Union bargaining XXVII live-blog: They own us.

Wed 7/10/2013, 9-4. I’ll live blog it, also try Luebke’s blog.

Your Guarantee of Truthiness: All 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:

  • In their Art 49, the admins assert ownership of all information stored by faculty on UO info systems. The old policy? The state may or may not have a property interest in information stored on University systems. Mere physical presence of information on a University electronic information system is not sufficient to conclusively establish the ownership and control of that information, just as physical presence of a paper document in a faculty member’s desk or filing cabinet does not establish an irrefutable presumption that the document is owned or controlled by the University.
  • JH admins already got their raises and are out on vacation, unlikely they will have a counter-proposal on faculty raises anytime soon.
Prologue:

In March the administration made the union a take it or leave it ultimatum on raises. Their “fact check” website says:

Briefly summarized, the FY13 and FY14 Salary Increase program grants eligible faculty a 1.5% increase in base salary for FY13 retroactive to January 1, 2013 and an additional 1.5% increase in base salary for FY14 effective July 1, 2013. The program also calls for merit increases, based on a 2% pool of all eligible faculty salaries for each unit, to be distributed based on performance as evaluated and allocated at the local level. For more information about the FY13 and FY14 Salary Increase program, visit http://around.uoregon.edu/salary-adjustments.

As of the penultimate meeting, the admins had increased their offer to 10.5% over two years, and the union’s counter was

2013: 1.5% ATB, retro to 9/16/2012.
2014: 2% ATB, 2% Merit, 2.5% Equity.
2015: 2% ATB, 3.5% Merit, 1% Equity.
2014: 3% of current NTTF salary in a pool for floors.
10% raises for promotions.

So, basically 14.5%.

Live-blog:

Present: The usual faculty volunteers, Cecil, no Mauer, Rudnick, Gleason, Grado, no Blandy.

Strikes and lock-out (admin counter):

I got here late, sounds like Rudnick is back-pedaling a tad on efforts to make faculty do GTF work if GTFF goes on strike. Cecil: suppose faculty ethically believe they shouldn’t scab. Goes to arbitration. Arbitrator looks at notes from this session? Rudnick: Put in the notes that the admins believe that requiring faculty to scab is potentially a reasonable refusal. Cecil: What is your concern about just putting this in the contract? Rudnick is not making much sense, basically she dug a hole on this long ago and is trying to get out. Cecil: And any extra work would be overload? Rudnick: Yes, we will pay our faculty scabs extra.

Faculty criminal checks (admin counter):

Rudnick is being reasonable again, this allows admins to make checks, does not require faculty to report their new crimes. Many billable hours wasted on this one, lots of rancor, now she folds.

Art 4, Policies and practices (admin counter):

To me, this sounds like a big one.

Rudnick: Faculty must comply with all new UO Board policies and practices unless they conflict with contract. Past practices are only binding with mutual consent. So, the board can change any past UO practices at their whim, and unless the union has put them in the contract we’re screwed. Cecil: Why did you strike all references to the UO policy library? Rudnick: Lots of it is out of date: Pratt: That’s not what we’re usually told. Rudnick: We don’t want to confuse anyone. Gleason: The policy library is a work in progress. It’s a transitional moment. We haven’t been taking it seriously, now we’re really nervous. Pratt: But old policies are binding? Rudnick: Yes. (I’m confused. Sounds like they are binding but can be changed with notice but without faculty input?) Pratt: What about college level policies. Maybe not “duly adopted” by our clueless former provosts, but substantial. Rudnick: We’re trying to find a balance. Pratt: So if they’ve been published or distributed to the faculty, they will bind? Gleason: Admin is going to have to get its act together, we don’t want to make this stuff binding until we’ve had a change to look at it and change it. Cecil: Management typically does has the right to change policies, with notice. Rudnick: We’re worried some current published unit policies may conflict with UO policy. Bramhall: Explain again why you don’t want the policy library stuff in here? Rudnick: We don’t trust our policy library. Bramhall: What are the procedures for changing policies? Rudnick: Lots of ways, we don’t want to spell them out and potentially limit them. Bramhall: Do you agree that the policy on policies is the way to change policies? Rudnick: It’s one way. Davidson calls her on this – the admins are making sure the contract doesn’t limit the board’s ability to change policies.

Cecil: If we think of past practices as mostly at the department level, who are the parties that can rescind? Rudnick: We’re open to written policies, unwritten stuff should be written down as policy or we should agree it’s important and put it in contract. (So, this is an attempt to remove all the protections of past unwritten practices.) Cecil’s on it, in his usual polite but exact way. Rudnick is willing to compromise. Pratt: Lots of practices that involve way the work gets done – e.g. rotations for committee chairs. Not all of it’s written. Lots of work to write all this crap down – for both sides. Braun: What about giving course releases for new faculty? Common practice, not always a policy. Rudnick’s open to a compromise.

Art 5, Union rights (admin counter):

Rudnick: Section 2, union access to campus meeting rooms, etc. Union must pay same rates as other university entities. We did this because Dean’s like Gleason have been saying they are uncomfortable just letting union faculty use available department rooms. Petty shit.

Union must apply to the Provost before sending group email to bargaining unit members via UO addresses. WTF? Rudnick: Apparently outside email only gets through the spam filters if it’s approved each time. Bullshit, and Cecil calls her on it. Gleason tries to make this plan sound reasonable. Rudnick ignores him as usual. He looks so sad. Rudnick tells Cecil to just cross out the Provost approval part.

Art 45, Summer session appointments (admin counter):

Rudnick: We agreed to most of your language, but not willing to pay for canceled classes. In CAS 46 classes were cancelled last summer (out of how many?) the cancelled ones are often opened at request of faculty but too few students enroll. Pratt: Departments should do a better job managing summer, this would be a good incentive. Offering classes and then canceling them hurts faculty and students. Gleason talks again, gets ignored again, Rudnick then gives Pratt a lecture about how to manage a department. All very reasonable. Gleason keeps talking, Pratt patiently explains to him that students enroll with plenty of time to allow cancellation before faculty would need to be paid.

Art 49, Use of UO Information Assets (admin counter):

Reading this from the UO network? Not for long, if Rudnick and Geller get their way. Meanwhile, don’t forget to donate $5 to pay Dave Hubin’s public records fees for copies of the Rudnick invoices:




Rudnick: All info stored on UO networks belongs to UO. (Really? UO owns all my family pictures and the emails from my wife and mother?)

UO can cut of access without notice, like they did to Jean Stockard when she blew the whistle on PPPM’s Korean scam. UO networks can’t be used to view anything that is harassing, discriminatory, threatening, obscene, defamatory, etc. Can’t access third party networks without their permission. (They can’t mean that.)

Faculty cannot use UO network to host personal websites, … . Funny, UO has a whole wordpress system that specifically allows this, even encourages it. This means stuff like Peter Gilkey’s humor page will be forbidden? Hmm, our administrators must have a lot of free time.

UO can monitor and read your email and web use without notice, just like in China. You cannot encrypt your hard drive data without the Provosts’s permission, or use a VPN and if you are struggling to find one check out vpn service reviews. You cannot send encrypted email to people in countries with repressive governments.

Cecil: We brought a counter to this crap:

Delete bit about UO owning faculty info they happen to store it on UO websites. This is not just Orwellian, it’s impractical. Cecil’s on it. Asks what does the UO really want to own? Rudnick: OK.

Cecil: UO can’t withdraw email, use of wifi without cause.

Cecil: Some faculty, as part of their research, intentionally view obscene, harassing, etc… Rudnick: How about if we put in exclusion for work related? They’re back on the child porn thing, Gleason keeps his head down this time. Bramhall: You’re going to ban online solitaire and chess? Rudnick: Whoops, we were just trying to ban gambling.

I wonder if any of these rules will apply to students?

Cecil: We struck the section about monitoring. Rudnick: We’re a public institution, 4th amendment issues, we’ve put this in their to make clear faculty are waiving their constitutional rights. Cecil: That’s why we don’t want this in the contract. Rudnick: We need this. Cecil: Search without notice? Rudnick: Yes, that’s important to us. Bramhall: Dropbox syncs my laptop, personal and work stuff. UO’s policy is just not practical given what’s happening on the cloud. Gleason: This is current law, maybe it really doesn’t need to be in the contract. Or does it? Putting it in the contract puts you on notice. Davidson: The law allows these searches, it does not require them. University should give more protection. Why not also tap our phones? Gleason: This is all about giving the university the ability to properly maintain its IT systems. WTF? Rudnick: University also must follow the public records law. But John is right, we don’t have to have this right, we could waive it, but we are not willing to compromise on this. We will monitor you. Non-negotiable.

Current UO IT Acceptable Use Policy is far less restrictive than what our admins are trying to cram down on us:

Appropriate Use of Computing Resources

When you are provided access to university computing resources, your use of them may be explicitly or implicitly limited. For example, if you are given access to an administrative computing system solely to enter accounting information or prepare class rosters, it is inappropriate for you to use the system to play a compute-intensive online computer game. Access to administrative systems should be used solely for the purposes for which the access was provided.
The situation with academic timesharing computers and microcomputer labs is less narrowly defined. As with the university library, access to academic computing resources is provided in part so you can learn, explore, and grow as part of your education or employment at the university. However, activities related to the university’s scholarly mission take precedence over computing pursuits of a more personal or recreational nature. For example, those completing class assignments or conducting research for a graduate program or publication have priority over those using computing resources to process personal email, explore network resources, etc.
Some applications (such as Muds/Moos/Mucks/Mushes, IRC, Talk, and online computer games) may be unsupported or actively discouraged, due to the demands they place on our limited modem pool, CPU, and lab resources. Please cooperate with Computing Center staff if you are asked to refrain from running applications like these when resource use is heavy.

Prohibited Conduct

The University Conduct Code, OAR 571-21-030, also applies to electronic forums. The code prohibits, among other things, lewd or indecent conduct, threat of imminent physical harm, sexual or other harassment, stalking, forgery, intentional disruption of university services, and damaging or destroying university property. Similarly, the code’s prohibitions against illegal discrimination, including discriminatory harassment and sexual harassment, also apply to electronic forums.

Here’s an older policy that specifically addresses ownership:

Information and Data. The state may or may not have a property interest in information stored on University systems. Mere physical presence of information on a University electronic information system is not sufficient to conclusively establish the ownership and control of that information, just as physical presence of a paper document in a faculty member’s desk or filing cabinet does not establish an irrefutable presumption that the document is owned or controlled by the University.

At the same time, the University does clearly own, control, or have a custodial relationship with respect to certain classes of information stored on its electronic information systems, including, but not limited to
  • administrative data (such as payroll and personnel data; student enrollment and grade information; accounting records, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, and general ledger information; etc.)
  • records required to be retained for archival purposes, including electronic messages pertaining to University planning, budgeting, operations, governance, and deliberative activities
  • proprietary information produced as a work for hire or produced during the course of University-subsidized research or investigations, subject to the University’s established policies for technology transfer and intellectual property rights

Back to the debate:

Cecil: You’re going to try and stop someone from sending a gmail over the UO network? Rudnick: Maybe I don’t really understand, I’ll go back and learn some more – it’s all billable. Olson: Why do you prohibit encryption? Sometimes it’s required, e.g. by IRB. You really want to do that? Rudnick: Whoops, we’ll change it, and send you the bill.

Davidson: Reality is we are all doing personal and private work, all the data is intermingled. I’ve got confidential info on my children, for example. I understand UO needs to monitor criminal behavior, get public records. As you’ve written this there is no right to privacy. Need limitations.

Rudnick: Too bad. You made that choice when you put personal stuff on the university system. Now she’s using the public records law to justify this Orwellian policy. Shameless. Where are those invoices, Sharon?

Cecil: So, Sharon, you never go on gmail from your office computer? Rudnick: You’re right, I do, so since this is a problem for me personally I’m willing to consider addressing it for you, at $300 an hour.

Braun: What are the details of the random, without cause internet and email monitoring that you want to do on the faculty faculty? Rudnick replies with harmless example.

I wonder what sort of monitoring is currently done, whether the GC’s office has requested logs for particular people.

Cecil: Why don’t you go back and try again on this. Rudnick: OK. I don’t think we’re that far apart. Crowd giggles.

Lunch break, back at 12:30

Art 35, Health and safety, Admin counter:

Cecil tries to get Rudnick angry about the abusive work environment language. Low hanging fruit Dave.

Art 34, Facilities and Support, Admin counter:

Admins get priority for offices over instructional faculty. They can’t promise separate voice mail accounts for faculty because they can’t give everyone a phone number. Hmm.

Long debate about classroom space. It sucks, too bad Frohnmayer let Frances Dyke spend $2.4 million renovating JH instead of classrooms, right in the middle of our enrollment boom.

Art 16, Arbitration, Admin Counter:

Snoozer. Sorry, I know this is important. Cecil proposed a sensible compromise, Rudnick had to go to JH to confer with Geller about it, since he’s scared to show his face in front of the faculty. Back in 30 min or so.

They’re back. Rudnick: Randy’s bottom line is that the arbitrator can do everything except override academic judgement about tenure or academic standards. OK with union.

Back to policies and practices: Geller still insists on language letting the UO Board change policies willy-nilly. But not much the union can do about that, except specifically put them in the contract. Cecil: Unit policies too. Rudnick, we’re there. Cecil will write it up. I’m still confused about unwritten practices.

Back to summer: Cecil: Each department will have to establish a policy on paying faculty something for cancelled classes. Rudnick: OK.

Back to Art 36, strikes: Cecil: Insert “Any work previously performed by a striking employee assigned to a BUFM shall be considered an overload assignment”. Rudnick: OK.

Cecil: We’re OK with criminal back check proposal, now that you folded after wasting hours of our time and thousands of dollars.

Cecil: Union rights. Small changes, we want more places to meet, including Gerlinger. Rudnick: I’ll have to check with Randy but sounds OK.

What’s left? Economics, shared governance, academic freedom. Rudnick has to redo information services.

Cecil: Are you going to bring your economic proposal by Tuesday? Rudnick: Doubtful, lots of JH people got their raises July 1 and are now on vacation. Your raises aren’t a high priority for them.

Last thing, ethics. Here’s your proposal. back at you. It’s poorly written. Additionally, you’ve objected to our proposals as too vague. We’re not sure if we should rewrite your sad attempt, or give you a chance for a revise and resubmit. Rudnick: I get it, I’ll talk this over with Geller.

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13 Responses to Union bargaining XXVII live-blog: They own us.

  1. Old Man says:

    re policies and the Policy Library: Has Rudnick really declared War on our Constitution? Tell me it ain’t so, Sharon.

  2. Old Man says:

    UO Policies (codified in the Policy Library — one of Bean’s best projects) should always be works in progress. The UO Constitution, which the Faculty unanimously ratified and for which the current President has expressed his support (as long as he is President), provides a process by which changes can be made in a collaborative manner. Am I to understand that the Union is trying to freeze policies as currently found in the Library? If so, they are badly misguided. Maybe it is better they go home.

    • UO Matters says:

      The union supports the policy library, continuation of existing policies and practices written or unwritten, and supports changes according to the procedures in the constitution.

      The new board will be able to dump all this, unless it’s written into the contract.

    • Anonymous says:

      Calm down Old Man – the union’s goal is to protect and strengthen the Constitution and policy on policies. The main opponent to strengthening those is Gott, despite his empty public platitudes on shared governance. Don’t believe him – just look at his actions. If he were really a believer in our Constitution, he would treat it with that reverence and protect it every chance he got (the governing board, for instance). He has not done that. He treats it as a nice idea that might change as circumstances change. That’s not my idea of a Constitution.

      Despite our highest hopes, I’m afraid Gott is simply an opportunistic politician with no real higher ideals.

  3. Old Man says:

    If war is in the wind, I’d rather see it fought over the Constitution (The Soul of the University) than over salary (The Counting House). I’d walk the line for that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen to that.

    • UO Matters says:

      Time to lace up your calk boots. Gottfredson and SB270 have made it damn clear that the only way to protect shared governance is through the union contract, and Rudnick has said the refusal to negotiate on that point comes straight from him.

  4. Anas clypeata says:

    The IT stuff is a joke. You can tell they don’t understand modern technology and haven’t thought this one through. There are tons of ways that this clause would not stand up to a competent legal review.

    Example: I purchase and download a copyrighted book onto a UO server (for research). The license for that book (with ebooks, you typically do not purchase the book, you purchase a license to look at the book and to possess a copy of it) is granted to me only and is non-transferable. The UO can’t simply claim it owns the book just because it’s stored on the UO server. It’s not legal for them to do so. It may not even be legal for a party other than me to look at the book, according to the terms of the non-negotiable license.

    Example: I sign a confidentiality agreement to obtain data for research. I am not permitted to allow anyone else to access this data. I store the data on a UO server. The UO does not have a legal right to look at this data.

    I could go on. I am neither a lawyer nor an IT expert, but I pay attention. I’m sure that an expert could make up much better examples.

    It’s overreaching, and there’s no way it could stand up. Any competent lawyer (and by competent I don’t mean you need to know about IT; you just need to know your limits well enough to consult someone who knows about the intersection of IT and the law) would be able to tell you that.

    • Old Man says:

      It looks as though UO is paying for a lot of billable incompetence. Rudnick should know better than to try to defend positions she does not understand. She might be getting her marching orders from Geller, who has yet to shine. Were Rudnick more ethical, she would ask Mike to provide competent counsel, or resign. In the absence of improved performance, one could begin to suspect collusion.

    • Anonymous says:

      No Muds, Moos, Mucks, or Mushes? I heard the 80s were back in fashion but I didn’t know those still existed…

  5. Awesome0 says:

    This IT stuff is just so that if someone files a grevience for something else through the union, that they can try to find something else to fire them for.

    • Old Man says:

      Of historic interest only: When the University e-mail system was set up, John Moseley assured the University that their communications would never be looked at.

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