3.27 Bargaining Update, 4.3 BoT, And More!

In This Update

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

We held our first Zoom bargaining session on Wednesday, March 25. Your UAOSU bargaining team produced 9 counterproposals on a day where the teams had mutually planned to work towards agreement on them. The Administration team worked for 3 hours to produce just 3 counter-proposals, one of which accepted our clarifying edits to their last proposal, one of which had minor changes from their last proposal, and the last of which reveals the misguided priorities of their team.

The administration returned a counterproposal on Termination Not For Cause in response to our proposal Retrenchment.

Our proposal would create a fair and transparent process for layoffs in the event of financial exigency or program reduction/elimination and a guarantee that laid off faculty would have an opportunity to return to any positions for which they are qualified that became available again.  

Unfortunately, the administration’s counter-proposal would reserve ALL rights—maximal “flexibility”—for the administration to layoff faculty, fixed term and tenure track alike, in times that they deem necessary, with minimal “details” that would protect faculty job stability, provide transparency in the process, give faculty voice in the process, or recognize years of dedicated work meeting the mission of our university. At this time when we are all being asked to work selflessly to deliver remote content in a health crisis, it is disappointing that the administration presented a proposal that would allow for the termination of faculty beyond what is granted by existing university policy. The administration can do better and make a proposal that reflects recent statements by the Provost—e.g. “the university will seek to maintain the employment of its employees”—and many parts of the Strategic Plan 4.0—“Support for the long-term success of our tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty.”

Our faculty union is more important now than ever before. Join us in working together for a fair contract that ensures we have the resources and stability we need.

JOIN US AT THE FRIDAY, APRIL 3RD BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING

As you may know, the next Board of Trustees meeting will be held virtually over Zoom on Friday, April 3rd. At the last BoT in January, over 30 UAOSU members gave testimony and delivered the Fair Contract Petition signed by hundreds of us. It is crucial that we show our strength as a union at this critical moment in our negotiation process in order to win our contract by the end of Spring Term!

In order to make our presence known, we are asking attendees to:

  • Change their Zoom profile pictures to the Strength in Unity sign
  • Change their Zoom name to add UAOSU at the end (for example, Jane Doe, UAOSU)
  • If chat is enabled, say hello to the room from a ‘Proud UAOSU member’ (for example, “Hi, this is Jane Doe, proud UAOSU member!”)

Please find a tutorial on how to make these changes to your Zoom profile here.

Can we count on you to join us by Zooming into the BoT meeting at 10am on Friday, April 3rd? Please confirm your attendance by clicking here.

PROPOSALS EXCHANGED

The teams brought proposals on:

Our website provides a table with links to all proposals exchanged throughout bargaining.

REGISTER TO OBSERVE BARGAINING ON MONDAY, MARCH 30

The next bargaining session is 11–3 on Monday, March 30 on Zoom. Register to observe the Monday bargaining session here: https://zoom.us/j/187799614. We plan to be live streaming the joint session at 11am and again at 2pm, with time for caucusing between.

Even if you can only join the meeting 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 bargaining sessions on our website.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

3/9 Update: Workload, Position Desc., & Appointment/Reappointment Discussed

Our UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met on Monday, March 9, 2–5pm in Cascade Hall.

The Administration brought a single proposal that covered Appointment & Reappointment, Position Description, and Workload. The Administration’s February 7 proposal on these topics offered quite a bit of movement, and we were hopeful that with similar movement in this iteration, we would be close to agreement on this important piece of the contract. Unfortunately, the proposal made little movement on important issues, and in some cases it rolls back existing OSU policies to the detriment of our bargaining unit members.

Their proposal:

  • Does not provide any guarantee of notice of appointment renewal or non-renewal for any soft money funded faculty member;
  • Does not provide any guarantee of notice of appointment renewal or non-renewal for faculty members who do not work three consecutive terms in a given year;
  • Does not provide rolling contracts for fixed-term faculty members at second promotion (e.g. Senior Instructor II) or even guarantee the existing practice (for instructional fixed-term faculty) of 3 year contracts at second promotion;
  • Does not prevent academic units from crafting per course FTE rates for part-time faculty for the explicit purpose of denying them benefits;
  • Does not establish a timeline by which notice of course assignment would generally be provided;
  • Does not guarantee course reductions for pre-tenure faculty; and
  • Does not provide course releases for faculty who have demonstrated exceptional service, even though the Administration team has verbally acknowledged the disproportionate service burden of faculty of color, women faculty, and faculty from other underrepresented groups.

Our most recent Appointment & Reappointment and Workload proposals do address these very real issues, and we hope the Administration will seriously engage with more of our proposed solutions in future proposals.

Our team brought three proposals addressing CompensationProfessional Development, and Periodic Review of Faculty.

Our Compensation proposal:

  • Establishes 2.65% across-the-board increases so all faculty keep pace with the rising cost of living;
  • Establishes 2% annual merit pools that will meaningfully reward merit by separating out the across-the-board portion of the increase;
  • Establishes a one-time 2% pool to address salary inequities after a joint study;
  • Increases salary floors for Instructors, including Instructors (ESL) and (PAC), and Faculty Research Assistants; and
  • Provides a small child care credit for faculty members who are waitlisted for on campus child care and/or do not receive a child care subsidy despite qualifying.

Our Professional Development proposal:

  • Prevents faculty from being arbitrarily denied access to professional development funds; and
  • Places limits on the circumstances under which the Administration may sweep funds from indexes or accounts (the Administration currently contends it has an unfettered right to do so).

Our Periodic Review of Faculty proposal:

  • Guarantees annual review for fixed-term faculty until they have achieved their second promotion (thereafter at least every three years);
  • Guarantees annual review for tenure-track faculty until they are eligible for their second promotion (thereafter at least every three years); and
  • Requires that reviews be based only upon assigned job duties in the candidate’s position description.

Through this negotiation process, we have made significant progress in making promotion more equitably accessible. That work only pays off if faculty have high quality, frequent reviews on which to base promotion decisions. Our proposal ensures that faculty have the reviews they need to seek promotion and establish eligibility for merit raises.

Our website provides a table with links to all proposals exchanged in bargaining.

Our next bargaining session is Wednesday, March 18, 9–12 in the Ag Science Room of 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. The most powerful way you can contribute to our success in bargaining is by becoming a member today.

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

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Update for 2/28/20 Bargaining Session

On Friday, February 28th our UAOSU bargaining team met with the administration team. The primary focus of the bargaining session was the Administration team’s Compensation counterproposal.One of many reasons we organized our union is to have a collective voice to secure working conditions that promote excellence and innovation and to protect the quality of education, research, and outreach.Unfortunately, the Administration’s Compensation counterproposal falls short in meeting the needs of faculty and in ensuring OSU is a stronger institution.The Administration’s Compensation counter-proposal includes:Merit pools guaranteed at only 1.5% for fiscal years 2021 and 2022 and only 1.0% for fiscal years 2023 and 2024. The proposed amounts fall far below the rising cost of living, meaning the average faculty member would experience an effective pay cut each year. Further, the minimum increase for all satisfactory faculty would be equally or nearly as large as the entire salary pool, preventing any unit from meaningfully awarding meritorious faculty.Provost retaining all control of the size of merit pools, beyond the minimal 1-1.5% guarantee. The Provost would be under no obligation to dedicate more regardless of the financial health of OSU or increased funding from the state.Refusal to negotiate any improvements related to child care. The Administration acknowledged that child care is a significant problem in the OSU community, but instead of working with us on solutions, they insisted that they will continue to tackle the problem alone without accountability to any provisions in our collective bargaining agreement.Refusal to include equity pools in our collective bargaining agreement. The Administration stated that equity adjustments are already happening and that they “expect” them to continue but do not want to be bound to that commitment in our collective bargaining agreement.Having transparent, predictable, and sustainable salary increases that keep pace with the rising cost of living allows us to recruit and retain highly qualified faculty members and ensures that we have the stability to best perform our teaching, research, service, and community engagement work. It’s time the Administration works with us to reach an agreement that meets these needs.We gave the Administration a counter proposal on Benefits. Our proposal would:Guarantee our current health and retirement benefits in our collective bargaining agreement;Require the Employer to increase salaries by 6% if they no longer contribute the 6% employee pick-up to PERS because of new legislation;Extend the tuition reduction program to faculty employed below 0.50 FTE;Provide a $50/month stipend to remote faculty (those who work more than 30 miles from the Corvallis campus) to help offset the cost of accessing fringe benefits only available to Corvallis campus faculty; andProvide reimbursement for up to $500 in visa and SEVIS fees for international faculty and an additional $500 for their family members.The more of us that unite as members of our union, the more strength we have to win a strong contract with salary increases that respect our integral roles in making OSU an even better institution. Join with us today by signing a membership card.Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter & Instagram!

Update for 2/24/20 Bargaining Session

Our UAOSU bargaining team met with the Administration team from 2:30-5:30 pm on Monday, February 24, 2020 in the LaSells Stewart Center.

UAOSU presented articles on:

  • Position Description to guarantee that the allocation of FTE in position descriptions aligns with the time dedicated to each category of work described therein; and
  • Faculty Governance to enshrine the important role of Faculty Senate and ensure all faculty, including remote faculty, have meaningful access to unit, college, and university-level shared governance.

The Administration presented a proposal addressing Promotion & Tenure, along with a related Letter of Agreement. Their proposal accepted many of the most important protections and enhancements we’ve been been fighting for, including:

  • enforceability of promotion and tenure procedures via the grievance procedure;
  • the ability of fixed-term faculty to elect to go up for promotion when eligible, placing the decision to apply for promotion fully in the hands of eligible fixed-term faculty;
  • lowered FTE years in service to make part-time fixed-term faculty eligible for promotion sooner; and
  • FTE in all years of employment (not just those over 0.50 FTE) counting toward FTE years in service for promotion eligibility.

Taken together, these changes will allow more faculty to go up for promotion sooner and give them access to the grievance procedure to ensure fair evaluation of their promotion case.

We still have work to do in this article, including addressing extended tenure situations in CEOAS, sorting out how to deal with a promotion system that previously existed for INTO OSU Instructors, and cementing a process for developing guidelines for groups of faculty who are newly eligible for promotion (thanks to previous bargaining progress!). However, today’s proposal represented a big step in the right direction.

The Administration plans to bring a Compensation proposal to our next session this Friday. Join us Friday, February 28 from 1-4 pm in the LaSells Stewart Center Ag Science Room to see if their Compensation proposal demonstrates a similar commitment to the welfare of OSU faculty. Help us win a strong contract by becoming a member of UAOSU today!

You can find copies of all proposals exchanged to date here: http://www.uaosu.org/bargaining/bargaining-proposals/

Subscribe to our FacebookTwitter & Instagram! Take a moment to like and share this post of us filling the bargaining room to show unity for a fair contract.

In Solidarity,

Your UAOSU Bargaining Team

Update for 2/19/20 Bargaining Session

Executive Summary

Our UAOSU bargaining team met with the Administration team from 9-12 am on February 19, 2020 in the LaSells Stewart Center. Nearly 100 faculty and allies attended the session with us.

UAOSU members presented articles on:

  • Family and Medical Leave to provide meaningful time off for new parents and those caring for their own or a family member’s serious illness;
  • Sabbatical Leave to expand access to sabbatical to non-tenure track faculty and those who cannot afford to take a cut in salary, even for a single term;
  • Workload to guarantee teaching workload policies, recognize exceptional service, and provide a means for addressing workload imbalance;
  • Leaves to allow faculty access to a sick leave bank; and
  • Appointment and Reappointment to guarantee rolling contracts for twice-promoted faculty and advance notice of appointment for soft-money funded faculty.

Meanwhile, the Administration proposed:

  • Language on visa support that committed only to paying the legally required employer filing fees for H1B visas, and asked us to view following the law as “big give;” and
  • Management Rights and Union Rights package proposal that reflected modest movement toward our proposals.

We were disappointed to hear again that the Administration intends to only do the minimum required by law when it comes to family leave.

Three years ago, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women called for a plan like the one we are proposing in bargaining in their 2016-2017 report and President Ray himself claimed the university was “in the process of” implementing six weeks of paid parental leave in 2017 (appendix IV of same report).

Now the OSU administration has taken the stance in negotiations that not only do they not want to memorialize even the current policy of 60 hours of family leave in our contract but that they are uninterested in making improvements to family leave until forced to do so by the changes to Oregon law that take effect three years from now.

We know that faculty and their families cannot wait another three years for meaningful paid family and medical leave. We intend to help the Administration live up to their previous commitments and continued rhetoric by guaranteeing paid family and medical leave in our first contract.

Our next bargaining session is Friday, February 28 from 1-4 pm and will be in the LaSells Stewart Center Ag Science Room. The Administration has indicated they intend to bring a Compensation proposal on Friday.

We are bargaining for an agreement that respects the voice & expertise of academic faculty and makes OSU a better place to work and learn. Join with us and become a member of UAOSU here.

Subscribe to our FacebookTwitter & Instagram!

Facebook users!

Have you had a chance to like, share or comment on this picture of us showing our unity in bargaining last week? Or of UAOSU members meeting with Senator Jeff Merkley about why we are working for a fair contract for a stronger OSU? Click the links below to like, share and comment now!

Unity at Bargaining: https://bit.ly/2HW1kjG

Meeting with Sen. Merkley: https://bit.ly/2TbXzfn

Twitter users!

Click here to retweet a photo of UAOSU members and Senator Jeff Merkley in unity for a fair contract and click here to retweet just one of many compelling statements left by UAOSU members last week on the importance of improving family leave at OSU.

Meeting with Sen. Merkley: https://bit.ly/2Pnlk34

Statements from Bargaining: https://bit.ly/39Z7n39

Full Update

The session began with testimony on two issues identified as among the most important to faculty at OSU. We have been seriously disappointed in the Administration’s refusal to engage meaningfully with some of our key proposals. UAOSU members provided testimony regarding two of those issues – health insurance for postdocs and family leave. Our first guest, Leanne, shared her experience providing insurance coverage for her family as a Postdoctoral Scholar. Previously, as a graduate employee at OSU, she had access to a health plan that allowed her to include her family at a (barely) manageable cost (7% of her salary). Upon graduation and after accepting a faculty postdoc position at OSU, she discovered that the plan (the same insurance offered to grad employees) only provided employer premium contributions for her individually. Coverage for her family now comes at a cost that equals 18% of her income. Our second guest, Kathy, spoke to the need for family leave. As a long-time OSU faculty member, she has had to stop working altogether at various points in her career in order to care for her family. University policy has made it very difficult, even impossible, to achieve a work-life balance.

In 2017, the OSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women issued a report that called for the current 60 hour paid parental leave policy to increase immediately to six weeks and step up to 12 weeks over a few years. Yet here we are, three years later, with the current policy that provides only 60 hours of paid leave. A new Oregon law mandates 12 weeks of paid family leave beginning in 2023. We can’t wait another three years – the issue is urgent and needs to be addressed now. We have proposed a family leave policy that would increase paid leave to six weeks in September of this year, nine weeks by 2022, and twelve weeks, as required by law, in 2023. This is a reasonable process that helps faculty members now and will bring OSU into legal compliance when the new law takes effect. The Administration has refused to counter this proposal and have indicated that they “have no interest” in seeing such an article in our collective bargaining agreement. Family leave is of great importance to our members and the Administration’s unwillingness to even talk about it is shameful.

Our bargaining team presented articles on Leaves (sick leave, vacation leave, etc.), Family and Medical Leave, and Sabbatical Leave. These are proposals that have been previously presented but only the general Leave article has been meaningfully countered by the Administration. Two Letters of Agreement were presented. One would establish a joint labor-management committee to explore the creation of a sick leave bank for faculty (something that SEIU and CGE already have). Another joint-labor management committee would explore options for supporting faculty members by maintaining their healthcare benefits so that they can accept prestigious fellowships. UAOSU also presented proposals on Workload and Appointment and Reappointment. Workload is another issue that the Administration has refused to engage with even though we are just asking for the creation of transparent policies at the unit level with faculty input. As part of our Workload proposal we are also asking the Administration to acknowledge, with course releases, the exceptional service provided by faculty who advise and mentor students of color, first generation students, and LGBTQ students. Given OSU’s stated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we believe that the extra effort that goes into supporting those values should be recognized and that workloads should be adjusted accordingly. In a similar vein, our Sabbatical Leave proposal would make sabbaticals available to all promoted faculty, not just those with tenure. An increase in the percentage of salary paid while on such leaves will also help make taking a sabbatical possible for more faculty members. Our article would ensure one term of sabbatical leave at 100% of salary.

The Administration team presented an article on fringe benefits that crossed out nearly all of the language from our proposal. The only thing they want to provide is payment of the legally required employer filing fee for international faculty (but just the individual faculty member, not their family) who require H1B visas in order to work here. They struck language that guarantees staff fee privileges (tuition reduction) that can be used by faculty members and their dependents. While we want to extend that program so that families can have two children in college at the same time, the Administration doesn’t want even the current policy in our CBA. They also struck language that would provide a very modest stipend to faculty in remote locations to help defray the costs of resources that are available to those at the Corvallis campus. The Administration presented a package proposal on Management Rights and Union Rights. The main sticking point with these proposals is release time for union work. Every other faculty union contract in the state includes release time for key union officers to assist in contract implementation, to help faculty members with grievances, and so on. These important tasks can be quite time-consuming, but they are necessary to the smooth functioning of the university.

You can find copies of all proposals exchanged to date here: http://www.uaosu.org/bargaining/bargaining-proposals/We are bargaining for an agreement that respects the voice & expertise of academic faculty and makes OSU a better place to work and learn. Join with us and become a member of UAOSU here.

Update 2/13/20 Bargaining Session

Our UAOSU bargaining team met with the Administration’s bargaining team on Thursday, February 13, 3-5pm. In our abbreviated session, UAOSU offered counter proposals on Union Rights and Management Rights. The Administration brought a Benefits counterproposal intended to address Postdoctoral Scholar and Postdoctoral Fellow health insurance.

Initially, the Administration’s proposal seemed promising. The proposal struck our proposed language that would have Postdoctoral Scholars pay 5% of premiums for their families’ health insurance because it was a ‘nominal cost.’ The proposal also sought to lock-in a 90% employer contribution for Postdoctoral Fellows and their families. Unfortunately, in the course of the conversation, it became apparent that the Administration did not intend to improve health care for Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows; they just have no idea what those benefits currently are. After we explained that Postdoctoral Scholars receive no contribution for their families’ health insurance premiums and Postdoctoral Fellows receive no contribution for either their own or their families’ insurance, the Administration clarified that they had intended to lock-in current practice. They simply didn’t know what that practice was and had incorrectly included the Graduate Fellow (not Postdoctoral Fellow) health insurance details in their proposal. Further, they did not understand, despite previous member testimony, that Postdoctoral Scholars do not receive any premium subsidy for their families.

Since the Administration has committed on paper to 90% premium contributions for Postdoctoral Fellows (albeit by mistake) and have clearly articulated their understanding that UAOSU is seeking to rectify the lack of family coverage for Postdoctoral Scholars, we are hopeful they will bring back a clarified proposal that speaks to these interests. The Administration clearly believes that providing these benefits is possible, since they believed until Thursday that they did provide them. We look forward to aligning actual benefits with those the Administration believes exist thereby making health care affordable for Postdoctoral Scholars, Postdoctoral Fellows, and their families.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Update for 2/7/20 Bargaining Session

Please plan to attend our BIG Winter Term Bargaining Session:

Wednesday, February 19

9am-12pm

LaSells Stewart Center Ag Science Room

RSVPs are appreciated so we have plenty of coffee and doughnuts: uaosu.org/feb19barg

Executive Summary:

·       UAOSU proposed a condensed Promotion & Tenure article that (1) clarifies the timeline for eligibility for promotion for Fixed-Term Instructional and Research faculty; (2) allows Fixed-Term faculty to initiate their promotion process upon eligibility; and (3) ensures the promotion and tenure processes are followed fairly for all faculty.

·       UAOSU proposed a Letter of Agreement on Promotion and Tenure that sets up a process for faculty, including Faculty Senate representatives, and administrators to work together to (1) clarify existing promotion and tenure guidelines; (2) develop guidelines for groups of faculty not currently eligible for promotion; and (3) develop guidelines for groups of faculty eligible for promotion but with no guidelines currently described in policy.

·       Administration offered an Appointment, Reappointment, Review and Promotion proposal that agreed to (1) guarantee multi-year appointments upon promotion for ALL Fixed-Term faculty; (2) guarantee non-renewal notice four months before contract expiration for all promoted faculty not on soft money; and (3) guarantee non-renewal notice one month before contract expiration for all non-promoted faculty not on soft money.

While we are heartened by the movement to guarantee the existing practice of multi-year contracts for Fixed-Term Instructional faculty and extend those protections to Fixed-Term Research and Fixed-Term Professorial faculty, we know we have a long way to go to guarantee truly stable employment for these faculty members. We also know faculty members on soft money funding deserve stable employment, both through advance notice of appointment renewal or non-renewal and the protection of a bridge funding program.

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Full Bargaining Update:

Our UAOSU bargaining team and the Administration team met on Friday, February 7. We have made progress in bargaining, signing 17 tentative agreements. Step by step, we are educating the Administration about faculty needs, even though it sometimes feels like swimming upstream.

As we engaged faculty in organizing our union, over thousands of conversations, several themes emerged. Promotion and tenure, the main topic of this bargaining session, touches on several of those themes, including transparency, stability, and recognition.

While the Faculty Senate has invested time and effort in our promotion and tenure policies, they are still a confusing patchwork from different sources and found in different documents and webpages. To achieve transparency, and ensure faculty receive fair and equal treatment, our bargaining team wrote articles that pulled all the information together, and added detail where it was missing or confusing. We added language for promotion practices for categories that the Administration has tentatively agreed should finally be recognized with promotion pathways (Instructors (PAC), Instructors (ALS), Instructors (ESL), and Research Associates).

The Administration has repeatedly argued that this is too much detail, although they have not proposed any means to provide faculty with the transparency they need to understand how promotion pathways for each category work at OSU.. Instead of agreeing to our language, or proposing to do the administrative work to rectify the situation, the Administration team has suggested that this should be the work of Faculty Senate.

We have gone back and forth several times with these articles, reiterating faculty’s need for transparency and enforceability of promotion and tenure processes, the Administration has continued to express discomfort with being held accountable to detailed policy. In this session, we streamlined our Promotion and Tenure policies from six articles into one article, narrowing in on the most important details, and provided a letter of agreement for a Joint Labor Management Committee on Promotion and Tenure. UAOSU and Administration would work together, and invite Faculty Senate to join us, to develop detailed language. Our original article language will provide a solid foundation for this effort.

The Administration team shared a draft Memorandum they are preparing to send to OSU researchers about Sea Pay. After striking mention of Sea Pay in previous responses, our continued dialogue led them to recognize clarity about this issue is needed before our contract is finalized.  

The Administration responded to several of our articles with a combined Appointment, Reappointment, Review, and Promotion article. We are approaching agreement on some language, and significantly, the Administration agrees that bargaining unit members on fixed-term appointments who have achieved promotion should receive multi-year appointments. This provides increased stability to fixed-term faculty positions, and codifies language that Faculty Senate and the Provost discussed several years ago following the Fixed-Term Faculty Survey. Currently, multi-year contracts at OSU are awarded haphazardly. While the Administration team has begun to respond to our language about providing timely notice of renewal, we will push to provide the same courtesy to faculty working on soft-money funded appointments. While the Administration struck most of our language related to workload, they did suggest a deadline for units to develop workload guidelines.

The bargaining team will carefully review the Administration’s proposals, and push to address faculty needs and concerns in our responses.  

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

The next bargaining session is 3pm-5pm on Thursday, February 13 in the LaSells Stewart Center Ag Science Room. We plan to present articles on Management Rights and Union Rights. The Administration team has suggested they would like to discuss Postdoctoral Scholar and Postdoctoral Fellow health insurance. Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters: show the Administration that faculty are watching this process. We are bargaining for an agreement that respects the voice & expertise of academic faculty and makes OSU a better place to work and learn. Join with us and become a member of UAOSU here.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Update for 1/21/20 & 1/27/20 Bargaining Sessions

Your UAOSU bargaining team and the Administration team met on Tuesday, January 21 and again on Monday, January 27. We have made progress in bargaining, signing 17 tentative agreements. However, we still have a long way to go, with many major issues having yet to reach resolution. Over the past two sessions, the Administration has made clear that they do not see the need to improve many things at OSU. 

Our proposals are faculty-centered. We’re disappointed that even on places where the Administration agrees with us that something needs to be done, like a sick leave bank, the Administration refuses to agree to a negotiated process and put it in the contract. Instead, they propose having a conversation with us before the Administration makes the ultimate decision.

Time and time again we’ve been told that policies in the handbook will suffice or that OSU intends to follow applicable law, such as FMLA leave.

One reason we organized our union is to be able to ensure that we have a voice in the decisions that affect us, our students, and the OSU community. Negotiating standards and policies into our union contract is a key way that we can have a voice in decisions and ensure transparency and accountability in policy details and how they are implemented.

As we know, policies change and laws can change. By refusing to include policies and procedures in the collective bargaining agreement, the Administration is reserving the right to change them arbitrarily, without including faculty in the process. Including important policies in our contract means the Administration is accountable to following those policies in a consistent and equitable manner. It’s time for them to put it in writing.

On January 21, we presented articles on Position Descriptions, Appointment and Reappointment. We also presented a Letter of Agreement ensuring that all members of the bargaining unit will have their position description updated within the next three years, which was tentatively agreed to. The Administration team presented articles on Management Rights and Union Rights

On January 28, we re-presented several articles that the Administration team had previously ignored or responded to in a cursory manner: Retrenchment, Fringe Benefits, Intellectual Property, Professional Development, and Workload. The Administration team presented counter-proposals on Leaves and Benefits.  As part of their Leaves package, Administration also presented two Letters of Agreement. The first of these would form a committee that would meet in Fall 2021 to explore the possible creation of a Sick Leave Transfer program; the second Letter of Agreement would explore possible support for prestigious fellowship opportunities for faculty through the formation of a similar committee on the same time frame.  For both of these Letters of Agreement, the final decision on whether or not to implement the recommendations of the committee would belong to the Administration. All proposals are described in greater detail on our website. 

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

The next bargaining session is 11:00–2:00 on Friday, February 7 in the LaSells Stewart Center. We plan to present articles on Promotion and Tenure. Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters: show the administration that faculty are watching this process. 

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Proposals

Letter of Agreement on Position Descriptions: establishes a timeline and process for all position descriptions to be updated. Given the essential role of the position description in evaluation through annual performance reviews, it is crucial that it accurately reflects the work expected.  We have come to a tentative agreement on this LoA. 

Position Descriptions: we continue to push for clarity on how existing policy can be incorporated into the CBA. Because equity, inclusion, and diversity are part of how faculty are evaluated, they should be clearly outlined in every position description. Finally, we continue to argue that all faculty should have service FTE, both to recognize existing work being done, and to ensure shared governance. All faculty should have the ability to participate in meetings and committees that shape the university. 

Appointment and Reappointment: faculty on joint appointments should be given a memorandum at the time of hire that outlines how their promotion will be handled. Tenure track faculty should continue to have an expectation of renewal of their annual appointments until their tenure decision. Administration remains resistant to even guaranteeing the current practice of multi-year contracts for promoted fixed-term faculty. The vast majority of faculty work hard to fulfill OSU’s research and teaching missions, and longer contracts add stability to these enterprises. We continue to push for rolling or extended contracts for fixed-term faculty who have achieved promotion. Faculty subject to disciplinary action are entitled to a fair process, as outlined in our Discipline article. Faculty who have been accused of wrong-doing should go through the disciplinary process where they will also be given the opportunity to defend themselves. Non-renewal should follow, not precede, the disciplinary process.

Retrenchment, Fringe Benefits, Intellectual Property, Professional Development, and Workload: these are all articles that we had previously presented early in the bargaining process, which had either been ignored by the Administration team (Fringe Benefits, Intellectual Property, Workload), or had been perfunctorily addressed in an Administration “package” counter-proposal, usually with a single sentence (Retrenchment, Professional Development).  In an effort to find some common ground with the Administration, we have streamlined these articles to focus on the areas of greatest concern to our faculty members. During the course of this session, we engaged the Administration in a dialog about what we are hoping to accomplish with these proposals, emphasizing the elements of our proposals that address the need for stability, fair compensation, equal access to benefits and funding for professional development, and a greater voice in how intellectual property developed by our faculty is used by the university. 

Leaves & Benefits: by contrast, the counter-proposals presented by the Administration team have been crafted to consolidate decision-making power in the hands of the administration.  Their Leaves and Benefits articles, as presented, eliminate large sections of our original proposals intended to secure, among other things, a sick leave transfer program, sabbatical leave for non-tenure-track faculty, and a guarantee that the university will continue to contribute 6% to faculty retirement plans. The 6% salary pick-up is guaranteed in every higher education contract in Oregon state, including the SEIU contract recently negotiated by our classified colleagues here at OSU. The sick leave transfer program is also a benefit that our SEIU colleagues at OSU enjoy; however, the Administration inexplicably refuses to commit to this for unclassified faculty. Instead, they offered a Letter of Agreement for the formation of a committee that would “explore the option” of instituting such a program, which would not even meet until the fall of 2021.  

In some instances, the Administration team’s articles went beyond indifference by actively weakening existing faculty programs.  Their Leaves article gutted all language around Family and Medical Leave, replacing it instead with a single terse sentence asserting that the university will abide by state and federal law. In doing so, the Administration fails to even commit to continuing the current policy that provides for 60 hours of paid family leave for faculty who have just given birth to or adopted a child. The Administration team assured us in session that such language would be unnecessary, as the university has no current plans to discontinue this policy.  In another act of sabotage, the Administration has added language to the Benefits article that would allow them to renegotiate the current 95%-5% employer premium contributions to health insurance if they are somehow able to get out of PEBB. 

Your faculty union bargaining team is committed to making sure that faculty voices are heard with regard to the need for greater stability and shared governance. When the Administration team ignores our work toward these goals, we will continue to pressure them to engage with our proposals and to engage with us in meaningful discussions around those proposals.

Update for 1/15/20 Bargaining Session

Your UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met 9–12 on Wednesday, January 15 in Cascades Hall. Eighteen faculty members observed the session.

At this session we presented two articles – “Compensation” and “Research Support.” We also introduced an MOU on Sea Pay. The administration team presented an article on “Appointment, Reappointment, Review, and Promotion.” Their proposal attempts to combine a number of separate articles that we have previously given to them. Notably, their proposal:

  • Refuses to protect the existing practice of multi-year appointments upon promotion;
  • Refuses to extend notice of appointment to more than one month before the beginning of the next appointment pre-promotion and four months before the beginning of the next appointment post-promotion; and
  • Refuses to include promotion and tenure requirements (including the basics, like length of service) to make the process more transparent.

Clearly, we still have quite a lot of work to do before we can reach agreement on these issues that provide the basis of stable employment at OSU. The points of contention are described in more detail in the longer summary that follows.  

Our next bargaining session is TODAY, 2-5pm in the LaSells Stewart Center Ag Science Room. We will have two proposals: “Position Descriptions” and “Appointment and Reappointment.” Even if you can only join for half an hour, your presence helps!

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Team Changes

There have been a couple of changes to our team. Dave Cecil, our lead negotiator, has been called back to Eugene as our union cousins in United Academics of the University of Oregon begin bargaining. Bargaining is an intense process and Dave would have found it difficult to give both his home local and UAOSU the necessary attention and time. We send our colleagues in Eugene our best wishes for success and know that their successes are very much intertwined with our own. In Dave’s place we have selected Ashley Bromley to lead our negotiations. Ashley is experienced and knowledgeable and has been with us from the beginning. We are in very capable hands! Marisa Chappell will no longer be with us at the table. She is on sabbatical leave for the remainder of this academic year as a Visiting Scholar with the Russell Sage Foundation in New York. We will miss her but know that she is with us in spirit.  

Proposals

In our counter-proposal on Compensation we continue to advocate for regular salary increases that ensure cost-of-living adjustments, merit raises, and equity adjustments. While it has been the administration practice in recent salary increases to provide a 1.8% raise to all eligible faculty, the administration is opposed to calling these raises “across-the board” or “COLAs.” We believe it is important that our salaries keep pace with inflation (currently about 2.7% for our area) since otherwise we are taking a salary cut each year.  

We have proposed that all merit increases be based on the most recent performance reviews so that the process is transparent to faculty members. We have had some back and forth conversation with the administration about how these reviews are typically handled and how frequently they occur for faculty who have achieved promotion or been on leave. We have argued that while regular reviews should be mandated for all faculty, it is up to each unit to determine how the review process will be organized as long as there is faculty input in constructing that process. It should be noted that the administration has made movement toward us regarding raises for part-time faculty although the details as to how that would be implemented remain unresolved.

We have also proposed the establishment of an equity pool to be used to address salary discrepancies. In has been the administration’s practice in some past raise cycles to use part of the merit pool for this purpose. We find this problematic as it reduces the amount for actual merit increases in units that employ, for example, large numbers of female faculty who continue to earn less than their male colleagues. We believe a better approach would be to periodically set aside a pool of money that would be dedicated to that purpose. Our current proposal calls for a 3% salary pool in year two of the contract for equity adjustments.  

As part of our Compensation article, we presented the administration with an MOU on Sea Pay. We argued that, since we have agreed on the increase to Sea Pay, that signing the MOU would allow PIs to begin writing that amount into grant proposals now. Many grants span multiple years and advance planning is crucial. The administration is opposed to the MOU since it concerns compensation issues that have not yet been fully settled.  

The second article that we presented was Research Support. This proposal includes the creation of a university-wide bridge funding program to ensure that research faculty are supported when temporarily between grants. The funds for this program would come from returned overhead on grants. The administration sees research support as a zero-sum game in which bridge funding would come at the expense of other important services. We contend that better research support will enhance the ability of PIs to compete for grants.  

The administration presented an article (Appointment, Reappointment, Review and Promotion) that combined our previous proposals on Notice of Appointment, Annual Review, Midterm Reviews, Post-Tenure Reviews, Position

Descriptions, four articles on Promotion and Tenure, and Retrenchment. Obviously, some of the details contained in our proposals were dropped. Going forward, we intend to continue negotiations over these topics as separate articles. While they might be combined at a later date, negotiating them separately at this point will allow us to reach tentative agreement on some while continuing to work on others.  

There are numerous points of contention around these items, two of which were discussed at length. One concerns multi-year contracts for fixed-term faculty. The administration proposal would encourage, but not promise, multi-year contracts for faculty who have achieved promotion. We consider this to be a step back from current policy. It is the administration’s position that current policy gives promoted fixed-term faculty a two year contract for the period immediately following promotion but, following that initial contract, might revert to annual or even term-to-term appointments.  

The administration is also opposed to putting any specific language regarding Promotion and Tenure in the contract, arguing that those policies are the province of the Faculty Senate. We would like to see those policies in our CBA so that they will be enforceable. Without those protections, the administration can, and does, alter/interpret those policies to suit their own interests. To take the previous example, Faculty Senate policy unequivocally states that promoted fixed-term faculty will be given multi-year contracts as long as funding for the position is secure. But the administration has told us that they disagree with the policies set by Faculty Senate and don’t believe that they have to necessarily follow those guidelines.

Our website provides a table with links to the various proposals and counter-proposals that have been presented by UAOSU and by the administration.  

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

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

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.

Solidarity,

Your Bargaining Team