Mailbag: OSU’s union stance belies talk on MLK
January 30, 2020 – Original Post Here
Every year, OSU hosts a celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At this year’s event, President Ray reported on the achievements of OSU toward achieving King’s vision, particularly its efforts to deal with hunger and houselessness among OSU students. Ray encouraged the audience to reaffirm their commitment to diversity, inclusion and justice and to never be content with the status quo.
Dr. King would certainly have understood that social justice must include examining why people in the community do not have access to food and shelter. King also praised the labor movement as a vehicle for improving wages, working conditions and economic security.
In 2018, a majority of OSU faculty voted to form our union, UAOSU, to have a voice in the terms of our working conditions. We have been negotiating with the university administration for almost 15 months. There seems to be no end in sight, however, because the administration refuses to make meaningful commitments to secure employment.
Administration consistently rejects our attempts to guarantee cost-of-living adjustments, research support, longer-term contracts and other things that our most vulnerable teachers and researchers desperately need. This certainly doesn’t align with OSU’s dedication to upholding Dr. King’s legacy of union support and economic justice.
OSU is the top research university in Oregon because of its world-class faculty. When the majority of faculty say we want our interests — for secure jobs, health insurance, child care and protection against harassment — to be heard, then we expect to be treated as equals at the table.