Notes contributed by OT-AAUP bargaining team member Dr. David Johnston, Natural Sciences, with minor edits by Communications Committee Member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences
On Tuesday, July 14, the OT-AAUP and Oregon Tech negotiating teams met for their second bargaining session of the Summer. The OT-AAUP team presented counter proposals on Arbitration, Grievances, Sick Leave Pool (previously called Donated Leave Bank), and Personnel Files. The Oregon Tech team presented counter proposals on Personnel Files and Association Rights.
Sick Leave Pool
The Association team began by presenting their counter proposal to the Donated Leave Bank article, which was retitled Sick Leave Pool. The OT-AAUP team explained that this proposal was largely based on the proposed Sick Leave Pool Policy that was presented to Faculty Senate on March 30, 2020. The most significant discussion took place around the Association’s proposal to allow Unclassified Staff to participate in the Sick Leave Pool. This proposal was based on the belief that there were on the order of 50 unclassified employees at Oregon Tech and they could benefit from having access to a larger pool. The Oregon Tech team clarified that there are approximately 150 unclassified staff at Oregon Tech; furthermore, they explained that it would not be legal to include unclassified staff in an article in this CBA since they are not represented by OT-AAUP. Given these facts, the Association team agreed that it would remove that language in their next counter-proposal. The Oregon Tech team also clarified that the 80 hours of COVID leave is set to expire at some point, as mandated by Federal law; therefore, those hours could not be donated into the Sick Leave Pool. The Oregon Tech team stated they would review the proposal further in caucus.
Next, the Association team presented their counter proposal on Grievances. The team highlighted the main changes; firstly, a desire to compromise in the time limit for presenting a grievance at 45 days, [the Associations initial proposal had a time limit of 60 days, and the Administration’s initial proposal had a time limit of 30 days]; secondly, a proposal to change some language concerning what happens if either party fails to respond or meet deadlines to make the language more equitable, [in Oregon Tech’s proposal they suggested that if the Association or the Grievant misses a deadline the Grievance would be considered withdrawn and could not be resubmitted. However, if the Administration were to miss a deadline the Grievance would simply move to the next level. The Association proposed changing this so that if the Administration missed a deadline the Grievant’s proposed remedy to the situation would be granted.]; thirdly, the Association explained their rationale behind including a procedure for an informal Grievance resolution process, and explained that the main difference between an Informal and a Formal Grievance would be whether the Grievance was accompanied with the Grievance form; lastly, the Association explained their desire to keep the timelines around Grievances that involve discrimination or sexual harrassment, in order to provide more avenues for bargaingn unit members to resolve complaints. The Oregon Tech team did not respond directly to the proposed 45 day time limit to file a Grievance. However, they did voice concern over the proposed language change around the consequences of either party missing a deadline. In response, the Association team thanked them for their feedback. The Administration team stated that their could be a path forward to include an informal resolution procedure in the article, but they were not interested in including any language about extending the Grievance deadlines for discrimination or sexual harassment. They said they would discuss the article further in caucus.
The OT-AAUP team next presented their counter-proposal on Arbitration. The Association clarified their position around mediation, explaining that it was not the Association’s intention to force Oregon Tech into mediation, but to strongly encourage the parties to use Mediation to settle Grievances rather than Arbitration, since Mediation is a much cheaper and far less adversarial process. The Oregon Tech team seemed to agree with this argument and understood that the Request for Mediation would not be submitted to the ERB until both parties had agreed. The parties also discussed the timeline of Arbitration and when it would be appropriate to have an Arbitrator decide whether the issue being grieved is arbitratible. There seemed to be agreement that the language should reflect both parties’ desire to minimize costs. There was not further substantive discussion, and the Administration team said they would review the proposal in caucus.
Personnel Files (Oregon Tech)
Prior to caucusing, the Oregon Tech team presented their counter proposal on Personnel Files. Their new counter proposal was much more inline with the Association’s previous proposals, though, it was noted, that the Administration’s proposal still did not contain language allowing an employee to address perceived errors or omissions in the file. The OT-AAUP team stated they would review the proposal in cacuss and would likely present a counter, since it appeared the teams were getting close to agreement.
Personnel Files (OT-AAUP)
After cacussing, the OT-AAUP team presented a counter to Oregon Tech’s Personnel File proposal, explaining that the main differences were language around allowing bargaining unit members access to paper copies if digital copies were not available, and allowing bargaining unit members the ability to address perceived errors or omissions in their file. The Oregon Tech team stated they would discuss this counter in caucus.
Lastly, the Oregon Tech team presented their counter proposal to Association Rights. Of major discussion was the Administration’s proposal that the Association provide not only a list of the executive officers elected by the bargaining unit members, but also a detailed list of their duties and responsibilities and an estimate for the amount of time those duties and responsibilities would take. The OT-AAUP team’s main concern was that, given this is a new Association and a first contract, it might be very difficult to get an accurate estimate for the amount of time the duties and responsibilities would take, and did not want to agree, in writing to a certain time, only to discover that it would in fact take quite a bit more or quite a bit less. The Oregon Tech team responded that since this was a first contract and a new relationship, this level of detail would facilitate the new relationship between Oregon Tech and OT-AAUP. The Oregon Tech team also clarified that they would only grant OT-AAUP time to speak to members at employee orientation, but not at any other University wide forums. Additionally, the Oregon Tech team agreed to include University ID numbers in the data on members that it will provide to the Association, but proposed to only provide that information twice a year, rather than each quarter. Finally, there was discussion over when and what type of budget would be delivered to the Association. The Association requested that a detailed budget be made available to the Association no later than July 14, but the Oregon Tech team suggested it be made available within 14 days of being loaded in the Budget Office software. The OT-AAUP team voiced concern that there would be no way for the Association to know when this was happening, and so, no way to confirm if in fact the information was delivered in a timely manner. The Oregon Tech team responded that, based on these conversations, it was likely that there could be agreement about these dates. The Association team then asked if it were possible for the Oregon Tech team to produce examples of the types of budget reports that were possible to create using the current budget software. The Administration team said they would look into that.