7.21.20 COVID Bargaining: Salary Reduction and Reopening Update

Published by Megan on

Last Thursday, we had two important meetings with members of OSU Administration: one to set the level of salary reduction to be implemented beginning in August and the other to begin our negotiations over the conditions of resuming in-person work. 

Salary Reductions

When we negotiated salary reductions, we stipulated that the reductions would be tied to actual revenue shortfalls in E&G funds but initially implemented based on the best available projections of that shortfall, with no reductions implemented if the E&G shortfall was anticipated to be less than $35M. When we settled the contract, the expected E&G revenue shortfall was $49M. In our meeting last Thursday, OSU administration let us know that their best estimate of the shortfall is now $47M. 

While cuts to state funding are now anticipated to be much lower than previously feared, enrollment (particularly among non-resident undergraduates) remains highly uncertain and lower than initially predicted. The Administration would like to take a bit more time before setting the reduction level to be implemented in August, in hopes revenue projections can be slightly more certain in the near term. 

We plan to meet again on Tuesday, July 28 to set the salary reduction level to be implemented in August. We’ll meet again in November, February, and June to check in on actual revenue shortfalls and adjust salary reductions accordingly.

We were able to achieve a truly transparent and accountable salary reduction program through our right to collectively bargain and the strength of our union membership. If you are not already a member we encourage you to join UAOSU here.

More details about the salary reduction agreement can be found here.

In the meantime, we’ve put together a salary calculator (click here to download the calculator) that can be used to calculate the impact of merit raises and potential salary reductions to your gross salary. You can input your existing salary and anticipated merit raise, then see how your salary would be impacted for revenue shortfalls between $35M and $63M. The default on the calculator is the $49M shortfall level that was the best projection when we settled our contract in May.

Bargaining: Impact of COVID-19 Resumption Plan & Policies

In our first negotiation session over the impact of resuming in-person work, the Administration let us know that they do not necessarily believe they have an obligation to negotiate over work conditions related to the pandemic, but they are interested in productive conversations with UAOSU and were willing to have conversations under the same rules we agreed on in our Spring CBA negotiations. 

We let the Administration know that through our survey and in numerous individual conversations, faculty have expressed significant concerns about the health and safety of faculty and students under the current reopening plan. We indicated we would like the administration to bring as many high-level administrators and experts as possible to the table to field our questions and hear our concerns. 

We suggested several specific issues we would like to engage with including: the level of testing and contact tracing, personal protective equipment, the ventilation and cleaning of classrooms, enforcement of physical distancing and face covering policies, training for students and staff, and especially the rights of faculty to choose if and when they return to in-person work. 

Along these lines, we passed a memorandum of understanding to the Administration that would secure the right of each faculty member to determine if they were able to return to in-person work for themselves, regardless of the reason, as long as the COVID pandemic persists. Administration, to their credit, agreed to review this memorandum and continue our conversations in future sessions. 

Our next bargaining session is Thursday July 23, 2:30-4pm. Register here to observe the session.

The value of being union members and having a voice in the decisions that affect us, our students and our community has never been clearer. The strength of our union and our voice depends on the unity we show by being members of our union. To become a member of our union click here.

Our UAOSU Bargaining Team

Louisa Hooven, Laurel Kincl, Kelly McElroy, Jan Medlock, Kathleen Stanley, Vasiliki Touhouliotis

Categories: bargaining