Why former CAS Dean Andrew Marcus has joined the faculty union

Marcus resigned from the UO Administration as CAS Dean, effective Jan 2019, after disagreements with President Schill on matters of principle. Now he’s joined the Faculty Union:

Dear […]

I want to let you know that I have just joined the ranks of United Academics as a dues paying member. My decision to join the union is driven by the even deeper plunge of UO’s central administration into centralized decision making, all at the expense of rational consultation and input from thoughtful contributors ranging from deans to staff to faculty. It was the dramatic centralization and loss of input from deans and faculty that ultimately led to my resignation as dean. It is dismaying that this trend has proceeded even further without regard for the individuals whose lives are most affected by the decisions. For example, I believe there are many alternative ways to address budget deficits that do not require across the board salary reductions for those who actually do the work of the university. But these alternative approaches would harm our President’s vision for the university, and that is apparently the only vision that counts, no matter whose backs it is built on.

Unfortunately, my membership will be short-lived as I will become department head as of June 16. But I want to provide a tangible, if short–lived, gesture of my support for United Academics in this challenging moment for our university and our faculty.

Feel free to share this note with others.

With respect,

W. Andrew Marcus
Professor of Geography
University of Oregon

You too can join, at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeWlPkhxAzbHOsrAssgK_gAhr5clorn9r5R7_xR1PcVtcc9vg/viewform

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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Leave PEBB and give everyone a 5% raise with no cuts to benefits

3/6/2020:

Given the proposal by the UO Administration’s lead bargainer Missy Matella along these lines during Thursday’s bargaining, this seems like a good time to repost this from 2013. The numbers below are old and for all Oregon universities not just UO, but very roughly they suggest potential savings for UO of perhaps $20M a year from self-insurance, with no cuts in health benefits. That would buy a lot of parking and day care, or about a 5% raise for faculty, OA’s, and SEIU staff. And Duck coaches, I suppose.

Obviously no sane person would trust the UO Administration not to use such a change to weaken  benefits, particularly after their attempt to do so during the recent GTFF bargaining. And Matella seems pretty sane. But the Faculty Union could write legal protections into the CBA that would guarantee no increase in deductibles etc. Hence Matella’s appeal to the Union.

8/29/2013: UO benefits: Cost vs. value

During the first year of Gottfredson’s administration UO faculty pay has fallen still further behind the average at other AAU public universities:

  • Full profs: down from 85% to 82%
  • Associate profs: down from 92% to 90%
  • Assistant profs: down from 93% to 89%

The UO administration is now arguing that generous UO benefits justify not getting UO salaries to AAU peer levels. However, while benefits at UO may be more expensive than those at our peers (though that’s an open question, see bottom) that does not mean that they are more valuable to faculty.

In a nutshell, UO pays about 25% more for health care than employees get in benefits. The loss is equivalent to about 4% of salary for the average professor. UO pays as much as 33% more for retirement benefits than employees get in retirement value, making UO retirement benefits worth perhaps as little as 2% more than those at our comparators. UO also does not provide housing subsidies, and other benefits, that many other AAU publics provide.

All in all I think the burden is on the administration to show that UO benefits are more valuable than those at our comparators – and they’ve made no serious effort to do this.
Lots of ins and outs here, I’m sure it’s not all correct for PERS, and it ignores some twists. Comments are welcome – I’m talking to you, Bernie – and I will try to update this in response. It’s mainly about faculty but I think most of it applies to other UO employees.

Health benefits:

Health insurance costs UO $1260 a month, per covered employee, paid to the state PEBB health care plan. This rate is the same for all state employees.

OUS has tried to withdraw from PEBB, because OUS employees are healthier than the rest of the state work-force. Hannah Hoffman has a good story on this in the SJ, with a link to the OUS report, which says:

By PEBB’s own accounting, the Oregon University System is a net payer into the state insurance program. In 2011, PEBB estimated a fiscal impact of $51 million if OUS were to separate from the state insurance program. The SB 242 Financial Analysis conducted for this report estimates that if OUS had operated an independent health insurance program in 2010 and 2011, there would have been a savings of about $67 million for this two year period compared to PEBB with self-insured OUS medical and dental plans, and about $49 million if fully-insured plans had been used.

Let’s call it $59M for the 2009-2011 biennium. OUS PEBB claims totaled $235M for the same period. So the subsidy is roughly 25%. OUS used this argument to try and get out of the PEBB system, arguing that it was wrong for student tuition to go to subsidize benefits for non-university state employees.

The corresponding argument is that the value of UO’s health benefits to its employees is only about 75% of what UO pays in costs to PEBB.

Retirement benefits:

Way more complicated. The basic argument is that the state retirement plan, PERS, has a large unfunded actuarial liability, or UAL. The state has promised more to current retirees and workers than it has set aside to pay them, and now it is balancing the books, by increasing what UO has to pay in. These extra payments are not entirely of value to current faculty!

Last I looked the UAL was about $16B in 2009, market recovery has reduced it to I think $8B. The goal is to shrink that to $0 over 20 years, and then have a fully funded system with reserves sufficient to pay all promises. Once that is achieved, contributions for current workers would fall, and would all go towards their own benefits when they retire, paid from their own contributions plus the earnings from their contributions. See here for more:

In the meantime, current payments by UO for employee retirement benefits go in part to reduce the UAL for past retirees. If you want an illuminating anecdote, read Ted Sickinger’s amazing piece in the Oregonian about former UO football coach Mike Bellotti. UO paid only a few hundred thousand dollars into PERS for him while he was working. Bellotti’s benefits are about $500K a year, and his unfunded liability is about $10M.

So, a good chunk of the money UO pays to PERS, ostensibly for your retirement, actually goes to pay for Coach Bellotti and others of his ilk. You’d have to be quite the sports fan – like UO VPFA Jamie Moffitt – to count this as a valuable benefit.

How much does this reduce the value to you of what UO pays in retirement benefits into PERS? The official “PERS by the Numbers” guide estimates it’s 33%:

Approximately 68% of PERS’ total accrued liability is for members who are no longer working in PERS-covered employment (retirees and inactives). As a result, approximately 33% of an employer’s contribution rate is associated with these groups.

For more, see the Fall 2012 actuarial report, here:

So it’s perfectly clear?

What are UO’s contribution rates to PERS? It varies by when you were hired. Tier 1,2 is pre 2003. Current (post SB 822) rates are here:

The 6% pickup contribution, paid by UO, goes to the PERS fund for old hires (I think) and into a separate fully funded defined contribution IAP account for newer ones. And if you opted into the ORP, all the money goes into an independent defined contribution plan. You’re not helping out Bellotti at all, you free-rider.

Let’s say that, on average, retirement benefits cost UO 17.5% of salary, including the 6% pickup. If we trust PERS, 1/3 of that is a subsidy to current retirees. So, lets say the value to the average UO employee is a bit less than 12%.

(However, for people who opted into the ORP defined contribution plan, all their contributions go into their own individual accounts – no subsidy for the Bellotti’s.)

For AAU publics the average cost of retirement benefits is about 10%. Now maybe some of them are also dealing with UAL’s, using similar subsidies, so their value might also be less than their costs.

But if not – and keep in mind there are plenty of other caveats, most notably the ORP one – the value of UO’s retirement benefits is on the order of 2% more than our comparators, not the 6% number the administration trots out. Having strong retirement benefits will help put you on the way to a happy, prosperous retirement, but for extra financial security once your working days are over, you might want to receive support from a financial advice group such as Key, who can help you when it comes to matters of equity and annuities. Companies such as that can help when it comes to creating a budget for retirement so you aren’t left out in the end wondering where your money has gone. If you still don’t fully understand what equity you have in your home and how it can help benefit you in your retirement or would simply like more information then go to equityrelease.co.uk.

For some people, planning how much money they’ll have for their retirement may seem like a long way off, but preparing for this situation now could help to make sure that everything is already in place. Especially when it comes to your finances. Having enough money saved in an IRA can help to make sure that you will be able to live off this money when you are no longer receiving an income. Some people may even make the decision to invest in precious metals such as gold and silver to further establish their financial security. With help from companies similar to Lear Capital, (you can learn more here) you can build upon the funds you already have in your accounts to make sure that you are able to live out your retirement years in the best way possible. But it could be paramount to your financial situation that you decide to start planning for your retirement now.

Housing benefits:

UO has nothing. I haven’t done a real search, but here are a few programs by other AAU publics to help faculty buy houses. Many also have university owned, heavily subsidized faculty housing, typically used by new hires while they save for a down payment.

U of Colorado. While Paul Weinhold at the UO Foundation gave Pat Kilkenny a balloon loan for his baseball park, the UC Foundation will actually give their faculty subsidized loans to buy a house. https://www.cusys.edu/academicaffairs/documents/FHAP-description.pdf

UCSD. 40 years subsidized rates, plus help with the down payment: http://academicaffairs.ucsd.edu/resource-admin/homeloan/

UW. Pretty modest: http://www.washington.edu/admin/hr/benefits/saving/housing/hometown-loan.html

UCSB. Subsidized, low down payment rates for up to $1.3M: http://www.housing.ucsb.edu/faculty-housing and https://ap.ucsb.edu/policies.and.procedures/red.binder/sections/%5B1_17%5D%20New%20Ladder%20Faculty%20Commitments.pdf

MMXX-V Union bargaining: Tenure appeals & tighter sabbatical rules.

My continuing series on Budget Buckets is here. If you don’t like my blog read the official Union tweets or Facebook.

MMXX-V Live-blog. Usual disclaimer: My opinion and interpretation of what the bargainers are saying, thinking, or should be saying or thinking. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

Short Version: The Faculty Union pushed again for more reasonable tenure denial appeals. The Administration proposed new restrictions on sabbaticals for faculty. Those restrictions would not apply to administrators like Pres Schill, who often have far more generous sabbatical terms written into their contracts.

Faculty Union team shows up early and arranges classroom for bargaining, whilst Admin team moseys on over from their plush JH offices:

Faculty Union proposal on Appeal from the denial of tenure or promotion, Article 21:

Cecil: Lots of problems with how the university handles a few tenure cases. Union wants to strengthen the review process.

Matella: There aren’t any problems.

Cecil: Here are some examples … Epstein: Here’s another example. Green: Here’s another example.

Matella: OK, OK, we need more work on the front end of the process. But Admin is not willing to improve the appeals process. Green: This is people’s careers, why not better appeal process? Urbancic: Why not strengthen both the front end – more consistent application of criteria – and the appeals? Matella: No response.

Cecil: Moving on, we insist on language saying midterm (3rd year) reviews are purely advisory – no more terminal or 2-year contracts. Give faculty 6 years, then deny tenure if they haven’t shown their worth. And, for denial of tenure appeals, the Provost must actually give a written explanation to the candidate detailing the department’s criteria and explaining how they fell short.

Matella: Why does the union insist on a real appeals process instead of one that simply allows the Provost to reiterate their own previous decision without explanation? Cecil: Read Danny Kahneman’s book. It’s one of those irrational but consistent human biases. [Fact check request: Anyone know how replicable this one is?]

Matella: After PTRAC, appeals go to President or President’s designee? Cecil: Our concern is that the final tenure decision might be made by someone like Angela Wilhelms, rather than someone with academic experience like Mike Schill. On the other hand, we can imagine a situation were the President might be, say, a former shoe company CEO with no academic experience.

Admin Counter-Proposal: Union Rights, Article 9:

The Union thinks the Administration should share a list of faculty by September 1, so they can organize them. The Administration doesn’t want to do this until whenever they get around to updating their database:

Admin Counter on Sabbatical, Article 33:

Matella: We’ve made some changes. “Faculty with an agreement to retire are not eligible for sabbatical.” Faculty owe UO a year of service at regular FTE after sabbatical. [This is a huge change in past practice. Faculty – and administrators with faculty appointments – have been able to sign up for the TRP, get the 6% raise, take a sabbatical, then come back and either teach their last year pre-TRP, or teach at less than 1.0 FTE under the TRP. See, for example, Jim Bean: https://uomatters.com/2012/04/false-statements-about-bean-sabbatical.html]

Interestingly, while President Schill enjoys describing himself as a member of the faculty, when it comes to sabbatical and faculty duties, he’s convinced the Board to treat him just a bit differently:

So, after 6 years, he gets 12 months at full pay. Regular faculty get 9 months at 60% pay. And no need to say what he’ll do or what he’s done. But wait, there’s more:

Admin counterproposal for regular faculty:

Other topics:

2:25: As Cecil tries to wrap things up early, Vice President Matella does her best to drag out this session until the official end time of 3PM, to collect another 0.5 billable hours.[Just kidding, the above sentence contains at least 4 things that are not true.]

2:38: We’re done. See you next week.

Admin’s plan to weaken tenure – Faculty Union on bargaining MMXX-IV

Chuck Lillis and his Board of Trustees’ magic tonic for all that ails UO – get rid of tenure.

In a nutshell, the Administration wants to be able to reduce the FTE of tenured faculty to as little as 0.2 FTE, if their department head decides they’d been warned and failed to improve. The Union is OK with reducing the research FTE for deadwood, but wants it made up with more teaching or administrative work. Complete UAUO post here, with much more, including a proposal allowing UO to offer “indefinite appointment” – i.e. tenure – to Career/NTTF teaching faculty, after a long and rigorous review. The short version:

Executive Summary

The administration bargaining team proposed that tenured faculty could have their FTE reduced to 0.6, 0.4, or 0.2 FTE after an unsuccessful third-year post-tenure review. They also proposed to define the “review period” for promotion reviews be the last six years only.

The United Academics bargaining team proposed a new “Teaching Professor” position. Senior II Instructors and Lecturers can ask for an intensive teaching review that would assess teaching skill and pedagogical philosophy. Successful candidates would have an indefinite appointment.

We also proposed that Career faculty FTE could only be lowered by a maximum of 0.2 FTE (based on the prior year) upon renewal and that FTE had to be the same through all years of a contract.

The Union will respond to the Administration’s proposal for a de facto end to tenure this Th, 12-3 in 125 Chiles.

 

Matella updates Admins on Admin view of bargaining progress

**Sent on behalf of Missy Matella**

Dear Colleagues,

The University of Oregon [The Administration] and United Academics (UA) [The Faculty Union] began bargaining a new collective bargaining agreement on January 9 with the first several sessions focused on UA’s proposals. After three sessions, UA has proposed changes to 16 existing articles and introduced nine new articles with more proposals to come in the weeks ahead. The costs associated with their proposals appear to be significant:

·         By its own estimation, UA’s opening economic proposals will cost an additional $40 million over the term of a three-year contract. Proposals include changes to salary, benefits, child care support, parental leave, professional development, student support, and parking.

·         Our costing committee is currently analyzing the proposals. We expect to have more information about the economic impact of all UA proposals toward mid-February.

UA’s proposals would have substantial economic and operational impact on academic and non-academic units and on other university stakeholders.

·         The articles presented by UA to date would impact and, in some instances, define roles and responsibilities for department heads, principal investigators, the Senate, and athletics.

·         The university’s bargaining team will diligently work to maintain the bargaining principles it previously articulated—including respecting the roles of the parties at the table as well as the roles of other campus stakeholders, units, and employee groups.

The university’s bargaining team will continue to provide new proposals through the end of February. Our proposals will reflect our responsibility to:

·         remain good stewards of student tuition and taxpayer dollars, and

·         make proposals consistent with the reality of the university’s current and future economic situation.

Weekly bargaining is expected to continue every Thursday through the winter and spring terms. We look forward to positive collaboration with the UA bargaining team in our efforts to identify shared interests and reach agreement on a contract that serves both the university and our faculty. You can keep track of the negotiation process by reviewing the information and updates posted on the UA bargaining webpage on the Human Resources website.

Shortly, I will send a similar email to department heads and other unrepresented faculty to keep them informed. I will continue to provide regular bargaining updates so you are informed and aware of the key components of the negotiations and so that you can provide feedback to our team throughout this process. Your assistance and support in this effort are greatly appreciated.

Should you have any questions or concerns throughout the negotiations process, please visit the bargaining update webpage or contact me by submitting an email to uoelr@uoregon.edu.

Best regards,

Missy Matella
Senior Director, Employee and Labor Relations

MMXX-IV bargaining live-blog: 125 Chiles, 12-3pm today

My continuing series on Budget Buckets is here. If you don’t like my blog read the official Union tweets or Facebook.

MMXX-IV Live-blog. Usual disclaimer: My opinion and interpretation of what the bargainers are saying, thinking, or should be saying or thinking. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

The Union has helpfully posted today’s proposals at http://uauoregon.org/13020proposals/ The admin is passing out dead-tree versions of theirs. Annoying, but I understand we’ve got a few trustees with timber holdings. Other than that I have no complaints about the admin team, as of yet.

Start with admin proposals:

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Bargaining live-blog MMXX-II: PIPs for tenured faculty, Senate & IHP

In 125 CHILES, Thursday 1/16/2020, 12-3PM. 

MMXX-I is here. My continuing series on Budget Buckets is here. If you don’t like my blog read the official Union tweets.

Recap from MMXX-II: The union proposed a new article on faculty Performance Improvement Plans, which would allow departments to make tenured faculty who had failed at research get their shit together or do more teaching. The fact that a faculty union is proposing serious consequences for those few members who are not doing their job and making others cover for them should come as no surprise to anyone who understands basic economics. But it will probably throw Board of Trustees Chair and one-time B-School Dean Chuck Lillis – who apparently believes that the median faculty is deadwood and that the union is their agent – for a loop.

Other important proposals include reasserting shared governance control of faculty hiring, and figuring out how to keep the temperature in PLC to somewhere between 60 and 85 Fahrenheit.

See below for the details, Chuck, because the next proposal will be PIPs for you and your Trustees.

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Bargaining live blog MMXX-I: Parking, Duck bonuses, Raises

Recap: With the latest data showing average US wages increasing at 3% a year, and Oregon  having moved into the top half of the US income distribution by state, the union’s proposal for 3% COLA/ATB raises is a baseline. The proposed 5% for Excellence raises, and 2% for internal equity over the 3-year contract fit with the administration’s stated priorities. Cecil calls this the 3-9-4 plan.

The administration’s lead negotiator Missy Matella was receptive to the union’s proposal to tax the athletic department and use the money for student scholarships, seemingly agreeing that the university could not continue allowing AD Mullens to use the Duck money bucket as his safe space.

The union’s new TRP buyout plan also got a warm reception from the admin side. On the other hand, they seemed a bit skeptical of the proposal to tie faculty salary floors to a percentage of top admin salaries (15% or so).

See below for the parking and childcare proposals.

Expect lots of questions from the administration at the next round, same time and place next Thursday.

12PM, EMU Crater Lake Room. Usual disclaimer: My opinion and interpretation of what the bargainers are saying, thinking, or should be saying or thinking. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. In the interests of transparency the union has posted the articles they will be presenting to the administration here: http://uauoregon.org/bargaining1920/ and more info is here. UAUO is also live-blogging here (Go down to the live blogging post, it’s in the comments.)

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Faculty union bargaining starts noon Jan 9, Crater Lake Room

This will be the third contract UAUO has bargained with the UO administration, or as they prefer to be called, “The University”. The Union bargaining team has 11 faculty (5 TTF, 6 Career) and 2 staff members, with a total of 196 years of UO experience. Dave Cecil will again be the Union’s lead negotiator:

Whilst the Administration’s team will be led by Missy Matella:

And presumably Brad Shelton will again be entrusted with “running the numbers”:

The Union has posted a handy informational page at http://uauoregon.org/bargaining/ with links to basic info on bargaining, bio-sketches of the Union bargaining team, and the current contract clauses. Proposals will be posted as bargaining progresses. Per agreement between the Union and the Administration, bargaining is open to the public. No video or audio recording is allowed and the audience is expected to behave respectfully – meaning no goat bleats on your phone, Ben.

As in past years I’ll live-blog most sessions with a mix of fact, opinion, and interpretation of what the bargainers are saying, thinking, or should be saying or thinking at https://uomatters.com/tag/faculty-union-united-academics-of-uo. Since the Union doesn’t really trust me, they will also have a facebook page with live updates, and will send out regular email updates. I assume the Administration’s well-paid PR flacks will also disseminate their own spin on bargaining, perhaps including the odd ad hominem attack like this one from the 2013 bargaining session.

In past bargaining the Union has won improvements in Career faculty job security, and increases in TTF salary relative to the AAU public university averages. Full professor pay is now up from 82 to 87% of the average, with similar increases for Assistants and even better for Associates, thanks to the “Excellence Raises”:

Presumably the Administration will again tell faculty that “the well is dry” when it comes to pay and benefits, while lobbying the Legislature for $40M in subsidies for the 2021 IAAF championships, giving fat raises and bonuses to administrators, hiring lawyers and consultants, and refusing to use the profits from Duck football for anything but AD salaries and subsidizing special-interest sports like golf, tennis, and beach volleyball.

 

CAS Admin gives Faculty Union some credit for 2020 merit raises

Just kidding, of course they don’t:

The MOU between UAUO and the UO Administration is here. The TTF merit pool is 1.625% by department and the NTTF merit pool is 2.125%, so if your raise is more than that you are excellenter than the rest of your department.

For TTF, the union also negotiated a 0.5% university-wide pool for external equity raises. Expect an announcement about those in a few weeks. For the external equity raises, you can see the comparator data, by department and rank, here. Although these data are a bit dated, basically if the “UO Avg as % of AAU PUBLIC Peers Avg” for your department/rank is lower than 90%, you can also expect an external equity raise in your January paycheck.

1000 Oregon State faculty sign to support union

From their union website at http://www.uaosu.org/ Presumably this means they believe they can win a card-check election, and will start soon. Long-time readers may remember that I started out opposed to the UO faculty union, but signed the card once I realized they were going to win, and I’m now the union treasurer. Even the UO administration now agrees -with a few exceptions – that the union has been a good thing for UO.

There is, of course, an anti-union blog, with 35 members, at https://www.osuexcellence.org/new-page/

  • No premier research-intensive university in the U.S.—no true aspirational peer of OSU—has a unionized tenure-track faculty. Recently, both the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota worked to successfully defeat unionization of their faculty, for reasons similar to those listed below.

I guess we’re not premier research-intensive aspirational peer for OSU. Most of their anti-union language is cut-pasted from other anti-union blogs. Berdahl and Gottfredson spent $1M or so, mostly tuition money, on anti-union consultants and lawyers to fight the UO union, including this defamatory open letter to the faculty, accusing me of being “anti-university”:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.05.13 AM

From what I can tell from the emails, the letter came from UO General Counsel Randy Geller, Associate GC Doug Park, Faculty Athletics Representative Tim Gleason, VPAA Barbara Altmann, VPAA Doug Blandy, Consultant Marla Rae, HLGR’s Sharon Rudnick, William F. Gary and Kate Grado, and Michelle Cole of Gallatin Public Affairs – or at least they were in the loop.

I don’t know what OSU is doing in this regard.

Faculty union, administration agree on contract extension raises

My understanding is that this will soon go to the membership for a vote. I vote yes. If you’re not a member yet, the info on joining is here. Bottom line is that faculty will get average 3% raises in Jan 2018 (old contract) and now 2% in Jan 2019, and 2.125% in Jan 2020, variously distributed as ATB, merit, gender equity and external equity. These raises and the continuing promotion raises will mean that UO faculty pay will likely decline relative to peer institutions. The union pushed for additional merit pay but obviously the UO budget is tight. Next time we should call it “excellence pay” – that might get more traction.

The gender equity raise is conditional on UO’s soon to be hired consultant finding something in the pay regressions that no one else has been able to find. Assuming they don’t, that will be distributed as ATB. The external equity raise will go to faculty in departments where pay by rank is 90% below peers, or about 1/3 of the TTF.

As the statement below explains, the agreement for an extension rather than a new round of contentious bargaining (which would have started in January) was a cooperative one between the union and the administration. The UO faculty have suffered from a long series of incompetent and transient administrations. That era is over, and the union has responded appropriately.

UAUO Statement on Tentative Agreement for Contract Extension

Late last week, we were able to reach a tentative agreement with the administration for a two-year extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. We will be holding a ratification vote later this month. The agreement will only be finalized upon approval of a majority of voting members. This email contains a short summary of the agreement, followed by a longer explanation and a link to the tentative agreement. This tentative agreement is not to be confused with the final 3% average raise from our current contract which consists of a 2.25% merit pool and 0.75% across-the-board raise and will take effect on January 01, 2018.

Short summary: We agreed to a raise package for the 2018-19 and 2019-2020 years. This tentative contract extension reflects our desire to sustain salary growth & stability and correct observed inequities, even amid a highly constrained state and university budget context. Our current contract expires on June 30, 2018, but still includes a 3% raise package that goes into effect this coming January 01, 2018. The tentative contract extension builds on UA’s consecutive five-years of salary increases and will provide two additional years of salary raises, which will take effect in January 2019 and January 2020.

1. In the first year (beginning January 2019), the agreement is for a pool of money equal to 2.0% of the total salaries for the tenure-track faculty. The pool will be split between a 1.25% across-the-board raise for all TTF, and a .75% pool of money to address observed salary inequities by protected classes.
2. For the NTTF in the first year, there will be a 2.0% across-the-board raise.
3. In the second year (beginning January 2020), the TTF will have a pool of money equivalent to 2.125% of TTF salaries. This pool will be split between a 1.625% merit pool, and a .5% external equity pool.
4. In the second year, NTTF will have a 2.125% merit pool.

The negotiations with the university over this extension took place throughout this summer. We engaged in a relatively quick and quiet negotiation process with the university because both parties thought that a contract extension made sense in our current unsettled university climate. The state of the university’s budget it still abysmal and the additional pressure from the state about PERS funding has not helped. Many of you may recall the proposed double-digit tuition hikes and the woeful support from the state to cover university operating costs. The failure to find new revenue at the state level threatens higher education with continued pressure to increase tuition, which is something we have stood against. Recall that Oregon sits near the bottom in spending for higher education in the U.S. and in corporate tax receipts. This bind will continue to pose challenges to the UO and public education in Oregon.

Additionally, volatility in US immigration policy (see how nicely we put that?) has lead to deep concerns about the numbers of international students who will attend the university in the next few years. We also wanted to give our new Provost a chance to get a handle on his job before we entered into full-fledged negotiations with the university. The University of Oregon is not the typical research university, we have a strong commitment to shared governance and a deep respect for the work of the NTTF. We wanted to give Provost Banavar time to learn who we are before we bargained over sometimes contentious issues.

We are very aware that there are pressing issues that need to be addressed. Job stability for NTTF, both in length of employment and in assignment, still needs to be improved. Support for faculty with children is woefully lacking. The service that all faculty do is still extremely undervalued. Before we agreed to negotiate an extension, the Provost’s Office pledged to work with us over the next two years on these issues and more. We are putting some faith in the Provost’s Office, but we believe that they are committed to finding solutions to help build a better university.

Details and tentative agreement here.