTT faculty and it is invaluable to the University of Oregon. A highly qualified, stable, committed faculty is imperative to our academic mission.

It is important to note that the UO Administration, Colleges, and Department Heads alone had the authority to make individual decisions about reclassification; the union had no say in such decisions.

Instead, the United Academics implementation committee worked closely with the UO’s implementation team to establish the basic process, as provided by the CBA. Our hats off to those – both union members and administration – who worked very hard on this needed change.

Together with last week’s announcement that some 300 for NTT faculty at the bottom of the wage scale will receive raises because of new salary floors, it is clear that our union is helping to transform the UO in a growing number of ways.

To be sure, important work lies ahead in continuing to raise the standards for NTT faculty and researchers—this is only one important step. But it would not have been possible without the collective work of many hundreds of faculty at the UO who have organized and helped to build our union.

The UO and UA issued a joint announcement about the reclassification process at: http://around.uoregon.edu/content/uo-and-ua-complete-one-time-reclassification-adjunct-faculty-process.

If you have questions about the reclassification process, please contact United Academics at
info@uauoregon.org

For decades, the push to drive down faculty costs has changed the face of higher education and has come with a human cost. Critics of faculty unions have no answer to the growing share of faculty earning low salaries, 10 week contracts, minimal benefits, and denial of professional respect. Salary floors for adjuncts and nontenure track faculty, alongside this reclassification, are the first steps towards correcting this problem.

At our campus and beyond, it is not too difficult to understand how interests in cost-cutting have eroded job security for faculty. Popular among consultants, decades of “improving cost efficiency” has meant meeting student enrollment demands with more low-paid, part-time faculty – and less tenure-line faculty – across the U.S. Taking advantage of labor market insecurity to manage the budget woes of departments and universities brings a toll to our academic and professional missions – and our colleagues. Our local problem is part of a longer term, nation-wide problem. Our union, like faculty unionizing elsewhere, is part of the solution.

Posted in Contract Implementation, NTTF.