UO Information Services under review for inequity towards Analyst Programmers/OSNAs

Thanks to an anonymous IT worker for sending this, about UO’s efforts to prevent IT workers from getting SEIU representation by classifying them as “management”:

SEIU 503 is challenging a whopping 60% of all Information Services Division OAs (40+ positions in total) for being mis-classified as “Managerial Positions”, even though they manage neither people nor budgets. SEIU contends these positions perform the same job functions as other classified Analyst Programmers/OSNAs on campus, and appear to have been purposefully crafted by Information Services/UO HR to circumvent the union, given nebulous job titles such as ‘Data Asset Manager’ and ‘Enterprise Systems Developer’, and position descriptions laced with subjective loop-hole labor statute verbiage exempting them from representation:

“Though this position does not directly supervise, this position possesses authority to formulate and carry out management decisions or who represents management’s interest by taking or effectively recommending discretionary actions that control or implement employer policy, and who has discretion in the performance of these management responsibilities beyond the routine discharge of duties.”

Compared to positions with similar job duties and years of service, the salary inequities range from 10K-30K less than that of their classified peers. Not to mention zero compensation for overtime and on-call work. UO Information Services (already poorly staffed compared to our peer institutions) is experiencing a minor exodus in both leadership and rank-in-file staff. While UO is “deeply committed to a culture that values … equity” (according to Pres. Schill) it behooves UO to look after its own long-term interests of retention in an expanding and ever-remote job-seeker market in IT, especially given the glacial pace of UO HR’s re-hiring process.

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45 Responses to UO Information Services under review for inequity towards Analyst Programmers/OSNAs

  1. Systems Admin says:

    As a UO employee currently within IS affected by this, I am happy to see this is a larger issue than I originally realized and additional details are coming out. Thanks for posting this!

  2. concerned says:

    OA raises in IS have averaged around 2-2.5% annually… mean while the union contract guarantees 4-4.5% annually…

    • Pissed Programmer says:

      Don’t forget the COLA raises SEIU secures (%5.6 this year), on top of those %4.5 increases…

    • It's Classified. says:

      Unless you’re Classified IT above control point, then the “standard” annual increase is only 2% (not ~4.75% like the stepped employees).

      • concerned says:

        But they get COLA on top of that merit raise. OA’s don’t get guaranteed COLA.

        • It's Classified. says:

          COLAs are bargained for, nothing is guaranteed. There is power in a Union.

  3. UO Does Not Value Employees says:

    Classified IT person here, I do this: ““Though this position does not directly supervise, this position possesses authority to formulate and carry out management decisions or who represents management’s interest by taking or effectively recommending discretionary actions that control or implement employer policy, and who has discretion in the performance of these management responsibilities beyond the routine discharge of duties.”

    When “TransformIT” started, it was clear to us “oldsters” that this would be the end result (essentially “converting” classified staff positions to OA positions). Many excellent employees left as the “TransformIT” unfolded. The loss of talented employees and institutional knowledge was/is a tragedy.

    As CAS unfolds it’s “Shared Service Initiative”, it will not be surprising if the same thing happens there.

    • Treeluvr says:

      Yeah. Dreading the CAS shared services impact on our (smart, capably managed) science dept. Dean sounds inexplicably cheerful in his newsletters about revising all PDs and assigning staff to different locations, as if we were mere flowers to transplant in a garden. This lily is not impressed! Planning my retirement date now.

      • Dog says:

        I believe the CAS shared services will rapidly evolve to Shared Blame

        • Curious George says:

          CAS shared services will be chaos and very stressful for an already spread-thin and stressed staff. Oops, I mean post-implementation will be an “iterative process” that results in efficiency excellence.

  4. just different says:

    Good for SEIU. The next question is how much time and money UO will waste trying to weasel out of the inevitable ERB order.

    • It's Classified. says:

      I’m sure they’ll also do everything in their power to spare us the effort of reading any such report. Thank goodness for UOM.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The inequity problem must be addressed to prevent a continuing exodus of talent.

  6. employeewhocares says:

    As an UO IT employee with many years of service who is directly impacted, I really hope UO HR works to rectify this inequity. It’s disheartening to see such mismanagement of classifications on IT. Thanks for posting!

    • Compulsory Pessimist says:

      EWC, You cannot possibly have worked at UO for long if you earnestly thinkthat *HR* would be the ones to rectify an inequity.

      HR exists to protect the organization, not the employees. Never forget that.

  7. OSNA3 says:

    Glad to see this! I always wondered why my peers were treated differently for doing a similar job to mine.

  8. IT person says:

    Unfortunately, this has been ongoing for decades. Management in UO IT has consistently stymied attempts by IT employees to garner wages commensurate with other state universities. They have taken a two-pronged approach to this: Denying classified employees movement into classifications they are obviously performing already, (which forces them to waste time petitioning central HR, and all but quashes the attempts of the timid); and withholding salary raises for non-classified staff, simply because they prefer to give their yearly increase in their allotted budget to their cronies.

  9. Frustrated employee says:

    Being an OA at UO in IT with no supervisory or financial responsibilities for years now, I’ve personally felt this inequity. While my classified colleagues get to benefit from higher salary bands, larger raises, overtime pay for working overtime, no required unpaid on-call support, etc…, I feel slighted by UO HR. It’s truly time to rectify this gross inequity. I hope UO HR does something soon to bring equity to campus IT employees. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if UO HR and Leadership truly promoted an equitable workplace for all staff, including IT staff?

    • None says:

      UO will not do the right thing for workers, nor will leadership. This is a job for the union and the workers themselves.

  10. GottaDoWhatYouGottaDo says:

    Was an OA for years when I found out that a classified colleague doing the same job as me was being paid more. Took it upon myself to get reclassed as classified – took over a year to do. Even brought up Oregon’s equal pay act. Got the attention of class&comp and was given back pay for one year even though it should have been for three years. Now enjoy the regular larger COLAs and merit increases that far exceed OAs.
    Where is DEI on this? Or at least the Equity part.

  11. Slowly Boiled IT Duck says:

    I’m one of the red dots. Not sure the union can help, but I did sign a card. Too late for me, though. I have an interview every day next week (and so on), and in the current economy, I doubt it’ll take long to land a position that will solve my salary issues.

    It’s one thing to offer below-market salaries. It’s another thing entirely to force significant additional real-dollar cuts in the face of rampant inflation. (And it stings a bit, since it’s obvious that UO has plenty of money available to fix this.)

    I’d hoped to retire here, but it’s not to be. Best of luck to my colleagues.

    • Slowly Boiled IT Duck says:

      As a modest update, this week we’re seeing candidates for the open CIO position. One of them brags about creating a positive work environment (in a previous role), while simultaneously recommending punishment and dismissal as needed. Because if there’s anything UO IT needs right now, it’s punishment and dismissal of staff. You can’t make this s*** up.

      How this person made it to the final three instead of getting kicked out the door with a boot up their a** is beyond me. HR could use a little “punishment and dismissal”.

      • uomatters says:

        This comment fails to honor the dignity of every individual and under Policy 01.100.10 I must urge you to confess to thoughts contrary to a culture of respect and beg forgiveness, or face termination.

  12. Anas clypeata says:

    As an IT employee (both SEIU and OA over the years), I reported all of this to the CIO, SEIU, HR, and anyone else who would(n’t) listen over 20 years ago, and for many years following. I’m long gone, but I forgot how long things take to happen at the UO. I never understood why SEIU never chose to fight this battle, which looked open-and-shut to me.

    FYI, it’s happening in tons of other departments and classifications around the university. There are many hundreds of OAs with zero job security, zero bargaining power, and inequitable pay whose positions should be classified. If you think you are one of them, contact your local union steward or an SEIU officer.

  13. cdsinclair says:

    Let’s unionize the OAs. The difference between the raises OAs got and the raises faculty and classified staff got would more than pay union dues in perpetuity.

    Between the shenanigans in IT and the doomed-to-fail CAS shared services, I think there is enough seething resentment on campus to establish an OA bargaining unit.

  14. Pissed Programmer says:

    cdsinclair – you may be onto something. While not an issue for SEIU, it’s sometimes striking how wide compensation difference is between classified and their legitimate OA supervisors. There are current situations where classified staff make the same or more than their supervisors boss. I feel bad for legitimate OAs as they have no collective bargaining. UO seems to offer fancy titles in lieu of respectable management pay – and this often doesn’t attract competency, when in fact UO would be better off giving classified staff a financial incentive to grow in their career. Often classified staff have absolutely no financial incentive to rise in the organization to manage – leading to sub-par or under-developed managers.

  15. disheartened says:

    As a current OA and red dot on that chart, it was disheartening to learn all of this in recent months. I did sign a card but have recently begun looking for employment elsewhere.

  16. Hopeful says:

    This happened maybe 15 years ago in parts of central IS. Union came in, with HR, and reclassed many people from OA to Classified. Then things started slipping again. HR, from what I know, largely stopped agreeing to most of these OA but non-supervising years ago, but a few groups still get them through.

    Glad to see this is happening. Theres a LOT to unpack here. Most of it groups being scared about strikes, and overtime… but it needs to happen.

    The biggest problem with this is UO makes it VERY difficult to go from classified to OA if you actually _want_ to manage. “Management experience required”… which, how do you get that? So I hope there is an attempt to work with individual employees that may actually want management positions…

    • ODA says:

      This kind of divisiveness is what I do not like about unions.

      There always comes a point where it is us against them. And if you stay long enough as a union person, you will get a reputation of being against management…
      …so the union person does not get moved to management where they belong so they can fix the systemic problems that they deal with on a daily basis…
      …so someone from the outside who is “Management Material” comes in with some new fangled hair brained scheme that they say will take 3 years to implement, but would really require a decade and resources that are not available, but that does not matter because the mid-level manager will be out of here in two…
      … so sure the union person keeps making more and more, pissing on brushfires instead of building a better system that keeps the fires from starting in the first place…

      Maybe it would be better if everyone were unionize… We could use our MBA and marketing people to brand it with some snappy new name that shows inclusion and personal responsibility for out institution? like? Shared Governance.

      • just different says:

        Ok wait. So the us vs. them mentality is the fault of the union rather than the management who view union members as being “against management”?

        • Anonymous says:

          UO Management has the mindset that the Union *is* “the other”. Furthermore, UO Management considers the Union, the employee, and the Steward as “Enemies” when the Union has the temerity to enforce the CBA and represent Union Members.

      • Cynical Optimist says:

        My view is the Union’s mission isn’t to be the enemy of management, but to be an (collective) advocate for its’ members. A Union isn’t (shouldn’t be) an “other”. it’s a collective of its’ membership. It should be thought of as a partner, with a shared goal to serve the mission of the institution, just specifically /not/ at the expense of the members’.

        I would like to think we all want our respective manager(s) to be successful.. in being a leader of a successful team. At least that’s what I want.

      • Pissed Programmer says:

        Us vs. Them is a REAL problem. Management engineering/enabling this inequity adds gas to that fire, don’t you think? The lack of career pathing and leadership development/pipeline shows a lack of competency in leadership IMO. This is why the searches result in outside management hires, because we are lacking competitive internal candidates from the union labor force, not because the potential isn’t there internally, but because they aren’t developed into leadership material by existing management. Nor have much financial incentive to become middle management. “Maybe everyone should be unionized” – Now THERE’s an idea.

  17. Pissed Programmer says:

    https://careers.uoregon.edu/en-us/job/528737/classification-and-compensation-analyst

    Glad to see this team growing. They are tiny and need all the help they can get. Hire a couple more!

    They are a choke point in throughput for this issue as well as position postings when the PD is new or been revised. Not surprised if they feel the pressure to quell these attempts just to lighten their workload. Notwithstanding, this needs to be fixed and these are the people hired to fix/prevent these issues.

    While IS current leadership has enabled this issue to persist, they also largely inherited it from toxic leadership that has since moved on. My first position in IS was one of the dots and when I asked this leadership why I was an OA, I was told it was because of the extent of my data access. I’ve heard others told they are OAs by same person due to their on-call/overtime duties. UO Class Comp told me years later that both claims are patently false.

    Here’s to hoping this issue is looked at with fresh eyes and good faith.

  18. Pissed Programmer says:

    This language is derived from ORS 243.650 Section 16, the definition of a “Managerial Employee”, which is excluded from the definition of a “Public Employee” in section 19, and thus ineligible for a “Fair Share Agreement” of union representation.

    Nice white paper on this topic:
    https://scholarship.law.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1449&context=lawreview

    “…As worker participation programs move away from
    merely furnishing information to management, and towards allowing
    workers to make decisions traditionally managerial in nature,28 however,
    “employees” with increased participation in the management
    decision-making process may not be considered statutory employees under the Act.29 As a result, these individuals would no longer be protected by the Act… This Comment concludes that the vague language adopted by the
    Supreme Court in Bell Aerospace could likely have unintended farreaching effects, namely, that the implied managerial exclusion could
    cause rank-and-file workers to be treated as managerial employees ineligible for the protections of the Act…”

  19. worker says:

    Besides IS, I’ve seen SO MANY UO job postings for OA positions that are clearly misclassified Classified jobs – and I’ve only begun keeping track over the past 2 years. How long has this erosion of our bargaining unit been going on? I wish Class & Comp would provide clear guidelines for their determinations between OA and Classified.

    • just different says:

      Jesus H, the salaries. Are people really that desperate, or is UO really that delusional?

      • Compulsory Pessimist says:

        Yes.

      • Heraclitus says:

        I take your point, Different, but they’ll all make more than your average PhD holding adjunct. I know, different discussion…

        • just different says:

          To be sure, but in that case the desperate/delusional ratio is in UO’s favor. Plus NTTF at UO have better pay and job security than at many other schools. Wonder why…

      • Dog says:

        Desperate and Delusion is charlie mike for the UO

  20. Anonymous says:

    As the IT “shared services” worked out under “TransformIT”, CAS “shared services” will also experience the same loss of classified personnel who hold significant institutional/departmental knowledge. They/we will flee. We are far more aware about what it takes to get our jobs done — CAS admin has no idea.

    Again, staff will suffer, faculty will be lost/mystified, and students, who pay for all this crap, will lose in the long run.

    As long as the opaque financials make top admin look good, well, that’s the bottom line.