COLA for OA’s, and SEIU response:

7/30/2012: I’m sure there are many underpaid OA’s even after these raises. And many underpaid staff and faculty. Feel free to comment away. Back in November Greg Bolt of the RG had a story on the raises for UO faculty and administrators that led to Richard Lariviere’s firing. This was shortly before the news on Bean’s beamer and sabbatical came out. The RG Editorial was headlined: “Bad Politics, Good Policy: The UO invests its tuition money in (some) people” The short version:

… The documents list “special equity raises” of $3.1 million for 743 faculty members and $1.8 million for 417 administrators. The faculty raises averaged 6.98 percent; administrators’ increases averaged 7.68 percent. … 

 The biggest raise, of course, went to Bean. I thought the 417 was a little hard to square with the statement from Bean below that

“The majority of the affected employees have not had a salary adjustment since late 2008, nearly four years.” 

but it turns out UO now has 1271 OAs. (Versus only 691 TT faculty). On the other hand the FAQ says 900 will get raises. I’d ask Jim for more clarification, but when Nathan Tublitz asked for details on the 2011 raises Randy Geller tried to charge him $10,000 or so, and then Berdahl shit all over him with the new restrictions on public records access. What he did finally get out of the PRO is here.

I like the way Bean’s FAQ blames the faculty unionization for the fact faculty will get no raises. Yes, our Provost really thinks we are stupid enough to believe his stupidity. Bean’s statement today:


I am pleased to announce that Interim President Berdahl has authorized a cost-of-living salary adjustment (“COLA”) for most Officers of Administration (“OAs”), effective July 1, 2012.  Affected employees will see the impact of the adjustment in their late August paychecks.  This will be an across-the-board adjustment of 3.5% for all OAs except; President, Provost, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, tenure related faculty in administrative roles, General Counsel, Athletic Director, athletic coaches with negotiated multi-year contracts , and most F-contract employees.  To be eligible, OAs must have been hired into their current position before January 1st, 2012. 

The majority of the affected employees have not had a salary adjustment since late 2008, nearly four years.  We feel that it is crucial that we take care of this employee group whose commitment to effective and efficient operations of this great institution has helped bring us through this difficult economic period. 

The SEIU contract negotiated by OUS for the seven Oregon Institutions provides COLAs and step increases for our classified staff over the next two years.  We anticipate addressing faculty salary issues in our upcoming negotiations with the newly formed union.A FAQ page with more details is posted at  If you have questions, please direct them to [email protected]

Regards, Jim

SEIU local President Gary Malone’s response is, basically, that Bean needs to work on his math:

Dear Provost Bean, 

I would like to clear up a few misconceptions pointed out in your letter rationalizing 3.5% COLA’s for our Officers of Administration Staff. When you say that the 2011-2013 SEIU/OUS CBA “provides COLAs and step increases for our classified staff over the next two years. “ That is somewhat of a misnomer. 

The 2011-2013 SEIU/OUS CBA initially awards Furlough Days for the biennium which equates to a 4.7% pay-cut for all employees. Also, when the CBA was ratified in October of 2011; It rolled back all employees step-increases that were given after June 30 2011. In the 2009-2011 CBA, all steps were frozen and Furlough Days were imposed on Classified Staff Only! The Chancellor initially froze all Merit Increases in October 2008 for all Classified Staff; Right after Faculty and Administration were given substantial pay increases. 

Let’s take a closer look at where Classified Employees are:
1) Merit Increases Frozen 10-2008
2) Furlough Days 2009-2011; 4.7% pay cut
3) Furlough Days 2011-2013; 4.7% pay cut
4) Salary roll back 11-2012, to pre-July 1 , 2012 levels
5) Dec 2012, First Step Increase since 2008; 4.7% increase…But wait…you still have the Furlough Days. Equals no pay increase
6) 1.5% COLA, January 2012. However, the cost of living has gone up 12 to 15 percent since our last adjustment.
7) July 1, 2012, Some people finally get a Step Increase. Many do not.
8) January 1 2013…..Every Classified employee who has been here since 2008 will have received 1 Step Increase +4.7%, and two COLA’s +2.75% , and Furlough Days -4.7% over 5 years….AND Merit Increases are still frozen, or discouraged.
While I appreciate the UO Administration for giving credit to OUS and SEIU for the OA’s good fortunes; The bottom line is that most Classified Employees have only seen to date a modest 1.75% COLA and a -4.7% Furlough Day pay cut for a net of…are you ready for this … Minus 3% over 5 years. Our wages have gone down, not up. Then if you factor in say 12% inflation over the same period and we really are about 15% under paid. 

Respectfully, Gary D. Malone
SEIU/OPEU Local 085 President

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13 Responses to COLA for OA’s, and SEIU response:

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Gary! If you add in the coming food price increases due to the drought this summer, lower-paid classified staff will be struggling even more. Even so I can see good reasons for helping out the more lower-paid OAs, some of whom are undoubtedly in our boat as far as pay goes.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is there some clause in SEIU’s contract with UO that prevents UO from giving a COLA raise to SEIU members?

    If there’s not then UO’s statement make no sense.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Gary did not mention the 5% insurance premium we now pay, as well as a higher deductible and MORE items not covered by insurance…

    • Anonymous says:

      No doubt. My out of pocket expenses for routine care and prescriptions rose by almost $1000, on gross pay of under $35K. I understand the cost of benefits is rising, but it’s being put on our backs at a time when we’re already being squeezed. I can’t imagine what people with actual health issues are doing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The bottom line is that the SEIU contract had takebacks, the OA’s have not had any takebacks…only raises.

  5. Anonymous says:

    To be clear the UO has no independent authority to alter pay or compensation for seiu members that’s the downside to system wide bargaining

    • Anonymous says:

      Is it not possible to write a union contract that allows for unscheduled raises?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I missed the announcement for the celebration of Russ Tomlin, at his retirement. I remember when Lorraine Davis left the same post the event was huge. For anyone who was there: did anyone say anything about the big raise that he got right before leaving?

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder how much that celebration cost the U of O. When the tough gets going financially, then it should be up to EVERYONE to pitch in. An excellent analysis by Gary Malone on the state of pay for classified workers and the ineptitude and greed of the higher ups at U of O.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I am really unpleasantly surprised by people who begrudge OAs getting a COLA. This is the same mentality as people who begrudge “public employees” getting a fair deal just because those in the private sector are not getting what they are worth either.

    It is absolutely correct that many if not most OAs have had no raise since 2008. The people who did not get the May 11 equity raises were mostly the people who run campus departments, auxiliaries, oversee programs, and are other mid-level and lower level administrators.

    as far as parity with faculty, The UO would be in hot water if it gave raises to faculty outside of the contracting process — even for faculty who are not in the union. They will get their chance in the upcoming fall negotiations and I think that the COLA for OAs would only serve to boost their chances for the same or better.

    As far as comparing to classified, we really can’t be pitting classified against OAs and visa versa. We all need to work together. SEIU has secured COLAs last year and this year as well as reinstating step increases and adding the 10th step increases. Do people really think OAs deserve nothing?

    • UO Matters says:

      Honestly, I am not seeing opposition to these raises for OAs, in the post or the comments. Just skepticism about the veracity of our JH leaders.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How many classified workers got overtime to counteract the impact of furloughs on their salaries? Let us be honest here. We did do this practice at the UO and we got in trouble for it. We did this to try to soften the impact of the furloughs on salaries. The furloughs came because of statewide bargaining.

  9. Sad duck says:

    Wow, I’m glad I left my OA position and the UO for another employer. I wouldn’t have gotten a COLA, let alone any raise at all, for four years, no matter how good my performance was? And I’d now be paying 5% of my insurance premium, a highly regressive pay cut that hits lower-paid workers much harder than it hits higher-paid workers?

    I always hoped while I was there that the UO would get real leadership that would result in employment and compensation standards being applied consistently across departments, but after many years of hoping, I suppose I grew wiser. And sadder. Good luck to those of you who are staying on — may you find a department that is run well. There are a few.