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Bargaining XVI: Union responds to admin’s real wage cut proposal

Bargaining session XVI is Friday at 9AM, Knight Library Collaboration Room.

For a live-blog check the faculty union’s facebook page, here. (Link fixed.)

The faculty union has made a 3-year economic proposal:

FY16: ATB 2%.

FY17:ATB 1.5%, Equity 1.5%.

FY18:ATB 1%, Merit 4%.

Previous bargaining posts are here. VPFA Jamie Moffitt has plenty of reserves and as Howard Bunsis explained, the bond raters love UO’s solid finances – and that was before the state increased what it gives UO by $10M a year. We’re finally closing in on the longtime goal of getting faculty pay to parity with the rest of the AAU. This spring the Board of Trustees approved huge raises for the athletic department and the new president. So it’s mystifying why the administration is proposing to do nothing about equity, and give raises that won’t even match likely cost of living increases. The union will have a counter-proposal Friday.

I’ve got to confess, I sort of miss the snark from former UO Journalism Dean Tim Gleason’s “fact-check” blog that we got during the 2013 bargaining round. UO archived some of it here, but, perhaps wisely, they first deleted at least one of that blog’s more problematic bullying, harassing, intimidating and unprofessional attacks on the faculty. Two months ago I paid UO’s public records office $225 for documents related to that, but haven’t got anything yet. In any case, everything is a lot more polite this time around. Maybe too polite, given the big differences between the two sides on some important issues. I’ve bolded some of the disagreements in the bargaining reports from the UO administration and from the faculty union, below.

The UO faculty union’s report on the current situation:

On Friday, July 10, United Academics and the University resumed negotiations.  We discussed all outstanding issues and made some progress.

For the most part, we agree on all but three issues: contract security for NTTF; contract length for funding contingent faculty; and salary increases for all faculty.

We are still discussing what to call temporary faculty (the University proposed “pro tem”), access to faculty records, the degree of redaction of external review letters, and the role of General Counsel during a tenure denial appeal. The ongoing conversation mainly centers on word choice or fine details, with general agreement about principles. We agreed that faculty who work less than part-time should be eligible to purchase parking permits and use bus passes.

As for the three important issues bulleted above, in Article 16, we continue to insist that all NTTF should have a right to expect their contracts will be renewed if they have passed their performance review, there is funding for their position, their position is still needed in the unit, and there is no plan to replace the NTTF position with a tenure-track position. We clearly voiced our resolve that NTTF job security provides a foundation for shared governance, academic freedom, and NTTF collective bargaining rights.

We also returned to our earlier proposal that funding-contingent faculty have contracts of the same length as all other NTTF. We restated our agreement that should a unit lose funding mid-contract, then the contract could be terminated, but we remain skeptical that there are other justifications for a mid-contract termination outside of disciplinary factors. We did, however, invite the University to craft language explicating other legitimate reasons.

The University made their third salary proposal. We found their first proposal, 1.5% over two years, insulting. We found their second proposal, 2.5% over two years, disappointing. Unfortunately, their third proposal, 3% over two years, does not offer significant improvement, particularly in light of recent news that the University will see a windfall of dollars from the Legislature. The increase in their proposal represents an additional cost of only $500,000 over two years, despite an increase of $10 million in state appropriations for this next fiscal year alone.

The University’s proposal also failed to increase our appallingly low minimum salaries. Instead, the University offered that salaries should be (and are) dictated by “the market.” The UO’s quest for academic quality will not be well served by low-balling our dedicated and talented faculty, while suggesting they leave if they can do better elsewhere.

Bargaining is set to resume on Friday, July 17 in the Collaboration Room of the Knight Library at 9 am. We plan to counter the University’s economic proposal. Please join us!

The UO administration’s report is hosted on the UO Foundation’s website, presumably so they can easily track who reads it:

Two tentative agreements on articles and the university administration’s updated salary proposal led the July 10 bargaining session with United Academics.

Article 12 (Facilities and Support) and Article 28 (Fringe Benefits) were agreed upon and join a dozen other articles resolved since negotiations began in January.

The university’s latest salary proposal included an increase from 1.5 percent to 2 percent in FY17 for merit increases, and movement on minimum salary increases for full professors for major reviews from 2 percent to 4 percent. The proposal also carries forward the previous offer for 1 percent across the board salary increases to base salary in FY16 and 2 percent increases to minimum salary floors for career NTTF appointments.

“The university’s salary proposals are part of a much broader compensation package that also recognizes many benefits extended including those already memorialized in the collective bargaining agreement,” said Bill Brady, senior director, Employee and Labor Relations. “Our proposal also reflects the budget situation of the university.”

The teams also discussed salary floors — specifically for research assistants — and agreed to review comparable data from other universities to inform talks moving forward.

           Related: UO collective bargaining resources

Counter proposals were also shared by United Academics on the following articles: Article 8 (Personnel Files); Article 16 (Notices of Appointment); Article 18 (Summer Session Appointments and Assignments); and Article 35 (Professional Development).

In addition, counter proposals from the UO were: Article 14 (Non-discrimination); Article 15 (Academic Classification, Category, and Rank); Article 19 (NTTF Review and Promotion); Article 20 (TTF Review and Promotion); Article 21 (Appeal from the Denial of Tenure or Promotion); Article 24 (Discipline and Termination for Cause) and Article 27 (Health Insurance Benefits).

Both teams continue to discuss new language to replace “adjunct.” In response to United Academics’ suggestion to use the term “affiliate,” the university administration offered the alternative “pro tem” to reflect the complications “affiliate” could cause due to its current use on campus.

Prior to concluding the session, the teams discussed Article 36 (Ethics and Professional Responsibility), which was proposed by the UO to broadly address bullying, harassment, intimidation and other unprofessional behavior. Though the parties seem unable to resolve this point during the course of this bargaining round, there was agreement that civility and mutual respect should be valued, and there is more work to be done to protect faculty and students from problematic behavior.

The next bargaining session is Friday, July 17.

For more information, please visit the collective bargaining website.

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The University of Oregon is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.


  1. awesome0 07/17/2015

    I’m dissapointed in the union’s counteroffer. They are sending the message that we’ll take lower raises now for bigger raises down the road. This is what they did last time. The problem is the admins don’t hold enough back for the big raise year and so they claim poverty at the start of the next bargaining cycle. Plus it doesn’t matter for recuuring dollars if we get the big raise now or 3 years from now it only affects reserve dollars which Moffit has said don’t matter for their salary proposals. The union is caving too fast. Why are we paying 1 percent of our salaries if they are going to gve up so quickly?

    • grossfees 07/17/2015

      As the poster below gets at, don’t forget the “1 percent” is taken out of gross pay, yet we have to pay for it out of our net salaries (i.e. union dues do not reduce taxable income). Union fees lower our take home by pay about 1.5%.

      • uomatters Post author | 07/17/2015

        The union has done more to move UO salaries towards the Senate White Paper/Lariviere/Coltrane goal of AAU parity than anyone. Even more than Lariviere did.

        • anontoo 07/17/2015

          Since Lariviere did not last long we do not know what he might have done during the same period. The union’s offer was disappointing, does not justify the ~1.5%, we should be looking at net pay increase. And pushing bulk of the increase to year 3 means we don’t benefit from a larger base *and* makes it unlikely the administration will agree to a healthy increase in years 4 and 5.

        • awesome0 07/17/2015

          Sure. But this answer why the union is proposing boom and bust cycles of raises. Only helps Moffit keep a couple extra million in reserves.

          • awesome0 07/17/2015

            Sorry meant ‘this doesnt answer’

        • Bacon 07/17/2015

          Comparing the union’s success to what now? As much as I appreciate the movement they’ve achieved… its not like they could have done worse than the pre-union days.

  2. that effing Canis again 07/17/2015

    Yes, I am paying 1.1% of my total gross salary (from all UO sources including stipends …) and currently the Union is not even proposing a COLA that is consistent with the current rate …

  3. Daniel Pope 07/17/2015

    I’m no tax accountant but union dues are deductible on Schedule A of Form 1040. There are more important reasons to support the union than this, but if you’re complaining about dues levels, let’s get the facts straight.

    • awesome0 07/17/2015

      Only if they are more than 2 percent of your gross.

    • Bat Girl 07/17/2015

      Can I deduct union dues, and where do I enter them in TurboTax?

      You can deduct union dues and union membership initiation fees on your federal return, provided you are able to itemize deductions.

      However, you’re only allowed to deduct the amount above and beyond 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI).

      For example, if your AGI is $35,000, and your union dues are $1,000, the IRS will let you deduct [$1,000 – ($35,000 x .02)] = $300.

      • grossfees 07/18/2015

        So no, ours are not deductible.

        • Daniel Pope 07/19/2015

          The two percent threshhold is not only for dues. It’s for unreimbursed business expenses, so if you buy books or journal subs for your profession, incur unreimbursed travel to conferences or for research, etc. those count towards the two percent. I don’t know many academics who itemize deductions and don’t already reach the two percent level from other unreimbursed expenses. I don’t know grossfees’ situation, but for most of us the deduction should be available.

          • IRS Dog 07/19/2015

            have any readers of this forum actually tried to do what D. Pope suggests? If so, did you also have to file a schedule C. My entire experience at the UO is that travel – whether reimbursed or not –
            its just a gigantic headache. I also seriously doubt you can deduct research expenses as a business expense.

            Also, if you take a day trip the UO charges you a perquisite expense which is treated as income – if you don’t know what I am talking about, don’t try to get reimbursed for a day trip – just stay somewhere overnight – it will be easier

            • uomatters Post author | 07/19/2015

              You can easily do this on Schedule A, you do not need to use Schedule C. From

              Deductions Subject to the 2% Limit

              You can deduct certain expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040 or Form 1040NR). You can claim the amount of expenses that is more than 2% of your adjusted gross income. You figure your deduction on Schedule A by subtracting 2% of your adjusted gross income from the total amount of these expenses. Your adjusted gross income is the amount on Form 1040, line 38, or Form 1040NR, line 37.

              … Research Expenses of a College Professor

              If you are a college professor, you can deduct your research expenses, including travel expenses, for teaching, lecturing, or writing and publishing on subjects that relate directly to your teaching duties. You must have undertaken the research as a means of carrying out the duties expected of a professor and without expectation of profit apart from salary. However, you cannot deduct the cost of travel as a form of education.

              … Union Dues and Expenses

              You can deduct dues and initiation fees you pay for union membership.

              You can also deduct assessments for benefit payments to unemployed union members. However, you cannot deduct the part of the assessments or contributions that provides funds for the payment of sick, accident, or death benefits. Also, you cannot deduct contributions to a pension fund even if the union requires you to make the contributions.

              You may not be able to deduct amounts you pay to the union that are related to certain lobbying and political activities. See Lobbying Expenses under Nondeductible Expenses, later.

              Disclaimer: I have a PhD in public economics and I still don’t understand the tax code. I have deducted research expenses with no problems, however.

          • IRS Dog 07/20/2015

            Thanks UO matters – that is quite useful information – since I also do educational consulting, in my own case, I need Schedule C which tends
            to make things even less understandable, at least for me.

            But overall, it does sound like dues can be aggregated with other expenses for the purposes of an additional itemized deduction.

          • grossfees 07/20/2015

            All my job-related expenses are reimbursed and as far as I know it’s the same for all my colleagues. I’m surprised you’re subscribing to journals and attending conferences on your own dime.

  4. Alrighty then 07/17/2015

    As a part of the School of Music & Dance I am very disappointed with the union’s offer. Our salaries are SO low and 1.5% of peanuts is still peanuts.

  5. Talisker 07/19/2015

    I only read UO Matters for the tax advice.

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