Fair and Equitable Salary Increases for All Academic Faculty
This last Friday, you may have received a message from Provost Ed Feser regarding negotiations between our bargaining team and the administration.
In his message, Provost Feser makes several assertions that we dispute:
- We disagree with the Provost’s assertions regarding the cost of our proposals. In bargaining on October 28, the administration asserted that the totality of our proposals would cost $35 million. Several times, we asked the administration team to explain the basis for their estimate. Each time they refused to do so. Our own cost estimate, based on data obtained from the administration through a Freedom of Information Act request, is far lower. These discrepancies need to be explored and discussed, something they have thus far refused to do.
- We are appalled by the Provost’s scare tactic of tying their unsubstantiated estimate to a threat of tuition increases. Oregon State University has a $1.4 billion budget. The administration controls how much of that money gets spent and for what purposes. This year, for instance, the administration decided to increase the subsidy given to the athletics department to $8 million and to embark on a $175 million expansion of the football stadium. Our proposed salary package contains regular cost-of-living adjustments for every bargaining unit member, a larger merit pool to reward the faculty who make OSU excellent, and a small pool of money to address the myriad equity issues we have on campus. We also proposed a bridge funding program, to be funded through returned overhead on grants, to help us keep our quality researchers who are between grants. We do not think this package of proposals is extreme and we are ready to discuss them at the table. If we want to remain a top-tier university, the administration needs to prioritize our faculty.
- We are frustrated by the administration’s unwillingness to address long-standing deficiencies in faculty compensation. We have presented the administration with proposals that address the inequalities and deficiencies in compensation affecting OSU faculty. We went many years without raises and in 2009 we took a pay cut when we were furloughed. When we have received raises, they have barely covered cost of living increases. We have not kept pace with comparator universities. We have lost good teaching faculty to other institutions and have lost quality researchers due to temporary gaps in grant funding. Promising potential colleagues have chosen to take jobs at universities with better and more stable compensation. The administration’s failure to address these problems is weakening our institution.
- We are disappointed that the Provost’s salary package once again leaves out colleagues whose work is crucial to fulfilling OSU’s mission. The administration’s “offer” excludes the 27% of our bargaining unit whose FTE is below 0.5. Many of these faculty members do, in fact, work half-time but their FTE is manipulated in order to deny them benefits. Denying them the raises offered to other faculty exacerbates these inequities. Yes, as the Provost asserts, this is how raises have been doled out in recent years. We formed a union to prevent these abuses of our most vulnerable faculty members. The cost of including them in the Provost’s raise package would be $305,000, a figure that is significantly less than the Provost’s own annual salary. Including these faculty is fair, sustainable, and consistent with OSU’s purported mission and core values. https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/trustees/oregon-state-university-mission-statement
- We are disappointed by the administration’s failure to engage with our proposals. When we began bargaining, we were hopeful that the administration team would join us in an effort to craft an agreement that strengthened OSU. Our compensation article is designed to ensure that all faculty salaries will keep pace with inflation, reward excellence, and address longstanding inequities. Instead of engaging with that proposal, the administration has suggested leaving it to the Provost to unilaterally determine raises, raises that betray OSU’s stated commitment to equity and social progress. Time after time, they have indicated “no interest in” bargaining over many of our proposals. If they truly respect their faculty, they need to come to the table ready to engage with our proposals and to answer questions about their own.
- We are frustrated by the administration’s failure to respect the bargaining process. The administration waited five months to offer an inadequate compensation proposal, handed us a salary increase package which they refused to discuss, gave us three days to decide whether to “take it or leave it,” and, within hours of presenting their proposal, took the offer directly to the faculty, thereby bypassing their duty to bargain with UAOSU as the chosen representative of the faculty. The administration has once again failed to respect our faculty’s decision to form a union and has failed to bargain in a collegial manner.
Our negotiations with the administration resume on November 8, from 10 am to 1pm, in 139 Cascade Hall. We encourage everyone to come to this session to observe our attempt to engage with them on these important issues. Everyone is welcome. PleaseRSVP here.
Join with us in negotiating for fairer compensation for all OSU faculty:
· Sign our petition to let the administration know you want a fair contract.
· Become a member to strengthen our union.