2015 faculty union CBA ratified with 97% yes vote

Update: The votes are counted, it’s a vote of confidence in the union and its bargaining team. The contract runs until June 30th 2018, so bargaining for the next contract won’t start for a bit more than two years.

10/9/2015: Pres Schill and union will trade beef for ratification vote

Word down at the faculty club last night is that President Schill returned from the Pendleton Roundup with a herd of shorthorn beeves that he and the union leadership drove across Santiam Pass, down to the fecund grass of Autzen Stadium, where they’ve been fattening up for weeks.

Now they’re offering 1/2 side of beef, cut and wrapped, for union ratification votes. (Or $650 in your next paycheck.) So get down to the union office, conveniently located above the Noodlehead on 13th, sign a membership card, and get your vote in.

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Continue reading

Union President Dreiling caves to Math professors’ demands

Sure, it might be more accurate to say “Math faculty and Union cooperate to include differential ORP benefits in equity raise calculations”, but who would read a post with that headline?

Just in case you’re one of them, here’s the story:

UO faculty receive very different retirement benefits, depending on when they were hired, and on whether or not they opted into the defined benefit Oregon PERS system or the defined contribution Optional Retirement Plan. There are now 4 progressively less generous PERS tiers, depending on date of hire.

Faculty who choose the ORP get the same amount of money paid into their defined contribution plan as UO would have paid for the PERS defined contribution plan. PERS plans have been a better deal historically (sometimes amazingly so, as with Mike Bellotti and Dave Frohnmayer, now collecting about $500K and $250K a year respectively) but include some political risk if the legislature cuts benefits (as happened a few years ago) and if the courts go along with it (the lawsuit should be settled in a few months).

The retirement tier that you were hired into has significant consequences for compensation equity. The earlier you were hired, the better the retirement deal – even for faculty with the same pay and rank. Equity comparisons that ignore this consideration are not fully equitable.

UO Math faculty have pointed this out on this blog, and to the UAUO faculty union leadership. In response, the union has added this language to its faculty raise proposal:

5.c.3: In July 2015 the University [administration] and the Union will form a committee to made up of three members of each party to develop internal equity guidelines for distribution to departments and units addressing compression with ranks, inversion between ranks, gender disparities, and compensation inequities created by different retirement categories.

5.c.4 In August 2015 departments and unit heads shall allot their proportional share of this internal equity pool according to the guidelines give to address … and compensation inequities created by different retirement categories.

The full proposal (article 26) should be posted on the UAUO website soon.

Of course if the UO administration refuses to give equity raises, none of this will matter. We’ll find out when we get their counter on March 12, at Bargaining Session V.

Union proposes 7% + 6% to get faculty to Lariviere target. Bargaining Session IV: Economics, Thursday 2/26 10AM.

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That’s Tobin Klinger in the back right, presumably he’ll have an “Around the 0” post up soon with the Duck view of the meeting.

2/26/2015 update: The union proposes raises of

July 2015:
2.5% ATB
2.0% Merit
1.0% Internal equity pool for each department
1.5% External equity pool, to be allocated across rank and dept. based on AAU public averages. No external equity raise from this pool to exceed 5%.

July 2016:
2.5% ATB
4.0% Merit

As before, 8% promotion raises, and 8% (exceeds expectations) or 4%(meets) 6th year review raises after promotion to full, and raises in the hiring floors for NTTFs.

My estimate is that this will get UO salaries to the AAU public peer averages by July 2016. The 2009 Lariviere/Coltrane/Bean plan would have done this by July 2013 or so, but that’s money under the bridge:

From: James Bean [mailto:jcbean@uoregon.edu]
Sent: Sunday, June 07, 2009 12:26 PM
To: Deans Working Group
Subject: Faculty Salaries
The Missouri article stating that UO has the lowest salaries in the AAU has caused quite a stir (we have since verified that they were correct). Low salaries were always thought of as just Oregonian. But 34 out of 34 is a whole other thing. We cannot have this. Richard’s reaction was “this is job #1.” Richard will likely have an announcement on how we are attacking this when politically feasible (after last gavel). Please communicate to your faculty that the Missouri article really got our attention. This may require disruptive solutions.
Thanks, Jim
James C. Bean
Senior Vice President and Provost

Five days later, the Register Guard’s Editors essentially endorsed Lariviere’s plan to get UO faculty to the AAU medians:

The market for academic talent is national, even global. From a salary standpoint, Oregon has dropped out of the competition. The state is fortunate in having universities that continue to meet high standards, but Oregon’s advantages — a relatively low cost of living and a high quality of life — can only be relied upon to make up part of the salary deficit.

Richard Lariviere, who will become president of the UO in July, comes to Eugene from the University of Kansas, an AAU university with an average faculty salary of $91,400 — 25 percent higher than at the UO. He’s no doubt aware that higher education claimed 15.1 percent of Oregon’s general fund budget in 1987-89, but received only 6.4 percent in 2007-09. One of Lariviere’s continuing challenges will be to persuade Oregon’s governor and Legislature that underfunding higher education has consequences.

In March 2011 Scott Coltrane, at the time CAS Dean, announced his plans to implement this for CAS faculty:

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Russ Tomlin, then VP for Academic Affairs, released a detailed spreadsheet showing the plan for the entire UO, designed to get salaries to the AAU comparator averages by no later than 2014:

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But then Kitzhaber and Pernsteiner fired Lariviere, and Allyn Ford and the OUS Board replaced him with Bob Berdahl, then Mike Gottfredson. They devoted all their energies to fighting with the faculty over pay, and everything else.

Getting back to the present, Coltrane’s administration is hiding basic financial information from the union – which has been waiting for more than 3 months, and has paid $1700. Rumor has it that Moffitt and Shelton are also hiding this information from the Administration’s bargaining team, if that makes it any more excusable.

They will make their economic counterproposal on March 12.

(Jim Bean, of course, is still collecting his pork from the administration’s bloated budget.)

12:01 PM: Lots of talk now about national searches. This is all about faculty searches. The administration hires its own people without any search whatsoever, e.g. $130K AVP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett. So it’s pretty amusing to listen to Bill Brady talk about how such searches are needed to increase diversity.

12:30PM: Session IV ends. Session V, with the admins counterproposal on raises, will open with a presentation from Jamie Moffitt, explaining where she’s been spending all our money. In the Library Collaboration room, 10AM Thursday, March 12. Should be well worth attending.

2/15/2015: Some history: In 2013 the union opened with a proposal for 9% raises for each of the two years of the contract. Basically this was the Lariviere plan, to get UO salaries to the AAU medians. The University countered with, if I remember correctly, an offer of 2%, for one year. Rudnick, Gleason, and Blandy said this was all UO could afford, saying UO had already spent the Lariviere money on other things.

Months of bitter haggling ensued. VPFA Jamie Moffitt refused to give the union the documents showing UO’s budget projections:

The union brought in Howard Bunsis, a forensic accountant, to challenge those few budget numbers that Moffitt would provide. Bunsis showed that Moffitt had been building a large and increasing reserve – so large it broke OUS’s rules. Moffitt fled the room in tears. Literally.

The University then made a take it or leave it offer of, if I remember right, 5.5% spread over 2 years. More was impossible. Rudnick told us “The well is dry”.

The union ignored the threat. Eventually we got ~12% in raises, spread over two years. Plus Tim Gleason’s $350 in Goat money. What will happen this time? Show up Thursday and find out: Continue reading

Standard and Poor’s bond raters say UO’s well is full

Great news! Standard and Poor’s says there’s plenty of water in the well for faculty pay increases. Now we can get to Lariviere’s 2009 goal of the AAU medians:

From: James Bean [mailto:jcbean@uoregon.edu]
Sent: Sunday, June 07, 2009 12:26 PM
To: Deans Working Group
Subject: Faculty Salaries

The Missouri article stating that UO has the lowest salaries in the AAU has caused quite a stir (we have since verified that they were correct).  Low salaries were always thought of as just Oregonian.  But 34 out of 34 is a whole other thing.  We cannot have this.  Richard’s reaction was “this is job #1.”  Richard will likely have an announcement on how we are attacking this when politically feasible (after last gavel).  Please communicate to your faculty that the Missouri article really got our attention.  This may require disruptive solutions.

Thanks, Jim
James C. Bean
Senior Vice President and Provost
202 Johnson Hall

Unless of course JH has already spent the money on themselves.

UO is just below AAA, a rating which is usually reserved for T-Bills and so on. From S&P:

‘AAA’—Extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments. Highest Rating.
‘AA’—Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.
‘A’—Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.

“Around the 0” has the report:

In the latest “first” associated with the governance transition, the University of Oregon has received credit ratings for its proposed inaugural bond sale.

Credit ratings evaluate the ability of a company or institution to pay investors both principal and interest on investments according to the terms proposed to investors. The newly announced credit ratings for the UO are Aa2 and AA- as rated by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, respectively.

“Both agencies assigned high credit quality ratings to the university,” Karen Levear, the UO’s director of treasury operations, said. “Generally, the better the credit rating, the lower the university’s cost of borrowing.”

According to S&P, the UO’s rating reflects the university’s strong fundraising program and endowment, stable enrollment, prominence within the state and region, solid operating performance and successful transition from the Oregon University System. Moody’s also cited the UO’s clear debt policies and management practices, which include strong financial modeling.

“This is a very significant step in the university’s governance transition. The ability to issue our own bonds allows for flexibility to move quickly to meet university needs or to capitalize on favorable market conditions,” Levear said. “There was a thorough review process to obtain the credit ratings, and I appreciate everyone who was involved.”

In December 2014, the UO Board of Trustees authorized the university to pursue $50 million in general revenue bonds. The sale is expected to close in March.

The funds raised will be used for already approved capital projects, including the Erb Memorial Union and the renovation of Columbia 150.

—By Julie Brown, Public Affairs Communications

Bargaining Session III: Report from 2/12/2015

UAUO report on Session III:

Bargaining Update

Bargaining got down to brass tacks on Thursday last week, as both teams began negotiating over the proposals each party had presented during the first two sessions. The two teams were able to work through ten proposals and reach tentative agreement on three. Most of these were relatively minor, “housekeeping” items and the atmosphere remained, for the most part, convivial. There were a few sharper exchanges toward the end of Thursday’s session, however, when the administration unveiled their proposal for Summer Session.

For a fuller description of last Thursday’s session, please see our latest bargaining update. For your convenience, United Academics has posted every proposal and counter-proposal at our website, uauoregon.org.

The next session will be at the Ford Alumni Center on Thursday, February 26, when United Academics will present its proposals on salaries and merit increases. We hope you will make every effort to attend. Your presence makes a big impression!

Save the date!

Please join us on Friday, February 27, for a talk by Christopher Newfield, “The Price of Privatization: Some Effects of a Failed Strategy and How to Stop It,” EMU Maple Room, 12:00 noon-1:30 pm.

General Membership Meeting, March 3, 5:00 pm

Finally, mark your calendars for the United Academics’ General Membership Meeting on March 3, in Gerlinger Lounge, 5:00 pm-7:00 pm. The agenda will include reports from United Academics’ bargaining team and from union officers on finances, communications and organizing, and state legislation on higher education.

For live-blogging of Session III, try the UAUO Facebook page, here.

If you’re nostalgic, the Blandy/Gleason/Altmann “fact check” blog is here.

Session III: Thursday Feb 12, 10-2 library. Be there.

Duck Advocate Tobin Klinger seems to have nothing to say about Session II. He must have been busy spinning those $5M raises and bonuses for athletics.

Here’s the report from UAUO’s very Strategic Negotiator David Cecil:

Collective bargaining continued last Thursday, February 5. This time it was the administration’s turn to present its proposals: modifications to seventeen existing articles in the CBA, plus one new article. Most of the administration’s proposals are housekeeping—changes in the CBA’s language to reflect new circumstances, clarifications of terms, and the like. It is likely that many, if not most of these proposals will prove to be uncontroversial. There were, however, a few proposals that would bring unwelcome changes to the campus.

The administration started their presentation by laying out the principles driving their proposals. They were (paraphrased), 1) respect and fair treatment for all faculty with respect given to institutional decision making, 2) live within our means, while advancing student learning at all levels, 3) preserving unit flexibility to hit necessary staffing levels with all employee types, and 4) flexibility for sponsored research projects. These principles contrast with our principles of equity, stability, transparency and voice.

In keeping with their chosen principles, the administration proposed changes to Article 16 (“Contracts”) that would allow the administration to reduce a Career NTT faculty member’s FTE if their classes do not enroll enough students. Currently, the administration cannot reduce the FTE of a Career NTTF. The administration’s new Article 47 would introduce new terms to regulate salary increases for funding-contingent faculty. The proposal would also deny funding-contingent faculty access to professional development funds and opportunities for sabbatical.

Since Thursday our bargaining team has been studying the administration’s proposals and will return to the table on, February 12, to begin resolving differences between the two sides. As in the first and second weeks, the bargaining session will convene at 10:00 a.m. in the Knight Library Collaboration Center. All faculty are invited to attend this and all bargaining sessions. If you cannot make it for the full four hours, please feel free to drop in when you can.

Bargaining Session II: Th, Feb 5.

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Tobin Klinger, UO’s $115K Deputy Strategic Communicator, has a rather saccharine-sweet report on Session I in “Around the 0”:

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Maybe the rest of Mr. Klinger’s post has content. I wouldn’t know, I barely made it to the toilet. Jennifer Winters’ report on last week’s Senate meeting is even worse. Some might even call it sophomoric.

Speaking of which, last week UO’s official, expensive, and heavily spammed “Around the 0” blog had 14,599 page views. UO M had 36,367. I’m upgrading the server, sorry for the 503 errors in the meantime.

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The United Academics Faculty Union’s report on bargaining session I is here. The full text is below, plagiarized from David Cecil. For live-blogging of Session II, try the UAUO Facebook page, here.

Bargaining Update – February 2, 2015 by David Cecil

Bargaining toward our second collective bargaining agreement kicked off last Thursday morning at 10 am in the Collaboration Center of the Library. That is also where most future sessions are scheduled to meet. You can  check for specific days, times, and locations at the Events Calendar at the bottom of the home page.

Our team opened Thursday’s session by inviting the administration’s representatives to consider the following questions while thinking over our proposals:

  • What if we accepted this proposal? What are the negatives? What are the positives? How can we heighten the positives and minimize the negatives?
  • What if we dedicated ourselves to ensuring all faculty could participate in shared governance?
  • What if our faculty knew that if they did a good job they would always have a job at the university?
  • What if our policies and procedures were transparent so that all faculty knew their rights and obligations?
  • What if we did everything we could to prioritize excellence in undergraduate and graduate learning, excellence in research, both basic and applied, recruiting and retaining the best faculty we can?

If you would like to read our proposals in full, you can find them at the United Academics website, under the “Bargaining” tab.

Here are some highlights:

Equity: We proposed language that would clarify the rights and obligations of all faculty to participate in internal governance and proposed a mechanism whereby faculty could suggest modifications to unit policies (Article 4).

We proposed that all faculty – including faculty at less than .50FTE – have access to fringe benefits like parking permits and bus passes (Article 28).

We proposed that the Union and University Administration work with the UO Foundation to develop a fund to subsidize child care for UO faculty; our plan is modeled on the program atOregon State University (Article 28). We envision this as a multi-year project culminating in an effective subsidy for faculty.

We proposed a sick leave bank for all faculty and that adjuncts and postdocs can no longer be barred from access to parental leave (Article 32).

Stability: We made several proposals to amend the article on Contracts (Article 16), the biggest of which is our renewed effort to secure an expectation of continued employment for Career NTTF. Currently, the administration can decide not to renew a Career NTTF for any reason. We proposed limiting the Administration’s right to non-renew to four reasons – poor performance, lack of funding, programmatic or curricular needs, and the desire of a unit to replace the NTTF position with a TTF position.

We also proposed that all notices of appointment or reappointment, including FTE and salary information, must be made by May 15 of each year and that those appointments cannot be reduced or rescinded, except through the discipline procedure. We want binding contracts in faculty hands in plenty of time to prepare for the coming academic year.

We also proposed limits in the number of ongoing Adjunct positions a department can have at any one time. Our goal is to convert as many Adjunct positions to Career NTT positions as possible.

Elsewhere in our proposals, we sought to expand the circumstances under which faculty would be able retain coverage under PEBB. The details are complicated, but essentially we are seeking to provide coverage for faculty who have dips in FTE below .50 FTE or don’t have an appointment for a term. We are also seeking to extend summer coverage to all faculty who have coverage during the regular academic year (Article 27).

Lastly, we sought to provide more funds to support mentoring and retention programs for newly hired and under-represented tenure-track faculty (Article 35).

Transparency and Voice: In addition to the work we did in Article 4 to increase faculty participation in internal governance, we proposed extensive revisions to the tenure denial appeals process. All of our proposals were designed to restore and enhance faculty rights through this difficult process and to make the rules more transparent (Article 21).

We proposed that Human Resources design and implement a new webpage that will enable faculty to track their eligibility for leave and to help them get access the proposed faculty leave bank (Article 32).

Economics: We are not going to give the University Administration a salary proposal until later in February so that we have a chance to address some of these important non-economic proposals first.

Our proposals are meant to advance the improvements to the University of Oregon that we achieved in the first round of bargaining in 2013. Our first CBA left a few things undone; the process of implementation, moreover, revealed several areas where clarification was needed. Our proposals aim to fix what needs fixing, to add improvements, and to continue the mission of building a better university.

Questions? Feedback?

The Collaboration Center is where most future sessions are scheduled to meet. In addition to the bargaining updates, we’ll be sending everyone reminders about the times and venues for bargaining sessions. You can also check for specific days, times, and locations on the calendar of events we have posted at the United Academics website.

Faculty Union Bargaining Kick-Off: Tuesday, 6-7 PM, 220 HEDCO

It’s a union, of course there will be beer. And also info about bargaining priorities and how you can help the union convince Scott Coltrane to honor Richard Lariviere’s promise to get UO faculty salaries to the AAU medians.

There’s plenty of water in the well this year, as demonstrated by the latest increases in pay for our central administrators, the proposed 50% raise for the new UO President, and UO Foundation Chair Paul Weinhold’s largesse in offering a blank UO check for the IAAF Track Championship bid. So I’m assuming bargaining will be short and sweet, at least on the economics. The actual bargaining starts Th at 10 AM.

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