Bargaining XXXIII:

7/30/2013, Tuesday: 9am-4pm (Picnic outside from 11:30am-1:30pm)


Wednesday: 9am-2pm
Thursday: 9am-4pm

Your Guarantee of Truthiness: All UO Matters bargaining posts are publicly fact-checked by Geller and Rudnick’s secret team of well paid consultants. Their latest fact-check is here, and if you pay Dave Hubin $285.98 he’ll even tell you who wrote it.

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

Synopsis:

Prologue from XXXII on Monday:

  • A generally productive session, with only a little “loss of institutional control” from the admins.
  • Usual from Rudnick about not “enshrining shared governance” in any sort of legally binding agreement. This time she did manage not to call the single faculty member of the UO Board “better than shared governance” She also avoided saying this intransigence was on instructions from President Gottfredson, Randy Geller, or any potential UO Board members that might or might not be appointed by the governor in the next few weeks.

Cast: 

Live-blog: Sorry, not today. Try Luebke’s blog? https://www.facebook.com/groups/126059310737990/ or post comments if you are there.

Taken verbatim from Luebke’s blog:

UA counter (re)introduces language from the mission statement and the university charter; section 1 lays out parameters of Academic Freedom; UA accepts that academic freedom entails certain responsibilities, e.g., to avoid “controversial” topics in the classroom that are not directly related to the topic of teaching. Section 5: lays out the bases of academic freedom in law, state and federal.

Rudnick: We don’t have any fundamental disagreement over most of this. My question has to do with your Section 2(c), i.e., the freedom of faculty to address any matter of institutional policy with impunity?

Mauer: Yes and no. We believe that academic freedom encompasses more than the First Amendment, which is not sufficient to protect it. But we also do not accept that academic freedom gives anyone the right to say anything anywhere.

Rudnick: You are free to criticize admin under the First Amendment, so why add more?

[Answer: because the SCOTUS decision in Garcetti has been interpreted in the lower courts to allow Universities to discipline faculty for criticizing administration. Rudnick surely knows this]

Mauer: We are going beyond what the First Amendment allows, but not giving carte blanche. This is an extremely important matter, but I’d like to defer to Ernie Benjamin on this.

Ernie Benjamin: The reason why we have language about the First Amendment is because SCOTUS, in its wisdom, has placed limits on the First Amendment as it appies to universities; at issue here is the Garcetti decision [TOLD YA!] which has been interpreted wrongly by the lower courts to mean that administration can discipline faculty for opposing its decisions vocally. We are not asking for carte blanche. We are, however, asking for protection from the [evil] SCOTUS decision in Garcetti.

Benjamin: We believe, and we hope you believe too, that faculty members should not be punished for opposing admin.

Rudnick: Show me where it says that the speech of faculty is not unrestricted.

Mauer: The First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to defame someone (to use Rudnick’s example), and the contract doesn’t allow anyone to violate the law.

Cecil: The contract cannot shield any faculty member from the law.

Blandy: I’d like you to speak to the question of civility.

Benjamin: We at AAUP oppose inclusion of language about civility as actionable; we heartily endorse civility on the part of faculty, but also hold that civility has no legal definition. “Civility” can only too easily be used as a cudgel against unruly faculty.

Regarding governance: union bargaining is different from other kinds of bargaining, because unions are not the only entity representing faculty, among other things. I understand faculty bargaining to protect certain procedures, but I also understand that unions have no business making academic decisions, which is for departments and university senates to determine.

There seems to be a tension with respect to shared governance. I’d like to read AAUP’s position on shared governance; a CBA should not replace shared governance, but ensure its continuance. Unions should not be involved in the actual decision-making. I’ve seen a lot of bargaining around the nation over the past four decades, and we’ve seen that bargaining reinforces shared governance, does not replace it.

There needs to be a shared governance clause in order to ensure that decisions are reached in an orderly manner. A governing board doesn’t do itself any favors by giving the impression that it wants to overthrow the University Constitution. It would be in your interest and the board’s to yield a little on this.

Nothing I’ve said is unusual. We’re aiming at mutuality.

Mauer: Ernie, can I ask you to comment on the new board, and the fact that it will have a faculty member?

Benjamin: The AAUP approves the idea of including faculty on governing boards. In Canada, interestingly, boards often have many faculty, and unions thought it was a bad idea. The union has a special duty to the fair representation of the faculty, whereas the faculty member on the board does not; I don’t think that that is any substitute for shared governance. It’s largely irrelevant to what we’re doing here.

Cecil: We accept that there won’t be a committee, and that the Provost will make the decision on reclassification, with right to petition the decision. We struggled with how to handle what constitutes a “year” of service (FTE equivalent, some portion of that, one course in a year = a year?). We decided that it would be best to forgo formulas and get to the principle of the thing, which is that no one who is teaching indefinitely should be “adjunct” faculty, because “adjunct” is by definition temporary. If we inscribe that principle in the contract and everyone agrees to that principle, we can deal with individual cases individually.

3:25, I’m blogging now. Missed some stuff on classrooms and chairs.
Union introduces Art 50, replacement for 51 and 52, on conflict of interest and commitment.
Cecil: So, we looked at your proposal and laughed at the ground. So we went back to existing policies. Most of what we are proposing is current UO policy. We are open to UO having a larger conversation about improving UO policy. PI’s should be involved.

Current policy for COC is one day in seven for consulting type work. Union says one day per week, “apart from personal time” noting that this outside work can and often does provide benefits to UO.

Parts 6,7,8,9 are from admin proposals. Activities that require prior approval from UO are $5K or $10K?. UO policies are all over the map and are inconsistent. Union was unable to find anything on VPR website, this policy reflects current federal regs – $5K. Union is fine with whatever the regs say.

Another example of the union doing the admins job for them. Cecil very conciliatory, asks admins to check it over, make counterproposal as appropriate. Rudnick: OK. Arbitration? Cecil: Possible. Rudnick: How does this square with employee confidentiality if it goes to arbitration. Cecil: To go to arbitration the employee would almost certainly have to waive confidentiality.

Cecil: Section 9 on private sector. We wanted some language about this, let us know what you think. Rudnick: We’ll take this back to Geller and come back, maybe even with an OK.

Rudnick: We owe you Information Assets. I need to sit down with the right people and understand your counter, and the many questions and giggles I got on our proposal.

Cecil: Let’s go back to academic freedom. We are trying to reflect the fact that current law has become more restrictive than traditional notions of academic freedom. Rudnick: We are trying to figure out how to word this so as to give people the right to criticize the administration, just in the right way. I’ll go back, read the Garcetti decision, and work on this.

Mauer: Our view is that Garcetti was not so bad but subsequent circuit court decisions were. Gleason: There could be a philosophical problem … Give me an example of speech other than employees criticizing the administration that needs protection. (Is he being deliberately obtuse?)

Rudnick tries to clarify: If we clarify protections under the Oregon Constitution, and resolve Garcetti in favor of protecting faculty speech and making sure it extends to criticism of admin policies, are we OK?

Mauer: You are saying we mutually agree Garcetti went the wrong way? Blandy: We’re just trying to frame the debate.

Davidson: State and Federal laws have tried to make the encouragement of civil disobedience illegal, this sometimes puts faculty teaching and writing about these issues on sketchy ground. We need to discuss this more on this side of the table.

Rudnick: We can’t help you if you violate the law, but why wouldn’t this be protected under current law. Davidson: What if a donor doesn’t like it and tries to defund a program. Rudnick: We couldn’t do that under the first amendment.

Cecil: Admin proposal added plenty of limitations on what’s appropriate speech. Rudnick: We get it, we’ll take another stab at this one.

They’re done, some discussion about scheduling secret small group meetings.

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