Lariviere interviewed in Emerald

9/19/2011: Good questions from Tyree Harris, and some detailed answers, read it all here. A sample:

ODE: What progress do you hope to make this year with the New Partnership? What progress do you think can be made given the new terms of your contract?

RL: My contract doesn’t have anything to do with it. And the terms of my contract wouldn’t impede me from speaking my mind on this anyway. Governor Kitzhaber has really got this about right, I think. He’s got this new perspective on the state’s investment in education. 60 cents of every taxed dollar is spent on education, but it’s spent in silos on pre-K, K-12, community college and universities. And there’s no attempt to measure, from the state’s perspective, whether this oath investment is doing what we want it to do as an electorate. All we ask is, “Is pre-K doing a good job?” and we go to pre-K and say “Are you doing a good job?” and guess what, the answer is, “Yeah, we think so.” K-12, same conversation. Nobody’s stepping back and saying “is our investment resulting in a kid being able to go through this process to fulfill herself to the maximum potential, in a way that is going to be of a long-term benefit to the state of Oregon?” Those kind of questions have not been asked. This governor is asking those questions. He’s got a new structure for education that I think is really intriguing, and it matches with our understanding of our segment of higher education at the University of Oregon very, very well. Our intention is to follow the governor’s lead on the implementation of this new plan, and work with him and the Oregon Education Investment Board, OEIB, to figure out the details of implementation that will optimize the return on the investment that the state is making. My conversations with this governor around these issues have been a real breath of fresh air. This is one smart cookie, and I’m pretty cynical about politicians.

ODE: Did that make it a difficult decision for you to give those raises while classified employees are taking furloughs?

RL: Well they’re separate issues. We have no control over those negotiations. We have very little input into it. We have some, but we’re just one voice among seven institutions negotiating with the OUS faction, and then there’s the Department of Administrative Services negotiating with the SEIU as well, so we don’t really have a lot to say about the outcome of those decisions. And I have to be pretty careful about what I say about that because they’re negotiating now anyway. This is an institution that rises and falls on the basis of the quality of the people who work here. It’s not about the bricks and mortar. It’s only important to the extent that the people who work here can do their jobs well. Our salaries for our faculty, for example, when I came here were 80 percent of the average of our peers, so 20 percent below average. In that environment, with highly mobile, highly talented people, you’re vulnerable. Not to do something about that would be the height of irresponsibility.

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6 Responses to Lariviere interviewed in Emerald

  1. Anonymous says:

    Can Lariviere explain why the UO put a freeze on special merit increases for classified staff while administrators were getting raises? This was not part of the contract.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The SEIU workers got a pretty good deal out of OUS. Basically, on average, a raise that covers the cost of living increase. This is about the same — on average — as what the faculty and administrators got — those who got raises, by the way, which was not everybody.

    Lariviere’s move with the raises last May put pressure on OUS to sweeten the deal for SEIU.

    So enough with the knocks on Lariviere.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As a classified staff person I wouldn’t call it a “good deal”. I will begin losing money as soon as furloughs are implemented. Then in December I will get less then $50 before taxes from my COLA, which will be totally eaten up by the 5% PEBB copay starting January, when I will begin to be even more out of pocket. My delayed step increase will probably help to cover my PEBB payments, which will of course go up over time as insurance always does. Anyone who does their own grocery shopping will realize this won’t cover any cost of living at all, except for the cost of health insurance so I can keep living…

  4. Anonymous says:

    And as a classified staff member I will be losing over $200 a month due to my 6-month delayed step increase. $200 x 6 months = $1200 less than I should be making based on my longevity. And again the next year, for a total $2400 loss.

    Mind you these are not bonuses or merit increases that are getting rolled back by six months. These are steps we have earned in pay because of longevity and experience. We start our jobs WAY lower than market rate, and over time we earn something closer to market rate (but still far from it!). Delaying our step increase is delaying recognition for our expertise and experience and loyalty.

    The admins who got their raises already earn at or above market value; what they received were bonuses above and beyond that market value. And how can you compare 20 and 30 percent raises with 1.5 percent raises. Even the lower raises, 4 percent, beat out our COLAs by far. And we do not earn six figure salaries to begin with. Far from it.

    And by the way, asking Lariviere to explain something is not “knocking” him.

  5. Anonymous says:

    4.75% step increase annually for 2 years doesn’t sound too bad. Unless you’re at the top of the scale, of course.

    Not everyone will come out whole, including a great many of the faculty and administrators. I’m talking about averages.

    If the deal wasn’t satisfactory to SEIU, the course of action would be to strike. But not my call.

    In any case — UO and Lariviere had no control over this negotiation, it was between SEIU and OUS. Any beef is with them.

    And I would maintain that what Lariviere did at UO helped SEIU.

    The furlough days are certainly not his doing.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Not blaming the pres for our contract. The SEIU bargaining team worked very hard on behalf of classified staff. The first comment here on this page is not about the contract. It’s about something that falls outside of the contract altogether:

    Why did “the UO put a freeze on special merit increases for classified staff while administrators were getting raises? This was not part of the contract.”