card check

1/14/2012: They started collecting these Monday, unsubstantiated rumor is that 1/3 of faculty those in the organizer defined bargaining unit have already signed union cards. Union website here, facebook here. Not a lot of info on either. Apparently they will attempt to certify a bargaining unit that will include TT faculty, NTTF faculty and ORs.

I think a union is pretty much a done deal given the disarray, incompetence, and greed we’ve seen from OUS and Johnson Hall over the past few years. You really think tuition money should go to help Jim Bean make his beamer payments? Lorraine Davis’s family Rose Bowl trip? Pernsteiner’s maid?

The people who oppose a union should start reading up on union politics and law to figure out how to work from within to deal with their legitimate concerns about academic unions.

We’ve posted lots of information on the union effort over the years. Here’s an old email from Jim Bean warning faculty not to get duped by the card check. Our survey of the TT faculty in fall 2009 found 2/3 against the union. Times have changed. The union brought in lawyer and accountant Howard Bunsis from EMU last February, he did this excellent analysis of UO’s finances. Here’s an economics paper arguing unions raise salaries at public universities. Here’s a post on Johnson Hall’s hilarious failed efforts to secretly hire a firm to advise them on how to fight unionization – $300 an hour. Here’s UO’s HR website on unionization (very dated).

President gives faculty raises, keeps job.

12/20/2011. Last week it was Ed Ray at OSU. Now it’s Wim Weiwel at PSU. Next week I suppose we’ll learn that Pernsteiner did it too. From the Bill Graves Oregonian story:

Portland State University faculty will get as much as a 4.1 percent pay raise for each of the next two years under a tentative contract agreement reached with administrators Monday.

The agreement, which union members must still vote on, affects the 1,288 full-time teaching and research faculty who belong to the American Association of University Professors.

Wim Wiewel, PSU president, said he would like to see faculty – who are paid well below professors at comparable universities – get more. …

They are unionized. I haven’t heard a peep from the UO faculty union organizers as of late. The most recent post on their website is almost a month old. I thought they were going to seize the moment and start a card check in January. Anyone know what is going on?

Kitzhaber fires Lariviere

11/22/2011: Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week has the scoop:

WW has learned that Oregon University System board members met with University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere on Monday, telling him that when his contract expires in June, it will not be renewed. Governor John Kitzhaber surprised Lariviere by affirming that decision in a 4 p.m. meeting today.

Dr. Pernsteiner wins. UO loses. My first thought is there is no way in hell I want to work for George Pernsteiner without a strong faculty union on my side. So let’s start one – where and when can I sign that card check? Am I nuts?

Honest, competent, and he wanted the best for UO. It’s amazing the state’s old guard let him stay this long.  Remember what OUS did to Paul Olum? Meanwhile who will be interim President? Frohnmayer? Lorraine Davis? Melinda Grier as GC? Moseley as Provost? Disastrous. Rep. Phil Barnhart gives Lariviere a strong defense in this RG story. 

If you want to email Pernsteiner and the OUS Board members and tell them what you think – or ask them what they plan to do now that they own UO – the addresses are

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected], [email protected]

Don’t organize, mourn!

11/8/2011: Faculty governance, that is. The United Academics faculty union organizers are apparently planning a card check election for December. They are having a roundtable discussion at the UO Senate meeting, Wed, 175 Knight Law School. Their slot is 4-5 PM. For me, the high point of the union campaign was their analysis of the UO budget by Howard Bunsis – far more intelligent and credible than anything I have ever heard from Frances Dyke or Jim Bean. What more can be said about the incompetence of these two, the damage they’ve done to UO, and the wandering one-step-forward two-steps-back attempts by President Lariviere to fix it? Combine this with the attempts by Lariviere and Randy Geller to destroy shared governance, and it’s one hell of an argument for a union. But will a union improve things? An anonymous faculty correspondent asks the following:

If unionization is such a great idea, then explain why …

1) our unionized classified staff are the only ones that suffered furloughs and stagnant pay in the last couple years?

2) unionization of faculty seems to only happen at lower-ranked institutions?

3) we need to pay union duties to people external to the UO to organize us?  If the needs (and injustices) are so great, why haven’t we organized organically?

4) we can’t have a free and anonymous vote?  Why do union representatives get to lobby us individually for our vote?

5) the collective bargaining unit is imposed on us externally and lumps together very different groups of employees?

6) it makes sense to layer another bureaucracy onto the existing bureaucracies?

All good questions. This vote and the outcome of President Lariviere’s New Partnership will decide the future of UO. Worth some thought!

Montana State Union has 2 faculty bargaining agreements

10/30/2011: One for tenure track faculty, one for NTTFs. From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

Montana State University’s two new faculty unions have approved their first-ever collective bargaining contracts on the Bozeman campus, covering roughly 400 professors and 200 instructors.

Leaders of the Associated Faculty of MSU unions announced Friday that majorities of both the tenured and tenure-track professors and of the non-tenured, adjunct instructors voted to ratify the agreements.

The union – website here – is associated with the Montana Federation of Teachers – part of the AFT. The contracts note this for dues:

AFMSU, as exclusive representative of all employees described in Section 3.01 will represent all such persons fairly whether members or not. No employee shall be required to join AFMSU, but membership in AFMSU shall be made available to all who apply, consistent with AFMSU constitution,  bylaws, and policies. 

(A) Beginning in AY 2012-2013, the amount of the representation fee shall be determined by an independent audit annually conducted of the MEA-MFT and NEA/AFT/AFL-CIO and in no case will the representation fee exceed the annual membership dues. 

(B) The representation fee shall be forwarded to MSU annually on or before September 1. The University shall deduct the fee from non-members and transmit the monies to AFMSU in the same manner specified in the collection of dues article. If the University offers individual contracts, the individual contract shall contain an authorization for payroll deduction of the representation fee by non-members. …

Montana has a historic labor tradition, starting with the immigrant miners in Butte, then Big Bill Haywood and the Western Federation of Miners and the IWW. As a onetime Montanan who learned a lot from the old-timers in the M&M Keno room I’m happy to see that these latest negotiations do not appear to have required defenestration or dynamite:

On the annual celebration of Miner’s Union Day, June 13th, an angry crowd ransacked the Miner’s Union Hall after their own parade erupted into a riot. When the acting mayor, Alderman Frank Curran appeared in the union hall to plead for calm, he was told to “Go to hell,” and then pushed out of the second story window. All semblance of order followed him out the window. The mob removed the union’s safe from the building and took it to a field in the valley below. One miner doused the safe with a liquid from a bottle that he swore was filled with nitroglycerin. When it turned out to be whiskey instead, dynamite was used to blow open the safe.

New UO faculty union website

10/24/2011: The AAUP/AFT faculty union organizers have a nice new website, complete with endorsements from faculty. The are having a NTTF luncheon Wednesday. They also address the pay leveling concern head on, here. Add comments to this post here. The old union website used to link to UO Matters posts all the time, for some reason I now seem to be banned.

This doesn’t make me want to sign that union card:

10/23/2011: From the Oregonian:

The Oregon City School District has decided to reject a $2.54 million federal grant meant to reward top educators, partly because of philosophical concerns over performance-based pay.

The UO administration is a sad example of what happens when you divorce pay from performance. Just compare Frances Dyke’s latest raise with her job performance. Applying the same rules to the faculty would be the end of this place. The UC system has worked around this problem – have any other unionized universities?

Meanwhile this news from will soon be relevant here at UO:

The faculty union at the University of Illinois at Chicago won another victory Friday, with a ruling by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board rejecting a request by the university to stay an order certifying the union. The union is the result of a major organizing drive conducted by the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers, which have hoped that the effort at UIC would pave the way for more faculty unions at doctoral institutions. The university has challenged the right of the union to form, as currently planned, because both tenure-track faculty members and adjunct professors would be in the same unit.

I am not sure what the UO organizer’s current position is on giving part-time temporary adjuncts a full vote in a faculty union.

Union experts advise faculty to unionize

5/24/2011: I missed the AAUP/AFT union event Tuesday afternoon. Announcement here. The union’s facebook site is here. Adeline Bash’s ODE story here:

“It’s always gotten worse than I thought it would be,” Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, said of his decade-long predictions that higher education was in danger. “This past year has gotten worse than I thought it would ever be.” 

The rhetoric is a little overblown for my tastes. But the UO faculty union organizers have done more than spew. The best effort to uncover UO’s financial secrets is the recent union funded Bunsis Report, here. Impressive work. Here’s the cocktail party version:

Why isn’t the Senate Budget Committee digging up this sort of data?

The UO administration still has no coherent response to the numbers Howard Bunsis put together. (Other than, finally, telling Frances Dyke to leave, now. It took Provost Bean how many years to figure that out? Necessary but not sufficient, as those economists say.) And every day they don’t, a union becomes a more and more credible way for the faculty to exert some control over UO’s feckless central administrators. Or at least find out how they’ve been spending our money.

UI challenges NTTF’s in faculty union

5/19/2011: Here’s a bit of highly relevant news for the UO faculty union movement, from

Faculty members at the University of Illinois at Chicago filed for union recognition last month — moving to become one of a small number of research universities to seek collective bargaining for professors, and giving academic labor a major victory in a year of deep disappointments. While the university urged faculty members to reject the union drive, it did not challenge the professors’ legal right to organize.

Now, however, the University of Illinois system is challenging the union — jointly organized by the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers — on the grounds that state law bars tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty from being in the same organizing unit. The union is fighting back, and faculty leaders say that the argument is a cover for the university’s opposition to collective bargaining for faculty members.

The UO union organizers have argued not just for including full-time long term NTTF’s in the union (good, in my view) but also for giving part-timers full votes (bad – very different interests). If they win their card check – probably in the fall – Oregon could make a similar challenge.

UI-Chicago faculty go union

5/2/2011: From Kevin Kiley at

One major argument that organizers said stuck with faculty members was that professors consistently felt like they had no voice in university governance. …

AFT and AAUP are currently working with faculty members at the University of Oregon to establish a union there, though they say those efforts have moved more slowly. …

UW-Lacrosse faculty vote to unionize

2/25/2011: From

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican, is trying to end the newly gained right of faculty members at the University of Wisconsin System to unionize. But faculty members at the university’s La Crosse campus voted this week to unionize, following similar votes by professors at the Eau Claire and Superior campuses. Faculty members at the campuses have voted to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers, which also has organizing drives going elsewhere in the system. Union organizers said that the governor’s push to end collective bargaining rights has made made faculty members more committed to the union. At La Crosse, the vote for collective bargaining was 249 to 37.

Looking at those numbers, I’m wondering if the bargaining unit included part-time adjuncts, as the UO union organizers are apparently still insisting on.