Admins flesh out negotiating diffs, strike plans

11/2/2014: The most striking part of the story is the news that half our peers give their grad students the sick leave benefits our administration has been refusing to offer ours, “because of the principle”. Huh?

Diane Dietz has the story in the RG. (link fixed). It’s a good sign noted zoning variance lawyer Jeff Matthews isn’t talking for the UO administration:

On Thanksgiving Day, University of Oregon graduate teaching fellows will be cleared to strike under timelines set by state labor law — although they say they’ll probably wait until after the weekend when administrators are around to see the walkout.

That Monday will be the 10th week of an 11-week quarter, when a maximum number of term papers and final exams need to be graded and final grades need to be calculated and posted.

The university will be able to make do without its 1,494 Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation-­represented employees, should they strike, said Bill Brady, a labor lawyer who worked six years at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System before arriving at the UO in June to take the post of senior director of employees.

“We have a lot of employees on this campus, not just our graduate students,” he said. “We also have qualified individuals within the community, and we’re going to use a variety of methods to prepare for and to carry on business as usual during the strike.”

10/29/14: Doug Blandy’s confidential strike plan allows faculty to cut finals, admins to hire “community experts” to scab on grad students

Word down at the faculty club is that VP for Academic Affairs Doug Blandy has asked David Miller if he’s willing to teach Quantum Mechanics, while noted campus presence John Brewster may teach intro Public Relations classes.

UO’s complete secret strike plan is here:

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No one should really be surprised by our VPAA Doug Blandy’s willingness to compromise academic standards for financial gain, given that the Arts and Administration Department he used to chair is notorious for grade inflation in its AAD 251-3 gut classes, which have been raking in $1M or so in student credit hour cash, per year:

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It’s funny – every quarter faculty get an email from Blandy about our obligations regarding grades and final exams. We even managed to give finals during last December’s Snowpocalypse. Seems like that’s no longer convenient for our administrators:

From: “Senior Vice Provost” <srviceprovost@uoregon.edu>
Reply-To: srviceprovost@uoregon.edu
Date: November 21, 2013 at 12:36:42 PM PST
Subject: Dead Week and Final Exam Policy

Dear Colleagues,

This message is to remind you of examination policies that may affect your course planning for the end of this term. Faculty legislation controls assignments that may be required during the last week of regular classes, commonly known as “Dead Week”:

1. In the week preceding final examination during fall, winter, and spring terms:
No examination worth more than 20% of the final grade will be given, with the exception of make-up examinations.
No final examinations will be given under any guise.
No work that will be evaluated for grades/credit will be due unless it has been clearly specified on the class syllabus within the first two weeks of the term.

2. Take-home examinations will be due no earlier than the day of the formally assigned final examination for the class in question.

This action clarifies and extends earlier faculty legislation (1911 Faculty Assembly archives) prohibiting the giving of final examinations earlier than officially scheduled.

Doug Blandy
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

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29 Responses to Admins flesh out negotiating diffs, strike plans

  1. Hen says:

    I see that the memo avoided the word “scab”. Such an ugly word.

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  2. Three-Toed Sloth says:

    I’m hoping that Blandy will help me craft a Scantron or multiple-guess exam that has “an equal level of rigor” to the long-form essay exam I had “originally planned.”

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  3. Anon says:

    Any truth to the rumor that we can call in armed UOPD officers to proctor exams?

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s funny – they haven’t settled on their contract yet either.

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  4. UO Grad Student says:

    If you give a final, make sure it keeps up with the “academic rigor” the hard-to-grade finals would have demonstrated.

    If academic rigor isn’t your thing, cancel finals all together.

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    • Dog says:

      what
      wait a minute
      hold the phone

      our finals are supposed to have Academic Rigor?

      shit, that’s what I’ve doing wrong this many years …

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  5. Mother Teresa says:

    I hear Dana Altman has offered to teach the Sexuality and Ethics course.

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    • uomatters says:

      Free UO M coffee cup for the most ridiculous “community expert” / UO course combination. My try:

      I heard that Sharon Rudnick has offered to grade for Econ 427, at $300 an hour: Course Description: Game-theoretic methods of decision-making. Topics may include extensive-form games, noncredible threats, subgame perfect equilibrium, strategic-form games, undominated strategies, Nash equilibrium, coalitional games, and the core.

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      • synecdoche says:

        If we’re going for a combo that just doesn’t make any sense, I nominate Jeff Matthews, fancy lawyer and lead negotiator for the UO Administration’s bargaining team, to teach CRES 614, Negotiation, Bargaining, and Persuasion.

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      • Anon says:

        There’s a rumor going around that Bill Harbaugh is going to grade for FHS 199.

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        • uomatters says:

          True, but I’m asking for the same pay as Jim O’Fallon gets, and Rob Mullens thinks he can get a cheaper scab.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Paul Shang: SOC 312, Quantitative Methods in Sociology. Construction and interpretation of tables and graphs, descriptive statistics, measures of association and contingency relationships, basic ideas of probability, and elementary statistical inference applied to nonexperimental research.

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    • charlie says:

      Altman is only an adjunct in the discipline. Gott’s the tenure for that one…

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  6. anonymous says:

    Just curious, when did Blandy issue this memo, since it says that the GTFF “still” has to have a strike vote?

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    • uomatters says:

      10/24 – I think just before the GTFF announced the results.

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  7. Working GTF says:

    I have the grades for my course on paper, only. I am teaching solo, 4 days/wk, at .49FTE. I will not turn the legitimate grades over to anyone to assign final grades for my course. If final grades are issued for my course, I will initiate a grade appeal on each and every grade.

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  8. GraduateStudent says:

    At 12:30 last Friday the provost sent out the follow letter to all students on campus. It was very insulting and actually encouraged many GTFs to come out and vote before the polls closed on Friday. Later that night a friend (non-GTF) read the letter and his first insight was, “this is a solicitation for other grad students to scab!”… He may have been right…

    Oct. 24, 2014

    To: All students

    From: Frances Bronet, Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

    Re: Graduate student union update

    I want to provide you with important information regarding a labor contract negotiation at the University of Oregon and how you may be affected.

    The university has been negotiating with the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation (GTFF) for 10 months. This union represents graduate students who teach many classes, work in labs or do other academic work on campus.

    Earlier this month the union declared its negotiations with the university are at an impasse. The law requires both sides to submit their final contract offers by Oct. 27 to a state mediator. If an agreement isn’t reached, the GTFF may strike anytime following a 30-day mandatory cooling off period.

    The university still hopes a contract agreement can be reached without a strike. However, I want to personally assure you that classes and other academic activities will go on with minimal interruption should a strike occur. Contingency plans are in process and more information is here.

    Approximately 45 percent of eligible graduate students have a GTF appointment. The university’s compensation offer includes:

    100 percent university paid tuition for GTFs who are assigned to work that takes about 8-20 hours per week
    Subsidized fees covering all but $61 per term
    95 percent paid health insurance premiums for GTFs and their dependents
    The university has also proposed a mix of pay raise options, including increasing minimum GTF salaries by five percent in 2014 and four percent in 2015.
    You will find more details and the latest updates posted on the Graduate School website.

    The university’s top priority is for all of its students to have access to the best possible educational experience. We will continue to deliver on this commitment.

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    • UO Grad Student says:

      I just don’t really see that as a solicitation to scab. I don’t see a solicitation for anything, really. Which part of the email are you getting that idea from?

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      • Working GTF says:

        Yeah, I didn’t read it as an invite to scab, more as a communique which lays bare the deep disconnect between Johnson Hall and the rest of the campus. The “minimal interruption” line in particular makes it clear that the upper tier admins have no idea how this place actually works, such that they think classrooms and office hours are plug-and-play sorts of things. Just because admins can hop from title to title with the regularity of a cheap ham radio doesn’t mean the rest of campus operates on such a flimsy basis.

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      • GradStudent#3 says:

        “Approximately 45 percent of eligible graduate students have a GTF appointment. The university’s compensation offer includes: mostly things already in the CBA”

        Hey Grads who aren’t GTFs! Wouldn’t it be nice if you were a GTF? I wonder if there was a way we could try to make that happen?

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        • Working GTF says:

          Oh, ok, I see that now. Reminds me of the risible attempt to form the not-at-all-an-attempt-to-break-the-union “Graduate Student Association,” that came out of the Graduate School.

          The admin’s conduct during this whole negotiation has been galling, at best. One wonders what sorts of shenanigans are in store for UA during their upcoming bargaining cycle. Maybe they’ll settle our contract and then ask us to scab when they push UA to strike vote.

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  9. FERPA-EETS SAKE says:

    Isn’t it a FERPA violation to turn over a student’s record to some random scab?

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  10. Anas Clypeata says:

    I love that Mr. Blandy put the word “CONFIDENTIAL” at the top of a public record that was sent from a public employee to a long list of public employees.

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  11. anon says:

    What would graduate students that research in a lab do in the event of a strike?

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    • Working GTF says:

      We’ve worked very closely with GTFs in these positions to delineate their duties as a student from their duties as an instructor. This issue in particular has been a part of our organizing efforts since last fall. Those GTFs who aren’t clear about what they should do should speak to their steward or email our organizer, whose contact info is on our website.

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  12. Emery Smith, PhD says:

    As a former VP of University Relations, and having served on bargaining teams for the GTFF multiple times in the 1990s I know what you are up against and I am proud of your membership for voting to strike. I am glad to know we left the GTFF in good hands. I plan to walk the picket lines with you.

    In solidarity,

    Emery Smith, PhD 2000

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  13. Working GTF says:

    You have to love the tacit admission byt the administration that they’re refusing to give us leave benefits because they don’t want to have to give it to adjuncts.

    “Why are you screwing over group A?”

    “Because we want to continue screwing over group B, and if we stop screwing over group A, we’ll also have to stop screwing over group B.”

    #Strategery

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  14. Pingback: Graduate teachers at UO on the verge of a strike - nwLaborPress | nwLaborPress

  15. Pingback: The University of Oregon #GTFF3544 strike explained: It’s really about quality of education. | www.seanmunger.com

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