Union bargaining II: 12/14/12

12/16/12 update: The union has now posted the proposals they put forward Th and Fri. Read and comment here.

I encourage people to read these carefully. This is serious stuff that will affect our lives as faculty for a long, long time. There are bound to be problematic parts, and having seen the Johnson Hall team at the table, it’s obvious we cannot trust them to do a competent or disinterested job evaluating the proposals. 

I’ve got considerably more faith in the union on both these margins, but we’d be crazy to assume these proposals are free of technical problems, assume that they perfectly resolve all the competing interests of the different faculty groups, or assume that they do not include parts that push AAUP or AFT agendas that might conflict with our own best interests.

The proposals include the controversial, budget busting program to let pregnant faculty borrow sick time from colleagues to stay home with their newborn child for an extra 6 weeks. Sharon Rudnick’s HLGR firm has offered to charge UO $400 an hour to estimate the costs of this.  

Rumor overheard at last night’s faculty club blowout is that the union’s consulting economist will recommend that all Rudnick cost estimates be stated in “Beamers” –  or increments of $9300: 


This will make it easier for our Interim Provost Jim Bean to calculate the opportunity cost of faculty pay and benefits in terms he actually gives a shit about: foregone BMW’s for himself and the coaches. Larger amounts can be stated either in “Bean Sabbaticals” – increments of $300,000, or “Mac Courts” – increments of $467,538, the amount Frohnmayer tricked the academic side into paying to Rob Mullens every year for the right to try and use Mac Court for classes. The largest unit of UO currency is the “Jock Box“: $1,830,000, or the amount of regular UO student tuition money Bean gives the athletic department every year to subsidize their athlete-only Jacqua tutoring operation.

Background: 

  • My 12/13/12 notes here. For the anti-faculty union view of the sessions, see here. (I link to them, but they won’t link to me. Hmm.) For the Johnson Hall view check their official “Around the O” no comments allowed blog. 
  • How did the faculty end up bargaining with Sharon Rudnick? See here.
  • Union proposals will will be posted on the union website here, probably by Saturday.
  • Disclaimer: These are my raw unfiltered opinions, sometimes but not always in ( ), and my summaries of my interpretations of what is said by people or what I think what their words really mean, based on intuition and my new fMRI cell phone app. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. 
Question: Does anyone know what’s up with Tim Gleason? Was he forced out as Journalism dean? Got another job lined up? He does not look happy.
Highlights:
Where’s Geller?! Looking for work, I hope.

Union put proposal after proposal on the table. Not much response from Rudnick until they got to the leaves section, where she attempted to justify her hefty fees by raising questions about the cost of pregnancy leaves – while ignoring the benefits in terms of recruiting top female faculty, a group where UO’s AA plan notes substantial under-representation in hiring. Not impressed with her performance on this.

 Our administrators, a.k.a “The University”, can’t find the UO faculty handbook. A helpful reader runs a pig through the tubes and finds an old version on the internet’s Wayback Machine, here.

My Notes:

Sharon Rudnick of HLGR begins with a proposed schedule – start back Jan 8:

Winter Tu, Th 8-12.
Spring M 2-6, W 8-12.

Admin still has no substantive proposals. Will respond to unions, after holidays.

Mike Mauer of AAUP: Tenure and Promotion.

Started with NTTF yesterday, this is TTF. Again, based on existing UO rules, he will highlight changes. Sec 1. We understand there will be revisions, those are allowed, not retroactively. Provost tenure decision is still binding, union not attempted to interfere. … Extended leave, stop clock, also from current policy. External reviewers: Need to be clear that they are asked to say if person should get tenure at Oregon. (This has indeed been a problem having read plenty of letters, reviewers are confused.) Some due process stuff – notice, have a colleague / union rep present for disputes, notice of negative votes with explanation, opportunity to respond. Dossier – current policy plus requirement that administration must pay for xeroxing if it comes to that. Maintain Provost’s authority (btw, we need a new provost). Contractual right to grieve, makes clear promotion to Full is not up or out. Service: clarify responsibilities for internal service. Union will get an annual report on promotions (Bean and Tomlin tried to hide that a few years back when they gave Martinez tenure without him ever having held a TT job).

Pratt: Current procedures are sometimes written, sometimes not. Union does not want to usurp department rules, these must be written, approved by dept. and dean.

Rudnick and Mauer: hold questions about what’s grievable until the grievance part of discussion.

Blandy: Where’s the FPC in this. Pratt: Page 5, line 5, it’s the current wording. Gleason: Would an individual negative vote need explanation? Pratt: No, just if overall vote is negative. Not sure if split vote.

Mauer: If mistakes in process are made, fix them as they happen rather than wait for the end. So time limits for those start when candidate is told of them. Other review issues to be as handled currently. Process for adding new info, also from existing … Whoops, union gave them a one-sided copy, Cecil runs back to get another copy.

Mauer: Meanwhile, on to grievances procedures. Routine stuff, drawn from other contracts. Mutual problem solving mechanism, last resort, amicable resolutions. Starts with informal mechanism. … 30 days to take it to the next level, triggered by when faculty could have reasonably known of problem… Special timeframe for discrimination because of longer statutory limits. (Idea is to keep them under grievance rather than litigation by $400 an hour lawyers… Did I mention Geller is missing today?) Union will be there even if grieved doesn’t ask for that.  Since they need to know how grievance procedures are working. Union can file grievances on its own. 

Rudnick, Blandy, Gleason: Some technical issues. Mauer: good points. Rudnick: Wants to keep resolution at lowest level if possible. Agrees w/ union’s position that these are not precedent setting. Constructive discussion. Can union file a grievance on behalf of faculty member who does not want to file a grievance?

Mauer: Yes. Union must look after all members, spillover costs and benefits.

Rudnick: More reasonable, technical questions. Would prefer to keep things away from President, file with Provost if possible. Mauer: Makes sense.

Mauer: Arbitration, selection and agreement of arbitrators. Arbitrators w/ higher ed experience. No response from Rudnick. … routine blah blah. Arbitrator does not have authority over academic matters, can’t substitute their judgement … standard … Fees and expenses: Loser pays. Designed to give both parties incentives to resolve things informally.

Rudnick: Would you consider voluntary mediation provision? Mauer: We would. Rudnick: Miht be helpful, get outside help. Mauer: makes sense. Rudnick: Very helpful stuff.

Mauer: Here are missing pages, back to tenure: …. Appeal to President as final step. This is new – currently it stops with Provost. 

Rudnick: Procedural grievances through grievances, substantive tenure issues through this procedure. Mauer: yes. Blandy and Rudnick: Does a procedural grievance stop tenure review? Mauer: Good questions….

Mauer: Stuff about informal mechanism to discuss formal contract changes as time marches on.

Mauer: Contract article on Academic Freedom. (Geller botched this policy badly with the Senate last year, and Gottfredson made a point of making in clear to the Senate in his first speech that Geller was off this job. This is of course a core AAUP value, and part of the reason your blogger started this blog.)

Rudnick: Obviously we’ll have to talk this freedom thing over in secret with your Johnson Hall overlords. Gleason asks the petophilia(?) question. Mauer: I’ll get back to you on that.

Mauer: Faculty handbooks (This should be short, our administration has lost them all.)

Rudnick: Grasping for some way to criticize this….

Blandy: We do have a project to develop a handbook, honest…

Green: She’s rubbing it in – schedule to maintain it, notify faculty, print the damn thing out.

A commenter sends this response from Blandy’s office:

The Faculty Handbook has not been formally updated or printed since 2001 and no longer appears on the Academic Affairs website in handbook form. This is a source of frustration to many and we are working toward a new website that will better incorporate the (revised) contents of the former handbook. I will have the link corrected in the Policy document, but in the meantime is there a specific question we can help you answer? 

Mauer: On to class size. Good illustration of link between working conditions and academic quality. No specific dates or targets, just a collaborative effort to reduce, with transparency on actual sizes.

Gleason: Where’s this 42% number come from? Rudnick: 5% better than current, Tim – look right here.

Break, back at 3

Mauer: Sabbaticals: Most drawn from OAR’s. We’ve changed salary amounts. Gleason: I’m confused. Cecil: That part comes straight from the OAR. Green: The sabbatical pay is too damn low.

Mauer: Support for faculty work:

Instructional faculty, officers of research should at a minimum get some basic admin support services – email, access to a phone, a computer, copier. Some faculty (specifically in PE) currently have restricted access to facilities. Need higher priority to assigning classrooms consistently. Faculty need offices. More bike lockers, waive fees. Police faculty parking. Gleason: confused again. Rudnick: OK, move on.

Mauer: Overhead policy and transparency. 

Not trying to changes rules, just make them transparent. Committee works with VPR to makes recommendations. I’m not sure what this is about, got to wait til printed proposals come up. This is an important problem that UO has not dealt with appropriately. Rudnick: Next?

Mauer: Leaves:

Website to list leaves faculty are eligible for, track current leaves. Establish voluntary faculty leave bank, for faculty with serious health issues that require leaves. (Expensive – I think I’ve got a year or two of sick leave accumulated.) Rudnick: reasonable question about duration. Mauer: more details. Rudnick: more questions. (She actually knows about this stuff, having represented many corporations, she just doesn’t know about universities.) Mauer: Extend paid leave for having a child to 18 weeks. Lots of stuff here that would never come up in a well rund department, but seems to be common problem in practice. Green: The leave bank allows senior people with lots of leave to transfer it to young colleagues with kids. Pro woman, good for recruiting, maintaining careers. Good for retention, par with other AAU schools.

Rudnick: How does this compare with other universities? Have you done a “market comparison” on this? Will give it to us? Cost estimates? (Strange, she’s not asking the union for estimates of the benefits of this. This is the most passionate I’ve seen Rudnick get about anything.) She offers to do cost estimates on this. (At $400 an hour, I’d bet it’s easier for her to do it!)

Green: Is this really a cost? Gleason gives her the evil eye. (Someone needs to point out to Rudnick that this policy is valuable to employees and will allow UO to recruit better faculty at lower salaries. Is there no labor economist in the room?)

Rudnick is happy, she thinks she’s earning her fee on this one. Not impressed.

Mauer: Academic staff ratios:

(Speaking of which, Bean still hasn’t figured out how many faculty UO has – maybe today, he says):

Sent: Friday, December 14, 2012 9:35 AM
To: James Bean
Cc: J P Monroe; Robert Kyr
Subject: Re: hiring counts

Hi Jim any progress on this?

It doesn’t seem like it should be this hard to find out how many faculty we have.

See here for old data:

Break time

Mauer: Strike or Lockout clause:

We’ll give you a no strike clause. (Mistake, I think.) Also admin can’t require faculty to do work done by SEIU if they go out on strike.

Mauer: Article 37, separability if a clause is declared illegal, standard stuff.

Mauer: Jury duty. Snoozer, I’m checking facebook, look this up yourselves. Distribution: Contract will be posted on a website instead of killing trees.

Mauer: We have more proposals, we’ve decided to give you some breathing room. Meet next Jan 8th.

Rudnick: We will work from your proposals because we’ve been asleep at the wheel. Maybe actually come back in Jan with counterproposals, sign off on some as “TAs”.

That’s the end, see you in January. 

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34 Responses to Union bargaining II: 12/14/12

  1. Anonymous says:

    The union wants to dictate what goes into letters to external reviewers? Wow!

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  2. UO Matters says:

    No, they just want to add that clarification, and this confuses almost every reviewer.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Poor justification for union meddling. The content of the letter is much more important than a judgment call from a reviewer that most likely doesn’t know much about UO.

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    • UO Matters says:

      You ever written someone a tenure letter? I’ve written lots. Find a more substantive area to criticize union.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Face it, at this point you’re a union shill. If you were truly skeptical of unions, there’s no way you would support them meddling in the language of tenure evaluation requests, regardless of whether or not they had a point (and they don’t).

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    • Anonymous says:

      There’s a challenge.

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    • UO Matters says:

      Go back to your own blog Dev now, it’s a big internet. Thanks.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Just when I was finding more substantive areas to criticize union?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, if it comes to that, the administration must – absolutely must – pay for “xeroxing.” This is really, really important. Hey, look at that iceberg!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many of you lifetime employment types have heard of engagement? Oh yeah, that happy horseshit stuff? How about commitment, ever hear of that? You know, that ask not what your university can do for you bullshit? This is a sad day, week, year month for UO. This is the bottom of the barrel. This is rock bottom.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, gotta keep those discrimination cases under grievance rather than litigation by $400 lawyers – ’cause there aren’t any state or federal agencies that investigate discrimination and because there aren’t any lawyers involved in arbitration and because those arbitration decisions always satisfy everybody and nobody continues on with their litigation anyway…

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    • UO Matters says:

      Ever tried to deal with those agencies? I have and no people who have. This is a good clause.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I believe you have no people who have.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Discriminatory abuses of academic freedom, dogs and cats living together, how have you managed without a union. (“Good questions…you ask lots of good questions, buddy. I’ll get back to you on that.”)

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a good example of the rule: The union owns the contract; not the employees. The union owns the grievance procedure; not the employees. The union decides whether to arbitrate; not the employees. The union is the party to the contract; not the employees. The union is the exclusive bargaining representative of the employees; they may not bargain for themselves. Period.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow, this is SO EXHAUSTING! Leave bank…staff have had it for years. Faculty…grants…OMB Circular A-… Academic staff ratios – THAT’S a good idea. The more staff, the fewer faculty, right? (BS) And no, they aren’t going to pay an outside lawyer to crunch numbers. Even if PERS-rich faculty are willing to give away sick leave they never use when sick and which would otherwise be counted by PERS for retirement. (Actually, I am quite sure many faculty would do just that.) Why would Rudnick ask them if they did any benefit costing when they would have to get the data to do so from UO? Please.

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  8. roo says:

    faculty currently have the rather cushy benefit of being able to go 520 hours into “debt” on sick time.

    http://hr.uoregon.edu/policy/oa-sick-leave.html

    (5) Unearned Sick Leave Advance

    The purpose of this section is to provide salary continuance for up to 90 calendar days of absence due to illness through a combination of accrued and advance sick leave. Each full-time academic staff member is entitled to receive a sick-leave-with-pay advance as needed to provide the difference between sick leave earned as of the onset of the illness or injury and 520 hours; part-time staff are eligible to receive a sick-leave-with-pay advance proportional to FTE to provide the difference between sick leave earned as of the onset of the illness or injury and a prorate of 520 hours. As sick leave is earned, the amount shall replace any sick leave advanced until all advanced time is replaced with earned time. No more than a 520-hour sick leave advance is available during a seven-year period that begins with the first sick leave advance. More than one sick leave advance is possible as long as the total advance does not exceed 520 hours during a seven-year period. Sick leave that may have been advanced, but unused, cannot be considered for purposes of computing retirement benefits. Academic staff on fixed term appointment cannot receive an advance that extends beyond the end date of the fixed term appointment except upon written approval of the institution president or designee.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow! Wait until the Oregonian hears about this! I think I’ll send a link now.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    No strike clause – mistake, you think, because…we want to strike over grievances…oops, can’t do that…we want to strike for more money mid-term…nope, sorry. Trust me, nobody cares.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Let us be clear about this: sick leave is not a benefit, but a courtesy we extend one another within departments. I had to go on sick leave some years ago. What that meant was that my colleagues picked up my teaching. Some years later a colleague fell sick. The rest of the department filled in for him until he died. No extra money was spent, just the the energy of colleagues.

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    • Anonymous says:

      True enough. Yet, sick leave is considered a benefit in labor contracts.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    What’s the most substantive proposal made by the union so far? Or has the discussion focused on a bunch of little (but important nonetheless) things?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Does anyone have a link to the proposals?

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    • Anonymous says:

      UA is being very slow. Their most recent “Bargaining Update” was posted October 25 at http://uauoregon.org/bargaining-updates, and an “immediate update” appeared November 20. Similar for “Our Proposals”, at http://uauoregon.org/our-proposals. This week’s proposals are not yet posted despite intense interest in the negotiations. Let’s hope the proposals will be posted soon. Perhaps this could serve as an early test of “transparency”?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Curious that this blogger did not research the devastating impact that getting into the faculty union business had on the membership and professional status of AAUP.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Preliminary search revealed nothing of interest. Got any hints?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Detailed UAUO proposals now posted at http://uauoregon.org/our-proposals

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks. When are the “big ones” such as salary (article 20) going to be posted? It would also be nice to have a short summary outlining where these proposals differ from current policies as many of the articles “codify” current policies – so it’s hard to tell what’s more than “copy/paste”.

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    • UO Matters says:

      They are posting them as they go on the table. My understanding is that when bargaining restarts in Jan there will be counterproposals to these, some back and forth, and then some signing off on these clauses. Then more non-economic proposals, more back and forth.

      If “The University” adds some competent knowledgeable to their team, that could go pretty quickly, and I could imagine the economic stuff starting in late Feb. Just a guess.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Read the work of Law School Dean Michael Moffitt to understand why UO should not agree to proposals sequentially until both parties have all their initial proposals on the table. A great resource is a terrbile thing to waste.

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  14. Wombat says:

    In the discussions or the proposals, is there clarification of the mysterious criteria that determine if faculty are or are not in the bargaining unit? It is important to know this.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I haven’t gone through all of the proposals yet, but my general impression so far is that very little of substance has been posted at this point. It’s early, so perhaps that’s to be expected.

      The one exception that I’ve seen is the proposal to have the senate appoint a committee to decide/have input on where research overhead dollars go. Still trying to digest that one.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I hope AAUP gets a nice Christmas bonus for making UO a cash cow for Harang Long. This milk is going to keep on flowing!

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