Bargaining Sessions 16 & 17 Updates (8.26.19 & 8.28.19)

The UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met noon to 4 p.m. on Monday, August 26 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28 in the LaSells Stewart Center. Twenty faculty members observed these sessions.

On Monday, we continued to press the administration team about what specifically counts as a “policy” when they state that the employer will follow university policy within their proposals. Is a university standard or a university rule considered a “policy” or does it only count as policy if it is labeled as such? Does EOA policy count? Do unit-level policies count as “policy” as well? The administration responded that they can only answer such questions one article at a time. We will continue to press this issue to ensure a robust contract.

Then the administration team presented their counterproposal on Academic Freedom. Within this counterproposal the employer states many faculty obligations and a few academic freedoms…but with serious caveats.

Regarding scholarship, the counterproposal states that “bargaining unit members are entitled to freedom in their scholarly and creative work,” but immediately follows that up with “subject to the adequate performance of their academic duties.” This seems to imply that inadequate performance as measured by the employer may take away from faculty freedom in their scholarly and creative work. We will continue to fight this alarming interpretation of academic freedom in our counter-proposal to this article.  

Regarding teaching, the counterproposal states that bargaining unit members have the freedom to “assess student performance,” meaning the assignment of grades, but that this freedom is subject to the University’s “evaluation of adequate performance.” The administration wants to retain the authority to change grades without faculty consent or even knowledge. Though the administration’s team maintained that it would be rare that such a grade change would happen, we believe that our bargaining unit members have a right to know when and why their assessment decisions are being over-ridden.  

The counterproposal also states that the “Parties mutually acknowledge that the Agreement is not the appropriate method for resolving disputes involving academic freedom.” Naturally the Union bargaining team asked what the appropriate method is. The administration team responded that it would be the faculty senate grievance procedure. The Union team’s position on the exclusion of parts and provisions of the Agreement from the Grievance and Arbitration Articles continues to be that it is inappropriate that the institution itself is the arbiter of whether the institution violated an Article in the Agreement. Then we asked if discipline for violations of academic freedom would be grievable, to which the administration responded that they would be. But it is hard to imagine how a grievance of such discipline wouldn’t refer to the Academic Freedom article, since the discipline is based on the violation of this Article.

On Wednesday the UAOSU bargaining team presented counterproposals on Non-DiscriminationGrievance, and Personnel Records. There was some good back and forth discussion on the intent of our counterproposals. On Personnel Records, the sides reached a tentative agreement! There are still some disagreements to work through on Non-Discrimination and Grievance, especially related to whether university “policy” would be grievable and whether grievances related to the Non-Discrimination Article can be taken to arbitration. However, from the discussion during Wednesday’s session, it is clear that both sides are getting closer to agreement on many parts of these articles.

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

The next bargaining session is 1–5 on September 10 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. 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 Summer Term bargaining sessions on our website.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Proposals Exchanged on 26 August

Administration Proposals

Proposals Exchanged on 28 August

UAOSU Proposals

Bargaining Session 15 Update (8.21.19)

The UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met on Wednesday, August 21 from 12-4 in the LaSells Stewart Center. There were 33 faculty members in attendance.  

The session began with a lengthy discussion of university policies and how best to include those policies in the collective bargaining agreement. There are a number of significant issues to be resolved. At the most basic level, we must first agree on what constitutes “policy” as we have been told in previous sessions that just because something can be found under the heading of “policy” in the university policy library, it does not necessarily rise to the level of actual policy and may in fact be just a “procedure.” This could be a crucial distinction in those cases where the administration prefers contract language indicating that they will “follow applicable policy.” What precisely are they agreeing to in those instances? Will they be able to avoid doing things we thought they had agreed to by arguing that those things are not really policy? The administration team has expressed reluctance to include, by reference, all existing policies and procedures in the CBA. In the absence of such inclusion, UAOSU will need to be very explicit in our contract language around important issues such as tenure and promotion, access to personnel records, and so on. When not specifically delineated within the CBA, these policies (or “rules,” “standards,” or “procedures”) are subject to change without meaningful input from faculty. Moreover, when not part of the CBA, violations of university policy would not be subject to the grievance process. The existing policies are hard to find, sometimes poorly written, and often confusing, as anyone who has looked at the promotion and tenure guidelines, for example, can attest. An important goal of our first CBA will be to make university policy more accessible, easier to understand, and enforceable. What we are seeking to change is the current situation in which faculty must abide by university policy, and are subject to discipline when they do not, but the administration does not have a corresponding level of accountability.  

The administration brought a counter to our original proposal on Health, Safety, Facilities, and Work Spaces which notably left out “Facilities and Work Spaces.” While the administration team asserted their commitment to pcroviding adequate working conditions for faculty, they expressed “no interest” in contract language that guarantees such things as private office spaces to meet with students (as required by FERPA), appropriate employee training, safe workplaces, necessary equipment, or a joint committee on deferred maintenance. Also dropped from their counterproposal were UAOSU provisions that would require, in most cases, one term’s notice before moving faculty to new offices or labs and that would prohibit the administration from unilateral decisions to permanently relocate faculty members to other campuses. While we have no reason to doubt their good intentions, the whole point of a contract is to set up enforceable agreements. If not included in the CBA, their good intentions can, and probably will, be set aside whenever they become practically or financially inconvenient. This is particularly problematic when issues of health and safety are concerned. The language proposed by the administration team states that they will “attempt to resolve” health and safety issues but does not include an actual requirement to do so. If the administration is truly committed to providing faculty with the spaces, equipment, and training necessary to do their jobs, then the administration needs to be willing to make those commitments in writing. Good intentions and vague promises are insufficient, and we will continue to have these important conversations at the bargaining table.  

The administration team also presented a package proposal on management and union rights. These are crucial issues that go right to the heart of faculty governance. As is generally the case, the administration wants a very expansive enumeration of their rights but not their responsibilities. Not surprisingly, they want the exact opposite for faculty in which our responsibilities, but not our rights, would be clearly detailed in contract language. Faculty governance issues also require a consideration of the Faculty Senate role in establishing academic standards and curriculum. The administration team has so far expressed opposition to any mention of Faculty Senate and its prerogatives in the CBA. UAOSU recognizes the important role of the Faculty Senate and believe that our interests will be best served by working cooperatively with one another, UAOSU on employment issues and Faculty Senate on academic issues. We are academic employees so there is considerable overlap between employment and academic matters and we believe that the achievement of shared governance requires the robust participation of both UAOSU and Faculty Senate. Faculty Senate currently exists as an advisory body only. By specifying their role in the CBA, we can safeguard their authority and enhance the role of faculty in university governance.  

Our website includes a table with links to the various proposals and counter-proposals that have been exchanged thus far.  

The next bargaining sessions is from 12–4 on Today, August 26 and 9-1 on Wednesday, August 28 in the LaSells Stewart Center. We hope you will join us. Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters; show the administration that faculty are watching this process and expecting a strong first contract.

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

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Administration Proposals

Bargaining Sessions 13 & 14 Updates (8.13.19 & 8.15.19)

The UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met from 12–3 pm on Tuesday, August 13 and 12–4 on Thursday, August 15, in the LaSells Stewart Center. Thirty-one faculty members observed the two sessions.

On Tuesday, we brought a counterproposal on Personnel Files. The administration brought a package of three articles on Discipline and TerminationGrievance, and Arbitration.

On Thursday, the administration brought a counterproposal on Personnel Records. We spent much of the session asking questions about their package of proposals from Tuesday. Their three articles share concerning differences from our proposals.  

For example, the administration’s approach to grievances over incidents of discrimination severely limits the opportunities of faculty in seeking justice. Our proposal provided a longer timeline for filing a grievance in these cases, given the trauma involved. The administration not only shortened our proposed timeline, but would specifically prohibit these cases from going to arbitration — that is, these grievances can only end with a decision from within the institution where the discrimination occurred, rather than from an external third party arbitrator. The only remaining option for faculty members would be to file complaints with state or federal agencies or to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit. We believe that faculty members should be able to address these issues at the lowest level possible.

One ongoing and important contention is the administration’s position on how existing OSU policy fits into the contract. They have stated they do not have an interest in including all existing policies in the collective bargaining agreement. However, this would severely limit what can be grieved and ultimately brought to binding third party arbitration. While faculty may be disciplined for not following policies, the administration remains accountable only to itself. We seek to more fully incorporate existing policies.

While personnel files and the grievance procedure are important issues and we are relieved that some progress is being made, there are many important issues that the administration has not yet addressed at the table. We have heard nothing from them on the length of contracts for fixed-term faculty, nothing about the promotion and tenure process for all faculty, nothing about updated job descriptions, and nothing about improved compensation. We pushed them to be ready to discuss these issues soon, as their approach to these crucial issues will shape the ultimate course of bargaining and the future of OSU.

Our website provides a table with links to the forty-eight articles for which we have presented proposals, along with the administration’s proposals on sixteen articles.  

The next bargaining session is 12–4pm on Wednesday, August 21 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.

Please join us after the session for a happy hour with Erik Loomis, labor historian and author of the recent book A History of America in Ten StrikesWednesday, August 21 4:30–6:30pm at McMenamin’s on Monroe. Come learn more about US labor history, ask the bargaining team and staff any questions you may have, and get to know more of your colleagues. RSVP atuaosu.org/rsvphappyhour821 by August 20 for a free drink on UAOSU.

We appreciate your support. You can find a full calendar of Summer Term bargaining sessionson our website.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Bargaining Session 12 Update (7.27.19)

The UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met 9–5 on Saturday, July 27 in the LaSells Stewart Center. Thirteen faculty members observed the session.

This was the first session at which the new Assistant Provost for Academic Employee and Labor Relations Heather Horn acted as the administration’s lead negotiation, following the departure of their former lead negotiator.

The session was more productive than previous sessions. The teams tentatively agreed to four articles on boilerplate topics: No Strike, No LockoutSeparabilityLabor–Management Meetings; and Availability of the Agreement. The communication between the teams improved with the replacement of the administration’s lead negotiator, but there remain many points of contention and many issues left to resolve.

The administration team proposed replacing our three-page article on Sexual Harassment, Bullying, and Discriminationwith a scanty section in their counterproposal on Non-Discrimination. Their minimalist paragraph gave the barest lip service to our proposal to give faculty meaningful input into processes addressing sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination. Their proposal completely ignored our other proposals to establish informal processes for resolving conflicts and providing for remedial justice when possible, and to make sure that faculty who have endured a traumatic experience have the support they need to recover. Their reluctance was based on the specious excuse that discussing the process might violate individuals’ privacy: they want us to trust them to reform these processes whose weaknesses many faculty have experienced. This is unacceptable to us.

Overall, we have presented proposals on 47 articles and the administration has presented proposals on 12.

You can find a full exchange of proposals from Saturday’s session here.

The next bargaining session is 12–3 on Tuesday, August 13 in the LaSells Stewart Center.


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

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Bargaining Session 11 Update (7.10.19)

We met with the Administration’s bargaining team on Wednesday, July 10 from noon until 4:15 in the LaSells Stewart Center. Forty-four faculty members observed the bargaining session. The teams signed tentative agreements on two minor contract provisions, Parties and Notices.

The Administration team said they had a counterproposal to the Academic Freedom article that we proposed on March 23. Their counterproposal consisted of a Statement on Academic Freedom from the OSU Faculty Handbook, verbatim, that is a vague affirmation of academic freedom along with a list of general “Faculty Responsibilities,” which was also taken verbatim from the Faculty Handbook. This proposal does not enumerate any specific rights for faculty, nor does it include a corresponding list of “Administration Responsibilities.” We expressed concern that the administration team had not engaged in any way with our proposal; it became clear during discussion that they in fact had little knowledge about the contents of either the proposal they put on the table or our proposal, despite having more than fifteen weeks to address it. We reminded them that our proposal asserts faculty members’ right to academic freedom in research, scholarship, and publication; course design, classroom instruction, and grading; and participation in shared governance. Our proposal would also require the administration to get Faculty Senate approval for any agreements or contracts with curricular impact and to protect faculty members from any forces, external or internal, which would restrict their academic freedom. We agreed with the general sentiments of academic freedom in the OSU Faculty Handbook but argued that they are just that, general sentiments; these sentiments are not adequate for a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which should specify the rights to which faculty are entitled.

We also spent a good amount of time discussing a Grievance Procedure. In our counter to the administration team’s latest proposal we re-inserted several provisions, including the goal of resolving grievances at the lowest possible level without litigation, the right to be free from retaliation, and the right to pursue arbitration. The bulk of our discussion focused on issues of discrimination and sexual harassment. In our last discussion, the administration team argued that complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment should be investigated by the Office of Equal Access and Opportunity. In response, we revised our proposal to include an EOA investigation in the grievance procedure in those kinds of cases. The purpose is not to dictate the EOA investigative process but to establish EOA as the initial fact finder in such cases. We also included a longer timeline for such cases; given the trauma involved in cases of discrimination and sexual harassment, we want faculty to have ample time to pursue their grievance. The administration team argued that longer timelines were unnecessary and would somehow encourage grievants to procrastinate. They were also concerned that including longer timelines in the CBA might mislead faculty members into missing the deadlines for filing legal complaints. We suggested addressing that concern by including those timelines in the CBA, a suggestion that the administration team rejected. It became clear through the discussion that the administration team does not want faculty members to be able to use the grievance process in cases of discrimination and sexual harassment. Instead, they want those cases to continue to be dealt with through current procedures, which forces faculty members who have faced potential discriminatory treatment to either accept the university president’s assessment or take on the expense of hiring an attorney and filing a lawsuit. We believe a grievance procedure with arbitration would be a superior, more efficient, and less costly alternative for both faculty and the institution.

In solidarity,

Your UAOSU Bargaining Team

Proposals Exchanged on July 10

UAOSU Proposal

Administration Proposal

Bargaining Session 10 Update (6.28.19)

When we began bargaining with the administration team in November, both sides expressed a desire to work together to build a healthy relationship between the union and the university administration. Both sides also agreed that a good collective bargaining agreement was the foundation of a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, the administration bargaining team is not living up to their words. 

Over the past month, the administration team has informed us that they have no intention of agreeing to some of the most basic provisions of a collective bargaining agreement. They have told us that they do not want to have binding arbitration; without this standard feature of a collective bargaining agreement all grievances would be decided by the university administration or by an expensive and burdensome process through the Employment Relations Board. They rejected our proposal on family and medical leave, explaining they believe anything that goes beyond current law is a conflict with the law and “prohibited” to bargain over, which is simply untrue. They rejected our sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination proposal because they plan to “improve” current processes, but do not want faculty input. They have refused to bargain over office spaces, classroom equipment, or any provision related to improving facilities in any way. 

It has become obvious to us that the administration bargaining team is not interested in engaging in respectful dialogue, nor do they share our goal of crafting a solid foundation for a healthy relationship. Indeed, in our last few sessions in particular, the administration team has offered up the barest of rationales for their obstinacy. For instance, they have refused to bargain about adequate research and teaching facilities, but the only reason they offer is that doing so would limit their “flexibility.” Similarly, they refuse to engage with our proposals on Family & Medical Leave and Sexual Harassment & Bullying under the pretense of legal issues, but will not identify the sections of our proposals that are problematic, will not point to the laws with which our proposals are in conflict, and refuse to provide counter proposals that in their view would comply with the law.

There are many paths to achieving a collective bargaining agreement. When our colleagues at the University of Oregon bargained their first contract, it took nine months of both sides working to achieve a solid agreement. At the same time, our colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago were also bargaining their first contract, but their administration forced the faculty to go out on strike before they would come to an agreement. We very much fear that the OSU administration is taking a page out of the UIC book and is trying to force conflict with our faculty. Rather than reason with us, they want to make bargaining about forcing one side or the other to give in. 

The administration team knows that we cannot accept a collective bargaining agreement that does not contain provisions for binding arbitration without a fight. They know we cannot allow unlimited “flexibility” that denies faculty the basic tools they need to do their jobs. They know our faculty need a decent family and medical leave policy. Rather than work with us to find common ground that works for both faculty and administration, they have chosen conflict. 

We believe the administration team has chosen conflict because they think faculty don’t really care. They have repeatedly dismissed the very real problems faculty at OSU face, and that no contract language is needed to solve problems that don’t exist at OSU. They believe there to be no reason to have a basic grievance procedure because our faculty have no reason or need to file grievances or have oversight mechanisms in place. They profess to be working on a system for reporting bullying and harassment without faculty input because they know best.

We need all faculty who want a decent collective bargaining agreement to become active and involved.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Come to a bargaining session. Over the next three months, there will be at least nine more bargaining sessions. We implore you to come out to a session or two. Your very presence, even for 30 minutes, makes a difference by showing that faculty are committed to this process and to seeing the administration engage productively with faculty’s real concerns We strongly believe that the administration must be made to understand that the faculty want a solid collective bargaining agreement.You can find a full calendar of Summer Term bargaining sessions on our website.
  • Keep talking to your colleagues. We wouldn’t be at the bargaining table at all if a majority of faculty hadn’t wanted to engage in collective bargaining!
  • Be visible! Hanging a door sign or wearing a button is a simple act that shows that our union is strong and we want a fair contract. 

Bargaining sessions are scheduled on the following dates:

July 10, Noon to 4 pm, LaSells Center Ag Science Room

July 15, 11 am to 3 pm, location TBD

July 27, 9 am to 5 pm, location TBD

August 21, Noon to 4 pm, location TBD

If you’d like to do more, please contact join@uaosu.org or simply reply to this message. Our organizers and activists will be reaching out to all faculty about how you can help show the administration that the path of conflict will not be successful for them. Please help us send them this message. 

In solidarity, 

Your bargaining team

Proposals Exchanged on 28 June

UAOSU Proposals

Administration Proposals

Bargaining Session 9 Update (6.17.19)

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.

We then introduced five new articles: Post-Tenure Review, Hiring Information, Transportation and Parking, Workload, and Faculty Governance.

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.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Proposals Exchanged on 17 June

UAOSU Proposals

Administration Proposals

Bargaining Session 8 Update (6.8.19)

Our bargaining team and the administration team met on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in the LaSells Stewart Center. Thirty-two faculty members were on hand to observe the session. The administration team arrived with one counter-proposal on grievances while our team brought forward five new proposals related to promotion and tenure. For those of you keeping track, we have now presented 40 original proposals, and the administration team has countered very few of them. While we are hopeful that the pace of bargaining will pick up over the summer, we remain frustrated by their apparent lack of preparation for our bargaining sessions.

We introduced several important articles on promotion and tenure (described below), but a significant portion of our time in this session was devoted to the administration’s counter-proposal on Grievances. The two sides are still far apart.

We know from conversations across OSU that many faculty feel the problems they experience cannot be addressed within the current grievance system. Faculty are hesitant to engage in a process that is opaque and seems to be primarily designed to protect the university and its public image. The administration team suggested that everything must be going well since relatively few grievances are filed. This drew a collective, incredulous chuckle from faculty observers who know all too well that there are widespread concerns with both university process and outcomes. The grievance procedure we proposed, including third-party arbitration, would create stronger and more transparent steps to resolve grievances and enforce provisions of the collective bargaining agreement we are negotiating.

The administration wants the entire grievance process to remain “in house,” with all decisions resting with OSU administrators, culminating in a final decision by the university president. This is what we already have, and it is wholly insufficient. While we agree that it is best to resolve problems quickly and at the lowest possible level, there are times when arbitration may be necessary. Every other faculty union contract in Oregon includes provisions for binding, third-party arbitration. At OSU, CGE and SEIU have arbitration as part of their collective bargaining agreements. Shockingly, OSU’s lead negotiator twice said that they do not intend to counter our proposed Arbitration article nor to introduce one of their own. This is utterly ridiculous on their part. It is imperative that faculty retain the right to arbitration when their grievances are not satisfactorily resolved at the university level. In the absence of neutral, third-party arbitration, the very institution against which a complaint has been lodged will be able to adjudicate that complaint to completion, a clear conflict of interest. Faculty at OSU deserve the same protections afforded our colleagues at other public universities in Oregon.

After taking a break and recovering from our shock that the administration believes there is no need for an arbitration article, we introduced our promotion and tenure proposals.

The five articles we introduced were:

The goal of the General Guidelines for P&T and the two articles on procedures for tenure-track faculty is to provide greater clarity and transparency for the current process as described in university policy. Anyone who has ever looked at the promotion and tenure policies from OSU’s Office of Faculty Affairs will know why more clarity is needed. We want to ensure that promotion and tenure decisions are made on the basis of the job duties described in faculty members’ position descriptions and that the application procedures are well defined and understandable, with clearly delineated responsibilities and timelines.

In addition to clarifying the existing process, we are seeking to significantly strengthen the promotion pathways for the fixed-term faculty who make up about two-thirds of all faculty at OSU. We are committed to ensuring that all faculty have opportunities for promotion and that those opportunities are actualized in practice and in a timely manner. Currently, Research Associates and Instructors (PAC) have no opportunities for promotion. Our proposal will provide that. While other fixed-term faculty do currently have, at least theoretically, opportunities for promotion, it is a relatively uncommon occurrence. As things stand today, only 15% of instructors have been promoted, only 34% of faculty research assistants have been promoted, and only 32% of fixed-term professorial faculty (Clinical, Practice, Extension, Senior Research) have been promoted. Fixed-term faculty often find themselves in “limbo” — eligible but with no way forward when unit heads refuse to even consider them for promotion. This is a clearly untenable situation. It is unfair to our excellent faculty upon whom the university relies to advance the teaching, research, clinical, and extension missions of OSU, and it is bad for the university when a majority of faculty are undercompensated, insecure, and underappreciated in their jobs. In order to address these problems for fixed-term faculty, we are proposing that:

  • Eligible faculty members initiate the promotion review;
  • Promotion reviews be initiated during the third year (fifth year for fixed-term professorial faculty) so that the promotion becomes effective after four years in rank (six for fixed-term professorial);
  • Credit for prior service (up to two years) may be given to faculty members in the fixed-term Instructional and Research categories who enter the university with exceptional experience and/or skills. This will allow them to seek promotion earlier while also ensuring that newly hired faculty members are not disproportionately favored over existing faculty.

As noted at the beginning of this update, we are dismayed at the lack of progress in bargaining. The administration team doesn’t seem to be doing much work outside of scheduled bargaining sessions which hinders productive negotiations at the table. But be assured that together we will succeed in creating a collective bargaining agreement that will protect and extend the rights of faculty at OSU. You can help us in this effort by attending bargaining sessions and talking with your colleagues about what you are seeing and hearing. Let’s be vigilant in keeping the pressure on the administration to bargain in good faith and to treat OSU faculty with the consideration and respect that we deserve.

The next bargaining session is on June 17 from 8-12 in the LaSells Stewart Center. We plan to present articles on faculty governance; workload; transportation and parking; post-tenure review; and hiring procedures. We appreciate your support and hope to see you there. You can find a full calendar of upcoming bargaining sessions on our website.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Proposals Exchanged on June 8

UAOSU Proposals

Administration Proposals

Bargaining Session 6 & 7 Updates (05.16.19 & 05.18.19)

We, the UAOSU bargaining team, and the administration’s team met from 10–12 on Thursday, May 16 and from 9–5 on Saturday, May 18. Faculty observers attended throughout both sessions which were held in small rooms in the International Living-Learning Center. Over the course of the two sessions, we proposed 4 new articles covering Intellectual Property, Research Support, Compensation, and Sexual Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination.

In regards to Intellectual Property, we presented arguments for why our faculty  should retain ownership and authority over the intellectual property we develop. In addition to addressing issues relating to patents and royalties, we explained why existing policies regarding the copyright of course materials are inadequate, particularly in regards to Ecampus course development. Our Intellectual Property article seeks to remedy these issues.

We proposed several solutions for Research Support, addressing the instability of research and research-related employment at OSU.  In doing so, we emphasized that the skills and institutional experience of non-tenure track researchers are crucial to OSU’s mission. Our primary proposals include the creation of a bridge funding pool to support faculty between grants, as well as the implementation of a return-on-overhead policy for principal investigators.

To provide context for our Compensation proposal on Saturday, we gave the administration’s team a presentation demonstrating that OSU salaries are below those of our peer institutions, particularly when adjusted by costs of living. Inflation and housing costs in Corvallis stretch the purchasing power of our salaries thin.  Almost a decade ago President Ray asked faculty to “trust him” as he called upon us to take furloughs and to forgo pay raises.  It’s now the Administration’s turn to trust that we are only asking for fair compensation. Our Compensation article therefore included annual across-the-board increases to account for inflation, regular merit raises, and a salary pool for equity adjustments for underpaid faculty.

Following Compensation, we proposed an article on Sexual Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination to help ensure a safe and just workplace and ensure faculty input into the policies and prevention trainings of our workplace.

Through much of the discussion on Thursday and Saturday, the administration’s team appeared more engaged than they had in the past, including asking questions to clarify our intent and meaning. Unfortunately, the mood soon soured when the administration team produced counter proposals on Savings and Totality of Agreement. These are both standard contract provisions. In the event that a part of the contract is invalidated by new legislation or court rulings, Savings preserves the remainder of the agreement in full force and effect. Totality of Agreement affirms that the contract is the full agreement of the two parties and that neither is obligated to bargain again until the expiration of the agreement, except under circumstances outlined in the law or contract, or by mutual agreement.  While we were able to reach tentative agreement on the Totality of Agreement article, the administration’s counter proposal on Savings still fell short of what we believe is necessary.  Where our original proposal resembles the language found in most Collective Bargaining Agreements in Oregon, the administration continues to insist on language that will restrict our ability to negotiate.  

The administration team also proposed an article for “Notices” to formalize the communication process between UAOSU and the administration.  We found the language to be unclear and requested time to consider their proposal in greater detail.

The next bargaining session is from 9-5 on Saturday, June 8 in the LaSells-Stewart Center.  

We appreciate your support. You can find a full calendar of Spring Term bargaining sessions along with all 35 of our proposed articles on our website.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Proposals Exchanged on May 16

UAOSU Proposals

Administration Proposals: None

Proposals Exchanged on May 18

UAOSU Initial Proposals

Administration Proposals

Administration Counter Proposals

UAOSU Counter Proposals

Tentative Agreements Reached on May 18

Totality of Agreement

Bargaining Session 2 Update (04.22.19)

The UAOSU Bargaining Team and the administration team met on Monday, April 22, from 9am to 1pm in the LaSells Stewart Center for our second substantive bargaining session. Forty-six faculty members observed bargaining.

UAOSU introduced six new articles: discipline and termination for causedues deductionunion rightsleavesfamily and medical leaves, and sabbatical leaves. The administration team did not present any new articles or counter-proposals to the fourteen articles UAOSU exchanged at the 3/23 bargaining session. The administration team asked a few questions about our Savings counterproposal, which had been presented at that session. They then called a caucus, starting at about 10:20am. They stayed in caucus until the end of the session at 1pm.

There are two more bargaining sessions scheduled over the coming week. Please join us on Saturday, April 27 from 9am-5pm in Moreland 206 & Tuesday, April 30 from 9am-1pm. The location for the April 30 session will be announced as soon as it is known. On Saturday, we plan to present articles including professional development, facilities, and more; on Tuesday, we expect to present articles on notice of appointment, annual review, and more. Attending a bargaining session is a great way to stay informed and engaged in the development of our first contract. You can find a full calendar of Spring Term bargaining sessions on our website. We appreciate your support!

Proposals Exchanged 04.22.19

UAOSU Proposals 04.22.19