Trustees to give UO faculty real wage cuts because we aren’t lying dirt-bag scum like Duck coaches

Rumor has it that the raise agreement will be for 3 years, with 5/2/3 % raises. The union will send out a call for members to approve in a few days. First two years across the board, last 3% merit. You can’t call it a COLA raise because actual cost of living increases will mean faculty will have lost 3-5% by the end.

Pres Schill has already presided over cutting faculty pay from 94% to 90% of AAU peers, and another cut is not going to cost him any sleep.

Our Board of Trustees will have to vote to approve these pay cuts, perhaps at the same meeting that they vote to hire a new Duck football coach. Rumor has it that our Trustees will happily pay Cristobal’s replacement ~50% more.

What would the faculty union have to do to get raises like that? Set up a cartel like the NCAA or even just like the American Bar Association. Or make credible threats of a strike in the middle of enrollment season, as Cristobal did, and then be prepared to pull up your family, sell the house, betray your students, and get out of town.

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37 Responses to Trustees to give UO faculty real wage cuts because we aren’t lying dirt-bag scum like Duck coaches

  1. cdsinclair says:

    Entry level JavaScript developers make more than I do. Data scientists make twice as much (and “data sciences” isn’t that hard). And now that we know how to work remotely, having to move your family is no longer a thing.

    The golden handcuffs of tenure are great, but the non-academic job market is hot right now, and I can’t see how UO meets its aspirations of excellence in STEM if they continue to pay us less than our grads can make right out of the gate. Our starting salaries are sad, and the only reason we can hire good people in my department is the over-production of PhDs and the artificial scarcity of tenure-track jobs.

    I’ll be happy for the 5%, and I think it is a good deal, at least until UO faculty can credibly threaten to strike, or until a significant number of folks decide the bullshit isn’t worth the pay and walk away. I’d lead the charge to strike, but I’m afraid the faculty won’t get up their courage to do it until long after I’ve decided that writing JavaScript for 40 hours a week is a better deal than putting up with UO bullshit for 60.

    • just different says:

      Interesting that you say “courage” (not that I’m disagreeing). Out of curiosity, courage against what exactly? What’s the nature of the cowardice?

      • cruel irony duck says:

        My feeling is that it’s not so much that some of us will exhibit courage and the rest might be considered cowards. Rather we are all drawn to varying degrees towards the cliff that ends our connection with UO and leads us towards an unknown future. In the past, UO seemed like a safe berth where we could do some good. Now, the powers-that-be are shooting arrows into our backs. What to do next? Good question.

        We received a rather nice email today suggesting that we would soon receive raises of four percent rather than three. Or, in real terms, three percent cuts rather than four. And really, that’s the most optimistic interpretation. Could be ten percent cuts in real terms. Best gauge yourself.

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Whatever I think of the salary situation — a post for another time — I don’t think that UO faculty can credibly threaten to strike. Reason: UO is in a precarious position as regards enrollment, finances (probably), and academic standing (perhaps). A strike would wreck things beyond repair. Under no circumstances would it be worth it.

      Chris, if you really think writing JavaScript would be a better deal for a better life — don’t be a fool. As a certain famous alum inspired himself or someone to say: Just do it!

      • CSN says:

        HUB, when do you think the “right time” to strike would be?

        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          Well, above I wrote “Under no circumstances would it be worth it.” and I think I would stick with that. Probably only over some egregious matter of principle — not money.

          • ODA says:

            I always thought true shared governance would be better and more powerful than the work a day protection of a union. Of course the chances of real shared governance is near zero given that it would take a governor and Oregon legislature to make it happen. One may even say you were closer to having it when there was one board for all seven schools as the official governing board was Further removed University operations and more hands off allowing the presidents and faculty to control academics and opperations… I think Ed Ray expressed that sentiment at the time

      • cdsinclair says:

        I’ve looked seriously, and had conversations with other fed up academics who have made the leap to industry. Those who I have talked to do seem happier, though there is undoubtedly some selection bias and rosy recruitment dialog in those conversations (One told me that he gets a 25K bonus for everyone he recruits and is ultimately hired by his company).

        The thing that’s keeping me at the moment is my work with AAUP. I’m currently Secretary/Treasurer and I feel like in that position I have some ability to make higher ed better (perhaps incrementally) for a lot of people. Once my term is over, I will need to decide if the feel-good aspects are worth running again or if I should capitalize on the hot data science/developer job market and jump to industry.

        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          Maybe you’re really ready for a change. You’re at the right age. If you do jump, I hope you don’t do it out of bitterness. Just take the next step, and then don’t look back. The idea that there is nothing worth doing outside of academia is pernicious. Even if someone is far to the left compared to me — if going into some kind of business is the alternative. Of course, there’s the whole non-academic nonprofit world, at least for some fields.

          Academia seems odd in that the people with the prized tenure-track jobs don’t seem all that happy, or at least, there is an adminixture of discontent and sometimes bitterness. Whilst there are legions of people trying to get one of those TT positions, dying to get one. I have my own theories of why these seemingly contradictory situations hold.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Serious question: Why are the union negotiators accepting a real wage cut (and recommending that faculty approve it)?

    • cdsinclair says:

      Because there are people on the other side of the table, and they are very conservative with budget projections (remember when they freaked out and tried to extort 25M in salary cuts by threatening the jobs of 211 faculty members two months into COVID? These are the people on the other side of the table and they are driven not by the needs of faculty. They are driven by fear and their desire for a gig at a university higher up the food chain).

  3. thedude says:

    Union barely delivers on promise to bargain for faculty, and we’ve fallen behind our retired colleagues who are getting bigger COLA’s than us. The board should be ashamed of signing off on this.

    This would be a lot better if there was a 2 percent merit or external equity pool in year 2.

    As we’ve seen before, it all compounds, and any time the union loses 1-2 percent at the negotiating table due to fear or reluctance to use our power, we don’t get it back the next time.

    Zoom striking is easy, poetic, and credible.

    • cdsinclair says:

      I don’t disagree, but I do wonder what of your power/political capital you have used to secure a better deal. Bitching on a blog under a pseudonym doesn’t get us better wages. If you really want faculty to use their power, then join the Contract Action Team and start pounding the pavement and talking to other faculty about what will be necessary to push back against a financially conservative administration. That’s what it is going to take.

  4. Ticai says:

    This package (1) does not provide any upside to faculty if our financial situation improves significantly, (2) does not keep up with inflation, nor includes provisions in case inflation increases even more, (3) provides a 3% merit that will reward those of us without young children/older family members and who have not suffered productivity losses caused by the pandemic. All because the union wants to focus on policies and processes.
    This is a poorly designed agreement and I’m thinking of voting no.

    • IT's Classified says:

      Is it true no employee group saw COLA in 2021? (other than a handful of admin reversing their temporary cuts)

      • Dog says:

        yes I am pretty sure of that but the UO is not alone here, people
        I know at other Universities and in the private sector mostly got
        no kind of any raise in 2020 or 2021

      • cruel irony duck says:

        That might technically be true. Hard to tell given that the salary database has not been released for over a year.

        But, some groups were buffered by large, regular salary increases in prior years. The head of IT, for example, seemed to be regularly pulling a 10% annual increase (on average) in the years prior.

        Some cries of penury are more credible than others.

        • uomatters says:

          But wait – it says right on the IR website “Note: The Office of Institutional Research publishes salary data for all employees in all unclassified and classified position classes as of November 1. The report will be available in mid-November.”

          It would be illegal for JH to hide this sort of info whilst bargaining with the faculty over raises. So the only possible conclusion is that today’s date is actually November 9th, not December 9th. This quarter will never end.

          • FedUp says:

            IR data has been held back and out of date when finally published for years. This now “late” “annual” report is no surprise. Running a canned report takes no time at all. The historical delays, the now supposed annual report, which is “late”, is certainly deliberate to sabotage bargaining. And to make it virtually impossible for non UO administrators do any current salary/compensation analysis. Along with the usual utter lack of transparency by UO admin.

          • OMA says:

            “illegal”? I know that the universities used to be part of the Oregon Transparency salaries system. It does not look like that is the case anymore. Is there a law (OAR/ORS) that they must still provide the open salary info? If there is, the admin may piss off some constituent group and/or the legislature… Perhaps someone should ask the AG.

            That SEIU contract looks pretty good. Who were they bargaining with, HECC? (And does the HECC have more people than the old OUS?)


            • cruel irony duck says:

              Regardless of the legal requirement, I think it’s foolish to hide this information. If you’re doing something you’d be uncomfortable having the public know, you’re probably making a serious mistake.

              Beyond that, having poked around the existing reports a bit, most of the salaries don’t look that off, relative to each other. It might be annoying that the coaches get paid a lot, but that’s probably the market rate, and if you want a good one, that’s what you pay. Do I wish a professor of classics was well paid? Sure. But sadly, there’s not much of a market.

              By hiding this data, the University is leaving everyone wondering whether they’re getting stiffed compared to their colleagues, when in fact, they’re mostly not.

  5. SkiitterFootedScarab says:


    The best thing that happened to me in my UO career was getting fired by then CIO Don Harris. Better elsewhere.

  6. Wish I Was A Coach says:

    Well, faculty getting 5/2/3% is definitely much nicer than the (shockingly best-ever) 3.1/2.5/0% that is in the TA for SEIU classified staff. OA’s getting 4/3/3% is also significantly better than SEIU classified staff. While this may be “best-offer” COLA for SEIU classified, that is more a testament to the shit COLA’s SEIU classified have been getting for decades than a testament to Management treating SEIU classified as equally valued employees.

    • Me Too says:

      Did R-G get this wrong? It says 3.1% COLA in January and another 2.5% COLA in July. 4.4% total COLA for 2022.

      Do the 4.75% step increases start in 2022 or 2023?

      About time is right.

      • Fishwrapper says:

        No, the R-G got it right. Meanwhile, the headlines this morning tell us inflation is up.

        The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) climbed by 6.8% in November compared to last year, marking the fastest annual increase since June 1982. (Yahoo)

        Now, I’m no whiz at the numbers, but it would appear on the back of my envelope that the way things look, there’s gonna have to be a gigantic bump afforded to workers when the next opportunity to address compensation opens up in 2023 if wages are truly supposed to keep up with cost of living in the so-called “real” world. (Yes, and yes, there is more to the tentative agreement than the across-the-board COLAs, involving steps, health care, etc. that muddy the headline numbers…) More on the tentative agreement can be found here: linky

  7. Dog says:

    just for the record – PERS Tier 1 retirement checks continue to increase each year by ~1.7% per year. This, in fact, now serves
    as further incentive to be on TRP

  8. ClusterFlock says:

    I’m feeling done with our faculty union. They continue to negotiate from a position of weakness. If this is the best salary offer they can get with our high rate of membership and won’t pursue meaningful cost of living increases due to fear then perhaps it is time leave the union and pocket the dues. My family could really use the $.

    • Environmental necessity says:

      Then please eschew the small salary bump they just negotiated. And refrain from using the grievance and governance provisions they have negotiated. You seem confident that you could do better on these things standing alone. Prove it and don’t be a freeloader.

      • Mike says:

        Or…get involved in the union and get on the negotiating team. See if you can do better!

  9. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    If UO really cared, it could get faculty salaries up to AAU levels, or at least pretty close — maybe 95% rather than 100%. Wasn’t there an effort to do that back around 2000? And progress was made, in fits and starts, up through the tenure of the Hat, who then got fired for too publicly breaking the governor’s directives about salaries during hard fiscal times for the state.

    It was all done with cooperation between the faculty and administration — provost John Moseley, president Frohnmayer, later the Hat — without the union. Had Schill cared, the faculty salary problem — if you consider it such — could have been solved by now.

    Where would the money come from? Well, if you look at the growth of officers of administration, and the decline in faculty numbers, over any period we’re talking about — 2000 – 2021 or 2016 – 2021 or whatever you choose — you will see the picture. To get to 95% or even 100% would not cost that much. Of course, there would be “tradeoffs,” a word that used to be bandied about with perspicacity.

    Why hasn’t it happened? Well, I would say a big reason is that Schill more or less has disdain for the faculty. I hear this in so many ways from a variety of people. Faculty with ideas for doing things, faculty who get asked to take on big new responsibilities without commensurate increases in pay.

    At really good places, in my experience, the faculty are valued as the principal resources of the institution. They actually take pride in their faculty, and go out of their way to express this!

    What does Schill value? Well, principally the billion dollars he’s raised for the “Knight Campus.” Whose very name — not Knight, but the other part — embodies so much that is wrong about it. Plenty of people see what is wrong with this scene, but only talk about it sotto voce — perhaps because they are afraid — or perhaps because they hope to get in on it themselves.

    Meanwhile, the “other campus” — the real campus — is in trouble. Declining enrollments, especially in the humanities; unfilled faculty lines; people reasonably grumbling about salaries and support, and angling to leave. There are also disruptions in necessary services from the administration that are making it really hard for some faculty to do their jobs. And also gratuitous and very damaging interference from administrative offices.

  10. anonymous says:

    The union should be embarrassed.