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Join the Faculty Union: Membership and bargaining FAQ

11/8/2012: The faculty union has posted a new FAQ on membership and bargaining, here. I know many readers did not sign for unionization and are very skeptical of the union. I encourage those skeptics in particular to now sign membership cards and ensure their voices are heard within the union. Our faculty union needs members that are skeptical of faculty unions!


You will boost your unit’s weight in the union’s council of delegates and get a vote on the constitution, leadership, dues, and bargaining agreement. 


My guess is that dues will be a bit above 1% of salary. Members don’t pay any dues until the union signs a contract with the administration, and then it is very likely that contract – like most in Oregon – will include an anti-freeriding “fair share” clause that will mean that non-members will pay 70-90% of the dues that members pay – but without the vote. So the marginal cost of being a member rather than paying fair share will be low.

In my department only one faculty member signed the card-check card. All but 3 have signed the union-membership cards. I’m no economist, but at this point I think it’s the rational choice. If you want a membership card email me.

From the Union website:

What are our bargaining priorities?

… More specifically, in negotiations we will focus on attaining a contract that:

  • Enables UO to recruit and retain high quality faculty by establishing competitive salaries, stable working conditions, and access to benefits for all faculty
  • Provides for meaningful faculty voice in the creation and implementation of transparent, enforceable policies related to evaluation, promotion, and workload
  • Supports excellence and innovation in research and education, beginning with adequate facilities and manageable class sizes


    1. Grey Duck 11/09/2012

      It’s not clear to me that joining is the rational choice for those of us that do not support the union. I’d like to see what the fair share provision is first and then decide whether the marginal value I assign to my vote exceeds the additional amount I would have to pay to cast that vote.

      • Anonymous 11/09/2012

        The fair share provision is likely to be on the order of 95% based on what is seen in other unions. The conclusion is that being an actual union member isn’t worth much at all.

    2. UO Matters 11/09/2012

      You can leave the union after a month. Assume you are paid $100,000. Annual dues are say $1200, or $100 per month. Say fair-share is 70%. For a marginal cost of $30 you get a vote. If you’re really quick you could potentially get that down to $0. I don’t expect many people to do this, because I believe people are rational *and* less than completely selfish.

    3. Anonymous 11/09/2012

      As a science PI I won’t be in the union, but it’s undoubtedly going to affect me. The union states they want to “Support excellence and innovation in research”. How? “beginning with adequate facilities” – what is the union going to do to improve my research facilities? Science TTF could get screwed.

    4. UO Matters 11/09/2012

      That’s a big problem. I’m on the fence as a PI myself, I was out on the first list then in on the second. I hope the administration will act as honest agents at the bargaining table for the science PI’s. Is that better than just having them in the bargaining unit? I don’t know.

      • Anonymous 11/09/2012

        Good question. On the one hand I’m glad not to be in the union – on the other, it’s unclear how Science TTF are going to be represented going into the future, but I’m guessing that we have to root for the admin side of things in this new adversarial relationship.

      • Anonymous 11/09/2012

        The science PI’s will have to rely on VPR Kimberly Espy to represent them at the table when competing for money and space? Goodbye UO science. I’m sure Espy will end up with a good deal for herself though.

      • Anonymous 11/09/2012

        As has been noted before, being a PI on an NSF grant does not appear to be sufficient to get you out of the union. About half of the professors in the math department are PIs on NSF grants, and all of these professors are being “permitted” to join the bargaining unit (against their wishes, of course).

        Does anyone know who decides who is in and who is out, how exactly they decide, and how to appeal this decision (if possible)?

      • Anonymous 11/09/2012

        I don’t think being a PI on a grant precludes one from being in the bargaining unit. The critical factor is whether or not you supervise a technician or postdoc, as I believe the conflict arises from the potential of having supervisors and employee in the same union. At least that’s my understanding.

      • Anonymous 11/10/2012

        Every NTTF I know in the sciences is against the union. While virtually all of us normally support unions, we don’t want a faculty union at the UO. One problem for us is that we feel valued in our department by the TTF. This is something that we have worked hard at achieving. Now that virtually NO TTF in our department are in the union because they have grants that support postdocs etc., unionization only sets us back as a separate group of faculty. This is unlikely to change. I don’t see any of us joining the union. I don’t buy the argument that “since it is a done deal” we should sign the card. We are against the union and can show our position best by NOT signing up.

      • Anonymous 11/10/2012

        To anon above, “The critical factor is whether or not you supervise a technician or postdoc, ” — this isn’t correct. I, for example, am a PI who doesn’t supervise any technicians or postdocs, but I’m out of the union. (I’m on the excluded list.) I’m not the only one. I’ve asked why this is, and have never gotten an answer. It’s apparently a deep mystery…

    5. Anonymous 11/09/2012

      If enough of us refuse to sign the union membership cards, is there any chance we could still head off this whole business by fundamentally weakening the effort? That would constitute a rational reason for not signing up given how unfortunate the unionization move is likely to be for the university. Is it still worth fighting to try to keep alive the idea of the university as a community of scholars rather than an education factory?

      • UO Matters 11/09/2012

        I think the union is here to stay.

      • Anonymous 11/11/2012

        You can be damn sure it’s not going to stop at the 1%. Now that we’re a unit, the state is going to start playing the fun game “you’ve been furloughed!”

        The national org is going to be laughing all the way to the bank.

    6. Anonymous 11/09/2012

      A suggestion to my union brethren (since I am not in the union I do not want)…..Why don’t you make the fair-share provision next to nothing or some token amount per month, e.g $1 or $5? Make it clear that you want to win us over and demonstrate that you are concerned about all faculty interests. Give yourself a performance goal to strive for that X% of non signers choose to join the union in Year 2. Use that goal to see how much you have moved the faculty to support you. Do this as an open and honest recognition that the union itself is an organization that needs to build consensus — don’t just bust on the administration about its needs to be inclusive.

      If the fair share provision is 70-90% of the whole as surmised in the opening entry, I will be more than pissed. I will be seriously angry and this will just be another example of how the union is doing what it’s skeptics have said all along — find a way to create jobs for themselves and line their pockets. Prove me wrong. Show me that I should pay for the dues, that you represent all of us and that the dues are a small cost to pay for the value you deliver.

      • Anonymous 11/09/2012

        At Rutgers, the fair share amount is 95% of the full cost of union dues. If we get something below 90%, that will be a deal.

      • UO Matters 11/09/2012

        I don’t get this logic. The higher the FS% the lower the marginal cost of joining the union and getting a vote.

      • UO Matters 11/09/2012

        Whoops, I was typing instead of thinking. I see this was not your question.

      • Anonymous 11/10/2012

        As the original Anon above, no one is answering my initial question. Why not prove your worth of the dues rather than force me to pay for it and hope I come away — some years hence — happy? A decision to not go for as much fair share as it could would, I believe, go a long long way to engendering respect and maybe even begrudging acceptance of this new normal. As of now, no proof of value breeds resentment and just encourages all of you to pose this as a false choice, e.g. marginal costs etc. That is not at all the point. Fairness and inclusiveness should be the point. Earn it, don’t take it.

      • Anonymous 11/10/2012

        union dues = racketeering

      • UO Matters 11/10/2012

        Look, I’m a skeptic too. But who do you think should pay the costs of the union while we wait to see if it works? Anyway, I agree that it won’t work unless we work at it – that’s why I joined it. It’s a done deal, time to re-optimize.

      • Anonymous 11/11/2012

        Is it really a done deal? Not necessarily. The card check process was slick and secretive and manipulative, perfectly timed to minimize faculty dissent (recall that it went down during exams and spring break, ouch). The card check was hastily approved by a state agency that has a very low bar for union organization, after the UO mysteriously dropped its opposition. As a result, the union was formed by a shady, secretive and nondemocratic process. Two polls last spring showed a very close margin among both TTF and NTTF. There is a long list of reasons why the faculty union, as presently designed, is not a good fit for this university. I object to the notion that we now have to accept as “fait accomplis” the result of such a deeply flawed, biased, and manipulative decision making process.

        However, we still have the option to take a step back, and VOTE on this most important matter. It’s something to consider.

    7. UO Matters 11/09/2012

      It’s a multiple player version of the prisoner’s dilemma. People will free-ride, the union will not have the resources it needs to run. Taxation is the normal solution to this problem. Obviously you are right that unions can go bad, because of rent-seeking by the insiders, and because of free-riding by bargaining unit members who don’t engage in the politics and work to prevent it.

      • Anonymous 11/09/2012

        What level of resources does the union need to run? What new salaries are we going to be paying? 1.25% should bring in quite a chunk of change.

      • UO Matters 11/09/2012

        Very roughly, 1% will bring in about $900,000 assuming fair-share. About half will end up with the state affiliates (AFT, AAUP) half with the local. The nationals don’t take much. The local budget will cover office expenses and 2-3 employees. The state payments will go to their own expenses and lobbying costs. Costs of legal, accounting, bargaining consultants etc. will be shared between the local and the affiliates. My impression of the upper level state and national union representatives I’ve met with is that they are high quality. They are certainly smarter than Bean and Geller.

        Of course their interests are not perfectly aligned with ours – but they are positively correlated. I’m not sure how true that is for many of the suits in JH. Getting UO to unionize is a big deal for the AFT and AAUP and they each want to be able to say they did a good job helping the UO faculty get some raises while keeping incentives for quality and strengthening faculty governance. It’s a long run repeated game for them.

        But obviously this will only work with skepticism and monitoring on our part. So join the union and run for the Finance Committee!

      • Anonymous 11/10/2012

        Thanks uomatters guy – that’s good to know.

      • Anonymous 11/11/2012

        It’s already clear that the union organizers have frozen out any dissenters. I’ve asked to be invited to organizing events, but am conveniently left off the list having been a squeaky wheel in the past.

        Fait accompli. Sic semper tyrannis.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        Dear Anonymous who feels left out. I don’t understand what you mean by being off the list. Every event has been advertised on the website. It’s true that if you made clear your against the union, the group isn’t sending you emails because we assume that you don’t want to be bothered. But everything is on the website, so I invite you to check it out. If you need questions answered, please contact the union office and we’ll get some faculty over to talk with you and any group you would like to invite.

      • UO Matters 11/13/2012

        UO Matters stands ready to talk about the union with any skeptics, preferably in a decent bar. Meiji’s?

    8. Anonymous 11/09/2012

      But why is this the appropriate tax base – all faculty, including those against unionization, and for what outcome from an unproven group? Not convinced on the model. nb, I am usually not against taxes or unions.

      • UO Matters 11/09/2012

        I guess I’ll fall back on argument B: It’s a done deal, right or wrong, good or bad. Join the union and help make it work.

      • Anonymous 11/10/2012

        the way it works for the GTFs? The grad students I work with get screwed by the union.

      • UO Matters 11/10/2012

        So what are you going to do to make sure that doesn’t happen with the faculty union?

      • Anonymous 11/11/2012

        ‘make it work’ – I did not vote for the union precisely because imho it was too unworkable. Union negotiations, done right, are incredibly time-consuming and this group is particularly heterogeneous. Seriously, I’m already maxed out trying to do right by my UO career. Research, grants, advising, teaching, regular service (and yes, UO-M blog reading) eats up all time and still leaves guilt. No union negotiations are going to change that. I have to be strategic about choosing projects and if I did have extra time, it would be more responsible to spend it on community issues. And a union isn’t just another 1-hr meeting – responsible participants in a project this big spend much more time than that. Further, I’m disappointed that we’ve basically hired some corporate entity to do things that the faculty senate should have mustered. But, since it’s here, please take good care of my 1% tax. My challenge – prove to me that it’s better spent on a union than on local nonprofits.

      • Old Man 11/11/2012

        The Sci-Guy above writes: “I’m disappointed that we’ve basically hired some corporate entity to do things that the faculty senate should have mustered.” The University Senate (formed in 1996) addressed a number of centrally important issues but has been repeatedly ignored by the UO Administration. The Constitution was designed to give the Senate some clout. However, changes in Presidents and outright obstructionism, probably from Bean and Geller, have retarded its effective operation. Unionization may add further obstacles — that remains to be seen. In the meantime, the Senate is gaining strength as shown by better attendance and debate, and by the presence of the University President at meetings. This year is likely to tell whether meaningful shared governance can be revived at the UO. The outcome is likely to depend on Mike G’s willingness to either lay down the law or make personnel changes in Johnson Hall.

      • Cato the Elder 11/11/2012

        Yup. Frohnmayer and Berdahl did all they could to weaken the Senate. Geller and Bean similarly. Lariviere did the same until, in the end, he found he needed us. With Hubin’s help they starved the Senate of resources, kept it in the dark, and manipulated it for their own purposes. Faculty made the rational choice and ignored it.

        The union came along in the vacuum. It does offer some help – perhaps by including the constitution in the legally binding CBA and a way to enforce salary improvement efforts like the 2000 white paper.

        But there are a lot of shared governance tasks the union cannot or should not do. The fact that Gottfredson is coming to meetings, talking sense, and not assigning Hubin to scuttle sensible things like the motions to have faculty input in admin hiring and review is just great.

        If Gottfredson signs the constitution, cleans house in JH, gives the Senate some money to hire real and independent administrative help, gives course releases or stipends for some more of the committee work, and starts giving us some real power over real decisions then I think faculty will start taking the Senate seriously again.

        But Bean and Geller? They are poison to all of this. Carthago delenda est.

      • Anonymous 11/09/2012

        I have no opinion on this one way or the other, but in the interest of reasoned debate, let’s be careful the terms we throw around so casually. “Indicted” is a very different thing than someone filing a lawsuit. As of now, there are some accusations that have yet to stand the test of any due process. If true, very troubling but you are jumping the gun a bit here.

        As for transparency, you managed to find this pretty easily on the interwebs – it’s not exactly a secret.

      • Three-toed sloth 11/10/2012

        United Academics has not been indicted for racketeering. The union has been sued by Keith Appleby, a former grad student in Sociology, although the suit seems directed primarily at the GTFF. This is not the first time Appleby has sued, and as far as I know all of his suits so far have been tossed as frivolous.

    9. Anonymous 11/11/2012

      I will dangle the idea that we could still have a VOTE on this most important matter if we chose to go that route. To reiterate: The card check process last spring was slick and secretive and manipulative, perfectly timed to minimize faculty dissent. The union was then hastily approved by a state agency that has a very low bar for union organization, after the UO mysteriously dropped its opposition. So our faculty union was formed by a shady, secretive and nondemocratic process. Moreover, two polls last spring showed a very close margin among both TTF and NTTF, and it’s clear that there are still a lot of misgivings and mistrust of the whole business. There is a long list of reasons why the faculty union, as presently designed, is poor fit for this university. So why in the world should we the people accept the result of such a deeply flawed, biased, and manipulative decision-making process? What century is this anyway?

      It turns out we still have the option to take a step back, and VOTE on this most important matter. But it could be messy. How much are we willing to pay for an open and democratic process? Is it worth it? I’m not sure.

      • UO Matters 11/11/2012

        As attractive as this idea might sound to those with legitimate worries about the union’s effect on TTF, from what I can tell it is going nowhere and the people who floated it last winter have not pursued it. John Nash was one of you, mathematicians! Apply the game theory, find the unique sub-game perfect pure strategy Nash equilibrium. Then join the union and make sure the views of skeptical TTFs are fairly represented.

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        A vote has the benefit of being something that PI TTF can actually do in this matter, since they are excluded from the union itself. A vote of TTF would reflect the feelings of the TTF, instead of the subset of TTF that can be part of the union.

        I would imagine the PI TTF now realize that the union chose the postdocs to join them rather than the PIs. Probably a good political choice, and very much an intentional one.

      • UO Matters 11/12/2012

        I agree that the exclusion of the PI’s is going to be a big problem for the legitimacy and effectiveness of the union – particularly since one of its stated goals is to preserve and improve UO’s status as a research university. I don’t know the history of how it happened – union wanted it, JH wanted it, PI’s wanted it, or some combination.

        That said, the current problems with research at UO – PIs leaving, no startup money – are the fault of Bean’s mismanagement, and Espy’s apparent inability to figure out how with the difficult situation she inherited. They’ve got nothing to do with the union!

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        Untrue – on top of those problems is layered a new salary cut for union dues and the uncertainty and complexity of a new method of contract negotiation, which nobody thinks will go well for science PI’s or groups. Nobody is saying – ‘well, there are some problems in research city but at least I’m feeling really confident about the new union……’
        I have more confidence in the recovery of research funds and their administration here at UO than in this contract process. Very, very nervous about unwieldy ‘one size fits all’ things that will make it more difficult to hire good postdocs, NTTFs, technicians, etc. etc.

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        Indeed, the GTFF already works to maintain mediocrity at the graduate student level. All too often faculty unions do the same in their ranks.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        The GTFF has recently killed all of our grading by undergraduates. Ridiculous.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        Okay…I think we need to rein this in a bit and get some clarity and facts going.
        1. The union wanted all the PIs IN the union! It’s the Admin that wanted them out. Legally, if one spends about 60% of one’s time supervising the work of another person in the bargaining unit, the supervisor can’t be in the bargaining unit. That’s considered “fair.” So, the PIs were. The admin then tried to get out lots of other people, but they didn’t fit this profile, so they are in. Traditionally, Law Schools are always out. I don’t remember why but I remember that the reasoning made sense.
        2. 1% or 1.25% or whatever the union decides it is going to pay for dues (and, by the way, if you are not a member of the union, you don’t get a vote on this issue either)will be carefully spent to ensure that we finally have a represented and loud voice for the faculty not only here at the University but in Salem as well. I would suggest that you consider becoming a member to ensure that your concerns are put on the table.
        3. The problems with research at the UO are not the fault of the union. These problems were already here last year before the there was certification. The biggest problem I’ve seen is that the Administration keeps telling PIs who have NSF and NIH grants that they can’t get or give the raises that are written into the grants because of the union. This is just ridiculous. If the grant is in place, the law says your allowed to go ahead. If you are in this situation, the union wants to know who you are — please contact the office as soon as you can. Whether you are in the bargaining unit or not, you need to protect your staff working in your lab.
        3. The reason for fair-share: If you are not a member of the union, but the union bargains for raises and gets them: you, of course, get a raise too. If you are not a member of the union, but something happens that you think is wrong (someone gets a raise because your head likes them but you publish more, or you don’t get promoted to full when you had everything in place, or you simply get told one day that your lab is moving and therefore you need to start packing in the middle of some project, or you get told that you can’t pay the raises in your grant because of some silly reason and now you will be in jeapardy of breaking your commitment on the grant), if any of these things happen or something like them, we will now have a document in place and a group to go to that will take your side and represent you so you are not arguing by yourself with your dean or provost. You are protected by this document and the body of people that stand behind it ready to help you. For this reason, Oregon has what is known as “fair share.” That is, a percentage of the dues that members pay, you will pay. Unfortunately, it also means that you can’t vote on dues, the contract itself, or the constitution and bylaws or participate in the governance of the union.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        Me again…sorry about the typos in the beginning…

        I want to add one more thing. The card check was in no-way secretive. People signed out in the open and delivered the cards. There were some cases of faculty who were so intimidated in their departments, that they came foward and signed quite quietly, but I am shocked that people didn’t know that card signing was going on. In fact, there was all kinds of hoopla on this website and who did what to whom regarding card signing. And I think most of it was just one side lashing out at the other. I do think that if you were very anti union and you made that clear to people who weren’t anti union, we probably didn’t come to you to ask you to sign a card. It’s not because we want to leave you out. On the contrary, we would like to include you but thought that we would be met with anger and resentment.

        As a union supporter, I want all of us to get pay raises. I feel like I’m doing excellent work and being paid though I’m at a mediocre university. If I get more money, I think I will feel even better about my work because I’ll feel better about my career choice. I didn’t choose to go into acadamia to make it rich. I would have stayed in my old career for that. But I certainly expected to make a living wage. If you are in the STEM, I’m going to assume you did too. You could have gone many places, but you didn’t. Now you should be compensated accordingly for the excellent work you do. That’s only one of the reasons why I’m pro-union.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        1. The union organizers wanted postdocs and techs in the union – this was the decision that led to the removal of PIs. From my perspective it was a clear move to get those that are most likely to oppose unionization out of the bargaining unit. Worked like a charm. Thus, the union made the decision to exclude PIs when they constructed the bargaining unit, not the administration.

        2. Thanks for the consoling words that our union dues will be well spent but there’s good reason to be skeptical. I’m tired of the calls to get involved in the union if you have concerns – I don’t have the time for that and now we’re going to be paying the union. What are we getting in return?

        3. The union is likely to add to the decline of research at UO because the union will spread resources out to all faculty limiting the amount available for merit raises. When I look at my department, the union is going to help those that least deserve it – the ones that aren’t doing any research and have a minimally higher teaching load. They already make more than they deserve.

    10. Anonymous 11/12/2012

      I don’t know what can be done at this point, but once the union is locked in, it will be almost impossible to disband it. I have little doubt that if a vote were taken today, the majority would vote against unionization (at least TTF, and maybe others as well). I’ve talked to a number of mild supporters from last spring who didn’t realize the hit they’d be taking on the salary front and the shut-down in communication between faculty and management that would follow unionization. They should not have been so naive, of course, but now that more is understood about how this all works, if there is even a small possibility of heading off unionization before it becomes a fait accompli, we should give it a go. But how?

      • UO Matters 11/12/2012

        It’s been a fait accompli since spring. Gottfredson has already agreed to negotiate a CBA with the union. They are negotiating the ground rules now: The union has a draft CBA. Bargaining will start soon. Your best option now is to join up and make sure your voice is heard during the negotiations.

      • Cat 11/12/2012

        I applaud UO Matters for the approach he has personally taken. But to his exhortation, I say: “No, thanks.” There is no reason to believe that if I join up my voice will be heard. Almost certainly, the train has left the station on a process I dispute and distrust–and mostly, don’t believe can be effective or work in my interests. So being there to watch it will be no consolation–indeed, step by step, I’m sure it’ll be excruciating. And were I to actually speak out, and say anything that “outs” me as a naysayer, given how it’s worked so far, I fully expect to be substantively frozen. (After all, look at the hoops one had to jump to join the organizers this summer.) I’m no wilting violet, believe me, but there are far better uses for my time, my energy, and my mental health. Let those who wanted this, pushed for it, and–if not quite took advantage of the rest of us–took advantage of a rare moment when they could assure the right number of cards, let them do the work and stand or fall by what the bargaining does or does not accomplish.

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        If 30% of the employees in the represented unit sign a petition for a decertification election, it may be filed one year after the original election and a new election will be held.

      • FRANK STAHL 11/12/2012

        It will take effort and time but should be doable. HERE’S A PLAN: Someone who cares should send me an electronic list of all folks who constitute the represented unit. In the event that I must take to the road to get 30%, I should also be provided with a list of Union Members so I don’t waste shoe leather. The represented unit list should be organized by category: e.g., TTF, NTTF etc, or, as a minimum, indicated for each entry whether they are TTF, NTTF or whatever. I should also be provided with properly formatted petition forms, either electronic or hard copy.
        If I am provided such material, i will announce on UOMatters that I will have the petitions in my office (287 Onyx Bridge) from 9 to 12 and from 1:30 to 5 on Monday through Friday for two(?) weeks, except for Senate Meetings. All who wish to decertify should come there (with UO ID) and sign. If you think of anything else I should do to make sure my efforts meet regulations, please let me know.
        My email address is [email protected]. My home phone is 541-343-9509. Office phone, where I will be if the plan goes into effect, is 541-346-6096.
        LET’s DO IT!

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        Three cheers to Frank Stahl for this initiative. I have no idea how to get the electronic list he needs, but I hope someone reading this blog does. The hope is that more people than last spring now understand that unionization will further the corporatization of the university, pit different segments of the campus against one another, and be personally costly.

      • UO Matters 11/12/2012

        I do not support the Stahl plan and I do not think it will succeed. But UO Matters has an ethical obligation to keep the faculty informed on important issues and provide a place to discuss them, particularly if Frank buys me a bottle of Cragganmore. So if faculty do pursue this keep me in the loop and I will post the information.

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        Vote to decertify is the way to go. The timing is perfect. Go Frank!

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        Dog on Decertification:

        The National Labor Relations Board maintains many rules governing when employees can file for a decertification election. The first rule is the “certification bar,” which holds that petitions for a decertification election cannot be filed for 1 year after a union wins an NLRB conducted election.

        Another important rule is the “contract bar,” which holds that petitions for a decertification election cannot be filed during the first 3 years of a collective bargaining agreement, except for during a certain 30-day “window period.” In most workplaces, the 30-day “window period” for filing a decertification petition with the NLRB occurs 60 to 90 days prior to the expiration date or 3 year anniversary of the contract, whichever comes first. In the health care industry (such as hospitals), the 30-day “window period” occurs 90 to 120 days prior to the expiration date of the contract or 3 year anniversary of the contract, whichever comes first.

        A decertification petition can also be filed anytime after a contract expires or becomes more than 3 years old. However, if your employer and the union enter into a successor contract, the new contract will begin another 3 year “contract bar” on decertification elections. Thus, if you miss the “window period” for filing a petition for a decertification election, you may have to wait for another 3 years to request a decertification election.

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        It will not take long for that one year window to arrive, and there is no guarantee that a collective bargaining agreement will exist by that time. If there is wide support for a vote to decertify, it might help to slow down the march to a collective bargaining agreement that excludes our most highly accomplished and productive research science faculty … which might not be a bad thing.

      • Frank Stahl 11/12/2012

        Dog, help me out here. As I understand things, our union has not held an election. They signed a bunch of cards, instead. When is the earliest data that a decertification petition can be submitted? Right now, or one year after the cards were turned in? I want to do this right and ASAP.

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        The Excelsior List is on its way to Frank as we speak.

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        The excelsior list reveals one of the many flaws with the union. Unions pit “employees” against “management”. The faculty on the excelsior list are considered “management” because they get grants and hire people, yet they are “employed” by the University. Many of the faculty on that list do not hire postdocs or lab technicians, they have grad students on research assignments yet they are excluded because of their “supervisory” role. Half of my department is “in” the union and the other half is “out”. It’s ludicrous. We are a top ranked university that risks weakening its standing in the international research community, and could get booted out of AAU, because we have created such an ill conceived and poorly designed union. Any strategies to correct the current situation should be carefully considered and pursued if/as appropriate.

      • UO Matters 11/12/2012

        The excelsior list is the people *in* the bargaining unit, not the people out of it.

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        Doh, right. The point remains that the union has disenfranchised some of the most prominent intellectual leaders and substantial grant winners of our academic community.

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        If Dog is right, the key question for Frank’s initiative is the one raised above: whether the card-check process counts as an election. If it is, there may be little hope. But if not, maybe there’s still a way to head off this disastrous move. It’s not just that the union disenfranchises key faculty (which of course it does). It’s also that it pits the franchised and the disenfranchised against one another. And for this, my friends, you will get to pay $600 – $1500 per year (depending on your salary and the percentage take that is agreed upon).

      • Anonymous 11/12/2012

        Because the Oregon LRB “certified” the union, as opposed to simply “recognizing” it as the UO did, the union now has 3 years to run this unwelcome experiment with no obvious path to a challenge. Unless someone wants to file a lawsuit. So yes, it appears we’re screwed.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        Dog to Frank

        I think a consultation with a labor lawyer is needed for this because I think its ambiguous. I think that the Oregon LRB did “certify” on the basis of the card check, Now, as Anon above asks,
        is that card check the same as an “election”?. It might be the
        same in the eyes of the Oregon LRB but possibly not in the eyes of the law.

        I really do think some labor lawyer has to inform us here because, for me at least, I am really guessing here.

        The key legal interpretation is on this phrase:

        or 1 year after a union wins an NLRB conducted election.

        is a card check the same as a NLRB conducted election. I personally don’t think so, but I also personally don’t write
        labor law!

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        Card check was a sleazy slimy deal, but looks like we’re stuck with it (for 3 years?). Knowledge of labor law would be helpful, but can cost $$ and time to get good answers.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        Dog says

        The key legal point is to make sure that the union is “eligible” for de-certification. No sense proceeding if this is not known in advance. Maybe some law school prof lukers on this
        forum could help render a legal opinion here.

      • Anonymous 11/14/2012

        Yup, no kidding. Crazy. Many/most of them are natural science PI’s who have some supervisory authority over postdocs and grad students. As noted elsewhere, the Union deliberately chose to include postdocs in the collective bargaining unit, ensuring that all TTF PIs who have postdocs would be excluded. Talk about political. Hopefully there will be some movement on this in the not too distant future. It may take a little time to get organized, stay tuned for updates.

      • Anonymous 11/14/2012

        How many total TTF are at UO? I’m interested to know what percentage are excluded by these shenanigans.

      • Anonymous 11/14/2012

        Could it be that nearly 25% of TTF are not in the “faculty union”.

      • Anonymous 11/14/2012

        Yup. There are a total of 210 souls on that list. 161 of them (“Exhibit B”) are department heads and otherwise “normal” TTF who have grants and supervise postdocs or grad students. So, subtract 49 (deans and provosts in Exhibit A) from the 696 total, and you get 161/647 = 0.25. Result: 25% of tenure related faculty at the UO are excluded from the Faculty Union. Brilliant, eh?

      • Anonymous 11/14/2012

        Anyone know what percent of science faculty TTF are excluded? 70%?

    11. Anonymous 11/13/2012

      Welcome to Eugene Community College…..

    12. Anonymous 11/13/2012

      This is covered by Oregon law, not National Labor Relations Act. All the information you need is on the Oregon Employment Relations Board website, if you spend enough time and dig deeply enough. However, the card-check certification did start the certification year clock, which is one year. No contract-bar clock would start unless and until an agreement is reached.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        Dog says

        this maybe right. I don’t know. I am just not sure that
        State Law always supersedes Federal Labor Law.

    13. Cat 11/13/2012

      That means there’s potentially a window in the spring, after the certification anniversary and before an agreement is reached. And between now and then is plenty of time to collect signatures from those in favor of decertification.

      That such a signature-collecting process would overlap with the union-admin negotiations might be advantageous. A meaningful decertification movement would put pressure on the union to be mindful of the nay-sayers among those they represent (instead of just this constant, “join and help us bargain!” stuff!).

      The negotiations are where the rubber hits the road. The union will be under a lot of pressure to come through with a good deal for everyone. They may indeed succeed. But I still find it dismaying–and even a little insulting–that they refuse to acknowledge, much less address, an outcome some faculty foresee: that of departments riven between those in and out of the union, or a union that represents a chunk of campus while excluding another, i.e., more or less the whole natural science wing.

      A list of signatures for decertification would remind both negotiating parties how many faculty disapprove of the whole process.

      Thank you, Frank!

    14. Anonymous 11/13/2012

      The potential for constant movement of faculty into and out of the union is crazy. Dept heads rotating in/out every 3 yrs or so, PIs rotating in and out with funding cycles and a number of us that have no idea if we are in or out based on the vague supervisory status issues that no one seems interested in clarifying. At this point I have no confidence in the Union or the Administration.

    15. Frank Stahl 11/13/2012

      Signature collection will begin after advocates for such a move provide strong evidence that its success (30% ?) will lead to decertification and a clear statement of what my calendar must be. I await. You have my email address, phone numbers, and office address.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        It appears that a vote to decertify would be legal after the one-year window has passed and before a collective bargaining agreement is formalized. When does the union hope to finalize the collective bargaining agreement? How long will that take? If the bargaining process extends into next spring, then we will have a window of time within which to have a vote to decertify. It could get ugly, but might be worth it. As one Anon hints, this fork in the road may ultimately be a choice between a future “University of Oregon” or a “Eugene Community College”. I sense there is some interest in a decertification drive, so it may be worthwhile despite the obstacles.

      • Anonymous 11/13/2012

        So Frank does your comment mean you currently have the petition forms ready and want us to start marching over? If so, I am happy to start acting like the Pied Piper from my building. I interpreted your earlier comments to say that you would investigate and then let us know when it was time. Is it time?

      • Frank Stahl 11/13/2012

        There are regulations that restrict the periods in which signatures can be gathered. As soon as folks wiser than I give me the green light, I’ll blow the trumpet call to the starting gate

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