June 8th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

For this session, OT-AAUP brought three proposals: Grievances, Arbitration, and Compensation.

The Oregon Tech team brought three proposals also: Donated Leave Bank, Leaves, and Fringe Benefits.

The session began with a discussion of the Donated Leave Bank article. The OT team clarified that this article was created by synthesizing resources from SOU and SEIU, with a few exceptions. As the article specifies that applications are limited to temporary hardship (understood as medical issues distinct from sick leave), the OT-AAUP team pointed out that the leave bank would then not be available to victims of domestic abuse.

The article on Leaves was discussed next. To the article’s statement that faculty on sabbatical do not accrue or use sick leave, the OT-AAUP argued that faculty on sabbatical are still employees of the university. The OT team disagreed. There was also discussion about if and when leave applies during inclement weather days. OT argued that campus closure announcements are made before the beginning of work (by 6am); OT-AAUP countered that this has rarely been the case in the past. OT-AAUP argued that faculty should not be responsible for work after campus closure due to weather, as is true for SEIU employees.

The article on Fringe Benefits was discussed third. The OT team argued that this does not need to be a separate article, and should be combined with Health and Welfare, or Working Conditions. OT stated that the university has sole discretion when it comes to staff fee policies, and could even withdraw from negotiating them altogether. OT-AAUP asked for more clarity in the article language about what fees the university will and won’t cover. OT refused to bargain over parking fees on the Klamath Falls campus.

Next up was the article on Grievances. There was a brief discussion about clarifying the language around deadlines in this article. In particular, can the grievance process be fairly carried out during periods when a faculty member is off-contract? The OT-AAUP team says potentially not, while the OT team says yes, and if a faculty member is off-contract in the midst of the process they have a responsibility to check in regularly regarding the status of that grievance. The OT team agreed to discuss further in caucus.

Arbitration was discussed next. There was some discussion regarding how arbitrators are chosen, and how the list of potential arbitrators is generated. The OT team pointed out that, as written, the article could be seen to suggest that the decision over whether or not something can be arbitrated is made late in the process, potentially wasting time and energy if preparation for arbitration begins, only to then discover later that a given issue cannot be arbitrated. The OT-AAUP team agreed to reconsider this wording, then there was a break for lunch/caucus.

After the break Compensation was discussed. There was some initial discussion regarding the usefulness of the comparator data that OT-AAUP was using. The OT team argued that the data OT-AAUP was using did not represent financial “reality”; the OT-AAUP team countered that they are using actual yearly financial data from the university to inform their work. The OT team agreed to discuss this article before the next meeting.

As a final comment, the OT team stated that they will be sending out information this week pertaining to an early retirement incentive program, in hopes of encouraging some employees to voluntarily leave the university during this time of budget cuts.

June 1st, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

For this session, the OT-AAUP team proposed two articles: Personnel Files and Workload and Overload Compensation.

The Oregon Tech team proposed one article: Sabbaticals.

The session began with discussion of the Sabbaticals proposal. There was discussion as to why the article, as proposed, excluded NTT faculty from taking sabbaticals. The OT team said that faculty who don’t have a research emphasis (like NTT faculty) don’t need to take sabbaticals. OT also argued that approval for sabbaticals should be at the sole discretion of the Provost. Next, OT asked the union how salary would be calculated if someone was approved for sabbatical, but then changed the timeline. The OT-AAUP team pointed out that cutting the already low rate that faculty are paid for sabbatical makes them less likely to apply for the “full,” three-term sabbatical. After discussion of examples, the OT team suggested that they would be willing to reconsider the pay rate put forth in the article. OT’s version of this article says that faculty cannot use a sabbatical to finish a degree. Both sides discussed this; OT-AAUP asked why this wasn’t allowed, and OT explained that finishing a degree was “personal leave” that does not benefit OIT. The OT-AAUP team disagreed, arguing that there is already a precedent for faculty using sabbatical time to finish degrees here. OT used the same argument to deny that sabbaticals can be used to take one-year visiting positions. Finally, the OT-AAUP team argued again that incentivizing our faculty to take a sabbatical in order to get their terminal degree would be to the university’s benefit.

There was very brief discussion about the Personnel File article, and then the OT team decided to discuss it in caucus.

There was a slightly longer discussion of the Workload article. This came after discussions of the article’s content and supporting information from members of the OT-AAUP team. OT-AAUP had not generated a costing document for their proposal yet; the OT team said they planned to do this. The OT-AAUP team emphasized during discussion that they want to find a way to meaningfully quantify a minimum required amount of non-instructional workload.

The next negotiation session was held on June 8th, from 10am until 2pm. Notes from this session will be posted shortly.

May 18th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

For this session, the OT-AAUP team proposed two articles: No Strike/No Lockout and Promotion and Tenure for NTTF. The team also introduced a letter expressing their concern over the Oregon Tech team’s recent refusal to bargain particular articles.

The Oregon Tech team proposed three articles: Notices of Appointment, Release Time (this was a costing document related to the Release Time article, not a counter), and Dues Deduction.

The OT team put forward the Notices of Appointment article first. They suggested moving some of the language be moved into another article (e.g., Working Conditions). They do not intend to negotiate the majority of the article. The OT-AAUP team clarified that they saw part of the value of this article being that it would establish a concrete timeline for appointment, which has been inconsistent in the past. The practices of other universities were discussed, and OT-AAUP reiterated that we need a consistent timeline for notices of appointment in the future. The OT-AAUP team also asked why the language requiring salary information in the notices had been removed. The OT team argued that this was “duplicate information” and wasn’t necessary. The OT-AAUP team decided to discuss the article further in caucus.

The next item discussed was a costing document related to the Release Time article. The OT team discussed the costing document, and there was a very brief discussion.

Next up was No Strike/No Lockout. There was more discussion as to whether picketing done outside of scheduled work should be considered an “interruption of work” or not. No progress was made in the discussion.

Then, the OT-AAUP team introduced their article on Promotion and Tenure for NTT Faculty. The team began by pointing out that the vast majority of the wording in this article is based in existing policy. Then, they went over the few changes that were made beyond that wording. The OT team agreed to discuss in caucus.

After a recess, Dues Deduction was discussed. The OT team suggested that this article be combined with Association Rights. They also suggested a few other, minor changes, which the OT-AAUP team agreed to discuss in caucus.

Finally, the teams discussed the letter drafted by the OT-AAUP team (linked above). The OT team argued that there was no legal precedent that requires them to negotiate on these particular issues, and that the OT-AAUP team’s letter does not change their position. The OT-AAUP team asked the OT team why, in other cases, universities have CBAs that include these articles: the OT team had no answer for them.

The next negotiation session was held on June 1st, from 10am until 2pm. Notes from this session will be posted shortly.

 

May 11th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

For this session, the OT-AAUP team proposed five articles: Recognition, Working Conditions, Benefits, Fringe Benefits, and Leaves.

The Oregon Tech team proposed four articles: No Strike/No Lockout, Management Rights, Disciplinary Procedures, and Association Rights.

OT-AAUP presented the Recognition article first. The Oregon Tech team commented that the definition provided was confusing and would lead to litigation. They suggested moving to the next article immediately.

Working Conditions was up next. During the “Health and Safety” section of the article, the Oregon Tech team expressed concern that certain wording conflicted with what had already been established in the Management Rights article, and that this would negate those portions of that article.

OT-AAUP presented the Benefits article next. There were no questions asked or concerns expressed by the Oregon Tech team.

The Oregon Tech team then presented some of their articles. No Strike/No Lockout was presented first. They contested the OT-AAUP team’s desire to allow picketing. OT-AAUP agreed to allow picketing only outside of work hours. Oregon Tech denied this compromise.

Next up was Management Rights. Oregon Tech argued that the version of the article OT-AAUP had last presented wasn’t clear enough in its wording. A lack of clarity could effect both parties’ ability to bargain over specific rights in the future.

Oregon Tech presented Disciplinary Procedures next. There was some discussion over changes in Section 2, and exactly what external laws and/or guidelines supersede the CBA and how those considerations should be addressed in the article. The OT-AAUP team had a question about a change made in Section 5, which eliminated a proposed two-year limit to make disciplinary review holistic, covering instead the member in question’s entire tenure at the university. The Oregon Tech team did not want to place a limit on how far back review might go, and the OT-AAUP team argued that clarity in the process (i.e., specifying how far back a review could go) was important. After this, the parties decided to go to caucus.

After the caucus, the teams discussed the Association Rights article first. Oregon Tech began by clarifying that later in the process, they would want to combine Association Rights, dues, deduction, and release time into one article. Oregon Tech summarized the article, and OT-AAUP asked a few clarifying questions. Once again, Oregon Tech argued that service to the union should not count as service for the purposes of performance evaluation. OT-AAUP countered that service to the union is also in service to the wider goal of having a more reputable and functional university. OT-AAUP also requested that wording about the annual budget as provided by the Board of Trustees be clarified: in the team’s eyes, this budget is not detailed, and needs to be much more so to be useful.

There was brief discussion of OT-AAUP’s Fringe Benefits article. OT-AAUP clarified that professional development funds could not be used for professional memberships, as some memberships are requirements, not optional. The Oregon Tech team clarified that staff fee benefits are changeable; the OT-AAUP team argued that information on what applies is available through HR’s website at any given time.

Last up was OT-AAUP’s Leaves article. Oregon Tech had no particular objections or concerns, but wanted to take one last look at the article.

The next negotiation session will be on May 18th, from 10am until 2pm. If you wish to join, a Zoom link is available on the OT-AAUP website’s calendar page.

April 27th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

 For this session, OT-AAUP proposed four articles: Notices of Appointment, Management Rights, Progressive Discipline, and Association Dues.

The Oregon Tech team proposed three articles: Notices and Communication, Recognition, and Academic Freedom.

Notices and Communication was discussed first. The Oregon Tech team summarized some minor changes, and the OT-AAUP team decided to discuss those changes in caucus.

Recognition was discussed next. The Oregon Tech team summarized their changes, and the OT-AAUP team asked that instructor rank be added to the first paragraph of the article, to include librarians who teach but who aren’t tenure track. The Oregon Tech team agreed to discuss this in caucus.

Notices and Appointment was briefly discussed next. The OT-AAUP summarized the article, pointing out that it spells out policy that is already in place at the university. The Oregon Tech team agreed to discuss in caucus.

Management Rights was discussed next. This began a lengthy discussion. The Oregon Tech team asked if the suggested changes indicated that OT-AAUP was waiving its right to bargain over material described in Section 2; the OT-AAUP said no. The Oregon Tech team asked that the wording be made more specific to better indicate what OT-AAUP wants to retain the right to bargain and what it doesn’t. There was also discussion over the difference between “faculty” as a group and “bargaining members” as a group, and how that difference bears on the article’s claim that Faculty Senate, but not OT-AAUP have the right to participate in defining the university’s mission. The OT-AAUP agreed to discuss further in caucus.

After this, there was a brief discussion about scheduling future meetings. It was agreed that the next bargaining meetings would occur on 5/11, 5/18, 6/1, and 6/8. Each day’s session will run from 10am until 2pm.

The next discussion was of the Progressive Discipline article. The OT-AAUP team summarized the changes to the article. The Oregon Tech team explained that “suspension for the length of an investigation” is not possible, and that a time frame must be specified. Oregon Tech decided to discuss further in caucus.

The Association Dues article was discussed next. OT-AAUP summarized the article. The Oregon Tech team expressed concern about the process described, wherein a member provides notice of cancellation of membership in the union to OT-AAUP, which then notifies Oregon Tech. The Oregon Tech team suggested that a yearly window be established during which any member wanting to cancel membership in the union must express their intent. The Oregon Tech team agreed to discuss further in caucus.

Next there was a brief discussion of the Academic Freedom article. The Oregon Tech team summarized a new version of the article that ignored the previous version submitted by OT-AAUP. After a few initial questions, the OT-AAUP team agreed to discuss the article further in caucus.

Next, both parties TAed the Notices of Communication article.

The Oregon Tech team then argued that it would not counter the articles on Intellectual Property, Position Descriptions, or Appointments, Academic Classification, and Rank, because in their view those subjects are permissive, not mandatory. Despite a number of questions and arguments from OT-AAUP, the Oregon Tech team maintained that these articles are permissive subjects, and are ultimately rights reserved only for management. OT-AAUP pointed out that other Oregon universities have articles covering these matters in their CBAs; nonetheless, the Oregon Tech team maintained its initial argument.

 The next negotiation session will take place on May 11th from 10am until 2pm. If you wish to join, a Zoom link is available on the OT-AAUP website’s calendar page.

April 20th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

The OT-AAUP team proposed three article during this session: Donated Leave Bank, Labor Management Committee, and No Strike / No Lockout.

The Oregon Tech team proposed one article: Notices and Communication.

The session began with discussion of the Notices and Communication article. The Oregon Tech team changed the time limit for a response from seven days down to three to make the process more efficient. OT-AAUP asked if this time limit only applies to large-scale union issues, as opposed to private communications to/from individual faculty. The Oregon Tech team affirmed this. OT-AAUP agreed to discuss in caucus.

The next discussion was of the Labor Management Committee article. The OT-AAUP team asked why the Oregon Tech team does not want to implement this article until the CBA is in place: this would stifle the ability to discuss issues around COVID-19 and remote teaching. Oregon Tech maintains that this committee cannot discuss a CBA that does not yet exist. After OT-AAUP pointed out that there is no faculty voice on the existing COVID-19 task force. Oregon Tech argued with this, stating that there are three faculty members on the task force. OT-AAUP countered that none of these faculty are members of the bargaining unit and are either chairs or deans.

Next up for discussion was the No Strike / No Lockout article. The Oregon Tech team asked for a few clarifications, then decided to discuss in caucus.

Donated Leave Bank was the next article discussed. OT-AAUP described that this article is intended to protect junior faculty who need extended leave but don’t have access to FMLA. The Oregon Tech team asked for a number of clarifications, then agreed to discuss the article in caucus.

The next negotiation session took place on April 27th, 2020.

April 13th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

 The OT-AAUP team proposed four articles during this session: Non-Discrimination, Recognition, Appointments, and Notices.

The Oregon Tech team proposed four articles as well: Non-Discrimination, Labor Management Committee, Personnel File, and Management Rights.

Both teams presented their changes to the Non-Discrimination policy (each linked separately above), then agreed to discuss during caucus.

Next, the teams discussed the Labor Management Committee article. The OT-AAUP team wanted to see a requirement for a standing monthly meeting of the committee. The Oregon Tech team argued that this would be a waste of valuable time if there was no cause for a particular meeting. OT-AAUP agreed to discuss in caucus.

Recognition was discussed next. The main sticking point here was whether or not visiting faculty teaching at FTE .5 or above are included in the bargaining unit. OT-AAUP says yes, and the Oregon Tech team requests that more specific language be added to this effect.

Next up was Appointments. This article exists to define the different faculty classifications at the university going forward. The article was read, and the Oregon Tech team agreed to discuss it in caucus.

The discussion of the Notices article proceeded in much the same way.

The Labor Management Committee came up again after a caucus break. The Oregon Tech team requested that committee meeting requests include an agenda, and OT-AAUP answered that this is already written into the policy.

The Personnel File article was discussed next. OT-AAUP expressed a desire to know what documents are being placed in a faculty member’s file when they are placed there. The Oregon Tech team responded that the decision of what goes into the file and why shouldn’t include too many inputs. There were a few other clarifications provided by the Oregon Tech team, but no further discussion.

The next article discussed was Management Rights. Oregon Tech explained that this article describes what the employer can unilaterally change; in essence, whatever isn’t within the domain of the CBA. There was some discussion over the idea that the employer can unilaterally establish the university’s mission. Oregon Tech stated that the union should have no input on the university’s mission. OT-AAUP pointed out that the Board of Trustees also has input into the university’s mission, so this is not in fact unilateral.

The last article discussed during this session was the Labor Management Committee article (again). OT-AAUP removed specific language requiring the Provost or a designee being a required part of the committee (at the request of the Oregon Tech team).

The next negotiation session took place on April 20th, 2020.

April 6th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

OT-AAUP proposed three articles during this session: Labor Management / Impact Bargaining, Personnel File, and Intellectual Property.

The Oregon Tech team proposed six articles during this session: Recognition, Discipline, Grievances, Outside Activities, Non-Discrimination, and a Tentative Agreement (TA) on Severability.

The OT-AAUP team began the session by expressing concerns about many aspects of the university’s requirement that synchronous remote class sessions be recorded. The team requested that a separate bargaining process be initiated around these issues. The Oregon Tech team requested a list of specific issues that would be bargained in these sessions before agreeing to anything. Oregon Tech would not readily agree to discussing these issues and addressing concerns in a timely manner.

Next, the teams discussed OT-AAUP’s counter to the Labor Management Committee article. Oregon Tech had no follow-up questions.

The teams then discussed OT-AAUP’s counter to the Personnel File article. The Oregon Tech team had some questions around complaints made under Title IX, but these were addressed with no further changes being made.

The next article up for discussion was Intellectual Property. The OT-AAUP team clarified that this article will supersede existing Oregon Tech policy, and that it would apply only to works created by faculty who create them as part of their job description.

After a caucus break, the Oregon Tech team presented the Recognition article. The team clarified that this article means to define chairs as being represented by a different unit than the one representing faculty. OT-AAUP argued that continuing work on this article without first TAing an article that defines the different types of appointments that are possible at Oregon Tech is counterproductive. There was further discussion about the importance of clearly defining titles and classifications.

Next up was the article on Discipline. OT-AAUP expressed concern that as written, this article allows for discharged based on “alleged” conduct. The Oregon Tech team did not disagree that this allows for “guilty until proven innocent” behavior, but argued that this isn’t likely to happen. The OT-AAUP team requested that the cases where this behavior would and wouldn’t be justified be better spelled out in the article. The Oregon Tech team disagreed that this was necessary. Then the team suggested that OT-AAUP counter with specifics on how such proceedings must be documented.

The Oregon Tech team introduced their counter on the Grievances article. The OT-AAUP team asked a number of clarifying questions here, including how a grievance would be levelled at a Dean or at a department chair. These concerns do not appear to have been addressed.

The Outside Activities article was discussed next. OT-AAUP asked about wording in the article that refers to faculty’s “7 day work week.” The Oregon Tech team suggested that OT-AAUP counter.

Non-Discrimination was the last article discussed during this session. The Oregon Tech team objected to including political activity in this article, but appears to have also removed references to harassment and retaliation as things faculty should be protected from. When questioned on this, the team offered to discuss further. OT-AAUP will counter.

At the end of the session, the impact bargaining around COVID-19 came up again; the Oregon Tech team seemed very resistant to engage in this bargaining.

The next negotiation session took place on April 13th, 2020.

March 13th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

Note: The original notes from which this summary was written include a disclaimer that reads “the audio connection was very bad, and it was difficult to make out many details (including who was speaking).”

OT-AAUP proposed two articles during this session: Severability and Non-Tenure Track Promotion.

The session began with a discussion of the Labor Management Committee article. This discussion began with the OT-AAUP team seeking a clarification as to how committee members would be chosen. The Oregon Tech team explained that both the president and OT-AAUP would have the opportunity to choose members. The Oregon Tech team also clarified that committee meeting agendas will be set by both sides cooperatively before meetings.

The discussion of Severability was brief, with one additional change added (a 60 day time frame) based on input from the Oregon Tech team.

There was extensive discussion of the Non-Tenure Track (NTT) Promotion article. It began with the OT-AAUP team introducing the article as having been derived by the previous NTT policy developed by the RPT Senate committee and passed by Faculty Senate. It has been broadened and developed further since then.

There was no new discussion of Section 1 of the policy.

During consideration of Section 2 of the policy, the Oregon Tech team questioned the fairness of evaluating tenure-track faculty (TTF) and non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) using, essentially, the same criteria. OT-AAUP responded that the guidelines differentiating the expectations for each track of faculty will be differentiated in the workload policy, not here.

There was no new discussion of Section 3 of the policy.

There was no new discussion of Section 4 of the policy.

Sections 5 and 6 were discussed next. The Oregon Tech team expressed concern that this policy removed the university’s ability to hire instructors on a temporary basis. OT-AAUP clarified that the policy allows for temporary hires, but requires that if that fixed-term hire is then extended that the individual is eligible for promotion. There was also a lot of discussion here regarding the differences between expectations for TTF and NTTF policies, and a clarification that the difference between Instructor I and Instructor II is to provide a rank for instructors who are hired in with a Bachelor’s degree but who might want to later move up the ranks by acquiring advanced licensing or a Master’s degree. OT-AAUP also explained that the move from Instructor I to Instructor II would entail “a different scope of work.” There was some discussion, also, about allowing a faculty member to move from NTTF to TTF without a national search. OT-AAUP argued that this is done often at other universities; the Oregon Tech team disagreed.

The Arbitration article was discussed next. The Oregon Tech team explained that the use of the word “withdraw” in Section 1 meant that once a claim is withdrawn (does not proceed to arbitration) it cannot be re-filed.

While discussing Section 2, the Oregon Tech team explained that they changed constraints on arbiters to limit travel costs, and that this does not affect the fairness of the process. The OT-AAUP team requested clarification on the use of a number of terms, and the Oregon Tech team provided it. There was no further discussion.

The next negotiation session took place on April 6th, 2020.

Proposed Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Faculty’s 2019-2020 COLA

During the February 28th bargaining session, our faculty bargaining team proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in response to Dr. Naganathan’s previous offer regarding the 2019-2020 COLA.

This MoU stipulates that Oregon Tech faculty with an appointment of greater than or equal to .5 FTE will receive a 4.05% COLA retroactive to January 1st of this year for twelve month faculty or February 1st of this year for nine month faculty. The MoU also stipulates that all other salary matters for this and future years will continue to be discussed as part of the ongoing negotiations.

As of March 5th, the administration has not yet responded to the proposed MoU.

To view the full text of the MoU, click here.