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Bargaining

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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

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) ratified in July left several key issues to an appendix of implementation agreements to be worked out over the following months and beyond, including caregiving supports; proposed changes to the Tenure Reduction Program (TRP); the role of service in our work; pay equity; and our units’ policies on merit, performance and promotion reviews, and professional responsibilities. Send us an email at [email protected] to express interest in joining us in this work. Feel free to reach out to ask any clarifying questions you might have.

Revision of Unit Policies

Implementation Agreement #2 of the CBA requires that unit merit policies be revised by June 2023—in advance of distributing merit raises (out of a 3% pool) in January 2024.

Similarly, unit policies on professional responsibilities (i.e., workload and assignment of work duties), performance reviews, and promotion and tenure reviews need to be revised by June 2024.

In consultation with deans, the administration is preparing policy templates for units in part to ensure that new unit policies will be in line with the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) language. The use of templates is fine—and helpful!—as long as everyone is clear that they are starting points rather than ends in themselves.

It may be tempting to speed through the process of revising policies, and there would be clear benefits to reducing ambiguity or uncertainty sooner rather than later. However, it’s even more important that this process of reviewing and revising unit policies be thorough, transparent, and genuinely participatory.

This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of shared governance. As with local elections, we have the most power to influence the outcomes within our own units. If we want to transform the nature of our work, how our duties are assigned, or how our performance is measured and rewarded, this is our opportunity. Let us seize it.

Proposed Changes to TRP

At the close of our negotiations last June, the administration presented a new proposal to change the Tenure Reduction Program. Because we received this new proposal two days before the last planned bargaining session, our bargaining team felt strongly that we did not have enough input from our members to accept or reject the offer. We also did not have enough time to submit changes to the proposal. As a result, the administration and the union agreed to hold a separate vote on this proposal after the ratification of the Contract Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

According to the Implementation Agreement signed by UA and the administration, we are to either negotiate or simply vote on the administration’s proposal by early January 2023. If we negotiate on TRP, both parties would sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would outline the agreed-upon changes to TRP. This MOU would need to be signed by December 31, 2022.  In the absence of such an MOU, the administration’s proposal from June 15, 2022, would be put to a ratification vote of UAUO members during January 2023.

Caregiving

The brand-new Caregiving article (Article 34) in the CBA:

  1. underscores that caregiving responsibilities should be taken into account for scheduling, clock stoppage, and leaves
  2. commits UO to providing access to Care.com to faculty to help identify potential caregiving solutions
  3. creates an annual $150,000 Travel Support Fund to offset work-related caregiving costs

Furthermore, Implementation Agreement #5 of the CBA establishes a one-time $500,000 Childcare Community Partnership Investment Fund to address the local shortage of care providers.

Service

The burdens of service assignments are not generally distributed equitably among faculty along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, classification, category, or rank. Inequities in service burdens lead to professional advantages for those who avoid or neglect service obligations while creating professional obstacles for those who take on more service responsibilities or discharge them more diligently. Negative impacts may include foregone merit increases, delayed promotion, failed promotion, nonrenewal, or layoff.

Implementation Agreement #3 of the CBA calls for a joint committee to consider how to enhance the equitable distribution of service, informed by the ongoing work of the UO Senate Task Force on Service.

Pay Equity

Bargaining resulted in two parallel mechanisms for focusing on pay equity issues on campus:

  1. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on salaries ratified in December 2021 affirmed that the administration and United Academics will form a joint study group to discuss how inflation and equity impact faculty salaries generally.
  2. Implementation Agreement #6 of the CBA calls for “Request for Proposal” (RFP) during Fall 2022 for an external consultant to review internal pay equity for Career instructional faculty “to determine if inequities exist that cannot be explained by legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons such as performance, years of experience, education, discipline, specialization, rank, and position expectations. The study’s parameters ultimately shall be decided by the University, with input from the Union.”

These two mechanisms are in addition to the ongoing work of UO’s Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance (OICRC) and the role of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor & Industries in enforcing the Oregon Equal Pay Act (OEPA). Individual cases of pay inequity can always be explored—and hopefully resolved—through these channels. Our goal with the pay equity studies is to tackle many potential cases in parallel in the interests of efficiency.

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

Scott Pratt

Philosophy Steward

What's your current rank? Professor & Director of Graduate Studies
Where do you work? Philosophy

Kate Thornhill

Libraries Steward

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

2021-2024 CBA

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.