6.24.24 Minimal investment in faculty


Your UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met on Tuesday, June 18th from 12pm to 3pm in Cascades Hall 143. The administration team didn’t pass a proposal.  Your team passed union rights and promotion and/or tenure.  The two sides further discussed the rationale behind the administration’s paltry compensation proposal from their package proposal passed at the previous session on June 14th.



Use the links below to add these to your calendar.




On union rights we are close to an agreement, with the main stumbling block surrounding codifying the already-established practice of not requiring units to bear the budget burden of employees’ union release time.  


On promotion and/or tenure, the two sides remain far apart.  We asserted that it should be explicit in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that Promotion and Tenure Guidelines are a product of faculty shared governance, and that we should be made aware of any changes to Promotion and Tenure Guidelines with the expectation that we bargain any that are substantive, as law requires.  We also brought back language to ensure that faculty who receive a negative review in a single aspect of their position description be given an appropriate amount of time to rectify it.  Finally, we brought back our language on having promotion-like reviews and raises for faculty who have achieved the final rank, in order to promote excellence.  Given the lack of commitment to decent raises in their compensation proposal, these raises could be essential for faculty at the top rank in their category at the institution.


Finally, the two sides discussed the admin compensation counterproposal.  In case you missed it, their counterproposal dismissed all our attempts to have our salaries not continue to decrease on an inflation-adjusted basis. They rejected our proposals for a flat raise to base pay to make up for recent high inflation and for across-the-board raises to ensure that salaries at least keep up with the area’s high cost of living. They only offer paltry merit increases over a long six-year term, all well-below the current rate of inflation (the majority are capped to a maximum of 1%).  Furthermore, their counter does not commit to spend specified amounts (pools) in each year, which means that no faculty member will be guaranteed raises at all.


When we asked them why they rejected most sections of our proposal, why they aren’t willing to commit to raise pools, and how they came up with their lackluster below-inflation, merit-only raises amounts they doubled-down on having to be fiscally responsible and needing to propose something that is sustainable.  They even insinuated that it was so that they could keep us employed.  This does not sync with Oregon State University’s 10-year business forecast recently adjusted further upward).  That forecast  indicates that revenues are expected to continue to outpace the rate of inflation. They can afford raises that stop the decline in the real compensation of academic faculty.  They just don’t want to. 


On the topic of minimum salaries, we asked how they came up with the idea of increasing the minimums by 4% from 2020.  They again appealed to being fiscally responsible.  We pointed out that their minimum salary for a Research Associate (RA) is far below the National Institute of Health salary minimums for a Postdoctoral Scholar with zero years of experience.  We asked why it would make sense to pay an RA so much less, given that many Postdoctoral Scholars become RAs. They repeated that they are constrained by fiscal responsibility.


On the topic of Sea Pay, we asked them how they came up with a minimum of $150 a day when we had proposed a minimum of $300 per day based on extensive conversation with members who spend time on research vessels. Admin suggested that it was due to conversations with units that have employees that go to sea.  They were unable to describe “who” it was that they talked with on the matter, whether it was unit leaders or principal investigators. We have agreed that PIs should be able to pay higher amounts, but have not agreed on the exact language to guarantee this will happen as of yet. 


We asked them why they rejected our attempt at another round of equity raises.  They stated that there is no need for it since we just completed an initial round of equity adjustments and employees can request equity adjustments individually.


Towards the end, they stated that they have interest in compensating exceptional performance.  We asked them to explain how 1% maximum increases each year over four years makes OSU competitive.   They said that they welcome our counter to further discussion.


Our proposal signaled our priorities to compensate faculty fairly for their essential role  in fulfilling the institution’s core missions in teaching, research, and extension.  Their counter signals that their priorities involve minimizing their investment in faculty while diverting burgeoning revenue elsewhere. Stay tuned: we look forward to bringing back a compensation proposal that acknowledges the effects of inflation and OSU’s poor showing compared to peer institutions, that honors the critical work that faculty do, and that addresses the real needs of faculty.


The next bargaining session is 9am–3:30pm on Tuesday June 24th in Cascade Hall 120. Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters: show the administration that faculty are watching this process. 


Our power in negotiations comes from all of us working together as a united faculty. Becoming a member is the first step in supporting your bargaining team and securing a strong second contract . You can become a member online by going to uaosu.org/join


In solidarity,

Filix Maisch and Your Bargaining Team