Bargaining VII, Tuesday 9AM until ?

The concept is simple: All faculty agree to take a progressive pay cut if the UO budget tanks, and in exchange the administration agrees to maintain career faculty employment. The details are going to take a while to work out. My impression is that both sides would like to get most of an agreement worked out tomorrow.

I’ll do some live-blogging, and/or you can watch it online. Registration for the session can be found here – as usual, upon registration you will receive a Zoom link via email.


10:06: Sorry, I got a late start today. Can anyone post a recap?

10:19: They’re back.

Sounds like the admins want the pay cuts to start after the admin takes $10M in cuts. Union wants to start after $20M. Admin has give only the union only the sketchiest info on it’s expenditures and possible cuts.  No discussion of asking the Foundation for help.

11:05: Union brings in Keaton Miller (Economics) to explain the union’s proposal. Miller explains that, conservatively, we’re looking at a $23M reduction in costs for next year – given wage & hiring freeze, travel. To be even more conservative, lets use a $20M threshold (In reality, UO can use some reserves, unrestricted foundation money, etc.)

Miler now moves on to potential wage cuts. Starting with a model that’s just looking at non-funding contingent bargaining unit members. Accounts for OPE:

Total E&G expenditures (last year) were $553M – so faculty union pay and benefits are about 32% of E&G. Suppose we have a $30M shortfall. After the $20M hold harmless, union needs to come up with 32% of $10M or $3.2M. An example:

But suppose we need more from faculty – say $6.4M:

Now suppose UO wants to apply the faculty union model to all E&G salaries. Again we need to raise say $10M:

Matella: Will you share these models with us? Cecil: Of course. Matella: I’ll show them to my people. Can you say more about the high/medium/low progressivity? Sinclair: It’s a single parameter in Keaton’s model that we can bargain over.

Cecil: Will you share Brad’s models? Matella: Maybe in a small room with Brad? Cecil: Why not in public, here, after lunch?

Matella: It’s going to be hard for us to get the high earner people who will have to sign of on this to accept cuts over 20% for themselves. They’ve got big houses, fancy cars, private school tuition and wine cellars to maintain, after all.

Matella: Not sure I can get someone to explain our model today. I’ll try. Cecil: You’ve been working on your models for how long?

Cecil: We’d be interested in hearing more specifics about the willingness of these top admins/faculty to leave during a pandemic, over a one-year wage cut.

Matella*really* wants to cap pay cuts at 20% for the big earners.

Cecil: Maybe we should be talking about other ways the university could be saving money then. Use reserves, unrestricted gifts, tax athletic donations…

Matella wants to look at peer plans to show they aren’t very progressive, don’t have rates above 20% Cecil: You mean plans prepared by highly paid administrators at other universities, to protect their own salaries?

Break until 1PM … I quess til 2PM… they’re back.

Matella: Have people working on a response to Keaton’s plan – will take them a day or two. Also have responses on career employment questions. Willing to work out an expedited grievance process.

Long rambling attempt by Matella to dispute Miller’s $20M threshold. The admins want salary cuts to kick in a $15M – but they won’t explain why. Not a productive conversation. Is the admin going to explain their threshold, some day?

Break until 3:40

They’re back.

Agree to meet again this Wed at 3PM to give Brad time to massage numbers.

Sorry – will post synopsis of situation after dinner.

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23 Responses to Bargaining VII, Tuesday 9AM until ?

  1. thedude says:

    So is this the end of bargaining? Because my understanding was that we were accepting a pay freeze instead of furloughs. And here we are back at furloughs. So the pay freeze was just in exchange for career faculty being reinstated?

    Many other junior faculty in my department were under the same impression that I had, that we weren’t getting furloughs and instead were taking a permanent reduction in pay. So the union needs to be really honest and up front about what these contracts do and don’t mean.

    • uomatters says:

      These would be temporary wage cuts, for 1 year. Activated only if admins can show they are needed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is there any good news here? Is the union getting anything from the administration in terms of increased transparency? Or something else? What’s the “win” here? A big pay cut feels like a huge defeat especially for pre-tenure TTF and it seems like the whole process has been focused on one thing…

    • uomatters says:

      You’ve come to the wrong place for good news, friend. Arithmetic has no mercy. I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, but I doubt it will involve more transparency from the administration. The deal on the table is a temporary wage cut for all, to save jobs for some – for a while.

      • Dog says:

        earlier on I though it was established that the temporary wage cut could not get enacted before Nov 15.

        Is that still the understanding?

        • uomatters says:

          That sounds about right. The union will want to see actual enrollment numbers before implementing whatever cuts are agreed to.

    • thedude says:

      Sorry but that’s how the cookie crumbles. It would be good to know if there is an implicit contract to advocate for TTF in the future, but that’s not how the past negotiations have gone.

      Generally bargaining covers the following.

      Job security and benefits – NTTF

      Pay – NTTF and TTF get same pay (and separate pools so it’s never different on average)

      Maybe in the future NTTFs could throw us a bone on bargaining for research support/pre tenure sabbaticals, etc, but reality is anything we could ask for that might be different, they want too. And maybe that’s ok. But it’s an awkward truth of combining together union with different job types.

      • uomatters says:

        I’m not good at predictions, but looking at the next 10 years the obvious losers are going to be the TTF and their research. Chuck Lillis and his Band of Trustees hate us, as does Uncle Phil, and 40% of our potential students’ parents.

        As for tenure – read SB 270. Tenure buys you a year before they can close/decimate your department and fire your expensive tenured ass. Outside offer? Chances are declining, all publics face the same pressures.
        Even law schools, which used to have an accreditation monopoly to protect their market power and salaries, are in trouble.
        So yeah, maybe not a great time to piss off the career faculty who are going to help keep your employer afloat and keep you employed.

  3. confused and upset says:

    So, if I understand this correctly, as a TTF I will be donating my money to NTTFs. Correct? What I am getting in exchange? Say, more days I can devote to outside consulting, less teaching load, more academic freedom, less time I have to spend at those idiotic faculty meetings… anything? What is that my Union doing for me? Do we (TTFs) need that Union? Just an honest question. I do not buy that stuff about closing down the department. Not going to happen. But somehow I am not in a mood to give my money away to NTTFs. Sorry.

    • Dog says:

      Bit of perspective:

      All of us in Academia are actually lucky to have not had any job or pay interruption unlike the majority of Americans.

      Now pay cuts of some kind will be coming here, and at most likely ever other college in America. Some have already been announced.

      The issue here at the UO is whether or not this will be done in a fair way. IMnsHO these cuts should be treated like income tax on salary – everyone has to pay their “fair” share according to the tax tables.

      But this is the UO so preferential treatment will prevail

    • Environmental necessity says:

      @confusedandupset: Sounds like you might prefer another institution with no faculty union or at least one that excludes the NTTF plebes. Good luck with that. “Donating your money to NTTFs”. How about everyone takes a pay cut, including NTTF so that NTTF aren’t thrown out on the streets in the middle of a pandemic, because that is the actual plan. I suppose you are one of those TTFs who think only they are “real faculty”. Who do you think does the teaching to give you the time to not teach? FFS.

    • Hart says:

      Wow, buddy, this is not a good look. However, assuming you are lashing out out of fear, I’m going to answer the question you asked. Will you get more free time, less teaching load, etc. Um, yes? Because if all the NTTF are laid off, you TTF folks will have to teach more classes, or larger ones; serve on more committees, or more time-consuming ones; and work more total time since the workload will not decrease just because some of your apparently-not-esteemed colleagues have gone away. FWIW, NTTFs (and OAs, probably in a different manner) generally DO (essentially) subsidize your research and consulting stuff, because they are less likely to be in the publish-or-perish place and so they teach more sections and do more of the stuff you might not want to.

      tl;dr: yes, so I assume you’re now cool with it.

    • ForTheRecord says:

      Surely you didn’t think we’d get out of this without any pay cut at all? In spring bargaining, the union didn’t take the bait on the admin’s proposal because they didn’t dig the terms/numbers and admin didn’t want to play ball then as they are now. Admin created the choice of “take the paycut or we axe the NTTFs”, but the 211 NTTF’s facing renewal wouldn’t have covered the concessions admin were seeking, so it really wasn’t serious choice.

      • thedude says:

        It was a pure bait and switch.

        And you can try to bully a TTF who’s expressing their view, but you’re ignoring a larger issue.

        The union is focused on protected existing generous retirement benefits (the TRP) for senior TTF, and expanding benefits (renewals etc) for NTTFs.

        It negotiates similar/identical raises for the entire pool of faculty. The union has been used in my dept to recruit faculty. Does that argument really hold ground for new recruits when it appears the union isn’t really looking out for new TTFs in any particular way? Of course they aren’t on the bargaining teams cause they don’t have time for that. So the bargaining team doesn’t focus or care about them. THe assumption is they were hired close to market rates and they should feel lucky for their tenure track job, when we were often lucky to hire them. They are the most mobile of us, and if we don’t take care and look out for them, they’ll leave, and our university will suffer. Won’t happen this fall (no jobs) but it will happen in the near future.

        • cdsinclair says:

          The argument that the union does not focus or care about new TTFs is false.

          Grievances around promotion, tenure and review decisions for non-tenured TTF is a significant investment of time, money and officer energy.

          We proposed in bargaining last time that pre-tenured individuals should (barring exceptional circumstances) have the full 6 years to demonstrate tenurability, as is standard in the academy (there has been a significant up-tick in pre-tenure folks failing their third year reviews).

          Much of our argument around child-care and other family-oriented proposals (most of which are likely moot now that UO has no money) was to provide support for younger faculty with young families. This is broader than pre-tenure of course, but many pre-tenure faculty fall into this category.

          We work with faculty before they arrive in Eugene (sometimes when they are interviewing) to help them make the transition and to help them negotiate the best salary (etc) possible. We are working with new international faculty to help them navigate the visa system (which is hopelessly broken due to COVID and Trump’s idiotic decrees).

          You may not agree with the effectiveness of those particular proposals and activities, but I think it becomes difficult to argue that we are somehow ignoring pre-tenured faculty.

          Finally one of our members of the e-team (who has sat in with the b-team many times) is pre-tenure. To say that we don’t listen to their perspective is wrong.

          I certainly value your opinion, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen you at a union meeting. Our decision making is driven by the voices of our members. And while carping on a blog is one way of transmitting information, direct communication is usually a less noisy channel. (And I promise we will listen).

  4. ODA says:

    As part of the bargaining is Admin (say above $50K/yr.) taking an across the board permanent 15% pay cut for all positions including open position (including athletic and foundation)? I think that would be closer to fair. I also like the idea of bargaining on transparency and real shared governance!

  5. Dog says:

    will the University of Arizona did publish their plan for the world to see two weeks ago and it looks most sensible, sliding scale tax rates, with gaps representing various ranks.

    So that’s one model

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bravo for sharing the work by the e-team. It’s embarrassing admin won’t share their “model” after how many weeks of promising to share it? We can just assume the model is “immediately trigger the paycuts for faculty and no admins as soon as they’re agreed upon”

  7. Whatever says:

    I would like to log in to watch the negotiations. Where is the link?

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