Faculty Union voting on pay-cuts-for-jobs deal with Admin, until midnight Tu.

8/10/2020: Dues paying members should have received this ballot in their email, around noon:

Dear Colleagues,

The United Academics Bargaining Team invites you to vote on an agreement that would restore Career faculty FTE, provide a system for a possible 12-month wage cut, and allow Career faculty who withdrew promotion files in spring to resubmit them.

Before providing the recommendation of the bargaining team, We’d like to provide an assessment of the repercussions of the various outcomes. These are brief, and more details can be found in our previous communications.

If you vote YES:

Career faculty will have their FTE restored to the same level they had in AY19-20;

Career faculty who withdrew their promotion file after it had been forwarded to the Provost may elect to have their file reviewed within two weeks of the parties formalizing this agreement;

A Progressive Pay Reduction (PPR) plan that may be implemented if triggered by a November tuition deficit or in Summer 2021, if the university experiences a deficit in excess of $15M;

The PPR will raise up to $20M over the course of 12 months.

You can read more about the agreement here: http://newsletter.uauoregon.org/we-have-a-deal/

If you vote NO:

Career FTE will not automatically be restored before the beginning of this academic year; and

The administration will have to find other ways to raise money to cover deficits.

Our recommendation:

The bargaining team recommends you vote YES. Our priority is to restore FTE for Career faculty. We recognize that the deal presented is not ideal; we never would choose a salary reduction plan for faculty. The university community is, however, facing the uncertainty of looming budget deficits. The current proposal helps the administration address that uncertainty without cutting the FTE of Career faculty.

Voting closes at midnight on Tuesday, August 11, 2020. You can vote [link removed].

In solidarity,

United Academics Bargaining Team

8/7/2020: Faculty Union will vote Mon on pay-cuts-for-jobs deal with Admin

The Administration started this process with an “ultimatum” offer to the Faculty: Accept up to 4 years of cuts of up to $25M each year for $100M total, or they would start giving career faculty 0.1 FTE renewals with no health insurance. Take it or leave it.

The faculty union negotiated, and the deal now on the table restores those jobs in exchange for a contingent pay-cut of no more than $20M for no more than 1 year.

Thanks Dave Cecil and Chris Sinclair. Details in the links below.

I will be voting yes.

From: United Academics <info@uauoregon.org>
Subject: Ratification Vote on Monday
Date: August 7, 2020 at 3:35:35 PM PDT

As we described last week, we have reached an agreement with the administration that will restore Career faculty FTE, establishes a potential salary reduction plan, and allows Career faculty who withdrew their promotion case this spring to resubmit it for review.

In order for our agreement to be finalized, it must be ratified by a vote of the membership. If you are receiving this email, our records indicate that you are a member of United Academics in good standing. If this information is incorrect, please let us know right away.

As a member in good standing, you will receive an email at noon on Monday, August 10, with a link so you can vote. Your vote will not be tabulated with your name, so your vote will be via secret ballot, as required by the UA bylaws. Polling will close at midnight Tuesday, August 11.

In order to cast a fully informed vote, you can read the text of the agreement, review a bullet point summary, get answers to some frequently asked questions, or watch the Town Hall held earlier this week.

We also have an agreement, in principle, to changes in the Career faculty contract system with the administration, though many details need to be worked out before we will be ready to bring that agreement up for a vote of the membership. We anticipate that vote happening in fall.

The bargaining team recommends a “YES” vote on this agreement. We are very happy to have restored Career FTE, which we know was the primary concern of the membership. The salary reduction deal is not one we would have agreed to in normal circumstances, but we are not in normal circumstances.

Please look for the email with a link to your ballot on Monday. Please vote.

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26 Responses to Faculty Union voting on pay-cuts-for-jobs deal with Admin, until midnight Tu.

  1. Environmental necessity says:

    Yes, the university has mismanaged its finances. Yes, upper administrators are vastly overpaid in most instances. Yes, protecting themselves from progressive cuts above 200K while squeezing middle class families is grotesque and shameful, but karma and purgatory await. Yes, it sucks Oregon taxpayers don’t adequately support higher education. Yes, it is too bad Oregon’s state budget is going to be hit harder than just about any state. Yes, TTF are not supported in ways consistent with other AAU schools in this deal or our most recent CBA. Yes, the deal keeps in place the current lack of transparency and centralized governance. Yes, this deal does not prevent future shenanigans.

    And of course COVID-19 and GDP falling calamitously is the mother of all bummers.

    But none of these bad things are altered by rejecting this deal and returning, presumably, to the April ultimatum or something much closer to it than this deal.

    Take the deal and let’s move on to the next round of bargaining, now fully informed that upper administrators think like Sen. McConnell, are not committed to good faith negotiations, and have no secret command of the arcane math arts conjured using bat entrails by Brad Shelton.

  2. Voting NO says:

    I am voting “against” for two reasons: First, as a TTF, I do not see any benefit to myself. Second, and more importantly, I would have voted “for” if the Union managed to get anything from the administration that they were not happy about. Something like more transparency, less adiministrative bloat, cutting the administrators salaries in half etc. This union is acting as adimns poodle. If this deal fails ( not holding my breath though) then it would send a strong signal to the union that they need to get more teeth. But I am sure this is not going to happen, so voting with feet is not a bad option.

    • Environmental necessity says:

      Agree the UA needs to do better for TTF but voting against the recommendation, replacing a known flawed deal with ???? in the middle of a pandemic seems uniquely calculated to achieve worse outcomes overall while also signalling to administration that the union is divided and less powerful. (Then perhaps a bit about caring for folks beyond oneself, but I guess some view that as optional). Such a signal is a bad move for TTF hoping to secure more support from the administration. The much more effective signal heading into the next round of negotiations is sent if there is overwhelming support for the union position.

      • Oryx says:

        I don’t understand why a “no” vote implies that we’ll end up with a deal that’s worse, rather than re-setting the bargaining to where it was originally plus with a clearer signal to everyone that there need to be bigger admin cuts and better TTF *and* NTTF outcomes. Am I mis-understanding what “no” means, in terms of contracts? Thx.

      • anon and on and on says:

        Also note that if this fails, administration will have many fewer compunctions about cutting or merging ‘unprofitable’ programs and axing TTF (which they can do with as little as 30 days’ notice, per Art. 25 section 2). I’m not fond of enduring a cut either, but I’ll gladly take the diminished chaos in lieu.

    • CSN says:

      The original package was for $100 million in cuts over four years. This package is for a maximum of $20 million in cuts over one year. You don’t think that’s better for you? That only makes sense if you are one of the highest paid TTFs who is also planning on leaving in AY 2021.

      Plus, I don’t think the administration is super happy about not being able to reduce FTE at will any more — nor about the idea of effective neutral oversight over layoffs.

      If you want the union to have more teeth, how do you think walking away from the union is going to help? The way to give the union teeth is to put on your boots and walk a picket line.

      • thedude says:

        This is for a maximum of 1 year of cuts for this contract. Nothing prevents them from negotiating again next year, and imposing similar or deeper cuts next time. The hope is we have a vaccine or reliable treatment by then. But who knows…

        It’s not 1 year vs 4. It’s really 20m vs 25m. Which is a bit of a win. Paid for with great incidence from a fraction of the TTFs the union is ok throwing under the bus.

        • Taow says:

          I will give it to the union that they are being transparent about who they represent – instructors and not tenured faculty. Why are the two in the same union? The union willingly offered up tenured faculty to reduce harm to instructors. Where is the union that argues for not harming/minimizing harm to tenured faculty? Who should tenured faculty turn to?

          Also, the union needs to stop trotting out the 4-years vs. 1-year argument. The union offered up cuts for its most senior tenured faculty members greater than those proposed by the university. You can keep saying “for less time” but for those of us who read the original proposal we know that 1) this deal just buys you time and another, worse deal could happen next year and 2) it wasn’t a guaranteed four years, it was a maximum of four years under certain circumstances and triggers. Now we have no certainty, just another year purchased with money from tenured faculty.

          Will the union again volunteer to harm tenured faculty to help instructors? Given their new marching orders, it seems likely. Will instructors remember that it was tenured faculty who took the pain? Unlikely. Will tenured faculty remember that the union proposed (and accepted) a deal more harmful to tenured faculty than the university proposed? I’d wager yes.

          • Environmental necessity says:

            A fair amount of self-interested blather here. Let me help you understand what most of your colleagues hear in your statement: “Wow, that clearly reveals their values, since *all faculty TTF and NTTF who earn less than 115K are better off under this plan* the only folks who could oppose it are the relatively few above that threshold, and most of those are worse off by tiny margins up to more than 150K.” So basically, your worldview is the same as Sen. McConnell and Trump. What you are saying is “throw NTTF and most TTF under the bus so I can maybe have some kind of chance in the chaotic aftermath of the deal being rejected of earning a few thousand more, in the middle of a pandemic.” As a TTF let me put a fine point on my view of your values: That value system is monstrous. You are right that the deal does not preclude future cuts but it does trade certainty for possibility, and that is not without significance in a climate of uncertainty.

            Please notify your Dean today those many classes you will gladly teach when middle class NTTF, our most vulnerable colleagues, are kicked to the curb in the middle of pandemic. So that a few faculty making more than 115K per year can “pay” 9% instead of 14% or whatever.

            • Oryx says:

              This is getting repetitive, but it is again worth pointing out that the choice isn’t between cuts to NTTF *or* cuts to TTF. The anti-union argument is that the union didn’t adequately fight for a deal that benefits *both.*

              Once more: saying that this deal hurts TTFs (relatively) *does not* mean that one wants NTTFs to suffer, that one doesn’t value NTTFs, etc.

              • HopingForBetter2021 says:

                This this this. Getting tired of “Environmental necessity”. Basically confirms what “Dog” says above. There is disdain amongst (some) NTTF directed at TTF. Hurtful to make the comparisons you did. Of course no one wants NTTF “kicked to the curb” and of course they do much much much of the teaching but the deal clearly didn’t fight for TTF priorities. Just read the comments here. It was shortsighted and assumes the same thing won’t happen again in a year. Also there are more than “a few” faculty making over 115K…

        • Environmental necessity says:

          Your point is fair except not quite accurate. The change is from a certainty of 100m in cuts over four years to 20m in one year, and then further negotiations, the outcome of which might include further cuts. Trading certainty for possibility is huge in a climate of great uncertainty, it seems to me.

          • thedude says:

            We traded cuts of up 100m for up to 4 years, for a cut of 20m which could happen this year or next, combining losses, and other possible future cuts of unknown amounts etc.

            There’s nothing that guaranteed the admins would have cut 100m for four years, just as the union likes to brag there’s no promise the cut will happen this year, and indeed they predict it will happen next year (when our state contributions drop, even as our enrollments swell back up).

    • Anon.TTF says:

      “First, as a TTF, I do not see any benefit to myself”

      So what would happen if the NTTF were diminished? Do you think TTF teaching loads would remain the same? The business model of this University is tuition dollars. (Why do you think we are in such trouble right now — the administration had so heavily leveraged ourselves and run down reserves that any drop in enrollment is a cause of layoffs/pay reductions?) Who teaches the classes that bring in those dollars?

      The idea that giving the shaft to NTTF would have no impact on TTF is one that I hope never gets tested.

      I am TTF, BTW.

  3. thedude says:

    This is a tough vote.

    Covid19 sucks and now it comes. We’re working hard for less pay. But the same is true for most people out there. Talk a lawyer, doctor, dentist, etc. whatever comparable degree you want, and most are working harder right now for less pay.

    A 10 percent wage cut sucks, but so many people are dealing with worse. I’m annoyed the contract does nothing to prevent the same thing from happening next year. Which makes the 4 year comparison pretty dumb. We have the certainty of pay cut this year AND the uncertainty of a potentially larger pay cut next year. NOTHING prevents that. I’m annoyed they never discussed the tuition guarantee and how much more revenue that will bring in.

    I’m annoyed the union doesn’t really go to bat for the TTFs. They say they do, but look on the contracts and ask yourself how often they really do. Instead this time, they focus on parking etc. niche issues which don’t really matter with terrible solutions (cutting prices to address parking shortages).

    I’m annoyed the union felt the best way to raise taxes on the admins, was to raise taxes on their own members.

    If the unions argument is they can best weather a decline in income, isn’t that an argument for why we TTFs should always get lower pay raises in the future? My hunch is it is, and that’s why in this union, generally, the TTFs are second in priority for them. And I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.

    So I don’t know how to vote.

    • CSN says:

      We could have had the certainty of four years of pay cuts. Moving something from 100% certain to less than 100% certain is a gain in expectation, is it not?

      On the tuition guarantee, my understanding of the deal from watching the negotiations is that the “deficit” will be determined by taking fall enrollment and multiplying by the AY2021 tuition rates — in other words, the tuition guarantee *is* incorporated and any additional revenue that earns relative to AY2020 *will* be used before pay cuts are triggered.

      As for your complaints about the union going to bat for the TTFs…. it does seem like Career faculty have a lot of representation on the bargaining team. Sounds like you should think about joining!

  4. vhils says:

    Vote up or down (it won’t matter since I can’t see any NTTF not voting for it) but can we stop naively pretending that because we didn’t end up with the ‘original package’ that upper admin put forward that somehow the union team did a great job negotiating lower (in most cases but definitely not all) cuts. The University made that first shitty “offer” as an initial place to negotiate from, which is union contract negotiation 101. My 12-year old could have got the University to move away from its initial offer, simply by saying, ‘this is a shitty offer, make a better one.’ Wider circumstances beyond all of our controls, definitely makes this a bad situation to negotiate from, but the union leadership shows very little creativity when it comes to dealmaking, and seems to have a bad habit of not paying attention to the details. I kinda can’t believe that after the ‘we had no idea the University would act in bad faith and force NTTF going up for promotion to chose between their contract and their promotion’ that the union once again forgot to confirm retroactive promotion pay for the same group the second time around.

  5. Dog says:

    It has always seemed to me that the research mission of the University and the faculty engaged in that, is not even close
    to high priority for the UA. Indeed I think (but cannot prove) that some members of UA have an active disdain for the role of active researches in the University.

    In my own case, my research infrastructure (let’s call that working conditions) has gotten worse because the consistent CAS interpretation of union rules, (which I belie is wrong but that don’t fucking matter), makes it really hard to higher temporary work for my fading research enterprise. So as a TTF researcher, supervisor of several grad students per year, active pursuit of grants (which brings in overhead dollars to the University), the Union has done nothing to improve that particular mission.

    • what dog said says:

      I’m not always a fan of Dog (sorry Dog) but have to agree here on all points.
      Sadly, also with the disdain for research-active TTF, which I’ve observed for union, CAS, and JH. It can be quite shocking to encounter when I’m just trying to do my job, which I thought was valuable as an R1-institution faculty member. It’s as if the research part is a hobby and they’re doing a massive favor if they’re helping in any way. It’s been weird.

  6. Lou Brock says:

    Did the union make any calculations concerning the effect of the pay cut on folks approaching retirement? What about the effect on social security calculations? What about the FAS calculation? Many near-to-retirement folks just lost thousands in pay each year due to Bill 1049’s appproval by the Court. This is a real financial hammer if you feel the pay cut’s landing on you in addition to these other takings. You are no longer able to make up the losses or work beyond their effect.

    • Curt Flood says:

      Hi Lou, do you make more than 195K per year? That’s the only way
      I see that there is thousands of pay lost per year. I am glad I got out when I did.

      • Lou Brock says:

        Tier one/tier 2 just lost part of the 6% IAP. They now receive only 3.5% of their salary into their IAP instead of 6%. 2.5% goes to everyone else. (It’s almost like TTF in the Union.) If you are making 80k, you have just lost $2000 a year. Then add the pay cut to that. I still don’t know whether or how this will affect retirement.

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