UO President Michael Schill, in his year-in-review in June, said he was pleased with the year’s quick settlements with United Academics and the Service Employees International Union.
Schill’s initiatives to build the university’s graduate program, including increasing the number of graduate fellowships awarded, lent an upbeat background to the GTFF negotiations.
The endeavor also was helped along when the university used its own employee, labor lawyer Bill Brady, as chief negotiator instead of hiring outside counsel for the job, Marchman said.
In addition, graduate school Dean Scott Pratt was on the administration’s bargaining team. Before becoming an administrator in March 2015, Pratt, a philosophy professor, served on the United Academics negotiating team.
“That helped keep negotiations respectful and where graduate employees felt like their concerns were taken seriously,” Marchman said.
The last time the administration bargained with the GTFF, Interim UO President Scott Coltrane put Jeff Mathews, a zoning law expert from Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick in charge. They billed UO hundreds of thousands, and a deal was made only after a disastrous, pointless strike. For the first faculty union contract, Pres Mike Gottfredson put HLGR’s noted big-tobacco attorney Sharon Rudnick in charge – those were also bitter negotiations. So is the solution to labor peace at UO as simple as not hiring outside lawyers who bill by the hour?