Update for 1/15/20 Bargaining Session

Published by Shawn on

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

Categories: bargaining

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