Notes contributed by Negotiating Team member Dr. David Johnston, Natural Sciences
October 17, 2019 was the first meeting between the OT-AAUP and the Oregon Tech bargaining teams. The main agenda of the meeting was to begin discussion of Negotiating Ground Rules and to set times for the next several meetings. OT-AAUP was represented by Chief Negotiator and Mathematics Professor Cristina Negoita, CSET Associate Professor Phil Howard, MIT Professor Stephen Schultz, Information Systems Librarian Karen Kunz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Chelsea Gustafson, and Instructor of Physics David Johnston. Oregon Tech was represented by Chief Negotiator and USSE Labor Relations Director Brian Caufield, Assistant Director of Human Resources Sandi Hanan, Associate Dean of ETM Brian Moravec, Assistant Vice President Stephanie Pope, Dean of ETM Tom Keyser, and Associate Provost Abdy Afjeh. Jim Bakken, AAUP Pacific Northwest Lead Organizer, served as an advisor to the OT-AAUP negotiating team.
Oregon Tech President Nagi Naganathan, Provost Joanna Mott, and Vice President of Finance Brian Fox were present at the beginning of the meeting to express their support for the bargaining process, their appreciation for the service of members of both negotiating teams, and their faith that the bargaining endeavor will be successful.
After team introductions, the parties began discussion of the ground rules proposed by each team. The teams agreed, in principle, to many of the common procedural items put forward in both proposals, with both teams agreeing to work on the specific language in future counter-proposals. For instance, both teams agreed that all team members as well as all observers and all invited presenters will conduct themselves professionally and in a manner keeping with that expected from members of the university community.
The Oregon Tech negotiating team proposed that all bargaining sessions be held in executive session, and that the number of observers allowed by each team be limited in number. Additionally, their proposal called for all observers to be invited, and for each team to provide the other with a list of all invited observers prior to a bargaining session. The OT-AAUP team did not agree to this proposal. Instead, they proposed that all bargaining sessions be open to any who would like to attend, and that prior notice of observers was not necessary. The parties did not reach an agreement on this point, so it will continue to be negotiated at future sessions.
The OT-AAUP negotiating team proposed that any OT-AAUP union service, and, in particular, service on the OT-AAUP negotiating team be considered as service to the university for the purpose of faculty and staff performance evaluations. Additionally, the OT-AAUP team proposed that each member of the bargaining team be granted a 3-workload-unit-per-quarter reduction for the duration of the negotiations. The Oregon Tech team suggested that the workload reduction request might be better included in substantive proposal discussions after Ground Rules have been established. The Oregon Tech team said they would discuss the service request with administration, leaving the issue to be debated at the next meeting.
Both teams agreed to future meetings on the following six days:
- Thursday, October 31, from 3 – 5 pm;
- Friday, November 1, from 8 – 10:30 am, and from 2 – 4 pm;
- Thursday, November 14, from 3 – 6 pm;
- Friday, November 15, from 8 – 10:30 am, and from 2 – 4 pm;
- Thursday, December 5, from 2 – 6 pm; and
- Friday, December 6, from 8 – 10:30 am, and 2 – 4 pm
Overall, all OT-AAUP Negotiating Team members felt that this first session was positive and encouraging, and are hopeful that future sessions will be equally productive.