Bargaining XXVIII:

Tu 7/16/2013, 9-4. 122 Knight Library. I’ll live blog it. The rumor that I will bring a pitcher of bloody mary’s is probably false.

Your Guarantee of TruthinessAll UO Matters bargaining posts fact-checked by Randy Geller, HLGR, and their lobbyist and public relations consultant Marla Rae.

Disclaimer: My opinion of what people said or were thinking but were too polite to say. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

Synopsis:

  • Rudnick refuses to negotiate on PERS pickup, then gets told to negotiate on PERS pickup.
  • Admin’s old strategy was for Rudnick to act like she was in charge. The new strategy is for her to keep saying she’s just following orders. Whose orders? Looks like Geller on most things, Moffitt on money. If Scott Coltrane has any influence we’re sure not seeing it yet. 

Prologue: 

JH admins got their raises and are out on vacation spending it, unlikely they will have a counter-proposal on faculty raises ready anytime soon.

Big argument last time about computers. Article 49. I was there, and the Union’s summary of what happened seems pretty accurate to me:

The administration amended their original proposal on Acceptable Use of University Information Assets with fewer changes than we had hoped.  They define “Information Assets” as all computer systems, hardware, software, networks, internet access, platforms and devices, and any files or information stored on them and claim that all such information belongs exclusively to the University of Oregon. This despite obvious cases where software on University systems is licensed to individual faculty members (apparently including iTunes files). They reserve the right to withdraw access to these assets at any time and want to prohibit any non-work-related hosting of websites and posting to internet groups or list serves.  Further, they want to monitor Information Assets for any work-related reasons, including monitoring on a random basis if they choose. At the table, the administration stated that they could use the information gleaned from their monitoring for other purposes, including discipline.  They are also seeking to prohibit Peer-to-Peer file sharing that is not work related. They backed off precluding any encryption of data without the permission of the Provost when it was pointed out that encryption is necessary, and often mandated, to protect human subject data.

For a sensible IT policy, see the one in place at President Gottfredson’s previous university, here:

An electronic communications holder’s consent shall be obtained by the
University prior to any access for the purpose of examination or disclosure of the
contents of University electronic communications records in the holder’s
possession, except as provided for below. … 

1. Authorization. Except in emergency circumstances (as defined in Appendix
A, Definitions) in accordance with Section IV.B.2, Emergency
Circumstances, or except for subpoenas or search warrants in accordance with
Section IV.B.6, Search Warrants and Subpoenas, such actions must be
authorized in advance and in writing by the responsible campus Vice
Chancellor or, for the Office of the President, the Senior Vice President,
Business and Finance (see Section II.D, Responsibilities).1
This authority may not be further redelegated. Authorization shall be limited to the least perusal of contents and the least action necessary to resolve the situation.  … 

3. Notification. The responsible authority or designee shall at the earliest
opportunity that is lawful and consistent with other University policy notify
the affected individual of the action(s) taken and the reasons for the action(s)
taken.  

Each campus will issue in a manner consistent with law an annual report
summarizing instances of authorized or emergency nonconsensual access
pursuant to the provisions of this Section IV.B, Access Without Consent,
without revealing personally identifiable data. 

And compare the union’s version of the bargaining session fight what Barbara Altmann’s UO “fact-check” website says. Or don’t. At this point that official UO site is mostly an attempt to salvage HLGR’s reputation while billing UO for the hours. No conflict of interest here, I’m sure. Speaking of conflicts of interest, Randy Geller is trying to charge me $214.50 to see the April, May, and June invoices:

07/02/2013

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “copies of any UO contracts and invoices for legal advice or consulting assistance related to the UO faculty union, from March 22 2013 to the present, redacted only to the extent allowable by Oregon public records law”, on 06/11/2013, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request.  By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $ 214.50. 

Which is weird, because back in April they wanted to charge me $493.88 for just the April invoice:

04/22/2013 

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “copies of any UO contracts and invoices for legal advice or consulting assistance related to the UO faculty union, from March 22 2013 to the present, redacted only to the extent allowable by Oregon public records law”, on 04/12/2013, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request.  By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $493.88. 

It’s almost like someone in Geller’s office just pulls these numbers out of their butt. I wonder who?

06/25/2013

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “a) who in the UO General Counsel’s office is responsible for monitoring invoices and billings by the HLGR firm, regarding the faculty unionization drive and contract negotiations, and b) any audits done by the UO General Counsel’s office, and any documents showing questions about rates, expenses, work effort, time-keeping or other similar issues, and their resolution, for invoices submitted for this work by HLGR. This request covers the period from 9/1/2011 to the present” on 06/04/2013, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request.  By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $322.12.  

Live-blog:

Sorry, got here a little late. They did Art 4, policies and practices, (union proposal) and Art 5, Union rights (admin).

Cecil, Mauer, faculty volunteers, 5 or so faculty observers, and the usual glum looking admin team.

Art 31: Release time for union work. Admin counter:

2.5 FTE for union officers. Rudnick: The admin can’t figure out the replacement cost of faculty, so they won’t let the union buy out more courses. Mauer: We’re talking marginal cost – a familiar concept often used in other contracts. Use replacement cost. Rudnick: Of course I have no authority or knowledge. Pratt tries to explain a few things. Gleason explains that variable costs can vary. Pratt: Sure, we work this out all the time w/in departments. Cecil tries to figure out what the admin’s problem with this is. Is the problem calculating costs, or in principle that you don’t want to give the union more release time because you think it will weaken then union. Rudnick: I don’t have authority here, I’ll take it back to Geller. Weird, she’s said this several times in the past few meetings. I don’t remember her ever saying it before then. 

Art : retirement benefits, admin proposal.

Rudnick: If the governor takes away the 6% pickup, we won’t put it back in the contract. Cecil: What would happen? Rudnick: We go back to the bargaining table with you, maybe you get it back as salary. Cecil: When I asked before if JH would want to keep that money, you angrily denied it. So, why not put that in the contract? Rudnick: Will do that if it comes to that. Cecil: And if you agree to that after the Gov tries to get the money back, he’ll be pissed. Put the language in the contract, as has WOU, PSU. Gleason: Talks, but doesn’t have a point. Davidson explains the point of contracts to Rudnick: provide certainty for uncertain situations. Rudnick blathers some more. Psaki: This is a large percentage of salary for you to blow off. Rudnick: No! We will not negotiate on this now. We want to wait until it’s a political hot-potato and we can burn you with it.

Art 32: Sabbatical. Rudnick: Wait, this is a mistake, give it back to me!

Art 21: Fringe Benefits, admin proposal:

No child care subsidy. No more than one tuition benefit for faculty at a time. Rudnick: That’s an OUS rule. Cecil: No, it’s not, we explained this to you last time. Rudnick glares at him. Fun listening to Cecil talk circles around Rudnick. Sometimes we understand your positions and disagree with them, other times they just make no sense, or you tell us things that aren’t true. Which is this? Rudnick: I have no authority. She’s no longer willing to take the fall for Geller and Gottfredson. Faculty goes out on caucus.

Faculty team is back – it’s a party! Mark’s watching the door so we can put away the drinks and child porn before the administrators catch us.

Admin is back. Mauer: On fringes, we are frustrated. Reality is that we have a union, you need to bargain. But the administration seems to not understand. We are not asking for dramatic changes, just trying to codify it and keep it in place for the 2 year contract. You keep saying that you want the right to change these willy-nilly, whenever. On economics, where is your counter-proposal? We’ll get it when?

Rudnick gets pissy: I’m not interested in any more lectures! You keep saying we won’t do what you want. So we won’t. Hahaha! We will not tell you when we will respond to the economic proposals you put on the table more than a month ago.

Back on forth on definition of a compromise. Cecil: So, you want us to make compromises on benefits, but you won’t make compromises on 6%? Rudnick: That’s bottom line, non-negotiable. We are not willing to make that financial commitment. (What commitment? it would be a straight across trade.) Mauer: SOU, EOU, PSU all agreed to this. Why not UO? What are we supposed to tell potential new faculty hires? Rudnick: We’ll look into that, but the answer is no! Mauer: The problem isn’t that HR is telling potential hires this, the problem is that it’s a fact! Rudnick: Too bad. Mauer: I’m not lecturing you, or rolling my eyes at you. Pratt: I was rolling my eyes, because what you were saying is absurd.

Gleason, Blandy keep their heads down. Why do they bother to show up?

The administration is playing hardball and burning their credibility to get the right to take away the 6% pickup? What a stupid strategy. 

Pratt: What’s the cost of the pickup? Rudnick: 6%. Pratt: No, it’s 0%, unless you plan not to restore it. So, that’s your plan? Rudnick realizes she just got pwned. Gleason jumps in. How long til Rudnick shuts him up? She just shouts over him. 2 hours in, and VPAA Doug Blandy, who is charge of most of this stuff, hasn’t said a peep. Smart man. Gleason, not so much. Crowd starts laughing.

Art 32: Sabbatical, admins real proposal, not the fake one.

Rudnick: Frohnmayer needs to get Provost’s approval when he gets paid by HLGR while he’s on sabbatical, otherwise it would be an ethics violation. Well, that’s not exactly what she said, but you get the idea. Frohnmayer spent his sabbatical arranging his job at HLGR, not sure if he got paid though. Contracts here.

Cecil: Let us repair to our lunch room, with alacrity! Back at 12:30.

Kitzhaber has already put an end to the PERS pickup on the bargaining table:

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/6_percent_pers_pickup_part_of.html

The offer surfaced earlier this month in labor contract talks between Gov. John Kitzhaber and public employee unions, according to a document obtained by The Oregonian. If accepted, it would remove one of the more controversial elements of the Public Employees Retirement System for a huge chunk of the state work force.

Rudnick’s refusal to address it, and then accuse the union of lecturing and rolling their eyes at her, is worthy of eye-rolling.

1:41: Rudnick is back after a long caucus with her handlers, presumably Geller, Moffitt, Shelton.

Rudnick: Will come back with next week with stuff on benefits. Pulls out parking example. If permit goes up for everyone, for you too? On tuition discount: Currently parents pay 30% of first 12 credits. About $7500. Could add up to hundreds of thousands, but we have no real idea. Maybe $400K. We talked about parameters: Second child in college, two discounts? Lottery? Is this they way we want to spend it – only benefits part of the bargaining unit. (and the rest of UO since it’s a recruiting tool.)

My Q: What’s the marginal cost to UO of an additional undergraduate?

On PERS pickup until Legislature does something, we don’t know the parameters. They might tie our hands: can’t pickup, can’t increase salaries, we’d be in a bind. But we’re now willing to negotiate, given that concern, and we will draft a proposal if you’d like. (Totally different from her position before the break, that this was non-negotiable and she was tired of the eye-rolling. My take-away? Pratt’s eye-rolls must have a truly devastating affect on her. Roll on!) “I’m really trying to make progress on this.”

Gleason: We’re also paying for the OUS and the Veterans in-state tuition. It all adds up. I haven’t done my homework as usual, so I don’t have numbers though. Bramhall: How does it work in the new budget model? Gleason: Lost revenue to UO.

Cecil: Let’s caucus.

They’re back. Mauer: So, for fringes, you’re willing to consider no elimination to the bulleted list, but there might be changes in costs, e.g. for parking. Rudnick: I don’t have any authority, but that’s what I was told. Mauer: OK, we can work with that. Rudnick: That’s helpful, we’ll think. Mauer: On tuition, helpful to see breakdowns. We’d agree to something that reserved the second slot for undergrad only. Rudnick, looking very sad: OK.

Rudnick: Give up on child care benefits for faculty who need to go to job talks, evening seminars. Cecil: We’ll talk about how to reduce the administrative burden.

Mauer, on PERS: We don’t mean to be dismissive. We’ll look at any proposals from you that might deal with your problems, but bottom line is the other higher ed institutions have this, we want it to. Gleason: what do the other contracts say, I haven’t done my homework on this. Cecil: Look it up, dude. Rudnick: You’re potentially asking UO to take on $8M in new costs. We don’t have any reserves. We can’t agree. Cecil: Other universities have agreed. You want that $8M to come out of the faculty’s pocket. Mauer: Other university administrations have agreed to this. I know there are politics here, why can’t you deal with them like PSU, SOU, WOU did? Rudnick: I haven’t looked at any of those contracts. I know nothing. But “people” have told me UO cannot agree to the same thing.

So what exactly are Jamie’s $150M in reserves for? 

Davidson: So, suppose the language addressed the various contingencies in an equitable way? Rudnick: That’s what we are thinking, but we don’t want to commit to it. We’ve talked about bargaining trigger. But that was too much work for us, so instead we just decided to tell you it was non-negotiable. Cecil: Give us language. Pratt: There’d have to be some causal relationship between ending the pickup and budget cuts before we’d agree. Rudnick now tries to shift the blame for admins intransigence on “the finance folks”. Uh, you’re supposed to play the bad cop here Sharon – suddenly we’re not paying you enough to take the fall for Moffitt?

Quod clamas semper, quod agentibus obstrepis, Aeli, non facis hoc gratis: accipis, ut taceas. Martial.

Article 2: Academic rank, union proposal.

Mauer: No dispute over employers right to assign work. But we want enough specificity to ensure work is consistent with job descriptions, while understanding that the descriptions will evolve over time. Rudnick: Written job description? Cecil: We’re trying to allow some flexibility so researchers can teach a class or two, etc. Rudnick: Makes sense.

Sensible, productive back and forth, wake me when it’s over.

Art 11: Academic ratios, union proposal.

Mauer: Calls for more TTF, and calls for the admins to publish ratios and goals. IR data here – ends in 2011-2012. Blandy tells me offline we have new numbers, just not posted yet. This was the subject of some hilarious Beangrams. Prior proposal had called for Senate involvement, admins mixed that because they want to destroy the Senate as well as the union. Rudnick: What does “work with” mean to you? Oh, give it a rest Sharon.

Art 30: Overhead and Transparency, union proposal:

Sets up committee to review F&A rates and distribution of money (ICC money). 4 union member, 3 non-union (since so many PI’s are out of the union.). Good idea, in the past this money has been a slush fund for all sorts of stuff and an accounting black hole. Let’s make it transparent. Rudnick: Why is this mandatory subject for bargaining? Mauer: Conditions of appointment. Rudnick: Why does the union care about this? Cecil: Science faculty told us they were concerned about this. (Linton, Espy. Any more questions?

Art 29 and 41: Rights reserved to administration, totality, unit level policies. Administration proposals.

Mauer: These two plus the shared governance language define rights and responsibilities. We anticipate an agreement on shared governance. Assuming we work that out, we will TA your proposals, except for your continued claim you are “The University”. Rudnick: Hard to say no to that.

Art 3 language:

Mauer: You gave us language for processes for adopting and revising unit policies. Here’s our attempt. Designed to get basic agreement, even though we don’t have your counter we’ve tried to address your concerns. “At the outset of formulation of written policies” Faculty will consult with deans… Provost has final authority, of course. Drawn from AAU Redbook, clearly stated of division of authority. Admins get to control budget planning but have to consult.

UO’s accreditation guidelines also call for this. But of course Moffitt doesn’t do this, then gets Hubin to lie to the accreditors about it. Here’s what Hubin told our accreditors in March:

2.F.3 The institution clearly defines and follows its policies, guidelines, and processes for financial planning and budget development that include appropriate opportunities for participation by its constituencies.The UO engages several cross-functional teams to assist with budget preparation and
operational assessment. These teams include:
• Budget Advisory Group – comprised of students, faculty and staff; advises on
general fund allocations
• Tuition and Fee Boards – comprised of students, faculty, and staff; advises on
tuition and fees, and evaluates performance and projections.
• Internal Bank Advisory Committee – comprised of faculty and staff; analyze and
advise on debt-funded projects.
• Senate Budget Committee – comprised of members of the elected University
Senate; review and make recommendations on budgetary policy and long-term
financial strategies. 

I’d say the reality is a little different. The SBC website is here – not a lot of consultation going on, much less reporting. The academic plan was drafted by Bean in 2009 and then forgotten about  (the 2011 date is when they located a copy of it – not when it was revised.) 

The only link I can find to the “Budget Advisory Group” on the UO pages is to the accreditation report itself. How’s that for “appropriate opportunities for participation”?

And Gottfredson’s Chief of Staff Greg Rikhoff won’t answer questions about it.

Rudnick: Changes don’t change our intent. Looks blankly at Blandy. Nope, Blandy still ain’t talkin, you’re on your own Rudnick.

Rudnick: We’ll use this in drafting our response, but looks helpful.

Cecil calls quick caucus break.

Mauer: On PERS, we agree it’s not simple, but you can’t expect the faculty to bear all the risk when you’ve got your ass on top of all those reserves. Draft a proposal. Rudnick: OK.

Rudnick: Three days of bargaining next week. We’ve got economics, governance, information, workload, and what you’ve given us today. We’ll present all our economic stuff as a package. Maybe Monday, maybe Tuesday. We’ll do shared governance on the other day.

Mauer: I won’t be here Monday, can we start at 11 so the faculty team can show up fully sober for once? Rudnick: OK.

Cecil: Define what you mean by economics. Rudnick: Salary, fringes, health, leaves, release time, sabbatical, retirement.

Blandy will deal with the small group issues next week. Blandy almost speaks, but decides just to nod. Thursday Mauer, Cecil, Rudnick will hold a secret meeting at her office.

We’re done, See you Monday.

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10 Responses to Bargaining XXVIII:

  1. Anonymous says:

    re: the sabbatical article, did Rudnick really hand something across the table and demand it back?

    • UO Matters says:

      yeah, this has happened more than once, actually.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve been through some bargaining elsewhere in the state and it always amazes me when this happens. It’s often enough I have to wonder if it’s intentional.

  2. The Truth says:

    What kind of kickback is Geller receiving for helping HLGR drag as many billable hours out of this as possible at the expense of the students’ tuition?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bet you dollars to donuts that Geller’s next employment gig is at …. you guessed it, HLGR!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The union should demand that the 6% pickup be converted into salary but added to pensions unless individual faculty opt out. That’s the only way to give the admin political cover for preserving a PERS perk that is otherwise almost certainly headed for doom. I can’t believe that the admin actually wants to put 6% of faculty compensation at risk. But for the sake of credibility, they have to push back long enough to convince the state pols that the union made them take this path. Opt-outs (as opposed to opt-ins) are an effective way to encourage most folks not to just blow the 6% windfall.

  5. Awesome0 says:

    I wonder if the non-negotiable part is so the state can claim this would save money. Otherwise of local units pick it up, its just shifting the costs to salary which effectively prevents any claim cost savings.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “… to get the right to take away the 6% pickup? What a stupid strategy.”

    Really? I bet they win out. Has the union won on any of the admin’s similar positions? Aren’t we just putting up a bit of a fight and then taking it in the shorts? Seems so to me. Outside options are looking more attractive all the time, unfortunately.

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