Bargaining Update for May 18 & 20, 2022

As we approach the end of the academic year and in an effort to finish negotiations in the coming weeks, we’ve stepped up the pace of bargaining. We had two sessions last week – Wednesday 5/18 and Friday 5/20.

Your UA bargaining team presented counterproposals on Articles 11 (Release Time), 15 (Academic Classification and Rank), 16 (Notices of Appointment), 19 (Career Faculty Review and Promotion), 27 (Public Employee Benefits), 28 (Miscellaneous Benefits), 30 (Benefits for Eligible Retired Faculty), and 32 (Leaves).

The administration team did not bring any proposals last week, but provided a Caregiving Concepts document that outlined their thinking in response to UA’s Caregiving Article proposal.

UA’s Proposals

We hope to be nearing agreement on several of the eight Articles for which your UA team brought counters last week. On Friday, we had the opportunity to discuss a few proposals that were exchanged during sessions where time was too short for conversation; this was very productive as we are searching for solutions and compromises that serve faculty needs and are in line with our union values.

  • In Article 11 (Release Time), we proposed a compromise that when a second course release was needed for Tenure-Related union officers, UA and the administration would split the cost of that additional course release.
  • In Article 30 (Benefits for Eligible Retired Faculty), we anticipate only a bit more work to find the most effective system for granting free campus parking to retired faculty.
  • In Article 27 (Public Employee Benefits), we discussed PEBB’s enrollment restrictions, and we will be reaching out to PEBB and other institutions to explore workarounds that would allow new faculty immediate healthcare coverage and grant consistent coverage to faculty whose FTE varies throughout the academic year.
  • The only remaining issue in Article 28 (Miscellaneous Benefits) is whether the TriMet bus pass currently available to Portland-based faculty will be enshrined as a benefit in the CBA. We argue this is an important benefit for faculty who face a higher cost of living without necessarily higher salaries, but the administration expressed wariness about committing to it given the significantly higher cost than LTD passes ($550 vs. $65 per year).
  • In Article 32 (Leaves), we significantly pared back the details of our proposed Donated Sick Leave Pool, which keeps it on the table but would allow UA and the administration to work out the details once we have more information on the implementation of Oregon’s upcoming Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program. We again proposed that postdocs be included in our existing parental leave program until the state program goes into effect next Fall.
  • Articles 15 (Academic Classification and Rank), 16 (Notices of Appointment), and 19 (Career Faculty Review and Promotion) interact in significant ways, and we are still working on a number of issues that cut across these articles.
    • We revised some aspects of our proposals on the new Teaching Professor category, offering the Office of the Provost additional flexibility in the review process while maintaining a peer-driven nominations process and the granting of indefinite appointments upon a successful review.
    • We accepted the administration’s striking of Ongoing Funding-Contingent as a classification, instead defining funding-contingent appointments in Article 16.
    • We reframed recall rights as “reinstatement,” and narrowed the scope of positions for which a laid-off faculty would be eligible for reinstatement to those within the same unit.
    • We continue to argue for a maximum courseload of 8 for Career faculty (with a return to the historic maximum of 6 in SOJC), with 0.1 FTE for and dedicated funds to support their professional development.
    • We are also holding our positions on a minimum of 14 days notice before layoff for funding-contingent faculty, maintaining the current practices of counting total time in rank and 0.3 FTE as the minimum threshold for Career promotion eligibility, and requiring mutual agreement if a unit wishes to assign faculty work that would require travel or relocation.

Administration’s Proposals and Costing Estimates

Much of our time Friday was spent discussing the administration’s Caregiving Concepts and costing estimates associated with that and other Articles. We were happy to see creative and forward-thinking ideas from the administration that were responsive to conversations in the Caregiving workgroup last Fall.

In their Concepts document, the administration team outlined three main areas where they propose focusing efforts related to caregiving: a Childcare Community Partnership Investment Fund (funding seed grants to community providers who would then reserve slots for UO faculty, in an effort to address the provider shortage), faculty access to the network, and travel support funds (to which faculty could apply for subsidies for care-related travel costs, up to $1,000/year). Their team was not prepared to say how much money they were willing to commit to these funds overall, but wanted to first explore the ideas with us in theory.

The administration also presented their estimates for costs associated with financial proposals from both sides. We had some good conversation about their methodology and look forward to receiving more information on the details of their analysis. We are in the process of setting up a meeting with members of the administration’s costing team to discuss further, and will follow up with our analysis once we have seen their data and models in greater detail.

Next Sessions

The teams will meet again this Wednesday, 5/25 from noon to 2pm. There will be no Friday session this week, but we will bargain again next Wednesday, 6/1, also from noon to 2pm. Please log in to support your team and stay tuned for details on the schedule moving forward! The bargaining schedule and Zoom links are always available on the UA Events page.