Election Results, Convention Delegates, March 3rd, 2014

In accordance with the UAUO Constitution and Bylaws, the election for delegates representing our union is now closed.  The elected delegates serve to give the union a voice at meetings of the state and national unions with which we are affiliated: the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). 

These bodies have been our statewide and national advocates for decades, and their effective advocacy was part of the reason there will not be an anti-worker initiative on the ballot in Oregon this fall. Below are the election results.

American Federation of Teachers Oregon Convention

United Academics will pay for Top 8 vote-getters.

  1. Michael Dreiling
  2. Debra Merskin
  3. Bill Harbaugh
  4. Deb Olson
  5. Yvonne Braun
  6. Ron Bramhall
  7. Eric Mentzel
  8. Karen Creighton
  9. Carmen Rivas

American Federation of Teachers National Convention

United Academics will pay for Top 5 vote-getters.

  1. Michael Dreiling
  2. Debra Merskin
  3. Bill Harbaugh
  4. Yvonne Braun
  5. Ron Bramhall
  6. Eric Mentzel
  7. Karen Creighton

AAUP Annual Conference

United Academics will pay for Top 5 vote-getters.

  1. Michael Dreiling
  2. Debra Merskin
  3. Bill Harbaugh
  4. Yvonne Braun
  5. Eric Mentzel
  6. Carmen Rivas
  7. Nathan Dunn

Raises, NTTF reclassification and more

CONTRACT IMPLEMENTATION

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 info@uauoregon.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.
 

Restoring the proper role of faculty in the governance of your unit: What you need to know

The development of new Internal Governance policies—the formal procedures by which units make decisions and set policies–is in full swing across campus.
 
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between United Academics (UA) and University administration gives faculty a stronger, unit-specific, and more formalized voice in governance at the unit level. The CBA requires that faculty be afforded a substantive role in the development of these governance policies.
 
We encourage all faculty to be proactive in their involvement in this process.
 
In most units, everything is proceeding relatively smoothly – we hope this is the case in your unit.
 
The Internal Governance policy in the CBA is intended to preserve, and in some cases restore, the proper role of faculty in the governance of the University. It is the first step toward developing a series of polices that provide all bargaining unit faculty an opportunity for their voice to be heard on academic and employment matters in their department or unit.
                                  
If unit administrators develop the governance framework on their own and then present it to faculty for comment and approval, they are not following the spirit and expectations of the CBA.

If you’d like to set up a meeting with a United Academics representative to understand how best to engage in this process, or if top-down governance models are being presented without avenues for substantive faculty participation and influence, or if you are not being included in discussions about your unit’s Internal Governance policy, please contact Ron Bramhall, VP for Instructional NTTF – bramhall at uauoregon dot org or Gina Psaki, VP for Tenure-Track Faculty psaki at uauoregon dot org.
 
WHAT GOES INTO AN INTERNAL GOVERNANCE POLICY?
 
There are many potential components within an Internal Governance policy. While all the provisions below are not required by the CBA, we believe units should consider these components:

  • Establishing guidelines for how a meeting agenda is set, approved or modified. A simple rule allowing approval of prior minutes, additions to agenda, and approval of agenda may be considered.
  • Rather than tasking work or decisions to the faculty as a whole, some departments or units may want to consider developing a system of elected committees charged to work with the head or director in making decisions on departmental duties, such as evaluation and promotion, merit raises and workload.
  • The policy should contain a list of committees with their charges, powers and responsibilities. The list should also include how committees are constituted – including makeup by membership, which members are elected or appointed, and how they are elected or appointed.
  • The policy should describe how decisions are made – including notice of motions, voting procedures, categories of decisions that require full faculty vote versus those that can be made at the committee level, and the organizational structure that outlines the flow of decisions between committees or other constituencies.
  • The policy should describe how decisions are to be documented and communicated.
  • The policy should describe how policies that have been approved ­– including the internal governance policy itself – could be modified.

Each unit should also ensure their governance policy can easily incorporate specific policies on the following issues in the near term:

  • Internal Governance (CBA Article 4)
  • Workload Definition (CBA Article 17)
  • NTTF Review and Promotion (CBA Article 19)
  • TTF Review and Promotion (CBA Article 20)
  • Merit Raises (CBA Article 26)
  • Summer Session Appointments (CBA Article 18)
  • Professional Development Fund Distribution (CBA Article 35)
  • At our request, Academic Affairs has posted sample pre-CBA governance documents from various departments: https://academicaffairs.uoregon.edu/example-governance-policies. Past unit policies, the CBA, and these guidelines from Academic Affairs should all be considered as reference points in developing internal governance policies in your unit.

 
As you craft or revise your internal governance policy, please anticipate the longer timeline of policy development expected of departments and units.
 
EQUITY POLICIES

In addition to those specifically directed by the implementation of the CBA, we encourage all units to develop an equity protocol or policy for their department or unit. Such a policy would specify procedures for identifying issues of internal and external equity and methods to fund from department, college or university sources any appropriately determined equity adjustments, including any future resources negotiated between United Academics and University administration.
 

United Academics Supports GTFF in Bargaining

The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF), the union representing over 1,500 graduate employees at the UO, is currently bargaining its contract with the UO administration.

On February 4, the United Academics Executive Council unanimously passed the following resolution in support of the GTFF:

A strong contract for the GTFF supports the research and teaching missions of UO. GTFs are critical contributors to the research and educational programs throughout the university. United Academics recognize their vital role and stands with the GTFF in their negotiations. Defending and strengthening their contract are essential ways to help recruit, retain and support graduate students, who enliven and enable the educational and research mission across the UO.

The bargaining sessions between the GTFF and the UO are open to the public—please consider coming to an upcoming session to support the GTFF and learn more about the many issues facing graduate employees—upcoming bargaining dates will be listed here.

In addition, faculty and other GTFF supporters can sign a petition in support of the GTFF here.

UAUO Open House—February 11, 4-7 PM, EMU Fir Room

We have appreciated the strong response to the series of Open House meetings hosted in recent weeks, which have given all faculty the opportunity to meet their UAUO officers and to learn more about the internal governance and policy development process.

There is one final Open House meeting scheduled for Tuesday February 11th from 4 pm to 7 pm, Fir Room, EMU. All faculty are welcome, but there will be a special focus on issues relevant to Tenure-Related Faculty.

A general membership meeting is being planned for the spring term. Please let us know if you would like to be involved in planning that event. If you are interested in hosting an informational meeting in your department or unit, contact info@uauoregon.org

United Academics Executive Director Hired

Finally, we are pleased to announce that we have hired Dave Cecil as our Executive Director. Some of you may remember Dave from his years working for the GTFF. He was also the lead organizer for our organizing campaign several years ago and he was a co-lead negotiator during our bargaining. We are very happy that he has come back to work for us and will be there to help us steer our union in the right direction.

We are also in the process of hiring an Administrative Assistant to help us manage our data, keep the books, and to respond to UA members when they call the office.