10/25/2009: Greg Bolt has a good article on the faculty union in the Sunday RG:
(Marie) Vitulli (Math) said concern about pay and benefits is one reason for considering a union. UO faculty are generally ranked at or near the bottom in pay among institutions in the groups the state uses as comparators. … But of as much concern to some people on campus is the voice faculty have in major decisions affecting the university. Vitulli said many people feel that the university’s top executives don’t give much weight to faculty views. … Asked to comment on the union effort, the UO Provost Jim Bean said the university “supports the rights of faculty and staff” as they decide whether to unionize and will make relevant information available.
Jim, what do you mean by “will make relevant information available?” As in offer to sell the faculty the documents that explain how administrative spending policies just lost the faculty $2 million a year in federal research money? You just made the best case for the Union I’ve heard yet.
President Larivere has an Op-Ed in the RG today as well. Lariviere has been President for 4 months now. It’s typical for a person taking a job like this to bargain for the right to make some changes in their administrative team. So far there’s no hint of that happening – quite the opposite. Either he didn’t negotiate this as part of his deal or he likes Frohnmayer’s top administrators and the way they run UO and treat the faculty just fine.
So, nice words, but we got those from Frohnmayer all the time – prestigious AAU membership, extraordinary faculty, opportunity for students – yada yada. Reads like Frohnmayer’s speechwriter wrote it. (Yup, same guy.) This is just cheap talk. Lariviere needs to make some changes very soon or we really will have a union.
The Oregon Commentator – and libertarians are not usually pro-union – just weighed in with this:
The UO’s faculty is normally ranked at the bottom of Oregon College’s faculty pay scales, averaging about 80% of the average pay at other state schools in Oregon. Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, Western Oregon University and Eastern Oregon all have faculty unions. It’s ironic that President Lariviere’s guest commentary mentioned that Oregon was the “flagship university” in Oregon yet none of the faculty seemed to be getting paid on par with other Oregon state universities (actually one faculty member gets paid well, Frohnmeyer, who will be paid $250,000 to lead a freshmen seminar).
That’s spelled Frohnmayer, Drew. And he only gets $245,000. Be careful, he can be pretty prickly about these sorts of bogus attacks.