This doesn’t make me want to sign that union card:

10/23/2011: From the Oregonian:

The Oregon City School District has decided to reject a $2.54 million federal grant meant to reward top educators, partly because of philosophical concerns over performance-based pay.

The UO administration is a sad example of what happens when you divorce pay from performance. Just compare Frances Dyke’s latest raise with her job performance. Applying the same rules to the faculty would be the end of this place. The UC system has worked around this problem – have any other unionized universities?

Meanwhile this news from Insidehighered.com will soon be relevant here at UO:

The faculty union at the University of Illinois at Chicago won another victory Friday, with a ruling by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board rejecting a request by the university to stay an order certifying the union. The union is the result of a major organizing drive conducted by the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers, which have hoped that the effort at UIC would pave the way for more faculty unions at doctoral institutions. The university has challenged the right of the union to form, as currently planned, because both tenure-track faculty members and adjunct professors would be in the same unit.

I am not sure what the UO organizer’s current position is on giving part-time temporary adjuncts a full vote in a faculty union.

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10 Responses to This doesn’t make me want to sign that union card:

  1. Anonymous says:

    ORS 352.010: “The President and professors constitute the faculty of the University, and, as such, shall have the immediate government and discipline of it and the students therein.” Faculty are supposed to be running this place. What would it look like if the partners in a law firm unionized to protect themselves from their accountants and office managers? Unfortunately, our governing power has eroded through both neglect on our part and active takings by administrators (a.k.a. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy). Whether or not it will be effective, signing a union card and declaring ourselves on the labor side of management-vs-labor sounds a lot easier than taking back our statutory governance responsibilities.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Monetary rewards for “top educators” sounds good, but the devil is in the details. In the ‘60’s or “70’s the Oregon Legislature offered each state university a bundle to be divided among “top educators”. The program was rejected by the UO Faculty because of shortcomings in the procedure by which the “top educators” were to be identified. The process appeared to be open to abuse by administrators who might choose to reward boot-lickers. This historical vignette courtesy of the Old Man.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for performance-based pay and/or taking back our statutory governance responsibilities – but the larger problem is that we have an incredible division of class amongst our faculty ranks that, is mostly based on the antithetical notion (to the mission of our university at least) that our pay have direct relationship to some semblance of what our department is monetarily worth. This current division, it seems to me, is generally NOT based on any semblance of performance (though I would welcome some clear inter-departmental examples that show otherwise). Historically, when the lower classes are forgotten, suppressed or undermined by the powers-that-be, upper classes, or even money….unions arise. And it seems the right thing to do short of having the well-to-do faculty fight for the inequities that are pervasive.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by a department’s worth. Is it tuition revenue/grant funding (indirects) or something else? There are clear differences in faculty salary, although I supposed it had to do with competing for new hires. This probably boils down to the “worth” that you are referring to, but I’m not sure how to get around that without being willing to stop competing in some departments or coming up with the funds to increase salaries in other departments above the national recruiting level.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “I am not sure what the UO organizer’s current position is on giving part-time temporary adjuncts a full vote in a faculty union”

    It depends on what the definition of the bargaining unit would be. Theoretically, there could even be two (or more) unions, one for adjuncts, and one for tenure track.

    I believe the UO is too large and has too many adjuncts (particularly in the business school)to make including the adjuncts as part of the bargaining unit to be an effective organizing strategy at this time.

  6. Anonymous says:

    First Anon (“ORS blah blah”) here. To the Anon a couple back (“I’m all for performance-based pay…”), I don’t fully follow your argument. You’re saying that there is a class division among faculty. But unionization would be about faculty organizing as a check on administration, not have-not-faculty organizing against have-faculty. So to the extent that the class distinction you’re talking about exists, you’re bringing it inside the union — not rallying your have-nots against your haves.

    I say this as someone who is very sympathetic to the argument that the mission of the university should not be overridden by profit motives. For example, teaching writing well can be expensive: the student-to-faculty ratio is low, and the faculty tend not to be the biggest big grant getters at the university. But good writing instruction is terribly important to the mission of the university. And so is scholarship in the humanities. Sure, at the end of the day, the university has to remain fiscally solvent. But blindly comparing humanities profs to science profs on either credit-hours taught or grant dollars gotten misses the point. So I’m with you there. (And I say all this as someone from a science department.)

    At the same time, I am not ready to give up on the idea that we need *some* kind of performance evaluation. Which we already have in some important places, in the form of peer review: of tenure, of promotions, etc. The people who are best positioned to judge what is good scholarship and teaching are people who do scholarship and teaching for a living. Yes, there will continue to be conflicts and inequalities, but I trust faculty stewardship of the university a LOT more than I trust either administrative bloat or collective bargaining.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And to the point of ORS Blah Blah Anon: I, in no way, want to pit the haves against the have-nots among our ranks – that’s really not my point, in spite of my obvious frustration. The administration sucks up the money that should otherwise be allocated across the whole field. But faculty stewardship, as the status quo governing principle has fallen short when it comes to merit raises – in fact, the average tenure raise in my department comes to $1400 annually per professor. So, insofar as a union could defend ALL faculty against the unbridled raises and added positions at the admin level, my hope is that the least of our brothers will benefit more than they have. Am I wrong? Are merit raises pretty equitable inter-departmentally? I guess that’s the issue.
    Yours,
    Performance-based anon

  8. UO Matters says:

    Just came across this post on the union blog:

    http://uauoregon.org/the-myth-of-pay-leveling

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m not being clear I guess – as it would appear that my posts that deal with class issues (and how they relate to the topic at hand) are taken as a call to arms for “pay leveling.” Not so. “Pay leveling” would imply that I want other faculty member’s pay to decrease to allow for me to get more. Not so!

    “Divorcing pay from performance” is already a practiced, understood paradigm for many of lower class departments – when UO Matters implied that “divorcing pay from performance” would be a reason to not go with the unionization effort – my response is: what are you talking about? many of us don’t get merit raises as it is – but the union might actually help with this (the above link from UO Matters reveals a pdf that describes that unionizing often results in more merit pay).

    Is there any data on merit raises across campus? This isn’t about pay-leveling! Your salaries are safe – I’m just wondering if performance based raises, given the concern, really apply to the whole of the school.

    If they don’t apply to everyone, then I would encourage you to think about the union in a different way. Again, I think that performance based raises would have to be a part of our process here (and it would be us BTW that would write the contract), but, as it is now, many of us are just getting by without merit pay – many of us are getting by without cost-of-living raises – many of us are living off credit cards – and many of us are being asked to do more –

    So no, it’s not about pay leveling. It’s actually about having some semblance of merit pay that faculty stewardship alone, does not seem to be handling.
    yours,

    performance-based anon

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dog on Merit Pay Raises:

    Most faculty are generally in the land of perception when it comes to “Merit” Raises.
    The truth is that we have not had many merit
    raises recently and haven’t had significant ones
    for about 10 years.

    In reverse chronological order (and I can only speak about CAS here)

    1. May 1, 2011 – formula based equity raises from OUS peer department by department comparison for all ranks.

    2. November 1, 2008 – Provost across the board 4% raise for all faculty. Formally this has been coded as a COLA raise

    3. Jan 1, 2008 – this was a “general pay raise”
    but there was not much merit to it – it was meant to address compression and generally was 3/4/5 % for assistant/associate/full

    4. Jan 1, 2007 – again the raise pool was small
    so not much of a merit component here

    5. Sep 15, 2005 – similar to event 4 above

    6. Feb 1, 2003 – COLA raise

    7. Jan 1, 2002 – general pay raise with some
    small merit component

    Notes:

    1) In this dog’s view we have not had a significant merit raise pool for the last 10 years. The last merit raise pool that was significant was in 2000 when then provost JTM really did try to address the senate white paper.

    2) This dog doesn’t believe there will be another round of raises originally scheduled for Jan 1, 2012

    Summary: Merit raises have by in large gone away – general pay increases come with the instructors something like 2+2%; in other words
    there is a baseline COLA component and what’s available for merit is generally in the range of 2-3%.

    In my own case, I don’t believe I have received a significant performance based raise since 2000 – and of course many would argue that performing dogs should just get tips and not raises. My significant raises have all come via the “equity raise” channel and the real life politics of this are that “equity raises” are masquerading as performance based merit raises but are not formally coded that way.

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