Union bargaining I: 12/13/12

Bargaining will restart at 1:15 PM Friday, again in room 122, Knight Library, again open to the faculty. Be there – after this fiasco, I have the feeling Rudnick et al. will come back in a more cooperative mode.

These are my summaries of my interpretation of the meaning of the statements of the various people, with some opinion inserted, sometimes in ( ) sometimes not. Not quotes unless in quotes. These are my opinions, not those of the union or its committees. I have not been part of any of the union bargaining team meetings.

For the anti-union view of the sessions, see here. For the admin’s view see the “Around the O” here. No, sorry, don’t. Neither has any real information. Just keep reading UO Matters.

The highlight so far?

Johnson Hall’s hired lawyer, Sharon Rudnick: 

In the contract, “We would like to be called the University, not the Administration.” 

Frank Stahl’s take on this? 

“The faculty and the students are the university. Those administrators are our hired hands – they’re the ones who should be unionizing and negotiating their contracts with us.”

Which reminds me of this famous story about Eisenhower at Columbia. Other highlights? Admin had no proposals to put on table – not even a proposal for the clause on administrative rights and responsibilities. The union proposal to strengthen Senate was not received favorably by Rudnick. Nor was the union proposal to support the diversity of existing departmental policies and practices by incorporating them into the contract by reference.

My understanding is that the actual proposals the union members have developed over the past 6 months and are now putting on the table will be posted by Saturday. (Clarification – not all the proposals, the union will post them as they are presented to the admin in bargaining sessions. Now posted – see and comment here.) Meanwhile, the UO administration has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Rudnick et al., and has nothing productive to show for it – except wanting to be called “the university”.

Interestingly, Rudnick’s arguments on the proper role of the faculty often diverged substantially from what President Gottfredson told the UO Senate in his first address. Watch the video, or read Hubin’s transcript, here.

My Notes:

Mike Mauer of the AAUP starts for faculty: We are ready to bargain, many proposals are ready to discuss now.

Sharon Rudnick of HLGR: Admin has no proposals ready to discuss. Hope to after the winter break.

Mauer: We want to improve salaries and working conditions and maintain academic quality of UO. Our proposals will memorialize many good and useful UO policies and practices – with some exceptions. Many things at UO work well and we will not try and change those. We will minimize game playing, not make crazy demands. We will give Admin many reasonable proposals that typically come from management side. Notes that UO does not have a faculty handbook (incredibly, this is true) so CBA will provide codification that will benefit institution.

We will not mess with role of the Senate or Departments – with some exceptions for adjuncts, e.g. job security, career enhancement.

These first two days we will try and lay out our non-economic proposals and we hope engage in real dialogue with Admin.

We will justify our proposals using specific examples from UO.

Q: Any questions?

Rudnick: “I am not a game player”. Not going to do positional bargaining. “We’re about listening to you …” We are not going to be in a position to start responding til after the break. (How much have we paid her firm already, for them to have no proposals yet?)

Mauer: Passes over the preamble to them.

Randy Geller: We will have to caucus on these.

Mauer: Here’s the recognition language from the ERB agreement.

Rudnick: She’s heard of visiting appointments, etc. She really doesn’t understand universities. May come back with anomalies in recognition language or later in the agreement. The admin hasn’t figured out how they want to deal with this yet? Why don’t Blandy and Gleason say anything?

Do you want a cutoff, say 0.25 FTE or keep everyone in unit. Your call. Matter of how much we take on in contract.

Mauer: Here’s the academic rank proposal. Most of the language here is lifted from what we can find in the current OAR’s. Add Post-docs as a type of adjunct. Diff between career and current adjuncts. Recognize there will be judgement calls, recognizes due role for administration to make decisions. Lots of details. Union’s been doing there homework. Adjuncts can be easily hired into career positions, … Any questions?

Rudnick: We’re going to need a break to talk about it.

Mauer: Shared Governance. (This is a big one).

We want to strengthen the Senate by bringing the Senate Constitution into the CBA. NOT to usurp role but to give Senate legal protection (That is, protection from Randy Geller).

More transparency by posting handbooks, department by-laws, practices, etc. Union doesn’t want to mess with these, just that they should be posted.

Rudnick: So, departments are below the level of colleges? What’s the diff between a department and a program? What if people overlap?

Scott Pratt, Deborah Greene: Some departments do have formal by-laws, others have practices written out to various degrees. Idea is to have departments write out by-laws explaining their current practices. Intention is to let the Deans decide whether people are bound by department, program, etc.

Mauer: Proposal on past practices. Takes existing UO, College, Department, practices and policies, they are the base point unless the contract changes something.

Special benefits. (Suppose, say, the university gives the Provost a BMW. Would all bargaining unit members get one too?)

Caucus time, restarting at 11AM.

Rudnick: We rewrote intent and purpose of preamble:

We would like to be called the University, not the Administration”

I call bullshit. The faculty are the university, not the people in Johnson Hall. Not Bean, not Geller, not …

Mauer calls her on this. She is going to fold. Geller is sweating. Blandy and Gleason are keeping their heads down.

Rudnick: Wants it acknowledged that the administration voluntarily recognized the union. No problem. Clarifying questions about rank proposal. Will Provost’s decisions be grievable? Mauer will address this later.

Shared Governance: Why is incorporating the Senate Constitution into CBA this a mandatory subject of bargaining. The Senate is not related to working conditions. Really? Mauer is great on this. This is Geller’s attempt to keep the faculty under his thumb. Rudnick pushes back. In doing so she is going to win the union a lot of new faculty friends. She doesn’t understand universities or faculty and it is showing.

She’s backing down a little, it will be subject of negotiation. Mauer is clear union is not trying to usurp Senate, rather strengthen it. This is a losing game for her. Blandy and Gleason still say nothing.

She is bringing up donations – doesn’t realize Senate committees already are supposed to be consulted on these things. Listen to Gottfredson’s first Senate speech – he’s already agreed Senate has a role on these things.

She’s trying to get a sense of how universities work. She’s starting to get it.

Rudnick on benefits: Sorry, not going to give faculty beamers just because Bean got one.

NOT going to agree to a past practices clause – this is huge. Many of the anti-union faculty were opposed because they thought the union would impose uniform rules across very different departments. Now the administration wants to force the union to do this. Wow!

Mauer: We want to recognize the differences across departments, preserve what has been working. Rudnick is not prepared to agree to it. Might come back to it. Too open-ended.

Mauer: Non-discrimination clause, sexual harassment, … (UO hasn’t followed Title IX law, the union is doing Geller and Daugherty’s job here.)

Rudnick: A member could grieve and file lawsuit at same time. (I think UO already does this, or says it does in the faculty handbook. Whoops, we don’t have a faculty handbook any more.) Can’t take away legal rights. She doesn’t realize there is already a UO process for grievances. Why isn’t Geller or Blandy stepping in here to explain this?

(The elephant in the room? This would allow employees to use union lawyers to seek redress instead of having to hire their own lawyer. Mauer knows her game here – standard stuff.)

She’s backing down, now wants more specifics, not objecting to the principle anymore.

Deborah Green: Wants it in the contract so it’s clear and so people will know they can go to the union for quicker, cheaper redress. Long history of suits that have been very expensive to the university. We should be working together on this language.

(Yes. But of course that would mean fewer billable hours for UO’s external law firm, which now seems to be Rudnick and HLGR.)

Contracts article:

Mauer: Adds transparency to individual faculty contracts. Derived from the existing OAR’s.

Written notice of appointment, responsibilities and expectations, workload ref, crediting of prior service, expectation of continued employment for career NTF. Does *not* provide lifetime guarantee, just expectation. Subject to resource, programmatic changes. Renewal offers to go out 90 days in advance, with provisions for exceptions. More provisions for post-docs, adjuncts. Attempts to avoid term by term hiring when avoidable. …

Scott Pratt: Adopts CAS policy for reviews for faculty who come in with prior credit towards tenure.

Rudnick: I suspect Geller, Blandy, Gleason have questions but apparently they can’t speak for themselves, so we’ll have to get back to you.

Workload article:

Mauer: We want to provide maximum flexibility for departments because they know best. We do want transparency about rules and expectations. Departments must adopt a written policy, that policy can certainly incorporate flexibility. Service will be incorporated, service as union officer will count as service as will department service, university committees, etc. Mandates transparency regarding stipends and admin support – again, differences across departments are fine. Overload compensation. Language comes from UO’s 1985 policy. Same idea – department’s can set policies, just make it transparent.

Rudnick: So department’s set policies so long as they follow these rules? Leave this up to the departments and the faculty? Where is the final adoption?

Pratt explains how Dean’s and Department’s now work it out, e.g. with teaching loads. Huge diversity e.g. with teaching loads – course release policies for research. Faculty, Deans and Department’s now work it out.

Rudnick: Where’s the final authority – e.g. if the Dean says no, you must teach 6 courses. As I read this it this gives the faculty the power to decide their workload? (She’s got a point, that’s a bit strong. And of course not what the proposal means. But it could be clearer. Mauer is trying to make the point that the union is not going to mess with current practices – work it out internally, with deans as it’s been done for the past 1100 years.)

Caucus time, back ~12:30.

Rudnick: No specific questions, need to look at details, we will come back with questions or counter-proposals, to keep things moving and specific. We think we get it and were you’re going, we’re not shocked or surprised by what you’ve presented. Keep on going?

Mauer: Here’s the NTTF evaluation and promotion proposal. Critical in terms of fairness and serving students. Evaluation every 18 courses or 3 years – less frequent but more thorough than present. Annual peer review with notification. Evaluation includes personal statement, allows credit for service.    Opportunities for professional development (since that’s included in evaluation). Makes clear this is for career not adjunct appointments. Promotion is elective, not up or out. Understands that admin has plans for NTTF reforms as well. etc.

We are seeking to fundamentally change the status of NTTF’s at the university.

Rudnick: Not sure how much we will respond to tomorrow. (Boy are they underprepared.)

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37 Responses to Union bargaining I: 12/13/12

  1. Awesome0 says:

    Leaving out profs of practice or board of trustees out of the unit sounds like the issue is that CEO’s who are totally opposed to their workforces unionizing don’t want to be in a union themselves. Imagine if Phil Knight had to join a union to teach a class as member of the board of trustees….

    They should call this the Phil Knight Clause.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Rudnick: So, departments are below the level of colleges? What’s the diff between a department and a program? What if people overlap?” For someone who supposedly has a degree, she didn’t do even basic homework? F-

    • Cat says:

      I had the exact same reaction to this statement. It’s like hiring an auto mechanic who asks what the “wheels” are. Don’t know if this is good or bad for a faculty-friendly outcome, but the Admin is fielding a very weak team.

  3. Awesome0 says:

    I believe the incompetence or lack of knowledge is strategic. As an undergrad we rented a house from a from a former college athlete turned pro football player who had retired and had a bunch of rental property units. Whenever something was broke, he acted really stupid. Thus we assumed he was useless and fixed stuff ourselves, and because he was worthless as a landlord/property owner….or so we thought. But when we moved out, he was sharp as a razor when it came to identifying issues. Don’t fall for the rope-a-dope!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    UO has no duty to bargain over policies and practices unless they affect employment conditions. Many do not. Many things in a faculty handbook would concern matters of academic judgment and administration appropriate to the role of the Senate or Departments but not a union.

    Bringing the Senate Constitution into the CBA simply subjects it to union control. Any changes would be subject to the same restrictions as any other terms of the CBA, which means only the union can speak for the faculty in changing it. This would only strengthen the Senate to the extent being subject to union domination is seen in that light, which is what has happened elsewhere when this was done. If domination is not usurpation,…

    This would give Senate legal protection as deemed appropriate by the union, subject to negotiated agreement by UO. Problem is, the more the Senate is dominated by the union, the less it is in the interest of UO to engage the Senate in matters beyond those it is required to negotiate with the union. In other words, it is disincentivized to treat the Senate as representative of faculty in their institutional policy-making managerial role, as they are at private universities, rather than solely as academic workers and public employees.

    Make no mistake; this is serious business. History is being made here. History can really screw up the future, not to mention the present.

    • Cat says:

      Very salient warning. The problem is, to watch it unfold above, is that the Senate is in an untenable position either way, now that we have a union and are engaged in bargaining with the Admin. Note that our fearless reporter sees unionizing Senate and Constitution as “getting out from under Geller”. I do worry that too many of our colleagues are engaged in wishful thinking on this point, and haven’t thought through the ramifications–of the sort you point out here. There will be no turning back though, as I see it, once the Senate/Constitutions is subordinated within the CBA. If it turns out to be a bad idea, if we don’t like the consequences, it’ll be nearly impossible to get it back out and reconstitute it with a role to play and powers…

    • Anonymous says:

      The apparently intentional failure of senior faculty leaders to do any serious due diligence about the realities of this broader situation and its potential impact are shocking.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’, but I’m wondering… currently the Senate includes a number of faculty who are not union members. Many of those people are lawyers. If the CBA curtails their role in governance, will they push back?

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with bystanders and onlookers is they all start looking at each other doing nothing and that becomes the norm. Organizations replace true moral courage with imposed group norms. You are being led down the path by some little cabal over at LERC et al and those lawyers won’t know what hit them until their covered by a three year contract with an evergreen clause and a 30 day window for filing a decert petition. Good luck with that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The opinions inserted into the minutes above are uninformed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps. Perhaps not. Above all, UOMatters has a reputation to maintain. I’m not sure I’d trust the reporter if the summary didn’t come with snarky asides. And I do appreciate having ears and eyes in the room.

    • Anonymous says:

      Link to your opinions… I’ll gladly follow them.

  6. Anonymous says:

    To construe non-agreement to a “past practices” provision that essentially incorporates existing practices and policies into the contract to mean that UO wants to force the union to impose uniform rules across very different departments lacks a rational basis.

    • Anonymous says:

      Such a provision shifts power from the departments to the union because no changes will be permitted without their consent.

    • UO Matters says:

      This depends on the wording. The CBA can certainly give departments flexibility to make changes and from everything I’ve seen so far the union intends to maintain that flexibility.

      Rudnick seems to understand the importance of giving the administrators flexibility. I don’t think she understand the department role, but it’s early days.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog Says

      but this is kind of crucial – throughout my history at the UO
      most all of my accidental raises have been department by department protocols and procedures. The relevant dean just
      signs off on them. Now the last two “raise rounds” – Nov 2008
      and May 2011 took the department completely out of the process and therefore we may be on a new path.

      But the key issues, to this dog, is who evaluates merit – departments on the Union and who determines equity, – departments, the college, or the Union?

    • Anonymous says:

      The question is not what flexibility the CBA gives departments but what flexibility it takes away by freezing past practices in the first place. The only time management gets more flexibility from a CBA is when it clearly and unmistakably waives the union’s statutory right to bargain over something. That is generally not the intent of a past practice clause.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The anecdote about the students and faculty being the university is amusing. It may have been true of some group of students and faculty in Germany a couple hundred years ago. It is not remotely true now, as a matter of law or practice. The best faculty could hope for was to be policy-makers of the institution. Query: At what university has that result obtained from collectively bargaining with faculty?

  8. Anonymous says:

    The only thing on the up and up is Rudneck’s paycheck. Pathetic and embarrassing for the administration (please let’s continue to call them that). Geller is useless.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Any guesses on how long it will take to get a CBA? A year from now?

    The lawyers on both sides are going to make a lot of money.

  10. Becky Dorsey says:

    I was present for most of this morning’s session. Here are a few of my impressions: (1) It was a professional and respectful exchange in which UA presented a first round of proposals and Admin responded with requests for clarification and one or two talking points. Nothing of substance was agreed on but some philosophical positions were staked out. (2) One person does all the talking for each side, so it is not particularly odd that Geller, Blandy and Gleason are being quiet since that is standard. (3) As I understand it, the administration legally represents “The University of Oregon” so they have reason to request that they be named in a contract according to their legal standing, though this does raise the emotional issue of “who is The University”? (4) UOmatters’ outline of the session (posted above) is extremely biased and one-sided, not just in the opinions but in the entire summary of it. Rudnick is not dumb or ignorant or unprepared, and she is not saying stupid things at the table. If you want to know what is being said, you would have to be there to hear for yourself.

    • Three-toed sloth says:

      All the more reason why folks should attend, I suppose.

    • UO Matters says:

      Where’s the part where I say Rudnick is dumb? But she was obviously ignorant of how universities work and poorly prepared. As for the bias – well, of course. The post states that right at the top.

      Any factual errors? I’m always happy to correct those.

      You should read the Gottfredson transcript to see how far off track Rudnick went. And remember – Berdahl and Geller hired her, not Gottfredson. In fact it’s not even clear if Gottfredson can fire her without Pernsteiner’s OK.

    • Kim Sheehan says:

      If you’d like to read other people’s takes on the sessions, come visit our blog: http://uounionforum.wordpress.com/.

    • Anonymous says:

      Beware of “principled-sounding” spin. Terms of art have specific legal meaning.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Dog has two questions:

    1. What does this mean or imply?

    “We are seeking to fundamentally change the status of NTTF’s at the university.”

    I understand increasing job security of this population but “fundamentally change the status” sounds to me like something much

    2. How does the language “improve the working conditions” apply to
    faculty. What are our working conditions anyway?

    • Anonymous says:

      Find a summary of the decisions of the Oregon Employment Relations Board interpreting “employment relations.” Better yet, talk to a labor lawyer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog says

      this is not an answer

      hell I used to be a union worker on a factory floor
      I then accidentally got into academia

      those two worlds are quite opposite

      on the factory floor I understood working conditions quite well as they applied
      to the actual working conditions. I have no idea how that
      concept translates to academia.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point. Working conditions could be more broadly construed that conditions of employment, which are the things UO has a duty to consider proposals about. These are things that would conceivably be part of the bargain you strike as an individual, like indirect benefits that cost the university money, the sick leave faculty members never seem to need to use, grievance procedures, and that sort of thing. Probably not class size, academic calendar, standards of performance or criteria for evaluation, curriculum, at-work personal conduct requirements,staffing levels and safety issues, scheduling of services provided to the public, determination of the minimum qualifications necessary for any position, criteria for evaluation or performance appraisal, assignment of duties, workload when the effect on duties is insubstantial, reasonable dress, grooming, and at-work personal conduct requirements respecting smoking, gum chewing, and similar matters of personal conduct at work.
      These are the sort of things UO has no duty to consider proposals about and can decide without bargaining (unless they voluntarily tie their hands in the CBA).

  12. Anonymous says:

    This entire situation truly is a fiasco, but Rudnick et al. being more cooperative with this regression to the mean is hardly the panacea.

  13. Anonymous says:

    UO is regressing to the mean of Oregon state universities.

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