July 15, 2020 Negotiation Session

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

The OT-AAUP and Oregon Tech negotiating teams met on Wednesday, July 15, to continue the second bargaining round of the summer. OT-AAUP presented counter-proposals on Notices of Appointment and Academic Classification and Rank (previously called Appointments), and the Oregon Tech team presented counter-proposals on Personnel Files, Working Conditions, and Promotion and Tenure.

Personnel Files
The Oregon Tech team began by presenting their counter on Personnel Files. The team agreed, in their proposal, to include the language from the Association’s proposal that would allow a bargaining unit member to petition to have perceived erroneous information removed from or to have possibly omitted information added to their Personnel File. They also agreed to add language that stated any material that was not available in electronic format would either be scanned or made available as a paper copy. Both parties Tentatively Agreed to the Personnel File Article and both chief negotiators signed the Proposal.

Working Conditions
Next, the Oregon Tech team presented their counter proposal on Working Conditions. The Oregon Tech team stated that their intention for this article was to focus on Health and Safety and, in a very broad sense, on offices and facilities. Not surprisingly, their proposal seemed to be written with the intent to preserve as many management rights as possible. The OT-AAUP team viewed the proposal as a minimum proposal and were dismayed that the Oregon Tech team did not seem to address any of the Association’s concerns laid out in their original proposal. For example, Oregon Tech’s proposal stated that it was Oregon Tech’s responsibility to ensure a safe working environment, and that employees should report any unsafe working conditions immediately. However, there was no explanation of how those issues would be resolved or a timeline provided to address said issues. Additionally, the Administration team’s proposal said nothing about providing each bargaining unit member with an office, desk, and computer, or how often the computer would be replaced. In light of many past examples where bargaining unit members were not provided with said equipment, the Association team stated that they were looking for more specificity, and that would be reflected in their counter proposal. Lastly, the Association team was further dismayed by Oregon Tech’s proposal that faculty need only be given notice of fourteen (14) calendar days to change offices and one (1) term to be transferred to a different campus location.

Promotion and Tenure
The Oregon Tech team then explained that they would not be providing a counter proposal to the Association’s original proposal on Promotion and Tenure, stating that it was their belief this was a permissive subject of bargaining, as it sought to establish criteria for promotion and tenure, which, the Oregon Team asserted, are management rights. When the OT-AAUP team pointed out that a Promotion and Tenure article was originally included on Oregon Tech’s list of articles it was likely to propose, the Oregon Tech team reminded the Association teams that the list was non-binding. The OT-AAUP team acknowledged that the list was non-binding, but was wanting to know what might have changed between when the list was proposed and the current time. The Oregon Tech team responded that Oregon Tech leadership no longer felt that article was necessary, and that to move the University forward, the leadership wanted to have flexible policies. The OT-AAUP team responded that their initial Proposal was largely based on the current policy and that the Association was not asking for anything drastically new. Additionally, while the Association team acknowledged that criteria for promotion is a permissive subject, the timeline and procedure for promotion are mandatory subjects of bargaining as they have a direct impact on the working conditions of the bargaining unit members. The Oregon Tech team replied that if the Association were to counter with a proposal that addressed only mandatory subjects, the Administration might consider it. The OT-AAUP team stated that they would discuss this issue further in caucus, and that they would notify their membership that Oregon Tech was not willing to bargain over issues that are very important to many members.

Notices of Appointment
Next, the OT-AAUP team presented their counter proposal on Notices of Appointment. The Association team clarified that the information OT-AAUP was asking to be included on Notices of Appointment was not anything new, but was information that is currently included on annual Notices of Appointment. The Association team explained that it was the desire of OT-AAUP to set a well established timeline for sending out Notices of Appointment that the University would have to adhere to, since, in the past, there were instances of individuals getting Notices of Appointment at very different times. The Oregon Tech team stated they would review the proposal in caucus.

Academic Classifications and Rank
Lastly, the OT-AAUP team re-presented their article on Academic Classifications and Rank, which was previously called Appointments, and, which, the Oregon Tech team had initially dismissed as permissive. The Association team reiterated that the types of classifications and ranks that were included in the Article were well-defined and established at Oregon Tech. Additionally, since a bargaining unit member’s salary is directly based on their classification and rank, it should be a mandatory subject of bargaining. The Oregon Tech team seemed to suggest that it was up to the leadership of the University to decide what constituted a Professor vs. an Associate Professor vs. an Instructor vs. a Senior Instructor, and that those definitions could be changed solely at the discretion of the Oregon Tech leadership. When it was pointed out to the Oregon Tech team that many CBAs at other universities have this type of article, their response was simply that that was the other institution’s decision, but that Oregon Tech was not interested in including such an article. Again, the OT-AAUP team urged the Oregon Tech team to reconsider their position and argued that it would be difficult to continue other discussions without first establishing these baseline terms. The Oregon Tech team stated that they would review and discuss the article further in caucus.

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