Expectation of Continued Employment

Executive Summary
We proposed a plan that would provide Career faculty with the expectation of continued employment and job security. Under our proposal, Career faculty in their first year would have 30 days’ notice before termination. After their first year, Career faculty can only be terminated with 90 days’ notice for legitimate financial, programmatic, or performance reasons and only after a faculty committee review. Career faculty who have achieved promotion can only be terminated with one year’s notice for legitimate financial, programmatic, or performance reasons and only after a faculty committee review verifies that the termination is legitimate.

We renewed our proposal for Teaching Professor positions with quasi-tenure for exceptional instructional faculty.

The administration rejected our proposals for child care and parking, while accepting our proposal for bus passes for part-time faculty.

This was our ninth bargaining session with the administration. The administration team brought three proposals. We brought four proposals. The conversation seemed productive.

Job Security
We began the session by letting the administration team know that Career faculty who were in the room during our last session were very upset with the administration’s dismissal of them as valuable faculty on campus. We tried to let them know that as a bargaining team, we were kind of rolling with the punches, but the faculty we represent were not as calm about their proposals as we were. The lack of a raise to the salary floors and the move to make all Career faculty term-to-term, combined with the previous dismissal of the possibility of teaching-intensive faculty ever having real job stability along with the elimination of the “Professor” job titles sent a very clear message that the administration absolutely does not care about Career faculty at the UO.

The administration team explained that their intent was not to insult Career faculty and that they value Career faculty. We told them that Career faculty would be looking to see this respect reflected in proposals, not just lip service.

We presented two proposals that would begin to provide Career faculty with a path toward job security. In Article 15, we proposed eliminating both the Pro Tem and Retired classifications. These classifications are, theoretically, used to employ faculty in temporary positions of a limited duration. Unfortunately, faculty in these classifications make up over 25% of the non-tenured track faculty at UO. These faculty do not earn job security, have not been getting raises, and can have their contracts cancelled with little or no notice. These positions were supposed to be for temporary needs like covering for faculty on sabbatical or short-term enrollment fluctuations, but have once again become a regular part of the administration’s employment strategy.

In Article 16, we proposed that Career faculty can earn job security by being successful in their jobs at the university.

After one year of employment, Career faculty could only lose their job for performance reasons, legitimate financial difficulties, legitimate ending of their academic position, or to be replaced by a new tenure-track line. If the administration wanted to layoff Career faculty for financial or programmatic reasons, the faculty committee would review the administration’s rationale and make a recommendation to the Provost to either proceed with the layoff or re-examine the decision. If the layoff proceeded, the faculty member would have 90 days’ notice before the end of their employment. They would also have recall rights for three years should circumstances change.

Career faculty who have achieved promotion could only lose their job for the same reasons, but the faculty committee who reviews the administration’s claim of financial or programmatic need to lay off a faculty member would have to approve the termination before it could take effect. If the committee verified that there were legitimate financial or programmatic reasons to lay off a promoted Career faculty member, the faculty member would receive one year’s notice before the termination went into effect. If performance were an issue, the faculty member would have the year to complete a Performance Improvement Plan and regain their employment.

These ideas are not new to the academy. Many universities have adopted or are in the process of adopting similar policies. Seven years ago, our system of allowing Career faculty to earn longer-term contracts and more job stability was relatively new. The academy has since passed us by, and now we need to catch up. Low salaries combined with no job security means that we will continue to fail to recruit excellent instructional faculty, and we risk losing the amazing faculty we have.

We also acknowledged that we would need to continue thinking about ways to address fluctuations in enrollments, how to hire people who might be short term but earn job stability, and how we can continue to allow community professionals to teach part-time without necessarily earning long-term recall rights.

We renewed our proposal limiting the administration’s ability to lower FTE by more than 0.2 FTE in a year.

Teaching Professor
As part of Articles 15 and 16, we renewed our proposal to allow excellent faculty to have the title Teaching Professor and an indefinite appointment. UA team member Mike Urbancic presented his research on the use of the Teaching Professor – or similar variants – across the academy. Mike’s research made it clear that the use of these titles is common at major research universities including the University of Chicago, Northwestern, Berkeley, and UNC-Chapel Hill. Many of these universities have a path to long-term job security for these faculty.

The administration team seemed less dismissive of the idea than before.

Child Care
The administration responded to our proposal for plentiful, subsidized child care with a proposed website that would help faculty find any existing child care resources.

They responded to our proposal for cheaper parking that can be reserved by faculty with children with some language about sustainability and transportation.

We did not have a chance to discuss the child care or parking proposals because we ran out of time. We will continue these conversations next week. Your input is welcome as we decide how to respond to the administration’s proposals. We will be bargaining Thursday at noon in 125 Chiles.

The administration team has not yet responded to our proposals on reasonable working temperatures, lowered course loads for Career faculty, improved layoff procedures, a new tenure reduction program, ASA money for all faculty, student support, information about negotiating a starting package for new hires, improved parental leave, performance improvement plans, faculty involvement in the institutional hiring plan, and permanence of work location.