Update for 12.17.19 Bargaining Session

Your UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met 2–5 pm on Tuesday, December 17 in the LaSells Stewart Center. The session focused on the Administration team’s Compensation counter-proposal, from which three issues arose:

  • Pay Increases: The Administration’s proposal now recognizes that all bargaining unit members should be eligible for merit increases, not just those members who are employed at 0.5 FTE and above.  However, three important issues remain. 

(1) The proposal only accounts for merit increases and not for necessary increases due to inflation, which is currently about 2.7%.  

(2) The Administration continues to lump equity adjustments together with merit pools, despite the real need to address pay inequity across campus. As an example of the pay inequity that currently exists on campus, it came to light during this session that one quarter of all Postdoctoral Scholars are currently being paid less than the NIH scale, which is in violation of OSU’s own policy on Postdoctoral Scholar compensation. 

(3) The Administration is unwilling to commit to a set standard for what those merit increases will be over the life of the agreement.  While they’ve proposed a 3% pool for fiscal year 2020, in future years, they retain the right to set the pool for merit increases to be as low as 1%.

  • Salary Minimums: The Administration accepted our proposed minimums for professorial faculty and proposed a level salary floor for the Instructor, Instructor (ESL-English as a Second Language), and Instructor (ALS-Academic Learning Services) categories. However, their proposed minimums for all Instructors, Faculty Research Assistants, Lecturers, and Research Associates undervalue the contributions that these bargaining unit members make to the university, particularly compared to the cost of living in Corvallis. We will continue to negotiate salary minimums that accurately reflect the value of these faculty members.
  • Professional Development: Disappointingly, the Administration’s proposal fails to protect non-tenure track faculty’s access to professional development funds.  We will continue to advocate for a system that gives all bargaining unit members equal opportunity to pursue their professional development goals.

The December 17 bargaining session began with a tentative agreement to the Academic Freedom article proposed by the Administration on December 4.

Bargaining will resume in January 2020.  In the meantime, you can let the Administration know you want a fair contract by signing our petition here, and you can start the new year as a member of UAOSU by signing up here.


Your Bargaining Team

Response to Provost Feser’s Salary Increase Program (10.31.19)

Dear Colleagues, 

On Monday, our UAOSU bargaining team was offered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on compensation for the 2020 fiscal year (FY2020). The MOU:

  • required us to sign away our right to negotiate salaries for FY2020 in exchange for inclusion in the faculty salary increase program announced by the University’s Provost for FY2020;
  • provided no written specifications as to eligibility criteria, the size of the raise pool, minimum raises for those eligible, or the process for determining the distribution of merit raises; 
  • was delivered in the closing minutes of the bargaining session, giving us no opportunity to ask questions or negotiate over these provisions; and 
  • allowed us only three days to respond.

On Monday night, Provost Feser sent an email announcing  the Provost’s salary increase program. As part of his message, Provost Feser again indicated that in order for bargaining unit faculty to particulate in this program, our union would have to agree to give up our right to bargain for raises for all faculty in FY2020, thereby excluding postdoctoral faculty, all faculty with less than 0.5 FTE, and faculty who did not receive an annual review.

Our Organizing Committee considered the matter at length on Tuesday evening and resolved to decline to sign the MOU and to continue bargaining over salaries. The administration has a legal obligation to bargain with us in good faith. Their attempts to impose a short and arbitrary deadline, provide no opportunity for questions or discussion, and abruptly move negotiations away from the bargaining table and into our inboxes, are alarming steps out of line with good faith bargaining.

The full text of our response to the Assistant Provost of Academic Employee and Labor Relations can be found here.

We formed our union to have a voice in our university’s governance and to be able to negotiate over issues that are important to us, including compensation. We expect the administration to negotiate in good faith for salaries and working conditions, not to wait months to provide a proposal that would maintain a flawed status quo with no time to discuss or interrogate the proposal and with an unnecessary and unreasonable deadline of three days to reply. 

Join with us in negotiating for fairer compensation for all OSU faculty:

In solidarity,

Your UAOSU Bargaining Team

Statement in Support of Genesis Hansen

October 24, 2019

The Organizing Committee of United Academics of OSU extends its support to OSU student Genesis Hansen, a Philosophy and English major in her fourth year. She was stopped on her bicycle by an Oregon state trooper, lawfully refused to give her identification, and was then forcibly arrested. 

The Corvallis/Albany branch of the NAACP has rightly named this incident as part of a broader pattern of civil rights violations and violence against communities of color. We join them in calling for a full apology and tangible university support for Genesis Hansen, and for meaningful community education and action. 

There is a need to educate OSU faculty, staff, and students — as well as other community members — on our civil rights, and for all to exercise and defend those rights daily, so that people of color do not have to live in serious fear of encounters with law enforcement.

We seek clarity on the future of law enforcement on the Oregon State University campus. On October 23, 2019 OSU President Ed Ray’s office announced that the Oregon State Police will terminate its contract with OSU, but the announcement did not explain why this decision was made. As the administration evaluates needs for campus law enforcement, we call on them to be transparent, and to partner with students, staff, faculty, and community members of color in discussing and making these important decisions.  Whatever law enforcement entity takes the place of Oregon State Police, they need proper training to equitably serve and protect our diverse campus, and help us maintain a supportive and welcoming culture for our students who come from around the nation and world.

A safe environment for all members of the OSU community requires upholding all of our rights to move freely without fear of harassment or violence. 

Bargaining Session 22 Update (10.05.19)

During the bargaining session on Saturday at OSU-Cascades, the administration took a new stance that would radically weaken compensation and job protections for faculty. Among the administration’s most troubling proposals were:

The session on Saturday in Bend went from 9am-5pm. Six faculty members observed the session.

The morning of bargaining saw our UAOSU team presenting counterproposals on Dues Deduction and Academic Classification & Rank and the administration team presenting counterproposals on Academic FreedomGrievance Procedure, and Arbitration. While these administration’s counterproposals contained some troubling issues, they were largely consistent with the progress towards agreement that the two teams have been making in recent weeks.

The counterproposals the administration presented in the afternoon were very different.

In their first response to our financial proposals, the administration gave us a one-page counterproposal titled Benefits that could radically alter the health insurance and retirement benefits that faculty receive. Instead of agreeing to maintain the current 95% employer contribution to our PEBB health-insurance premiums, they proposed that the administration be given the unfettered flexibility to reduce the amount they pay. Our team pointed out that under their proposal, the administration could decide that faculty were responsible for 100% of the health insurance premium, which would be a cut in annual compensation of $16,000 for the average faculty member and $26,000 for a faculty member whose spouse and children were also covered by their PEBB health insurance. While the administration team said that it was not their intent to change the 95% employer contribution, they agreed that their proposal would allow them to do so at will.

By asserting their right to modify the provisions of our benefits, the administration is refusing to commit—even for the three- to five-year life of this contract—to maintain the current amounts of our compensation for health insurance and retirement benefits, protections that are routine in union contracts, including the agreement that Oregon universities reached with their classified staff last week.

Their one-page Benefits proposal was intended to address six of our proposals: Public Employee Benefits (health insurance etc), Postdoctoral Scholar and Postdoctoral Fellow Health PlanRetirement BenefitsFringe BenefitsBenefits for Eligible Retired Faculty Members (fringe benefits for retirees), and Transportation & Parking. For the most part, the administration’s counterproposals did not address the issues in our proposals, issues voiced to UAOSU by the OSU faculty.

The administration also produced an alarming four-page counterproposal on Appointment, Reappointment, Review and Promotion and a short Letter of Agreement on Position Descriptions in response to UAOSU’s eleven proposals: Hiring InformationNotice of AppointmentPosition DescriptionsAnnual ReviewMidterm ReviewPost-Tenure ReviewGeneral Guidelines for Promotion & TenurePromotion & Tenure in the Tenure-Track ClassificationPromotion in the Fixed-Term Instructional Categories and Fixed-Term Research CategoriesPromotion in the Fixed-Term Professorial Categories, and Retrenchment. The administration’s counterproposal:

  • Introduced a formal class of faculty, Term-by-Term Instructors, that is new to OSU;
  • Removed the guarantee of multi-year contracts for post-promotion fixed-term faculty;
  • Removed protections from arbitrary dismissal or reduction in assigned FTE for post-promotion fixed-term faculty;
  • Removed access to promotions and annual reviews for part-time faculty;
  • Removed many details that protect faculty from arbitrary decisions from the promotion & tenure process; and
  • Mostly importantly, declared that disputes “relating to appointment, reappointment, review, and promotion and tenure are not subject to the Grievance and Arbitration Articles of this Agreement”, so that there is no mechanism to hold the administration accountable to follow the mild restrictions they proposed for themselves.

These are disturbing demands that reduce faculty stability from the current policies and practices at OSU.

We were surprised and dismayed by the level of disrespect for faculty reflected in the administration’s counterproposals. We had been making progress in our negotiations and see this as a large setback. The administration’s counterproposals would reverse the progress that has been made at OSU over the past years, particularly for fixed-term faculty.

The administration’s team is intent on creating a minimalist collective bargaining agreement, with few guarantees of faculty rights, protections, and self-governance. This model of academic employment was imported by our new Provost and Assistant Provost for Academic Employee and Labor Relations, who both came from the University of Illinois system where there has been significant labor strife. This is most emphatically not in the best interests of OSU.

The purpose of a CBA is to clearly prescribe all matters related to our employment at OSU and, crucially, to be able to enforce them through the grievance process. The administration has adopted the practice of adding a “not grievable” statement at the end of many of their proposals. Without an enforcement mechanism, their “statements of intent” are just words on a page. The administration is asserting the right to change or ignore policies and current practices at will.

Our ability to bargain successfully for a fair contract depends on all of us participating. Make your voice heard by attending bargaining sessions; becoming a member; getting involved in building our organizational structure and culture; wearing UAOSU buttons and T-shirts, especially on Fridays; and talking with your colleagues about what we are hoping to accomplish. We have reached a crucial stage in the negotiations and need concerted effort from you to get the fair contract we need.

The next bargaining sessions are 9–1 on Friday, October 11 and 9–1 on Monday, October 28, both in the LaSells Stewart Center. Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters: show the administration that faculty are watching this process.

We appreciate your support. You can find a full calendar of Fall Term bargaining sessions on our website, where you can also find a table with links to all of the articles that both teams have proposed.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Bargaining Session 20 & 21 Update (09.23.19 & 09.25.19)

The UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met from 1 to 4 PM on Monday, September 23 and from 10 AM –2 PM on Wednesday, September 25. Both sessions were held in the LaSells Stewart Center. 23 faculty members observed the sessions.

On Monday, the administration presented 2 counterproposals: Non-Discrimination (with Letter of Agreement on Committee on Respectful Workplace) and Health & Safety. We tentatively agreed on Non-Discrimination and the LOA.

On Wednesday, UAOSU presented 3 counterproposals: ArbitrationAcademic Freedom, and Discipline & Termination. The administration presented Dues Deduction.

Both sides tentatively agreed on language supporting non-discrimination. Key to the agreement was our insistence to form a committee for reviewing and improving processes and strategies available to faculty involved in cases of discrimination, harassment, or bullying. In a side letter of agreement, members of UAOSU will coordinate with administration to develop a plan and meeting agendas to address mediation, restorative justice, and professional services. The recommendations resulting from this committee will have university-wide impact and be considered for future inclusion into the collective bargaining agreement. While the administration balked at inviting other stakeholders, e.g. SEIU, CGE, ASOSU, to the joint committee, UAOSU will continue to push for inclusion of other interested parties on campus.

In the Health, Safety, Facilities, and Workspaces Article, the administration acknowledged that the university has an interest to “make reasonable efforts” to provide faculty with appropriate workspaces, in particular private meeting spaces with students. Still, they have removed specific mention of basic workspace provisions, e.g. clean, safe drinking water, restrooms, basic classroom equipment, that are included in the OSU Safety Policy and Procedures Manual. While we are pushing for a clear commitment, the administration team only wants to “make reasonable efforts to” furnish and maintain the workspaces in safe working condition. We continue to push for greater transparency in the decision-making process of how equipment is repaired or replaced if damaged while it is still part of an active grant or teaching project.

On Wednesday, UAOSU countered the administration’s proposals on Arbitration, Academic Freedom, and Discipline & Termination. The major areas of disagreement have decreased, but the remaining issues are very deep. While we are pushing to ensure that faculty with legitimate grievances can have all appropriate back pay and benefits awarded to them in arbitration, administration wants to limit back pay and benefits to 30 days. While the Administration team continues to rely on aspirational assertions regarding Academic Freedom, we think that UAOSU’s members deserve enforceable language that protects faculty’s rights. In one area of particular interest, we proposed language restricting the conditions under which an active faculty member’s final grade could be changed. Administration narrowly focused on incompletes, but our discussion was more about standard letter grades being changed without faculty member consent.

In the counterproposal from the administration on Dues Deduction, they proposed that they would handle disenrollments and we would handle membership. We argued that both processes would be our purview. Their proposed process would be different than SEIU and CGE.

Our website provides a table with links to the 48 articles for which we have presented proposals, along with the administration’s proposals on 19 articles.

The next bargaining session is 9–5 on October 5 at OSU-Cascades in 205 Obsidian Hall. We plan to present articles on Health and Safety, Facilities, and Workspaces; Academic Classification; and more. The administration’s team plans to present Academic Freedom, Grievance Procedure, Arbitration, Notice of Appointment, Annual Evaluations, and Promotion & Tenure (and some economic proposals).

The next bargaining sessions in Corvallis will be October 11 and 28. Administration has pledged to present their economic package before the end of October. Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters: show the administration that faculty are watching this process.

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

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Bargaining Session 19 Update (09.18.19)

The UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met 12–4 on Wednesday, September 18 in the LaSells Stewart Center. Twenty-five faculty members observed the session.

The session began with UAOSU offering to accept the administration’s most recent counterproposal on the Recognition article. Although Recognition is a small article consisting of boilerplate contract language, this nevertheless represents a small step forward in reaching a collective bargaining agreement.

The administration then presented counterproposals on Arbitration, Discipline and Termination, and Academic Freedom. In each case, they had accepted some of our language from our latest counterproposal; however, our discussion of these articles demonstrated that areas of significant disagreement remain.

With their Arbitration counterproposal, the administration continues to try to limit the authority of an arbitrator to remedy violations of university policy and the collective bargaining agreement. For example, their language prohibits the reinstatement of a faculty member who has lost their appointment without the due process prescribed by university policy and the collective bargaining agreement. Furthermore, in their proposal, an arbitrator finding that a faculty member was entitled to back pay and benefits would only be able to award them retroactively up to 30 days before the date of a grievance. The rationale provided for this short time limit is that it is the responsibility of faculty to know how much they are paid each month. However, as the UAOSU team pointed out, grievances can be used to address inequities in pay, which requires a faculty member to be aware of how their salary compares to that of their colleagues. After absurdly positing that faculty members should know their colleagues’ salaries and observe any inequities immediately, the administration admitted that their language was crafted to protect the monetary interests of the university, rather than to serve the interests of fairness and equitable treatment of faculty.

While we are moving closer to agreement on the Discipline and Termination article, the administration’s counterproposal still contains a few ambiguities. Notably, their contract language appears to allow for the administration to use disciplinary sanctions normally reserved for policy violations as tools for addressing performance issues. The examples used by the administration team during our discussion of the proposal seemed to confirm that they see this as a possibility. However, mechanisms for handling performance issues through annual reviews and through the promotion process already exist in university policy, and are addressed in other articles proposed by UAOSU. Our goal with the Discipline and Termination article is to have clear language that describes reasonable, progressive discipline to address violations of policy by faculty members. We will continue to work with the administration to find that clarity in upcoming sessions.

The administration’s Academic Freedom counterproposal weakens the language that UAOSU has proposed to protect extramural expression and the right of faculty to speak on matters of university governance. They have also removed our language that protects the right of faculty members to assign grades without having them arbitrarily or capriciously changed by the administration. Particularly troubling is the administration’s language that exempts matters of academic freedom from the grievance process. Academic Freedom is one of several articles in which the administration has employed this tactic to weaken protections for faculty in the collective bargaining agreement. The bargaining team provided multiple examples of ways faculty rights to academic freedom and participation in university governance could be violated, and why members would want to grieve such instances. It is the position of UAOSU that a robust collective bargaining agreement must provide the basis for handling disputes involving violations of the agreement. Carving out sections of the agreement that are exempt from grievance and/or arbitration makes them unenforceable, and weakens the contract as a whole. The UAOSU team will continue to push back against this tactic in future bargaining sessions.

UAOSU presented counterproposals on Non-DiscriminationUnion Rights, Release Time, and Grievance Procedure. The administration team had previously collapsed UAOSU’s proposal on Non-Discrimination and our proposal on Sexual Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination into a single proposal, and moved our language calling for the formation of a Labor Management Committee on Respectful Workplaces into a separate Letter of Agreement for a Committee on a Respectful Workplace. We accepted most of the language in their Non-Discrimination proposal and added language to their Letter of Agreement to strengthen the mandate of the committee and to ensure that its recommendations will be negotiated by the administration and UAOSU for the purposes of incorporating them into the collective bargaining agreement. We look forward to reaching a tentative agreement on this article soon.

The Union Rights and Release Time counterproposals were submitted to the administration as a package. These are brief articles consisting of standard contract language designed to define some of the interactions between the administration and UAOSU, and to structure time for faculty members who are union representatives to perform union-related duties.

In our Grievance Procedure counterproposal, UAOSU has accepted most of the language from the administration’s last proposal; however, a major sticking point remains in the administration’s insistence on exempting grievances involving discrimination from the arbitration process. Attempting to find some common ground with the administration on this point, we sought to define circumstances in which both sides could agree that arbitration would not be appropriate, as well as circumstances in which arbitration would be both warranted and necessary.

UAOSU concluded the session by reminding the administration that we are still waiting on counterproposals for the majority of the articles currently on the table. While we appreciate that the administration team has, of late, been engaging with our proposals more meaningfully, the fact remains that they have responded to less than a third of our proposals. To date, our tentative agreements have been in areas of standard contract language. We need their engagement and counterproposals achieve a contract that addresses workplace issues, job security, and economics. We will continue to hold their feet to the fire while we await their counterproposals; in the meantime, you can do your part to hold the administration accountable by attending one of the upcoming bargaining sessions with a colleague. Numbers matter, and we can send a clear message to the administration by packing the room with engaged faculty.The next bargaining sessions are from 1–4pm on Monday, September 23 and from 10am –2pm on Wednesday, September 25, both in the LaSells Stewart Center

.Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters: show the administration that faculty are watching this process.

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

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Proposals Exchanged on 18 September

UAOSU Proposals

Administration Proposals

Bargaining Session 5 Update (05.06.19)

Our UAOSU bargaining team and the Administration’s bargaining team met on Monday, May 6 for our fifth bargaining session. Over the course of the five-hour session, 33 faculty members joined us to observe the proceedings.

We presented a new article on Retrenchment, bringing our total number of proposed articles to 31. The administration team offered counter-proposals to our Totality of Agreement, Personnel Files, and No Strike, No Lockout proposals.  They described their counter on Totality of Agreement and No Strike, No Lockout counter proposals as syntheses of our proposals and theirs, referring to them as being essentially “new” proposals.  Regrettably their syntheses eliminated important language in both articles. In Totality of Agreement, they removed language referring to expedited bargaining, prompting a familiar discussion about the purposes that a collective bargaining agreement should fulfill.  

The administration team further staked out their position: to them, language that explicitly delineates any rights enumerated in federal or state law will inexplicably cause our collective bargaining agreement to conflict with the law.  The administration’s position was further exemplified by their counter-proposal on Personnel Files which consisted of a mere two sentences stating that the administration would abide by OSU policy and state and federal law (see link to their proposals below). In contrast, our bargaining team believes that specificity is precisely what is required to create a collective bargaining agreement that clearly delineates, defines, and enshrines the rights of our bargaining unit faculty for the years to come.

To reiterate and further clarify our position, our team returned from caucus with the collective bargaining agreements of other Oregon universities, including those of UO, PSU, EOU, SOU, and WOU which closely mirror our proposed language. We also explained that our bargaining unit members have expressed concern about access to personnel files.

The session concluded with a renewed reflection of our progress over the past five sessions, with both teams expressing a commitment to finding a way to move forward.

The next bargaining sessions are 10am–12pm on Thursday, May 16 in the International Living-Learning Center 353 and 9am–5pm on Saturday, May 18 (location TBD). On May 16, we plan to offer proposals on research support and intellectual property. On May 18, we plan to offer proposals on compensation and a process for resolving instances of harassment and discrimination.

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 on May 6:

UAOSU Proposals

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.