12/14/12: And what’s it costing us? Long story. The short version, with my opinion?
The UO administration’s current lead negotiator, Sharon Rudnick, (from Dave Frohnmayer’s firm, HLGR) was originally hired by Interim UO President Bob Berdahl to fight faculty unionization.(That’s my opinion – under state law UO has to officially profess neutrality.)
Rudnick has no particular expertise in higher education. We have spent $X on her firm so far: $Y before certification, and $Z since. (X,Y, and Z are coming soon).
The union is now at the table, putting forward concrete proposals. All the faculty (pro-union, anti-union, or rationally ignorant) should want these proposals to get careful analysis and see responses and counter-proposals developed by people with authority, knowledge of how universities work, and respect for the UO faculty.
The lawyer that Berdahl originally hired to fight union certification (my opinion) is a very poor choice for this new task.
President Gottfredson should fire Rudnick and HLGR and put someone like CAS Dean Scott Coltrane in charge of his bargaining team. Unfortunately, under new OUS policy it is not clear if President Gottfredson can get rid of Rudnick (or Randy Geller) without Chancellor Pernsteiner’s permission.
Long version (in progress).
Please keep in mind that when most of this went down I was opposed to a union for TTF. You can thank Geller, Bean, and Berdahl for changing my view. Also note that obtaining these documents from Randy Geller’s office cost me many hours of time, many fights with the UO administration, and more scotch than I care to remember. So far, UO has hired 3 firms to fight faculty unionization and now negotiate with the faculty union. I’m no history professor, but here’s the history. Comments and corrections welcome.
At this point the union drive was a homegrown effort led by Marie Vitulli from Math and a few others, with a little AAUP support. But new President Lariviere was worried enough to sign a secret deal with the Stan Mcknight consulting firm to try and respond to the union’s organizing efforts. $300 an hour with a $25,000 limit. Exactly $1 under the amount that would have required public notice – just like Chip Kelly did for Willie Lyles.
The union organizing drive started heating up, with professional organizers from the AAUP and AFT. Around the same time, Oregon SB 242 (Pernsteiner’s milquetoast response to Lariviere’s New Partnership bill) removed responsibility for UO/OUS legal services from the Oregon DOJ and gave it to OUS. Pernsteiner took this opportunity to centralize authority over legal matters with himself, part of his successful efforts to kneecap Lariviere. The OUS policy is here:
I don’t know exactly how to interpret the policy, but my read is that George Pernsteiner, not Mike Gottfredson now hire and fire UO’s legal advisors.
Around the same time Geller put out an RFP for outside legal help to replace the DOJ. Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick responded with this proposal, which emphasized the fact our own Dave Frohnmayer was now working for them (he’d restarted his legal career while on a UO paid “research” sabbatical) and noted their expertise in dealing with unions:
Things got hot with the organizing drive. Berdahl was UO’s Interim President and adamantly anti-union, particularly when it came to tenure track faculty. It was clear that there was lots of adjunct and NTTF support for unionization, but that the TTF faculty were divided, and Berdahl thought maybe he could split the TTF out of the union.
So in February, Berdahl and Geller hired two firms to try and stop the union organizing drive (my opinion). One was from San Francisco: Curiale, Hirschfeld, and Kraemer. Among other things, they run seminars on “Maintaining Union Free Status”. Not sure how that squares with Geller’s claims that UO was neutral on the organizing effort, but that’s water under the bridge, right, Randy? Their contract with Geller and the initial invoice for $7,834.71are here. Additional invoices thru Nov 2012 here.
The other firm was Frohnmayer’s “Harrang Long Gary and Rudnick”, a.k.a. HLGR, with Sharon Rudnick as the lead attorney. (This summer Geller wrote a brief defending HLGR’s efforts to double a legal bill to the state to $864,000, of which about 20% was for Rudnick). Their initial contract is here. Invoices through Nov 2012 here.
So, what’s the damage so far? (Check back for updates, I’ve got a big stack of invoices to wade through)