Fall 2014 General Membership Meeting

The Fall 2014 General Membership Meeting is on the horizon.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, November 5th in the Ford Alumni Center. It will run from 5 to 7 pm, with the 5 to 5:30 window being when food and drink will be available. Please arrive early to get yourself situated and to ensure that the meeting starts on time. The business portion of the meeting will begin at 5:30.

There will be the traditional burrito bar available to sate your hunger and a range of tasty beverages to slake your thirst.

Like our previous meeting, we will provide a children’s play area with some toys, coloring implements, and blocks. Lots of blocks.

We anticipate presenting the bargaining platform, planning for a potential GTFF strike, and discussing the future of the university.

All full members of United Academics are invited to attend. If you have not yet joined as a member, you can learn how to so here or you can join at the meeting itself.

A Message from VP-Psaki in Support of the GTFF

A Message from VP Psaki in Support of the GTFF

Bargaining between the GTFF and the UO administration has bogged down over issues of wage increases and benefits (specifically, paid leave). UA is concerned about this impasse, for several reasons.
First, the GTFs are an essential part of instruction and research on our campus. Without the enormous contribution of the graduate teaching fellows, the UO’s current scale and scope of quality teaching and research literally cannot be maintained.
Second, the UO aims at expanding graduate education even as the uncompetitive stipends in many fields make it increasingly difficult to recruit into our graduate programs. Last spring’s letter cosigned by Directors of Graduate Studies makes this case clearly: the quality of campus intellectual life depends on strong support for our graduate students.
Third, the idea that faculty can protect our undergraduates’ experience from the effects of a GTFF strike is unrealistic: most of us already have a 1.0 FTE appointment, with no flex time for doing additional work even if we were eager to do so. Large-enrollment classes are only possible because of GTFs; in multi-section courses where GTFs are the lead instructors, faculty cannot step in and replace them. Nor should we, if expanding graduate education is a goal here.
Last, the decline in tenure-track positions nationwide makes our GTFs’ commitment to the university an even greater proof of dedication. We should reward that commitment and dedication, not erode it.

Information about potential GTFF strike.

Dear Colleagues,

As the beginning of the new school year approaches, many of our departments are making plans in the event that the GTFs go out on strike. The officers of United Academics and the union office have been fielding questions about the rights and responsibilities we have as faculty members and unionists. Below is our best advice at this time.

1. You can be an active participant in the discussions around a possible strike by the GTFF. One way to do that is by asking questions, “What are the GTFs bargaining over?” “What are the barriers to settling bargaining?” “What has the administration done to settle bargaining?” “How long would a strike last?” These questions are important because they can start conversations in your department about the issues the GTFs are bargaining over. They can also test to see how (or if) the administration is communicating to supervisors about the issues in bargaining, and they may also notify the administration that faculty want a fair settlement.

  • The University of Oregon estimates that it costs a graduate student $1591.33 a month to attend the UO. The majority of GTFs earn well below that figure. Many do not earn enough to cover the UO’s estimated cost for food and rent. The GTFF proposal would begin the work of closing this gap, reducing GTF reliance on loans.
  • GTFs currently do not have any paid leave. Having to deal with even a short-term illness or disability that prevents a GTF from being at work means that GTFs risk losing both their jobs and graduate careers. Our GTFs work 1/3 of the instructional FTE on campus. A quality education can only be provided by instructors that are healthy.
  • Our departments and programs need to recruit and retain high-quality graduate students if we are to maintain our AAU ranking. Increasing salary and job security will help us recruit and retain the best students for our graduate programs.

2. In the event that GTFs actually go out on strike or that the administration is putting pressure on faculty to commit to replace striking GTFs, our Collective Bargaining Agreement says that any work that faculty do to replace striking workers “shall be considered an overload assignment.” (See Article 40, Page 74). Our Collective Bargaining Agreement also says that “No bargaining unit faculty member may be disciplined or terminated for refusing an overload assignment.” (See Article 17, Section 9, Page 23) We believe that faculty have every right to refuse to do the work of a striking GTF. We are, however, aware that not all faculty feel 100% secure in refusing to do what administrators and colleagues ask them to do. If you do not want to replace a striking GTF, but also do not want to outright refuse, you can honestly answer, “I would prefer not to.” In most situations, units will be looking to replace very few workers and we believe that most units will only be looking for volunteers. If, however, you are being pressured to agree to cover for a GTF in the event of a strike, please contact our office so we can provide you with direct advice that makes sense for your individual situation. info@uauoregon.org, 541-636-4714

3. In the state of Oregon, the legal process for public employees to go out on strike is a long one. If either the UO or the GTFF side officially declares “impasse” – that they cannot and probably will not agree – there will be at least 47 days off cooling off before there can be a strike or a lockout. If an impasse is declared and we get a better sense of the timeline, we will share follow up advice about your legal rights regarding picket lines, solidarity actions, and coordinated job actions. We hope that the two sides can come to agreement and that such an email will not be necessary, but we will endeavor to keep you informed if things do not go well.

Warmly and in solidarity,
Michael Dreiling
UAUO President

5 reasons to be proud that you are a United Academics member


What a year it has been for our union! Our unionization effort and first contract continues to attract national attention and acclaim. There are many reasons to be proud that you are a UA member. Here are just a few:

5. Winning the job protections we need

Our historic contract provides all faculty with a transparent process for filing a grievance when the administration has violated a section of the agreement, protecting our rights in the tenure and promotion process, in the implementation of raises, and in many other provisions.

4. Your voice counts

With allies across campus, we’ve helped win one of the strongest academic freedom policies in the country, protecting the free speech rights of faculty, staff, and students.  And in every unit on campus, faculty have ratified and reshaped governance policies.

3. Raises, finally

Together, we’ve won significant raises averaging 11.75% for the life of the contract, balanced across merit, equity, and across the board increases. And a new salary floor for the lowest paid full-time faculty has raised the salary of some 240 faculty an average of 11.81%, including back pay averaging $3,180. 

2. A new day for NTT faculty

Against every trend in higher education, our contract has transformed conditions for many NTT faculty on campus: Some 300 NTT faculty have been reclassified to career positions, promising greater job security, better pay, opportunities for professional advancement, promotion, and eligibility for sabbatical.

1. Forward Together

The UO is clearly at a crossroads. We have a new board of trustees. We’ve seen ongoing changes in leadership at many levels. And the challenges to higher education in general continue to mount. Together, we can shape those changes in the best interests of faculty, students, and our campus.


Link to President’s Report

Union, administration agree on salary floors

At the conclusion of bargaining in September 2013, United Academics and the University agreed that we would form a committee to discuss the best way to spend a limited pool of money to establish salary floors at the UO. After many months of meetings, we have finally come to a mutually satisfactory agreement that will continue our project of transforming the university and improving the quality of research and teaching at the UO. We anticipate these new salary floors will mean wage increases for approximately 300 of our lowest paid colleagues, with some raises as high as 30%.

This could not have been done without the faculty who volunteered to serve on the committee, meeting every week for 4 months. I wish to thank them and invite you to do the same – Alex Dracobly, Yvonne Braun, and our Executive Director, David Cecil. Likewise, an agreement could not have been reached without collaborative work with the Administration’s team, Barbara Altman, Doug Blandy and Brad Shelton. Of course, none of this would have happened without our union and the years of volunteer work by faculty activists who helped create it and negotiate our first contract.

We still have work to do. We begin contract negotiations next December and we need your input. Please come to our first General Membership Meeting on May 13, 5-8 pm in GER Lounge, and celebrate the many achievements in our first contract and help set the groundwork for another round of improvements at the UO. Also, swing by the union office this Friday the 18th (4-6) for a glass of wine, juice, or beer and some afternoon snacks to thank the AFT staff organizers and our office


Michael Dreiling

The full agreement is below.

The University will establish Base Salary minimums (referred to here as salary floors or floor salaries) for non-tenure-track faculty represented by United Academics. These floors vary by unit and by classification. Salary floors apply to Base Salary only, for 1.0 FTE. Salary floors apply to all new NTTF hires as of FY2015.

A. Salary floors

1. We establish salary floors for career NTTF as follows (and as previously agreed upon):
a. PE/Rec: $24,000
b. Research assistants: $32,000
c. HEP: $26,000
d. Academic Extension: $27,000
e. All others: $36,000

2. Salary floors for adjunct NTTF will be 80% of corresponding career floors.

B. Implementation for current NTTF employees, effective Sept. 16, 2013

1. Move all existing career NTTF in the bargaining unit to the full floor if they are currently below it.

2. Move all existing adjunct NTTF in the bargaining unit to 90% of the corresponding career floors, if they are currently below it. “Existing adjuncts” are faculty who is or was on contract for any part of Fiscal Year 2014.

3. Move Senior I career NTTF in the bargaining unit to 8% above their respective floors, if they are currently below it.

4. Move all Senior II career NTTF in the bargaining unit to 17% above their respective floors, if they are currently below it.

5. Move all career research assistants in the bargaining unit who are not affected by B.1 above to 110% of the floor of $32,000 (=$35,200), if they are currently below it.

6. Move all career PE/Rec NTTF in the bargaining unit who are not affected by B.1 above to 110% of the floor of $24,000 (=$26,400), if they are currently below it.

7. Move all career NTTF who were not affected by B.1, B.3, B.4, B.5, or B.6 to 105% of the appropriate floor, if they are currently below it.