Union Bargaining XV: The rest of the economic proposals

Venue: Room 122 Knight Library, 8AM, Tuesday 4/2/2013. (No bargaining Th the 4th).


The union put its remaining economic proposals on the table. The administration said it needs to cost them out before responding. The union then asked how much UO was prepared to spend on the raises and other economic proposals. Rudnick wouldn’t answer.

The union asked to see the budget information in Jamie Moffitt’s secret powerpoint slides. Given that UO claimed in its accreditation report just last month that 

The UO engages several cross-functional teams to assist with budget preparation and operational assessment. These teams include:
• Budget Advisory Group – comprised of students, faculty and staff; advises on
general fund allocations
• Tuition and Fee Boards – comprised of students, faculty, and staff; advises on
tuition and fees, and evaluates performance and projections.
• Internal Bank Advisory Committee – comprised of faculty and staff; analyze and
advise on debt-funded projects.
• Senate Budget Committee – comprised of members of the elected University
Senate; review and make recommendations on budgetary policy and long-term
financial strategies.

It’s going to be interesting to see the response. Rudnick seemed careful to avoid raising the question that she and Moffitt kept asking last month – tell us where you think we should cut? Apparently we had a few too many good ideas. Some progress was made on the rest of the contract.

Last highlight: Rudnick promised to try and stop shouting at the faculty. She wants us to pay her $400 an hour *and* like her. I’m no economist, but make it $75 and we’ll think about it.

Prologue: Who is writing the administration’s blog about the bargaining sessions? That blog now includes a fascinating fact-check page, devoted to checking up on the posts and comments here on UO Matters:

It is clear to a reasonable observer that Mr. Harbaugh is indelibly associated with United
Academics. He is a member of the United Academics Organizing Committee and is an official consultant to the United Academics bargaining team. He attends and blogs from all bargaining sessions. Members of the UA bargaining team consult with him regularly.
Mr. Harbaugh’s blog is consistently anti-University, frequently includes personal attacks,
and is riddled with false and inaccurate statements.

and later, and somewhat inconsistently:

Fact: The University and the United Academics bargaining teams both are working hard at the table to understand the issues and the proposals under review. Both teams are acting in good faith and are respectful of each other’s proposals and questions. Both teams agree that faculty salaries need to increase. Professor Harbaugh’s persistent misrepresentation of the tone and tenor of the discussions is unfortunate and damaging to the bargaining effort.

They also accuse me of repeated frivolity:

He has also filed frivolous and repeated records requests for information directly related to bargaining. His activities are getting in the way of productive bargaining.

And there is some actual fact checking going on – on carefully selected topics. I haven’t seen them post anything on my refutation of Jamie Moffitt’s 30% PERS claim, Gottfredson’s refusal to share basic budgetary information – despite telling our academic accreditors that UO regularly engaged all stake-holders in budget planning, etc. But read it for yourself.

Who writes this? The administration and Barbara Altman are still refusing to respond to this public records request:

Subject: pr request, http://uo-ua.uoregon.edu/ writers and editors
Date: January 23, 2013 4:13:19 PM PST
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Barbara Altmann <baltmann@uoregon.edu>

Hi Lisa, this is a public records request for  

1) the names and contact information of all of the editors and writers for the website http://uo-ua.uoregon.edu/

2) all notes for and drafts of the post identified as Negotiation Update #3 January 21, 2013 with names of the authors/editors of each document. 

3) a copy of any emails showing who read/commented on/approved this post before publication.  

I’m ccing Barbara Altmann on this as she can presumably provide the information easily. I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest in the bargaining process, inherent in its expense and effects on UO, and as demonstrated by the large number of hits and comments to the UO Matters blog whenever I post on this.

After two months without a reply – the AG says a week or two is reasonable – I’ve filed a public records petition with the Lane County DA. We’ll see what happens.

UO is also still trying to hide how much they are paying Rudnick and the other lawyers they hired to fight unionization and have kept on to collegially negotiate the first contract. The most informative invoice I’ve been able to get looks like this:

I’ve got a public records request in for the more recent ones. I’m guessing Rudnick’s billing is now over $250K or so. But who knows? Randy Geller has stopped reporting legal fees on UO’s Financial Transparency Tool, and also on the Oregon Government Transparency website.

Representing the UO Administration: The usuals

Representing the UO Faculty Union: The usuals

Disclaimer: This is my opinion of what people said, were thinking, or of their treppenwitz. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.


Act I:

Union proposal on Postdoc salaries:

Mauer: Floors to be the NIH standards, starting at $39,264. Gleason: How much NIH grant funding is there? Rudnick: How much would this cost? Cecil: We don’t know current years of experience.

Art 22, Health Insurance: 
Establishes a $1million pool for health benefits for those with less than 0.50 FTE. 

Art 23, PERS:
Cecil: Keep the status quo: If PERS contributions fall below current levels the ORP members will not see smaller contributions than currently. UO will continue to pick up the 6% PERS contributions, if the state makes this illegal UO will implement a workaround.

That completes the economic proposals.

Rudnick: Have you costed these? Mauer: Not in total, if you want us to do this we need more information. Rudnick: Do you have salary surveys to base your salary proposals on? Is the AAUP salary survey available to us? (UO actually has better data through the AAUDE that they will not share. How can she not know this?) Rudnick: Not fair to just look at salary, we are going to look at total compensation. Cecil: Discussion? Rudnick: We are working to cost the proposals, looking at the value of and the cost of compensation, and compare to the market. (That will be an interesting public records request.) We hope to come back with a comprehensive economic proposal. We’ve been working on that pretty diligently. Mauer: It’s been weeks – why aren’t you ready to discuss anything, e.g. salary floors, merit increases, equity and compression. Rudnick: A lot of your creative ideas have been well received, including pushing issues away from the bargaining table into smaller groups. We will come back with comprehensive counter-proposals. Right now we’re focused on the numbers. Mauer: We should be flushing things out. Rudnick: Until we have a handle on budgets (which we won’t let you see) and numbers we’ve got nothing more to say.

Mauer: Lets talk concepts. Rudnick: That’s money. We can’t discuss it until we cost it. If you want all this stuff it adds up, we need to figure out how to spend what’s available. “That’s enough. That’s the answer to your question!” Mauer: How about we all take a little timeout.

Act II:

Mauer: We understand your cost questions. But you do know your budget. What sum of money is the administration prepared to devote to the economic proposals. Rudnick: I don’t have a sense of magnitude or what is available in dollars. (WTF? She’s known this was coming for months. UO did its secret budget forecasting in December. Why not put it on the table?) She says UO is in the middle of budgeting now. Gleason: Everyone at this table wants to give you a little money, we just don’t want to tell you how much. As Jamie noted there are some very large uncertainties, which she shamelessly exaggerated. Mauer: We welcome your commitment to increase compensation. Lets make it happen. You asked us last time to suggest where the money should come from. We think that’s your job to balance expenses. But you keep asking us, so here’s an information request. Rudnick: We don’t intend to hide the ball, this is a public institution. Mauer: We are asking for documentation for Jamie’s claims. Rudnick: We understand we will have to show you some information.

Mauer: Lets talk about article 30, on transparency, which is not a mandatory subject for bargaining, but since we’re on this. Please clarify your refusal to negotiate on this? Rudnick: It’s not a mandatory subject for bargaining. So there. It’s not a matter for the union. Not a matter for negotiation. You tell me why it’s mandatory! You don’t get to bargain the budget! You want us to enshrine in the contract a Senate Committee! Mauer: Ok, thanks for the clarification.

Rudnick: We’ve got a stack of counter-proposals for you.

Preamble: Mishmash, sounds like they’re going to fold on being called “The University”. Partial victory for Frank Stahl:

“The faculty and the students are the university. Those administrators are our hired hands – they’re the ones who should be unionizing and negotiating their contracts with us.”

But of course Geller and Gottfredson won’t even let the faculty see what we’re paying these hired hands.

Art 8: Non-discrimination

Rudnick: We changed “unfair” to “illegal”. Notion is that this article gives faculty an additional means of pursuing claims of unlawful discrimination. Every choice is discrimination. (I think I heard Thaddeus Stevens say this in Lincoln). Don’t want to but specific definitions in here, because the law may change. Mauer: Arbitrator will look to which case-law – Oregon or Federal or local? Rudnick: UO needs to comply with all laws, so it’s an “or” not an “all”. E.g. Eugene’s expansive human rights law would apply. Rudnick: E.g. employers can discriminate based on disability if they can show it’s related to work requirements. Cecil: We took unfair from the mission statement. Rudnick: Doesn’t limit grievances. We’re not trying to limit, just trying to put in a standard, unlawful seems like a good standard. Davidson: Legal standards could change. Strengthening now, but that could change. We should we just have the bare legal minimum? Rudnick: Purpose is to provide another avenue for people to grieve, without going to court. If legal standards change, we could renegotiate contract. Don’t want to give arbitrator authority to settle something based on “unfairness”. Green: Suppose we gave preferences to hiring for women. We hired a faculty member who taught in his religious garb. Until last year this was illegal in Oregon. Our standard as professionals and role models – which you keep bringing up – should be higher. Rudnick: “unfair” is too vague for contract language. Need objective standard. Mauer: Most CBA’s have our language, arbitrators make decisions. Rudnick: And those decisions are all over the map, depend on the arbitrator. Mauer: So is the SCOTUS, as we saw last week. The nut: Unions like arbitrators, lawyers like law. Gleason: We want to provide maximal protection from discrimination, but we don’t want grievances about anything beyond the legal minimum. Got it, Tim. (I’m wondering how this will affect UO’s UMRP policy to pay departments $90K for hiring racial minorities. UO thinks this is legal. Which language would make it easier to end this program?) Rudnick: We’re open to something but it has to be more specific than unfair.

Section 2: Rudnick: We want to be able to require people to attend mandatory ant-discrimination trainings. Blandy: You want people to understand the rules, lets get some language that works to train them. Rudnick: Majority of complaints are co-worker to co-worker.

Section 4: Rudnick: Concern is two bites at the apple. We don’t want people to be able to file a grievance for final, binding arbitration – and then file a lawsuit if they don’t like the outcome. You can’t bargain away the right to sue, but you can make them elect one or the other. This is open to discussion if you have another solution.

Section 5: Rudnick: We put this back in because we don’t want academic judgements reviewed by arbitrators just because there’s an allegation of discrimination, e.g. in a promotion case. Not saying it can’t be raised, just saying it should come up under promotion (e.g.) not under discrimination.

Article 15, Grievances:

Rudnick: Only change is a 180 day limit to file a tort claim notice for discrimination, also required to maintain state claims. (Feds allow a year.)

Art 42: Criminal records checks

Rudnick: Records checks are allowed, not required. All checks involve only public records. Being charged with a crime is also a public document. We need access. Mauer: Is your intent to expand on the statutory requirements? Rudnick: No. We want to confirm it. (Why, if it’s already law?) Mauer: We asked you last time for examples. Rudnick: I asked, I don’t have any. Mauer: You want faculty to report this for any crime? Rudnick: Yes. Bramhall: Is policy now to run checks for faculty? Rudnick: Not at the moment. Davidson: When can you request fingerprints? Rudnick: by law. Anderson: And if tit’s a crime in another country? Rudnick: report it. Cecil: Could we add language limiting the provost’s ability to talk publicly about crimes to those that affect work performance? Rudnick: Yes.

Art 39: Distribution:

Rudnick: We want the union to distribute the contract to members, not us. We will send you the list of members every month. Cecil: It’s a burden for you to email? Rudnick: Yes.

Art 5: Union Rights:


Sorry, I bailed at this point. 

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6 Responses to Union Bargaining XV: The rest of the economic proposals

  1. downhillfast says:

    But, UOM might be a bit of a nuisance if their objective is merely rent seeking. I’ll grant them that.

  2. Old Man says:

    Somebody apparently associated with JH writes: “Mr.
    Harbaugh’s blog is consistently anti-University…” Nonsense. Bill does raise questions
    regarding actions of some members of the Administration, but never have I seen
    him express an anti-University sentiment. On the contrary, he is a vigorous
    supporter of the University, who outspokenly reminds us that the UO needs Administrators
    who understand that their primary obligation is to promote the creative activities
    of our Students and Faculty, both in their scholastic endeavors and in their roles as participating members of the University Community.

  3. Anonymous says:

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  4. awesome0 says:

    What about political or religious discrimination?

  5. awesome0 says:

    Public institutions will make information public. Sounds like a set-up to one of the Geico commercials.

  6. awesome0 says:

    Rudnick keeps referring to what’s available? So much is available? Also, I bet we can help find some more if it would help.

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