I'm writing to introduce myself as the recently elected VP for Non-Tenure-Track Instructional Faculty of United Academics - our faculty union.
Last Spring, I decided to run for an executive office in UA because I have watched it grow into a force for hope and positive change on our campus. Hardworking, passionate faculty from a diversity of backgrounds, disciplines, and academic ranks have come together to help make our university a better place to work, a better place to teach, and a better place to learn. The new-found community and camaraderie that our union has fostered as we work toward shared goals have made the endeavor abundantly worthwhile.
But the accomplishments of United Academics go far beyond a heightened sense of unity. As you know, in August we concluded the bargaining for our second collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which earlier this month was ratified by our general membership and signed by our bargaining team, President Schill, and other representatives from the university administration.
Our two contracts have ushered in substantial positive changes on campus over the last couple of years, and arguably the NTT faculty have gained the most from these efforts. Some of the most salient gains have been:
- a recognized and equitable role for NTTF in determining policies at the department level;
- automatic two-year appointments for Career NTTF who have worked four years and three-year contracts after promotion, plus the new possibility of multi-year contracts for non-promoted Career NTTF;
- the end of up-or-out for promotion decisions (except for librarians);
- enhanced job security for promoted Career NTTF;
- five consecutive years of raises, including a mixture of across-the-board, merit, and equity raises;
- the establishment of salary floors for NTTF in the first CBA and increases of those floors in the second CBA;
- a commitment to a campus-wide study of salary equity issues, including gender equity;
- the replacement of the classification "Adjunct" with "Pro tem," and the addition of the classification "Visiting" for NTTF.
And this list is just a start. I invite you to take some time to pull up and review the the information section for NTT instructional faculty on the United Academics website:
The first two links on this page contain a wealth of information that specifically impact the working conditions and careers of NTT instructional faculty at UO. The page also serves as a handy repository of policies and procedures that are good to know about: our shared governance rights; the timing and nature of appointments; the process for review and promotion; and (if need be) how grievances work.
As we begin the first year of our new three-year contract, there is much to do. We are working closely with the administration to ensure that the CBA's terms are interpreted and implemented as intended by the bargaining teams at the table. Additionally, we are currently engaged in an organizing campaign, trying to reach all of our newly arrived faculty as well as those who initially may have been skeptical of what a faculty union at the UO might look like. And we continue to support members with interpreting the provisions of the contract and pursuing grievances when violations of the CBA arise.
United Academics is our faculty union, and we need your help, input, and support. As we work to implement the CBA and continue conversations with the administration about salary equity issues, family leave, and other issues, we want to know what your priorities and concerns are. In terms of working conditions, what is already in place that enhances our productivity and helps us to serve our students' needs effectively? What can we work together to improve?
In particular, I want to know what you, the NTT instructional faculty, worry about. How best can I serve as an advocate for your needs? Please feel free to contact me at any time. My UA email is listed below. I would also be very happy to meet with you in person and discuss any of your concerns or suggestions at length; just let me know.
I invite you to be a part of United Academics. If you are not yet a full member, I invite you to join us. If you are already a full member, I invite you to actively participate at any level you are comfortable with and that your commitments allow.
We need your voice. We need your perspective. We are a better, stronger, and wiser union together. Reaching out, sharing your thoughts, attending our meetings, participating in committees, and taking concrete steps to advocate for positive change will require time and effort. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your effort. Thank you for everything you already do for your students and for our institution. I look forward to working with you.
Instructor, Department of Economics
Vice President for Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty Affairs
United Academics will begin bargaining its second contract this Winter and we need to hear from you. Despite the many gains in our first contract, much remains to be done. Please attend one of these listening sessions to share your concerns and ideas, and answer questions about the contract and bargaining.
VP for NTTF Instructional Affairs, Ron Bramhall, will be available:
Wednesday, October 15
Rogue River Room (EMU)
Friday, October 17
United Academics Office
Wednesday, October 22
Rogue River Room (EMU)
Friday, October 24
South Dining West (EMU-conference room off South Dining Room)
Vp for TTF Affairs, Gina Psaki, will be available:
Friday, October 24
Tuesday, October 28
Wednesday, October 29
Coquille River Room
Friday, October 31
I encourage you to not only join, but also recruit your colleagues to take part in these conversations. This is a great opportunity for all to influence our next contract.
Fantastic article in American Association of University Professors Academe written by UA’s Ron Bramhall. Ron is the Vice President of Non-Tenure-Track Instructional Affairs for United Academics and a Senior Instructor in the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon.
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
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.
One of the most surprising, but positive developments, to come out of bargaining was the proposal from the university that all Career Non-Tenure-Track Faculty on non-funding-contingent contracts would be notified whether their contracts were to be renewed or not renewed by May 1st. When our team expressed surprise and maybe a little skepticism that this could be done, the university backed up their pledge by proposing that for every day past the May 1st deadline that an NTTF had not received a renewal notice, that NTTF would receive a “bonus” day’s worth of pay.
Yesterday, the university let us know that the first test of the new system was a complete success! 100% of departments and units reported notifying all of the Career NTTF on non-funding-contingent contracts of their status for next year. This is a dramatic change from previous years, when NTTF could until the weeks before class to find out if they still had a job at the UO, and a major step forward in professionalizing and regularizing the instructional and research workforce at the UO.
If you are a Career NTTF on a non-funding-contingent contract and you have not received a renewal or non-renewal notice, please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The university implementation team asked us to let them know as soon as possible if there have been any glitches.
While this is very good news and a giant step in our efforts to transform the university, we realize that we still need to smooth out a couple of wrinkles. We realize that some NTTF received a notice of renewal, but not a new contract. The admin team assures us that the contracts are coming, but we will look to fix this loophole of sorts the next time we bargain.