Union Bargaining XI: 2% merit puddle

Postmortem: Rudnick said that Gottfredson’s 2 year 2.5% “COLA” and 2% merit puddle was a take it or leave it offer, because of UO’s “financial constraints”.

If the union takes it, there will be no more merit or across the board raises until September 2014. There is still a possibility of “equity” raises, e.g. move people towards AAU comparators. That’s right, the administration is now pushing floors, while the union wants more merit. That’s got to be a surprise to a lot of people.

The union will have their forensic accountant, Howard Bunsis, at the table Thursday. (and check the link for public events Wed). The administration will presumably provide some documents to back up their claims, and bring VPFA Jamie Moffitt to the table to have it out with Bunsis.

Be there: Room 122 Knight Library, 8AM, Thursday 3/7/13.

3/5/13: Question: Rumor down at the faculty club is that Gleason’s wife, Jennifer Ulum, has some sort of public relations contract with UO. Perhaps through these firmsIf you know any of the details, please forward to uomatters at gmail.

New venue – Room 122 Library. Tuesday 3/5/2013. First floor, towards the back on the RHS. $5 cover, you can pay me at the door, or online: (Thanks, got $15!)

Donate $5 to pay Dave Hubin’s public records fees


Prologue: The Bean/Gottfredson proposal for a 1% raise this year is here. (1.5% retroactive to Jan 1.) To be followed by 3.5% next year. Small beer, compared to the Lariviere/Tomlin proposal from two years ago, prompted by Lariviere’s realization that UO faculty salaries were an embarrassment, to him:

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
202 Johnson Hall
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR  97403-1258
T 541-346-3186
F 541-346-2023

It will be fascinating to see how Rudnick tries to sell this, and how the union responds. I’ll live-blog, but the real show is far more interesting. My guess is this one will be worth showing up for.

Cast: No Geller, no Altmann, and, surprisingly, no Blandy – out of town all week.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion of what people said, meant to say, or were really thinking, or what their character will sing in the libretto I’m working on. Nothing is a quote unless in ” “.

Act 1:

Union team moves their tables closer to the admin’s, then leave to caucus about Gottfredson’s 1% offer. My guess is they’ll be back around 8:30.

Mauer, Rudnick. Back and for about schedules. Rudnick says Provost refused to give release time for someone. Missed name. Mauer: We’d like to add Wed meeting. Rudnick: No. Too busy with other jobs for tobacco companies, Nike, etc. Now she’s getting angry again. It’s not the schedule, we just don’t want to put in enough time to get this contract done before summer, when your faculty supporters are gone. Mauer: We’d like add one more Tu Th session in April. Rudnick: Get back to you.

Salary increases:

Rudnick: We are implementing 1% this year, (paid in May) plus 1.5% and 2% merit for next year for themselves, OA’s non-BU members. Asks union to agree to also implement this plan for BU members. Merit will include internal equity and compression. This 2% merit puddle will be distributed by colleges, departments, using their usual sort of criteria.

It’s an ultimatum offer: if you accept this it will be all you get for COLA and merit increases for this year and next. No bargaining on these aspects of salary. Reject it, and you can bargain and see what you get.

Wow, that’s not exactly collegial, President Gottfredson. Why did you let Rudnick and Bean talk you into this?

Mauer: Other aspects of salary would be open for negotiation? Rudnick: yes. Mauer: But your merit puddle includes internal equity considerations. What about external equity (e.g. proposal to get us to x% of AAU peers)? Rudnick: That would still be negotiable: Mauer: What’s negotiable on this? Rudnick: Nothing. Take it or leave it. You’ve got a week. Mauer: Why didn’t you give us more notice? Rudnick: Strategery.

Mauer: Possible that the union members could accept this and then all the merit puddle money could be given to the heads? Rudnick: Yes. Gleason: Emphasis on equity across units. Within and across. Mauer: What are you trying to say, Tim? Rudnick: It’s all about about equity and fairness. Skew will be justified. Mauer: How will the division between merit and equity be made. Rudnick: Must have acceptable performance to be eligible for the puddle, then it’s up to the deans and heads. Deans are told that in the process of rewarding merit, equity is also OK. Gleason: We’re not going to give these to the deadwood professors, not a reward for time in service. (Seems reasonable, Gleason just seems to enjoy saying it so much.) Pratt: Specific example, where there’s compression. Gleason: blah blah. Rudnick: Tee hee, at $400 an hour, my bill to UO is going to be close to what the TTF’s are going to get in merit pay, total!

Rudnick: Assume you are not performing, like say Bean or Espy. They get nothing. Puddle money would go to, say, Jamie Moffitt and uh, whatever other administrator passes their evaluation. Rob Mullens?

Mauer and Pratt are enjoying running Gleason and Rudnick around in circles, pointing out how little of this they’ve thought through. Productive, actually, since they now have to think it through out loud.

Mauer: What’s recourse if the admi screw up the merit process? Rudnick: None.

Green: Are their plans for future raises? Rudnick: We will negotiate – but we will have to negotiate using floors and AAU targets etc. Me: This is idiotic. Why does the administration want to give only 2% for merit and then prevent the union for bargaining for more merit? Rudnick: Now she’s talking about floors.

Let’s get this straight: Our union wants more merit money, while our administrators are proposing salary floors? This is nuts.

Green: CAS has other money for raises, left over from the Lariviere plan. Can they use that to supplement this? Gleason: No. This is it. No more raises for you people. (Retention?)

Mauer: 2% puddle is too small, how did you come up with it. Gleason: Gottfredson’s call. Mauer: So, a resource constraint? Rudnick: I think. Mauer: You’re going to have to explain that constraint. Rudnick: I imagine they looked at CPI.

I’m no economist, but here’s what happened to the Consumer Price Index recently:

2011 3.0%
2012 1.7%
2013 1.6% (predicted)
call it 7% compounded. 2.5% is not a COLA, it’s a drip.
Green: Where’s the CAS money? Are they going tom implement steps 2 and 3 of the Tomlin plan? Rudnick: I’ll check.

Mauer: If we don’t take this, who makes merit decisions – faculty committees as usual. Rudnick: I don’t know.

Mauer: We’ll get back to you on Thursday, when Bunsis is here. Rudnick: Yikes, tell me what’s coming so I can get Jamie Moffitt. This will be fun.

Break time.

Act II: 

Mauer: I don’t know how we will respond to your proposal. We request that you provide us with a draft of the memo, so we can comment on it, before you lock in your ultimatum. Rudnick: OK, I will raise that with Gottfredson.

Art 36: Strike lockout. Admin counter-proposal. (Union took strikes off the table on day one. Faculty will not strike, period. Question is what extra work the faculty will be required to take on if the GTTF’s strike. It’s a big problem. It would more than double faculty workload, and it’s not like the administrators are going to be much help!)

Rudnick: We understand that if the GTFF’s strike, you won’t teach all their sections. Admin wants to say that the admins will consult with faculty, they will take reasonable efforts to step it. Mauer: So faculty could find some alternative way to get it done, that would be OK? Rudnick: Yes. Mauer: But this language says you can make faculty do the work. Rudnick: Getting loudish again. We are trying to find a compromise with you people. Take it or leave it. Psaki: We need the GTF’s for grading, discussions. Rudnick: So, that would be unreasonable. We just want you to be part of getting the work done if the GTFF strikes. Mauer: We recognize your attempt, but … some faculty have an ethical objection. Rudnick: Tough shit for them, they can then deal with the consequences. Mauer: So, you’ll take disciplinary action against them? (Me: Since the administration thinks they are the university, they can teach the sections and do the grading.) Gleason: We will have a conversation with you, not make unilateral demands on you, like we did today with the raise puddle proposal. Trust us. Davidson: What if the reasonable thing to do is accept the GTFF’s proposal? Rudnick: “the university’s” negotiations with the GTFF are our business. We are not going to compromise on this. Or answer your question. Mauer: I respect the fact that you have strong views. So do some of the faculty. We want a “conscientious objector” clause. Matter of conscience for some people. Rudnick: No. Green to Rudnick: Don’t be saying us faculty don’t care about teaching our students! Rudnick: We are not saying that, but … Davidson: You are asking us to provide you with a perverse incentive to play hardball with our GTF’s. Gleason perks up. Rudnick: We are not going to budge on this. If faculty don’t help out, you will face the administration’s wrath. There will be discipline! “I respect what you say, don’t question your commitment to the students, but ….” Green: The GTF’s are also our students, we have to support them when things get tough. Rudnick: Bottom line, no compromise. Trust us to be reasonable. Mauer: Let’s move on.

Art : Admin’s counterproposal on Management Rights:

Rudnick: We are willing to reaffirm AAUP statement on shared governance, but we are not willing to put role of the Senate, governing board into the contract. Mauer: What’s the reason you don’t want independent review? Rudnick: Because this is just a statement of principle, it doesn’t put any obligations on us. Mauer: No accountability? Rudnick: None. We don’t have to bargain with you about it, so there. Board of Higher Ed makes the rules, we are not willing to let you use the contract to limit our power over the faculty on this. Long back and forth on this, I’m snoozing.

Preamble: Union’s counter to admin’s counter:
Mauer: Nomenclature: How about we call you “The University Administration”? and we are the “Bargaining unit faculty”. Rudnick: I’ll take this compromise back to the administration. (Damn, there goes my “No Sharon” button revenue stream.)

Mauer: Thursday, we’ll address your economic proposals.


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42 Responses to Union Bargaining XI: 2% merit puddle

  1. Anonymous says:

    So what’s up with the last minute room change?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Take a stand! Demand 6% a year and don’t agree to anything less! We can ride this out to next Fall or as long as it takes!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Will the cover donation go to the strike fund?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just learned that there is nothing going on in LIL 450 — until last night the usual venue — and nothing scheduled until 3:00 this afternoon. In other words: the move to the “Collaboration Room” (a.k.a., “the Closet”) is gratuitous and unnecessary. Thanks, Sharon!

  5. Anonymous says:

    They’re more concerned about spectators than live-blogging. Interesting.

  6. Anonymous says:

    9:02 AM: Union still caucusing?

  7. Anonymous says:

    “The timing of it is the timing which is time driven”

  8. Awesome-0 says:

    So merit is normally economically efficient, but now merit raises are equity. So efficiency is equity! What brilliant social planners we have as administrators.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Fishwrapper sez: I look forward to the libretto when done. I imagine something of a cross between “Horsefeathers” and “Nixon in China.”

    I smell a Tony and a big movie option!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Does resource constraint mean inability to pay?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Gregor Bunsis: Ungeheures Ungeziefer!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Maus: We waive the right to withhold services.

  13. australian marsupial says:

    So, um, are there take-backsies allowed on the whole no-strike thing?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Who’s the lady asking us to sign in, and why does she want a list of attendees?

  15. Awesome0 says:

    I’m fine with taking over grading if the GTF’s strike if I can use Blandy’s grading standards.

    • UO Matters says:

      Comment of the week, stop by our offices for your “No Sharon” pin and coffee cup.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Bring back the strike option for faculty. It gives us the option to strike with GTFF, etc. if it is optimal at the time. Throwing out the strike option hasn’t purchased anything for us, has it?

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Why was the strike option taken off the table in the first place?

    • Quack Attack! says:

      Because we have no spine. Our spine is so spineless we took that option off the table on day one.

      Go Ducks!

    • Anonymous says:

      HEY, BARGAINING COMMITTEE MEMBERS!!!! Please revisit this issue. You see the administrations’s stance now and should recoil at the idea that they will later use us against others on campus. Given that other bargaining units on campus can strike, we do better with the option to strike option ourselves.

  17. Anonymous says:

    They have to come in on the low end of what they are willing to do. If they came in high and went backwards you could accuse them of regressive bargaining. They have to come out with some pitiful offer and work forward.

    • kangroo says:

      They seem pretty capable of saying “no, this is what you get” – what’s the incentive for them to work forward here?

    • Anonymous says:

      They could do that but I think you have to remember you are getting the old “U of O Matters Hyperbole” here

  18. Leporello says:

    It looks like they’ve studied the same playbook OUS uses with OPEU.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is there such a thing as an equity raise for research nttf?

    Given that they don’t actually know what anyone does, there’s really nothing to tell a jr pipetting assistant from a senior database administrator, given that they both are simply “research assistants”

    retention problems with research nttf might not be as big and obvious as with grant-earning ttf, but it still has a significant impact on the research mission.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Live blogging the negotiations on YouTube.


  21. Still at work says:

    Anyone know the last time we got a COLA? Anyone know the index for all the years since then? UOM only went back a couple years…

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog says

      the Last COLA was november of 2008

      You can find this out by going to your job record changes link
      on duckweb under employee information.

      I have posted this before but will do so again, since there is not institutional memory of this. This just applies to me
      but I think its the same for most all faculty.

      Salary raise history back to 1998:

      May 2011 – equity raise (this is the one people bitched about)

      Sept 2010 – equity adjustment (this applies to me, not in general)

      Nov 2008 – COLA

      Jan 2008 – general pay increase

      Jan 2007 – general pay increase

      Sept 2005 – general pay increase

      Feb 2003 – COLA (people seem to forget this 2.5 year period where we also got no raises)

      Jan 2002 – general pay increase

      Feb 2000 – Merit Increases (nothing has been coded as a Merit Increase since this – so new merit increases for 13 years)

      May 1999 – COLA

    • Anonymous says:

      my records show that I put together a statement for merit raises in both 2006 and 2007–that may correspond to the “general pay increase” you note here for Jan 07 and Jan 08; in my department (within CAS), though, these were at least partly merit-based

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog replies

      Yes the duck web coding of “general pay increase” I think means some combo of Cola + Merit (both small)

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog addends

      In the year 2000, JTM did initiate a somewhat aggressive pay increase to meet the goals of the Senate White paper of 1998 (?)

      In that year there was a specific MERIT raise pool, separate
      from other kinds of raises, that was available. That was the last time, to my knowledge, that we had a dedicated MERIT raise.

      In addition, 2000 was weird, as for a while, I and others I know where getting monthly “equity/retention” raises and I think 2000 remains the year where, on average, faculty got the largest % raises.

      Note also, the NOV 2008 raise was an across the board 4%

  22. Awesome0 says:

    So the reason they want to give the raises and then negotiate over external equity is they know for 95 percent of faculty the floor will be binding (higher than current salary even after the raise).

    If they did the external equity adjustments and then COLA raises, it would cost them more money. Thus this raise is a an intermediate step to the external adjustments.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not exactly. Matching current external measures, if they have kept up with inflation, will imply having also adjusted for COLA.

  23. Oryx says:

    Reading these negotiation reports, I always think two things. If they’re accurate, we’re doomed. Both “sides” seem petty, inept, and unconcerned with what makes a university great. If they’re not accurate, I can’t understand why either the administration, the union, or both don’t post actual complete transcripts or video of the sessions. (Video, in 2013, should not be hard!)