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Don’t organize, mourn!

11/8/2011: Faculty governance, that is. The United Academics faculty union organizers are apparently planning a card check election for December. They are having a roundtable discussion at the UO Senate meeting, Wed, 175 Knight Law School. Their slot is 4-5 PM. For me, the high point of the union campaign was their analysis of the UO budget by Howard Bunsis – far more intelligent and credible than anything I have ever heard from Frances Dyke or Jim Bean. What more can be said about the incompetence of these two, the damage they’ve done to UO, and the wandering one-step-forward two-steps-back attempts by President Lariviere to fix it? Combine this with the attempts by Lariviere and Randy Geller to destroy shared governance, and it’s one hell of an argument for a union. But will a union improve things? An anonymous faculty correspondent asks the following:

If unionization is such a great idea, then explain why …

1) our unionized classified staff are the only ones that suffered furloughs and stagnant pay in the last couple years?

2) unionization of faculty seems to only happen at lower-ranked institutions?

3) we need to pay union duties to people external to the UO to organize us?  If the needs (and injustices) are so great, why haven’t we organized organically?

4) we can’t have a free and anonymous vote?  Why do union representatives get to lobby us individually for our vote?

5) the collective bargaining unit is imposed on us externally and lumps together very different groups of employees?

6) it makes sense to layer another bureaucracy onto the existing bureaucracies?

All good questions. This vote and the outcome of President Lariviere’s New Partnership will decide the future of UO. Worth some thought!


  1. Gordon Sayre 11/09/2011

    #1 – The SEIU representation of classified staff covers employees at all OUS institutions, and therefore the financial difficulties at other campuses have unfortunately weakened the bargaining position of our staff.

    #2 – Many of the leading state universities are organized: the SUNY system, the CSU system, Rutgers, Vermont, Delaware, and campuses in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois. The Ivy League and other private schools are not allowed to unionize. Let’s not pretend that prestige is something we can bank on; many faculty at schools with what we might consider weaker reputations are still paid better that we are.

    #3 – We are not paying dues right now, so I don’t understand this. If we do organize, we will likely pay dues around 1% of salary.

    #4 – The card check process, if it gathers 30% to 50% support, will be followed by a secret ballot vote.

    #5 – Why is this “imposed on us externally” when we have the power to decide? The question is completely off base.

    #6 – We need our own “bureaucracy” to keep the administration’s bureaucracy honest. We can’t rely on UOMatters to dig all the dirt for us.

  2. UO Matters 11/09/2011

    Thanks Gordon – will you be talking at the Senate meeting? People have been asking me who is organizing this now. I think you guys need to get the faculty list and start emailing people. Lots of confusion, not helped by the fact that the union seems to have 3 websites and a facebook page.

  3. Anonymous 11/09/2011

    The answer to #2 appears to confirm the commenter’s impression. CSU? Rutgers? “Campuses in” Michigan etc. (are they campuses I’ve heard of?)? Not the company I want to be among. And #5 dodges the main point about who is in the bargaining unit. Not off base at all. Adjuncts and tenure line faculty have very different interests.

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