And Another Dam Thing…

And Another Dam Thing…


The Communications Committee is proud to present the first edition of And Another Dam Thing…, our union’s quarterly newsletter. Read on to learn more about upcoming UAOSU events, perspectives from our members, and ongoing labor issues here in Oregon and across the nation.


If you have ideas for content to include in future newsletters, please contact me at


In solidarity,

Victor Reyes, Instructor-ESL at INTO OSU and UAOSU Secretary 


Building Power – A Message from Our President

By Kathleen Stanley, Senior Instructor I in Sociology and UAOSU President,


Workers across the United States and in different industries are rediscovering the power that comes from organizing. This has been particularly true in the service, healthcare, and educational sectors of our economy. Workers at Burgerville here in Oregon have become the first fast food workers to organize a union. Workers at Starbucks and Amazon have notched some impressive wins. Public school teachers in places like West Virginia and California have used their power to advocate not only for themselves, but also for their students and communities by demanding adequate funding for the services, delivered by schools, that students and their families depend upon. Nurses and other healthcare professionals have struck for better staffing at hospitals.


Union power is about so much more than wages and benefits, important as those are. It is also about securing the resources, workplace policies, and organizational structures that allow workers to do their jobs well. UAOSU, and our colleagues at the other public universities in Oregon, are part of the resurgence of the labor movement. We can use our power to demand regular salary increases, the maintenance of health care and retirement benefits, promotion ladders for all academic faculty, reasonable and consistent workload policies, intellectual freedom, shared governance, a robust grievance process for resolving problems, workplace safety in the age of COVID, and so much more. In all of this, it is important to remember that our union doesn’t represent us, it is us. Our power and our ability to successfully negotiate these issues depends on our commitment to one another and our active engagement with our union.


I encourage you to be as active in our union as your time allows. We are all busy with work, family, and other responsibilities. That is why it is so important that we all do our part. Many hands make light work. Whatever issues motivate you, we need your voice and your energy. Talk to your colleagues about shared concerns and be a visible presence. Come to General Membership Meetings (including the one next week), join a committee, become a UAOSU representative or officer. Ensure that our union reflects your values and your priorities. Help shape the future of our union and our university through your involvement and participate in the joys of building our collective power.


Upcoming UAOSU Events

This Week:

  • Week 4 Organizing Swarm: Our activists will be doing office visits for the first time since March 2020. Interested in helping out? Email our MOC Chair, Steve Shay, at
  • UAOSU Spring Fling at Common Fields on April 21 from 4-6 pm: Mingle with fellow UAOSU members, activists, representatives, officers and staff at our first in-person member event since 2020. Register here by April 20th and enjoy a drink and light bites, on your union.

Next Week:

  • General Membership Meeting on Zoom April 26 from 5-7 pm. Covid permitting, this will be our last fully remote General Membership Meeting, so hop on Zoom to meet your fellow members virtually and discuss how we can help build solidarity in our union. Register here.
  • Instructor Promotions Information on April 27 from 4-5 pm. Interested in pursuing promotion? Learn about changes to instructor promotions secured in our CBA and hear advice from faculty who have been through the process. Register here.

Later This Term:

  • Threats to Tenure and Academic Freedom Panel Discussion on May 10 from 4-5 pm. Join Marisa Chappell, our VP of Tenure-Track Faculty, and a panel of faculty from across the nation to learn about threats to tenure and academic freedom in Oregon and across the country as well as discuss what we can do to defend faculty rights. Register here.

Meet a Member: Kate McTavish

I wear a few hats on campus. I am an Associate Professor in the Human Development and Family Sciences program where I am also the Undergraduate Program Director. In addition, I am the Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Initiative for the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and I serve as one of our college’s UAOSU Representatives. I am also Faculty Senate President-Elect.

Kate McTavish

I would have to say I am proudest of my role in bringing some amazing individuals to our university. Most often those efforts came through Provost’s Initiatives, including the Sustainable Rural Communities Initiative and the Student Success through the Lens of Diversity Initiative. It has been wonderful watching the immense impact that folks hired under these initiatives have made to our university community and our state.


Looking toward the future, recruiting and retaining more diverse faculty is one of the most pressing issues facing our institution. We must seriously address how systemic racism remains embedded in our policies and practices and acknowledge the impact this has if we are to make progress on this front. It is my hope that UAOSU will continue to play a vibrant critical role in to transforming OSU for equity and justice.


More immediately, I hope you’ll all take the time to reach out to your colleagues and see how they’re doing. Those connections are more important now than ever.

This profile is based on an edited interview.

Meet A Member: Clint Mattox

I am a turfgrass scientist in the Horticulture Department, where I teach and perform turfgrass research. I also serve on the Representative Assembly for the College of Agriculture, am a member of the Labor Education Caucus, and serve on the Executive Council for our state affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers Oregon.


I am proud I recognized that being a part of a union was as important to my graduate work

experience as finishing a degree. As a faculty member, I can see how vital union work is to the working conditions of my colleagues and all workers at OSU. There is too much disparity in benefits and work security among university employees. Many part-time employees have limited job security and often no healthcare or retirement benefits. I think our institution should ensure that everyone receives these benefits, regardless of their workload.

Clint Mattox

My hope for the future of our union is to build a membership that is always working on solidarity and community building so that together we can end the disparity in working conditions.


This profile is based on an edited interview.


Fighting for a New Deal for American Higher Ed

By Marisa Chappell, Associate Professor in History & UAOSU VP for Tenure Track Faculty Affairs,

American higher education is in crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic made that crisis more visible, but it’s been a half century in the making. In the middle decades of the twentieth century, Americans considered higher education a public good, essential for economic growth and Cold War success. Low-cost or free higher education was a powerful engine of social and economic mobility for white working-class men in the two decades after World War II. But at the very moment women and people of color pushed open the doors of higher education in the 1970s, political elites proffered a different vision of higher education: students, not taxpayers, should bear the cost. Thus began the dramatic, decades-long decline in public higher ed funding. In the past thirty years, per pupil public funding for higher education has declined more than thirty percent.

Administrators turned to other revenue sources to make up the difference.

They cultivated donors. Big-ticket donations were celebrated, but they often served priorities set by donors rather than faculty, students, and their core mission.

They raised tuition. The average cost of attending a four-year college in the United States rose by almost 500% between 1985 and 2017, more than twice the rate of inflation. As costs shifted onto students and their families, borrowing rates rose astronomically. In 2020, students and their families held $1.6 trillion in education debt. College and university leaders also went into debt. To attract students and their tuition dollars, they expended millions building new gyms and stadiums, dormitories and food courts. They borrowed tens of millions of dollars and now pay the interest on that debt to the tune of anywhere from four to ten percent of the annual university budget. The costs of these amenities and borrowing are passed on to students and their families in the form of ever higher tuition.

They casualized our labor. The proportion of faculty without tenure or the chance to earn tenure rose from just over half in 1975 to seventy percent in 2015. Contingent faculty, whether they are adjuncts teaching on a per-class basis or full-time instructors or researchers, are paid a fraction of what their tenure-track colleagues make. They do not have access to the job security and academic freedom that tenure affords. Interestingly, even as they cut costs on faculty and contracted out various auxiliary functions, many institutions hired more and more highly paid upper administrators.

In Spring 2020, I met with some colleagues across the country to talk about these problems. We soon formed Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education. We are graduate students, postdocs, researchers, teachers, contingent and tenured faculty. We’re in science, education, and the humanities. And we work at public and private institutions and HBCUs. Our vision? Higher education as a universal right, a public good, and a site and engine for racial and social justice. Our goal? To win direct federal investment in higher education to replace tuition, and to get strings attached to federal funding, including job security, pay parity, and living wages for all campus workers. We’ve spent the last two years researching, writing, and advocating for this vision. We partnered with the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors to launch The New Deal for Higher Ed as a national campaign. With these and other allies, we are developing policy proposals, cultivating allies, lobbying legislators, working with state and federal regulators, as well as educating and mobilizing faculty around our vision.

We know it will take significant political power to win our vision. To begin to build that power, we partnered with Rutgers AAUP-AFT to host a labor summit in June 2021. The summit brought together higher ed workers from across the country to develop a shared vision and a plan for moving it forward. The summit birthed Higher Ed Labor United, now a coalition of 133 local unions or organizations representing over 550,000 workers and over 300,000 students across eight national unions in thirty states and Washington, DC. HELU is a multiracial movement of higher ed faculty, staff, service workers, graduate employees, undergraduate workers, and medical workers. It is working to support and align campus labor struggles—to build solidarity and a wall-to-wall, coast-to-coast higher ed labor movement. And, like Scholars for a New Deal, it is writing model legislation, forging political alliances, and developing capacity to win real higher ed reform, for the common good, at the bargaining table, in state legislators, and in Congress.

How can you contribute? Strong local unions are the building blocks of this national effort, so become active in building UAOSU. Join a committee, talk to your colleagues about the importance of membership, or run for an office in the next election.


Lighter Fare:
What would you bring to a UAOSU party?

Kathleen Stanley:

Irish whiskey. It’s a party after all!

Clint Mattox:

A good answer would be spare membership cards, but I usually bring grated carrot salad since it is sweet, full of vitamins, and can be enjoyed by many.

Kate McTavish:

My new puppy because she loves everyone and we could all use more of that!

Marisa Chappell:

I’d bake something sweet. Southwest Georgia pound cake, peanut butter cookies, or something I saw on the Great British Baking Show.


One Last Thing

You made it to the end of our newsletter! Thank you for taking the time to learn more about your fellow members and the issues that affect our professional lives.


Our membership empowers our work, so if you haven’t joined yet, you can do so at It is through solidarity and community building that UAOSU is able to create change. Together, we can improve this institution not just for ourselves, but for students, staff and the communities within which we live and work.

Bargaining in February 2020