10.7.20 Covid Bargaining Update

Published by Megan on

The UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met 10–11:30 on Thursday, October 1 on Zoom to continue negotiating over the changes to our work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The teams continued bargaining over Faculty Enforcement of COVID-19 Related Policies, with a proposal from your UAOSU team and a counterproposal from the administration’s team. The teams have agreed that faculty will not face discipline for using their best judgment to enforce OSU’s face covering and physical distancing policies. The administration team continued to reject not requiring faculty to contact the Department of Public Safety, which might dispatch an armed Oregon State Police officer, for violations of these policies and to reject developing an unarmed de-escalation response team at OSU. The administration’s team seems to be asserting that there are circumstances where they may choose to discipline faculty for not calling Public Safety despite concern among many faculty about armed policing on campus and escalations that may occur.

The administration’s team returned to the subject of our proposal from September 17 on COVID-19 Impact on Reviews, Promotion, Tenure, and the Use of Start-Up and Discretionary Funds. The administration team informed us that the Office of Faculty Affairs would soon announce some limited changes to promotion and tenure reviews to address the impacts of COVID-19, which we support in principle, but we were frustrated that they had no written response after having our proposal for 2 weeks. We also worry about the untenable situation where the administration announces policy changes that may conflict with the contract they negotiated without resolving these conflicts through our bargaining process. Conflicts between policy and our contract will make it difficult to use our grievance process to ensure these new policies are equitably applied. Moreover, the administration team expressed reluctance to recognize in periodic reviews, promotion, and tenure the excellent work faculty are doing under the challenging and vastly different circumstances of COVID-19. Due to safety measures imposed for the pandemic, many faculty have had to adapt their teaching or research plans, and in many cases do even more work than before. Many faculty also face new demands for caregiving, which fall largely on women and other minoritized groups. One or two years of tenure extensions are a wholly inadequate response: reviews, including promotion and tenure, must account for the changed circumstances of our work during COVID-19.

We are also frustrated that the administration’s team has not responded to our proposals on COVID-19 testing for faculty who return to in-person work, on sick-leave transfer, on resources for caregivers, and on expanded leave and health care benefits despite having had these proposals for many weeks. Similarly, the administration’s team has been slow to schedule future bargaining sessions. The administration must prioritize resolving these issues that are important to our faculty.

Our next session is 1:30–2:30 tomorrow, Thursday, October 8. Register here to attend. Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters: show the administration that faculty are watching this process.

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.

We appreciate your support.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team

Categories: bargaining