Bargaining Session 4 Update (04.30.19)

The UAOSU Bargaining Team and the Administration Bargaining Team met on Tuesday, April 30 for the 4th bargaining session. Over the course of the four-hour session, thirty-nine faculty members packed the small room arranged by the administration.

We introduced three new articles: notice of appointment, position descriptions, and annual review.  These articles work together to ensure that faculty receive greater job stability and have more transparent access to promotion and merit pay increases. These articles propose solutions to some of the top concerns shared by faculty.

The Administration Bargaining Team asked no questions and made no comments in response.  This lack of engagement came as a surprise after last Saturday’s session, where the Administration Bargaining Team had begun to ask questions and actively discuss our proposals. Through our efforts at the bargaining table, UAOSU remains committed to proposing reasonable solutions to the problems affecting Oregon State University. These issues cannot be resolved without productive conversations between our union and the Administration Bargaining Team.

Given the importance of these articles, our team called a caucus to discuss strategies for increasing the Administration’s engagement.  After our caucus, we provided additional context to help the University Administration Bargaining Team see how these proposals reflect the priorities of faculty. Each member of our team contributed specific examples  from the UAOSU survey, our office visits with faculty, and our own experiences.

Our team also returned  two counterproposals to the Administration Bargaining Team: personnel files and separability (“savings”).

The Administration Bargaining Team then proceeded by presenting an extended budget overview, similar to those offered across campus in recent months.

To date, our Bargaining Team has presented 30 articles that can be seen here.

The next bargaining session is Monday, May 6 from 12pm–5pm in the International Living-Learning Center 353. We plan to present articles on retrenchment  and more. The Administration has indicated that they will bring responses to some of our proposals and has assured us that they will find a larger room.

We appreciate your support. You can find a full calendar of Spring Term bargaining sessions on our website.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Proposals Exchanged 04.30.19

UAOSU Proposals 04.30.19

No Administration Proposals

Get Involved

To support your bargaining team in negotiating the strongest possible contract, be sure to:

1. Join UAOSU. If you aren’t sure that you’ve signed a membership card (note: this is separate from the authorization card you signed last academic year), be sure to join today by completing an online membership card.

2. Attend a bargaining session. As noted above, joining us in the bargaining room is the best way to support your bargaining team. Your presence demonstrates strength and solidarity, and it allows us to work through proposals with a broader group of faculty. RSVP for upcoming sessions you’ll be able to attend! We’ll confirm locations with you as soon as we have them.

3. Show your support. Hang a poster in support of bargaining on your office or lab door. You can print a sign here, or request a glossy poster be delivered to you by responding to this message.

4. Contact your legislator. Because of Representative Rayfield’s position on the Ways & Means Committee, Corvallis’ representative plays an especially prominent role in setting public university funding levels. Without a significant push from educators, parents, and other Oregonians invested in our education system, we can expect serious underfunding of our universities and the tuition increases and budget cuts that follow. Please call (503-986-1416) or email (rep.danrayfield@oregonlegislature.gov) to ask that Representative Rayfield advocate for funding the Public University Support Fund with at least an additional $120 million for public universities above the basic current service level.

Bargaining Session 3 Update (04.27.19)

The UAOSU Bargaining Team and the administration team met on Saturday, April 27 in Moreland Hall. Twenty faculty members observed bargaining. The administration presented two counterproposals: savings and personnel files. We introduced seven new articles: fringe benefits; benefits for eligible retired faculty members; public employee benefits; postdoctoral scholar and postdoctoral fellow health plans; retirement benefits; professional development; and health and safety, facilities, and work spaces. UAOSU presented two counterproposals: no strike, no lockout and non-discrimination.

The teams engaged in some productive conversation about both issues and process. The administration team continued to assert that existing policy, process, and law offer adequate protection for faculty in areas like non-discrimination and access to personnel files. We continued to explain that codifying those protections in a collective bargaining agreement so they cannot be changed unilaterally is a critical priority for faculty.

After a lunch break & caucus, the teams discussed an agenda for Tuesday’s session and potential dates for sessions in Bend and Newport before breaking at 3pm.

The next bargaining session is Tuesday, April 30 from 9am–1pm in Agricultural & Life Sciences Building 3006A. We plan to present articles on notice of appointment, annual review, and more. The administration’s team plans to present on the general state of the university’s finances.

Attending a bargaining session is a great way to stay informed and engaged in the development of our first contract. We appreciate your support! You can find a full calendar of Spring Term bargaining sessions on our website.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Proposals Exchanged 04.27.19

UAOSU Proposals 04.27.19

Administration Proposals 04.27.19

Get Involved

To support your bargaining team in negotiating the strongest possible contract, be sure to:

1. Join UAOSU. If you aren’t sure that you’ve signed a membership card (note: this is separate from the authorization card you signed last academic year), be sure to join today by completing an online membership card.

2. Attend a bargaining session. As noted above, joining us in the bargaining room is the best way to support your bargaining team. Your presence demonstrates strength and solidarity, and it allows us to work through proposals with a broader group of faculty. RSVP for upcoming sessions you’ll be able to attend! We’ll confirm locations with you as soon as we have them.

3. Show your support. Hang a poster in support of bargaining on your office or lab door. You can print a sign here, or request a glossy poster be delivered to you by responding to this message.

Bargaining Session 1 Update (03.23.19)

The UAOSU Bargaining Team met with the administration team on Saturday, March 23 for our first discussion of substantive proposals. The administration team was joined for the first time by Heather Horn, OSU’s newly hired assistant provost for academic employee and labor relations. Forty-eight faculty members came to observe bargaining, along with two graduate employees and a handful of others. In previous sessions, UAOSU stood firm in our demand for open sessions, and today the teams came to agreement on ground rules that codified faculty members’ right to attend bargaining sessions and omitted any infringement on their freedom of expression.

In the morning, UAOSU presented proposals for fourteen articles, ranging from boiler plate contract language to crucial protections for academic freedom, an antidiscrimination policy, and a grievance procedure. We also presented an article on “Academic Classifications,” in which we are seeking to clarify and streamline the broad range of faculty classifications across the institution and to provide new promotion pathways for Research Associates, Instructors (PAC), and Instructors in INTO OSU. In turn, the administration team presented proposals for six articles; these included their own nondiscrimination article and an article on “Management Rights.”

The nondiscrimination article provoked significant discussion at the table. UAOSU’s proposal would prohibit discrimination on the basis of “race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, citizenship status, ancestry, genetic information, pregnancy, marital status, domestic partnership status, familial status, age, body size, education level, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other extraneous considerations not directly and substantially related to effective performance.” The administration team’s proposal was much shorter and did not include protections for many of those groups. They argued that broader protections would create conflicts with statutory requirements, but our team was not able to elicit a clear and valid explanation for the concern. We will continue to emphasize the need for clear, far-reaching, and enforceable non-discrimination provisions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Academic freedom also prompted numerous questions from the administration team. UAOSU’s proposal includes OSU administration’s affirmative duty to protect faculty from pressures from external entities that impinge on academic freedom. The administration team seemed to have difficulty understanding why such protections are necessary. Our team offered numerous examples of potential problems, including industry groups seeking to suppress the publication of research findings, which occurred at OSU several years ago, and political groups demanding censure of a faculty member for their speech, which has happened across the country in recent years.

A larger theme that emerged in our conversations was the purpose of a Collective Bargaining Agreement. The administration team argued that it is unnecessary to include protections in the CBA that are already provided for in OSU policy. Because OSU already has policies protecting academic freedom and non-discrimination, for example, they argued that we do not need to include such protections in the CBA. They did, however, put forward a proposal on management rights which are also already a matter of law, a contradiction they failed to acknowledge. On crucial issues that are of concern to faculty, administrators can change existing policies. Furthermore, the procedures for enforcement of university policies are often opaque and inadequate. It is therefore essential to get protections that guarantee faculty rights enshrined in a CBA. Only then can we be assured that policies will not be changed without faculty consent and that faculty will have legal recourse if such policies are not followed or enforced.

The teams are close to agreement on some standard contract language and have scheduled three bargaining sessions for April: April 22 from 9-1, April 27 from 9-5, and April 30 from 9-1. We encourage faculty members to come observe a bargaining session. It is important for all of us to be engaged in this process and contribute to achieving a good first contract. We very much appreciate your presence at bargaining. Those of you who have had an opportunity to attend a bargaining session know just how slow and frustrating the process can be. Your solidarity and support keep us energized and focused on our common goals. We hope to see you soon and, as always, welcome your feedback.

Proposals Exchanged on March 23:

Ground Rules Session Bargaining Update (02.18.19)

The UAOSU bargaining team met with the administration team in the Valley Library during the afternoon of February 18. We, again, attempted to establish ground rules so that we could begin bargaining over real proposals and finding solutions to the myriad problems facing the OSU faculty. We were, unfortunately, again not successful in securing a final agreement. Our team sent the admin team an electronic proposal after the session that we hope will resolve the few remaining issues. 

The session was, however, a smashing success in that more than 50 faculty from all corners of campus gathered to observe the session. The team was heartened to see the show of support, hear the words of encouragement, and feel solidarity with our fellow faculty. We have been battling the admin over who is allowed to observe bargaining, what people can say about what they see and hear, and whether anyone has the right to stifle the voices of our faculty. The session on Monday brought home how important it is to ensure that all faculty – union members or not – have the right to observe the process that will shape the future of OSU for faculty and students alike. 

We will keep everyone updated about the future bargaining schedule and strongly encourage all faculty to come and observe. Your presence and your feedback are extremely important. Our team is working hard to represent all faculty at OSU; having faculty engaged with the process is the best way to make that happen. 

Ground Rules Session Bargaining Update (01.23.19)

Your bargaining team met with the administration team for the third time this past Wednesday. The parties have been trying to come to agreement on ground rules for our negotiations. We have reached agreement on several minor issues, such as who will schedule the bargaining rooms and the order in which proposals will be presented. However, one major issue that has prevented us from completing ground rules negotiations is the issue of transparency.

After three half-day sessions and five exchanges of written proposals, we remain deadlocked on this issue. We have consistently proposed and maintained that negotiation sessions be open to all faculty, students, staff, and community members who want to observe the discussions. We have insisted on the right to communicate with you, the bargaining-unit members we represent, and the larger campus community about the proposals, conversations, and ideas that are being exchanged. We cannot imagine limiting our ability to inform you about what is being said on your behalf and get your feedback about our efforts. Our union represents the collective voice of the faculty, and we refuse to muffle that voice.

Unfortunately, the administration team has not embraced our request for transparency. They have proposed that the sessions be closed to all but the bargaining teams and special guests, or, at most, bargaining-unit faculty could watch “executive sessions” where the observers would have to agree to not share what they heard in bargaining with their colleagues or the general public. They have sought to constrain our ability to share the ideas and proposals that are exchanged at the table with you. Most troubling, the administration team has seemingly advanced the idea that we will only be able to speak honestly with each other if we speak behind closed doors.

Transparency, freedom of thought and expression, and the courage to speak openly and publicly are the hallmarks of the academy and of our union. While we fully recognize that there are times when a full-throated airing of viewpoints can do more damage than good, we believe that knowing our conversations will be public challenges us to be accountable for what we say and propose. The principles of transparency are embedded in the United Academics mission statement and our bargaining platform. We will continue to fight for them at the bargaining table.

The administration team abruptly left our last session early and indicated that they were not sure how we move forward. We have proposed several dates and times that we are prepared to meet with the administration team to begin giving them proposals to improve the working conditions for faculty at OSU.  We hope to begin this work soon. When our first real bargaining dates are set, we will let you know, and we invite all faculty and members of the campus community to come and watch this work. We value your interest, your support, and your feedback.

Ground Rules Session Bargaining Update (12.11.18)

We met with the administration’s bargaining team on Tuesday, December 11. We continued our conversation about ground rules for our negotiation sessions. We exchanged proposals and views on how best to proceed toward securing a final agreement. We learned that we had very different visions for how to achieve agreement, but both parties affirmed our desire to come to an amicable resolution as quickly as possible.

Ground Rules Session Bargaining Update (11.20.18)

This is the first of what we anticipate will be frequent updates from your bargaining team. We are privileged to represent most of the faculty of Oregon State at the bargaining table. We will strive to keep you updated on our efforts without overwhelming you with information. We appreciate all feedback.

On Monday, we met with the administration’s bargaining team to exchange ground rules proposals. They are represented by Assistant Labor Relations Director Christine Meadows, Director of Budget and Fiscal Planning Sherm Bloomer, Employee and Labor Relations Manager Viki Dimick Jackson, and Director of the School of Writing, Literature, and Film Peter Betjemann. They will be joined at the table by the Assistant Provost for Academic Employee and Labor Relations, a recently created position for which they are still in the process of hiring.

Unfortunately, we were not able to come to an agreement over ground rules in one four-hour session. We found we had a fundamental disagreement over whether our bargaining sessions should be open to anyone who wants to attend – our position –
or closed to only the bargaining teams – their position. We emphasized to them our belief that all faculty had the right to observe negotiations, that transparency was one of our fundamental principles, and our hope that bargaining could be an
inclusive process. They responded with concerns that having people “come and go” during bargaining would make our sessions less productive. While our conversations remained friendly and collegial, we were unable to resolve our differences on this critical point.

The need for more transparency at Oregon State University was one of the main reasons so many faculty supported the formation of our union. Transparency is one of the planks of our bargaining platform. Faculty have made it clear that decision-making at OSU has been too opaque for too long. We cannot see how closing bargaining sessions to the faculty and campus community could be a path to resolving this problem.

We have agreed to meet with the administration team again to take another shot at resolving our differences on this important issue. We will keep you informed about our progress.

In Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team

Bargaining Listening Sessions

Please attend one or more of the upcoming listening sessions to share you input on bargaining priorities!

 

Unit Date Time Location RSVP Link
College of Public Health & Human Sciences* R 11/1 5-6pm Hallie Ford 115 RSVP
College of Science T 10/23 2-3:30pm LINC 307 RSVP
College of Veterinary Medicine R 10/25 8-9am Magruder 262 RSVP
INTO OSU F 10/26 1-2pm ILLC Room 350-352 RSVP
Library M 10/22 12-1pm Library-Willamette East 3622 RSVP
Non-Corvallis Research Centers R 10/18 5-6pm Video Conference RSVP
Non-Corvallis Research Centers F 10/19 12-1pm Video Conference RSVP

*Note Change of Date (from Friday, November 1)*

 

Job Classification Date Time Location RSVP Link
FRAs & RAs T 10/23 12-1:30pm MU Thought Lab (215) RSVP
Instructors T 10/30 4-5:30pm MU La Raza Room (208) RSVP
Junior Tenure-Track Faculty R 11/1 4-5:30pm MU Board Room (221) RSVP
PAC Instructors F 10/26 3-4pm Langton PAC Office Lounge RSVP
Postdocs T 10/30 12-1:30pm MU Thought Lab (215) RSVP