9/3 Negotiations: DELAYED Until 1pm

Today’s negotiations with the University Administration have been postponed until 1pm.  Negotiations will take place in 122 Knight Library.

 

Negotiations have been delayed at the request of the Administration’s negotiators, who are currently meeting with President Gottfredson in hopes of assembling an economic proposal that will move us closer to agreement.

 

Now more than ever, it’s important to be present and show your support for the faculty negotiating team.  Please do everything in your power to attend bargaining today – and every session moving forward.  

Bargaining Update – 8/30/2013

Last Thursday was an amazing day for the bargaining team. We very sincerely want to thank all of our colleagues who turned out to support us and to show the Administration’s bargaining team that we are not yet satisfied with their offers. The large turnout at the beginning of the day filled our conference room at the library resulting in the session moving to a larger room. The fact that so many faculty wanted to see their union present important economic proposals seemed to startle the administration team. By the end of the day at least 130 faculty made their presence felt. We cannot tell you how heartening it is to know that we have the power of a united faculty behind us. We also want to thank all the people who could not physically be with us in the room, but who sent emails, left phone messages, or just approached us in the hallways and on the streets to let us know you are supporting the team. We are so grateful and buoyed by you all.

At the table itself, the day was an auspicious one. We made several economic proposals to the Administration’s team. These proposals included a series of concessions on some issues that we believe are important to the faculty at the UO, including reducing the amount of money we were seeking to address compression and equity issues and for across-the-board raises. We did not make these concessions lightly and we made it clear to the Administration’s team that we were making movements on salary and benefit issues because we expect them to make similar movement on Tuesday, September 3, when we bargain again. Although it is impossible to be sure, they gave us every indication that they may be making such movement; they expressed appreciation for our efforts and described our concessions as “significant.” They said that they were endeavoring to bring counter-proposals on Tuesday and that they had every intention of doing what is necessary to have a final deal at our last scheduled bargaining session on Friday, September 6.

We also presented our proposal on intellectual property, which generated a heated discussion on ownership. At this point, our proposal, which starts with the supposition that faculty own all the products of their work, is on the opposite side of the continuum from the Administration’s proposal, which starts with the supposition that the University of Oregon owns all the products of faculty work. The Administration presented counter proposals on information assets, the denial of tenure or promotion, and the one-time reclassification of adjunct faculty positions once the first Contract Bargaining Agreement (CBA) goes into effect.

An important victory our union made last week was in getting the Administration to stop the American English Institute (AEI) from proceeding with any plans they may have had to dismiss their adjuncts or to shorten their contracts. AEI was setting into practice measures that went against the orderly process for change, as specified in the CBA that we have been bargaining for. After our representatives talked with the Administration’s lead negotiator about this problem, the Administration’s bargaining team announced at the table that they were meeting with the AEI leadership to resolve these issues and to ensure that current adjuncts are treated according to the policies we have formulated at the table.

We do not know how the Administration’s team will approach our last scheduled week of bargaining. We realized a long time ago that we are much better off concentrating on what we do and how we represent the faculty, rather than trying to ascertain what might be driving their motivations. Your presence at bargaining makes a difference and helps us all get a better deal. So, please, if you can, join us in Library 122 between 10 am and 4 pm on Tuesday, September 3.

BE THERE: Show-up for Bargaining THURSDAY (8/29)

ATTEND BARGAINING:

Thursday, August 29, 9am-4PM, Knight Library 122

 

BRING YOUR IDEAS for escalating our contract campaign:

Thursday, August 29, 9am-Noon, in front of Knight Library

 

Our bargaining team spent four consecutive days at the table with the Administration’s million-dollar team a few weeks ago and will bargain again next week on Thursday, August 29 from 9am-4pm.  As the team reported in their recent update, they have made significant progress this summer, winning improvements in a number of critical areas. 

 

However, many of us were stunned, when the UO Administration chose to juxtapose the public unveiling of the Hatfield-Dowlin complex with an assertion at the bargaining table that UO does not have more money for faculty salaries.  The Administration’s chief negotiator literally spoke these words at the same time ESPN, the New York Times, and other media outlets revealed the incredible decadence of UO spending on its football center. As the opinion pages in the news showed, day after day, the UO Administration has misplaced its priorities.

 

In response to these controversies, one community commentator summed it up nicely:

 

“I read that the new football complex at the University of Oregon cost at least $68 million (the UO won’t say how much) and a few days earlier read about UO administrators complaining about professors asking for raises. Huh… Isn’t supporting high-quality professors the entire point to assuring that our students get the best learning experience possible at our public, flagship university? What happened to… the core mission at the UO — educating thousands of our youth, providing long-term research and artistic benefits to our society, and making sure we honor the legacy of our grandparents and assure that kids like mine have a chance at getting a good education? I have five kids growing up in our schools… If the UO can’t invest in the people who do the work, the kids of our state are the ones who will suffer”

– Jim Drews, Register Guard, August 17 “Letters to Mailbag”.

 

This is an ‘all-hands on deck’ moment. If you think the Administration’s refusal to budge on salary and governance is unacceptable, our faculty negotiating team needs you to show up, attend bargaining next Thursday, August 29, and show the Administration’s negotiating team that you stand in support of your team. 

 

As you can discern from the bargaining team update, we had hoped that the Administration would follow-up more decisively on their stated commitment to move faculty salaries closer to our AAU comparators.  That didn’t happen. 

 

As faculty, committed to protecting the integrity of higher education and the mission of the UO, we are preparing to draw on all tools available to pressure the administration to stand by their commitment to faculty and the core mission of the university. But we need assurance from you, in action, that you are prepared to stand up and push.  Please take a moment to RSVP now and let us know that you will be there on August 29.

 

In addition to being present at negotiations, we will be collecting your suggestions for creative and effective actions in the weeks ahead.  In the event that the Administration does not agree to a fair first contract soon, faculty are preparing for creative actions during this Fall’s Week of Welcome. We plan to inform parents and new students of the faculty’s steadfast support for the educational and research mission of the UO, and the Administration’s ongoing failure to live-up to their articulated commitment to prioritize research and education, and faculty.

 

Recall that we have reserved Wed. Oct. 8, 2013 for a union membership meeting. Given the intransigence of the million-dollar bargaining team, we are modifying our expectations for our meeting. If our bargaining team brings us a contract, we will discuss and vote to ratify that first contract. If not, we will be discussing additional –and very serious- ways to escalate pressure on this Administration.  

 

ATTEND BARGAINING:

Thursday, August 29, 9am-4PM, Knight Library 122

 

BRING YOUR IDEAS for escalating our contract campaign:

Thursday, August 29, 9am-Noon, in front of Knight Library

Critical Update on Contract Negotiations

Dear Colleagues,

We have been bargaining with the University administration’s bargaining team rather extensively over the summer. What follows is a review of our progress to date, an update on current status, and some words on our plan for going forward.

On the whole, we have made some amazing progress this summer. As you have read in previous bargaining reports, we have come to agreement on many regular, enforceable, faculty-developed policies that will improve the working lives of all faculty.  We have achieved agreement on consistent review policies for the promotion of NTTF and promotion and tenure of TTF.  We have agreed to 100% salary for one-term sabbaticals.  We have agreed that the University will discontinue the practice of hiring NTTF at .49 to avoid benefits.  We have agreed that all faculty will be provided with reasonable office space, and that classrooms will be equipped with sufficient seating for all enrolled students. We have gained a six week paid parental leave policy.

There are, however, three very important issues remaining where we have not made much progress. To date, the University administration’s bargaining team has been unwilling to ensure that our valued system of shared governance will remain in place at the UO. In fact, their last proposal–both the written version and their oral explanation–made it clear that the University administration has no idea if a future Board of Trustees will maintain the University Senate. Our attempts to recognize and protect the Senate’s role in the Collective Bargaining Agreement have been rejected. 

We are also encountering resistance on the issue of providing job security to Career Non-Tenure-Track Faculty. What we are proposing is neither controversial nor unusual. We propose that Career NTTF should have a reasonable expectation of continued employment as long as they successfully pass their reviews (based on criteria developed by their fellow faculty and applied by the administration); there is continued funding for their position; and there is ongoing programmatic need. We do not seek to bind departments or units to subpar faculty members, to force departments to spend money they do not have, or to employ people when there is no work. Conversely, we believe it is perfectly reasonable that if the administration is going to ask someone to dedicate their career to the UO, the administration should then provide them a basic level of job security. In other words, career NTTF should not fear losing their jobs for arbitrary and capricious reasons. We know that this proposal is not controversial or unusual because it was the intention of the 2007 NTTF policy revision and is the current policy at the UO [http://academicaffairs.uoregon.edu/sites/default/files/NTTF_Policy.pdf].

Lastly, and not surprisingly, we are stuck on economic issues [http://www.registerguard.com/rg/news/local/30221769-75/percent-faculty-university-union-bargaining.html.csp]. For over a year, faculty have been active in a variety of ways in developing the salary proposals put forward by the bargaining team. Faculty working groups have identified four crucial areas that any salary package must address: a decent salary floor for our lowest paid colleagues; money to address our ongoing compression and equity problems; a robust merit raise system; and an across-the-board raise to ensure that no one continues to fall further behind: [http://uauoregon.org/files/2012/11/Article-20-Salary-6-6-13.pdf]. 

We are stuck because, so far, the administration refuses to provide enough money to make a serious attempt to address these four areas: [http://uauoregon.org/files/2013/01/20_clean.pdf]. Over the course of nine months of bargaining, they have increased their total offer by only .5% (from 10% to 10.5%), or roughly $500,000. They have not proposed enough money to establish a decent minimum salary, and have proposed hardly any money to address our compression and equity issues. They have told us repeatedly over the last months that, while they want to address these issues because they agree that they are important, they just don’t have the money. We have also been repeatedly told that it took them years to get us into this mess and it is unreasonable for us to expect them to fix it right away.

As anyone paying attention to the news lately knows, it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that the UO can’t be creative and inventive in finding ways to raise funds for things it is committed to:

[http://www.registerguard.com/rg/news/local/30277677-75/football-players-character-college-oregon.html.csp] [http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/08/03/sports/ncaafootball/Oregon-Football.html].

We are aware of the differences between the athletic budget and the academic budget. We know that these are two houses mostly divided. The administration’s bargaining team has told us loudly and at length that the new “football palace” has nothing to do with their offer. We agree that Phil Knight (a name that no one on our side of the table has ever mentioned, but the administration’s side seems compelled to bring up) has given generously to the academic mission of the UO in the past (the library, the law school, and Knight Professorships to name a few examples). We have also been informed that he will not be giving to the academic mission in the foreseeable future because he feels disrespected by the “academic side.”

Our last few conversations with the administration team have been frustrating precisely because our salary issues have been so acute for so long and because it is blazingly clear that the UO can find the money to do some amazing things when the administration has the desire to get them done. World class athletic facilities, a new campus police force, significant building renovations, new administrative positions and the new independent board do not just happen.  Priorities are set and resources are found.  $138 million is not just spent overnight with no administration input. Our conversations are so frustrating because the amount of money needed to demonstrate a real commitment to redressing lagging faculty compensation is relatively small, and if the political will to make good things happen for faculty was there, it could be done.

We continue to point out that there is significant money flowing from the general fund to athletics.  When we inquired as to the roughly $2 million dollars being spent to support tutoring for athletes in the Jaqua Center, we were told that was an “academic program” and that the President believes that athletes should receive the “same” support as any student.  We don’t accept that roughly $4,000 per student for tutoring is anywhere close to what non-athlete students receive.  We concur with the recently passed Senate resolution, which states that the athletic department should not be receiving money from the general fund (including student tuition) to support the athletic program. This is just one example of resources that could be put toward further investment in the faculty.

The administration wrote in their latest online update that “The Union is pressing the University to spend even more for salaries and benefits, which is not surprising. However, the University must meet its obligation to live within its means.”

Given the administration’s continued claims of a commitment to academic excellence and faculty compensation, we think it’s fair to ask what it means for the University to “live within its means.”  Why does that phrase apply when discussing the heart of the University but not when discussing other, extracurricular, areas?

The administration claims that it has been as generous as it can be, though their budget office has not taken into account ending subsidies for the Jaqua Center and the athlete parking ramp.  Recovering those resources alone could make a real difference.  We also understand the need to budget responsibly, but, in talk about the budget across the table, it appears that the administration budgets only from worst case scenarios.  Even businesses take some risk to develop their strengths.  It’s time that the administration realize that achieving more significant progress towards our shared goal of a well-paid faculty is essential to making the academic program as respected as the athletic program.  It is time for the administration to get creative about how it can make a real investment in faculty–current and future–in order to ‘Win the Academic Day.’

If we are to get a satisfactory deal, we need your help. We cannot accept the administration’s silence on faculty governance or their recalcitrance on reasonable NTTF expectations of security.  And we cannot accept their economic offers as they are currently configured. They have shown no willingness to make any significant movement over their first offer, and they think it is good and fair as it currently stands. Furthermore, they have indicated that they believe that the faculty – you – agree with them. In the next few days, you will be asked to lend your voices to those of the bargaining team’s and send a message to the administration that we all have to do more to address our critical salary needs. We need to establish a decent salary floor for our researchers and instructors, and we need to address our ongoing compression and equity issues. So far, the UO has offered far too little money to address these crucial needs. 

If you agree that we need to address these important issues now, not at some unnamed and unknown time in the future, please help us by responding when called on.

Our next scheduled bargaining session will be on August 29th, from 9-4 in room 122 of the Knight Library. Please show your support by joining us for whatever period of time you can.

Big Summer Bargaining Week: 4 days of Negotiations + United Academics Picnic!

Your faculty negotiating team will be at the bargaining table four consecutive days this week: 

Monday (TODAY): 1pm-4pm
Tuesday: 9am-4pm (picnic from 11:30am-1:30pm)
Wednesday: 9am-2pm
Thursday: 9am-4pm

All negotiations will take place in 122 Knight Library.  Whether you’re able to attend negotiations for a short while or an entire day, please take time to stop by the Library and support your faculty negotiators as they continue to bargain a strong first contract!
 
PICNIC TOMORROW!
TOMORROW (Tuesday, July 30), United Academics is hosting a PICNIC in the Quad in front of the Library from 11:30am – 1:30pm.  YOU’RE INVITED!  Members of our negotiating team will be on hand to answer questions, receive feedback, and discuss next steps in our contract campaign.  Please be sure to stop by, grab a bite with your colleagues, and learn more about winning a strong first contract.

Hosting out of town friends and family?  Kids home from camp?  BRING THEM TOO!  There will be food and gameS for everyone.
 
You can also click here to download a flyer with additional information about the United Academics Picnic.   

United Academics Picnic!

DATE:     Tuesday, July 30

TIME:      11:30am – 1:30pm

WHERE:   Knight Library Quad

WHY:      Support the hard work of your bargaining team, get updates, and share a meal with your colleagues!

 

Your faculty bargaining team is dedicating long hours to continue negotiating a strong first contract this summer.  Come acknowledge their efforts and the critical hurdles they have overcome, and support reaching agreement on the bread and butter of our contract. That’s right: economic proposals will be back on the table in the weeks ahead

 

Please invite your friends, family, and colleagues to hear a few words from one of our state legislators and our bargaining team – and enjoy lunch in the sun!