General Membership Meeting

The 2016 Winter General Membership Meeting is coming up soon. We will be discussing the upcoming legislative session in Salem, the status of our organizing campaign, and our First Year Faculty Development Program. We will also, hopefully, have a student talk with us about the recent activism on campus and how faculty can be effective allies.

As always, there will be a dinner service – a Thai-style buffet – and drinks available. There will be a play area for the youngsters.

GMM Winter 2016

Way to go, Jack!

Congratulations to one of the original UA activists, Jack Boss.

From the School of Music and Dance page:

The book Schoenberg’s Twelve-Tone Music: Symmetry and the Musical Idea, a new publication by Jack Boss, UO professor of music theory, has won the 2015 Wallace Berry Award, the top national book award for music theory and analysis.

The annual Wallace Berry Award is presented each year at the Society for Music Theory conference in recognition of a distinguished book by an author of any age or career stage. This year’s conference took place in St. Louis, Mo.

“I am deeply honored—not to mention a little amazed—to receive this year’s Wallace Berry Award,” said Boss. “This is a culmination of many years of hard work, and I thank my colleagues and the school’s dean, Brad Foley, for their support through the process.”

“My hope is that the award will bring attention to and raise the international profile of the UO School of Music and Dance and music theory studies at the UO,” Boss continued.

At the Society for Music Theory awards presentation, presenter Stephen Peles of the University of Alabama lauded Boss’s work as “a fresh perspective on the musical idea,” and concluded with:

“Schoenberg’s music and thinking have been the focus of scholarly discussion for several decades and Schoenberg’s Twelve-Tone Music does a masterful job of pulling many of these discursive threads together while tremendously enriching our understanding of this music.”

Cambridge University Press published Schoenberg’s Twelve-Tone Music in 2014. In the book, Boss adapts the controversial composer’s notion of a “musical idea”—broken down into problem, elaboration, solution—as a framework for the book as a whole, and focuses on the large-scale coherence of the Schoenberg’s individual pieces.

Boss received both his bachelor’s of music and master’s of music degrees in composition from Ohio State University (1979 and 1981, respectively), and a Ph.D. in music theory from Yale University (1991).

Before coming to the UO, Boss taught at Brigham Young University, Ball State University, and Yale. He has been on the University of Oregon faculty since 1995, and has served as area head of music theory.

Boss has held numerous editorial roles for a number of publications, including Music Theory Online (the Society for Music Theory’s electronic journal), the Journal of Music Theory, and the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy.

GTFF Bargaining – Nov 12, 1-5, Ballroom

On Thursday, November 12, our friends in the GTFF will present their initial package of proposals in this round of bargaining.

Thursday, November 12
1-5 pm
EMU Ballroom

They appreciate any and all who can attend for any length of time. Let’s show the UO that they need to deal with our colleagues seriously and quickly this time.

Million Student March

Million Student March

On Thursday, November 12, University of Oregon students will gather at Johnson Hall at noon for a rally and march.
From the Facebook page:

The educational system is this country can only be described as a crime against the millenial generation. Enough is enough. We can't just wait for the higher-ups to realize the error of their ways. We need to hit the streets.

University of Oregon, let's join the fight. We will reach out to the the other student organizations. We will shout. We will scream. We will join campuses all over the country to let the powers that be know that WE WILL NOT HAVE IT!

Bargaining Update — August 17, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that after nearly 7 months of negotiations United Academics and the University of Oregon have reached a tentative three-year agreement. Over the course of these negotiations, United Academics pressed the conversation on fiscal priorities at the University of Oregon, standing by the principal that investing in faculty is investing in our academic mission.

The UO administration initially proposed a raise to faculty of only 1% over two years (with an additional one-time payment of $600). With considerable effort and after countless hours, we were able to move these numbers in a more favorable direction. While some may hasten to point out shortcomings of the agreement (and I am not shy about indicating some of these below), it is a solid contract that establishes five consecutive years of salary increases for all faculty at the UO (those represented by UA and those not) as well as major improvements in job stability for all NTTF.

Numerous gains are layered throughout our tentative contract, some of which are highlighted below. A more complete summary of the contract will be available in the weeks ahead. As soon as the two teams complete copy-edits, the tentative contract will be made available online for your review before a General Membership Meeting at which UA members will cast an up or down ratification vote. Stay tuned for those details.

Before presenting a quick summary of the contract, I want to thank the hundreds of faculty who participated in various ways to mobilize and support our union during the summer months. Your involvement made an enormous difference! Last week, about 100 of you attended our marathon bargaining sessions. In the end, our combined efforts persuaded the UO to accept an agreement that will provide average raises of 8% over 3 years, along with a $650 one-time payment (about $1,000,000 paid out to faculty), increases to promotion raises, significant increases to salary floors, and more. Thank you to every faculty member who took some action to support the bargaining team over the last 7 months!

Contract Highlights

The tentative contract:

● Provides for salary stability (5 years straight, locked in 3 more after 2 good years) and new salary gains averaging 8% over the next three years. Salaries will take effect on January 1, 2016.
o FY 2016: 2% COLA, $650 one-time payment prorated by FTE on November 30, 2015
o FY 2017: 0.75% COLA, 2.25% merit pool
o FY 2018: 0.75% COLA, 2.25% merit pool
● Locks-in the minimum of 8% promotion raises for all TTF. After promotion to full professor, the faculty member whose first successful review “exceeds expectations” will get a minimum raise of 8%. A successful review that “meets expectations” is guaranteed a minimum of 4%. All subsequent six year reviews result in a minimum of 4%.
● Maintains promotion raises of 8% for NTTF.
● Greatly increases contract stability for all NTTF (including funding contingent faculty) – NTTF who are promoted and are consistently meeting the standards of excellence can expect to have their 3-year contract renewed, with exceptions only for programmatic changes, budgetary limitations or the conversion of the position to a tenure-track position.
● Significantly raises salary floors for all NTTF and Postdocs.
● Brings the salary differential between Pro tem (adjunct) and Career NTTF closer to parity, from 80% to 90%.
● Provides a separate 1% equity pool for librarians since the administration remains unwilling to remove “up or out”.
● Improves faculty access to personnel records and files, including specific time limits for access and partial waivers of the copying costs of records.
● Agrees on a Memorandum of Understanding to study all equity issues at the UO.
● Tightens procedures for the Promotion, Tenure, Retention Appeals Committee (PTRAC).
● Agrees to establish committees to assess a sick leave bank and a child-care subsidy.
● Secures the current the 95% employer/5% employee contribution ratio for health-care premiums.
● Simplifies the faculty policy development process.
● Expands the ability of faculty to change department-level governance policies.

We fought for a number of additional benefits that the UO rejected, including increased sabbatical support and bridge-funding for research faculty. But our single most frustrating loss was in the area of equity. Beginning with our first economic proposal we argued that persistent inequities affect many faculty and departments at the UO. In our attempt to move the administration to include some kind of equity money, we presented an array of solutions, some large, some small, some targeting specific types of equity problems and some taking a multi-year, multi-pronged approach to a variety of internal and external salary inequities. It became clear that the university was not interested in monetarily addressing equity issues in this contract. We did persuade them to work in concert with United Academics to document and propose solutions to equity issues facing faculty.

Our difficult choice

We heard from a wide range of faculty about bargaining strategies. There were many different opinions about how and when to conclude negotiations. The UA leadership found there were a number of compelling reasons to avoid the continuation of negotiations into the fall term. The university has a new president who needs to build momentum for raising resources that serve the academic mission of our university. We need to keep our eye on that process. By not dragging negotiations into the fall, we averted possible mediation and impasse, which could have had costly ramifications in our relations with the university administration. We look forward to discussing these choices in our Representative Assembly and membership meetings.

What’s Ahead?

There is a lot of exciting work ahead. In recent weeks, I have received requests from faculty at the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota to visit their campuses and share our collective bargaining experiences. On campus, Academic Affairs is working with our union to develop a faculty mentoring program. United Academics will also be working with Human Resources and Academics Affairs to set up the committees agreed upon to explore the feasibility of a sick leave bank and child care subsidies and collaborating on the salary equity studies. I look forward to seeing many of you at the next General Membership Meeting to vote on our contract and chart a course forward.

As we celebrate the completion of our negotiations and prepare to vote on the contract, I hope you will consider supporting the classified staff in their ongoing effort to get a fair contract.

Warm wishes,

Michael Dreiling
President, United Academics

Bargaining Update — April 13, 2015

We would like to begin this week’s update by thanking Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration, for her presentation at Friday’s bargaining session. Jamie presented a wealth of information that will inform our bargaining in the coming months. A small group from the bargaining team had the opportunity to meet with Jamie last month to discuss what kind of information we thought would be helpful to have presented, and we appreciate that she focused on the areas we had discussed in that meeting.

Even so, the administration’s economic proposal was insulting. They are offering faculty no raise at all next year and less than 1% merit raise in 2016-2017. The administration also proposed that deans would control 20% of the merit raise and could distribute it at their “sole discretion,” which means that faculty may not even see the full 1%. In contrast, our proposal would provide raises to address the rising cost of living, reward meritorious teaching, research, and service, and address our ongoing equity problem. The administration’s proposal accomplishes none of these things.

Here’s why the administration’s proposal is unacceptable.

First, their proposal does nothing to keep pace with the cost of living. The Bureau of Labor Statistics measured the increase in the consumer price index for our region at 2.4% last year. The annual cost of living increase has averaged 2.28% since 2010. At that average, faculty need 4.56% raises just to keep up with inflation.

Second, a 1% merit raise in the second year does not adequately reward merit or recognize excellence. Worse, it further erodes the autonomy of departments in assessing merit.

Third, their proposal addresses neither our internal nor our external equity issues. While some departments and units have caught up to their comparators across the country, others lag far behind. Compression and inversion still bedevil many departments and units, and Hthe administration’s proposal would only exacerbate these problems. The administration’s proposal also ignores our ongoing gender equity problem.

For most faculty, the administration’s proposal would amount to a pay cut. Overall, it would cause the University of Oregon to fall further behind our comparators. According to their own data, our AAU peers are averaging 3-4% raises every year. A two-year period with a 1% raise will leave us 5-7% behind our comparators when we are next at the table.

We have been saying for months now that budgets reflect priorities. During her presentation, Jamie Moffitt said several times that investing in the people who make the university great is a top priority for the administration. This is what makes the administration’s proposal befuddling. If there is one thing their proposal does not do, it is invest in faculty.

Bargaining can be a long, difficult process. It does not have to be that way, but apparently “long and difficult” is the road the administration has chosen to travel.