Bargaining Update – Anticipating Admin Rhetoric

Photo by Nils Schirmer on Unsplash

On Thursday, we met with the administration bargaining team for our sixth session. The teams exchanged five proposals on five small issues. You can see all the proposals here. There were new proposals on Articles 9, 11, 39, 40, and Trainings.

Our update this week focuses on what we anticipate in the coming weeks.

Over the course of the last couple of years, as the administration has entered into negotiations with the campus unions, they have consistently worked to convince the campus community that the University of Oregon has no money. Although this tactic is not surprising, it has been interesting to witness this campaign on a campus where so much money is being spent so freely. As always, they will tell us that money is in buckets, and the buckets that pay for the projects and bonuses they want are surprisingly full, while the bucket for salaries and benefits are perpetually empty.

As our bargaining with the administration gets underway, we anticipate their rhetorical tactics will increase and diversify. We expect that they will also attempt to link our proposals to undergraduate tuition increases and the “need” to lay-off faculty and staff. These are, unfortunately, common devices employed by administrations whenever they bargain with faculty. Administrations often use the tool of fear in an attempt to drive a wedge between groups on campus. We hope the UO administration will not go this route, but no one should be surprised if they do.

These tactics are particularly frustrating because the administration consistently rejects our ideas about where money to fund our proposals could come from. Their bargaining team has already made it clear that they are not open to negotiating their budgetary practices with us.

As we said in our first bargaining update, we put many proposals on the table that seek to address long-standing problems on campus. We estimated that our proposal would cost roughly $40 million over the course of the three-year contract. As we said, these initial proposals are necessary so that faculty can tell the administration what issues they need addressed – including parental leave, cost-of-living increases, child care, ASA funds for all faculty, merit raises, and promotion raises. We see the $40 million figure as the deficit the administration owes to faculty for neglecting these issues for so many years. We hope that our conversations with the administration about faculty needs will be a productive one. As we said, we know that faculty needs have to be balanced with budgetary limitations, but the administration must at least begin to address these longstanding problems. We hope they will come to the table ready to solve problems rather than engaging in a campaign of fear.

We resume bargaining next Thursday at noon in Chiles 125. All faculty are encouraged to attend and bring your colleagues with you. As always, you do not need to stay the entire time, and you can bring work with you. Follow our live blog on facebook or twitter. Previous updates can be found in the top right corner of this email or on UA’s bargaining page.