Faculty Union meta-FAQ

Updated 6/3/2012:  

For this post I will only accept comments that involve questions or answers!

This is a resource page with links to information about the UO Faculty Union. It’s meant to be an independent source of information for faculty about the union. Revised as appropriate, suggestions welcome in the comments. The union organizing committee has put up a FAQ here. UO Matters is posting this meta-FAQ as a public service, contributions to help cover expenses are accepted here. 

As of now:

 6/3/2012: We have a faculty union but no bylaws, constitution, membership, or elected leadership. The faculty organizers who won the petition process and the national representatives sent in from the AFT and AAUP are currently running the show. Their organizing committee will not allow people to attend their meetings unless they have demonstrated a commitment to the union.

How will constitution and bylaws be set, and leadership elections be run?

United academics has announced plans for committees to establish bylaws and a constitution, organize a membership drive, plan elections for union local leadership, and begin work on a CBA, but no details on how membership of these committees will be determined are available.

The PSU union seems like a likely model for how the UO union will eventually work. They have an executive council that meets weekly. The council is elected by the membership. Membership is not automatic. Everyone covered by the contract must pay union dues, but they must join the union to vote – explanation here.

See Dues for more on this. People can apparently opt out of the part of union dues that go to lobby for political causes they object to, but not the union’s regular expenses.

The recently established Montana State University union has interesting bylaws clause:

 Separate officers represent tenure track faculty and non tenure track faculty and are elected by members.

Dues:

Obviously the AAUP / AFT organizers will now want the UO union to pay some dues to their national organizations. The union FAQ says:

Dues normally start after the first contract is negotiated. The exact amount would be decided by a majority vote of union members, but a dues amount equal to about 1-2% of salary is typical. Most AFT/AAUP campuses have dues around 1-2% of gross monthly pay. 

But we can negotiate a much lower rate. The PSU union seems to have fought the nationals pretty hard on this point. Their bylaws call for dues to be approved by a vote of the membership. See the PSU Summer 2011 newsletter (page 13 and 14) for a long discussion of turmoil within the AAUP and their disputes with the AAUP over how much the PSU union should pay to the National AAUP. The upshot? At PSU

“Regular Dues for members hired into a bargaining unit position on or after October 1, 2010 are .75%.”

Montana State University dues are 0.8% of salary. Only faculty who voluntarily join the union are represented or pay dues.

Union dues are tax deductible as employee expenses if you itemize. (Subject to the 2% hurdle.) IRS pub. 529.

Do faculty who don’t join the union have to pay dues? Obviously there would be a massive free-riding problem if not. But apparently Oregon law does not require this – instead it will be a negotiating point in the CBA. From the Union FAQ:

The union must by law negotiate for all faculty in the bargaining unit. All faculty benefit from union-negotiated wages and union grievance procedures, including arbitration of grievances by an independent, neutral party. Although only those faculty members who choose to join the union will pay full dues, many faculty contracts include a “fair share” provision, sometimes called an “agency fee.” This means that everyone who is covered by the contract has the choice of either joining the union as a full member or paying a fee to cover the expenses incurred by the union, since the union represents everyone in the unit. The “fair share provision” is based on the premise that everyone who benefits from a contract should share the cost of negotiating and administering it, just as all citizens share the taxes for government services. A fair share provision must be agreed to by both the administration and the union.

UO local union relationships with national unions:

I believe the petition for certification comes from the AAUP and AFT and so if a union is certified it will be affiliated with those organizations. This does not mean it will be permanent. Local unions often have troubled relationships with their national organizations. The AAUP apparently has many issues, related to a struggle between those who see it as a professional association and this who see it as a union. This Chronicle story from 2011 reports on some of the infighting:

 Cary Nelson, president of the AAUP, said he expected some heated discussion about the personnel move. One outcome was that the association’s union arm passed a resolution that, among other things, condemned the AAUP’s decision not to reappoint Mr. Rhoades.

See the PSU Summer 2011 newsletter (page 13 and 14) for a long discussion of the turmoil within the AAUP and PSU disputes with the AAUP over how much the PSU union should pay to the national AAUP. 

This story reports that the SUNY faculty union has similar disputes with the AAUP, and actually voted to leave the organization:

 The resolution pushing for disaffiliation set out a number of criticisms of the AAUP, saying that it had “not addressed the concerns of our professionals,” had “failed to coordinate government relations” efforts, had failed to always recognize UUP’s status in collective bargaining at SUNY, had been too slow to fix communications and elections problems, and had provided “no return” on UUP funds sent to the AAUP.

Links:

Elections:

Bylaws: 

Shared governance, unions and university senates:

Bargaining agreements: 

Grievances:

    History and Misc:

    Unions gone bad – cautionary tales:

    • Collective bargaining for turkies
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      12 Responses to Faculty Union meta-FAQ

      1. Anonymous says:

        “The adminstration [sic] can object (Chancellor or President) but apparently not faculty. “

        The faculty can file for unit clarification, see http://www.oregon.gov/ERB/orders/UC01510.pdf for details on how this is done under majority authorization.

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      2. Anonymous says:

        Dues of 1-2% amount to something on the order of 1 million dollars (i.e. larger than 100,000, smaller than 10 million).

        1) What does the nascent UAUO receive in return for dues to the national organization?

        2) Will there be an opportunity for the nascent union to vote as to which national organizations (if any) we wish to affiliate with?

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      3. dead duck says:

        my understanding is no, if United Academics is certified without an election. in that even the bargaining unit will be represented by United Academics, a partnership AAUP and AFT formed to organize our campus with the cooperation and support of the current UO AAUP chapter. Anyone better informed on this point?

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      4. the cheshire cat from wonderland says:

        This Cheshire Cat is getting lost in all the comments. Does anyone know the answer to these questions; bleary eyed from reading many of the responses, I remained puzzled:

        1. was the law faculty really exempt from the union card check system? I have not read a coherent response Did the Union simply not ask the law TTF for their input? did none of the law TTF ask / offer to sign on? and does that ipso facto exclude them?
        2. why should those like Dog who supervise Res Assocs be excluded / exempted from the union?
        3. what about dept and program heads who to supervise classified?
        4. how long can the certification process take? and when will fees be collected?

        I know these points have been mentioned in various threads but mostly in a tentative way.

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      5. Turducken says:

        A few answers:

        1. The law faculty were consulted. There is a legal precedence for excluding law faculty.
        2. The law says that someone who is clearly a supervisor will be excluded from the union.
        3. There are some Oregon campuses where department heads are in their union and some where they are out. This is up to the ERB to decide.
        4. The certification process varies. Dues are set by a vote and we will not pay dues until after we ratify our first collective bargaining agreement.

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      6. Anonymous says:

        Can the union require fair-share payments from law faculty and supervisory PIs?

        The reason I ask is that almost everything the union might work on will affect one or both of those groups. Salary negotiations will affect supervisory PIs (if nothing else then via equity adjustments with their unionized department-mates). All faculty, union and not, will be enrolled in the same health plan and other benefits. All faculty, union and not, will participate in the same governance structure. All faculty, union and not, will be gallantly rescued (or not) from the same administrative incompetence, waste, and corruption.

        This is a seriously asked question, though admittedly one with an agenda. If the answer is “yes,” I imagine the union will be in for a fight. If the answer is “no” (and I suspect it will be), then this highlights the arbitrary divisions the union has been forced to invent among TTFs in order to pack so many different groups into the bargaining unit.

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        • Anonymous says:

          It is hard to imagine a person could be forced to pay for the activities of a group they are not allowed to join.

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        • Anonymous says:

          So what recourse do I have if I don’t want to pay 1% of my salary to negotiate for benefits and working conditions for a bunch of law profs who make way more money than I do?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Hire a postdoc.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t think the salary floors and teaching formulas that we’ll see in the CBA would end up helping law profs. In other words, there’s a reason they didn’t want to be in the union.

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      7. Anonymous says:

        “Can the union require fair-share payments from law faculty and supervisory PIs?” No. As of right now, and unless ERB rules differently, they are not in the bargaining unit. Further, fair-share is something that is negotiated with the University in the collective bargaining agreement. It often takes years before a Union becomes strong enough to ask for fair-share, prior to that, all dues are voluntary.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Whether or not, “It often takes years before a Union becomes strong enough to ask for fair-share” (which I doubt), the bottom line is that if you are part of the bargaining unit, ultimately you will pay.

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