Faculty union’s General Membership Meeting Tu 5-7PM

You must be a member to attend. You can join at the meeting. It’s a union, of course there will be beer.

Spring Membership Meeting

[United Academics] will be holding our spring Membership Meeting April 5 from 5-7pm in Gerlinger Lounge. A pasta dinner will be served at 5pm, and as usual children are welcome.

The agenda for the meeting is:

5pm Pasta dinner (gluten-free available) and drinks

5:30 Welcome and brief task force updates from: Equity; Violence Prevention and Safety; Sick Leave Bank and Child Care. 
Our members called for attention to these issues in the bargaining of our most recent CBA. We will hear updates on how each task force is planning to tackle these issues of importance to our community.

5:40 Resources for faculty: Interim Ombuds Officer Professor Jen Reynolds

5:55 Discussion on non-renewals and the on-going realignment.
What information about the process would you like UA to press for from the administration? What impacts do you foresee to your unit?

6:20 UA Member Awards

6:30 Report from the Representative Assembly and call for stewards

6:40 Prepping for A Better Oregon (see below) and two anti-worker ballot initiatives

7:00 Closing toast to the memory of Antonin Scalia.

APA reports higher pay for faculty at unionized public universities

One of the debates during the union organizing drive was whether or not a faculty union would really mean higher pay. There are surprisingly few studies on this. The American Psychology Association recently released a very detailed report on 2014-15 salaries for psychology faculty, here. The result is just correlational (despite the language used in the report) but presumably the endogeneity bias would work in the opposite direction of a causal effect of union bargaining, so these numbers are pretty impressive:

The presence of a collective bargaining unit in public institutions played a very important role in determining the salaries earned by psychology faculty. Salaries were consistently higher across all academic ranks for psychology faculty whose public institution had a collective bargaining unit. This pattern of results was found for both tenured/tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty.

TTF:

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NTTF:

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SCOTUS likely to rule compulsory taxation violates First Amendment

This is a crazy case. How can they even consider it? But oral arguments are today, and apparently the court is likely to rule that people can opt out of paying their federal taxes. Here’s Alito in a prior ruling, explaining why:

“Because the U.S. government takes many positions that have powerful political and civic consequences, compulsory taxes constitute a form of compelled speech and association that imposes a significant impingement on First Amendment rights,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority in 2012 in one of the cases.

Just kidding. the SCOTUS isn’t  going to ban mandatory taxes, they’re going to ban mandatory union dues. Alito’s real quote is here:

“Because a public-sector union takes many positions during collective bargaining that have powerful political and civic consequences, the compulsory fees constitute a form of compelled speech and association that imposes a significant impingement on First Amendment rights,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority in 2012 in one of the cases.

The NYT has more on the Friedrichs case here. Currently UAUO faculty and SEIU staff who don’t join their unions must pay “fair-share” fees (about 80% of dues) to cover the union’s cost of bargaining and enforcing the labor contract that they benefit from. If the Supremes rule against this practice, probably in June, public employee unions will be subject to the same sort of free-riding behavior that the government would face if people could opt-out of paying their taxes.

Bowl of Dicks trial reveals UOPD’s casual spying on employees

10/8/2015: This is from the trial transcripts, which I’m slowly getting through:

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8/4/2015: UO administrator accessed employee email account without notice

Here’s the description of recent events, from an anonymous correspondent:

Administrators Are Permitted to Monitor Emails without Notice or Authorization

Consider the following scenario: Alice,* a staff member with a disability, has been ordered by her doctors to utilize her federally protected leave in order to recover from symptoms emerging from a potentially hostile work environment. Alice has been in contact with the Union, who are investigating the climate at her department for possible discrimination.

While Alice is away in recovery, Bob,* her supervisor and a department administrator, somehow acquires full access to all of Alice’s emails. Bob does not notify Alice that he intends to access her information, nor does he seek authorization from Information Security, General Counsel, or the Union. Rather, Bob simply unilaterally seizes full, unsupervised, and ongoing access to the entirety of Alice’s email account, including her correspondences with the Union.

Such an obvious conflict of interest and invasion of privacy would seem ludicrous if it wasn’t for the fact that it recently occurred at the University of Oregon.

As soon as this data breach came to light, the Union contacted UO’s Chief of Information Security Officer (CISO) to clarify what exactly the criteria were for an administrator gaining access to an employee’s email. The CISO responded that the UO does not offer “wholesale access to another employee’s email.” There would have to be a “specific request” driven by a “business need” and submitted through the proper channels. If such criteria are met, then Information Security will attempt to provide the specific information, and only that information, which was requested. The CISO continued, “The only time we would give over all email would be in the case of a subpoena or other legal request.”

Under such criteria, Bob had obviously violated university policy by accessing and monitoring all of Alice’s emails during her absence from the office. The Union reported the data breach immediately, in conformity with the newly minted executive policy on Data Security Incidence Response.

A few weeks later, the Union inquired with the Director of Employee & Labor Relations (DLR) at Human Resources to inquire after the progress of the investigation. What a difference a few weeks can make! The DLR responded that there had been no violation of policy, because UO in fact has no policy at all restricting administrator access to an employee’s email.

The Union reached out again to the CISO to clarify. The CISO responded that he believed that the situation was handled poorly, and that he did not believe that Bob was “philosophically” justified in accessing Alice’s data. Unfortunately, he admitted, there are no “specific policies” in place at UO at present to prevent, discourage, or reprimand an administrator who unilaterally decides that they have a “business need” to access and monitor an employee’s personal data without their prior knowledge or consent.

The CISO seemed as disturbed by this state of affairs as the Union, noting that it “raises a need for a procedure to be put in place regarding access to an employee’s email account” and that he “intend(s) to write up a procedure for situations like this” which will “hopefully alleviate situations like this in the future by providing a standard process.”

The Union applauds the CISO’s pledge to put policies in place that will provide the necessary checks and balances to reign in administrators who feel justified in violating their employee’s privacy at will.

The response at HR has been less encouraging however. As of this writing, the DLR has chosen to fully back management in this matter. Amazingly, rather than stand up for the rights of one of the most vulnerable members of the UO community in a case of discrimination, harassment, and gross invasion of privacy, HR has chosen instead to escalate the harassment by pursuing disciplinary action against Alice on behalf of Bob.

And as of this writing, Bob still retains full access to Alice’s email.

So, until the new policies are in place, be careful what you write and who you write it to.

* All names have been changed.

It’s more than two years since I started the thread below, trying to find out UO’s policy for email monitoring and access. Page down for the entire history. Obviously there are situations when supervisors need access to an employee’s email, e.g. a public records request or a court order, an emergency illness or death, etc. On the other hand there are situations where that access would be very problematic, e.g. like that above, or when an employee has a complaint about the supervisor, or has used UO email to contact a doctor or counselor or lawyer, etc. So most universities have a sensible policy along the lines of UC’s, here:

An electronic communications holder’s consent shall be obtained by the
University prior to any access for the purpose of examination or disclosure of the
contents of University electronic communications records in the holder’s
possession, except as provided for below. …

1. Authorization. Except in emergency circumstances (as defined in Appendix
A, Definitions) in accordance with Section IV.B.2, Emergency
Circumstances, or except for subpoenas or search warrants in accordance with
Section IV.B.6, Search Warrants and Subpoenas, such actions must be
authorized in advance and in writing by the responsible campus Vice
Chancellor or, for the Office of the President, the Senior Vice President,
Business and Finance (see Section II.D, Responsibilities).1
This authority may not be further redelegated. Authorization shall be limited to the least perusal of contents and the least action necessary to resolve the situation.  …

3. Notification. The responsible authority or designee shall at the earliest
opportunity that is lawful and consistent with other University policy notify
the affected individual of the action(s) taken and the reasons for the action(s)
taken.

Each campus will issue in a manner consistent with law an annual report
summarizing instances of authorized or emergency nonconsensual access
pursuant to the provisions of this Section IV.B, Access Without Consent,
without revealing personally identifiable data.

UO’s policy is here. It’s not as cogent, but it also seems to ban the sort of blanket access that is described above. And UO IT also passes on the following helpful advice, here:

  • Never share your password with anyone.  This includes your supervisor, co-workers, and IT staff.
  • There may be some destinations (such as China, Russia, and other areas overseas) where it may be difficult or impossible to prevent your computer from being attacked and electronically compromised.

China and Russia indeed.

8/2/2013: UO has no policies limiting which administrators can read your email or monitor your web use, or why. From Dave Hubin’s PRO:

Continue reading

The UO administration’s secret plan to abolish the UO Senate

1/4/2015: The UO administration’s secret plan to abolish the UO Senate

UO Matters operatives have obtained a “confidential” memo from former UO General Counsel Randy Geller to former Interim President Bob Berdahl, recommending that Berdahl abolish the University Senate and prohibit most faculty members from being members of the Faculty Personnel Committee, Faculty Advisory Counsel, Student Conduct committee, the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, etc.

Geller made this recommendation three weeks after the administration  admitted defeat over the faculty union. The full memo is here. As you can see it advises:

1) abolition of the current UO Senate and all its committees;

2) creation of a new faculty-only Senate, limited to making recommendations to the administration;

3) membership on key committees to be restricted to non-bargaining unit faculty; and

4) other committees replaced by “administrative advisory groups” serving at the president’s pleasure.

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Geller’s proposal seems insane, but key parts of it have already been implemented, and it seems the likely source for the statements Interim President Coltrane made at the December emergency Senate Exec meeting about the need for changes in faculty governance “given our new unionized environment”. Coltrane has kept the administrative advisory groups that Bob Berdahl and Mike Gottfredson set up to replace Senate committees, such as the President’s Advisory Group on Intercollegiate Athletics, the Budget Advisory Group, and the Public Records Administrative Advisory Group.

Coltrane has also been working with new UO AVP Chuck Triplett (the former OUS apparatchik who helped Pernsteiner fire Richard Lariviere) and new University Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms to set up a President-appointed Policy Advisory Committee, and revoke the faculty authority that has existed since the founding of the University of Oregon and which is a normal part of faculty governance at other universities.

In addition, last year BOT Chair Chuck Lillis went along with Geller and Berdahl’s plan to cut the Senate out of the Delegation of Authority debate, and tried to do the same again last month with Triplett and Coltrane’s plan to drop the Senate from the policy development and approval process.

You might ask why our university’s top lawyer would attempt to hide his legal opinions about faculty governance from the faculty – and why people like Dave Hubin would help him keep the secret. You might also ask why the our VPs for Academic Affairs, Doug Blandy and Barbara Altman, would try to hide their advice about grading in the event of a GTF strike from the faculty who assign grades. Maybe Scott Coltrane will have some answers at the next Senate meeting, Wednesday, Jan 14th.

1/13/2015 update:  UO won’t share shared governance advice

We’ve had a series of attacks on shared governance over the last few years, led by Bob Berdahl and Mike Gottfredson, but unfortunately continuing under Scott Coltrane with the attempt to subvert the Policy on Policies and the UO Constitution.

So what sort of legal advice have our Johnson Hall colleagues been getting? They don’t want to tell us. I’ll go out on a limb and say Doug Park wrote this response to my public records request below. Not exactly trust inspiring.

The only way the faculty is going to learn about these attacks is from leaks of “confidential” documents to UO Matters. So keep them coming!

From: “Thornton, Lisa” <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Date: January 13, 2015 at 5:02:57 PM PST
Subject: Public Records Request 2015-PRR-151

01/13/2015

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

Given the broad scope of your request, we anticipate it would be necessary to sort through hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of documents to pull documents that are responsive to your request. In addition, you requested documents that you know are confidential because you specifically requested “legal advice.” Accordingly, your request is denied.

Thank you for contacting the University with your request.

Sincerely,

Lisa Thornton

Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

1/8/2015 update: Johnson Hall admins won’t talk about Geller / Berdahl memo

Camilla Mortenson has the story in the Eugene Weekly, here. It seems Coltrane, Park, and Hubin won’t talk about the memo or about the extent to which it continues to guide the thinking of Johnson Hall and the new Board of Trustees. Assistant UO PR Flack Julie Brown is the highest ranking person who will talk on the record – and even she won’t disavow this plan? Yikes. I’ll post additional docs as I get them.

1/7/2015 update:

In the Senate Exec meeting today Dave Hubin attempted to argue that the administration had rejected Geller’s proposals. When I left for a bathroom break Dave followed me out, asking what other documents I had about this proposal. I told him I wouldn’t tell him because it might reveal my source. Let’s just say the well isn’t dry. Hubin also suggested that I make a public records request if I wanted to learn more, so I have:

Subject: Documents from the UO GC’s office on legal advice regarding shared governance
Date: January 7, 2015 at 9:34:40 PM PST
Cc: David Hubin <hubin@uoregon.edu>, doug park <dougpark@uoregon.edu>, Scott Coltrane <coltrane@uoregon.edu> To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for any documents from the UO General Counsel’s office (or outside attorneys) providing advice to the UO President dated from 1/1/2010 to the present, on topics involving:

1) The UO Senate and shared governance in general;

2) the Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and the President’s Advisory Group on Intercollegiate Athletics;

3) the Senate Transparency Committee and the Public Records Administrative Advisory Group;

4) open meetings for the UO Senate, Senate committees, and Administrative Advisory Groups.

I am ccing current interim General Counsel Doug Park, as he should have access to the GC’s records and should be easily able to provide these documents, and Interim President Scott Coltrane for the same reason.

I’ve also cced presidential assistant Dave Hubin, as he suggested that I make this public records request at the Senate Executive Committee meeting today and recently told the STC that future PRAAG meetings would be closed, and may have copies of the advice on these matters.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

 

Faculty Union News and NTTF workload rumor control

Sent out by United Academics today:

Non-tenure-track Faculty Professional Responsibilities Policy

Over the coming weeks, all units around campus will begin crafting workload policies for non-tenure track faculty. Deans and department heads will be providing input in this process, but in the spirit of shared governance and the collective bargaining agreement, the primary responsibility for developing these policies rests with faculty. To facilitate this important work, United Academics has some crafted some general guidelines for crafting NTTF workload policies; to access them, please click here.

Statement on NTT Workloads in CAS

In recent days a rumor has been making the rounds that the standard workload for NTT faculty throughout the College of Arts and Sciences should be nine courses, with an additional service requirement, and that United Academics approves of this proposal. This rumor is not true. United Academics neither approves of nor requires any such thing. For United Academics’ full statement on this matter, please click here.

Reminder: General Membership Meeting on Wednesday

All union members are invited to attend our Fall membership meeting this Wednesday, November 5, 5:00 to 7 pm. There will be half an hour for food and drink, starting at 5:00. Official business begins at 5:30. 

We have a full agenda. First and foremost, we will be discussing the potential GTFF strike & faculty rights and responsibilities. We will have a presentation on the bargaining platform and a Q&A with the bargaining team. We will also be talking about ways that our union can have an impact on the future of the university.

Wednesday, November 5

Ford Alumni Center

Burrito bar and drinks at 5 pm

Meeting at 5:30 pm

See you there!

The Presidential Search

Partly in response to requests from United Academics and the University Senate, the Board of Trustees’ Presidential Search Committee has scheduled a “Faculty and Staff Forum” for Thursday, November 6, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in the EMU Walnut Room. We hope for a good turn out at this meeting, where colleagues will have their one opportunity to make nominations, to pose questions, and to offer input, directly and publicly, to the search committee. If you are unable to attend or would rather communicate in private, please take a minute to fill out the committee’s online survey or email the committee directly at PresSearch@uoregon.edu.

It’s a union, of course there will be beer

United Academics General Membership Meeting Agenda
November 5, 2014 UO Ford Alumni Center, 5-7pm

Update: I’m not sure how they slipped this by the Union Treasurer, but apparently it’s an open beer and wine bar, tacos, and donated door prizes. Not quite as fancy as one of Jim Bean’s “clusters of excellence” meetings, but that’s a good thing:

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United Academics General Membership Meeting Agenda
November 5, 2014 UO Ford Alumni Center, 5-7pm

Enjoy Food and Beverages, 5:00-5:30pm
I. Convene Meeting, 5:30pm
II. Welcome Members and Guests and Meeting Overview: Michael Dreiling, UA President (3-4mins)
➢ David Rives, President AFT-OR (3-4)
➢ Susan Miller, Benefits, AFT-OR (3-4)
o Get your benefit packet at table
o Door Prizes
➢ Mike Mauer, AAUP (3-4)
o Mike and Dave Cecil (UA Director), the Dynamic Duo says no to overload with brief Q&A (10)
➢ Joe Henry, President GTFF (3-4)
o Ways to Support – sign up at the table, pick up door cards, sign petition
III. Does your Department have a Steward? David Luebke, Membership and Communications Chair, UA (3-4)
a. Willing to serve?
IV. University Committee seats for UA Members – Why it is important and some current openings. Dreiling (3-4 mins)
i. Door Prizes
V. Reports from Chairs and Treasurer (Bill Harbaugh). Chair Lowndes, Chair Cramer, Chair Merskin (10 mins)
i. Financial Report and Audit on our website
VI. Professional Responsibilities, AKA Workload, Policy Development – Get Ready, here it comes and why it matters (15 mins)
a. Q&A
VII. Contract Negotiations and the Bargaining Team Deborah Olson, Executive VP, UA, David Cecil, UA Chief Negotiator and ED (20 Mins)
➢ Review and discuss the Platform themes
➢ Q&A
VIII. Final door prizes, other updates and new business – always feel free to email UA with comments and questions, or submit comments at the table now (5 mins)
IX. Adjourn 7:00pm

Doug Blandy switches sides on union

9/25/2014 update:The faculty union had lunch today with the new faculty hires. They were in the middle of their orientation, which ends tonight with a BBQ in the Alumni Center. I remember Frohnmayer used to invite the new faculty to McMorran house – not sure when that tradition ended. Anyway, from what I could tell most of the new faculty signed cards, and they reported that the administrators who had talked to them – Barbara Altman, Ken Doxsee, and Doug Blandy – were uniformly positive about the union’s influence on UO. Blandy even sat there at the table as the union reps collected cards from the new hires. Quite the switch from last year:

10/17/2013: Plenty of water in Gottfredson’s well – for Jim Bean

At the faculty union bargaining session on 9/6/2013, the UO administration’s chief negotiator and famed tobacco company lawyer Sharon Rudnick presented President Gottfredson’s final offer on faculty salaries, saying

“The well is dry. Hear me please. The well is dry. This is an incredibly rich offer.”

UO’s VPAA Doug Blandy sat there, nodding his head. Two weeks later the union bargaining team accepted it.

Why was the well so dry? In part because, just a week before, Blandy had signed off on this contract with former interim Provost Jim Bean, guaranteeing Bean about $1M in salary and benefits over the next three years. Dave Hubin’s public records office sat on this request for a month, until after the faculty had ratified the CBA. How’s that for good faith bargaining?

That’s on top of Bean’s odd 2010 sabbatical, and what we paid him after the Senate forced him out in February.

Bean’s new job is Associate Dean for “Experiential Learning” at the LCB. A newly created position. Sounds like a great idea – undergrad internships and so on. You might think there’d have been a job posting and an open, Affirmative Action compliant search for an important, well paid job like this – especially given UO’s troubled history with these administrative golden parachute appointments. I’ve got a public records request in. We’ll see how much Dave Hubin tries to charge for the documents.

UO faculty salaries $20K below AAU averages, whilst senior admins cash in

The bargaining for a new faculty union contract starts in January. UO’s IR department has just released the data from the AAU Data Exchange on UO faculty salaries, pasted below. Full data, by department, here. I’ve added a spreadsheet showing the salary and comparators for our Johnson Hall administrators below that. (Note that the figure and table use different comparator groups, and also that UO is now using all AAU publics rather than the OUS 8 as the comparator. I’m sorry for the lack of NTTF and GTF data, but the AAU doesn’t care enough about you to collect it in any reliable fashion.)

I don’t know if UO’s reported faculty salaries include the 2013-14 union negotiated ATB and Merit raises, or Tim Gleason’s $350 goat. But UO clearly is way behind Richard Lariviere’s plan to get UO faculty to the AAU averages – by fall 2014. (Note that Lariviere was talking about the 8 OUS comparators, not all AAU publics as UO is now using, but this does not matter much to the conclusions.) Meanwhile Jamie Moffitt’s reserves continue to grow. Lariviere’s plan is here, as described in his 2011 letter to Pernsteiner:

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It ain’t happening:

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But Johnson Hall is doing more than fine:

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Time series for the faculty?

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Faculty union VP Ron Bramhall in the AAUP’s Academe, on contigent faculty

Blog post here, full article by Bramhall here:

… Continuing disinvestment in higher education across the country has led to an overreliance on contingent faculty. According to “The Just-in-time Professor,” a report issued by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in 2014, in 1970 contingent faculty made up about 20 percent of the faculty in the United States and today, they make up about 75 percent of the instructional workforce. They are the new majority, and their plight is finally getting the attention it deserves.

An increasing reliance on contingent faculty has much broader implications. The struggles of contingent faculty are not merely about working conditions. They are symptomatic of the continual decline of what has made higher education in the United States great. At its best, higher education in the United States is about deep inquiry and discovery, controversial ideas, critical peer review, and academic freedom. At its worst, it is about managing enrollment, building a “brand,” optimizing student credit hours, and job training. When the majority of faculty in front of students each day have no idea if they will have a job next term or if they will be able to pay this month’s bills, these core values suffer. When they have no time to meet with students because they have to teach too many classes to make ends meet, these values suffer. When they are so worried about being rehired that they fear engaging in discussion of anything even remotely controversial, these values suffer. The gradual erosion affects everyone—all faculty, students, and the broader society. …

UO cancels legal contract with HLGR, will negotiate directly with grad students and faculty

Josephine Wollington has the story in the RG about this very unusual mid-negotiation change and the positive response from the union leadership. This is great news, Rudnick and Matthews have been an expensive disaster for UO. It seems that the new leadership wants a less confrontational approach, and isn’t going to be tied to the mistakes of the previous administration.

Oh, wait, never mind, this about the Eugene Public Schools and their negotiations with the teachers union. I guess we’ll have to wait to learn what Coltrane does about fixing the problems with UO’s General Counsel’s office and HLGR.

PERS costs to fall slightly, freeing up money for raises

Hannah Hoffman has the story in the Statesman Journal. Good news for the UO faculty. The reserve funds Jamie Moffitt set aside for increased costs will now be available to bring salaries up to the level Russ Tomlin and Scott Coltrane tried to implement in 2011. The next round of union bargaining starts in December.

Faculty union, administration cooperate to give NTTF’s long term contracts

This was one of the most significant parts of the union contract, worked out over many long months of bargaining, and will serve as a national model for protecting non-tenure track faculty. The UAUO website reports on its successful implementation, after a lot of hard work by the union and the administration – and a lot of OA’s!

Provost Coltrane credits faculty union for raises and UO hiring successes

It’s very promising to finally hear some non-confrontational talk from UO’s leadership about the positive effects of the faculty union:

UO full, associate and assistant professors make an average of $90,000 — $20,000 less than the AAU average, according to 2012-13 data from UO Office of Institutional Research. …

Coltrane said that one of the UO’s goals is to be more competitive in salaries. The collective bargaining agreement signed last year is the first step in doing so. The agreement guarantees smaller, but more frequent salary increases for faculty. Faculty will receive a total of three raises this year, each increasing by 1.5 percent of the base salary. In addition to the raises, faculty can also receive merit raises, though the process varies by department.

“How we get good at research is by hiring good faculty. That’s what it’s all about,” Coltrane said.

Jennifer Hernandez has an excellent, comprehensive story in the ODE, with a lot of other good quotes, more about NTTF contract improvements, and starting off with a depressing beer-barrel graphic, here.