As you likely have heard, the GTFF has declared an Intent to Strike starting Wednesday, January 17, 2024. An Intent to Strike is the last official requirement before a legal strike can occur. While there will be another bargaining session on January 11, all signs point to a strike. We outline some basics for faculty in this email; more can be found on UA’s digital newsletter, The Duck & Cover. If you have any questions about expectations, feel pressured to perform additional labor, or just want to know what you can and cannot say to GEs or undergraduates, please contact us at [email protected]. Do not hesitate, we are here to be a resource.
The point of a strike is disruption. This means everyone at the university will experience difficulty, but generally speaking, the more acute the pain the quicker the settlement. The best strike is a quick strike, and you can help (hopefully) make that happen.
To the extent you are comfortable, do not do the work of striking GEs. You are not required to do so. If you are asked, the CBA specifies that you should receive a paid overload assignment for work previously performed by a striking employee. The CBA also specifies that faculty will “not unreasonably” refuse any such request. UA leadership believes that faculty already work full jobs and have full academic and personal lives. We cannot be compelled to take on extra work if we think it would be unreasonable for us to do so. No bargaining unit member may be disciplined or terminated for refusing an overload assignment. The CBA further specifies that faculty must cross the picket line in order to perform their regular duties, though there are symbolic ways of showing solidarity, such as
- Holding your office hours off campus
- Holding your office hours on Zoom, using one of the pro-GTFF backgrounds we have created for the strike – https://www.uauoregon.org/zoom-backgrounds-2/
- Presenting our slide deck at the beginning of your class to educate your students about the strike
- Attending GTFF rallies and public events, and joining the picket line when you’re not required to be in class, meetings, or other scheduled work events
- Hanging a solidarity sign on your office or lab door – Count Me In, UA Stands w/ GTFF, or UA Hearts GTFF
- Signing the faculty letter of support
Many faculty are rightly concerned about the impact on undergraduates, and the administration will lean heavily on this to encourage us to go over and beyond our usual obligations. How to address the pedagogical impact on undergraduates is a personal decision. Making courses easier, canceling labs, etc., has its own pedagogical disadvantages, and can serve to prolong a strike. We all know our undergraduates, and we hope that most will be sympathetic to the GTFF. If a student becomes upset with you for the impact of withheld GE labor, encourage them (or better yet, whoever is paying their tuition) to contact [email protected] and let them know how the strike is impacting them.
We encourage faculty to support their GEs in their decision to strike, but faculty should not ask GEs whether or not they intend to strike. We recognize this may seem innocuous, especially for those supportive of their GEs, but, in many instances, faculty are viewed as managers and there are legal proscriptions for supervisors. On the other hand, if you find out a GE is striking, you are under no obligation to share this information with your department, dean, etc.
This will be a confusing, frustrating time. The success of the strike depends on it. By standing with the GTFF in solidarity, we not only help them improve their working conditions, we also improve our own. Big wins for the GTFF can only be positive for UA in our upcoming bargaining.
Speaking of which, we begin bargaining our new CBA on Thursday January, 18—the day after the strike is to begin! You can join in the labor fever on campus by coming out to our inaugural bargaining session. Sessions are currently scheduled for Thursdays of even weeks from 12:30-3:30. We will be sharing the session location and our bargaining platform in a forthcoming email. We want to hear from you on how our union can improve your working conditions!
Do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected], your department steward, or any of the officers of United Academics.
United Academics Executive Council