Collective Bargaining Agreement
After years of negotiation with the administration, the membership of United Academics voted to ratify the newest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). You can view the CBA here. Here are some highlights:
- Strengthened unit-level governance processes and ensured faculty-approved policies are reviewed by the Provost
- Established a $500,000 Childcare Community Partnership Investment Fund to address local shortage of care providers
- Created annual $100,000 Travel Support Fund to oﬀset work-related caregiving costs
- Won 10% raises over the three years of the contract and raised salary floors
- Instituted post-promotion raises for Career faculty equal to those for tenured faculty (4% for meeting and 8% for exceeding expectations)
- Ended “up or out” nature of promotion reviews for Library faculty
- Defined funding-contingent status to prevent faculty from being misclassified
- Created new Research Assistant types, allowing more nuanced definition between positions
- Established a “reporting site” for all faculty and narrowed admin’s ability to relocate or assign faculty work that requires travel
- Established reinstatement process for laid-oﬀ Career researchers and instructional faculty
- Clarified eligibility, timing, and course loads for faculty on sabbatical
- Created Teaching Professor category to highlight and reward the expertise of our Career instructors
Do not hesitate to contact United Academics at email@example.com with any questions.
What We Are Bargaining For
We plan to bring several articles that will improve the policies that impact faculty, primarily in the merit, workload, and promotion policies that were developed through the CBA. We are particularly intent on improving how those policies can be revised and ensuring that faculty have an equal role in the revision process.
At the heart of the academy is the belief that the faculty have an equal role in the governance of the university. While the university has strayed far from the ideal of administrators being merely first among equals, we believe that UO can only be successful when the norms and expectations of our university are established by the faculty.
This round of bargaining will see a particular focus on restoring peer review as the foundation of the tenure and promotion process. Unfortunately, we have learned over the past year that the Provost’s Office takes a very dim view of the value of peer review, believing that only the Provost can be an objective arbiter of excellence. We believe, in contrast, that the faculty who know the field and who have read the work should have the most important voice in granting tenure and promotion.
We believe that the changes we made for Career faculty this summer will be an improvement over the system that gave the administration that right to arbitrarily change faculty FTE when contracts were renewed. We saw how devastating that power could be in the hands of an administration who view faculty careers as their “flexibility.”
We want to provide further stability for our excellent Career instructors by developing a teaching-track tenure system here at UO, joining the many other universities that have developed such systems. We will be proposing the system we proposed last year – after achieving Senior II status, Career faculty would have the option of undergoing a rigorous review of teaching. Upon passing the rigorous review, the Career faculty member would earn tenure.
While salary is not the primary motivator for faculty or the union, it is increasingly true that negotiations over salary seem to the only way faculty can make their needs heard. Over the last few years, it has become apparent that university budgeting leaves faculty raises until one of the last budgetary considerations. We negotiating for raises we have been repeatedly told that the university just doesn’t have the money it needs to pay faculty what they deserve. We have always argued that budgets reflect priorities and have urged the administration to make recruiting and retaining quality faculty the number one priority.
We anticipate the arguments will look much the same this year. We plan on fighting for COLA and merit raises, as we always do. We will also continue our fight for money to address the ongoing equity problems on campus – a study and a little bit of money to address only the most glaring problems cannot be enough this time.
Although not one of the union’s founding principles, this year has highlighted more than ever the need to address the work/life balance issues we all face, but are especially difficult for caregivers. We will be bargaining for more flexibility in scheduling, money to address the problems faced by parents who need to travel to conferences, clarity on leaves, and, hopefully, some solution to the ongoing child care problem on campus.
Article 9: Union Rights
Article 11: Release Time
Article 12: Facilities and Support
Article 14: Non-Discrimination
Article 15: Academic Classification and Rank
Article 16: Notices of Appointment
Article 17: Assignment of Professional Responsibilities
Article 19: Non-Tenure Track Faculty Review and Promotion
Article 20: Tenure Review and Promotion
Article 21: Appeal from the Denial of Tenure and Promotion
Article 26: Salary
Article 27: Public Employee Benefits
Article 28: Fringe Benefits
Article 30: Benefits for Eligible Retired Bargaining Unit Faculty
Article 31: Tenure Reduction Program
Article 32: Leaves
Article 33: Sabbatical
Article 35: Professional Development
Article XX: Hiring Information
Article XX: Home Campus
Article XX: Distinguished Teaching Faculty
Meet Your Bargaining Team
Your bargaining team is a collection of officers and volunteers from across campus. Feel free to reach out and share your thoughts about what is, and what is not working with our CBA.
Past VP for Tenure-Track Faculty Affairs
What’s your current rank? Professor
Where do you work? East Asian Languages and Literatures
How long have you been at UO? 25 years
Why did you want to be on the team? I think the UO functions best when faculty are given a real say in the creation of policies and the determination of funding priorities
Where did you go on your last vacation? Seattle to visit cousins for Thanksgiving
Executive Vice President
What's your current rank? Greenberg Associate Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature
Where do you work? Department Religious Studies and the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies
How long have you been at UO? 16 years
Why did you want to be on the team? The union protects faculty and gives voice to our collective values. As a member of United Academics, I am committed to ensuring that my colleagues are treated with the respect they deserve and to helping the university solve problems that impede student and faculty success. I have served on the bargaining team twice before, and I hope that my experience will help the team as it negotiates a new contract. In my previous career, I worked for national employee benefit and compensation consulting firms. I have found that this knowledge has been valuable as we discuss relevant issues at the table.
Where did you go on your last vacation? Los Angeles – Thanksgiving with my family.
What's your current rank? Professor & Director of Graduate Studies
Where do you work? Philosophy
Research Units Representative
What’s your current rank? Research Assistant
Where do you work? Research/CAMCOR
How long have you been at UO? 8 years, 13 if you include my time as a GE
Why did you want to be on the team? Heather asked me to. I also want to make sure that the concerns of our research faculty are taken into consideration during negotiations.
Where did you go on your last vacation? Port Orchard, WA
College of Education Tenure-Track Representative
What’s your current rank? Professor
Where do you work? Education Studies, College of Education
How long have you been at UO? 14 years
Why did you want to be on the team? I believe faculty are the best stewards of the teaching and scholarship mission of the University. Faculty are more often motivated by an ethic of service to students and traditions of knowledge than by a need to chase profitability, the political favor of wealthy donors, and the fashions of higher education administration. The University of Oregon provides better service for students, the community, and the traditions of knowledge in which we work when faculty have real leverage in the governance of the University. We get that leverage by working together through our professional union. I joined the UAUO Bargaining team to help make the university a better place for everyone.
Where did you go on your last vacation? Alaska
Avinnash Tiwari is an Instructor in English and Composition. He served as VP of Political Action for AAUP-OR, and as a member of AAUP National’s government relations committee. Avinnash’s commitment will always be first and foremost to students, especially students marginalized from (higher) education.
Avinnash does this knowing full well when it comes to power writ large, the more things change the more they stay the same. He is, however, grateful for the students and young people who continually challenge him to fight for something different when it comes to our time here at the UO.
Mike Urbancic is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Economics, where he has been teaching both large lower-division courses and smaller upper-division electives since 2012.
He is passionate about teaching, and he loves making connections across campus both through his work with United Academics and in a variety of service roles across campus. He currently serves on the Undergraduate Council, the Committee for Academic Infrastructure, and the Board of the Provost’s Teaching Academy.
In each of these spheres—and at the bargaining table—he works to highlight and elevate the teaching mission of the university, enhance the profile of our dedicated instructors, and strengthen our institutional support and job security.
Vice President for Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty Affairs
Eleanor Wakefield is an instructor in the English department and composition program. She began teaching at the UO in 2010 as a graduate student in English, continuing as a pro tem and now career instructor.
During her time as a graduate student and employee, she acted as a steward and VP of Grievances for the GTFF. She has also served a steward from English for UA and chair of the Representative Assembly.
Her scholarly work is on poetry and poetics, especially 19th and 20th century American formal verse.
Chair of the Grievances & Contract Administration Committee
Nathan Whalen is a Senior Instructor II of Spanish, in the Department of Romance Languages, and has worked at the University of Oregon since 2001. He is interested in and teaches courses dealing with cultural geography, social and political change, and artistic manifestations in Latin America.
Nathan has served as a Humanities Representative and sat on the Organizing and Membership Committees and is now Chair of the Grievance and Contract Administration Committee.
When not around campus teaching, grading, and engaged in moderate syndicalist rabble-rousing, Nathan enjoys traveling and attempting to grow and process more fruits and vegetables than is frankly necessary.
Heather Wolford joined the United Academics team in September of 2018. Prior to that, she worked with faculty at Oregon State University while they organized their union, United Academics of OSU.
Heather attended UO as both an undergrad and graduate student, earning master’s degrees in International Studies and Public Administration, and is excited to be back in Eugene.
She’s a fan of a live music, the outdoors, and spending time in Latin America.
A Summary of our Summer 2020 Agreement with the Administration
FTE fully restored: All Career faculty who received renewal notices in May with lowered FTE will have their FTE restored to the same FTE they held in AY19-20. All Career faculty who were issued new contracts due to receiving a promotion will have their FTE restored to the FTE they held in AY19-20.
Withdrawn promotions: Career faculty who had their promotion submitted to the Provost but withdrew their file can opt to have their file reviewed by the Provost as if it had not been withdrawn. The review should be complete before the start of the academic year.
Reduced amount of salary cut: The agreed-upon employee salary cut is up to $20M over one year. In April, the administration’s proposal called for up to $100M in employee salary cuts over four years.
Threshold: The Agreement calls for the administration to mitigate the first $15 million of any losses and any losses over $35 million. Employee salary cuts will mitigate losses between $15 million and $35 million. The administration’s April PPR called for all losses to be addressed immediately through salary cuts.
Lowered the rates for the lowest earners: The chart below calculates the effective salary cut for employees at selected base salary levels with a comparison to the comparable rates in the April PPR plan. Cuts do not impact stipends, awards, or overloads.
Percentage cut for salaries of the Tentative Agreement vs. the Administration’s April PPR.
Our plan is for one year; theirs was for up to four.
Although we were not able to bargain for a higher tier, we were able to raise the amount of the cut on those earning more than $200,000 from an April 16% rate to 18% rate. The money from this increase was used to raise the floor of the cuts from $30K in the administration’s April proposal to $45K in the Agreement.
Delayed implementation: There are two possible times that the salary cut plan could be triggered. If the university experiences a tuition deficit and/or a cut in state funding in November greater than $15 million, the administration could trigger wage cuts to save enough to make up for a decrease in revenue between $15 million and $35 million.
It is more likely that the salary cut plan will be triggered next summer. The administration can wait until summer 2021 and trigger the salary cut plan by combining losses due to tuition revenue decreases, cuts to promised state support, and state support in the 2021-23 biennium budget.
The salary cut plan can only be triggered once and there can be no more than 12 months of salary cuts.
Research faculty exempt: Because their salary derives mostly from grants, research assistants, research associates, research professors, and post docs will be exempt from the wage cut plan. This is unchanged from the administration’s PPR plan.
The details of the above summaries will be sent to all members of the union shortly, along with information on the ratification vote.
Expectation of Continued Employment
The bargaining teams also agreed to the basis of a new system for employing non-funding contingent instructional Career faculty. We believe this will be a much better system, but there are many details to work out, as it will impact several articles in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Below is a summary of the key points. More information will be shared as we work on the details.
Though we have more work to do to complete the full contract bargaining we began in January, and though our current circumstances have complicated all of these processes, we believe the agreement we have reached is a good one. The bargaining team, again, appreciates all the support we have received. Without member support and participation, we would not have been able to sustain our energy and determination through this unusual time, and we would not have reached such a favorable agreement.
Expectation of Continued Employment
No more contracts and renewals: The current system of one-, two-, and three-year contracts is vastly better than having no job security at all. We have, however, run into some fairly significant problems. As Deans ordered cuts, departments and units were forced to choose among the faculty who happened to be up for renewal. This led to situations where only faculty who had achieved promotion could be non-renewed, which was not always ideal. We also saw an increase in contracts that offered low FTE in the second and third years of contracts – 1.0, 0.1, 0.1 contracts. And, of course, we had the events of this spring, a disaster we cannot allow to be repeated.
The system described below would address many of these issues and only applies to non-funding contingent Career faculty. It will not be perfect, and it will not guarantee that a Career faculty member can never lose their job, but we believe that this will be a much better system with stronger protections than our current one.
Expectation and rationale: Non-funding contingent Career faculty will have the expectation of continued employment that can only be ended for legitimate financial, academic, or performance reasons after the first year of employment. Career faculty in their first year can be laid off for any reason.
Notice: Career faculty in their first year can be laid off with 30 days’ notice. Faculty in their second year, but who have not achieved promotion can be laid off with 90 days’ notice. Faculty who have achieved promotion must be given 12 months’ notice before the layoff goes into effect.
Earned seniority: Layoffs are based on the functions and skills required to perform necessary work, but layoffs will generally follow earned seniority. This means that Career faculty who have not earned promotion will be laid off before Senior I faculty and Senior I before Senior II.
Expedited arbitration: Faculty who have received a layoff notice will be able to challenge the legitimacy of the layoff through an expedited binding arbitration process. The goal will be to have the layoff notice formally reviewed before it goes into effect. This system will replace the current grievance-arbitration system that can take several months to complete.
FTE maintenance: Assigned FTE cannot go down, except by mutual agreement between the faculty member and university.
Rehire at same FTE: While we have not worked out a complete recall system, we have agreed that faculty members hired back by the university into the same category – instructor, research assistant, research associate, lecturer, librarian, etc. – cannot be hired at a lower FTE than what they held before they were laid off.
Meet the Team Bargaining the Details
What's your current rank? Professor & Director of Graduate Studies
Where do you work? Philosophy
Kate serves as the Digital Research, Education, and Media (DREAM) Lab’s operations manager where she coordinates staffing, lab scheduling and usage, and DREAM Lab technology instruction. She is also responsible for the project management of Digital Scholarship Center digital projects and leads Oregon Digital service management.
Our Current Collective Bargaining Agreement
The Collective Bargaining Agreement is the contract between the University of Oregon and United Academics. This version of the CBA is the most up-to-date version, incorporating several Memoranda of Understanding and copy-edited through a mutual process.