Notes contributed by Negotiating Team member Dr. David Johnston, Natural Sciences
On Friday, February 28, the OT-AAUP and Oregon Tech bargaining teams met for the second session of the sixth round of negotiations.
Chief Negotiator Cristina Negoita was unable to attend this session, so Prof. Stephen Schultz acted as the OT-AAUP Chief Negotiator for this session.
The OT-AAUP team began the session by presenting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), regarding the lack of faculty COLAs this year, to the Oregon Tech team. A copy of the MOU can be found on the OT-AAUP website. In the Memorandum, OT-AAUP proposes that faculty be given a 4.05% COLA for the 2020 fiscal year, in order to maintain “real wages”. The MOU expires on March 6th, so the Oregon Tech team will need to respond by that date. The Oregon Tech team had some questions about how the OT-AAUP team arrived at the 4.05% figure, and this was discussed for a few minutes. The OT-AAUP team took it as a positive sign that the Oregon Tech team was asking questions and engaging on this issue, rather than just putting the MOU aside.
The Oregon Tech team then presented their counter Non-Discrimintation article. Notably, the Oregon Tech team had once again removed political beliefs and participation in political events as a class protected from discrimination by the university, arguing that those are, currently, not classes protected under state or federal law. It continues to be the position of the OT-AAUP team, that the Non-Discrimination article does NOT need to be limited to classes only protected by law. The OT-AAUP team stated they would discuss the article and likely present a counter at the next session.
Following this exchange, the OT-AAUP team presented three articles; Personnel Files, a counter to Oregon Tech’s proposal of January 30, Position Descriptions, and Release Time, both new articles.
The teams briefly discussed the Personnel Files counter, and the Oregon Tech team asked several questions, centered mostly around logistics.
There was some productive discussion concerning the Position Description article. Both Parties agreed that all bargaining unit members should have a Position Description for their role; however, there was some discussion over whether it should be a policy or placed in the CBA. It was the OT-AAUP team’s position that it should be placed in the CBA in order to provide faculty an opportunity to file a grievance if they feel their position duties are being changed unfairly, while the Oregon Tech team felt it should be left up to the Administration to determine position descriptions, especially in the case where duties may have to be reassigned quickly. The Oregon Tech team said they would discuss the article and present a counter at a later time.
Lastly, the parties discussed the Release Time article. The majority of the discussion focused around the last section of the proposed article, which states that faculty service to the Association be counted as service to the University, in matters of evaluation, promotion, and tenure. It continued to be the position of the Oregon Tech team that by “awarding” service to faculty who are active in the OT-AAUP, they would be discriminating against faculty who are opposed to the Association and, as such, do not wish to participate in the Association. In response, the OT-AAUP team stated, that since many of the areas that now fall under the umbrella of the CBA, such as compensation and promotion, used to be areas under the purview of Faculty senate, for which service was acknowledged for faculty members participating in faculty senate, it is logical to acknowledge service to the Association. The Oregon Tech team argued that, since Faculty Senate is a part of the University, whereas the Association is a separate entity, it makes sense to acknowledge service on behalf of Faculty Senate, but not on behalf of the Association. Furthermore, the Oregon Tech team went on to state that the interests of the Association, which works on behalf of the faculty, were separate from the interests of the University. The Oregon Tech team took great exception to this, and argued that the interests of the faculty, who are an integral part of the University, are very much part of the interests of the University. Additionally, the Oregon Tech team made it clear that this issue is very important to their membership, and it would not be going away.
The next bargaining sessions will be Thursday, March 12, 9:00 – 11:00 am, and Friday, March 13, 2:00 – 5:30 pm.