“university again mediated with the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation”

No they didn’t. The Administration *bargains* with the GTFF. The Mediator *mediates* between the Administration and the GTFF. That’s pretty much the whole point of mediation.

And while I’m on it, why is the Administration still claiming they are “the university?”.  I thought Frank Stahl won that one. And while it’s nice to hear that the Administration has finally abandoned its painfully quixotic plan to rationalize the GTFF’s health insurance, why are they still proposing just 5% in pay increases spread over 3 years, when the western U.S. CPI increased 3.1% last year, and the Fed’s target rate of inflation is 2% per year?

That works out to a 4% decrease. Didn’t the BOT just give Pres Schill a 17% raise?

In any case here’s the latest email from Provost Phillips:

Dear Faculty Colleagues,
Just a note to share with you the latest economic offers exchanged at the most recent mediation session with the GTFF bargaining team. I’m forwarding a copy of an email update from the ELR bargaining team that was sent today to academic leadership. I wanted to make sure all faculty members have the most current information. An overview of the package is available on the GTFF bargaining webpage. If you have questions, contact Peter Fehrs, lead negotiator, by submitting an email to uoelr@uoregon.edu.
Thanks and I hope the summer is treating you well. Take care.
**Sent on Behalf of Missy Matella**
Dear Colleagues,
On August 1, the university again mediated with the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation (GTFF). While both parties passed important economic offers that are detailed below, I want to start by explaining a significant change in the university’s latest offer. AAU peer analysis has shown that the University of Oregon spends nearly twice the average of public AAU institutions on health insurance coverage, but slightly less, on average, on graduate employee stipends. The UO had been looking to rebalance the GE compensation package by shifting some of the investment in health insurance into student stipends. This would give GEs more salary and help the university be more competitive in attracting graduate students. However, as it has become clear through negotiations that this concept is not one that the two parties can agree upon, the UO is no longer seeking to shift compensation from health insurance to increase take home pay.
The university’s current offer retains the existing health insurance structure—with the university paying 95 percent of health insurance premiums at the existing academic year 2018-19 rates. We remain dedicated to ensuring that GE health insurance includes reasonable cost containment measures to create opportunities to increase GE stipends in the future, which is critical to GE recruitment and retention.
Here is a comparison of the latest salary and health insurance offers:

GTFF offer:

Increases GE salary minimums by 5.75% each year of the contract.
The previous proposal was 6%.
UO offer:
Increase salaries of GEs each year of the contract:
  • Year one: 1.65% (up from 1.45%)
  • Year two: 1.65% (up from 1.55%)
  • Year three: 1.75% (up from 1.65%)
Other employee group salary increases
  • Service Employee International Union (SEIU): 1%
  • Faculty—TTF: 1.25% across-the-board + .75% equity pool
  • Faculty—NTTF: 2% across-the-board
  • Officers of Administration: 2% merit pool
Health insurance
GTFF offer:
University pays 100% of health care premiums for the academic year and the summer to the extent health care premiums increase between 0 and 9.9% (increases for next academic year are currently projected at 7%).
Currently 95% for the academic year and 80% over the summer.
The proposal also includes a tiered cost sharing model based on the size of premium increases.
UO offer:
The university is no longer pursuing a reduction in its contribution to health insurance in order to increase salaries.
The latest offer provides the same level of contribution under the current contract, which is 95% of the 2018-19 academic year insurance premiums.
The university and GTFF bargaining teams exchanged proposals on other key issues including summer support and family and childcare support. A detailed chart comparing current proposals is available on the HR website.
We will continue to bargain in good faith to reach a resolution that meets the needs of our entire university community. Keeping academic and administrative leadership informed during on-going negotiations with the GTFF remains a priority. Our next mediation session will be on August 21. Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.
Shortly, this update will be shared with department heads, and the provost will email this update to faculty members to keep them informed, as well.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please visit the GTFF bargaining webpage or contact Peter Fehrs, lead negotiator, by submitting an email to uoelr@uoregon.edu.
Best regards,
Missy Matella
Senior Director, Employee and Labor Relations
University Human Resources

UO administration proposes cutting Grad Employee pay by 5%

You wouldn’t know it from today’s Around the O post on the administration’s bargaining proposals, but the US Western Region CPI-U has been increasing at about 3% for the past few years:

Assuming that continues, the “salary increases” the UO administration is offering the GTFF union will amount to about a 5% real pay cut over the 3 years of the contract:

  • Proposed salary increases for all graduate employees in each year of the contract. Year one: 1.45 percent, up from 1.25 percent; year two: 1.55 percent, up from 1.25 percent; year three: 1.65 percent, up from 1.25 percent.

GTFF bargaining moves to mediation

I had to miss Friday’s bargaining session, but it seems the administration finally responded to the GTFF’s economic proposal by repeating their previous proposal, throwing in an additional 0.5% per year to make it an even 1%. I know a few economists, and they tell me the western US consumer price index increased by 3.1 % last year, so as might have been predicted this did not go over well.

Likewise, while the administration’s proposal to move some of what it pays for GTFF health care (by all reports it’s a cadillac plan that puts PEBB to shame, although the GTFF did manage to cut what UO paid for it last year) and put it in salary, while optimal to a rational expected-income maximizing risk-neutral agent, is not so optimal under the assumption of utility-maximization and the resulting risk aversion that has been the working model of economists since before there were such things as economists (Bernoulli, 1738). Yes, I know that newer models of loss aversion from psychologists and behavioral economists make this result stronger, but they are not needed to predict the response here.

The messages from the GTFF and the administration are below the break.

Continue reading

GTFF bargaining sleepy blog

The Twitter has a hashtag for this that’s pretty woke: https://twitter.com/hashtag/GTFF3544?src=hash

In the EMU Crater Lake room 12-? today. About 75 GE’s and the 7 member administrative bargaining team. The wifi is slow, and glancing around at the GE’s screens it’s easy to see why – they’re checking email, writing, and analyzing data. At least one dude is working with R on some interesting looking data. Maybe I can get a few pointers from him during the break.

In contrast to the wonderfully shambolic and spiteful arguments that the UAUO used to get from Sharon Rudnick and Tim Gleason, watching the calm and knowledgeable Peter Fehrs, Missy Matella, Mike Mcghee and Michael Marchman negotiate is like watching water-based paint dry on a humid day.

“I think that makes sense”

“We’ll take a look, but don’t see any problems”

“Great, let’s TA this now.” “OK.”

Constructive and polite on both sides, and the audience is getting a lot of work done too. I assume things will get a bit more exciting when they start talking money, presumably later today.

And, on cue, the subject of parental leave comes up. Admins say it’s too expensive. GE’s say it’s an important recruiting tool. GE’s asks what it would cost. Admins say they costed it out but forget what the number was.

I missed a bit, apparently the admins did not bring an economic proposal. Bummer. Apparently then someone at the table got a little mad about something. Sorry, I was grading and missed it.

About 100 GEs here now, many sitting on the floor.

Caucus break.

3:56: The bargainers return, agree to TA the infamous article 4. Applause.

Admins agree to come back week one (I think April 5) with economics. See you then.