Union bargaining XVIII: Raises. Rudnick: Just kidding!

Update: The union is reporting that Gottfredson’s team has committed to present their counter on raises at 8AM Thursday. No explanation for the HLGR donut delivery problems, but the UO Matters catering division will be ready with coffee and backup voodoo.

4/23/2013: At 9:30 VPFA Jamie Moffitt will deliver President Gottfredson’s counter to the union’s raise proposal. 8-12AM, Room 122 Knight Library. I’ll bring coffee and waive the usual $5 cover charge. Rudnick has assigned a team of HLGR associate attorneys and consultants to bring donuts.

Synopsis: 

  • Note to President Gottfredson: If you have any regard for what the faculty think of you, never again let Sharon Rudnick speak for you. (See comments).
  • The union presented its raise proposal 5 weeks ago. The administration has been stalling on a response ever since. Today, about 30 faculty showed up to hear what it was going to be. Rudnick and Moffitt dragged out the meeting as long as they could, then announced at 11:50 that there wasn’t enough time to present Gottfredson’s proposal. Pretty damn rude. Show up at 8AM tomorrow to see what cheap stunt they pull next.

Prologue: Some readers have noticed the administration’s “Fact Check” site, linked at the top. I wrote the response to it below last Monday. Rudnick and Geller haven’t answered it – they don’t want me to know who wrote an open letter to me? It’s a secret open letter?

Admin Team Fact Check Letter:

My Response:

From: Bill Harbaugh
Subject: your Feb 28 open letter about Professor Bill Harbaugh
Date: April 12, 2013 6:22:40 PM PDT
To: Sharon Rudnick , Randy Geller
Cc: James Bean , doug park , Barbara Altmann , Timothy Gleason , Doug Blandy , [email protected], William F GARY , [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], Bruce Blonigen , “[email protected] Coltrane” , President Gottfredson , “[email protected], Ryan Hagemann , Robert Kyr , Margaret Paris

Dear Ms Rudnick and Mr. Geller: 

I’m writing you in regard to the Feb 28 “Open letter from the UO Bargaining Team” which is attached, and which is posted on the official University of Oregon website for faculty contract negotiations, at http://uo-ua.uoregon.edu/fact-check/
A colleague came across this website a week or so after the letter had apparently been posted, and alerted me to it. I thought it was pretty hilarious, particularly in its discussion of the UO Matters blog at https://uomatters.com, which I edit, and in regard to the claims that I am “indelibly associated” with the faculty union. 

In truth I fought long and hard against faculty unionization. I signed the membership card only at the end, because I wanted to be on the winning side, where I could make a difference. I have made it very clear on my blog and in conversations with many UO administrators that I am still quite skeptical of faculty unions and that my ultimate loyalty is to the University of Oregon and to the principle of public education for which it stands. I regularly tell the union organizers I will turn on the union the moment it starts doing more harm than good to this principle, and I’m pretty sure they believe me. 

But I digress. Many UO faculty have now told me that I should be outraged by your letter, that it is harmful to my professional reputation, and even that it constitutes “defamation per se”, whatever that means. 

While I’m no lawyer, on closer reading I think they may have a point. The letter is on UO letterhead, is posted on an official UO website, is addressed to my academic colleagues in my university community, and it even uses my professional title: 

“We write this letter to our University community because we believe it is both necessary and appropriate to inform you of … the continued reporting of biased, erroneous and inflammatory reports from the bargaining table by Professor Bill Harbaugh …” 

The letter and the website also make some damaging accusations about my actions and intentions, stating them as if they were facts. I note in particular the statement that my blog is “consistently anti-university”, and “He has also filed frivolous and repeated records requests for information directly related to bargaining.” I’m thinking maybe that was supposed to say “not directly related to bargaining” but regardless, I am not the sort of person who takes accusations of frivolity lightly, even confused ones. Economics is a serious subject, and no potential employer would want to hire a professor with a reputation for joking around. 

However the strangest part of this open letter is that a group of UO administrators and attorneys would write something like this, put it on official UO letterhead, post it on an official UO website, and then not sign their names to it.  

So, I am writing to ask Ms Rudnick, who is apparently the leader of this team, or perhaps more appropriately Mr. Geller, her immediate supervisor at UO, to send me the names of the people on the “UO Bargaining Team”. 

I’m ccing all the people I’ve been able to identify as potential members of the UO Bargaining Team, from the website, the HLGR invoices, and a few other sources. I’ve also cced my department chair, CAS Dean Coltrane, President Gottfredson, OUS Chancellor Rose, OUS General Counsel Ryan Hagemann, current UO Senate President Kyr and incoming Senate President Paris. 

I’d appreciate a prompt response, listing the names of the people on the UO Bargaining Team. If any of the team members want to disavow the letter, I’d appreciate it this would be posted on the website where the letter appears. Feel free to also post this letter if you’d like, and let me know if you’d like a signed copy on UO economics department letterhead. 

Thanks,
Bill Harbaugh
Professor of Economics
1285 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403

10 days with no response, so I’m asking Gottfredson: 

From: Bill Harbaugh
Subject: Feb 28 open letter about Professor Bill Harbaugh
Date: April 24, 2013 2:28:56 PM PDT
To: President Gottfredson , Michael Gottfredson  

Dear President Gottfredson:
I am writing to request that you instruct your General Counsel, Randy Geller, to respond to the email below and provide a list of the members of the “UO Bargaining Team” that wrote the 2/28/13 open letter to me and posted it on the UO website at http://uo-ua.uoregon.edu/fact-check/ 

Thanks, 

Bill Harbaugh
UO Prof. of Economics
http://harbaugh.org

Liveblog Disclaimer: This is my opinion of what people said, should have said, or should have wanted to say. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. For the union’s view of things see Luebke’s blog.

Act I:

Harbaugh: There’s coffee if anyone would like some. Rudnick: I assigned Bill Gary and Randy Geller to bring donuts. I don’t know why they are not here. Tension in room rises. Underpaid assistant professor, obviously hoping to buy off the administrative team, enters with a box of Voodoo, just before things get ugly. Come on down and get yours.

Rudnick: Gottfredson is upset that a group of faculty attempted to meet with him about the slow pace of bargaining. She said something about “attempted to barge into his office unannounced”. Actually, they tried to arrange a meeting and he wouldn’t reply. He thinks meeting with faculty is totally inappropriate and won’t respond. 
Rudnick: We are ready to TA these. TA mean temporary agreement, my understanding is this means they are binding, more or less, whilst rest of the bargaining proceed.

Preamble: Rudnick passes around a sheet that she calls an agreement on the nomenclature problem. Mauer: This is your counterproposal, not an agreement to ours. Rudnick: OK, you’re right. Mauer: you still want to be called the University? Rudnick is trying to prove she can do this without loosing her cool – good so far. She calls this a compromise. Cecil calls her on it. Rudnick: If your idea of a compromise is to call us the Administration it’s not going to happen. Cecil: A compromise would be agreeing to “University administration”. Rudnick’s voice starts to tighten. No shouting though – she pulled it off! 
Article 40: Negotiation of successor agreement: 
Rudnick ready to agree to this. Mauer signs.
Article 8: Non-discrimination:
She changed 7 years to 5, Mauer notices.
Article 6: Dues deduction:
Mauer notices a typo.
Article 16: Arbitration:
Mauer notices a typo and sloppy language. 
Admin counterproposals: 
Rudnick: I think we are close on these too.

Art 18: Discipline and termination for cause. Gleason’s favorite. What crazy shit will he bring up this time? Rudnick: We dropped a lot. We drop attempts to define “just cause” and leave it up to common wisdom (as Mauer had proposed they do.) Sec 9: Job abandonment. We try to take a middle position. 21 consecutive days, university now has to try and contact the faculty before kicking them off.

Art 43: Drug and alcohol testing
Note that this applies to alcohol and “controlled substances”:

Schedule V Controlled Substances

Substances in this schedule have a low potential for abuse relative to substances listed in Schedule IV and consist primarily of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Examples of Schedule V substances include: cough preparations containing not more than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams (Robitussin AC®, Phenergan with Codeine®), and ezogabine.

Rudnick: Adopted standard language for reasonable suspicion. You can get drunk at a party with your department chair, that’s OK, not part of job performance. Beers at lunch, come back to campus, interact with students, that would trigger a test. Cecil: tries to pin her down. Sitting in your office writing a paper? Anderson: You’re at a restaurant, entertaining a speaker, drinking to dull the pain. Students at next table notice, report you. Cecil: Dean hear’s the laughter, gets jealous, demands a test? Gleason: (I have no idea what he is trying to say here. Spit it out Tim.) Rudnick tries to explain. Confession: I spent many happy and productive hours on the UW Terrace with my PhD advisor heavily under the influence, working out proofs. Green: In the President’s box with donors – problem, or is this just about being in front of students. Rudnick: No just students. Mauer: We’ll rewrite this for you.

About 30 faculty are now packing the room. Still a few donuts left. Moffitt is on call in the green room, but first:

Art 42: Criminal Records Checks: Admin counter.
Sec 6: New language, have to tell provost if you are charged with any crime involving “moral turpitude, official misconduct or dishonesty, or with a felony under state or federal law.” Check wikipedia – you’ll be amazed at what counts as moral turpitude:

Yes
Sexual crimes
Tax evasions
Assaults/Murders 
Robbery
Bigamy Paternety Fraud
Contributing to delinquency of minor (can buy students alcohol, etc.)
Fraud 
Extortion
No
Simple assault
Riot
Libel
Bastardy (creating a bastard)
Incest
Firearm violations
Drunk driving
Juvenile Delinquincy
Joy Riding
Trespassing
Vagrancy

Art 39: Distribution: admin counter.

Art 28: Faculty Handbook. 
Admin finally agrees to print the damn thing out. Rudnick’s probably billed $5000 arguing this.

Art 29: Rights reserved to the university.
Mauer: You took out a lot of our specific language about rights derived from constitution, law and  replaced it with “customary”. Why? Rudnick: We don’t want to give up anything even if we don’t know if we have it. Mauer: Our proposal shows were to look for admin rights. Your counter doesn’t explain where admin rights come from. Rudnick: Exactly, that’s our point. Mauer: Does this open the door to Pres claiming he has authority that is not in constitution, law, case law. Rudnick: Yes. Mauer: Come on, why not tell us where you think your admin authority comes from? Rudnick: We don’t want to accept any limiting language. Period. “The university’s authority is what it is and it is not necessary to define it.” WTF? “We’re not going to stage a coup”.

Caucus time, back at 10:10 with Moffitt.

They’re back: 
Rudnick: Moffitt, Shelton, Wolff are here to discuss costing.
Moffitt: I’ll talk about 4 topics:

Revenue for FY 14 and 15

Moffitt still won’t share the revenue projections that she showed the OUS board. But she talks real fast.  Q: What have past tuition increases been? Moffitt: I don’t know. We’re proposing 4.5 and 3% increases for next time. There’s a working group that figures out increases – but of course she’s not going to share their documents. Here’s the tuition history:

Huge increases in tuition for years, but not in faculty pay or hiring. Where has that money gone? Green asks simple Q about tuition, Rudnick jumps all over her. Moffitt there’s a lot of uncertainty, lots of moving parts, lots of balancing.

Moffitt: State appropriation uncertainty. State will allocate money to OUS in June. We won’t know what board will give UO until October. We need to make commitments now though. Perhaps 3% increase, if passed through that would only be $1.3M. (So chump change out of a $800 million budget, But Moffitt is going to run out the clock talking about it.) She goes on and on. Grants: awards are down, $6 million hit. Of course it’s also an expenditure reduction, but she’s not going to talk about that. Now she’s onto F and A recovery, also down about $1M – almost as much as we’re paying for the mortgage on the underground parking at Matt Court. Again, no discussion of associated cuts to expenses. Drags out the sequestration boogyman.

Cecil: So, after years of growth we’re now looking at a small decline. Moffitt: Increases in auxiliary revenue, $7m or so, athletics revenue. Cecil:  Going to use that athletics money for academics? Moffitt: bullshits for a while, main worry is that they don’t take any more new money from the academic side.

Moffitt: Add all that up, about $11M in new recurring revenue, plus about $14M in new other revenue, $25M for 13-14, and another $14M for 14-15. Braun: Any new non-recurring revenue expected? Moffitt: We’ll get gifts, can’t predict, probably mostly for athletics anyway. 

Expenses:

Moffitt: PERS – we projected based on 30% increase. We’ve now got more specific increase info. She quotes old numbers that don’t match with SB 822. Gets a $10.5M number for entire institution – about 1.3% of total UO budget. Health care: Doesn’t believe Kitz, projects 5% increase. Staff – $5 million or so for raises, ~3.5%. TTF faculty is growing at about 15 per year. Hard to cost, especially start-ups. Fortunately Espy has dealt with that by chasing them off. ~$2 million a year.

11:15, and no counterproposal for raises yet. She’s going to get to that today, right?

(I have to say that as annoying as Jamie is, she’s an infinite improvement over the relentless hostility we get from Rudnick and Gleason. She’s hiding a lot, but she’s giving out some information too, and she’s not acting like she hates the faculty.)

Talks about library costs, wifi, leasing, bond payments, building classrooms, Straub bonds. “I don’t want to scare people, but we might have tunnel issues ….” Onto overhead rates. No mention of the $1.5M she took from academics for athletics.

11:32, and no counterproposal for raises yet. She’s going to get to that today, right?

Unrestricted net assets:

Doesn’t want to commit to recurring expenses from one-time funds. Need these for emergencies: hurricanes, etc.

11:41, and no counterproposal for raises yet. She’s going to get to that today, right?

Q and A about costing your proposals.

Moffitt’s bottom line. There are a million things that are more important than paying faculty. Sorry. Any questions?

11:50, and no counterproposal for raises yet. She’s going to get to that today, right?

Mauer: Where is your economic proposal?
Rudnick: Jamie ran out the clock, we don’t have time to present them. 
Mauer: Give them to us and present your talking points tomorrow.
Rudnick: No. I don’t know why people are laughing at me!

Mauer: How far out do your projections go? Moffitt 2015. (Huh? What about the secret slides?)

Cecil: How much Foundation money are you keeping off your books?

Meeting ends. Still no raise proposal from Gottfredson. Apparently it will be presented at 8:00 AM tomorrow. We’ll be here.