Union?

6/5/2009 update:

The Union effort seems to be gaining momentum. They have hired additional organizers and that suggests they believe they have the potential to win an election.

During Frohnmayer’s years faculty salaries have gone nowhere, while administrative salaries, spending, and distractions like athletics, Bend, Portland, and so on have ballooned. The only transparency has been the clear contempt with which Frohnmayer and his cronies have treated the faculty and the Senate.

If Lariviere does not take quick steps to repudiate Frohnmayer’s decisions and replace senior administrators, I think UO may well go Union pretty quickly.

Older:
An AAUP-AFT collaboration is pursuing the idea of a UO faculty union. Their website is here.

I think a union of UO faculty members is an interesting idea that should be seriously debated. People I know in the UC system are pretty happy with theirs. But at other places it seems to be followed by a shift away from incentives for research and towards mediocrity.

My own take is that the administration needs to take the possibility seriously and credibly explain how they propose to reallocate UO’s scarce resources away from themselves and their pet projects and back to UO’s core mission. Where does that $12 million in new tuition go?

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41 Responses to Union?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps a more appropriate name for the new learning center for athletes is not “The Glass Cube of Wisdom”, but given its grid-like steel armature, Duck cage, and the water feature on two or three sides of this cage is the perfect pool or pond for ducks when they need a study break, when of course, they are not on the road in midweek playing rather than attending class, out of the cage, so to speak.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Dog Says – Heads up

    http://hr.uoregon.edu/jobs/classified.php?id=3256

    you too can get a job to periodically perform maintenance on the “exterior water feature” of the John E. Jaqua (yes that is the principle donor) Academic Learning Center for Student-Athletes (a.k.a. The Glass Cube of Wisdom).

    I think that means periodically cleaning out all of the likely bird/duck shit that will be in what is a very large and shallow aquatic drinking fountain. Hell, maybe since we don’t have classroom space anymore we can just hold classes outside, in the water …

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Dog says in response to above:

    Yes our declining graduate percentage of total student population, I believe, is one of the most serious structural problems at the UO – yet no one seems to talk about this and many are unaware. I believe our current fraction of graduate students is 15-16% which would make it probably the lowest for any “Research” University in the country.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Even the bike racks (O shaped sculptures) for that Athlete Learning Center building seem to have cost quite a bundle.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Any one using the new reporting tool? Take a look at the development office.

    Salaries for unclassified tripled from 2008-2009 to 2009-2010 from approximately $1million to $3million. I guess new personnel is the reason they took such a big take in the $33million tuition revenue we raised. $2million would certainly help us teach this new enrollment surge that is being thrust upon us.

    Why the big increase for development? Who are these new personnel we hired? Are they necessary so we can raise money to build a new crystal athlete advising palace?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The surprising thing is the lack of growth in graduate enrollments. These students don’t necessarily bring in big money like the californian undergrads, but they are the reason we are (so far) a research university. Our grad student ratio is way below that of our putative peers.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Yes enrollment stayed pretty constant –20,044 in 02-03; 20,033 in 2003-4; 20,339 in 2004-05; 20,394 in 2005-06 ; 20,388 in 2006-07 ; and 20,376 in 2007-08; and then in 2008 21,507.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Dog says

    on enrollment
    look at the data

    enrollment started increasing in 2000
    after being constant to within throughout the 90’s (notice the big fall off after measure 5 in 1991)

    steady enrollment increases in 2000,2001 and 2002 lead to the conversation about the optimal size of the University and to the no increase policty of 2003 followd by constant envollment again from 2004-2007

    te floadgates opened in 2008

    http://ir.uoregon.edu/ir_files/enr.pdf

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  9. Anonymous says:

    My sense is that the enrollment floodgates had to be let open to fill in giant budget holes. Due to lack of transparency, we haven’t been apprised of the trouble we are in. We held the line on enrollment throughout the 1990s and the early to mid 2000s. The mantra was we wanted to preserve quality and to do so we would be very careful about growing our student population. To me it was a complete about face last year when all of a sudden it was a great idea to let the hoards in.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Dog is tired of anecdotes. Previous poster says “UO has been going downhill for many years” = what the hell does that mean? What “skid” needs to be stopped. From my point of view the UO goes neither downhill or uphill – it simply remains stagnant and I believe this can be traced all the way back to 1991 when Measure 5 kicked in. Ever since then the UO, in broadview, has simple complained (on all levels, including the faculty level) that it has insufficient resources to do anything. Therefore it does nothing. This is what stagnation is. The only thing that really has changed at the UO is our student population has increased by about 50% from the early measure 5 days. Yes we have some new buildings but did we increase the number of classroom seats over the last 20 years? Just marginally. Have we increased the number of tenure track faculty over this period? Just marginally. Have we created a significant number of new undergraduate degree programs? No. All we have done is bitch and moan and stagnate and during this time, our graduate population is tanking and our status as a Research I univeristy has been lost – so in that sense, we have slid downhill – does anyone care about that? It doesn’t seem so.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    It’s true that Dave F has a style of speaking/writing that is a strange combination of pomposity and vacuity.

    But his proposal shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. It’s clear that UO has been going downhill for many years, with no end in sight. Greater independence might be a way to stop the skid. I doubt the State will ever grant real independence, but it might be worth talking about it at least.

    And Lariv was not at all dismissive, he simply says he wants to consult the University. Which is a smart thing to say. I hope he has some other ideas for financing, too.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Frohnmayer has this new report ? This “He is back to save Oregon education” song and dance is getting a bit tiring.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know the state law on card check, but my understanding both from Bean’s email and the comment of the previous poster is that a 50% card check of the eligible members is enough to establish a union.

    That means the union organizers and their champions on campus know exactly who signed the card, and who did not, including those who refused. The future union management will know this information, too.

    That is no substitute for a secret ballot, it’s a sinister procedure. The fact that it might be state-sanctioned does not make it any less so. To the contrary.

    Aside from the pros and cons of a union, the card check, as I understand it, is a deal-breaker for me.

    Perhaps some clarification will be forthcoming.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    The email note that came from Provost Bean, through Linda King, is slightly misleading, although it may not have been intended that way. The writer above states that he/she has no desire to have “union goons” watching them sign… The writer obviously hasn’t had such an encounter because he/she won’t be visited by union goons. The rough and tumble history of union organizing in the private industry isn’t taking place at the U of O. The union organizers are professionals working with, and creating leadership roles, for people employed at the U of O. This won’t be a union run from Detroit or somewhere out of state. It will be a collective bargaining unit run by locals and affiliated with a national union. No one is being strong-armed. Those who came to visit me amounted to a union organizer and a professor from PLC. I told them I had not made up my mind but was interested in this process. They respected that and we had a pleasant meeting of about 45 minutes. The “card-check” isn’t a secret. It is in the law and I read it for myself at http://www.oregon.gov/ERB/pdfs/CardCheckInstr.doc . It is an option that the committee of UO teaching faculty, librarians and OAs can determine to use when it appears enough people have made their wishes clear. I will make up my mind about what I think is right, but injecting fear or misinformation, as the writer above seems to wish, can’t be allowed at the U of O. This is our right. The use of a card check is not a slick easy-out for forming a union. It is actually a higher bar to reach than an election.

    Only 30% of those forming a union need to sign a card to get an union election via this process. When an election takes place it will require a majority of those ACTUALLY VOTING to win or lose. A card check requires a majority of those ELIGIBLE TO VOTE to sign a card (it must state this purpose on the card). That is a far higher requirement than the simple majority of those showing up to vote.

    As for the union and the administration running things, I find plenty of examples of unions in university settings. Not one runs a university. They do however negotiate working conditions and terms of employment for those who are represented by the union. I don’t see anyone doing that here. Also I know who I believe should have a say in running the university, but I know who is not. If there was an independent voice, it was snuffed-out long ago by a previous administration’s legal maneuver.

    For now the senate appears to be marginalized and they could use some help taking back some of what is supposed to be their responsibility, a partner if you will. The Senate needs a little political and legal clout in Salem for starters. Maybe a union could help there as a partner.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Professor Soper. You made you point so very clear. Our Police have gotten worse as the years have gone by, we should take their toys away from them because they play stupid. As far as Charles?? Please don’t get me started. He is a pure example of the way out administration went with their plan for the U. Makes one sick doesn’t it.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Bean is absolutely right about the change in relations with the University that will come about if there is a union. The union and the administration will be running the place. Whatever independent voice the faculty have will be filtered through the union, at best.

    Furthermore, the card check provision is a very odious twist to the whole business. I believe in secret ballots. I don’t need union goons watching whether I sign on to their schemes. For the reason of the card check provision alone, I would be very reluctant to support unionization.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Dog says

    A) Dan Williams was never part of the Problem at the UO – he is a genuine person.

    B) I didn’t say that a tuition driven model was good, I merely pointed out that the mathematics of our budget situation requires increasing tuition dollars each year. Of course this is not sustainable but white guys never do anything sustainable …

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  18. uomatters says:

    In 2006 or thereabouts John Moseley, Lorraine Davis, and Dan Williams retired and got “600 hours” contracts that allowed them to keep working for 5 years while building their retirement benefits. These contracts were designed to encourage over the hill faculty to retire, but Frohnmayer was happy to use the money to give away to administrators. Each gets around $100K – $150K per year.

    Moseley was given several sinecures, most notably Bend, for reasons that we have covered before. We don’t know what Davis is doing, but we hear UO pays for her to go to away games and proctor athletes exams. Sweet.

    Dan Williams helped run the Olympic Trials. I’m no Jock, but that seems to have been a big success, a real contribution to UO, and having seen the the bleachers go up I’m guessing the man earned his money.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    What do you mean about Dan Williams “creeping” around campus? Doesn’t he have as much right to be on campus as any other retired employee? Or anyone else, for that matter? Is it possible he has a lot of old friends here? Or is that a foreign concept?

    I personally like Dan Williams, he has been gracious to me, recently — ran into him off campus — and I can tell you, there was nothing mercenary in it for him.

    As far as I’m concerned, he’s welcome on campus any time. If he ever stops by my office, I’ll be delighted.

    Who is being the creep?

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Why is Dan Williams still creeping around campus….any ideas ?

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  21. Anonymous says:

    A point to ponder. If as a faculty member you think that the AAEO problem doesn’t mean anything to you, think again. If the U is found non-compliant (as it clearly is right now and has been for several years) the federal government can stop all grant funding to the university until the government decides the university is in compliance. Now that could mean trouble. How many millions is the administration putting on the line? For what? Their own prosperity? One should question.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    dog — I don’t see a necessary connection between enrollment growth and UO finances. Higher enrollment means higher costs. You can say UO needs this because it is underfunded, but it’s just a formula for perpetual catch-up. It has gotten us nowhere. Besides, UO is reaching the limits of the physical capacity of its very small campus. Unless you want to go to a high-rise campus. The Indians, er, Native Americans have a point.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Tear down Riley hall(located at 11th and Hilyard)……then build a ten story “green” LEED monstrosity. Why tear down Riley….because I had to live there I after I was thrown out of DeCou.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    dog responds

    ah, but we are a tuition driven budget University and therefore we require
    enrollment to increase.

    Catch 22

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Another solution: admit that UO has a small, landlocked campus. Give up on going to … 25? 30? 35 thousand? Raise admissions standards instead, keep enrollment steady, have a truly (somewhat) selective student body. I forgot, this is Oregon, can’t have any of that elitism stuff.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Dog also says.

    Okay, let’s all get real.

    1) Our current residence halls suck (on most levels)

    2) Our current residence halls occupy any extant campus space for new academic buildings.

    3) Solution is to build a bunch of high rise dorms east of the Law school parking lot (this is what the UW did in the late 60’s and it served them well) and then recover central campus space for new academic buildings.

    d) Of course this will never happen in Eugene – too much NIMBY – too much entitlement — too much I’m special and your not …

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Dog barks:

    on the PERS issue. Yes this was a disaster coming. Worse still is for those of us that still have the bulk of their retirement funds in Tier 1 PERS fixed. Right now, that annual investment that returns a guaranteed 8% looks absolute great. But how long will the State continue to allow for this guaranteed raid. I would like to be able to retire from this place (well I would have like to have done that 5 years ago!) before the PERS fixed rolls into a market rate like the IAP and they one gets to lose 25% of the value in one year.

    Overall, I agree that this is quite a serious problem which faces both the State and higher ed employers. For the most part this has been kept under wraps so I am glad to see it out in the (blog) open.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Ah, the joys of diversity! I sympathize with the desire to preserve the view. But then, where will the dorm go? Somewhere else, I presume. But that is sprawl! Unsustainable! The greatest academic minds in the world will not be able to solve this. Better call in the Eugene City Council!

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  29. Anonymous says:

    The tribes who built the UO Longhouse are having a disagreement with UO planners about the proposed site of a 450 student dorm that will overshadow the Longhouse. There is a meeting of the Campus Planning Committee about the dorm conflict soon. If anyone knows anything further about this situation I hope they will post it here.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    homeless shelter??? LOL quit your killing me! The U administration only thinks of themselves…and the rest of ya can go suck lemons. Having furiture made for him…makes him special don’t ya know. Gives him bragging rights down the road. All in the name of recycle and reuse. Hummmm too bad all the administration themselves can’t be recycled and reused…somewhere not on campus!

    What I want to know. How does the University get off approving a million bucks plus for a football coach? Like how many of his charges go on to a better life through his education program? Another laughing point!

    Now that the coach gets a million plus is our administration going to start thinking they are worth the same? Looking at what they have done for themselves so far I would say anything is possible.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    What, the Provost’s been sitting on the floor all this time? How about at least making furniture for one of the new buildings, or to donate to a homeless shelter, come to that?

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Penny most likely won’t be doing the faculty hiring meetings this time around. The office is short handed so those search committee meetings were suspended when her AAEO compliance specialist left. And the search for the new AAEO person hasn’t gone well either. Guess she is having a hard time finding her next “yes” person to fill the position. If enough complaints go to OFCCP they will put her name closer to the top of the list shortening her time on getting that next audit…suggest making some calls would help. Ask for Mike he knows the U and its problems well.

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  33. Anonymous says:

    I can understand why the students are upset about the tuition surcharge, but I would ask, what are they willing to give up? Let’s see, the surcharge is something like $200 per student (averaged over resident and non-resident), and let’s say there are 20,000 students — undergraduates? — paying the surcharge.

    So that adds up to $4 million. Hey, that’s about what the University said they were spending on Diversity a few years ago! How much are the spending on Diversity + Sustainability combined these days? $4 million? $8 million? I don’t know — transparency again! But this might be the right ballpark.

    So, would the students be willing to whack these programs in return for a tuition cut? Without squawking?

    If so, it might be a good deal!

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  34. Anonymous says:

    To see what the new athlete only learning center looks like inside use the Google blog search with keywords “university of oregon alc”.

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  35. uomatters says:

    Dear Concerned: That’s an interesting document! Please send more. We would like to post this and more like it, but wait for your OK.

    UO Matters

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  36. uomatters says:

    How to give us anonymous info: Post a comment here. At the top write “Do Not Post”. Explain what you want to say. If you want us to post about it, but not use your words, just say that, and that’s what we will do.

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  37. Anonymous says:

    Integrity? I’m sorry, the U of O exec administration has lost it’s integrity with it’s bully boss issues and the fact that they’re firing anyone who has discovered that they have their hands in the cookie jar. Anyone missing from the staff that you may know?

    The execs are making up their own rules – and none of the faculty have the cajones to stop them. It only takes a few motion at the senate and control goes right back to the faculty and the execs are out. I think this is a “well duh” moment. More like a “3-Star Well Duh” moment. Don’t you guys teach about this kind of thing – starting with ethics?

    Ya’ll are kinda deserving of what you get unless you’re willing to do your job…by the way, if you’re tenured faculty, it’s your job. Read the charter.

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Could it be that the conspicuous abuse of the Faculty by the Administration is aimed at promoting Faculty unionization? A unionized Faculty may be unable to claim any control of the budget, a right they now have under the Charter (but have failed to exercise in recent years). I bet almost any Administration would be pleased to have that threat eliminated.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    More dog

    Like I barked before in this forum
    53/53 = 100% tenure rate

    what difference does it make how revealing
    the provost is when everyone that goes up
    for tenure/promotion gets it.

    Why even have an evaluative process?

    Can anyone who reads this forum defend, in
    a way that has some academic integrity, that its okay for a tenure rate to be 100% at a University?

    I can’t think of any legitimate reason, but
    then again, I am just a dog.

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  40. Anonymous says:

    Dog speaks on the UO budget.

    Here are some facts – dogs always protect their
    sources.

    –> Increased Revenue from tuition and enrollment increses: $37M –> holy crap batman, where did it all go?

    –> $4M for increased scholarships (this was promised in exchange for tuition increase)

    –> $16M to make up the reduction in state funding.

    So that leaves 20M (dogs can do some math)

    Still a lot but this is where it now gets vague.

    7M was said to cover “reduced return on UO endowment”

    5M was used for “a few other smaller things”

    Bottom line is that officially 8M is left for
    programmatic increases; some of this is supposed to be used for increased instructional research
    to cover increased enrollment. We will see if this happens, it should, but …

    Finally, in the traditional spirit of Institutional Inequity – all colleges will take
    a 2.5% cut this share because of the “loss of
    state revenue”.

    I’m no economist but if you have money for programmatic increases why are you making cuts?

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  41. Frank Stahl says:

    With respect to moves toward Faculty unionization, “Vitulli said many people feel that the university’s top executives don’t give much weight to faculty views. …” That was conspicuously true under Dave Frohnmayer, who bamboozled the Senate into believing that they had no right to direct, but only to make recommendations to, the Administration. We may expect that the new university governance document, which is under preparation, will more explicitly spell out the powers of the Senate and the Statutory Faculty Assembly, providing some protection against such abuses of power.

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