Will UO’s insurers make Kevin Reed settle Prof Freyd’s gender disc lawsuit?

My post on the filing of this lawsuit back in March 2017 is at “Nevertheless she persisted“, with a link to this RegisterGuard report from Jack Moran:

Psychology professor sues University of Oregon, says she’s paid ‘substantially less’ than male colleagues

The University of Oregon is being sued by a longtime psychology professor who alleges that she’s being paid substantially less than several less-experienced male colleagues, in violation of the federal Equal Pay Act.

Jennifer Freyd’s suit, filed Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in Eugene, also includes claims alleging disparate treatment and impact, sex-based discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX violations.

“For years, I have tried to work within my department and the college to help the UO live up to its own policies of non-discrimination,” Freyd said in a statement issued by her attorneys. “Women all over the country and in all kinds of jobs earn less than their male counterparts. It’s past time for the UO to recognize and address this problem in its own salary practices.” …

The post describing the innovative “blame it on the union” defense from UO’s lawyers Paula Barran and Shayda Le of Portland’s Barran Liebman is here:

Bullshit. The CBA sets floors, not ceilings. UO General Counsel Kevin Reed knows this. Where does he find these lawyers? Can they read a contract? Does Reed read what they write before they send it to the judge?

In any case, UO’s liability insurance policy with United Educators has a $500K deductible, and given Barran Liebman’s hourly rate and the likely damages if this goes to a jury, United Educators must be getting nervous right about now.

And while I’m no lawyer, UO’s objections to discovery have had a mixed reception from Judge McShane, and his “Joint Status Report” language in the docket suggests that some sort of settlement is in the works:

Scheduling Order by Judge Michael J. McShane. The Status Conference set for 7/19/2018 and all case deadlines are vacated. The parties are to file a Joint Status Report is due by 9/18/2018. Ordered by Judge Michael J. McShane. (cp) (Entered: 07/18/2018)

9/18/2018 was the original date for the jury trial to start. And here’s a news story about an insurer suing a university’s law firm for a botched defense attempt.

Thanks to the excellent https://free.law/recap/ for doing what the federal courts won’t, and making all these documents freely available.

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12 Responses to Will UO’s insurers make Kevin Reed settle Prof Freyd’s gender disc lawsuit?

  1. A duck says:

    Whose ready for some more SHARED SACRIFICES?!

  2. An SEIU Employee says:

    UO/HR frequently uses the SEIU CBA to make false claims, particularly around $. But also around other issues. Claims that HR personnel should know are false (if they don’t, well, they should be disciplined, I supposed). They like to read limitations that only exist in their own minds.

  3. easy peasy says:

    They do the same for the other unions too, and uomatters is good at emphasizing that these contracts often establish floors and not ceilings. Simply get HR’s admission that your union’s agreement is the only limitation and that they’d love to give you $, and then get your union’s permission to overcome that barrier. Then if HR witholds your money just file a complaint with your union and wait for a check.

    • uomatters says:

      I don’t know about the SEIU contract, but faculty do not need to UAUO’s permission to get a pay raise. If they can negotiate a better deal for themselves with the dean – typically because of retention – they get a raise. If the administration wants to give equity increases they can do so. If the administration wants to pay stipends for special projects, or summer pay, or whatever, they can do so. The union’s only role is that we get a letter once a year telling us how much these raises were. A pay cut, now that would be a different story.

      • Max Powers says:

        I worked at an Oregon university in HR (won’t say which one) and we actually received a grievance from the faculty union that we had paid more to some faculty than the collective bargaining agreement allowed. They were given some extra funds for startup and their union grieved saying that was too much under the agreement, presumably as they felt it would take money that could have gone to other faculty or been spread more “equitably.” Wild stuff but it happens.

        • Anonymous says:

          This is not necessarily wild stuff and is one of the complications for faculty unions that basically doesn’t understand the concept of summer salary. I have never thought the UO faculty union understood that some faculty can actually generate more than a 9 month AY salary via grants. (I won’t bore the readers with much elaboration, but there is ample evidence than in the early years, 2013,4,5, this was an issue).

          Since most faculty hires will use some startup money for their summer salary then I can see how the union would get in the way of this.

      • Dog says:

        So how does the 6% raise to “random” faculty members for TRP sign up, sit with the union? This is not a negotiated raise but his legacy that probably applies to 15-20 faculty per year.

  4. confused says:

    If someone’s compensation is below expectation after controlling for rank, experience, and merit, it seems reasonable to bump them up to where they should be. I don’t understand why we only do this for underrepresented groups though, which is what the union and administration mandated for external equity raises in the most recent CBA (largely, I assume, due to freyd’s lawsuit).

    • uomatters says:

      The union repeatedly asked the administration to agree to equity raises by rank and discipline. The administration repeatedly rejected this proposal. For the union’s proposal see http://uomatters.com/2015/08/bargaining-xix-9am-thursday-alumni-center-room-403.html

      • come on bill says:

        Are you implying that equity raises by rank and discipline are the same as equity raises by rank, discipline, experience, and merit? The former rewards the underperforming, while the latter rewards the deserving.

        • uomatters says:

          Come on “come on bill”. The CBA already includes merit and experience raises, albeit the administration kept reducing the merit proposals the union made, often in favor of “across the board” raises. And don’t get me started on Runick and Gleason’s goat money.

          • come on bill says:

            The existence of merit raises does not justify equity raises based on rank and discipline. Let’s make it simple. Consider a two-person department: one star and one deadwood, same rank. Both initially making the same. A two-year CBA is negotiated. First year, 2% for merit. Second year, 2% for equity based on rank and discipline. Under such a CBA, the star gets a raise in year 1, but then the dud gets an equivalent raise in year 2. There are no incentives for “excellence.”

            Put even simpler: equity raises always reduce incentives.

            If you want to do equity out of some sense of fairness, at least condition on merit. And I would argue not limit it to “unfairness” experienced by specific genders, races, etc.

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