Faculty Union to present wage demands, Thursday at 12:30 in 125 Chiles. Be there – no cover charge!

Thursday is the day! We need a strong turnout this Thursday, 12:30-3:30 in Chiles 125, as the UA Bargaining Team presents our economic package to the administration.

Our Article 26: Salary represents a significant increase to faculty pay through across-the-board, merit, and equity raises, as well as promotion increases. The UA Economics Team will present information showing where faculty salaries at the University of Oregon stand in regard to our comparator institutions and our plan to bring faculty salaries up to competitive levels.  We will present a few other articles (Article 21: Review Decision Appeals, Article 34: Caregiving), pose questions regarding some of the (somewhat contentious) proposals that the administration brought to the last session, and the administration team will surely have a few more proposals of their own.

Let’s pack the room to show support for your bargaining team and send a signal to the administration that years of lagging salaries just won’t do anymore! Winning significant raises, or anything else at the bargaining table, depends less on making rational arguments and thoughtful proposals than on faculty showing up and showing their support for the proposals on the table.

[Secret] Provost candidate #1 is James Antony

Currently serving as dean of something or other at UCSD. His Ph.D. is in Higher Education & Organizational Change. You can find his cv and letter at https://president.uoregon.edu/uo-search-provost-and-senior-vice-president. According to his Google Scholar page he’s done research on athletic scandals and faculty satisfaction. Seems like a good fit!

Whoops, Ed School prof Leslie Leve, head of the search committee, thinks that the names of finalists for provost at a public university should be private. That’s right, if you’ve got a colleague at their current university you’re not supposed to ask them if they’ve done a good job or not. Good luck with that:

Sent from the Office of the President on behalf of Leslie Leve, the chair of the provost search committee:

University of Oregon community members, 

I am writing with an update on the University of Oregon’s search for a permanent provost and senior vice president, and to note a change to the finalists’ visit schedule. 

We have invited four finalists to come to the Eugene campus for two-day visits. As previously announced, faculty, staff, and students are invited to meet each finalist during a 45-minute open session, held both in person and on Zoom. Thank you to everyone who met with the first candidate this week.

The open sessions for the remaining three candidates are: 

Mon., Feb. 26, from 3 to 3:45 p.m., EMU, Cedar and Spruce Rooms, 231, 232. 
Wed., Feb. 28, from 3 to 3:45 p.m., EMU, Cedar and Spruce Rooms, 231, 232.  
Thurs., March 7, from 3 to 3:45 p.m., Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Pape Reception Hall. 

The Zoom link and each candidate’s cover letter and curriculum vitae will be posted three days prior to the visit in a secure folder on the Office of the President’s provost search webpage.  Viewing the folder requires being logged into Microsoft 365 via Shibboleth. A member of the search committee will facilitate each session. 

We again remind you not to disclose candidate names or information with anyone outside of campus to protect and respect our candidates’ privacy throughout the search. [Emphasis added] A link to a feedback survey will be posted in the secure search folder on the first day of each candidate’s visit. All surveys will close on Monday, March 11. 

If you attend a session, please remember that questions should be centered on the candidate’s interest in and qualifications for the role. Questions about a candidate’s race, ethnicity, marital status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and disabilities might be construed as discriminatory and should not be asked during the interview, whether formally or informally as part of any follow-up discussion. 

Thank you again for your interest and participation in this important search. 

Leslie Leve   
Provost Search Committee Chair   
Lorry Lokey Chair and Professor, College of Education

UO Senate’s action to kill numerical student course evaluations now part of a national movement

The Chronicle has the report here, highlighting new research showing bias and irrelevance of the old evaluations and new efforts to replace them with meaningful feedback from students and colleagues, A snippet:

What sparks this kind of change? Growing concern about the inequity of student course evaluations has inspired some campuses to start there, either rewriting them in ways that make them more useful or reducing their weight in determining raises and promotions. That work frequently opens the door to deeper conversations in departments and across campus about how to create a culture of teaching excellence.

University of Oregon leaders took this approach, scrapping the traditional course evaluations in favor of a new instrument called the Student Experience Survey. They created new teaching-evaluation standards, grouping them into four categories — professional, inclusive, engaged, and research-informed — and made sure the questions on the student survey aligned with those categories. And they created new tools for peer review and self-reflection.

Lee Rumbarger, associate vice provost for teaching engagement, notes that this was a multi-year process starting with the Office of the Provost and the University Senate, then moving out into colleges and departments.

For the record, the process started with two of my Economics honors students, Emily Wu and Ken Ancell. A previous Chronicle report notes:

“Having a female instructor is correlated with higher student achievement,” Wu said, but female instructors received systematically lower course evaluations. In looking at prerequisite courses, the two researchers found a negative correlation between students’ evaluations and learning. “If you took the prerequisite class from a professor with high student teaching evaluations,” Harbaugh said, “you were likely, everything else equal, to do worse in the second class.”

The team found numerous studies with similar findings. “It replicates what many, many other people found,” said Harbaugh. “But to see it at my own university, I sort of felt like I had to do something about it.”

He did. In the spring of 2017, Harbaugh assembled a task force on the issue and invited Sierra Dawson, now associate vice provost for academic affairs, to join. The last time that course evaluations had been reviewed was a decade earlier, when the university moved from a paper system to online.

This academic research result would have gone nowhere, however, without the enthusiastic support and hard work of Dawson and Rumbarger from the Provost’s office who worked with the UO Senate to come up with a new system – which asks students about the use of specific teaching methods, not about how they like the instructor – or without the somewhat less eager but essential support of then UO President Michael Schill.

So how’s it going? From The Chronicle:

Samantha Hopkins, head of the department of earth sciences at Oregon, sees those barriers on her campus.

Faculty members are largely happy with the reforms to the course evaluations and other changes that have made evaluations more substantive, she says. But administrators accustomed to the numbers-driven systems are finding the new process challenging. “I’ve heard a lot of people expressing a feeling that they miss the student evaluations, and they don’t like the student-experience surveys as much because it’s so much harder to pull an assessment of someone’s teaching out of it,” she says.

Hopkins doesn’t miss the old system but understands the feeling: It is so much easier to compare numbers to numbers. “It’s something I’m struggling with right now,” during annual evaluation time, she says. “It’s the challenge of looking at what people are doing and saying: Is this good enough? What is good enough?”

And then there are the old, hard-to-budge hierarchies. “You hear a lot of lip service given to the importance of teaching,” she says. “But really when it comes down to it, so much of university culture is really centered around the importance of research.”

She recalls a conversation she had with a senior administrator who objected to the idea that a senior instructional faculty member should make as much as assistant professors. It’s a view widely held across campus, she says. “This idea that someone who does only teaching and not research can’t make as much as someone who does research, even the most junior member of the research faculty, tells you where they are actually putting their money.”

Pres Scholz to bring 4 provost candidates to campus for our inspection

University of Oregon community members, 

The University of Oregon’s search for its next permanent provost and senior vice president will soon move into the finalist stage, and I invite you to meet the finalists later this month.

I am pleased that we received applications from a robust, well-qualified pool of candidates for this very important position. We anticipate inviting up to four finalists to the Eugene campus for two-day visits.  

Faculty, staff and students will be able to meet each finalist during a 45-minute open session, held both in person and on Zoom. The open sessions are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 19 from 11 to 11:45 a.m.; and Feb. 26, Feb. 28, and Feb. 29 from 3 to 3:45 p.m.  

The location and a Zoom link will be accessible through the Office of the President’s provost search webpage once finalized.  

No RSVP is required. A member of the search committee will facilitate each session.  

Each candidate’s curriculum vitae will be posted three calendar days before their visit to a secure folder on the Office of the President’s provost search webpage that will require logging in via Shibboleth. We ask that you not disclose candidate names or information with anyone outside of campus in order to protect and respect our candidates’ privacy throughout the search. 

If you attend a session, please remember that questions should be centered on the candidate’s interest in and qualifications for the role. Questions about a candidate’s race, ethnicity, marital status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and disabilities might be construed as discriminatory and should not be asked during the interview, whether formally or informally as part of any follow-up discussion. 

Please also remember, the candidate visits are a recruiting opportunity and a chance for the finalists to learn about our university as much as they are an interview of the candidates. 

A link to a feedback survey will be posted on the first day of each candidate’s visit. All surveys will close on Monday, March 4. 

More information about the search can be found on the Office of the President’s provost search webpage.  

We appreciate your help in recruiting our next leader.  


Leslie Leve   
Provost Search Committee Chair   
Lorry Lokey Chair and Professor, College of Education

OSU hits up state taxpayers for big-time Beaver sports bailouts

Government Relations at Oregon State University
February, 2024 Update.

This week, the Oregon Legislature convened it’s short 35-day session. Due to the short timeframe, each legislator is limited to introducing two bills and committees restricted to three. That does not mean that legislators won’t be tackling policy issues this year; in fact, reforms to Measure 110 and solutions to Oregon’s housing needs will be proposed.Oregon State University is also tackling big issues and is looking to the state for partnership. Below are priorities that we are bring to the Oregon legislature:

Impact of Conference Realignment: The decisions by some universities to leave the Pac-12 not only eroded our 108-year-old conference and legacy but created a significant budget shortfall for OSU Athletics. We need the legislature’s assistance to:

Maintain OSU’s Commitment to Collegiate Athletic Scholarships:OSU commits $10.4 million annually toward athletic scholarships. As an Oregon public university, we have an obligation to continue supporting student-athletes who are bearing the real implications of conference realignment. For many student-athletes, their scholarships make college financially possible, and without that support, they lose their access to education.The state of Oregon currently allocates 1% of the Administrative Services Economic Development Fund from the State Lottery Fund to the Sports Lottery Program. For the 2023-25 biennium, $18,329,943 was allocated. However, OSU will only receive about $650,000 annually because the university historically received multimillion-dollar media payments. Unfortunately, OSU can no longer expect the same media income after July 31, 2024. An additional 1% of lottery funds dedicated to OSU student-athletes would meet OSU’s athletic scholarship needs.

Covering OSU Athletics’ COVID Deficit: COVID-19 health protection regulations placed financial burdens on university athletics departments nationwide. OSU faced more than a year of zero sporting event ticket sales while maintaining our financial commitments to student-athletes and athletics staff. Federal COVID support funds received could not be used to support intercollegiate athletics. The university therefore loaned OSU Athletics $31.8 million to cover its COVID-related deficit. The opportunities for athletics repayment have changed due to conference realignment and a subsequent dramatic drop in media income. OSU has an immediate need from the state to help cover this deficit.

Building a Campus to Serve Central Oregon & the State: OSU- Cascades students and supporters are requesting $24 million to expedite the Phase 3 land remediation, which would create 81 contiguous acres for academic buildings and student housing. This is a critical step to meet growth needs of this innovative campus.

Supporting Student Needs: We will be working with other public universities and students to request:
$6 million in renewed funding for Strong Start 2.0: Continued funding for the Strong Start program is critical to ensure students are prepared and supported allowing them to succeed in a university environment. Initially a response to pandemic learning loss, Strong Start allows universities to offer comprehensive services including summer bridge programs, community- building cohorts, academic skill-building, and ongoing wraparound support. This state investment has led to greater retention rates, higher GPAs, and increased credit hour completion for participating students, compared to their peers.
$5 million to strengthen student basic needs programs and infrastructure on university campuses, includes basic needs centers. 
$1 million in emergency funding to the Open Educational Resources (OERS) program to improve access to low- or no-cost course materials for the remainder of the biennium. Since 2015, Oregon OER grants have saved students $12 on course materials for every program dollar spent.

Addressing Zoonotic Diseases: The Oregon and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OVDL) plays a vital role in public health, responding to issues of serious concern for people and wildlife, including highly contagious bacterial disease, avian flu, and mosquito-born illnesses. Consistent with recommendations from the legislative report directed by HB 4128 (2022), HB 4148 allocates $3.5 million for critical equipment and capacity necessary for the OVDL and the state Wildlife Health Lab to combat threats such as Chronic Wasting Disease and zoonotic diseases.

Creating Pathways to Semiconductor Careers: In 2023, the legislature invested $200M in Oregon’s semiconductor sector. However, research and supporting the needed workforce was not addressed. HB 4154 invests $30 million in K-12 pathway programs, community colleges and public research universities to provide the faculty and tools focused on semiconductor related work.To support OSU’s legislative priorities and easily engage with the legislature, consider joining the Beaver Caucus’s advocacy efforts. You can learn more here. https://thebeavercaucus.org/

Welcome New Members of the OSU Government Relations Team
Chance White Eyes joined OSU in December as Director of Tribal Relations. In this position, he will build and maintain collaborative, mutual and trusting relationships with Tribal nations within Oregon and beyond and consult with Oregon State leadership, colleges and programs to advance the university’s teaching, research and engagement missions. White Eyes holds a doctorate in critical and socio-cultural studies in education from the University of Oregon and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Oregon State. He is an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin.

Katheryn Yetter, OSU University Policy & Standards Specialist, is taking on additional duties and supporting OSU’s advocacy efforts in Salem. We are fortunate for prior the legislative experience Katheryn brings to the team.

In November, Sherry Morgan started as Administrative Assistant. She previously worked in OSU Academics for Student Athletes. In this role, she is managing the office’s administrative needs and assisting tracking bills of interest to OSU and our community.
Copyright © 2024 Oregon State University – Government Relations, All rights reserved.
Thank you for your interest in Oregon State University Government Relations!

Our mailing address is:
Oregon State University – Government Relations600 Kerr Administration Building1500 SW Jefferson St.Corvallis, Oregon 97331

Union delivers another goat!

Check your January paystub – there should be an extra 4 hours in there. Why? UO had shorted 9 month faculty on their pay for September, with some strange calendrical calculations that had been going on for years. In some half-months faculty were underpaid, in some overpaid. Looking forward there were going to be more underpayments than overpayments, so the union filed a grievance and the Administration eventually had to make faculty whole. Apparently OSU had been making the same mistake – but it only took their administration a month to fix it.

This works out to about $250 for the average faculty member, or almost enough to buy a Nigerian Dwarf Goat – get em while they last! https://eugene.craigslist.org/grd/d/myrtle-creek-adga-nigerian-dwarf-kids/7702201873.html

VP for Enrollment Roger Thompson finalist for Missouri State Prez job

Thanks to a reader for the link. https://news.missouristate.edu/2024/01/18/missouri-state-announces-three-finalists-for-president/

It’s a transparent open search run with no apparent interference from a search firm. Three finalists announced publicly and brought to campus for the university to meet with and provide feedback to the Board, *before* the final hiring decision. Astounding.

Thompson should be proud to be considered for the top job at a university that runs its searches like this.

President Scholz to deliver remarks from a secure offsite location

After President Schill’s 2017 State of the University speech in the EMU was interrupted by querulous students UO started giving large donations to the Eugene City Club, in exchange for letting the UO President talk there instead of a UO location where our students might show up.

It seems President Scholz is also chicken – this event will be held on private property rather than at UO where that pesky First Amendment would apply.

UO President Karl Scholz: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Date: January 19, 2024

Time: Noon to 1:15 pm

Event Type: Live/Livestream

Members and Non-Members may attend our forums for free

Venue: Maple Room at Inn at the Fifth
205 E Sixth 
Eugene, Oregon

Around the 0’s well-paid PR flacks write Senator Dembrow and your unions out of history.

Senator Michael Dembrow and the university unions organized to end the old system, where the UO Board members nominated the children of their friends to be UO’s student trustees. Here’s the legislative history, check the testimony. Here’s Around the 0:

The University of Oregon Board of Trustees is seeking applicants to fill two new student trustee positions.

The positions are to be filled by one undergraduate and one graduate student, both of which will be nonvoting members of the board.

The new positions on the board stem from a change in state law that requires two undergraduate student trustee positions: one of which is a voting member while the other is a nonvoting position, with the two terms staggered. The law also adds a graduate student position.

The Associated Students of the University of Oregon is administering the process. The ASUO president will review applications, conduct interviews and nominate top finalists to the Oregon governor for review and selection. Applications must be submitted by Feb. 5.

To begin the application process and learn more, go to the Board of Trustees website. Questions can be directed to [email protected]

Admins and Grad Students reach tentative agreement

Analysis from CSN, a regular reader:

What’s the outcome?

The big story is the flattening of the GE wage scale. This is both through the changes to the minimums to bring GE I and GE II up to GE III, and through the cutoff implemented for ATB raises for those above the minimum at $50,000 “base pay”. That’s a 9-month 1.0 FTE equivalent salary — obviously take-home is much smaller than that.

The result of all the percentages thrown around is that in 2025, the minimum base GE pay (for all levels) will be $48,426 (versus $33.3k/$37.6k/$39.8k today). If you are a GE currently sitting at a $45k base rate, the ATB increases will get you up to $53.5k in 2025. If you are currently sitting at a $50k base rate, the ATB increases will get you up to $56.2k in 2025.

I think even if you are a GE III, you’re pretty happy — it’s a 10.5% raise effective retroactively to the start of fall term 2023, and if you are sticking around for the next couple of years while you finish your dissertation (or wait for a good job market), you are getting 5% raises every year.

One big takeaway for me is that it seems like the Admin had a pretty strong desire to limit GE base pay to below $50k as much as possible, which I have a hunch has to do with their bargaining with the classified staff. If I’m a Dean, I’m not too upset about the overall picture. I don’t think this is the fundamental shift in GE compensation that some were talking/excited/worried about. 

How “well” did each side do?

I compared the outcomes to the original proposals from each side. Part of the story here is that the GTFF initially wanted to reduce the length of the contract to 2 years, so they didn’t initially specify anything for 2025. But they pretty quickly gave that up.

You can slice this up in different ways to get different numbers, but the story is the same: Movement happens where incentives are aligned. In Year 1, relative to initial proposals, Admin moved substantially toward GTFF for GE Is (the final outcome is 83% of the way toward the GTFF initial offer from the Admin initial offer), and GTFF moved very substantially toward Admin for GE IIIs (the final outcome is 5% of the way toward GTFF from Admin initial offer). For Y2 and Y3, it looks a bit closer to what Admin offered than what GTFF asked for.

From the GTFF press release:

Graduate Employees Reach Historic Tentative Deal with UO, Halting Strike Plans

EUGENE: With two days left before a strike was set to begin, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF-AFT Local 3544) announced on Monday evening a tentative contract agreement with the University of Oregon. Graduate instructors and researchers will remain at work while union members vote on whether to ratify the contract.

“This deal simply could not have been secured without the incredible energy, real passion, and diligent preparation that our members devoted to building a credible strike threat,” said Cy Abbo, GTFF co-lead negotiator. “Our members put all of their power into this fight, and won.”

GTFF has been bargaining with the UO administration since March 2023 over the wages and working conditions to be set forth in its next three-year contract. From the beginning, salary was a major sticking point, with GTFF calling for raises to match the historic rates of inflation workers have faced in the past few years. On January 5, 2024, the union announced a formal intent to strike beginning on January 17, citing the need for wage increases that would bring all graduate employees at UO closer to a living wage.

But negotiations on January 11—coupled with a rally and practice picket aended by scores of GTFF members and allies—yielded significant progress, which continued on January 15 after the union returned to the table with additional power built through a General Membership Meeting aended by nearly 600 GEs. On Monday evening, the GTFF bargaining team announced a tentative agreement on a 3-year contract affecting wages, benefits, and working conditions for over 1,400 graduate employees at UO.

The deal announced on Monday will bring the minimum salary of graduate employees at the UO up to $2,550 a month (based on 0.49 FTE), with cumulative increases ranging from 18.98% to 45.32% over the life of the 3-year contract (dependent on GE level and rate). The union also won new targeted support for caregivers (including improved childcare resources) and international GEs (including visa and SEVIS fees, housing resources, and more). Additionally, new contract

language includes improved anti-discrimination protections for caste, citizenship, and gender identity; 4 weeks of additional Family/Medical Leave; expanded graduate hardship funds and qualifying events; and the university will increase its contribution to employees’ health insurance premiums and decrease fees in the summer months.

Leslie Selcer, GTFF president and a member of the bargaining team, said the deal would transform the university’s approach to graduate programs, making advanced degrees more accessible to a larger and more diverse group of graduate employees for years to come.

“This fight has always been about more than just us. We want the UO to fulfill its mission as a public university that serves students from all backgrounds, not just privileged ones,” Selcer said. “We are proud to say that our union has pushed the entire institution forward today.”

Why isn’t President Scholz taking responsibility for the UO administration’s GTFF pay offers?

Dear faculty colleagues, 

I am writing about the status of bargaining with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation and to address academic and research continuity planning so that faculty members are informed as negotiations continue and a potential GTFF strike approaches.   

GTFF Bargaining Status Update 

The bargaining teams met yesterday to continue negotiations with the state-appointed mediator. There was movement on salary increases through counterproposals from each party. The UO team presented an updated salary offer at the end of the session, and the bargaining teams and state mediator agreed to meet on Monday morning so the GTFF team can respond to the UO offer.  

UO’s latest salary offer to GEs includes: 

  • Minimum pay: $35.36 per hour.
    $2,537.97 per month at 0.49 full-time equivalency. 
  • Double-digit percentage increase for all: 
    At least 10 percent first-year increase for all GEs with a 1.0 FTE base salary under $50,000. 
  • New minimum pay salary structure:
    Minimum pay for all GE I, GE II, and GE III set at the same rate, which is proposed to be 10 percent higher than the current GE III rate.  
  • Tuition and fee benefits:
    UO continues to pay all tuition and fees,  (except $61 per term). 
  • Health insurance provided for all GEs, their partners, and families:
    UO continues to pay 95 percent of the premium. For context, GEs with individual health insurance currently pay $37/month in premiums in any term in which they have an appointment. 

Comparison to other public AAU institutions GE salary and benefits: 

  • UO GEs would earn above average minimum take-home pay for graduate employees compared to peer institutions when adjusted for cost-of-living differences between regions. Detailed analysis is available on the HR website
  • UO GE health plan is far more generous and expensive, costing annually $2,500 more per GE than it costs at other AAU institutions.

Latest UO offer by the numbers:

Minimum Salary Increases

 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Total
GE I* 31.21%3.75%3.75% 38.71% 
GE II*16.15%3.75% 3.75% 23.65% 
GE III 10%3.75% 3.75% 17.50% 

*The GE I and GE II salary rate minimum will be set the same as the GE III salary rate minimum.

Across-the-Board Increases: Base-rate Threshold = $50,000 at 1.0 FTE (9-month) 

 Below ThresholdAbove Threshold 
Year 1 10%4% 
Year 2  3%3% 
Year 3  3%3% 
Total 16% 10% 

Additional details about counterproposals exchanged at the mediation session, including a comparison between the UO and GTFF offers, are available on the HR website

Continuity Planning 

Faculty instructors and research groups should continue to develop coverage plans for work performed by GEs. Refer to the frequently asked questions for academics and research for guidance. 

As noted in the academic continuity FAQ, faculty lecture instructors of record with associated labs and discussions should be prepared in case GEs are absent during the strike period. Potential strategies to prepare for GE absences from labs or discussions include:  

  • Modify lectures to incorporate material from labs and discussions.  
  • Use existing or create asynchronous Canvas modules that could replace labs and discussion content. 
  • Adjust course grading rubrics to reduce reliance on lab/discussion grades. 
  • With any strategy, ensure consistency across lab/discussion sections associated with the same lecture because some discussion or lecture leaders might be present while others are absent. 

We will continue to keep you apprised of developments with regular updates about bargaining and progress on continuity planning. You can stay informed about the status of the GTFF bargaining and the potential strike by visiting the HR website.  

Best regards, 

Karen Ford
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President 

Faculty Union hopes for a disruptive and brief GTFF strike

Greetings, colleagues.

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 

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.
In solidarity, 

United Academics Executive Council

“GEs at UO would earn more than the average minimum take-home pay rate of public AAU institutions …”

I *think* that’s Johnson Hall trying to claim that they’ve made a generous offer to the GE’s, though that’s hardly the only way to parse it. From Interim Provost Karen Ford’s email about the GTFF strike, which is scheduled for Jan 17:

Dear UO faculty member,  

The University of Oregon is currently negotiating with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF). This afternoon, the union issued a strike notice to the university, which projects a strike to start Wednesday, January 17. University administrators managing academic and research operations are preparing for the strike. 

The university’s bargaining team will continue making itself available to meet with the GTFF bargaining team and state mediator in our ongoing effort to reach agreement. The next mediation session is scheduled for January 11.  

As shared in the last email to faculty on December 7, 2023, salary increases remain the only outstanding term left to negotiate. A detailed description of the latest UO offer is provided on the HR website. Key components include: 

  • A new model setting all GE levels to a unified minimum salary rate, with greater increases for those currently earning the least.  
  • Across-the-board increases for those earning above the minimum. 
  • The new proposed minimum rate for all GEs is $34.39 per hour or $2,468.75 per month at 0.49 full-time equivalency. This is an updated rate following a recent adjustment to minimum salaries as defined in the current CBA. 
  • GEs at UO would earn more than the average minimum take-home pay rate of public AAU institutions when adjusted for cost-of-living differences between regions.  
  • The university continues to cover full tuition and mandatory fees except $61 per term and to provide 95 percent health insurance premium coverage for all GEs, their partners, and families.

University administration recognizes that a labor strike is disruptive. Our top priorities are to bargain in good faith to reach agreement while also maintaining our teaching and research operations. Your flexibility and patience as we navigate this situation together are greatly appreciated. 

We respect the right of GEs to conduct a legal strike, and we hold as a shared value the desire for an agreement as soon as possible. In the meantime, our role as a public institution of higher education includes the responsibility of providing the best possible education for our students, despite a work stoppage. For both that reason and consistent with Oregon law, other employees will continue to be responsible for carrying out their assigned duties. Thus, faculty members represented by United Academics have an obligation to carry out their assigned responsibilities. Oregon statute makes clear that only members of the designated bargaining unit are permitted to take part in the strike and that those not represented by the GTFF are prohibited from striking. 

Academic units and individual research groups are strongly encouraged to develop coverage plans for work that GEs perform. Guidance is available in the Frequently Asked Questions for researchers and instructors.

Deans and directors of academic units have been working with the Office of the Provost and departments to put academic continuity plans in place for each course where a GE is an instructor of record, lab or discussion leader, or provides grading support. These plans will help ensure there are strategies for covering classes and discussion sections. Please consult with your unit head for details on coverage strategies in your unit. 

Academic continuity is guided by the Academic Continuity policy approved by the University Senate in 2019. This policy provides “a framework to guide planning and decision-making in the event that a significant disruption to campus operations impedes academic activity. The goal is to continue academic activities as much as possible and to mitigate the effects of a significant academic disruption, which include particularly grave academic and financial consequences for graduating students, international students, and students receiving financial aid.” The policy entrusts the Academic Council with making any policy changes necessary to ensure academic continuity during an academic disruption.  

You can stay informed about the status of the GTFF bargaining and the potential strike by visiting the HR website, which lists updates on bargaining issues, including the university’s latest salary offerguidance for talking to GEs, as well as Frequently Asked Questions

Best regards, 

Karen Ford
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President