Women’s March in Eugene

United Academics activists will gather at the courthouse. Look for the UA banner and join us!

From the Facebook event description: On January 21, 2017, in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington, we will unite in Eugene, Oregon standing together in solidarity with our families and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our community – recognizing that our diversity is the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us-women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths, particularly Muslim, Native and Indigenous people, people who identify as LGBTQIA, people of color, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished, and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully, while recognizing that there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE.

This is an INCLUSIVE march, and EVERYONE who supports women’s rights is welcome.

The March will begin at Noon on Saturday, January 21, 2017. The meet up location is the Federal Building in downtown Eugene (Wayne Lyman Morse Unites States Courthouse, 405 E 8th Ave). Speakers will be presenting at the start of the March. The March will then progress through the streets of downtown Eugene to the final venue, the WOW Hall at 291 W. 8th Avenue. The route will be approximately 0.6 miles. There will be organizations with tables set up at the WOW Hall facility where participants can engage in learning about and networking with Eugene community organizations.

We encourage ridesharing and taking public transportation to the March.

Parking information:

Free parking is located at Parcade (7th and Willamette), Overpark (Oak and 10th) and The Hult Center for the Performing Arts (Willamette and 6th/7th St). Additional parking at the Campbell Community Center (1st and High Street) and Skinner’s Butte Park, and on-street parking in the park.

https://www.facebook.com/events/370429169961591/

Post-election consequences

The election’s impact on overtime rules.

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been working to revise and update the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). One revision that was due to impact our campus was an adjustment to the rules regarding who is eligible for overtime. Currently, anyone with a salary less than $23,660 is eligible for overtime. The idea that even salaried workers may qualify for overtime was developed in 1938 as a way to prevent employers from eluding the 40-hour work week and overtime rules by paying their workers a “salary,” but not wages high enough to live on. The government felt that there should be a base standard below which workers were entitled to full pay for their work and to avoid exploitation.

Unfortunately, the minimum salary to qualify as exempt from FLSA overtime rules has not been adjusted since 2004, nor has it kept pace with inflation. The Obama administration proposed to bring the minimum salary level to the 40th percentile of all salaried workers, or $47,476. As you can imagine, many corporations and chambers of commerce opposed this new rule, as it would limit their ability to exploit low-wage work and avoid paying earned overtime.

On our campus, the new overtime rules were set to affect a limited number of research faculty and a greater number of our non-supervisory Officer of Administration colleagues.* The new overtime salary is set to go into effect on December 1, and many of our campus colleagues were anticipating a decent raise.

It is our understanding that the Trump administration plans to undo the new Obama rules shortly after taking office. We are not sure of the impact this would have here on campus, but we are concerned that the UO administration might use this possibility as an excuse to not implement the Obama administration’s salary rules. The new rules are designed to address decades of neglect and prevent the rank exploitation of labor. They are the product of months of work and research, and we are convinced they are just.

In the next few weeks and months, our university administration will be signaling whether they plan to join the larger campus community in opposition to the Trump administration’s attempt to change our country into a poorer, more fearful place. How they react to the rumored undoing of the Obama administration’s progress on updating the overtime rules will provide us with an early clue.

We call on the university administration to follow the guidance of the Obama administration and set minimum salary levels that do not qualify for overtime at $47,476 and not undo them even if afforded the opportunity.

*The FLSA does not apply to doctors, lawyers, or teachers. We cannot find the reason this provision exists, but it seems to have been part of the original law.

 


 

Other impacts of the election

With respect to statewide election results, we are delighted with the election of Governor Kate Brown. Democrats will retain majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. The election of Dennis Richardson to Secretary of State over Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian was a harrowing loss. Despite great efforts by many unions and community organizations, Measure 97 was defeated by a $35 million “No on 97” campaign. The loss of Measure 97 is a major setback for the UO and the public welfare of Oregonians. The state will be facing a $1.5 billion deficit, so expect some difficult budget discussions ahead. In the meantime, we are working with President Schill to make a big ask of $155 million from the legislature. In the wake of Measure 97’s defeat, we are also working in a larger coalition to find a revenue solution for the state, one that makes undertaxed, large out of state corporations pay their fair share for the public services and infrastructure they enjoy. Keep posted for opportunities to join colleagues in Salem in January-March to make the case for a corporate tax and more funding for the UO.

Like so many of our colleagues, we were stunned by Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory last week. Both his rhetoric and policy prescriptions are, in many ways, anathema to our shared values. During the campaign Trump verbally attacked immigrants, people of color, Muslims, women, the disabled, and other groups. His stated political goals include mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, and a travel ban on Muslims seeking to enter the United States. He has referred to popular social movements as terrorist organizations, and has threatened news organizations. It is not difficult to imagine how his administration will likely prove hostile to both higher education and labor.

Since the election, we have seen a troubling spate of racist threats and hate crimes across the country, including some directed at UO students. Unequivocally, hate speech and violence have no place in the civic life of our democracy or in the academic life of our university. Although we are uncertain of the challenges we will face in coming years, we know that today many of our students are experiencing real anxiety and fear about their future. One of the hallmarks of the university is that it is a place where young people can safely grow and explore intellectually, as human beings, and as citizens of the world. As faculty, we have obligations both to encourage and protect this exploration and growth. We have an obligation to work to make our university a safe space.

We applaud the University Senate resolution calling for heightened attention and deliberate action against hate speech and hate crimes arising from racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, and other bias.
To those who worry that challenging hate speech may weaken academic freedom or free speech, know that we stand firm with our commitment to both – and further, we believe the greatest threats to our speech rights are presently external to the university. We need not choose between condemning hate and supporting free speech. Hate speech and the violence it stirs is not welcome and remains antithetical to our professional mission. In the months and years ahead, we will proactively work with the University President, the University Senate, ASUO, SEIU, and the GTFF to ensure our classrooms, our campus, and our community are spaces where everyone has an equal opportunity to work, study and live without fear.

United Academics Statement on Use of Blackface

Dear Colleagues,

The Executive Council of United Academics condemns the use of blackface as inherently racist. We find such actions anathema to our aspirations for a just community at the University of Oregon. We furthermore believe all faculty, in our bargaining unit or not, are entitled to a fair hearing and hope that any actions – including any suspension from duties – in response to allegations of misconduct or unethical behavior will be undertaken according to established procedures of due process and, under our CBA, with just cause. We object to any administrative actions that violate these rights.

Like many, we do not have details or a full understanding of the recent incident, but regardless, the use of blackface evokes America’s racist history in a way that understandably offends and harms many in our community. When a white person puts on blackface, they invoke a history of brutality against black bodies as though the white person were putting on black skin for entertainment. The revulsion in this is found across a spectrum of racially discriminatory and violent actions, from the many racist media stereotypes of people of color to the horror of lynchings. For someone to evoke this history without being corrected by others is a collective harm that degrades all of us. Such actions damage the trust, respect, and safety we seek in a diverse community regardless of how they may have been intended.

Unfortunately, violation of our cherished values at the University of Oregon is not uncommon. We cannot pretend that putting on blackface, as shocking as it may be, is not connected to larger patterns of racism, hostility, and intimidation continually faced by students, faculty, and staff of color at the UO and in the broader community.

We face great challenges ahead in diversifying the campus and in overcoming our racist past and our racist present. We urge our administration to engage all members of our campus community in cultivating a path forward that does not compromise faculty rights to a fair investigation and due process. United Academics is ready to engage with these efforts to build a better, more just University of Oregon.

Sincerely,
The Executive Council of United Academics

Get Out the Vote Rally with Congressman DeFazio

Monday, October 24th from 3-4pm in the EMU Crater Lake Rooms

Join Congressman Peter DeFazio, State Representative Phil Barnhart, and State Representative Val Hoyle for a rally focused on issues impacting students and the higher education community. Join us after the rally to take direct action by calling students to GET OUT THE VOTE!

Peter DeFazio has been a longtime advocate for increasing access to higher education and has fought for federal programs such as Pell grants, federal work study, and student loan forgiveness, which helps make college more affordable.

 

Get Out The Vote Flier

 

LIU Lockout Solidarity Fund – Donation Center

On Labor Day weekend, faculty at the Brooklyn campus of LIU were informed, with less than a day’s notice, that they were locked-out of their campus. Their health insurance is cut off and they will no longer be paid for their work. The lock-out is the administration’s way of refusing to reach an agreement that would address the disparity in investment between LIU’s urban and suburban campuses. Instead, LIU plans to redeploy administrators and has hired temps to teach students when classes begin this week. LIU Brooklyn students, and the community served by LIU Brooklyn, must not be short-changed.

Please support LIU Brooklyn faculty in their fight for fairness and equity.

Click here to donate!

 

Letter to LIU President

September 7, 2016

Dear President Kimberly R. Cline:

Your decision to lockout hundreds of faculty on September 4, 2016 – on the weekend honoring labor no less –is as bewildering as it is unprecedented. Your action threatens to severely damage Long Island University. Your decision to lockout faculty reflects an astonishing disregard for the fundamental bond between student and educator. At the University of Oregon, we understand that institutional respect for faculty is inexorably linked to student learning conditions.

Furthermore, your actions show poor faith in the negotiation process as a space where problems get solved. The process can be difficult at times, but cooperative working relationships and mutual regard can only happen when parties engage without the overt exercise of power by one party over the other. A lockout is a crude and brutal exercise of power, the kind that has devastated workplaces and communities across the country. Terminating faculty healthcare benefits without notice is a cruel manifestation of this type of power.

Your actions are having devastating effects not only on faculty, but on students and the larger LIU community as well. Students learn by the example we set in our lives and work. We urge you to return to the bargaining table and put a good faith ear to the problems being raised by faculty.

Sincerely,

Michael Dreiling
Professor of Sociology
President of United Academics, AAUP/AFT Local 3209
University of Oregon