Union salary proposal description

Posted on their website, here. Merit:

In the bargaining process, we will be introducing an integrated and robust set of salary proposals for all faculty at the University of Oregon. These include multi-year efforts to systematically correct the salary differential with our AAU comparators, correct inversion and compression, create transparent salary policies, and implement across the board raises that address the historical lack of raises for all faculty. We will also include a proposal to reward achievement through merit raises. 

We intend to bring a strong merit raise proposal. It is our belief that work that is vital to maintaining our institutional standing should be rewarded. Our proposal will require every department or employing unit to have a faculty-approved process for determining merit raises, with separate programs for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty.

You’d think that Gottfredson would be out in front supporting these ideas. Instead he’s letting Randy Geller, Doug Blandy and Tim Gleason represent him. Not exactly UO’s A team. Then there’s his lead negotiator Sharon Rudnick, an anti-union pro-tobacco company lawyer with no experience dealing with academic matters. She’s going to learn how universities work on our dime. Actually, our $450 an hour. (I think Gottfredson’s paying $450. Randy redacted that too.)

At other universities contract negotiations are typically run by a respected Dean or VP, with a little legal consultation for the legal issues. Gottfredson has turned it all over to a hired gun. Rumor is that more than one serious and well-respected administrators (no, of course I’m not talking about Bean, but yes, there are a few) asked to be part of the UO bargaining team. Gottfredson told them no.

Bargaining starts next week in the Knight Library Collaboration Center (Room 122) on Thursday, 12/13 from 9am-1pm and Friday, 12/14 from 1-5pm. It will be a while before the salary proposals are on the table, but you might want attend, see what you think of the process, and develop your own opinion of the two bargaining teams. 12/6/2012.
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27 Responses to Union salary proposal description

  1. Anonymous says:

    I can see why they are bringing in a hired gun. It’s the smart thing to do when dealing with a national organization that is backing the faculty union. If the faculty union was just a local organization, as are some faculty unions in the state, negotiations would probably be headed as you described by “a respected Dean or VP, with a little legal consultation for the legal issues.” Faculty made their bed with a national organization that has a national agenda, like it or not. The University would be nuts not to bring in someone with experience, particularly on a first contract. The legal subtleties and nuances are far too complex for some Dean or VP to just move through negotiations with some legal advice now and then. Both sides are going to end up with some language in the contract that will drive both parties insane. On this first one especially it is critical to get the best advice you can and that goes for both sides.

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    • UO Matters says:

      Does Rudnick have any experience negotiating faculty union contracts? I don’t see it on her webpage. Lots of expertise in playing hardball though.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The only local faculty union not affiliated with a national union is at Southern Oregon University. WOU and EOU are AFT. PSU has both AAUP and AFT locals.

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  2. Awesome0 says:

    The national union wants to probably help us get a lot of dough to use us as a poster child in getting other faculty to unionize. Thus I wonder given our position in the AAU, if other AAU’s have told the admins to hardball the negotiations to keep other universities from wanting to switch. Would it surprise you if Rudnick was on AAU’s payroll for this?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think other AAU’s care about the UO as they know it’s only a matter of time before we get booted out. UO is at or near the bottom of many, many metrics among AAU schools. I know Gottfredson would like to focus on keeping our membership but I don’t think it’s realistic at this point. The union may or may not be a factor (but certainly not a positive one).

      We do know where the union stands on this. I’ve heard the same expression from several different union reps – why should we care about hanging out with the “cool kids”?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    “Our proposal will require every department or employing unit to have a faculty-approved process for determining merit raises, “

    Is this a joke? I hope a “strong merit raise proposal” is more than just a requirement for a “process”. We already have a process – the question is whether or not the CBA will specifically direct funds towards merit raises.

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    • Oryx says:

      Oh come on… The union’s quite clear acknowledgement that merit raises are important is a very good, and reassuring, development, and I say that as someone who’s not pro-union. Are you seriously asking that this one short post contain the complete plans for a CBA, or is this just griping for griping’s sake?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m saying that lip service to merit raises is wholly insufficient. Call it griping or whatever you’d like.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I call it trolling, troll.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well it tells you what a sad state of affairs it is when TTF who want some say in this process are reduced to “trolling”. It’s impossible to know with any certainty, but one has to wonder if the mention of merit raises in the current “statement on salaries” is due to trolling of previous uomatters posts. So I say – troll on!

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    • ThankUFaculty Union Volunteers says:

      Many departments do NOT have a clear merit policy in place. Expecting clear department-level guidelines is a great part of a more comprehensive proposal. And this is clearly more than lip service, this summary statement says more about our university-wide salary needs than anything I have heard from admin since I have been here. Do you think the hundreds of hours spent by faculty volunteers in United Academics did not hear this from colleagues across many departments? Somebody is listening to their colleagues across the campus, and it is apparently not you. Hats off to our union!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I recall at least two merit raises pushed through CAS in the last ten years (this is where the real improvement needs to be made – not in enforcing a process that already exists in most cases). What did departments without a process for determining merit raises do in those instances?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    My department already has such a faculty-approved process in place for TTF merit raises. I’m even old enough to remember it being used once. (Old, I tells ya, old!) I like the idea of the union focusing on getting as big a pot of money as possible for merit raises, and then letting decisions be made locally. I trust my colleagues, who share expertise with me and know my work, far better than I’d trust some distant functionary to evaluate my “merit.”

    One question I have is, at what point in the org chart will the union’s work leave off and faculty discretion pick up? Does the union just negotiate for an overall TTF pool and then leave it to deans etc. to divvy up among units? Or does the union negotiate for X dollars for this unit, Y dollars for that one? I think there needs to be room for deans to reward better-performing departments/units with a larger per capita share of the merit money. I don’t know if that’s a widely shared sentiment. (I suspect my department would come off pretty good in a system like that.)

    Another question is, how will this affect merit for non-union TTFs? Will the union negotiate a merit pool for all TTFs, represented and not? Or will non-union TTFs be able to cut their own deals? I can see pros and cons either way.

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    • Cat says:

      All valid and important questions. I wonder if Prof. Luebke is lurking out there and might be wiling to answer them. The procedures are mystifying…

      My worry, though, is that the “big pot of money” is a fantasy–and all this hair-splitting and hue-and-cry over merit raises is for nothing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dog says

      through a process of clerical errors, I have actually gotten merit raises. Moreover, I have even been involved in the evaluation of faculty annual reports that are part of a merit raise portfolio. While I do think the peer process of evaluation is okay, I have seen it deteriorate over the years for a variety of reasons to the point of asininity when we argue over a 3% average raise pool. I also believe that we have little to no peer ability to evaluate teaching scholarship.

      So if the Union can come up with a rigorous yet broad metric for how peer evaluation for merit should proceed, then this would be a strong point of having said union. A simple standard template for an annual report would be a good first start in addition to ensuring there is a reasonable size merit pool so as dogs like me don’t end up getting negative raises. I took a math class once – actually it was an econ math class. I learnt that negative is worse than zero.

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    • UO Matters says:

      I used to get merit raises all the time, when I did oil exploration work. Every time we laid another 220 feet of line and shot off another 40 pounds of dynamite everyone got $1. We could double our pay – the constraint was the FAA’s flight time rules for the Heli pilots. That and darkness.

      I know departments at other schools that do pretty much the same thing for publications and citation counts. I wish we did. But at the moment there’s very little merit pay in my department – not enough money at stake to even do the math. The pay raises for administrative service on the other hand, which come from CAS, are pretty significant and long-lasting.

      The devil’s in the details, but I applaud the union for emphasizing clear department rules for merit.

      In contrast, 4 months in, Gottfredson still has no proposal on the table for raises of any kind, including merit raises. And commenters are criticizing the *union*?

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    • Awesome0 says:

      Prior to the UO, I was at a policy research type job. For them the incentives were clear. Give good merit raises or you lose your best people. If only our administrators were evaluated themselves on how well they retained their best talent. For instance track people who leave the UO, and calculate the publications/citations lost for not rewarding the best who are attracted away. Maybe this could be discounted by the pubs and citations of those who replace them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “And commenters are criticizing the *union*?”

      That’s a good point. With the addition of this new bureaucracy it’s even more difficult to know who’s responsible. And the answer may vary whether you’re TTF in or out of the union. The clearest recipe for disaster in any organization is a muddied chain of command. If we were knee deep before the union, we’re in over our heads now.

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    • UO Matters says:

      Who is really running the Admin side of the bargaining? Lorraine says it’s Jim. But Jim’s said he would leave UO if the faculty voted union, and anyway he’s not even on the bargaining team.

      Blandy is a nobody whom Lorraine appointed as VPAA for exactly that reason – Barbara actually had ideas about how to change and improve the office. Can’t have that!

      Gleason runs one of UO’s smallest colleges, most of the faculty have never heard his name, and he isn’t even respected enough by Gottfredson to be on the ELT.

      So it looks like Randy Geller is Gottfredson’s point person. But since SB242 Geller actually reports to Pernsteiner – Gottfredson can’t even fire him.

      And while some faculty may be too new to have had occasion to deal with Geller’s office, those who have done this almost universally describe a process of contempt, indifference, incompetence, and confusion.

      Even the anti-union people should lobby Gottfredson to put a better team in place. What – you’ve never had a chance for a serious talk with Gottfredson? Fascinating.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “I know departments at other schools that do pretty much the same thing for publications and citation counts. I wish we did.”

      I know departments like that too. They churn out large quantities of unimaginative research and let funding agencies set the agenda for scientists instead of the other way around. I’m glad we don’t. I’ll take expert judgment over canned metrics any day.

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    • Anonymous says:

      http://registrar.uoregon.edu/statistics/facts_at_a_glance#Enrollment_by_School_or_College

      According to this, the J school has the third number of students of schools at the UO. Not exactly ‘one of the smallest’.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nice try Tim, you’ve got 56 faculty, only the HC is smaller. CAS has 828. English only has about 80.

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    • UO Matters says:

      ~29 TTF in Journalism. You guys do a lot of teaching!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if this is an instance of Randy being given some more rope, just to see what he does with it…

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  6. Anonymous says:

    This union will agree to whatever it takes to get a contract bar so they cannot be decertified by the faculty after the certification year expires.

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    • Anonymous says:

      One wonders to what degree the possibility of a vote to decertify might influence United Academics’ bargaining agenda. Unions at other universities commonly take more than 1 year to negotiate their first CBA. Can UA speed up the process? Could the wish for speed cause them to acquiesce on key points? What are the chances of a decertification vote happening? Lots of speculation.

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