September 17, 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

On Thursday, September 17, the OT-AAUP and Oregon Tech negotiating teams met for their first bargaining session of the Fall term. The OT-AAUP team put forth counter proposals on Progressive Discipline, Notices of Appointment, and Reasonable (Release) Time. The Oregon Tech team presented two proposal packages; one on Recognition, Academic Classification & Rank, Notices of Appointment, and Position Descriptions, and another on Progressive Discipline, Grievances, and Arbitration. Additionally, the parties TAed Totality of Agreement, and the Oregon Tech team formally withdrew their Statutory Compliance Article.

Progressive Discipline
First, the OT-AAUP negotiating team presented their counter proposal on Progressive Discipline. The parties engaged in some discussion over the Association’s requirement that any employee’s response to a disciplinary action be included in the employee’s personnel file. At first, it seemed that the Oregon Tech team was taking this to mean that the Association wanted to forego the Grievance process or that Association was wanting two parallel processes available to bargaining unit members to challenge a disciplinary action. However, when the OT-AAUP team explained that this was only so that there would be a record of any response to the disciplinary action, the Oregon Tech team agreed that would be fine, and commented that they like written records.

Notices of Appointment
Next, the Association team presented their counter proposal on Notices of Appointment. The team pointed out that they did include a date for when all Notices of Appointment should be sent, and the administration renewed their concern that it could be problematic for them to guarantee that all Notices of Appointment would be sent by such a date. Then the Administration’s team asked if the language concerning when a non-tenure track faculty member should be notified that their position would not be renewed, was to address current problems or to prevent future problems. The Association responded that it was meant to prevent future problems. The Oregon Tech team then stated that they had no further questions.

Reasonable (Release) Time
Lastly, the OT-AAUP team presented their counter proposal on Reasonable (Release) Time for  faculty members engaged in Association activities. The Association conceded that, since they are a new organization, it is difficult to know how much time would be needed to deal with Association business. However, the OT-AAUP team explained that their estimates were based on information from other Faculty Unions at several different Oregon Universities. The Oregon Tech team took issue with these estimates and asked to see the details of the analysis. The Association also provided a costing estimate for the reasonable time, which was much lower than the cost analysis done by the Administration on May 18, 2020. Additionally, the Association noted that they were no longer asking for the Administration to count service to OT-AAUP as University service, but rather as professional service, since AAUP is a professional organization. In response, the Oregon Tech team continued to assert that they were not interested in that provision.

Proposal Package #1
After a brief caucus, the Oregon Tech team presented their first proposal package, which contained a counter on Recognition, Academic Rank & Classification, Notices of Appointment, and Position Descriptions. The Administration team explained that, although they were open to changes in language in any of the proposals, the package needed to be accepted or rejected in its entirety. They explained that, if the Association chose to reject the package, Oregon Tech’s position on each of the proposals contained in the package would revert to its previous position, before September 17. First, the parties reviewed the Administration’s new Recognition Proposal, which was still very different from recognition language issued by the Oregon Employment Relation Board. The Association’s team brought this point up and expressed that the language proposed by Oregon Tech could lead to confusion or the possible exclusion of faculty who should be covered by the CBA. Next, the parties discussed the Notices of Appointment portion of the package. The Administration’s team pointed out that they had added classification to the Notice of Appointment, and proposed a date of August 15, for when all Notices of Appointment would be sent to faculty. In addition, the Oregon Tech team stated that if things went smoothly and they found that they were able to get the Notices of Appointment out sooner, they would be willing to amend the language to an earlier date. The last part of Oregon Tech’s first package, Position Descriptions, was not a counter proposal in the usual sense; but rather a condition that, in order to accept the package, the Association would need to drop its Position Description proposal.

Proposal Package #2
Lastly, the Administration negotiating team presented their second proposal package, which included counter proposals on Progressive Discipline, Grievances, and Arbitration. The parties first discussed Oregon Tech’s counter on Progressive Discipline. The Oregon Tech team explained that the main changes to their proposal were an addition of behaviors that could result in disciplinary action. When the Association’s team asked why they felt it was necessary to include behaviors that would obviously result in disciplinary action, they responded that they added those behaviors for clarity. The Administration’s team also explained that they took language from the Association’s Progressive Discipline proposal concerning the different types of disciplinary actions. Next and last, the parties discussed the Administration’s proposals on Grievances and Arbitration. The Oregon Tech team explained that the main changes in the Grievance article were around who had standing to bring a grievance or when a grievance could be brought and adopting but modifying the informal procedure from the Association’s proposal. In regards to the brining of grievances, the grievant would need to demonstrate that they were “harmed” by the alleged infraction, and that only they could bring the grievance, not another party. In regards to Arbitration, the Oregon Tech team explained that they had incorporated some of the Association’s language around mediation, and that they included some timelines to allow one party to respond to the other party’s motion to dismiss. The OT-AAUP team said they would review these proposals in caucus.

Note: OT-AAUP formally rejected Oregon Tech’s September 17 proposal packages on September 18.

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