OSU faculty union drive goes public

The AAUP and the Oregon AFT have been working on this organizing drive for a while, now they apparently feel confident enough to go public:

In other OSU news, here’s the letter OSU President Ed Ray recently sent out:

Oregon State University community,
Today, the University Board of Trustees voted to approve tuition rates for the 2017-18 academic year that include a 4 percent increase in resident undergraduate tuition and a 2 percent increase in non-resident undergraduate tuition. Twenty-five percent of this increase in tuition will be directed to need-based student financial aid.
Tuition for graduate students and students participating in specific academic programs are available here.
Trustees voted on these tuition rates upon my recommendation as part of a comprehensive university strategy to:
·       Manage expenses in a fiscally prudent and sustainable manner including reducing expenses where necessary;
·       Invest in specific priority strategies, including efforts to increase graduation and retention rates through the Student Success Initiative;
·       Recruit and retain quality faculty and staff members;
·       Grow student enrollment in online learning, at OSU-Cascades and in other programs;
·       Develop new revenue streams; and
·       Continue to engage in high quality and impactful teaching, research, and outreach and engagement.
Unfortunately, we will be forced to make hard choices while contending with much higher state-required employee benefit costs and an unacceptable continuing decline in higher education support from the state of Oregon.
I did not propose larger tuition increases despite pending budget shortfalls because I realize that many students are heavily burdened already with student loans and other concerns. Our students should not bear the brunt of covering an anticipated shortfall in state funding for higher education. In fact, students must remain Oregon State’s first priority for support so that they can continue to pursue their studies, graduate and prosper in life and career.
As you may know, we have already raised $50 million of a $150 million fund-raising goal to support student financial aid, support services and programs to improve student success. In addition to fund-raising, we must find alternative revenue sources, and we must implement cost reductions to balance the university’s budget.
For at least the next two fiscal years, we will have to identify continuing annual cost savings and reallocate existing resources approximating $20 million. This is because state funding for the public universities could remain flat — and at $100 million less than the continuing operating needs of the universities. Nevertheless, we will continue to invest in increased student financial assistance; seek to expand our Student Success Initiative efforts; and provide adequate compensation increases for our faculty and staff.
We have created a new budget website to keep the OSU community up-to-date on fiscal matters facing the university and to inform you of our efforts to operate Oregon State in the most effective and financially responsible manner possible while serving the university’s mission.
Over the past several months, university budget director Sherm Bloomer worked with the university budget committee and a separate student advisory group to consider budget needs and tuition scenarios for next year. Knowing that Oregon State is faced with flat funding from the state for the next two years, both budget groups supported a 4 percent increase for resident undergraduate tuition.
I have taken these recommendations very seriously. I also have listened closely to input provided by our students, faculty and staff to understand their needs and concerns.
I also realize that each of Oregon’s seven public universities must determine its own requirements for cost reductions and tuition increases. With no increase in state funding in sight, it has been publicly reported that some of Oregon’s universities are considering double-digit tuition increases.
I remain deeply disappointed that state leaders have no meaningful plan to manage the budget challenges we face in Oregon — other than by hunkering down and waiting for better times. I have been in Oregon for 14 years. I note that the absence of a state strategy that provides for investment in a better future for all Oregonians during both good and bad times has persisted for too long. The state’s current approach of hoping for better times is not a strategy.
I strongly encourage the governor, legislators and business leaders to make hard decisions to find the funding required to support every level of the Pre-K-20 education continuum. We need a more highly educated workforce to escape these continuing budget problems and power Oregon’s 21st century economy. The people of Oregon deserve better than crisis management.
Until we see significant and continuing state investments in higher education, we will do our best at Oregon State University, including engaging in collaborations with other education partners, to pursue an investment strategy that Oregonians need and deserve.
We will continue to do our best to invest in the quality of our core mission of teaching, research, and outreach and engagement. And Oregon State will remain transparent and fiscally prudent while working to keep tuition increases as low as possible.
Ed Ray


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13 Responses to OSU faculty union drive goes public

  1. Max Powers says:

    Unions rarely inspire the best and always protect the worst.

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  2. Payroll Guy says:

    Curious if you have empirical data to back up the use of “always” in your statement?

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    Rating: +2 (from 12 votes)
  3. Max Powers says:

    Having worked in HR I saw it over and over again….

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    • 'Sco Ducks? says:

      So your answer is no. Got it.

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      • Max Powers says:

        So my answer is that someone should give me some data explaining how unions inspire anyone to do great work. I get it they often protect the worst, that is what they are paid dues to do. It is just their reality. There is a healthy sector of mediocrity that is held in place by unions. Part of that is due to the practices of the union and part is due to management. The union protects everyone and often drives down incentives for merit as they view that as “favoritism” or “subjectivity.” Management, particularly line managers, become so afraid to deal with the union in discipline issues that they allow mediocrity because they would just rather not deal with the headache of performance improvement even though that is what they are paid to do. I think unions can do good things for workers and I have seen it, but not to acknowledge that they have some ill effects is extremely one sided.

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        • Payroll Guy says:

          So you speak negatively of the unions and paint them with a broad brush, while acknowledging that the failure of Management “particularly line managers” to follow procedure and help resolve performance issues. The job of Supervisors is to motivate and inform the workforce while holding them accountable.

          It is easy to place the majority of blame on union workers even as the “Supervisory Class” complains about the impossibility of doing their job. I get dizzy from the knots created by this logic.

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          • Dog says:

            Speaking from experience, I can say that CAS’s seemingly constant re-interpretation of the Union Rules
            have made if very difficult to hire people for part time work on federally funded research projects.

            This kind of appointment is rather par for the course at Research Universities yet its often impossible here which reduces the ability to do the funded research.

            I actually don’t believe the Union or CAS cares about this deficiency.

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          • Max Powers says:

            It is not necessarily the workers or management, it is the culture that the union environment often creates. It creates a culture of two unreasonable sides who think the other side is wrong more often that not and behave accordingly. Look no further than your current contract negotiations between SEIU and the Universities. There is an economic reality that exists for both sides, somewhere in between the moon and the stars. One side will insist the sky is perfectly blue, the other will say it is terribly black while the truth is in the middle.

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            • its actually rosy says:

              How many millions for a new football coach and you want to pretend its somewhere between black and blue?

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        • 'Sco Ducks? says:

          Still waiting on that data.

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  4. marcy says:

    Wish UO matters would be as skeptical of union actions as it is of admin actions. You can criticize both.

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    Rating: +6 (from 14 votes)
  5. terry says:

    Hm. I suggest UO management and HR function thus: “every employee is a nail” and “every infraction, real or imagined, so matter how insignificant, shall be met with a sledgehammer”.

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