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.

July 14, 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 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.

Grievances
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.

Arbitration
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.

Association Rights
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.

OT-AAUP Email To The Provost, July 1st 2020

On July 1st 2020, OT-AAUP President Dr. Sean St.Clair sent an email to Oregon Tech’s Provost concerning our administration’s proposed changes to the stipend-release model. In the interest of transparency, you can read the full text of that message below:

Dear Provost Mott;

It has come to our attention that you are planning to make significant changes to the Workload Guidelines and end the current practice of providing release time or a stipend to faculty who serve as program directors and/or provide other academic functions as described in the Academic Release Time & Stipend Model dated 5/10/2013. These are changes in working conditions for the members of our bargaining unit. Since workload is a mandatory subject of bargaining, the changes you are proposing may only be made through the bargaining process.

We therefore insist that, should you wish to make this change to faculty workload and working conditions, you do so through the normal bargaining process, and that you immediately cease the unilateral implementation of changes to both the Workload Guidelines and the Academic Release Time & Stipend Model. Additionally, we request that anyone to whom these policies have been sent be informed that they are merely proposals and have not been adopted but will be addressed at the bargaining table. On the advice of our chapter counsel, we will file an Unfair Labor Practice complaint if you persist in implementing these changes.

We request that you respond by the end of business on July 10, 2020 confirming that you will not implement these policies.

Sean St.Clair on behalf of Oregon Tech AAUP Executive Committee

June 24th, 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, June 24, to continue the first bargaining round of the summer. All team members from Tuesday’s session were present for the Wednesday session. OT-AAUP presented counter-proposals on Outside Activities and Sabbaticals, and the Oregon Tech team presented a counter-proposal on Grievances.

Grievances
The Oregon Tech team began by presenting their counter on Grievances. They explained that while they agreed with the Association’s position that it is better to settle grievances informally, if possible, including a section in the article detailing the informal process, made it seem like a formal process. Thus, their suggestion was to emphasize, in the Grievances article, that both Parties agree that it is advantageous to settle grievances informally, whenever possible. The Association team explained that their main reasoning behind including an explicit informal procedure, was the desire to have a written record that the grievance was addressed and resolved at the informal level. The Association team said they would take this under advisement and discuss the matter in caucus. Following this, there was a prolonged discussion and clarification about what matters could actually be grieved under the Grievances article, and what the timelines should be for such grievances. In the Association’s prior proposal, they had included a time frame of 180 days for filing a grievance alleging prohibited discrimination and a time frame of 5 years for filing a grievance alleging discriminatory harrassment. It was the view of Oregon Tech that, since those matters deal with allegations of a violation of a statute, they would be investigated through a different process. Namely the Title IX process for matters of discriminatory harassment, and an internal process for matters of prohibited discrimination. The Oregon Tech team explained that the Grievances article is meant to address alleged violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, NOT violations of University Policy or State or Federal law. The Association thanked the Oregon Tech team for clarifying the issue, and said they would talk about this in caucus and would try to include language to make this issue clear to all bargaining unit members. The Oregon Tech team then went on to raise the issue of how best to balance an individual bargaining unit member’s right to privacy when bringing forward a grievance, with the Association’s right to be notified of a grievance. It was proposed that including language in the section where it states that a grievant can either represent themselves or ask for representation through the Association, that despite their choice, the Association will be notified of all formal grievances. The parties seemed to agree that this would be an acceptable compromise. Lastly, there was discussion over whether timelines would be automatically modified to account for recess in between terms and, in particular, to account for summer break, when many faculty are “off-contact.” The Association’s position was that timelines should be automatically modified to exclude these times in timeline calculations, but that the inclusion of the language stating that the parties could mutually agree to modify the timelines could be used to address the issue of continuing a grievance procedure through a term or summer break. It was Oregon Tech’s position that even though a bargaining unit member is “off-contract” they are still covered by the collective bargaining agreement and are still employees of Oregon Tech. As such, it would not be reasonable to automatically exclude term and summer breaks when calculating timelines. At this point, a member of the Oregon Tech team had an unprofessional outburst, expressing anger at the idea that some faculty do not reply to emails, particularly to students, during breaks. The Association team was greatly dismayed by this extremely disrespectful behavior, and, in particular, at the choice of wording employed by the individual. After everyone calmed down, the Association team said they would discuss the Grievance article in caucus, and would likely have a counter proposal soon.

Sabbatical Leaves
Next, the Association team presented their counterproposal on Sabbatical Leaves. The biggest discussion occurred around the fact that in Oregon Tech’s counterproposal, they had proposed limiting sabbaticals to tenured faculty. The OT-AAUP team argued that sabbaticals could be equally advantageous for both tenured and non-tenure track faculty. When asked to explain their rationale behind excluding non-tenure track faculty, the Oregon Tech team explained that it was their belief that non-tenure track faculty would not be long term employees, and, as such, it would not be to the University’s benefit to award those faculty members a sabbatical. Additionally, the Oregon Tech team stated that since a non-tenure track faculty member is not expected to engage in scholarly or creative work, a sabbatical would be of little use to those faculty members. In response, the OT-AAUP team pointed out that in order for ANY faculty member to be eligible for sabbatical they must be with Oregon Tech for a full six years. The team argued that anyone who has been with Oregon Tech for six years, whether they are tenured or not, has shown a commitment to the University, so the University should show an equally strong commitment to them. Additionally, the Association team pointed out that, given the unique nature of Oregon Tech, sabbaticals have not only been used to engage in scholarship or creative works. They have been used to earn an advanced degree, to work in industry and then bring that experience back to the classroom, and even to improve a faculty member’s teaching. The Association argued that all of these benefit not just the individual faculty member, but also benefit the University. Lastly, the Association stated that granting sabbaticals to non-tenure track faculty would allow them to be more competitive in applying for a tenure track position that might open up at Oregon Tech, and denying them the opportunity for sabbatical would unfairly disadvantage them. The OT-AAUP team strongly encouraged the Oregon Tech team to seriously discuss this issue and hoped that they would adopt this stance. Then the OT-AAUP team explained their rationale for choosing the pay schedule that was presented in the proposal. The Association team noted that they had brought the rates down a bit, but felt that anything less than what was proposed would dissuade faculty from applying for sabbaticals. The Oregon Tech team did not have any comments or questions about the rest of the article.

Outside Activities
Lastly, the OT-AAUP team presented their counterproposal on Outside Activities. The main point that the Association made was their belief that the University should not have any say in what a bargaining unit member does when they are not specifically engaged in work for Oregon Tech. Additionally, the Association argued that, for this first CBA, people who are currently employed outside Oregon Tech and might be in violation of this article, be given 90 days to seek approval for their employment, before they must terminate it. The only question from the Oregon Tech team was whether it was the intention of the Association to limit the ability of Oregon Tech to place restrictions on what type of behavior, particularly criminal behavior, bargaining unit members can engage in during their personal time. The Association stated that it was not their intention to limit that, so it was suggested that including some language stating that as long as a bargaining unit member’s activities did not violate state or federal law the University could not restrict their outside activities. The Oregon Tech team stated they would discuss the article in caucus and would present a counter proposal at a later time.

Next Sessions
The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, July 14 and 15. If you wish to join, a Zoom link is available on the OT-AAUP website’s calendar page.

June 23rd, 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 Tuesday, June 23, the OT-AAUP and Oregon Tech negotiating teams met for their first bargaining session of the Summer. Representing OT-AAUP was chief negotiator Cristina Negoita, Professor of Mathematics; Stephen Schultz, Professor of Medical Imaging; Matt Search, Associate Professor of Communication; Karen Kunz, Information Systems Librarian; David Johnston, Instructor of Natural Science; and, joining the team as a permanent alternate, Kevin Pintong, Associate Professor of CSET. Representing Oregon Tech was chief negotiator Brian Caufield; Maureen De Armond, Associate VP of Human Resources; Abdy Afjeh, Associate Provost of Research and Academic Affairs; Tom Keyser, Dean of ETM; Dan Peterson, Dean of HAS; Brian Moravec, Associate Dean of ETM; and Stephanie Pope, Assistant VP for Budget and Resource Planning.

For this session, OT-AAUP brought three proposals: Academic Freedom, Professional Development, and Association Rights.

The Oregon Tech team brought a proposal on Arbitration.

Arbitration
The teams began by discussing Oregon Tech’s counter-proposal on the Arbitration article. The Oregon Tech team stated that they were not interested in adopting the language proposed by OT-AAUP, which would require one of the parties to specifically state they were not interested in mediation before moving forward with the selection of an Arbitrator. The Oregon Tech team felt that it would be a misuse of the Oregon Employment Relation Board’s time if the matter were submitted for mediation, only to be withdrawn several days later when one of the Parties declared they were not interested in mediation. The OT-AAUP team explained that it was not the intention to have the matter automatically submitted for mediation, rather, to encourage mediation. The OT-AAUP team stated they would attempt to clarify the language in their next counter proposal. The Oregon Tech team agreed to remove the language around limiting the list of Arbitrators to Oregon, California, or Washington. However, they did not want to adopt the OT-AAUP’s language about allowing either Party to ask for a new list of Arbitrator’s if the original choice cannot hold a hearing within 90 days. The team explained that it is very common for hearings to be scheduled more than 90 days out, and they were concerned that this provision could be used as an excuse if one of the parties did not like the selected Arbitrator. Likewise, the Oregon Tech team did not adopt OT-AAUP’s language around needing the hearing to be conducted within 45 days or a new Arbitrator would need to be chosen. They felt, specifically in the case where both Parties are pleased with the choice of Arbitrator, it would not be in either Parties’ interest to have to choose a different Arbitrator. The OT-AAUP team stated they would discuss this in caucus and counter in their next proposal. Next, the Oregon Tech team stated they were not interested in adopting OT-AAUP’s language about requiring both Parties to jointly submit a statement to the Arbitrator, within 10 days of the hearing, that stated what issues were to be addressed by the Arbitration. They were concerned that this might unfairly burden the Association, since their attorney(s) may not be ready 10 days before the hearing. Additionally, they were concerned that, in a highly contested case, it might be difficult or impossible for the parties to agree on the core issues. OT-AAUP said they would take this argument into consideration and discuss the issue in caucus. The Oregon Tech team then explained that they felt it was advantageous to move the section on Arbitrability prior to the sections on the conduct of the hearing, arguing that it would be in both Parties’ best interest to have this resolved earlier, in order to reduce costs. Although not included in their proposal, the Parties did discuss how costs should be covered if the Arbitrator were to declare that the issues presented were not open to arbitration. The Parties seemed to be in agreement that, in this case, the cost of the Arbitrator would be split by the Parties. Lastly, the Oregon Tech team stated they were not interested in adopting the language in OT-AAUP’s proposal which would require any fees charged by the Arbitrator to be split by the Parties. They argued that it was fairer to have the withdrawing Party pay the fees, as this could serve to discourage the Parties pursuing arbitration for frivolous issues. The OT-AAUP team said they would review this in caucus and address the issue in their next proposal.

Professional Development
Next, OT-AAUP presented their initial proposal on Professional Development. After going through the article, the Oregon Tech team did not have any substantive questions, but they did ask if the Association had done a costing analysis of the proposal. The Association team responded that they had not done a costing analysis, because they were waiting on data from Oregon Tech that showed the current expenditure on professional development.

Academic Freedom
Next, the OT-AAUP team presented their counter proposal on Academic Freedom. The Association team explained that they were not interested in adopting Oregon Tech’s language that stated faculty members should treat others fairly and with respect. It was explained that the Association is not opposed to this, rather, it is assumed that ALL interactions should be fair and respectful from all sides, and it seemed to be putting an undue burden on bargaining unit members to ensure fairness and respect. Additionally, it was voiced that, since fairness and respect are very vague ideas, there was concern that this language could be used to censure a bargaining unit member merely because another individual felt they had been treated unfairly or with disrespect. The Oregon Tech team did not have any questions or comments about this item. The Oregon Tech team felt that the Association’s language around requiring the Faculty Senate to approve agreements between Oregon Tech and outside entities that have a curricular impact was outside the scope of a collective bargaining agreement. OT-AAUP responded that they look forward to Oregon Tech’s counter proposal on this issue.

Association Rights
Lastly, the OT-AAUP team presented their first counter to Oregon Tech’s counter to the Association Rights article. Of major discussion was the Associations contention that, since groups internal to Oregon Tech do not, currently, pay a fee for the use of University spaces, Oregon Tech should NOT charge the Association to use those same facilities. The Oregon tech team argued that, since, legally, the Association is a third-party, separate from the University, they should be charged a fee, in accordance with the current practice of charging outside groups a fee to use Oregon Tech facilities. The Association countered that, while they may be a third-party legally, they were conducting business and dealing with issues directly related to the University and its employee’s, namely, the faculty. As such, they were much more like an internal group, than a random external group that had no affiliation with Oregon Tech. Additionally, the Association team pointed out that at several of the other state universities in Oregon, the Faculty Unions are recognized as internal faculty groups and are not charged for using the University’s facilities. There was no resolution of this matter, but the Oregon Tech team stated they would address the matter in their caucus and in their next counter proposal. The last major issue discussed was the addressing of Oregon Tech’s desire to have a list of duties for each member of OT-AAUP’s executive committee, and the estimated time necessary to accomplish said duties. The OT-AAUP team was not opposed to providing a general list of union duties, but were opposed to providing such a specific list, particularly since, as a new group, it is not entirely certain what each member’s duties would be, and how much time would be required to discharge said duties. The Oregon Tech team countered that they were requesting the information in order to be in compliance with the statute regarding public employee unions, which states that Employers must provide “reasonable time” for the officers of the Union to discharge their duties. The Association felt that would be better covered in the Release Time article, but the Oregon Tech team asserted that these were separate issues. The teams agreed to discuss the issue further in caucus. There was some minor discussion surrounding timelines for information and the parties came to agreement on said timelines. The Oregon Tech team stated they would further discuss the Association’s proposal in caucus.

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.

Donated Leave Bank
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.

Leaves
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.

Fringe Benefits
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.

Grievances
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
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.

Compensation
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.

Conclusion
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.

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.

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

Workload and Overload Compensation
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.

Next Session
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. 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.

 

Presentation by Howard Bunsis (Ex Officio Chair of the AAUP CBC) on OIT Finances

On May 14, 2020, Dr. Howard Bunsis (Eastern Michigan Univeristy) delivered a presentation over Zoom to OT-AAUP members. The meeting was recorded and is posted below.

Additionally, the slides from Dr. Bunsis’ presentation can be found at this link. If you are looking for a particular point in the conversation, the video is broken into chapters on YouTube at this link.

Finally, the reserve spending resolution (from their Finance and Administration Committee and approved by their board) at Portland State mentioned towards the end of the video can be found at this link.