Press Release: Some Tentative Agreements Reached but Still No Movement on Salary for Oregon Tech Faculty

4-16-21
Press contact: unite@oregontechaaup.org
For immediate release:

Klamath Falls, Oregon: While negotiations continue between faculty organized through Oregon Tech – American Association of University Professors (OT-AAUP) and the Oregon Tech administration, progress has not yet been made on the core issues of compensation, benefits, and workload.

“Tentative agreements were reached Thursday on association rights, notices of appointment, and discipline,” said Andria Fultz, an associate professor of communication and member of the OT-AAUP executive committee, “but more work needs to be done.”

If an agreement is not reached by April 26 at 6:00 AM, faculty will strike. If OT-AAUP is forced to strike, it will be the first time any public university faculty has gone on strike in Oregon history.

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PRESS RELEASE: Oregon Tech Faculty Respond to Irresponsible Public Communication from Oregon Tech Administration

April 13, 2021

Press contact: unite@oregontechaaup.org

Klamath Falls, Oregon: Oregon Tech – American Association of University Professors (OT-AAUP) is issuing the following response to a misleading press release issued by Oregon Tech Administration on April 9, 2021.

OIT administration released a troubling public communication following the union’s notice of their intent to strike. Faculty will walk out if an agreement is not reached before 6:00 AM on April 26. If OT-AAUP is forced to strike, it will be the first time any public university faculty has gone on strike in Oregon history.

“Most press releases don’t require a direct response, but this particular one does because literally every single sentence in it is either lacking context, misrepresenting data, misrepresenting faculty intentions, or shaming faculty,” said C.J. Riley, Professor of Civil Engineering. “We will not stand for this.”

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PRESS RELEASE: Oregon Tech Faculty Vote To Authorize Strike by Overwhelming Margin

Press Release
For immediate release
April 2, 2021

Contact
Oregon Tech AAUP
Email: unite@oregontechaaup.org

Klamath Falls, Oregon – Faculty organized through Oregon Tech – American Association of University Professors (OT-AAUP) voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike this week. If OT-AAUP is forced to strike, it will be the first time any university faculty have gone on strike in Oregon history.

As of close of vote on Friday, 96% of faculty had cast their votes; 92% of those votes were in favor of strike authorization.

This does not mean that faculty will strike, but it means that the members of the union have widely agreed that OT-AAUP leadership is allowed to call for one if an agreement is not reached.

“The students at Oregon Tech deserve better and our faculty have come together with one voice to say that—while we absolutely do not want to strike—we are ready to take this action to ensure our faculty are treated with respect and our students provided the highest quality education,” said OT-AAUP president Sean St.Clair.

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PRESS RELEASE: Oregon Tech Faculty Strike Vote Progresses; Administration won’t budge on salary issue

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
March 26, 2021

This week Oregon Tech faculty continue voting on whether or not they will strike in response to a disappointing last, best, and final offer from the administration. See full press release below.

Contact
Oregon Tech AAUP
Email: unite@oregontechaaup.org

Klamath Falls, Oregon – Faculty organized through Oregon Tech – American Association of University Professors (OT-AAUP) are deciding next week on whether to authorize a strike after over 450 days at the bargaining table and no contract.

If Oregon Tech faculty are pushed to strike by their administration, it will be the first time a faculty union has done so in Oregon history.

OT-AAUP faculty are seeking fair compensation, secure benefits, and reasonable and clearly defined workloads.

The administration has proposed a “merit-based” pay structure, while OT-AAUP has proposed a more holistic approach that includes adjustments for market comparison, cost of living, salary compression, and promotion and tenure. This is a crucial issue for faculty.

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Press Release: Oregon Tech’s Final Offer to Faculty Union Fails to Address Demands; Strike Vote to be Held

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
March 12, 2021

This week Oregon Tech faculty, including those teaching in Chemeketa Community College’s Dental Hygiene Program, will have to decide whether or not they will strike in response to a disappointing last, best, and final offer from the administration. See full press release below.

Contact
Kari Lundgren, Secretary for Oregon Tech AAUP
Email: unite@oregontechaaup.org

Klamath Falls, Oregon – Faculty represented by the Oregon Tech-American Association of University Professors (OT-AAUP) received a disappointing “last, best, and final offer” on Wednesday, March 17th as Oregon Tech’s senior administration halted negotiations after a grueling fifteen months of bargaining. This move by senior administration leaves bargaining unit members with the tough decision of whether to declare a strike.Administration is demanding faculty pay more for less secure health insurance, refusing to agree on a standard definition of faculty workload, and insisting on tying salary increases to “merit,” without a clear definition of what constitutes merit.In addition, faculty haven’t received a cost of living increase for two years even as senior administrators continue to receive significant raises. “If we can pay to keep administrators, why can’t we pay to keep our best faculty? My department lost two faculty in the last two years to the private sector and another university,” said C.J. Riley, a professor in the Civil Engineering Department.

“We are clearly making below market wages, and we can’t even get senior administration to agree on what the goalposts of ‘market wages’ even means,” said Franny Howes, an associate professor in the Communication Department. “I feel like we’re Charlie Brown with the football.”

“Administration wants to tie our pay to merit. We’ve already been meeting their benchmarks for merit without being compensated additionally for that effort. I’ve gotten a merit raise once in my decade-long career, and it was for $450. Once. Why should we believe merit will mean anything to them in the future?” said Franny again. “I taught five classes in fall term during a global pandemic. I can’t sacrifice any more.”

At present, health care costs less than 2% of a faculty member’s starting salary. Proposed changes could increase that cost to as much as 5%. Families or single parents with children would pay twice or three times as much as those with a partner but no children under the administration’s proposal. “This makes OIT not only unattractive but downright unaffordable to new faculty with families, at precisely a time when we don’t have enough faculty to cover the classes we need to offer,” said Matt Frye, an assistant professor in the Communication Department.

“Personally, I struggle to understand how it is that during a pandemic, senior administration proposes that we take a cut to our healthcare benefits. Faculty have gone to extreme lengths to ensure our students’ education didn’t suffer during this difficult time, only to find ourselves rewarded with less in terms of our own health,” said Cristina Negoita, a professor in the Applied Mathematics Department.

This final offer comes at a time when confidence in the university’s administration is at an all time low, with 75% of faculty indicating that they were “not confident” or “not at all confident” in President Naganathan’s leadership and only two people completely confident, according to a recent Faculty Senate survey. Oregon Tech’s Faculty Senate unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for the resignation of President Naganathan due to mismanagement of funds, abandonment of shared governance, and poor leadership. If he declines to resign, a no confidence vote will be held among the entire faculty; as of this release he has stated that he will not resign.

Oregon Tech is a public polytechnic university based in Klamath Falls, with campuses in Wilsonville, Salem, and Seattle. Faculty at Oregon Tech unionized for the first time in 2018 and began negotiating a new contract with the university in December 2019. Demands include better working conditions, transparent grievance procedures, reasonable workloads, and pay increases that keep up with the cost of living and market standards.

OT-AAUP will continue to do everything in their power to secure a fair contract for Oregon Tech faculty that respects their dignity as teachers, scholars, and community members.

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OT-AAUP Mission:

We are the united faculty of Oregon Tech. Through teaching, outreach, and scholarship, we generate and share knowledge to advance the lives of students, the well-being of communities, and the understanding of the world in which we live. We believe that an empowered and organized faculty will help build a better Oregon Tech for current and future generations, which is why we are organizing our union. https://oregontechaaup.org/

OT-AAUP principles:

 

  • Defend and implement the principles of public education so that students of diverse backgrounds are provided opportunities to excel.
  • Champion academic freedom, rigorous discourse, and scientific inquiry so that all members of the university community are encouraged and supported in their endeavors to contribute to the mission of Oregon Tech.
  • Uphold shared governance of the university characterized by open and responsible communication, fair treatment of individuals, participatory processes, and collaborative decision-making.
  • Secure working conditions that promote and protect excellence and innovation in all aspects of faculty life at Oregon Tech.

About AAUP: The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, post‐doctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities. https://www.aaup.org

Press contact: Dr. Kari Birrer-Lundgren, OT-AAUP Secretary, unite@oregontechaaup.org

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PRESS RELEASE: OT-AAUP Responds to Impasse Declaration: “… our faculty’s working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.”

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
March 12, 2021

Contact
Kari Lundgren, Secretary for Oregon Tech AAUP
Email: unite@oregontechaaup.org

Klamath Falls, Oregon – The University Shared Services Enterprise attorneys, representing Oregon Tech’s senior administration in bargaining with its faculty, declared impasse in negotiations on March 10th – cancelling a previously scheduled bargaining session for March 11th. This means that the parties will provide final offers by March 17th and the 30-day cooling off period will begin March 18th.

This came as a surprise to many in the Oregon Tech community as faculty have been coming to the table, prepared and ready to bargain in good faith, for almost a year and half. Oregon Tech AAUP’s proposals have attempted to address key concerns about compensation, unilaterally changed workloads, and protections for public health benefits in an ongoing pandemic.

“Senior administration’s proposals are out of touch with the reality that our faculty’s working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. Without faculty, there is no university,” says C.J. Riley, Professor in Civil Engineering.

Continue reading “PRESS RELEASE: OT-AAUP Responds to Impasse Declaration: “… our faculty’s working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.””