“The University” divorces itself from expensive, spoiled faculty

Scroll down to the bottom. The rest of their email is a mix of hyperbole, charmingly self-righteous indignation and omissions (e.g. their proposal to let department heads de-tenure professors) with a few interesting but generally off-message factoids.

The University’s bargaining website, which they link to in this email, doesn’t even have links to their own proposals. Weird, even Rudnick did that. The Faculty union has posted all of theirs here.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in divorce court, but this sort of message might be more effective if The University had explained how they got their $140M number, or had actually put some economic counter-offers of their own on the table and costed them, before sending this nastygram to their life-partner and all their friends and relatives:

Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:46 PM
To: aallist@lists.uoregon.edu
Subject: [AALList] United Academics and university bargaining update

**Sent on behalf of Missy Matella**

This message contains details on bargaining between United Academics and the university on the following main points:

    • Estimated costs of UA proposals over the contract period would exceed $140 million.
    • By year three of the contract, UA proposals would add over $55 million of recurring costs – that is more than the combined general fund budgets of the College of Design, School of Law, and the Honors College.
    • UO has presented proposals that align with our bargaining principles of faculty support, equity and inclusion, and respecting the roles of the parties at the table as well as other campus constituents.

Dear Colleagues,

As we continue February bargaining sessions with United Academics, I want to give you a status update, share more information about the costs of UA proposals, and provide an overview of university proposals:

    • Estimated costs of UA proposals would exceed $140 million.
      Based on the costing committee’s preliminary analysis and evaluation of UA proposals presented thus far, its proposals would likely exceed $140 million over the course of the contract. By year three of the contract, UA’s proposals would add over $55 million of reoccurring costs.

Given that this is more than the combined general fund budgets of the College of Design, the School of Law, and the Honors College, the university could not fund UA proposals without taking significant action to decrease its costs and increase its revenue. As many of you know, the university’s biggest cost is its personnel and its primary revenue streams are tuition and state funding.

UA estimated that its opening economic proposals would cost $40 million dollars. That estimate did not appear to include UA’s other articles with substantial economic impact – proposals related to release time, research support, professional responsibilities, and facilities and support.

    • UO proposals align with our bargaining principles of faculty support, equity, and inclusion.
      The university’s bargaining team has presented several proposals and counter proposals that reflect UO’s commitment to equitable and fair processes for faculty. This includes:

      • Adding process for appeals from promotion and expanding appeal rights to cover mid-term reviews (Article 21);
      • Providing greater clarity with respect to the review period for promotion and tenure evaluations and ensuring that only relevant and vetted information is allowed in the tenure file (Article 20);
      • Incorporating the student experience survey related to teaching into the promotion and review processes – recognizing the important work being done in this area and emphasizing the value and importance of teaching for our faculty (Article 20);
      • Changing summer session assignments to stabilize and support study abroad and increasing access to these programs. Our proposal makes it clear that summer programs, such as Global Education Oregon, can issue rules with respect to summer appointments and salary (Article 18);
      • Accepting UA’s language related to sabbatical FTE calculation that makes it easier to project and calculate sabbatical pay, which ensures fairer and more consistent calculations (Article 33); and
      • Emphasizing our commitment to educate faculty about prohibited discrimination and related UO policy by requiring non-discrimination training every two years (Article 14).
    • UA has presented 32 of its 38 proposals.
      • Proposals so far include changes to 23 articles and the introduction of nine new articles.
      • As shared previously, the breadth and scope of UA proposals is substantial and would impact and, in some instances, define roles and responsibilities for department heads, principal investigators, the University Senate, and athletics.
      • UA proposals are available at http://uauoregon.org/2020proposals/.

The university’s bargaining team will continue its diligent work to:

    • Maintain the university’s bargaining principles—including respecting the roles of the parties at the table as well as the roles of other campus stakeholders, units, and employee groups;
    • Remain good stewards of student tuition and taxpayer dollars; and
    • Make proposals consistent with the reality of the university’s current and future economic situation.

Weekly bargaining is expected to continue every Thursday through the winter and spring terms. We look forward to positive collaboration with the UA bargaining team. You can keep track of the negotiation process by reviewing the information and updates posted on the UA bargaining webpage on the Human Resources website.

Shortly, I will send a similar email to department heads and other unrepresented faculty to keep them informed. I will continue to provide regular bargaining updates, so you are informed and aware of the key components of the negotiations and so that you can provide feedback to our team throughout this process. Your assistance and support in this effort are greatly appreciated.

Should you have any questions or concerns throughout the negotiations process, please visit the bargaining update webpage or contact me by submitting an email to uoelr@uoregon.edu.

Best regards,

Missy Matella
Senior Director, Employee and Labor Relations

The university greatly values the mission-critical work our faculty contribute in support of our academic and research pursuits. We will bargain in good faith and in accordance with our bargaining principles to identify shared interests and establish a collective bargaining agreement that serves both the university and its faculty. [sic]

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4 Responses to “The University” divorces itself from expensive, spoiled faculty

  1. Anas clypeata says:

    As expected, there is no mention of the benefits of the union’s proposals, only costs. That, and not posting links to its own proposals, and the carelessness of writing things like “reoccurring” and “$40 million dollars”, shows how seriously the administration takes this process.

  2. Dog says:

    This time the Union proposals argue for a “good” basis of pay increases for faculty. Some of this may be a reaction to the reality that the last 3 negotiations end in raises that, integrated over that time period, were less than the west coast inflation rate .

    The current proposals, 3% ATB + 5% average merit are significantly better than that negotiated in the past, and this proposal should have been the starting point many years ago –
    but since that never happened, I seriously doubt the ADmin is going to agree, to what they will now consider to be outrageous demands for wage increases – faculty should start to leave this place in droves now if this eventuality actually plays out because it becomes a direct message from JH that we really are all fuckin’ worthless …

  3. Richard Bohloff says:

    It sounds like the problem is that UO is still reliant on the State as a “major revenue stream”. Donors and trustees were supposed to be taking over that responsibility in exchange for executive authority. Can’t blame them for trying to double dip though, people don’t get to be rich without really going for it.

  4. This Is The Way says:

    You all are hilarious. Between adminstration’s hyperbole and charmingly self-righteous indignation and UO Matters’ and UA’s hyperbole, and charmingly self-righteous indignation you are on a crash course for nonsense and a tough bargaining session. The union came out guns blazing with free childcare for all and wondered why that was an issue? Admin came out thinking or pretending they gave the farm to SEIU or at least thought they did.

    I continue to pop the popcorn for a fun time. You all seem to hate each other so much I have no idea how either side can use the phrase “good faith” with a straight face.

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