4.27 Bargaining Update: Compensation, Benefits & More
The UAOSU bargaining team and the Administration team met 9am-12:30pm on Monday, April 27 on Zoom.
We were able to quickly reach tentative agreements on a few proposals we exchanged last week: Academic Classification & Rank, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tenured Instructors; and a MOU on Research Associates (Postdoctoral).
Disappointingly, the Administration’s bargaining team made it clear that they do not wish to implement agreed-upon merit increases for fiscal year 2020 in this academic year. We have exchanged language since December 2019 with agreement on the size, range, eligibility, and retroactive nature of these raises. We could easily sign a MOU (like the one we offered) today to ensure all eligible faculty receive these owed raises this term. Instead, the Administration has staked out the position that they will not begin executing these raises until the entire contract has been settled, ratified, and signed. This will take weeks or months. It’s impossible to view their move as anything but a cynical bargaining power play, especially in light of their willingness to implement the raises last fall when their proposal excluded part-time faculty who make up a significant portion of our bargaining unit.
Withholding raises owed to bargaining unit faculty is an attempt to push us to accept a contract that’s still incomplete. We continue to wait for the Administration to address key issues like research support (waiting on Administration’s first response to our May 16, 2019 proposal), intellectual property (waiting on Administration’s first response to our May 16, 2019 proposal), leaves (Administration has been unwilling to commit to even their own 60 hour family leave policy), and more.
We have made tremendous progress in bargaining over the past few weeks and have felt like we were in a good position to reach agreement on the full contract this term. That only seems possible if we can count on the Administration to be a good partner in these negotiations. Indefinitely holding out on raises owed to faculty–the same faculty who moved this university to remote delivery overnight–is not what we expect of a good partner. We will continue to call on the Administration to sign our MOU on FY2020 Raises and guarantee raises are distributed in June.
Read more about our compensation proposals for years beyond FY2020 and get fuller details on all exchanged proposals in the complete update below.
The Administration provided a Benefits proposal that:
- responded to our push to secure dependent premium contributions for Postdoctoral Scholars by offering 90% premium coverage for dependents (less than the 95% for other bargaining unit members) but requiring an increase in the employee’s premium, from a 0% share to a 10% share;
- reasserted Administration’s position that they could change both health insurance and retirement plans of bargaining unit members (they promise, but don’t commit in writing, to only moving to comparable or better plans), needing only to “notify” UAOSU they’d decided to do so;
- rejected our attempt to extend a one time $500 visa/SEVIS fee remission for international faculty and their dependents (CGE fought for and won this provision for international grad employees some years ago) for those international faculty who don’t have these expenses otherwise covered by the employer;
- rejected our proposal to provide $50/month to remote faculty (those whose primary work location is more than 30 miles from Corvallis) to partially compensate for reduced access to campus services; and
- rejected our proposal to extend the faculty tuition reduction to faculty at less than 0.5 FTE.
While securing dependent premium contributions for Postdoctoral Scholars is a big win, we still have work to do to address the employee contribution.
No other faculty union contract in the state includes language allowing the Administration to identify a new health insurance or retirement plan during the life of the contract. Changing plans would be a large, multi-year process and should be subject to the full collective bargaining process, not a simple notice.
The Administration also provided a proposed Letter of Agreement on Child Care Exploration and Transportation Between Corvallis Work Sites in lieu of any tangible responses at the present time.
UAOSU presented several proposals. Our Term of Agreement proposal would establish a contract expiration date of June 30, 2024 and set up a process for negotiating a successor agreement in the 2023-2024 academic year.
- secure retroactive raises for all faculty employed in bargaining unit positions as of the effective date of the raises (January 1 for 12-month employees & February 1 for 9-month employees);
- set up a 3% merit pool, with merit raise distributions between 1.8-6%;
- ensure faculty working below 0.5 FTE and those who moved positions within the university are eligible for raises; and
- guarantee raises will be paid out in June 2020.
- establish a 1.5% merit raise pool for January/February 2021, with a minimum 1.0% raise for eligible faculty;
- acknowledge conditions under which this distribution may be impossible, namely if state funding drops precipitously for the remainder of the biennium and/or enrollment drops significantly in Fall 2020;
- allow bargaining to resume via a reopener in Spring 2021 (when we know more about OSU’s financial position) to settle compensation for fiscal years 2022-2024; and
- guarantee no faculty experience furloughs, wage cuts, or terminations without cause (layoffs) resulting from COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Our Letter of Agreement on Child Care Task Force would establish a Child Care Task Force to work with existing groups on campus and in our communities to meaningfully address child care needs.
Our website provides a table with links to all proposals exchanged in bargaining.
The next bargaining session is 10–1 on Monday, May 4 on Zoom (register here). We plan to respond to the Administration’s Benefits Proposal. The Administration’s team plans to bring a proposal on Research & Scholarship, a response to our Letter of Agreement on a Child Care Task Force, and perhaps a Leaves proposal. Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters: show the administration that faculty are watching this process.
Become a member of UAOSU, attend next Monday’s bargaining session, and subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter & Instagram! If you haven’t had the chance yet, like and share the letters of support from Rev. Dr. Simon C. Justice of Good Samaritan Church Corvallis (Facebook,Twitter) and Jon Pywell, President of AFSCME Local 2975 (Facebook,Twitter). These actions all strengthen our ability to win a strong contract for each other. Also take a moment to fill out the Faculty Senate’s Faculty Pulse Survey to help inform the Faculty Senate’s efforts to improve support during the COVID-19 disruption.
UAOSU will be hosting a tele-townhall Thursday, April 30, 4:30-5:30pm. Your bargaining team will be sharing information about what we have achieved and what we’re still looking to win at the bargaining table. There will be time for your questions – if you want to learn more about UAOSU’s next steps, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss! Here’s the registration link to join the call.
We appreciate your support. You can find a full calendar of bargaining sessions on our website.