ERB gives notice, asks for objections

Another update: A chicken writes in the comments:

For those who think the bargaining unit is inappropriate, I do think that individuals — not just the Admin. — have a formal right to object.

“Interested persons may notify the Board Agent of their specific objections. Such objections must also be served on the petitioner. Upon good cause shown, the Board Agent may call an interested person as a witness.” OAR 115-025-0030 (2)(e)

Lots more on the ERB’s rules and procedures http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_100/oar_115/115_025.html.

See e.g. OAR 115-025-0065(7) and OAR 115-025-0045 on hearings held in response to objections.

More still at http://www.oregon.gov/ERB/StatutesRules.shtml

I emailed Sandra Elliot at the ERB and she clarified this somewhat:

And it is correct “interested persons” may file objections . . . and MUST serve them on the petitioner. Most of the “objections” I am hearing are that people want an election and there is a process for that (see OAR 115-025-0075). If valid objections are filed this case will be assigned to an administrative law judge to resolve objections relating to the composure of the bargaining unit, etc.

And she then sent this:

If there is a “group” that can agree on a specific objection or objections perhaps a brief statement of the objection and then signatures (dated of course). Then a copy to the petitioner so it will be considered “served.” It would be best if they were in writing and hand-delivered or US Mail. That said, individuals could do a letter to ERB and copy the petitioner, but if the volume of paper can be kept to a minimum it would be nice. You might also give a copy to Mr. Geller’s office so he will be aware of what objections are out there.

We have no examples because usually the only interested party is the employer. Like I said above, the simplest format would be a brief statement and then signatures of those who support the objection.

Update: The ERB tells me that only the administration can object to the composition of the proposed bargaining unit, but they add:

You could certainly make your thoughts known to your employer. While we would put any comments we receive in the file, it is up to the employer to address the objections.

If anyone hears of the administration preparing an objection, please post a comment. I have public records requests in to UO and OUS for docs showing if they have hired consultants/lawyers to help write an objection, etc. This is not the sort of thing they would trust Randy Geller to do competently.

3/20/2012. Full pdf here.

Some arguments against union

3/21/2012: Dan Dugger in math sends me a link to his webpage of arguments against the union, his full post is here. The union’s own page is here. Professor Dugger’s points include:

  • The United Academics union has acted in a way that does not inspire confidence.
  • The union claims to support faculty desire for greater “transparency” from the administration, but the union has itself not behaved in a transparent manner.
  • The interests of tenure-track faculty and non-tenure-track faculty are too inconsistent for these units to belong to a common union.
  • Unionization of college campuses is something this country has very little experience with; therefore, we should move very carefully and gives ourselves a way out if things don’t go well.
  • Unions are built on the power of the collective. However, there is also power in individualism, and this should not be ignored or undermined.
  • The full cost to the faculty of having a union has not been discussed.
  • Unions bargain by using the weapon of strikes; but on a campus, strikes hurt more than the administration—they hurt the students.
  • The way unions work runs in many ways opposite to the best interests of a research university.

"Faculty input not respected"

Gordon Sayre from English, quoted on the reasons for the UO faculty union victory in IHE: The story also explains that “The university has until April 4 to object to the petition for unionization, according to an official at the Employment Relations Board.” and that

Robert Berdahl, interim president at the university, said in an e-mail that the university was notified Wednesday that the authorization cards have been submitted. “The university has not had an opportunity to review the petition for certification yet and it is premature to comment further,” the e-mail said.

Union reports majority of TT faculty signed

3/13/2012: From the United Academics Faculty Union website:

We are VERY pleased to announce that on Tuesday March 13, United Academics filed union authorization cards – signed by a clear majority of UO tenure-track, non-tenure-track, and research faculty – with the state Employment Relations Board (ERB). 

 This is an important milestone and moves us one key step closer to forming our union and restoring a strong faculty voice in the future of the UO.  Our union will be formally certified once the Board confirms that the signed cards do indeed represent a majority.

United Academics includes tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty, and research faculty.  In addition to the solid overall majority, the union authorization cards we presented to the state ERB included majorities in each of the classifications of faculty represented. (emphasis added).

I think this lays to rest a lot of concerns. There are still hoops to jump through but no one seems to think they are major.

So, the immediate questions that come to mind are how will elections for union representatives be set up, bylaws written, dues, etc. Anyone know?