Bargaining IV, 7/7/2020

Liveblog, usual disclaimer: my thoughts on what people are saying, trying to say, trying to be thinking, etc. Nothing is a quote unless in ” ” ‘s.

None of the usual chit-chat. Cecil sent in some written questions, Matella waited until just now to give him the answers. She claims that UO hasn’t really enacted any cost savings measure yet. Cecil calls caucus til 9:45. Union looks pissed. Matella promised two week a go to share Brad’s “models” – by which I think she meant spreadsheets. She hasn’t.

Meanwhile the Union’s discount branders have been busy:

They’re back. Sinclair: We’re trying to figure out how much money the university has or is likely to save and raise – before we get to faculty cuts.

Sinclair: Let’s cut to the chase. How much could we save by ditching Concur?

[UOM: Sorry, that’s it for live blogging today. I’ll have a recap tomorrow.]

Bargaining III, 7/2/2020

Liveblog: Usual disclaimer: My opinion of what people said, meant to say, or should have said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. The link to register and watch is below.

Matella: Brad is working on budget projections now. He knows algebra! I’ll get you them soon.

Here’s what the faculty would get for accepting cuts:

Cecil: Need to pin down what you mean by pre-COVID levels. You mean the 0.1 contracts that were being give out then, e.g. to AEI? Also, people get lied to.

Matella: OK will take back to my team. I agree that heads and deans tell faculty things that are not true. This is why we need central control.

Matella: We want to keep flexibility to change FTE on the fly.

Cecil: We don’t want you to keep flexibility to change FTE on the fly. Reading this, you could have used the above to give *all* NTTF 0.1 contracts – and waited until September to do it.

Matella: But we’d have to write a memo justifying that.

Cecil: Right.

Matella: I don’t understand why you want to make it harder to reduce FTE than to lay people off.

Cecil: Nothing in your proposal keeps you from shifting all the risk from enrollment/funding problems to the NTTF/Career, as you did this spring. So, department could give you a three year contract at 1.0 FTE, then 90 days later reduce it to 0.1 FTE, after writing a memo.

Matella: OK, please come back to me with a counter.

Break til 11:15. They’re back.

TRP:

Matella: What would UAUO’s position be on the one-time buy out figure? 33%? Cecil: Enough to get some faculty to retire. You think 33% is going to excite people?

[Lots going on here. Admin wants to end the TRP permanently. Replace it with 2 temporary early retirement/buyout plans – offered for a limited time only. The idea is to get a spike in retirements/tenure relinquishment now. Matella believes that the current TRP does not incentivize early retirement – it’s just a bonus for people who are planning on retiring anyway.]

Cecil: So, if it’s a bonus for old TTF, why would we bargain it away for 33%?

Matella: Current TRP is very expensive – just look at what Brad’s getting.

Cecil: We have a shared interest in encouraging COVID retirements. But not in ending TRP.

Matella: PERS Tier 1’s already have a robust retirement plan (not true of ORP faculty, sadly.)

Matella: How about an ongoing incentive program, tied to employee’s place in their career? (Not sure it’s legal to do this by age, but perhaps by years in rank or something.

Cecil: Will you share model you used to cost out our previous incentive program. Matella: Yes.

Cecil: Are you also looking at early retirement for non-faculty? Matella: Yes, but not sure it’s workable or a cost saver.

Moving back to layoffs:

Cecil: Are you willing to consider some mechanism for financial criteria that does not involve some administrator saying we’re in financial crisis?

Matella: N0t sure.

Cecil: How do we distinguish between a real crisis and a decision to spend university E&G money on, say, wiring up the Phildo?

Break, back at 12:45.

[Sorry, live-blogging suspended for an hour or so, had to run to Jerry’s. Back now, they’re caucusing]

They’re back.

Matella: For the “panel”, we’re ok with two admins, two faculty, one neutral. Triggered by a complaint by a faculty member about contract rights – not academic judgement. Panel would review w/in 15 days. What were you thinking re the provost’s role?

Cecil: The panel would have to agree before a senior instructor could be laid off for financial reasons.

Matella: Gotta take that part back to the provost.

Cecil: Back to the wage cut. We will need information on the hold harmless level. We don’t want to agree to wage cuts, then discover you’ve blown $1.5M on wiring up the Phildo, or faculty tracking software.

 

Continue reading

Faculty Union to continue bargaining with Admins, Tu and Th

Liveblog: Usual disclaimer: My opinion of what people said, meant to say, or should have said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. The link to register and watch is below.

Matella: Shares marked up version of Union’s powerpoint on general principals from last week. Admin response is in red:

Cecil: So you want to use any failure to meet the pre-covid predictions from Roger Thompson of *increases* in enrollment as the trigger for pay cuts? Matella: Yes. [Also, Admin wants to use enrollment rather than tuition as part of the trigger?]

Cecil: So the union’s share would be based on the faculty’s current share of the UO budget? Matella: After a $10M hold harmless for the union. [Some back on forth – this is a framework not a real proposal yet.] Urbancic: Auxiliaries? Grants? [Unclear]

Matella: [I think she’s saying faculty are held harmless for a $10M loss. Losses above that the faculty give up a share proportionate to their current share of E&G budget. So, say $25M loss out of E&G, admin pays first $10M, the union pays their share of the remaining $15M, or ~5M.

Sinclair: UO’s enrollment projections are often aspirational, rather than fact based. Union will need to see the basis for the projections.

Matella: We’re just spit-balling here, conversation on principles. The powerpoint is just a starting point. Cecil: That helps, thanks.

Page 3 of powerpoint:

Questions about OPE calculations and savings. Not a linear function of salary. UO uses a “Blended OPE rate” but is willing to use actual savings if union wants.

Cecil: So, if we do this we’ll also be able to use actual OPE for course buy-outs etc?

Matella: We’re not tied to Brad’s weakly progressive plan. Cecil: That’s good, we know a few economists.

Matella: We hop to share our models next week. [She said the same thing last week.]

Slide 4:

Matella: Any cuts will temporary. Doesn’t think voluntary cuts are possible.

Cecil: Last time Admins asked faculty and OA’s to take cuts at the same time Senior Admins took raises. Then they got more raises later. Are they gonna pull that shit again? Board gives Schill more bonuses? An even sweeter retirement scam?

Matella: Don’t forget about giving senior admins overloads and stipends.

Cecil: OK. We want to continue looking at voluntary plans. OEPA is not really a problem.

Cecil: UO already got $8M from CARES. Such payments will mitigate pay-cuts, right? Matella: Fed money comes with lots of restrictions. Not promising it will be used as an offset. Maybe. Cecil: How interesting.

Cecil: We’ll want reverse triggers, to restore cuts if there’s good budget news. Matella: Also could be multiple triggers. Can we make it simpler?

Cecil: Simplest would be to wait til next June, do the math, make any cuts to offfset losses.

Matella: What principles do we still need to work on?

Cecil: How much money would it cost to restore career faculty FTE? Matella: $6-8M, I think. Cecil: How much has the hiring freeze saved? Suspension of travel? Wage freeze we’ve already agreed to? Matella: We also have losses, cost increases. Also losses in auxiliaries like housing, sports. We need to cover those. 

Cecil: I’m assuming that any savings from union salaries won’t go to athletics, right? Matella: It’s complicated. Can you give me questions by email?

Cecil: Ducks have a $120M budget, plus the $5M they already skim off the academic budget. You sure we’re not going to end up subsidizing them more when they can’t play football?

Back and forth about funding-contingent faculty and cuts.

Slide 5-6: Expectation of Continued Employment

Matella: Given the global pandemic, not sure we can afford to give a full year’s notice. Also other universities give less. Urbancic: Under the current 3-year contracts, on average career faculty have to be given 18-months of notice. So we’re giving you *more* flexibility by cutting that to 12. Also, if we cut a program these are one-time costs, not recurring, and not that expensive.

Matella: Thanks, that’s a helpful point. I will take that back to my team.

Green: Regarding the comparison to other universities, we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to non-unionized places, or places with lots of other academic employers.

Slide 7: Long term planning to close the law school:

Just kidding, Pres Schill has fall-back tenure rights in the Law School and a sweet teaching deal. We’re going to paying $8M a year to subsidize law for a long time.

Matella: Agree with the need for more accountability, concerned that this committee would actually make decisions.

Bramhall: What if legit shared governance process with the Senate leads to layoffs? Cecil: This committee would be a flea compared to the Senate.

Long back and forth about management flexibility and their prerogative to push enrollment risk and the cost of admin bloat off on the least well-paid faculty.

Time for a lunch Break? They’re back:

Matella: Proposed PPR could run for up to 2 years. All employees are in. Cecil: We have lots of questions about triggers, duration, enrollment vs tuition, etc. Your plan is to keep running it until you make up the money you’ve lost? Matella: We realize this is too complicate. Could we simplify it, like OSU? Cecil: OSU said they’d pick up first $35M, and anything over $65M. Matella: We can’t do that. Cecil: I’m concerned about basing this on projections. Obvious incentive for Thompson to over-estimate. Matella: I can get you information, but need to know where you’re going.

Cecil: Baseline for enrollment should be something like 5 year average, not an arbitrary target. Matella: It’s true Brad showed the Trustees some crazy-ass projections in the past, but those weren’t serious. That’s why they stopped inviting him to speak and invited that economist instead. We’re better at this now.  Cecil: If enrollment was up last year, why did you cut faculty? Matella: …

Cecil: You have a commitment from the union to take the cuts necessary to restore career FTE, conditional on you showing there’s no other way to find the money. So why don’t you restore that FTE now? Matella: I hear you. I’m trying to make a deal. I just can’t commit to anything. Especially not cutting the law school. Cecil: We’re not talking about cutting the law school. That’s UO Matters, and even he doesn’t want to cut it, he just wants you to not pay for it with undergrad tuition.

Cecil: Again, can you tell us how much you’ve saved and plan to save with the other cuts you’ve made? Matella: Not a mandatory subject for bargaining. We’re having those conversations with the Not-Senate sham committee. We want to explore these subjects with you. What’s the best next step? Should I put together another PPR plan? Cecil: If you don’t want to be transparent about where you’re spending and saving money, you can’t expect us to go along with big cuts. Small ones, maybe. Say 2-5M.

Matella: Why don’t I come back with some stuff on caps and thresholds? Then see if you want more info?

Cecil: Suppose you’ve already saved $20M from E&G. Then we’re less interested in giving you a $10M threshold. We’ll also want info on what’s coming next or should be – fundraising efforts for things besides sports, endowment assessments, more Jumbotrons, reserves, unrestricted foundation funds, etc.

[Sorry, missed some stuff. Apparently there was a caucus.]

Pratt: Here are some basic union principles for cuts:

1: Threshold and cap

2: limited to 20-21 AY for now.

3; Should be based on tuition and state appropriations, not enrollment numbers.

4: Need something more than a JH announcement that “here’s the deficit, pay cuts are now triggered”. Need real transparency.

Matella: Thanks. I’ll get you some more bullet points in response. Also some response on TRP.

2:40PM – sorry, I gotta go check on some wiring problems. See you Th at 9:30 AM.

TRP and buyouts slide:

Continue reading

Faculty Union & Admins restart bargaining, 1-5PM Friday on Zoom

Liveblog: Usual disclaimer: My opinion of what people said, meant to say, or should have said. Nothing is a quote if not in quotes. The link to register and watch is here.

Provost Phillips is here for the Admin side, which is new. He seems to be having a calming effect on both sides.

Cecil: Union feels that the current treatment of NTTF is a betrayal of that the Union has bargained with the Admins over the past 7 years – better job security for NTTFs. At the time neither party had discussed to possibility that the Administration would assign 0.1 FTE to career faculty who had previously had, say, 1.o FTE contracts. But this is what the Administration is now doing. We want to restore this – faculty who have been here for years, and  earned renewal and promotion contracts should not be jerked around like this. Also, they should not be put in a situation where they have to accept a promotion only at the risk of losing FTE.

Matella: It’s the Union’s fault, for not immediately accepting Brad Shelton’s weakly progressive pay reduction proposal.

Phillips: One shared principle is that we support all the faculty. We need to face the challenges together, as a community. (But the Admin won’t share budget info, won’t let faculty participate in budgeting. This is not the “respect” that Phillips is claiming to have.)

Phillips then trots out the talking point that salaries and benefits are 80% of UO’s budget. Faculty pay and benefits, however, are only about 15% of UO’s budget, or about 32% of the E&G budget. (And probably a decreasing percentage, from a quick look at the increases in administrative hiring and pay over the last 5 or so years.)

Cecil: Your previous ultimatum offer put all the cost of enrollment decreases/state cuts on employees. We want to look at ways to raise new funds, cut other spending. Some examples would be a temporary increase in the Foundation’s endowment fees, borrow from reserves, cut athletic subsidies, etc

Matella: We’re already considering ways to free up other money. We set up a sham committee with the Senate to look into this.

Cecil: So, say there’s a $100M shortfall. The administration would then make up some % from other sources – cuts and new assessments –  and it would be the faculty union’s job to cover the leftover amount?

Phillips: Seems to agree with Cecil. Willing to repackage some info, then share it with Union. Wants to make sure that the Union won’t butt into admin decisions about how to make up their share of cuts. Don’t mess with the Jumbotron or the Police! If the Admins want to cut museums and LERC, not the union’s business.

Also proposes trigger points for say enrollment, with the administration responsible for making some level of cuts before the trigger and faculty salary cuts take effect.

Cecil: Back in April we kept getting told that every proposal we came up with for new revenue or non-academic cuts was a non-starter. Are we going to go down that road again?

Matella: We have thoughts. We’re already doing modeling with other faculty groups. (Why are they excluding the Union from these meetings?)

Cecil: Why isn’t the union part of these groups?

Phillips: Not answering the question as to why the Union is not part of these groups. Announces that UO will be doing some borrowing – tough now that we’re so far in the hole for Duck stuff.

Sinclair: Wants very much to come to a quick agreement. But given what we’ve seen from you so far -.e.g your betrayal of the Careers – and the fact that you’re still excluding us from budget planning, it is going to take a while, and we’re going to need to make sure there are no more loopholes for you to use to screw us.

Cecil: We’re not going to bargain a plan with you where the faculty take the cuts and then you give the admins (and coaches?) raises, bonuses, sweet buy-out deals, etc.

Phillips: Agreed.

Matella: OK if you take a $10M cut and then we build the Jumbotron, right?

Phillips: Vast bulk of the higher wage people on campus are faculty – except of course senior administrators and coaches.

Matella: Expects same or pay cut schedule for faculty and OA’s, SEIU negotiation will be different.

Phillips: Intent of Brad’s continuous increasing average rate plan was to be progressive. (Result was weakly progressive). Open to alternatives. Had hoped to not have cuts below $70K, but that turned out to be too progressive on the top end.

Matella: Even though our plan’s ATR topped out at $200K, it was 20% which is pretty high relative to what other universities have done.

Cecil: We’d also like to talk about voluntary cuts / furloughs / early retirement. Lots of faculty have brought this up to us, as a way to save NTTF jobs.

Phillips: Hard to imagine a voluntary plan cutting costs enough, but can see using it as part of a pay cut plan. (Encouraging words.)

Matella: Concerned that a voluntary plan might exploit the community minded.

Cecil: We’ll need a mechanism to restore wages after the Democrats win a clean sweep and throw money at higher ed.

Phillips: Gotta go, hope we can work together in a positive way, appreciate your work on this. I view you all as my colleagues, sharing,. fairness, cooperation, thanks.

2:35, BREAK: Just kidding Cecil’s on a roll. Moving on to Car to eer Instructors and expectation of continued employment at same FTE. Limited reasons for non-renewal would include …. 90 days notice. This is complicated stuff, sorry I am not going blog it cause I’ll get some important things wrong.

Cecil: Wants a joint committee to handle non-renewals. The Union knows that there are faculty with performance issues, and we don’t want our other members to have to cover for them. We also know that academic and financial reasons can make it necessary to have layoffs. A joint committee will allow this to be done consistently and rationally. We want an earned seniority system – but we need to balance this with diversity goals.

Cecil: Early retirement incentives. Like TRP, but with an early buyout. Saves UO money on full prof pay and Tier 1. We have people on TRP who would take this deal now. We’re open to proposals from admin on this.

Matella: Wants some elaboration. Wants to talk it over with her team.

BREAK until ~3:30. They’re back.

Matella: Spitballing about trying out the expectation of continued employment and joint committee temporarily, to see how it goes.

Cecil: Temporary changes in enrollment and budget should not be balanced by firing Career Faculty – has to be some other way to handle it.

Matella: “80% of our budget is personnel” so if we have a shortfall it is going to fall on some employees – if not NTTF’s then SEUI or OAS.

Cecil:  The administration’s decisions over the past few years have cut the reserve fund, blown through our credit rating, pissed off the state legislature. Now you want the Career Faculty to pay for your mistakes.

Matella: No, we want to put the costs of our mistakes on *all* employees (except coaches) – that’s why we want Brad’s PPR.

Pratt: When we bargained this contract originally, the deal was that the university would have to take on the responsibility of job security for NTTF’s – while allowing for changes in student needs, etc. JH hasn’t done its job. We need to set up structures to do this. Put some of the risk on the administration – not all on Career faculty. This should be a shared principle on both sides, as it was when we bargained this. Set up this joint committee to do this.

Matella: She’s not writing the committee idea off. Needs to take it back to Pres Schill and Angela Wilhelms, of course. They’ll kill it.

Matella: I’m actually very optimistic in believing we have many points of agreement. And we have done lots of things to cut back on other spending.

Sinclair: We’re willing to take salary cuts, but in return you need to work with us on a system that brings us into the decisions about how the money we’re giving up gets spent.

Green: The mission of the university is teaching and research. The faculty you want to cut are the very people who accomplish our teaching mission.

Matella: I appreciate what you’re saying. I’m optimistic that we can address these problems together. What’s the best path forward? Can I take your powerpoint and get it back to you with comments?

Cecil: Please, yes, thank you! Meet again on Tu, maybe even get to an agreement by Thursday?

Matella: I might even be able to share some models.  Cecil: Today? Matella: No, but soon.

Cecil: We understand we’re not management – but when you come to us and ask for some of our wages back, you have to let us be involved in decision-making – and stop giving us ultimatums.

Epstein: Missy, did I hear you say that the pool of faculty wages from the cuts will become the new rainy day fund?

Matella: No, it’s to offset a short term revenue loss. We do believe the university does need to address long term problems like the law school though.

Cecil: So, our concern is that we give you back our wages to plug your budget hole, you blow it on more admin bloat.

Matella:  I have to say that we do not have administrative bloat.

Cecil: Currently you have 22 administrative positions posted, and zero faculty. How can we assure faculty that their wage cuts won’t go to hire more AVPlets?

Actually, I only see 21 now. They must have just hired another administrator:

Cecil: We’ll be back, Tuesday at 10.

Continue reading

Faculty Union Town Hall, today at Noon

Dear Colleague,

I would like to invite all members of United Academics to a Town Hall on Monday, June 8 from noon to 1:30. The Zoom link is below.

We are soliciting questions from members on a variety of issues we are facing as a community. We will have officers and staff on hand to talk about current events including:

* upcoming negotiations around potential salary cuts/furloughs
* continuing employment and FTE restoration for Career faculty
* faculty input into re-opening campus

Please submit your question(s) here. We will also take questions during the meeting, but advance notice allows us the time to do research if necessary. If you are unable to attend live, a recording of the meeting will be available on our website. We will also post a FAQ page to get you answers to questions we were not able to answer during the Town Hall.

While it is difficult to find much of anything to celebrate right now, I hope the quarter is ending smoothly for instructional faculty, and that research faculty are able to be productive during these unprecedented times. I look forward to talking with you all on Monday.

Thank you for all that you do for the university and our students!

In solidarity, Chris Sinclair

When: Jun 8, 2020 12:00 PM Pacific Time
Please click the link below to join the Zoom webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83492473477?pwd=d2NoelNkTWlTQlBUajlNeVMxeStaUT09

Provost Phillips tells career faculty he will cut their FTE if they go for promotion

No, I’m not making this up.

The Faculty Union’s email about it is here. Some snippets:

The Price of Excellence

Faculty who achieve promotion, whether they be tenure-track or Career, are supposed to earn job security and an increase in salary. By achieving promotion, these faculty have demonstrated their excellence and commitment to the university. Unfortunately, several of our Career colleagues who are mid-contract learned this last week that their reward for achieving promotion would be a new contract with a 0.55 FTE, instead of the 1.0 FTE they would have received if they had not gone up for promotion. We protested this administrative decision, pointing out that the administration could incorporate the final year of their previous contract into their new contract at absolutely no loss to the university, but they refused. Faculty who were days away from promotion learned that they could either withdraw their case and keep their 1.0 FTE contract next year, or they could go ahead and achieve promotion and have a 0.55 FTE contract next year. This is unconscionable.

Our collective bargaining agreement does not stop this administration from treating Career faculty like bargaining chips because the whole notion of their doing such a thing was so alien to our collective thinking. If our bargaining team would have suggested that the administration could take advantage of loopholes in the CBA–which is designed to reward excellence, not offer “nimbleness” and “flexibility”–to wipe out the careers of hundreds of faculty, we would have been accused of being cynical and arguing in bad faith. And, indeed, we would have negotiated differently, resulting in a different contract, designed to protect against bad-faith interpretations. It did not, however, occur to us that an administration would betray what we worked together to build like this current administration has.

… In the coming weeks, we will begin negotiations with the administration over the restoration of Career FTE, a new job security system that does not allow the administration to decimate Career faculty whenever they want, and a wage cut plan. We very much hope to find common ground with them and arrive at a reasonable solution to the crises we face.

What can you do to help?
We anticipate that these negotiations will be very difficult, and we will need everyone to help if we are going to protect our colleagues. The easiest way to do that is to complete this Google Form so we can add you to our summer bargaining communications list. Doing so indicates your support for your fellow colleagues and will keep you in the loop as we head back to the table.

You can join the faculty union here.

Faculty union members vote 633 to 14 to ratify wage freeze / contract extension

(Now updated with a long response from the administration, below)

Thus ends a busy three weeks that began with President Schill’s Weakly Progressive Pay Reduction ultimatum on April 16, and finished with an overwhelming demonstration of faculty trust in union President Chris Sinclair and Exec Director Dave Cecil, and the union’s low-budget / high-information outreach efforts. Message here:

Dear Colleague,

We are pleased to inform you that the membership has ratified the agreement to end bargaining by a vote of 633 to 14. The leadership of UA appreciates how active and engaged you all have been the last few weeks.

We are also very aware that important work remains to be done, first and foremost pushing the administration to renew the 12-month career faculty at their current FTE or restoring their FTE as soon as possible. Our 12-month colleagues have contracts that renew on July 1 and there is no way the university can function without their full labor.

We will keep you informed of our next steps to prepare for negotiations over a fair wage cut package for campus. We anticipate having a town hall to share and solicit thoughts later this month.

Again, thank you for your participation and activism. We will need to continue to stand and work together in the coming months.

With that over, expect some updates to our popular “budget buckets” posts on wasteful administration spending and bloat soon.

5/8/2020 update from the Administration:

Dear Faculty,

We are pleased to announce that the University of Oregon and United Academics have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that provides for a one-year extension of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement and a one-year extension of the career faculty contracts that are up for renewal this May. We thank our faculty and the union for voting to support this agreement and for their partnership throughout this process.

Before talking about the details of the parties’ agreement, I want to acknowledge that the uncertainty created by the impacts of COVID-19 and the parties’ negotiations has likely caused you anxiety and stress during a time when you are facing new challenges in the classroom and may be wearing multiple hats at home – employee, partner, parent, and possibly teacher to your own children or dependents. I am sorry that the uncertainties and difficult conversations caused by COVID-19 may have further impacted you at a time when you are juggling so much. I also want to make it very clear that we value and appreciate the work that you are doing and your dedication to our students. The University of Oregon, like all institutions across the nation, faces unprecedented financial issues and enrollment uncertainties that will continue to present tough decisions.  While I cannot promise that all of the difficult decisions are behind us, I can tell you that we are committed to being transparent and collaborative as we continue to work through these issues in the future.   

Memorandum of Understanding:

Like many of the university’s functions, bargaining between the university and UA has been impacted by COVID-19 and the related stay-at-home-orders. Not only did COVID-19 impact our bargaining process, it impacted the university’s ability to predict and understand its state appropriations and enrollment position next year. State appropriations and tuition are the university’s two biggest sources of revenue. Decreases to those two sources significantly impact the university’s financial position.

Given those uncertainties, the parties have been working over the last month on possible solutions, including discussions regarding a progressive pay reduction plan and an extension of the collective bargaining agreement. Those negotiations have resulted in an MOU to extend the current collective bargaining agreement by one year to June 30, 2021 and a one-year extension of career contracts up for renewal this month. The parties will meet over the summer to discuss additional MOUs – including a possible pay reduction plan, changes to the Tenure Reduction Program, expectation of continued employment plan, and the process for increasing career faculty FTE. The parties will restart the formal bargaining process for a new collective bargaining agreement over winter term AY 20-21.

Due to the financial and enrollment uncertainties we are facing, the university is initially offering conservative FTE on career contracts up for renewal this month. Available career faculty FTE will be provided over the summer as we better understand our fall term enrollment and the university’s state appropriations. The university will provide faculty with their final fall term FTE at least two weeks before the start of fall term. Available FTE will be provided to career faculty based on pedagogical and curricular need and performance criteria as evidenced by rank and other objective measures. It is important to note that this MOU does not apply to or impact FTE for funding-contingent faculty.

Information and resources for career faculty regarding contracts are available on the HR website. The resources include a copy of the agreement, answers to frequently asked questions, and other helpful links.

Details of the agreement:

An overview of the MOU is provided below with complete terms available on the HR website:

    • Salary – Salary minimums and increases in the current CBA will remain in force. This means promotion and post tenure increases, for example, will proceed in accordance with the terms of the current CBA. There will be no annual increases for represented faculty in academic year 20-21.
    • Negotiations on additional MOUs – No later than July 15, 2020, the university and the union will begin discussions on other common interests including expectation of continued employment for career faculty, tenure reduction program, and a progressive pay reduction plan.
    • Career Faculty Contracts – The university is providing a one-year contract extension for non-funding contingent career nine-month and twelve-month faculty with contracts that require notice of renewal or non-renewal by May 8, 2020 and who would have otherwise been renewed prior to the public health crisis caused by COVID-19.
      • All career faculty contracts extended under this section will have appointments ending on June 15, 2021.
      • The 0.55 and 0.11 FTE in renewal offers are initially provided based on actual annualized AY 19-20 FTE.
      • Within 45 days of the signed MOU and in consultation with the union, the university will establish and notify career faculty of additional criteria it will use to determine available FTE increases.
      • No later than two weeks before the start of fall term of AY 20-21, the university will assign any increased fall term FTE to career faculty with extended contracts.
      • This MOU does not apply to or impact FTE for funding-contingent faculty.

Again, thank you for your service to this institution. We truly appreciate your work during this difficult time.

Please visit the HR website for more information about the MOU and negotiations with United Academics. Questions can be directed to Employee and Labor Relations by emailing uoelr@uoregon.edu.

Best regards,

Missy Matella
Senior Director, Employee and Labor Relations
University Human Resources

Faculty Union voting opens on contract ext / wage freeze

5/6/2020 update: 

If you’re a card-carrying member you should have received an email from UAUO with a link to an electronic ballot at 1:30 today.

Imagine that – the members of an organized faculty labor cartel voting on the terms of their contract with Johnson Hall’s hiring cartel. It must make our Board of Trustees’ already cold blood run even colder. I voted Yes, and yes of course I tried but you can only vote once. Voting closes Friday at 4. at 5PM. (extended by an hour because it started a little late.)

If you’re in the bargaining unit but not a member you can join here, although I imagine it’s too late to have a vote this time. If you’re not sure if you’re in the bargaining unit email info@uauoregon.org.

5/5/2020 update: Faculty Union to send wage freeze agreement to members for vote this Wed

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Faculty Union sends update on wage freeze / Career contract renewals

Dear Colleague,

Collective bargaining has been suspended since March 11. With so much uncertainty about the state of the university and the academy, neither party felt comfortable resuming bargaining. Over the last week, United Academics and the administration have been working  on a deal that would end this round of bargaining uncompleted. We have not yet agreed to a deal, but we wanted to inform you that we are in negotiations. The intent is to reach a deal quickly before the administration carries out their plan to renew Career faculty at just 0.1 FTE. The deadline for renewal notification has been extended to May 8. All members of United Academics will have the opportunity to vote on any deal.

Executive Summary: If we can reach agreement, there would be no across-the-board or merit raise this year, but promotion and post-tenure review raises would still be in effect. The administration would renew almost all non-funding-contingent Career faculty who were above 0.5 FTE this academic year with a contract of at least 0.5 FTE and health insurance benefits for the AY 20-21 academic year. Almost all Career faculty who had appointments below 0.5 FTE would be renewed below 0.5 FTE. Bargaining would start over in January.

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Is Pres Schill’s rejection of Faculty Union participation in budgeting a violation of our accreditation standards?

It’s hard to see how it’s not. UO’s Federal accreditation comes from the NWCCU. Their accreditation standards are at https://www.nwccu.org/accreditation/standards-policies/standards/

Here’s the relevant rule:

2.E.2 Financial planning includes meaningful opportunities for participation by stakeholders and ensures appropriate available funds, realistic development of financial resources, and comprehensive risk management to ensure short term financial health and long-term financial stability and sustainability.

United Academics is obviously a stakeholder. Pres Schill’s administration has repeatedly rejected the union’s efforts to have meaningful participation in financial planning – most recently, the planning that the administration is now doing on how to deal with the financial consequences of the coronavirus on the university.

Pres Schill offers faculty union a pay cut proposal and a threat: take it or suffer the consequences

The short version, from the union:

Executive Summary
The administration wants faculty to agree to a wage cut plan in the event of revenue loss. United Academics leadership has concerns about the proposal and would like to bargain the plan. If UA does not agree to the wage cut plan, the administration intends to either non-renew all 211 Career faculty who are up for renewal this spring or offer them only 0.1 FTE contracts. In order for a wage cut plan for faculty to go into effect, the membership of United Academics would have to vote in favor of the plan.

In a nutshell this plan would put the full cost of any tuition losses or state funding cuts on the faculty and OAs. There is no discussion of an offset for increases in federal funding, such as the $16m UO is getting from the CARES act. There is no discussion of cuts for Johnson Hall’s pet projects.

There is no accountability for the administration’s past decisions to spend down UO’s reserves on an Athlete’s Village for the 2021 Track & Field championships, on utility connections for Hayward field, on the Law School, on continued hidden athletic subsidies, etc, which led to the decrease in reserves and the increase in bond debt.

There is no provision for shared governance oversight of future spending.

The scheme is barely progressive – the cuts start at a very low $40K, and the top rate peaks at $200K, meaning those making say $400K pay the same percentage as those making $200K.

Amusingly, or perhaps I should say incompetently, whoever cooked this scheme up does not understand the difference between average and marginal – so after these cuts, an AVP now making say $199,999 would end up with a higher salary than one making $200,001. Under the middle scenario, the new salaries would be $178,819 and $176,000, or a $2,820 bigger cut for the poor soul who started out $2 ahead. This does not inspire confidence in our VPFA and VPBP’s ability to run our university’s finance and budgeting without supervision.

Here’s the schedule, with 5 scenarios and corresponding cuts, as calculated by the Administration:

The Administration’s full draft proposal is here. The Faculty Union’s full response is below.

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Faculty Union Town Hall from Friday now on Youtube

Sunday 4/12/2020 update: The recorded version of Friday’s Faculty Union Town Hall is now posted on youtube here:

The Administration’s Town Hall is here. Expect more updates from the union this week on job security, the Administration’s proposed pay cuts, and bargaining, at uauoregon.org.

Late Friday night update: I’m no cheap-ass faculty union treasurer, but apparently the free trial Zoom account was overloaded with viewers, so some people couldn’t see this live. The recorded version will be posted at uauoregon.org as soon as the public relations consultants figure out how to translate all the cuss words into Latin.

Rumor has it that the union leadership will discuss the salary cut proposals that have been floating around – and make it clear that any mandatory cuts must go to the union membership for a vote.

There is no truth to the rumors that your union spent your dues hiring a $253K VP for Strategic Miscommunication and a $150K former TV anchor to moderate this town hall, or that they used consultants to make sure that the union officers have tasteful, academicish zoom backgrounds. Here’s how to watch the low-budget and hopefully more informative Union response to the Administration’s effort, and submit questions:

Spring Union Meeting
Join us this Friday at 4pm for a UA Town Hall!

Please use the link below to join the meeting:
https://zoom.us/j/650902861?pwd=MXJCT3RZeFJTS2VpZXYyQmt5T3hQZz09
Password: 881126

 

April
10
We can’t meet in real life, but we can still get together remotely. Call in to our Spring Union Meeting which will take a town hall format.

We are currently in meetings with administration about a wage cut plan for faculty. We will be discussing the plan and what we know of leadership’s thinking, and we’ll be soliciting your feedback as we move forward. UA officers will also answer your other questions about how the university and the union are dealing with the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have questions, please submit them by email to info@uauoregon.org. If you have questions/concerns specific to your situation that you don’t want to share, we are happy to address them one-on-one – just send your inquiry to the same address and indicate that you are asking just for yourself.

If you cannot attend synchronously, we will post a recording to newsletter.uauoregon.org after the meeting.

Bring your own drinks and snacks this time!

In solidarity,
Your UA Board

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Career Faculty Face Layoff or Non-Renewal

It’s early days, and some may see this report from the faculty union as alarmist.

On the other hand it’s important faculty understand what the administration is thinking, and you can’t count on VP for Strategic Communications Kyle Henley to communicate the administration’s strategic thinking on Around the O.

Full post below or see the union website at https://mailchi.mp/uauoregon/career-faculty-face-layoff-or-non-renewal?e=b103ce406c

Executive Summary: Officers of United Academics met with senior administrators to discuss current and future efforts to respond to COVID-19. We pushed admin to make a commitment to the Career faculty who could lose their jobs in the near future. The administration did not make any commitments.

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Faculty Union responds to Admin’s half-baked buyout scheme

Under the latest PERS reform, UO now has to pay into PERS for administrators like Brad Shelton and Lorraine Davis (yes, of course Lorraine’s still on the payroll) who are double dipping on salary and retirement. That change applies to faculty as well, substantially increasing the benefit to UO from getting older Tier 1 faculty to retire outright, rather than go on reduced FTE assignments.

You’d think the administration would recognize this, but instead they want to reduce faculty incentives to retire. Weird. The message from the union bargaining team today:

UA wants you to control your plans for retirement.

Executive Summary:
The administration presented their retirement/buyout proposal. It would give the administration complete control over when faculty could be bought out.

Bargaining is suspended for the foreseeable future. The UA office is closed until at least Monday, March 30. Officers and staff are working remotely and continue to be available at info@uauoregon.org.

Summary:

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MMXX-X bargaining today, 12-3PM in 125 Chiles

MMXX-X live-blog. My continuing series on Budget Buckets is here. If you don’t like my blog read the official Union tweets or Facebook page. Usual disclaimer: This is my opinion and interpretation of what the bargainers are saying, thinking, or should be saying or thinking. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

Cecil: How about canceling the next 3 weeks of bargaining? Matella: OK, we can talk about on-line remote sessions too.

Cecil, meanwhile, we have:

Article 4: Unit Level policies. Union counterproposal

Cecil: We’ve backed off the requirement that Deans have to come to a department meeting to explain their changes in department policies, by adding an out if 2/3 of faculty don’t want to hear the dean’s speech, or if the changes are not substantive. Doesn’t need to be a special meeting, just the next regular department meeting.

Rosiek: UO has weak faculty governance, need to improve it by making it easy for faculty to call admins to account.

Article 9, Union Rights: Admin counter

Peter Fehrs from admin side presents: We’ve struck the fine for getting the union late lists of faculty hires, and added a clause weakening the union’s right to know who is in the bargaining unit. Weird.

Cecil: Legislation is pretty clear that employers have to share info on new hires with the union, and share the info with the union. [The administration doesn’t want the union to have this on a timely basis, to make it harder for the union to sign up new members, and they’re being pretty stubborn arguing that they don’t need to keep up to date records.]

Matella: We know we’ve beeen really bad about doing this in the past. We promise to do better.

Cecil: Your mistakes cost us time fixing them for you, and cost us money paying per-caps. Hence the late fee we propose.

Matella: We don’t like the idea of you imposing financial penalties on us. It’s a matter of principle. And money.

Cecil: You want us to spend the union’s money and time fixing your mistakes, with no consequences for you. Do you think we don’t understand incentives? Fehrs: Would you rather we stop collecting dues for you?

Cecil: We just learned that you’ve been paying someone fall and winter when they weren’t even working. Can’t you just fix your systems?

Matella: We’re all doing a lot of work getting this right. Cecil: Why did it take an act of the legislature to get you to make any fixes?

Art 39: Acceptable Use. Admin “re-issue” based on constructive talks with Leo Howell at last session:

Cecil: We’ll take a look at it and get back to you.

Art 31: Tenure Transition, Admin Counter:

These are the administration’s proposals on changing the current Tenure Reduction Program to a Tenure Transition Program. Makes it a three year gradual transition. Union proposed a buy-out program – leave the TRP early, get a buy-out payment. Admin accepts this in principal, but is much weaker than the union’s. Give the *admin* the right to buy out faculty, and cuts the amount of the buy-out.

Old TRP is now called the Tenure Relinquishment Program. No new enrollment in it after July 1, 2022. Faculty can choose one or the other.

Cecil: Why can’t faculty make the call on buy-out, rather than the admins?

Matella: We can’t pay you for work you don’t do.

Cecil: Faculty are giving up something of value – tenure, you’re paying them to give it up. That’s a legal contract.

Matella gets confused. This is basic Paper Chase contract stuff.

Matella: I tried to write it so faculty could choose, but so it would sound like admin did.

Cecil: Sure you did. But the language here is not binding.

[I thought the UO pretended that Gottfredson voluntarily left for that $940K, not that he was fired and got it as compensation. Now they’re claiming that was illegal?]

Matella: Legal concerns aside, Administration is interested in some way of letting faculty buy out.

Cecil: Thanks, we’ll look at this language.

Matella: We don’t want to give faculty on TTP or TRP sabbaticals. [Although our board of trustees did right a special sweetheart sabbatical/retirement deal for Law Professor Michael Schill].

Green: Why is the administration intent on devaluing the work that faculty who’ve spent their entire professional lives here, with pay far below comparators, by being petty in their last years?

Matella: Sorry, not at all my intent. Hope we can work things out.

Epstein: The old TRP gave TTF an incentive to retire, so UO could give jobs to new PhDs. This weakens that incentive. Why?

Matella: Got it.

Lots more back and forth, the union will be back with a counter.

1:35: Cecil calls for a caucus.

more discussion

2:00: Session ends early. 

Prelude from this morning:

I have no idea what will happen. I’ll try and live-blog. Presumably Matella will start off by explaining that all the new IMG media contract money will be going for coaches salaries and the new $12M Autzen video screen. UO won’t say how much the contract will bring in, our how the money will be shared, but I’ve got PR requests in. Meanwhile, our Administration is hiding lots of zeros:

From what I can tell at the moment, after the Duck Dept of Athletics steps on it, the academic side’s leftover slice of licensing revenue goes directly to VP Kyle Henley, for “strategic communications”: