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UO can’t give raises because of the union?

10/12/2012: I’ve heard many reports of recent statements by Bean and Gottfredson that they can’t pay us the round 2 and 3 Lariviere raises because of the union. At the Head’s retreat, for example. Please post comments or email me about other stuff you’ve heard from admins on this, with what was said, by whom, and when. The more specific the better.

The admin’s FAQ on the recent OA raises says:

  • Q:  Why aren’t you providing increases to faculty as well?
  • A:  Our faculty recently unionized.  Most adjustments to faculty salaries will need to be negotiated with the union as part of our initial collectively bargained contract.

On the other hand UO has the money set aside – for TTF and NTTF – and it’s hard to see how Kitzhaber can let the coaches get 21%+ and then say no to the professors. And the Johnson Hall dwellers are apparently not saying the problem is the money or the Gov – they’re saying it’s unionization.

Is there a legal prohibition against giving raises without a contract, now that we’ve gone union? No.

Labor law does say that, because of the union vote, faculty now have the right to ask the union to file a grievance against the administration for changes in the terms of employment – which would include a raise. I’m no psychology professor, but I don’t think people file grievances about getting raises often enough to even get a note in the DSM.

If there was a pre-existing agreement to give raises, does UO have to follow through with it now that we’ve got a union? Maybe.

If UO had made a pre-existing commitment to raise faculty pay before the union vote, then not following through could trigger an ERB grievance. Was there a commitment? Well, for starters there’s this email from Interim Provost Bean, sent out a few months after he’d tried to convince us all to take furloughs:

From: James Bean [mailto:[email protected]]Sent: Sunday, June 07, 2009 12:26 PM
To: Deans Working Group
Subject: Faculty Salaries 

The Missouri article stating that UO has the lowest salaries in the AAU has caused quite a stir (we have since verified that they were correct). Low salaries were always thought of as just Oregonian. But 34 out of 34 is a whole other thing. We cannot have this. Richard’s reaction was “this is job #1.” Richard will likely have an announcement on how we are attacking this when politically feasible (after last gavel). Please communicate to your faculty that the Missouri article really got our attention. This may require disruptive solutions.
Thanks, Jim
James C. Bean
Senior Vice President and Provost

The ERB is not going to take Bean’s word any more seriously than we do, but there’s more substantive evidence that faculty had reason to expect raises. I’ve got a public records request in for the spreadsheet showing what CAS had planned for rounds 2 and 3 of the Lariviere raises, for each TTF, by name. More than a month, and CAS Dean Scott Coltrane is still refusing to turn it over. If you’ve got a copy please send it along. Thanks!

I’m also trying to get more information on who is advising Gottfredson on labor law – I hope he knows better than to rely on Randy by now. My guess is that it’s Sharon Rudnick of Geller’s favorite firm, Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick. I’ve made a public records request, but Dave Hubin’s office wants to charge me $70 for the contracts – and it will be a lot more for the invoices and memos. You know where this is going – pony up, comrades.


  1. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    Scott Coltrane isn’t a name that shows up in the scandals often. Come one Scott. You don’t want to go down that route, do you?

  2. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    “disruptive solutions”. Like a sabbatical. What a fucking putz.

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      Lariviere getting fired was the disruptive part.

  3. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    Dog says

    The original CAS plan was something like this

    round 1: find equity difference between rank in some UO dept
    and the comparators. lets just say that’s 20% for full professors
    in some department. Round 1 was supposed give 1/3 of that are 6.7%
    raises for that department. That was effectively done.

    Round 2: supposed to be enacted Jan 1, 2012 was going to be similar
    to what was in round 1 but not at the 1/3 level but maybe at the 1/4 level.

    Round 3: similar formula

    end result was to try and get all ranks up to 90-95% of comparators.

    Clearly round 2 got cancelled for fear of negative PR since round 1
    was such a PR disaster (even though no state money was involved)

    Now we have a union, and I have commented on that before. There might be “law” that demands that union workers all get a COLA and
    that may well happen. But merit/equity raises may now be gone. I don’t know.

    • UO Matters 10/12/2012

      Got any docs or emails?

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      Game over for merit raises.

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      Get ready for more like this. Problem with X? Don’t like policy Y? Talk to your unionist.

      Will be interesting if the union tried to grab a bit more power by being the ones to appoint faculty reps to whatever.

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      Dog to UOMatters

      The CAS plan was basically unveiled at a department heads meeting
      in Jan or Feb. 2011. Maybe notes from that meeting exist.

  4. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    Virtually all the pre-union talk was about raises for tenure-related faculty. Something like two thirds of the bargaining unit is not tenure-related. Presumably they want raises (and benefits) too. These are the people who would object and file grievances if the administration acted on its previous plans.

    • Three-Toed Sloth 10/12/2012

      This is better than the morning funnies!

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      There is money in the budget for the adjuncts and OR’s too.

  5. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    I’ll say it again (since I won a bottle of scotch the last time I posted): Randy Geller is running the UO. Why? Because he or whatever firm is advising him can play this card at will: “Oh, we can’t do that because of pending union negotiations!” It ain’t just raises… As a previous poster said, expect to hear this refrain frequently.

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      And we handed it to them on a silver platter!

  6. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    I’m puzzled and a bit amused by all the baseless conjecture that the union is somehow going to work against the interest of its members, or some of its members. What most of the comments above reveal is that the many of the commenters have no idea what they are talking about.

    Instead of fretting and guessing, get involved and try to learn what is going on.

    You can start here:

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      Some of us have worked in unionized workplaces before and seen up close & personal how it works in practice. I’m no economist, but I believe this is filed under classic agency problems.

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      Question for poster above who provided the web address:

      Why does the union seem to be contacting individual TTF selectively and asking them to join as voting members? Some TTF have been contacted in person or by email and others not. Why the selection process and not just a mass email to all eligible faculty members? This process smacks of deck-stacking and hardly gives the impression of an open, transparent and democratic process.

      At this point, I’m completely confused about the status of the union, how they will function and what they might or might not be able to do. Some honest and open communication from them would be nice at this point.

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      I’ve worked in a unionized lab environment and it sucked. Stupid seniority based decisions that made zero sense. I do hope this one will be better but I’m very skeptical.

    • David Luebke 10/13/2012

      To the Anonymous with questions:

      The answer is pretty straightforward, really. You have to start somewhere, and there are only so many hours in a day. If you would like to join United Academics, just send me a note and I can drop by with a membership form, or arrange for someone else to do the same. Alternately, you can stop by the United Academics office on 13th and ask for a form there.

      Everyone received an invitation to the official launch event,, and I hope everyone can find the time to drop by for the meet-and-greet.

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      Who elected the bargaining team?

    • Anonymous 10/14/2012

      As the anon who posed the question, I’m not satisfied with David Luebke’s answer that ‘there are only so many hours in the day’. If United Academics can send everyone an email invitation to an event, then they can send everyone an email invitation to join the union. They can attach a membership form and include an explanation of what it means to join, what it will cost them and what the benefits are. Or is there something about membership and this process of joining that I don’t understand?

      Why not take a completely open, informative and transparent approach to membership? If the union doesn’t do so, then they are contributing to the already poisoned atmosphere at this university.

    • David Luebke 10/16/2012

      I trust Anonymous has by now received his/her personal email invitation. If she/he has not, it is because he/she is not in the bargaining unit. There is, by the way, a straightforward reason why membership forms cannot be mass-mailed to members of the bargaining unit, which is to avoid the hazard that someone might sign on behalf of someone else against their wishes. That may sound trite, but United Academics has no interest in enrolling as members colleagues who do not wish to join.

      If Anonymous would like to join United Academics, please let me know and I’ll bring a membership form. I also have a annotation that explains all those things that Anonymous seems not to understand.

  7. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    I’d be curious to know whether some of the professional schools also had a plan to bring our salaries up to the level of the comparators, like the one detailed here for CAS. This is a big issue among faculty in the music school right now.

    I believe it would be perfectly appropriate for the union to place a mechanism to solve the equity problem within the contract they are bargaining. Portland State’s union did something similar, as I understand–a table specifying that people who were 20%, 10%, 5%, etc. below the average faculty salary for their discipline at comparator schools should receive 6%, 5%, 4% raises, etc. until they came up to average level. Why wouldn’t we ask for something similar?

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      Dog to Curious Anon

      1. The CAS plan defacto turned out to be like the 6,5,4% you suggest. In fact, one of the reasons why some faculty were suspicious of the CAS plan is that some CAS faculty groups in some departments did not get a raise precisely because that group was making more than their comparators (this mostly in the Assistant Professor group where new hires are mostly paid at a competitive rate else they wont’ come here).

      2. Some years ago there was a 3/4/5 % merit raise designed to
      ease compression.

      3. However, the posed query about professional schools is a good one. To my knowledge its only CAS that systematically got the data on the comparators and implemented the plan on May 1, 2011 – I do not know what the plan was for professional schools.

      4. I think, but can not prove, that CAS faculty got a little lucky in that the chosen comparator base was salary only and did not include the UO extra 6% for retirement pick up because equivalent data was very hard to get for the comparators.

      5. As to future salary incremental raises convolved with the CBA, anybody’s guess is valid. The only thing I am reasonably certain about is, other than perhaps a mandated COLA, any other forms of raises are likely in the semi-distant future.

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      In response to Dog.3 above: A&AA seemed to have a similar approach to May 1, 2011 raises.

  8. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    That was essentially the Lariviere plan, which Gottfredson is now refusing to implement.

  9. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    I’m no psychologist, but it seems like we’ve known at least as far back as Tversky & Kahneman (1974) that (a) people judge the subjective value of numbers relative to some reference point, and (b) you can change the subjective valuation by changing the reference point, even holding constant the actual number being evaluated.

    This has now become woven into textbook negotiations strategy (and I mean “textbook” literally). You don’t give concessions before a negotiation because whatever you offer *in* the negotiation will be compared to whatever the state of things was *before* the negotiation. For example if the administration handed out a 4% raise now and later offered an additional 2% in negotiations, it’d be judged as paltry a 2% raise. By waiting until negotiations begin, they can frame the exact same raise as a 6% increase and be more likely to get the union membership to accept it. Whoever is advising the administration must be well aware of this, and if they let them grant raises right now they’d be guilty of malpractice.

    Welcome to adversarial labor-management relations, comrade!

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      I’m pretty sure no one’s ever been sued for malpractice over the application or misapplication of prospect theory. Are you familiar with the recent work showing the endowment effect decreases with IQ?

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      Seriously. I can’t believe uomatters is so confused by this. Why give out a raise before salary negotiations Furthermore, the union may have non-salary demands that cost money, such as benefits. It makes perfect sense to know what these are before salary adjustments.

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      Anon1, not familiar with the IQ work, though I know of other research showing the importance of disentangling numeracy from intelligence, and showing that the former drives many decision-making effects. I don’t know if that’s been applied to anchoring yet.

      Anon2, thanks for the link. I don’t know if I’d characterize the confluence of different controls the experimenters had to put into place simultaneously to make the effect go away as “extreme sensitivity to to experimental conditions.” And I’m not sure how well their experimental conditions will apply to our upcoming negotiation. For example, to eliminate the effect P&Z think it’s necessary to make negotiators anonymous. Will the presenters at the “meet the bargaining team” event be wearing masks?

    • Peter Keyes 10/13/2012

      I’d like to nominate this thread as the most learned, informative and enjoyable of the week.

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      To the Anon above Peter: Anonymity is used as a manipulation to increase social distance – already at its maximum between UO admins and faculty. (How many faculty have actually met and had a real conversation with our president yet? Me neither.)

      For more evidence, see the guest list for Randy Geller’s emerita party. Therefore the Plott Zeiler result will likely hold in practice, even without masks or anonymity.

      A more likely explanation for the administration’s refusal to give raises now is pride and overconfidence – perhaps enhanced by synthetic testosterone manipulations.

      See, for example, the review article at

  10. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    To anon above who can’t believe uomatters is so confused: I agree that it makes sense for the Administration to wait. If the Administration were saying that they don’t want to work on faculty raises because they would rather wait for union negotations, that would be fine. However, they are saying that they *can’t* do so, which is specious. Uomatters isn’t confused (at least on this point), just calling out misinformation.

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      Oh, I should have realized that this was all about how it was phrased. Petty.

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      That’s ridiculous, Petty.

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      Under what sorts of assumptions about our administrative motives regarding UO’s faculty would the strategy described above be rational? Not collegial motivations!

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      Unions don’t make for collegial motivations

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      Nor does the UO administration and Bean’s “Dear Colleagues” emails.

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      Sounds like a “win-win”

    • uomatters 10/13/2012

      The UO administration has been fighting with the TT faculty over salaries for a long time. The 2000 Senate white paper laid out the problems and how far we were behind our peers, particularly for associates and fulls.

      The administration did nothing substantial for 12 years – if anything we fell farther behind. The Lariviere raises were a brief bump, we’re still at the bottom of the AAU.

      Frohnmayer and Moseley were experts at finding excuses, while spending tuition money on their own pet projects – remember Bend?

      Now Gottfredson’s excuse is the union? Pathetic.

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      Flip it: assume that the union now gives the admin political cover to raise faculty salaries.

    • UO Matters 10/13/2012

      Does Gottfredson want to raise our salaries? I don’t think he even mentioned it in his Senate speech. And Bean just wants to fiddle with on-line courses.

  11. Angry old lady 10/14/2012

    The fact that the faculty went union astounds me. They should have asked any classified staff person what their union does for them…then turn the corner and run! The administration loves the idea…look what their doing already…screwing you forcefully and loving it!

    So I ask…where’s your union now? RIGHT….gone to lunch.

    • Peter Keyes 10/15/2012

      You seem to have absolutely no idea what the union is doing right now and has been doing over the summer. I suggest you look at the union website, or talk to someone involved. Then you might be a little less angry.

    • Anonymous 10/15/2012

      I can’t wait to have my union fair share deduction taken from my pay check. That way I’ll know that Peter and the other union types will be getting compensated for their hard work.

      By the way, when did the faculty choose Peter and others as union leaders. Did I miss the voting or what is another ‘card check’?

    • Peter Keyes 10/15/2012

      Hhhmm. The ignorance in this thread is a nice counterpoint to the erudition seen above – I’m glad to see that we have such a diverse faculty.

      I’m also excited to hear that you want us “union types” to be compensated for our time. I hadn’t really been counting on any compensation, had just sort of figured that union-related work would be akin to all the other non-lucrative governance work many of us have been doing over the years. Maybe I should just follow the UO Matters protocol and ask for whiskey in-kind contributions.

      As for all the misconceptions in your last paragraph:
      1. The faculty haven’t chosen any union leaders. Or if they did, they forgot to tell me.
      2. I am not responding here as a “union leader”, just another UO Matters troll like yourself. You must still be operating under the misinformation that the administration was spreading around last spring.
      3. You didn’t miss any voting – voting on a contract and the election of union leaders will happen after a contract has been negotiated.
      4. Trying to unravel the syntax of your last clause….nope, just can’t do it.

      But as I wrote above, information is readily available on all these matters. Check it out if you want answers, or you can just continue to wallow in your ill temper.

    • kangaroo 10/15/2012


      I’m classified staff.

      1) I got a COLA raise this year and I’m getting a merit increase.

      2) I have job security, not a 1-year contract.

    • Three-toed sloth 10/16/2012

      My email invitation arrived yesterday. Did yours?

    • Angry old lady 10/18/2012

      Mr Keyes.

      I know union. I have watched how it works for the classified employees. Unions are a money collecting joke….have no interest in settling grievances, could care less if a person gets fired for a trumped up reason, call a 2% raise in pay their best work, and then settle for furlough days for the least paid employees…those fools couldn’t find their ass if their hand was glued to it.

      I have had many more years to watch the work of unions around here than you have had your degree…I know what unions do around here. Unions do as little as possible, but waste no time collecting your dues. I find little room to believe the faculty union will be any different.

      Ya all would be better off being real faculty, teaching our future generations at some other university cause I can tell ya now…it ain’t happening her for ya anymore.

      And thanks…I’ll stay angry…feels good.

  12. Anonymous 10/15/2012

    Unions rarely inspire the best and always protect the worst….

    • Anonymous 10/15/2012

      How is that any different than what our administration has done for the last 10 years?

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