Your UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met 8am–12pm on Monday, June 17 in LaSells Stewart Center. Nineteen faculty members observed the session.
During this bargaining session, which coincided with the deadline for Spring 2019 grades, the administration continued to work zealously to deny us the rights and protected working conditions afforded to our peers across the state and nation as well as the unionized CGE and SEIU workers currently employed at OSU.
This session also marked the culmination of UAOSU’s intended bargaining package. To date, we have introduced 45 proposals that address the concerns expressed by our bargaining unit members and enshrine common rights and protections enjoyed by unionized faculties across Oregon and the nation. You can read our collected proposals here.
In contrast, the administration team has introduced 11 articles and responses in total since the start of substantive bargaining on March 23rd. In this bargaining session, the administration introduced an original article that consisted of a single sentence and a paltry response to our Health and Safety, Facilities, and Work Spaces article, which we had proposed on April 27th.
The session began with some questions from the administration bargaining team regarding the intent of our promotion and tenure articles, which we had introduced on June 8th. We clarified that our intent is to articulate clear promotion pathways and processes at OSU, particularly for Instructors, Faculty Research Assistants, and Research Associates, as these are some of the most vulnerable and under-rewarded positions in our bargaining unit.
Through our Hiring Information article, we want to create an environment where faculty members are aware of the aspects of their contracts that they can negotiate prior to accepting a position at Oregon State University. We want OSU to attract the highest quality candidates possible, and we believe those candidates should be provided with the information necessary to negotiate for fair compensation. Worryingly, during the discussion of this article, the administration team seemed to believe that the salary floors we proposed for fixed-term positions in our Compensation article were somehow intended to act as salary ceilings instead. This is absolutely not the case: we intend for faculty to negotiate their salaries as is current practice at OSU, but with salary floors for some positions to ensure reasonable and equitable pay.
Our Workload article calls on academic units to collaborate with faculty members on the creation of workload policies to bring transparency to how FTE, particularly teaching FTE, is calculated and distributed. Furthermore, it bars the administration from creating policies designed solely to deny benefits to part-time faculty members and creates a mechanism to allow faculty members with unfair workloads to seek equitable working conditions through the grievance process.
The Faculty Governance article reaffirms the vital and time-honored role that the Faculty Senate plays in service to our institution. It also fights for the rights of all faculty members to serve on committees and participate fully in matters of academic unit governance.
After a brief caucus, the administration produced a counterproposal on Health and Safety that they speciously believe brings greater clarity to the protections that OSU faculty members deserve in their workplace. Strangely, they insist that an article offering a vague commitment to our health and safety and that is one fifth the size of our original proposal is somehow clearer (see our proposal & their proposal). As we discussed why so much of our original proposal had been deleted, the administration team put forth two problematic lines of reasoning. First, though they concede that providing a healthy and safe workplace is important to the administration, they refused to accept more specific language in the collective bargaining agreement because it would obligate the administration to adhere to specific actions, rather than a vague and general commitment. Second, they have put forth the wrongheaded argument that permissive subjects of bargaining (those that the university is not legally mandated to bargain over) should be omitted from the UAOSU collective bargaining agreement. We do not necessarily agree with the argument that facilities and equipment are not mandatory subjects of bargaining (see more on mandatory & permissive subjects of bargaining here). Moreover, it is common practice in faculty union contracts to address these important topics. Administrations that wish to improve working conditions for their faculty, learning conditions for their students, and produce impactful research do more than the legally required minimum.
The administration also announced that they would not bring a counterproposal on Benefits for Eligible Retired Faculty Members (read the text of our proposal here) because they believe UAOSU is prohibited from representing retired faculty members. Disappointingly, this disinterest in enumerating the fringe benefits enjoyed by retired faculty after years of service to the institution is representative of the deep disregard and contempt that the administration team has shown for faculty members.
The session ended with a longer discussion about what should and should not be in a collective bargaining agreement. The administration’s position is that faculty at OSU do not need the same guarantees as are in the contracts for classified staff and graduate employees at OSU and faculty at other public universities in Oregon.
The next bargaining session is 8am–12pm on June 28 in LaSells Stewart Center. We plan to present counter-proposals on grievance procedures and more. The administration’s team has not yet shared what they plan to present.
We appreciate your support. You can find a full calendar of Summer Term bargaining sessions on our website.
Proposals Exchanged on 17 June