7.20.23 Agreements on Paid Leave Oregon, External Letters for Promotion, and Other Updates

Dear Colleagues,

Your bargaining team met with the administration team on July 10, 2023, and the two parties concluded an agreement on the implementation of Paid Leave Oregon that secured important protections for bargaining unit members. Read on for more details on this agreement and additional UAOSU updates.

Our agreement ensures that no bargaining unit member seeking paid family and medical leave will be obligated to file a claim for Paid Leave Oregon (PLO). This provision is important because of the way PLO will operate at OSU. Rather than participate in the state-run PLO program, OSU’s administration has contracted with The Standard Insurance Company (The Standard) to administer an equivalent paid leave plan. This means that employees seeking to use the program will have to apply through The Standard, which could entail significant paperwork, verification processes, and delayed payments. Further, unlike income received while using other forms of paid leave such as sick leave, PLO benefits received through The Standard are not PERS eligible income.

At the same time, many bargaining unit members already have access to enough paid leave to cover twelve weeks through accumulated sick leave and the 120 hours of paid family and medical leave that we won through our first Collective Bargaining Agreement. We have preserved bargaining unit members’ right to utilize that existing leave to cover their legally protected twelve weeks of leave if they would prefer not to engage with The Standard or if they want to ensure they maintain their full PERS contributions while on leave. We also ensured that bargaining unit members who do utilize paid leave through The Standard, which will not cover the entirety of most faculty salaries, can utilize their existing paid leave to “top off” their benefits to secure full salary replacement. In both cases, our agreement confirms that bargaining unit members will continue to accrue salary-related benefits when utilizing their own accrued leave.

We also ensured that all bargaining unit members, regardless of FTE, have access to the 120 hours of paid leave we won in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. It became clear during our negotiations that the administration was interpreting that provision as pro-rated for bargaining unit members who work for OSU on a part-time basis, even though this is not articulated in our CBA. Going forward, the administration agreed to follow UAOSU’s interpretation of this provision. This makes it more likely that bargaining unit members employed part-time will have sufficient paid leave available to cover twelve weeks. It is recommended that employees check with human resources to get a full understanding of their specific leave accruals and options.

We remain excited that Oregon’s legislature is extending paid family and medical leave for most of the state’s employees and that our bargaining unit members retain the leave we fought for in our CBA.

Additionally, we met with administration earlier this month and jointly agreed to drop the letter requirement for all categories of Instructor, FRA, and Research Associate promotions for the upcoming year. We’re hopeful this will make promotions less arduous for both our members and for administration. To be sure this doesn’t create unintended consequences, however, we agreed to do this as a pilot program. We will collect data on successful and unsuccessful promotions and revisit the promotion process at the end of the academic year. If you feel that there are any irregularities in your own promotion process, or have general questions about promotions, please reach out.  

Lastly, we want to share with you some upcoming events and reminders:

  • Last summer we had a great time attending a Corvallis Knights baseball game with our fellow union members. Let’s do it again! Join us on Thursday July 27th at 6:30pm. Tickets are first come, first serve, so please rsvp at uaosu.org/knights by Wednesday July 26th to ensure you get your tickets to the game.
  • Please save Saturday October 8th for our Annual Picnic. More information to follow.
  • We want to remind everyone that next year we will be back at the bargaining table to negotiate our second contract. Our organizing committee is eager to connect with folks about this early in the school year. Keep an eye out for more info soon.

In solidarity,

Your bargaining team: Kathleen Stanley (UAOSU Past President and Lead Negotiator), Louisa Hooven (UAOSU Grievance Chair), Marisa Chappell (UAOSU Executive Vice President), Lori Cramer (UAOSU Representative), H Rakes (UAOSU Representative), Megan Dickison and Dan Andersen (UAOSU Executive Directors)