Faculty Union Forum

2/21/2012: I caught the last half. The panel was well balanced pro and con. Maybe 100 faculty in the audience, notably pro. That’s all I’ve got to say. If you have more, the comments are open.

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62 Responses to Faculty Union Forum

  1. Michael Stern says:

    Just a couple of things that puzzle me about the anit-union argument as presented today: how can a union both be designated utopian and as a result of a crass material analysis that “monetizes” us as employees. (Even looking away from the employee information menu item on duck web). And how can a union that does not yet exist be criticized for not being able to effect change, and the status quo be touted as an ideal form by the very same voices that accuse us of that utopian impulse. I do not understand these contradictions from the anti-union side. I did not mention them when I asked my question as I did not want to move us away from what we were talking about. But I am genuinely puzzled by the paradoxes. Please explain.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It could be that the “paradoxes” you’ve listed result from a misunderstanding of the other side’s arguments. For example, “and the status quo be touted as an ideal form”. I don’t believe anyone is touting the status quo as an ideal form – most anyone will acknowledge that there are serious problems to be dealt with on this campus. But that doesn’t mean that everyone believes a union is the best way to solve them.

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    • Michael Stern says:

      Call me unable to understand an argument if that is how you need to present your own, but I have heard numerous references to traditions of governance that are considered inviolable (both yesterday and on other occasions)–be they designated as 1000 or 800 years old depending on the speaker. I have heard numerous arguments about traditional modes of establishing hierarchies even from people who admit the University has been made to resemble a corporation. Now, I understand the argument that the union might not work. This is an extremely valuable and important contribution to the discussion, especially when it expands into a discussion of the whys and wherefores. But I understood very well what I have heard and was even being polite by leaving out how we were told that we would sing Kumbaya before we opened a meeting(which I actually thought was a very funny line) , and the other insults of the same ilk.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree there was balance in the formal structure, though how could anyone miss the fact that the 3 anti-union speakers were all among the highest paid faculty, endowed chairs (2 Knight and 1 Rippey), defending a status quo that certainly has worked for them – not to diminish their accomplishments. But, while the UO invests in its superstars, the vast majority have seen the status quo fail to produce results, over and over. Why defend a status quo that has failed to produce results in terms of salary compression and inversion, parity with peer institutions, erosion of benefits, erosion of tenure lines as enrollment grows, etc? Well, because it’s ad hoc mode works… for some. On the whole, the anti-union position lacks imagination, courage and, evidenced by its defenders, reflects a loyalty to a process that serves a narrow faith in a failed process. I say, the times are changing, higher education and the academy are threatened with a continued disinvestment in the bulk of the faculty, more and more temporary faculty, and these times call for new tools, tools that work in other environments and tools that are protected legally in the quasi-democratic society we inhabit. Let’s engage these changing times with all of the tools at our disposal.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There wasn’t even balance in the formal structure, since at the last minute an addition–fourth–panel member was added on the ‘anti’ side!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Were you even there? Three panelists were strongly pro and three were strongly con.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Were you even there? Three panelists were strongly pro and three were strongly con.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    So are willing to give up 1 percent of our annual earnings earned the promise a union, which we have no idea what it will be, or how it will be governed, because it might help? If the union was free, I think the standard is less. Because the union comes at a significant cost (and potentially risk), what sense is there in voting for it.

    And why are the NTTF’s, TTF, and OR’s in the same union. We all want different things. If the median voter decides things within the union, the minority groups will never get union actions which represent their interests.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why are we all being proposed to be in the same union? Because we all teach and do research, we all serve the students, and we are all paid by the state, through our University administration. And at the moment, we do NOT have much say in how all of that happens. It is fairly standard that unionized university faculties do gain substantially in salary over the first contract (if they choose to negotiate for that), and that these gains would more than offset the amount taken from salaries. Of course it’s not guaranteed–but then neither are any more raises for the majority of any of us now!

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    • Anonymous says:

      dog barks

      We are paid by the state through the Oregon University system, who
      technically, is our employer – not the University of Oregon. Salary
      negotiations as a union would then done with OUS not UO.

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    • Anonymous says:

      In the end, we won’t all be in the same union. Oregon law does not allow supervisors to be in the same bargaining unit as the people they supervise. TTFs who supervise postdocs or non-student RAs will get kicked out of the union if the administration challenges the bargaining unit in court. Meaning that TTFs will be divided up, largely along lines defined by who has external funding.

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    • Anonymous says:

      dog agrees

      this is exactly right

      for instance, its unclear that department heads can be in the union, while they
      may not supervise directly TTF its not so clear about the situation regarding NTTFs.
      And indeed, I know I will get kicked out of the union precisely because of supervising
      postdocs and non-student RAs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I for one see the value of pooling resources, having independent counsel, transparent accounting, representation on PEBB, a voice in Salem, and the means to push back against a culture that rails at educators as a waste. Sorry, no one else is doing this for us, no one will. We are it, this is our chance to act concertedly and be something other than the reclusive and useless intellectuals that reactionaries so easily paint us to be.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I think the citizen-candidate model will apply better than Hotelling.

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  5. Michael Stern says:

    Another contradiction in the argument: “the union creates divisiveness–oh by the way, the NTTF are not part of our community.”
    I ask you: How do we want different things than the NTTF? The union does not abolish rank and don’t you want an ethically managed workplace? Why do you think NTTFs are against your interests? because they want decent pay and some modicum of job security. Should we abolish the Senate because it is also a mixed group? Should the halls of our University have separate washrooms?
    Next, contradiction: if the union was already planned to the nth detail before a constituency approved it–you would might argue as some have, that it is not democratic. But the fact that union, while having a type of structural model, does not have a discrete form until its members vote on it, is also not good enough. On one hand anti-union people claim that the union determines too much without consent, on the other you complain it is too amorphous.
    I have nothing against you not wanting the union for whatever reason you choose, and please don’t feel forced to sign a card. You do not even need a reason as far as I am concerned–it is purely your prerogative. But please acknowledge that a true sign of the democratic intent of the union is that if it wins, you can sign on and help determine its structure. And please refrain from the damned if you do damned if you don’t rhetoric.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “the NTTF are not part of our community.” No one said that. It’s hypocritical to call for an end to rhetoric when you’re making statements like this.

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    • Michael Stern says:

      So claiming (as the post I was answering does) that the inclusion of the NTTF’s means that TTF will become a minority whose interests are swallowed up does not convey a message that we are not the same community? Isn’t that expressing an assumption that we are at odds as TTF with the NTTF? Am I missing something here? Please make your charges of hypocrisy under your own name instead of anonymously.

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    • Michael Stern says:

      PS, I did not call for an end to rhetoric, for rhetoric is part of every speech act. I called for the end of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t rhetoric.” Thanks for an anonymous attack that does not read what I said carefully and which does not answer my questions about contradictory objections to a sincere effort to address University problems. If you do not agree, do not sign a card. I will not respond to any more anonymous posts.

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    • D Truck says:

      TTF and NTTF have some shared and some divergent interests. How each of those will play into a combined bargaining unit is not obvious and there are legitimate issues that should be considered. Trying to sweep these issues under the rug is counterproductive in my opinion.

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    • D Truck says:

      Statements like “Should the halls of our University have separate washrooms? ” suggest the lack of a genuine desire to see the real arguments of the other side.

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  6. Snarky says:

    All this talk about excellence is peachy if you’re in one of the more fairly treated positions at the UO, but a bunch of us are working just as hard at serving the students and university as well as we can, and we are on food stamps and government subsidies, along with many of our students. There is an intellectual ghetto at the UO, has been for a lot of years, and it’s not going to go away until folks get honest about the unfair distribution of resources and privileges. Exploitation does not lead to excellence.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I am very skeptical that $50,000 is the average salary in our “bargaining unit” as was repeatedly mentioned at the forum today. If it was, I don’t think there would be such widespread support for a Union. It certainly isn’t the median salary, nor the mode (if there are 1200 NTTFs–what do you think their average, median or mode is?) If the UO created decent and fair jobs, few people would want to bother to form a Union. A Union is the only legal recourse people have to calmly fixing an unfair situation. It is similar to hiring a lawyer– no one wants to do it, it just happens to be what you have to do when you are in a bad, exploitative situation and you need to get the law to protect you. Of course the Knight Professors each earning over $150,000.00 on the panel today (all men, oddly enough) do not feel the pain of the rest of us. Yes they are fabulous Professors all(truly)–but others around here are also fabulous Professors and instructors and researchers, and we are not just under-compensated relative to our peer-Universities, we are now expected to pay $2,000 to possibly $10,000 for our healthcare (or more in a bad year, especially if you travel on sabbatical, or teach overseas–wanna get sick anyone?), which very much matters to most of us (not to them, this is apparently chump change), and we are told to teach more and more students so we cannot “get ahead” through our research. We have no real voice in this situation–except through faculty “leaders” like those Knight Professors? I wish they would/could identify with the rest of us in the bargaining unit (even people like me, a lowly hard-working Associate Professor, who would like stable healthcare and fewer students so I could serve them reasonably, and have time for more research). For many faculty, getting an “outside offer” in a small field of research is extremely impossible if your national colleagues know you have a family and like where you live. They simply will know you are applying for jobs to get an “outside offer” with no intention of moving. So, one then needs to really “plan to leave” to get a decent raise, or at least live the lie of telling everyone at conferences that you will happily leave the UO. This is so time consuming and/or disingenuous it is absurd. So you work hard, pour your life into your work, and then fresh new PhDs in their 20s get hired at higher salaries than you make. Hmmm–bad for morale? You betcha.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sure all this whining is going to endear us to the public that is paying our salaries. Complaining about having to do more for less when that’s the real status quo is going to ring hollow – I can’t wait to see the register guard letters to the editor. You have a job that pays well with terrific benefits and job security in a place that you like to live. Try explaining your bad morale to our unemployed citizens. I’m not saying that there aren’t legitimate criticisms but it’s good to have some perspective.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Non-fabulous Dog on average salary

      If that number is referring to the 9 month academic year salary it may
      be close to correct. Not all of the Knight Men earn more than 150K in
      9 months.

      However, the salary differential in this proposed union bargaining unit
      would be very high (120,000+, particularly if postdocs are going to be included) and I imagine that will be a source of tension when (not if) the
      union is formed.

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    • Peter Keyes says:

      The public does not pay your salary – your students do. Academic units keep the salary that is generated by their unit, and pay a healthy tax back to the central administration on this tuition income. The state support stays with the central administration. And frankly, most of your salary is paid by out-of-state student tuition. Currently, the student body is about 45% out-of-state, 55% in-state. And since non-resident tuition is over three times that of resident tuition, over twice as much of total tuition comes from out-of-state. It would nice if the public understood that the UO is an economic development engine, every year bringing in over $100 million in tuition from out-of-state, pumping that money into the Oregon economy, subsidizing the cost of educating Oregonians. If you got a raise last spring, it was paid for by Californians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mores specifically, the students of California and Washington and Shanghai and Tokyo and Hong Kong pay our salaries. Our out-of-state students have picked up the tab that Salem and the voters of Oregon have left on the table.

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    • Peter Keyes says:

      Yes, of course. I just said Californians because they are by far the largest contingent in the non-resident category, and I thought that emphasizing money coming from California would go over best with the Oregon public.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    FYI–I am quite sure well over 50% of tenure track faculty support the Union, according to recent surveying/polling last fall, so no need to worry so much about the “democratic” nature of the process for TTFs. Why not do a current poll and find out if you want to check me on that? Union organizers actually wanted to know some REAL numbers, so we did some fairly scientific/honest surveying (but not scientific enough to publish–because it is tough to do exactly right). However, I believe only really unscientific polls where anyone can click (or older polls) show otherwise. We only decided to go forward with card check because we found that the bargaining unit is very sound and solid–support is very widespread. We believe the only real hurdle to a Union now is physically contacting each person in it and explaining the legal process of card check–a very big job, and tough to do. Many of us wish we were just having an election–and that will be next if need be–but we did a card check since it is the way to build a strong Union.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think this is mildly delusional. I’m not “anti-union” but I’m not for it either. I haven’t signed my card, but I have a colleague just down the hall who’ll produce one instantaneously should I ask him. He’ll wave it at me as I walk to the bathroom. I’m not signing because I don’t have access; I’m not signing because I choose not to sign (yet?). So if you don’t get all the signatures you need–and I can’t say whether you will or won’t–let’s not pout and say it’s because it was too hard to get the cards out.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No one is pouting. No one is whining. I’m not delusional. We have almost 900 signatures on a poster from last term of people willing to openly endorse a Union. We need only 1,100 people to sign a card to have a Union, and there were many people we talked to at that time who were supportive but did not want to put their signature on a Poster because they aren’t willing to be that openly supportive. The reality is simply this–card check requires people with day jobs (like me–I am currently teaching a full load of over 100 undergrads, and advising three dissertations and two Honors theses, and serving on four Committees–including graduate admissions–so reading over 100 files in three weeks for my dept….)–Union organizers like me need to go out and collect Cards from other people in other Depts that I don’t know. This is work. Organizing our Union is work for the people who want to make it happen. We set a short deadline for ourselves because we all want it to be done quickly–but legally, we actually have a long time and can go as long as we need–we just have to work at it. So we don’t have to pout about anything–we are actually in no legal rush except that we as a Committee think there is the support, we just have to get the cards, and it is easier for us to do it quickly. If it does not work because we can’t get the cards as fast as we hope–then fine, that is how it is. But we have a fairly clear assessment (as clear as political assessments can be, since people can always change their minds)–we have very strong support so we don’t think we are wasting out time, or trying to convince unwilling supporters. We reach out to the uninformed and/or undecided, but if people say they are decided and against and do not want to be contacted, we do not contact them. Hence–we are accused by those against that we are organizing “in secret” because we don’t contact them if they have asked not to be contacted–but there is no such thing as organizing in secret. Organizing–collective action–as we all know, logically, is difficult. No one is pouting–collective action–organizing the masses to work together in their collective interest– is simply difficult. It requires people who believe in working in the collective interest–not simply their own narrow self-interest. Idealists of a type….

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    • Anonymous says:

      You’d have more of my sympathy if I weren’t teaching 200 undergrads, also reading 100 grad apps on the same time frame, serving on committees, etc., etc. Last I checked that’s a pretty standard TTF job. I appreciate that it’s extra work to collect the cards; but isn’t that what you signed up for? Because you are committed to the cause? You do have three months to do it. And it’s not like you have to go door to door in every neighborhood in Eugene/Springfield. Frankly, if you begrudge it, how are you and the others going to actually RUN a union once you–and the rest of us, even the minority–get one? Is the idea that you’ll get to go back to just your day job and some staff will handle all the negotiations? Quite honestly, that’s one of the main reasons haven’t signed a card. Who will be in charge of the thing, while the rest of us are working?

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  9. Anonymous says:

    One of the more puzzling anti-union memes making the rounds on campus is the notion that tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty have “divergent interests,” and therefore don’t belong in the same collective bargaining unit. Some proponents of this meme urge NTTF to form their own union, but I suspect that many more of its proponents would rather not have to deal with an NTTF union, either. Be that at it may, the puzzling thing is an assumption built into the “divergent interests” meme and our seeming eagerness to lap it up. The assumption is that divergent interests are antagonistic interests.

    Why do we so easily assume antagonism? The evidence of my daily life leads to the opposite conclusion, namely that the interests of TTF and NTTF usually coincide and are otherwise symbiotic. As a member of the tenured faculty, I know very well that I could not research and publish as much as I do, were it not for a crew of instructors and adjuncts who fill in the curricular gaps left open by the relatively low teaching loads that tenured faculty enjoy. As near as I can tell, their main stake in unionization is to secure better benefits and job security than they have now, which in far too many cases is close to nil. Every tenured colleague I know — pro-union, anti-union, on the fence — supports them in this. The difference is that the pro-union folks know that NTTF will never get those improvements without the help of their tenured colleagues in a union that includes us all.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Could you explain that last bit for me? Why would a NTTF union need TTF faculty to join them in the union to achieve these goals?

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    • Anonymous says:

      For the same reason that the Statutory Faculty is stronger with NTTF and TTF united in a single body. Together we are stronger either group would be apart. Together we are not vulnerable to the tactics of divide-and-rule. This by the way is one reason why United Academics opted to go with a combined TTF/NTTF unit: because it is the option most in line with existing decisions by the ERB concerning the size and scope of faculty unions, and because it, among the available options, resembles most closely the statutory faculty as it is currently constituted.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    The one guaranteed thing that the union will do is take 1% of your salary in dues. That’s not an argument against a union (why would anybody expect something for nothing?). But it puts the burden of proof onto union advocates, to show that there will be a positive return.

    Speculation about what a union might do — from either side — doesn’t move me. Neither does attacking union critics: you could knock them down to nothing, and the pro-union argument is still behind. Neither does documenting how bad things are here (that’s not an argument that a union will make things better). What I am waiting for is evidence — solid, independent evidence — that faculty unions in higher education systematically make things better. I have not seen that.

    Short of something systematic, we can look to case studies. And to me those do not look good.

    * Higher salaries? Let’s look at Portland State, whose faculty union bargains with the same employer that we would (OUS). They got raises this year — hooray, right? Except that they got them by arguing that they were behind their comparators. (http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2011/12/portland_state_university_admi.html) PSU faculty have been unionized since 1978 — if the #1 thing unions do is protect salaries, how did PSU get so far behind?

    * Reining in athletic overspending? Unionized Rutgers has the highest-subsidized athletic department in college sports (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-16/rutgers-boosting-athletics-at-expense-of-academics-fails-to-emulate-texas.html). Unionized UConn is right behind them in second place (http://articles.courant.com/2011-06-28/news/hc-uconn-athletic-subsidy-0629-20110628_1_athletic-programs-athletic-budget-student-fees).

    * Administrative transparency and efficiency? Unionized SUNY-Buffalo just had a secret search for a president to oversee rising administrative salaries and a steep tuition hike, 30% over 5 years (http://www.buffalonews.com/city/communities/buffalo/article583530.ece). And Rutgers just gave their ex-president a $335,000 golden parachute (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/06/rutgers_president_will_return.html).

    Can somebody show me evidence that these are exceptions to a systematic positive trend? Unless that happens, I will remain skeptical.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Seconded.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thirded.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Also, what effect have unions had enrollment (in particular out of state). We would need to know that unionization has no bearing on our main source of revenue.

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    • Anonymous says:

      My sense, Anonymous, is that there aren’t many good studies on the effect of unionization; some, I gather, register only small differences, but do not take into account cost of living, the value of benefit packages, etc. So I’m not sure that the systematic data you seek is out there. (I’m basing these observations on a recent survey in the Chronicle of Higher Education, https://chronicle.com/article/What-Good-Do-Faculty-Unions/127333/).

      However, one can compare our salaries with those at unionized universities that occupy a niche similar to our own (i.e., not PSU). These would include the universities of Delaware, Florida, Alaska, Vermont, Rutgers University, SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY Albany.

      The average salary (2009-2010), by rank, at these institutions is as follows:
      Full: 121543
      Associate: 85500
      Assistant: 70557
      Instructor: 51900

      The corresponding numbers at the UO are:
      Full: 103000 (i.e., $18543 less)
      Associate: 74600 ($10900 less)
      Assistant: 69400 ($1157 less)
      Instructor: 44700 ($7200 less)

      Of course, these don’t take into account benefits or cost of living, either. Some of them, such as Rutgers, may reflect higher cost of living.

      But others are quite comparable to us. The University of Vermont, for example, gets even less from the state than we do (approx. 5%, I think) and is situated in a town of similar size and expense. Assistant Professor salaries at Vermont are about the same as ours, but associates make 6.6K more on average, and fulls make 7.4K more. The discrepancy between Delaware and the UO is even greater. Their fulls make 31.6K more, associates 16.5K more, and assistants 6.4K more.

      All this reinforces the data Howard Bunsis supplied last week, i.e., that the gap is greatest at the top and that full professor stand the most to gain if we were able to bring our salaries more in line with those of our comparators.

      The gap between our salaries and those of our “peer institutions” (UCSB, Chapel Hill, UVA, Michigan, Iowa, Washington, Indiana, Colorado) is even greater:
      Full: $27138
      Associate: $12888
      Assistant: $8125
      Instructor: $7440

      I’d put up a chart if I knew how to do that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To the question of unionization and its potential effect on out-of-state enrollments: I very much doubt that there is systematic data available. That said, several unionized universities are even more heavily reliant on out-of-state tuition than we are. The University of Delaware, for example, has one of the highest rates of out-of-state enrollment in the nation — well over 50%, if memory serves. Of course, that’s partly because of Delaware’s situation, a stone’s throw from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. But I think they also have a high proportion of out-of-country enrollment as well.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Showing that UO is behind unionized schools like Delaware, Vermont, etc. is not particularly informative, because that is just a subset of the broader fact that UO is doing worse than everybody, union and non-union alike.

      The real question is, how are our unionized comparators doing relative to our and their non-unionized comparators? The data in your post actually make a case against a union, because the non-union schools that you have listed are doing better than the union schools.

      That being said, I don’t think it’s a fair comparison. Delaware et al. are not in the same league as UCSB et al. Which brings us back to square one: down 1% in salary, and no compelling evidence that there will be a positive return.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    so, to make sure we understand the argument that beveryone belongs together, the pro argument for thatdefends the view that as just examples, a .2 adjunct in accounting, architecture, law, etc. and teaching one class a year while maintaining a private practice should and would have the same judgementand perspective on both long- and short-run issues for our students, full andhalf-time TTF and NTTF? Organizers have pushed this agenda without sufficiently honest logic. I, for one, am responding accordingly. employing the politics of jealousy against some of our finest faculty–many who have already dedicated most of their carreers to our campus (after the union’sclaim that unions don’t flatten salaries, mocks our intelligence. Debate over support could be cleared up with a simple secret ballot sponsored by the senate for each of the included TTF, NTTF, andOR groups. without that, no claim either way has credibility.

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    • Anonymous says:

      In one comparison above:

      “However, one can compare our salaries with those at unionized universities that occupy a niche similar to our own (i.e., not PSU). These would include the universities of Delaware, Florida, Alaska, Vermont, Rutgers University, SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY Albany.

      The average salary (2009-2010), by rank, at these institutions is as follows:
      Full: 121543
      Associate: 85500
      Assistant: 70557
      Instructor: 51900

      Those aren’t flat salaries. They are just higher at every tier than we are. I don’t claim this is good evidence of unions making everything better for everyone but it is the only evidence I have seen thus far on salaries.

      Do you have evidence that unions flatten salaries at universities? Just saying something is so ain’t “intelligent”.

      It’s also not clear to me how adjuncts (non-Career NTTF) and those less than .5 fte play into this (these are two separate categories by the way that may or may not overlap. Adjunct is a reference to “temporary” employees with no expectation of renewal and not a reference to FTE. Adjuncts are not included in the “faculty” designation with regard to faculty governance, salary increases, timely notice, etc. I’m not clear whether Career NTTF can be less than .5 but I think they can.) Are they indeed part of the bargaining unit? It seems to me that adjuncts would not but that Career NTTF at less than .5 FTE would. I’d like to get clarity on these issues before we start throwing around hypotheticals to make an argument.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have chart that shows the evolution of faculty salaries by rank at UO, UVM, and Delaware, 1999-2011. Among other things, it shows that salaries for full professors at Vermont were behind UO salaries until 2001, when they unionized, by 2004-5, they had pulled ahead and are now 9.5K, on average, greater than ours. Maybe UO Matters would be willing to post it?

      Here is the percent increase in salary, by rank, at UO, UVM, and Delaware, over the same period, 1999-2011:

      VT Full: 58%
      VT Assoc: 53%
      VT Asst: 57%

      DE Full: 42%
      DE Assoc: 37%
      DE Asst: 46%

      UO Full: 39%
      UO Assoc: 36%
      UO Asst: 53%

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    • Anonymous says:

      UO growing more slowly than Vermont and Delaware could just be a symptom of UO growing more slowly than everybody. What was salary growth like for comparable non-union universities over the same period? (And for that matter, are Vermont and Delaware representative of unionized schools, or just cherrypicked examples? What about Rutgers, SUNY, Florida, etc.?)

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for assuming intellectual integrity on my part, Anonymous! In deference to some earlier posters, I chose VT and DE (a) because the day is only so long and (b) because VT and DE both resemble the UO in terms of the niche they occupy in higher ed (research-oriented, flagship, small but ambitious), the level of state funding (low), the percentage of out-of-state students (high), cost of living (moderate-to-high).

      But since you asked, here are the data for Rutgers, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Albany, and Florida:

      Rutgers Full: 39%
      Rutgers Assoc: 33%
      Rutgers Asst: 43%

      SUNY-Stony Brook Full: 48%
      SUNY-Stony Brook Assoc: 48%
      SUNY-Stony Brook Asst 41%

      SUNY-Albany Full: 44%
      SUNY-Albany Assoc: 44%
      SUNY-Albany Asst: 47%

      UFL Full: 49%
      UFL Assoc: 30%
      UFL Asst: 27%

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Briefly, I think the issue of NTTF’s somehow dominating the union is based on some very faulty and unrealistic assumptions. There is no single issue around which NTTF’s could conceivably unite against tenure track faculty. And why? There really is no “they” that I can discern, indeed we share far more in common than not. There is an ENORMOUS variety of NTTF appointments where terms of employment differ greatly across the university (albeit within programs and department NTTF appointments may look quite similar), e.g. the kind of work done is quite varied (from running programs – such as the Environmental Leadership trainings in ENVS – to teaching phys ed classes). That will not change with a union contract. Likewise, the variation in tasks/work among tenure related faculty varies enormously across this university, even within departments, colleges and divisions. Also, negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement will include many issues and voices, across the already-existing employment relations in which ALL faculty, as defined in our charter and constitution, include TTF and NTTF, who work toward our university mission. Our eventual contract will include very clear guidelines for salary and benefits IN GENERAL (where the average NTTF earns about 75% of what NTTF’s earn at our peer institutions and TTF earn about 85%) by setting floors, as one example, that rise systematically and predictably (usually at a negotiated %rate or minimum COLA) over pay periods for all classes of employees covered in the contract, and the contract will include SPECIFIC negotiations for groups within the bargaining unit, for example provisions to clarify promotion and lengthier contracts for NTTFs with x many years service, and so on (see some of the literature at uauoregon.org that discusses some of this in more detail). Ultimately, the question of NTTF’s overruling TTFs seems to imply that there are two unified, homogenous interests that are likely to be antagonistic when in fact I see no such evidence of this. It is like suggesting landscapers and janitorial staff are at risk of being dominated by clerical staff in their union. The fear of such an outcome just doesn’t pan out. Why is having clear language for ALL faculty about salary floors, rising at a minimum with a COLA, so hard to appreciate? Well, I am confident that even a basic contract with such stipulations would dramatically improve morale and loyalty for 99% of us, yes, many TTFs and NTTFs who have seen failure after failure on the part of the existing structures to correct things. We can work together, we already do.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Amen and thank you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and it seems the anti-union positions laid out above simply do not understand what it means to cover one another’s back; when NTTF’s are exploited, and I see it, I know it hurts this university and is unjust for those many hardworking faculty – I will cover their back – and when TTFs see contd. erosion of benefits, pay inversion, higher research expectations with higher teaching and mentoring demands, I want my back covered too, and I trust many NTTF colleagues understand the shared plight, though it takes different forms. The shared pursuit of a common, higher good, uplifts the culture and the institution. For the common good, covering each other’s back, isn’t that what a healthy intellectual and moral community should aspire toward?

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    • Anonymous says:

      How are NTTFs as a group going to “cover my back” with respect to “higher research expectations with higher teaching and mentoring demands”? Will they take on a greater portion of instructional duties to make my life easier? Somehow I have a hard time imagining that happening. Perhaps you mean something different by “cover one another’s back”?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Quod erat demonstrandum.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What Unions do is to make sure no one is treated unfairly. If you think you are treated unfairly, then you go to your Union and explain your position, and together, if we colectively think you are right–we work together to make the situation right through bargaining with our employer. Yes–we are all employed by the UO. Currently, if one of us has an issue–we must go individually to our employer and beg for better treatment–we have no legal leverage. Even if we work very hard, our employer can simply freeze our pay and cut our benefits–even though the cost of living is going up (groceries, gas and everything), and the University is making an $88 million profit, we have to BEG for arbitrary raises and have no voice in our benefits. With a Union–if we so choose–we can make sure our salary at least gets a cost of living increase and our benefits do not get cut. We can do much more too–but we will cover each others backs by working together to make sure none of us gets exploited. No, we will not do each others’ jobs–we will bargain together with our employer instead of singly–with no legal power. Unions have LEGAL rights that workers alone do not have. It is really very cool–you should study it to see how it works.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    My 2 cents – there is a huge literature on the impacts of unions. To say that there is nothing out there is just not true.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    A ffew basic facts might help us find a bit more common ground, but as far as i can tell we don’t even know exactly what the proposed bargaining unit is yet. if it is TTF and career NTTF ( who i believe are necessarily >.5,[the group of officers of instruction in our Senate charter, then it is easier to understand the community of interest, but t appears to be all officers of instruction and all officers of research regardless of FTE. If this is incorrect, then I’m sure I and others would welcome definitive clarification of this issue. In the meantime, cheers to everyone on campus. Let’s all hope that our ‘better angels’ are speaking to each of us in the coming months,regardless of our differences.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Redundant Dog posts again:

      I asked 2 specific questions in this forum about 2 weeks ago (now 8 weeks ago) and was never supplied an answer. For review those questions were:

      1) What is the numerical size of the body that could be unionized as one?
      2) What is the percentage of TTF participation in that union?

      I am still awaiting an answer. Some Anon must know this. Please post it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is open info that was discussed at the forum, is available on-line at United Academics, and is in the 101 book the United Academics Organizing Committee hands out to anyone and everyone we can, so please don’t imply that anyone is hiding anything just because we didn’t notice this question. The bargaining unit proposed is approximately 2100. This bargaining unit was decided upon as the one most likely to be the logical one/acceptable one according to the Oregon Labor Relations Board (I think–I am not an expert on this–but I think I am right–a bargaining unit needs to include EVERYONE logical and is not allowed to exclude anyone “logical”–something like that. In other words–the organizers cannot “pick and choose” who is in the unit–they MUST try to organize anyone logically in the unit.) Of that likely unit–some 700+ are tenure track faculty (TTF), ~300 are researchers, and the rest 1100+ are NTTF. Many of the NTTF in that employee “list”–the one provided by the University as the folks that need to be contacted for “card check”–are NOT active employees–so the number of NTTF is actually much lower than that, but all those employees with a “reasonable expectation of return” need to be included in the card check. While NTTF appear to be in preponderance, in reality many, many are non-existent/impossible to find/haven’t lived at their alleged contact address in years,so will not actually be in the bargaining unit once formed. That’s the story. If you want more info and can’t get it–please feel free to contact United Academics–you can find our contact info at UAUOregon.org .

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    • Anonymous says:

      dog says

      Thanks for the info but I am still troubled by this stated uncertainty:

      “While NTTF appear to be in preponderance, in reality many, many are non-existent/impossible to find/haven’t lived at their alleged contact address in years,so will not actually be in the bargaining unit once formed.”

      What is the approximate numerical size of this population that “will not actually be in the bargaining unit”?

      The descriptors many, many suggest a very large number.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t be troubled–the list of employees is the list. The UO provided the list, and whoever is on that list is the legal bargaining unit. All info is public through your employer–so you can look and see what you think. I don’t actually know, and should not have guessed anything else–because no way to know anything else. I hope this helps.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    abstract of least imperfect peer-reviewed study I could find. Is of faculty unions in canada, but can argue either way on whether effects would be stronger or weaker in u. s.
    ABSTRACT: We show that Canadian faculty unions have had no effect on university revenues, only a small positive effect on earnings, a negative effect on research output, and lead to earnings redistributions across disciplines and ranks. We argue that faculty unions have a negligible positive (and often negative) effect on average faculty wages, because a union that promotes the median faculty member’s welfare negotiates wage redistributions and more onerous teaching conditions, despite the negative impact these changes have on research output. Average wages may rise, but only because nonunionized universities trade off wages against the non-pecuniary benefits from research and teaching.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dog says:

      Good find, important and informative:

      Could you please publish the whole citation? I’d like to see the actual data in
      the article.

      Thanks.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    here’s the citation will need campus access to get online. If dog is Frenc poodle, no worry, is in both French and English what is woof woof in French?
    Unions without Rents: The Curious Economics of Faculty Unions
    Arthur J. Hosios and Aloysius Siow
    The Canadian Journal of Economics / Revue canadienne d’Economique
    Vol. 37, No. 1 (Feb., 2004), pp. 28-52

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