Update for 2/19/20 Bargaining Session

Published by Shawn on

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.

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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

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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.

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