Bargaining VIII, this Wed at 3PM

7/22/2020: Liveblog, usual disclaimer: my thoughts on what people are saying, trying to say, trying to be thinking, etc. Nothing is a quote unless in ” ” ‘s.

Matella: We’re OK with the all in employees idea, and a 15-35 window. (That’s a very low threshold. UO has already cut costs more than this.)

Brad Shelton: I realize my initial model was too complicated for some people to understand, so I’ve made it more like the tax code. Also, I updated a lot of information which I haven’t shared with you before now.

(Typo in second to last bullet – $185K should be $285K)

Caucus break.

3:58 They’re back.

Caucus break.

4:53: Admins want another 10 min to caucus.

5:00: Admins want another 15 min to caucus.

5:15: Admins want another 5 min to caucus.

5:20: They’re back. 

Took Brad awhile to turn his crank, but he’s got a new plan to protect the highest paid administrators:

Cecil: It would be helpful if you shared your data, as we shared the data we painfully scrapped from IR’s pdfs because UO won’t post machine readable files and Schill stopped reporting quarterly numbers.

Matella: OK, I think.

Cecil: What to do about TRP? High salary suggests high tax, low FTE suggests low tax. Keaton goes low, Brad goes high. Caucus til 5:45.

They’re back.

Cecil: We’re going to want to trim a little more off the top. We need Brad’s data.

Matella: We’ll get you his model. [Here’s hoping she means data, not model.]

Cecil: We’ve got the outlines of a deal, just need to hammer out parameters of the cuts. Can’t do that until you share Brad’s data.

Cecil: Hope we can get this done this week.

7/21/2020: Both sides report that bargaining session VII today was civil and potentially productive. Keaton Miller (Econ) gave a fact-based presentation on progressive pay cuts, using actual UO data and some simple and well illustrated economic principles.

Dave Cecil (UAUO) and Missy Matella (Admin) seem to be closing in on a deal to trade potential pay cuts for all above some threshold pay (should UO revenue fall below some target) in exchange for the “expectation of continued employment” for career faculty. If I understand it right this would restore the 211 career faculty now facing cuts to their previous FTE. In the future the admin could still lay off career faculty (as they can do to tenured faculty, albeit with some difficulty) but not on a whim and not without plenty of notice.

Word has it that the Wed session will start with a presentation from UO VP Brad Shelton on his version of progressive taxation.

Register in advance for this webinar at:
https://aft.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_aRds9XWlSvKr6i2LCT9LKQ

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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39 Responses to Bargaining VIII, this Wed at 3PM

  1. thedude says:

    So is anybody in the union going to ask the admin team if they have insurance contracts for tuition losses of this sort? Seems like just the sort of thing our risk averse provost Moffit would buy, and that might be why the admin is wants our pay cuts to start at 10m and go to 35m. Maybe that’s the ranger our risk is most exposed and they want the faculty to bear all of the incidence.

    Also any word on law school enrollments and admissions for the fall? Maybe we don’t need to subsidize them 10m a year if people actually want to go to law school to avoid the recession.

  2. thedude says:

    Will these cuts be applied to the law school? Or are we taking 8-12 percent cuts to restore FTE for NTTF jobs and preserve law school salaries?

    So in recruiting for a future TTF, we should say “We have a great union. They don’t advocate for you much particular, but they’ll cut your salary to save the majority of their voting block when monopsony power is at its worst.”

    • uomatters says:

      Everybody gets a cut. Law, OA’s, Admins, our General Counsel, Knight Campus Director, Schill, Phillips, me, you. Perhaps even staff and GE’s although under the union plan they are almost all probably under the threshold. And we use the same schedule – which is why the admin’s are so intent on keep the rates low for those above $200K.

    • Ua member says:

      Like. At least I will save a grand or so by oping out of this useless union

      • Environmental necessity says:

        Please then return any and all financial and other benefits they negotiated for you, including pay increases, and swear off any future benefits they may negotiate. Also, please forswear use of the grievance procedures and process they provide. And negotiate individually for your health insurance and retirement.

        You should be able to cover all that with 1000 bucks.

        • Fishwrapper says:

          ^^^Like^^^ (I hate PR flacks and their ilk. We need the damn thumbs buttons back.)

        • thedude says:

          When the union focuses differential efforts on certain members and the negotiated raises have consistently gotten smaller, and there have been no improvements to TTF working conditions other the wages which were falling below inflation and now of course have gone negative at the exact moment the university has extreme monopsony power, it’s entirely correct for members to question who the union serves and why. Let’s not forget a lot of our dues to go national political causes we may not agree with and nationwide public sector unions are generally coming under fire (police/teachers) for many justifiable reasons.

          • CSN says:

            Sounds like you should get on the union’s bargaining team!

            And do you really think it’s appropriate to conflate teachers unions and police unions right now? In my mind, police unions are spending their time right now trying to defend members who have killed people in cold blood, whereas teachers unions are spending their time right now trying to keep their members from being killed by COVID.

            Kind of a big difference.

            • ODA says:

              This is not in any way a statement about police unions, as the two should not be conflated at this time.

              I have seen, in faculty unions that have been around a lot longer than the UO, not only work against the institution but also against the faculty (IMHO) by supporting tenure and promotion that was rightfully not supported by the committee and department, by supporting faculty who committed (not accused) sexual misconduct with students. It may not be the case at the UO yet but it will come.

              • thedude says:

                When he focus on job security over pay that’s usually how public sector unions and unions generally get a bad rap.

                Maybe tenure should be more conditional? Or teaching requirements should be higher if I don’t stay research productive.

              • charlie says:

                Tenure wasn’t established as a way to get a guaranteed sinecure. No, it was created to protect the capacity of addressing power with truth. Given that, you can create the instutional/national conscious that would confront the worst societal excesses.

                The problem, imho, has been the admins all out attack on the actual purpose of a tenured faculty. They want you to shut the hell up as flagship has been turned into a piggybank for Wall Street bond palaces. To give an indication of how well the neutering has gone, nearly every single Pac12 uni has been on a nonstop building jag that’s ultimately decimating their academic missions. Upshot is shiny new buildings and diminished inventory of tenured faculty. That’s far more serious an issue than an occasional incompetent prof who received a pension..,

        • ScienceDuck says:

          Should they return all pay increases, or just the pay increases greater than the average pay increases at peer institutions? According to https://ir.uoregon.edu/salary_comparison ,
          UO CAS all ranks average professor salary went from $101,900 to $105,900 and AAU went from $117,300 to $125,000 in the period since 2016-17. UA member should return the below-average pay increases that they got in exchange for paying dues? I think the union does useful things, but your comment makes it sound like the union has gone above and beyond with straightforward performance metrics like getting pay raises, and I don’t think that reflects reality.

          • Dog says:

            as has been pointed out a few times before in this blog, since about 2014 the average union raises for TTF are slightly below the West Coast Inflation index over that period …

          • Observer says:

            For my first fifteen years at the UO, I had no pay increase at all beyond irregular COL increases (which did not actually keep pace with inflation). I remember getting tenure and asking the secretary, “So how much does my salary go up?” and she said, “Huh?” Oh. Turns out it went up not at all. Merit raises and and regularly scheduled COL increases did not come in until the arrival of the union. Maybe you all were in departments that did better by your faculty. But a good many of us weren’t. Thank God for the union.

            • ScienceDuck says:

              That is interesting to hear, and hard to reconcile with the aggregate data (I believe you, though). I looked back at 2006-2009 (a period of economic activity matching the previous few years), and the all ranks CAS salary went from 70k to 75k to 79k. That was 2 years of raises of ~$5k each, which was the total amount of raises for the 2016-7 to 2018-9 period mentioned above. Maybe the union has been working hard to help the most neglected departments in the past few years even though the total amount of raises has gone down and the recent raises have also not kept pace with inflation in aggregate. In that case, your gratitude would be appropriate and “Ua member” can be disgruntled for the poor performance on their behalf.

      • Excellence says:

        I share UAs discontent but won’t be opting out for the reasons Environmental necessity lists. Sowing discontent within a union is a classic anti-labor move as well. A pay cut during a global pandemic and national catastrophes seems like a reasonable sacrifice, as long as it’s shared.

        However, as others have pointed out, all union negotiations have focused on NTTF and tier one TF moving in to retirement. TTF are doubly occupied with earning tenure and young children. The UA should negotiate for an additional course release before tenure for TTF. We are facing an enrollment crisis anyway.

        Also, please cancel our library fines. Thanks.

        • Anonymous says:

          This seems about right. I think there is good in the union for both TTF and NTTF – and both groups do things in terms of their labor to help the other – but honestly anyone who thinks all groups (NTTF, TTF, tier 1, 2, pre-tenure, etc.) are being represented and fought for equally is simply not looking at the negotiations objectively.

        • heraclitus says:

          Making sure there are NTTF around to teach your courses seems like an important first step towards such course releases.

          • thedude says:

            But is UA advocating for those additional course releases or pretenure sabbatical or just better research support? No. UA wants to make parking cheaper to solve the parking shortage on campus.

            If UA is seriously arguing for better resources for TTF or presabbatical terms etc. that would be one thing.

            But as I recall, there have been a few pushes for more generous sabbaticals which are quickly dropped.

            Instead UA is pushing normally on contract renewal/guarantees for NTTFs or requiring 500k outside consultant funded gender equity studies which paid out 50k in gender equity raises university wide? Paying outside consultants a ton of money for what ended up basically an across the board increase is almost athletic department level waste.

            • ScienceDuck says:

              Many science TTF are not in the union since they supervise post-doctoral scientists who are in the union. Science TTF seem to have a plenty strong voice in most matters on campus, but are not well-represented in the union which may affect the choices the union makes.

          • Excellence says:

            I agree, NTTF job security is part of it. That’s why so much of UA’s bargaining power has been devoted to this issue. But the administration’s argument through these negotiations is that we are facing enrollment decline. It seems reasonable to reduce course offerings anyway–it’s economically undesirable to have glut of poorly enrolled courses.

            This isn’t about negotiating for better sabbatical or pre-tenure research leave. It’s about recognizing how stretched early career faculty are during the pandemic. We don’t need to hover in limbo with prolonged tenure clocks. We can absorb our part of the pay cut. But we need time to work.

  3. Dog says:

    One more piece of data I would like to see (I am on TRP myself)

    Over the last to years, how many people are on TRP (on a quarter basis) and what is the total cost (per quarter) for TRP salary+OPE.

    I would like to better understand if the costs are sharply rising or slowly rising (my suspicion). In the end, I don’t think there is fractionally that much money going to TRP but I am certainly willing to take my cut – but I would like to see if TRP payout is closer to 10 million a year or closer to 1 Million per year –
    last time I looked at this few years ago, there seemed to about 60 trp faculty per term.

  4. Environmental necessity says:

    The point is not that UA has performed flawlessly or that TTF have received all that is deserved. They haven’t and they should.

    The relevant question is whether any of those things are easier or harder when negotiating alone instead of collectively.

    I would also add that there is value in solidarity with others, especially those less fortunate and more vulnerable. But that is not necessary for the primary argument.

  5. Interested Observer says:

    “I realize my model was too complicated for some people to understand.”

    BS is always the smartest person in the room-just ask him!!

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Some people say yeah — when he’s in the room alone talking to himself!

      He’s a smart guy, sure.

      • uomatters says:

        The sad truth is that Brad often is the most knowledgeable administrator in the room when it comes to UO finances. Unless Jamie Moffitt, Stuart Laing, Roger Thompson, or Bruce Blonigen is there.

  6. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    So everyone, what happens on D-Day Aug 26? Does UO go all remote again, or stick with current hybrid plan?

  7. Inquiring Minds says:

    Wait. If I make $90,000 I get to work harder than ever to keep UO functional and get paid 18% LESS? Key people will flee. Including researchers, IT professionals and program directors. Good plan there. At some point shared sacrifice should be balanced against eliminating some programs or services. Also here the faculty union is in reality bargainIng for OAs and others without representation including some classified employees

    • Dog says:

      Once again “key people will flee”

      flee to where?
      there are not a lot of job openings in academia right now

      In the US there are about 1650 public colleges – all whom have faculty likely to suffer pay cuts and all are claiming that “key people will flee”

      right now they would mostly likely flee to temporary unemployment …

      • Inquiring Minds says:

        I didn’t refer to instructors or faculty. Though some of them could consult in private sector. IT skills are in high demand. Good managers can find work. If willing to leave Academia I’m sure other professionals can do better than UO proposal. This is not Just hypothetical. I know of 3 people who have left for better work in last few months. I assume there are more.

        • Dog says:

          oh I agree with that

          these days, no one who is good at IT, particularly programmers, should really ever work in Academia (unless they personally prefer that) – lower pay (significantly), lower prospects of career development. Yes, those people may leave in droves.

      • ScienceDuck says:

        Interestingly, there was a recent twitter thread where people were talking about searches and 1) many searches are cancelled, 2) there were definitely mention of strategic hires and looking for “well-funded PIs” so it wouldn’t be that smart a strategy to just think “well, even the best are stuck here!” as that could just lead to other places skimming the cream.

  8. Inquiring Minds says:

    Oh and what about pension? Since it is your highest three years this would permanently harm anyone planning to retire before 2025 or who is otherwise at the top of their earnings

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