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Reopening update

This message contains important information for those with underlying health conditions, or family members with underlying health conditions; please read through to the end. A working group of UA Executive Council members have been meeting weekly with Executive Vice Provost Janet Woodruff-Borden and Chief Human Resource Officer Mark Schmelz to work through ongoing workplace and safety issues as the majority of faculty, staff, and students return to in-person business. As you may recall, we supported the CSWS petition to allow caregivers of children 12 and under, who cannot yet receive the vaccine, the option to teach remotely. Central administration will not honor this…


COVID Planning: The Work Continues

Dear colleagues, Many of you have read the petition sent by CSWS recently to the Office of the Provost. UAUO fully agrees with the concerns Professors Escallón, McKinley, and Stephen articulated, and we are also in full support of their ask that “caregivers of unvaccinated children (children under 12) can continue to teach and attend meetings [remotely] at least until their family members receive the vaccine.” We’ve also heard from faculty whose health puts them at serious risk by being in-person, yet they cannot qualify for ADA accommodations. And for those of us who are able to come back to campus, we…


COVID Concerns

As the summer has progressed, it has become obvious that our hopes for an end to the pandemic will need to be delayed for the foreseeable future. While we support many of the steps the administration has taken, we have received communications from many faculty over the past few weeks expressing concern about the plan to have an in-person “return-to-normal” fall reopening at our residential campus, considering that many states, including Oregon, are seeing some of their highest rates of COVID infection during the pandemic. We believe faculty are right to be concerned. Last week, Christina Karns, Lynn Fujiwara, Dave…


2021 Legislative Session: Not too bad…

No major walkouts or other shenanigans. In other words, we actually got down to business. With a healthy budget to lean on, UAUO (myself and President Chris Sinclair) collaborated with the President’s office to make the final push for the Public University Support Fund (PUSF; $900m) and the Oregon Opportunity Grants (OOG; $200m), among other things (see below), and we got what we asked for. It took several sessions and a lot of conversations, but we finally got through the Part-Time Faculty Health Care bill. Senate Bill 551 guarantees faculty who teach part-time across multiple institutions will now be covered…


UAUO Protest Pollack-Pelzner Linfield University

Recently the President of Linfield University, Miles K. Davis, summarily fired Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, a Shakespeare scholar who had held an endowed chair in the Department of English and had represented the faculty as a member of the Board of Trustees. According to the university administration, Pollack-Pelzner was terminated for reasons unrelated to his achievements as a teacher, researcher, or publishing scholar. Rather, the administration states that he was sacked because he had “engaged in conduct that is harmful to the university,” specifically that he had “violated instructions to preserve the attorney-client privilege” and that he had “circulated false statements…


Reflections from UA’s new president

Dear Bargaining Unit Members, I am incredibly honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve as your President. I promise you I don’t take this lightly and will work my ass off to do what I can do. Besides, I still suffer from the “gotta work twice as hard and expect half as much” motto that I’ve known from too early. We’ve got a bargaining year, re-opening, and the business-as-usual challenges of equitable pay and attacks on academic freedom. Working conditions, especially for those tasked with caring for others, are not as accommodating as they need to be….


United Academics Outstanding Contributions Award Winners

United Academics Strong Voice Award Nomination  We, the undersigned, are nominating our colleagues Elizabeth Peterson, Kate Thornhill, and Ann Shaffer for the United Academics Strong Voice Award. While many union members showed extraordinary leadership and advocacy this past year, we believe that our librarian colleagues responded to this crisis with fierce resilience and sustained support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  Like many career faculty across campus during the 2020 spring and summer terms, 15 librarians were at risk of being demoted to 0.1 FTE due to the administration’s perceived budget shortfalls. Additionally, five librarians who were up for promotion were put…


Upcoming Unit-level Policymaking Workshop and much more!

Unit-level Policymaking Workshop Join us Tuesday, May 25 for a themed Lunch with your Local: Unit-level Policymaking. We will discuss process and best practices for creating and revising unit-level policies, with plenty of time for Q&A. Zoom in from noon-1pm.   College for All AAUP Oregon will be hosting a meeting on May 20th from 4 pm – 5 pm PT to make concrete plans for legislative outreach, particularly to our Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. We need as many faculty, staff, students, and community members taking part as possible to make sure our voices are heard loud and…


Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month! Various departments and programs on campus have put out lists of resources that we encourage you to share with your students as appropriate, but if you haven’t already seen some of those, here are some you may choose to share. Note that UA’s board and staff have not personally used all of these services and resources. UO Student Resources list: https://blogs.uoregon.edu/online/uo-resources/ This list has resources for navigating your student experience not limited to mental health; being aware of some of these programs and services, including tutoring, technical support, and more, may help some students address and…


A positive path forward

Dear Colleague, With the recent victory of the pay reduction plan being rescinded, and given that the financial outlook for state appropriations looks good (though still uncertain), the Executive Council of United Academics has agreed with the university to pause bargaining until this summer. At that point we’ll have a better idea of enrollment and know state appropriation numbers. It will also give us an opportunity to partner with the university in securing those financial resources from the state and recruiting a large, diverse student body. We hope this, in turn, will allow the administration more of a sense of…


Legislative Updates from the Higher Ed Front

One might imagine in a beautiful state like ours, with its consistent Democratic majority of legislators committed to the values many of us UA members share, that we might experience some smooth sailing in virtual Salem. Well, at least when it comes to Higher Ed equity and Labor. Unfortunately, as many people of color and other marginalized groups understand, “progressive Oregon” has a long way to go… But the fight continues… HB2873 / SB712 Also known as the “HECC Voting Rights” Bill, Higher Ed folks have been trying to amend the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) voting rights makeup by…


Possible Faculty Strike at Oregon Institute of Technology

Dear Colleagues, We don’t have a proper bargaining update this week, as we have not bargained with the administration for a couple of weeks. We have a session scheduled for Tuesday, April 6 from 2 to 5 pm, and you’re all invited to watch any or all of that session here: Zoom In In the meantime, we wanted to let you know what is happening to our colleagues at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. Almost two years ago now, the approximately 160 faculty at OIT formed a union and affiliated with the AAUP. For the last 15 months,…


Statement of Support

Dear Colleagues, Members of our campus community and your wider communities have no doubt been shaken and distressed by last week’s attacks in Georgia. Our thoughts, grief, and sympathy go out to the victims, their families, and the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. We remember those who have been lost: Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue, and those injured, Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, in the Atlanta-area shootings. We know that this incident cuts deeply into the Asian community. These deaths are a reminder…


United Academics Officer and Representative Elections

We have elections for all officer and representative positions this year, with nominations due by April 26, 2021. All members in good standing* are eligible to serve as officers or representatives, as well as to nominate other members in good standing. Self-nominations are also permitted. If you’re interested in running, the current board members would be happy to talk to you and answer your questions. As always, you can contact UA staff with any questions at info@uauoregon.org. Open positions: All Executive Council and Representative Assembly positions are open! The Executive Council (EC) is the primary leadership body of United Academics with a focus on…


The Predicament of Career vs. Family

Over the next months, the UA bargaining team will be bringing you some contextual information about the major issues that we hope to address at the bargaining table. This installment is about issues that disproportionately affect women and caregivers in the workplace. Did you know…? That faculty at UO who are parents are often unable to avail themselves of childcare? Olum Center is so full that often there are long waiting lists. Moss Street prioritizes students. And, there is a dearth of childcare options in the city of Eugene. When parents do get a slot at Olum, they often have to…


Trust can only be built through transparency

On October 10, 2019, President Schill wrote to the campus community to commit himself to four principles: honesty, transparency, respect, and grace. Regarding transparency, he wrote, “Trust can only be built through transparency.” We don’t always find common cause with President Schill, but in this regard we could not have been more in agreement. Transparency was one of the founding principles of United Academics, and we have always tried to be as transparent as possible, including when we speak in your name at the bargaining table.Unfortunately, for the second straight bargaining session, the administration team has insisted that bargaining sessions…


Peer Review Continues to Be at Risk

Last week, Gabe Paquette, the new Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, introduced himself to the Senate and answered a few questions from the Senators. Several times over the course of his remarks, Vice Provost Paquette asserted that the Provost’s Office would be using the standards for promotion and tenure contained in the CBA when evaluating P&T files, such as a sustained record of scholarship. He particularly cited the CBA’s alleged requirement that candidates for promotion have a “sustained” record of scholarship. This is incorrect: the CBA provides guidelines for departments and units when they establish review criteria, not requirements for…


A Question of Transparency

On Tuesday, our bargaining team met with the administration’s bargaining team to kick off a new round of bargaining. Although both parties are eager to bargain over the important provisions of the collective bargaining agreement, we must first establish the ground rules for negotiations.  Fortunately, the parties are on the same page on every issue except one. Where we differ is over who will have the ability to watch the bargaining sessions. Read the administration proposal here. Read our proposal here. The administration would like to keep the sessions open only to bargaining unit members. Their reasoning is that bargaining…


Bargaining Update and Delegate Nominations

Bargaining UpdateWe are set to begin bargaining next Tuesday, February 9, from 3 to 5pm. Unfortunately, we have not yet agreed to ground rules with the administration. The main disagreement we are having with them regards who will be able to observe bargaining. The administration would like to limit the audience to bargaining unit members, administrators, and invited guests.Due to this ongoing disagreement, we do not feel comfortable widely sharing a link to the first session at this time. The bargaining team will be meeting this evening to discuss our best approach to resolve this issue. We hope you will…


Expectation of Continued Employment

***Note – Throughout the message below, we refer to Career faculty as either “instructional Career faculty” or “funding-contingent Career faculty.” We recognize that these terms do not precisely describe all of the Career faculty at UO. We have chosen to refer to faculty this way in the interest of trying to make a complicated subject a little clearer. “Instructional Career faculty” includes Librarians and all Career faculty who are not on funding-contingent contracts.  After months of negotiations, the University and United Academics have reached an agreement on the new system for employing Career faculty at the University of Oregon. Although…


A note about students’ changing learning environments these last weeks of the term

While we remain entirely remote, from this week onward many of us will teach students from homes they share with parents, siblings, and others. This has always been true–many of our students share space with other people and need to attend Zoom classes from spaces that other people have access to–but it will be true for more students over the holiday week.  This is worth noting for a couple of reasons: many students will have increased connectivity and technology issues; some students may be quarantining due to travel; and some students may have roommates or family members in the room…