Press Release: OT-AAUP Begins Historic Strike to Demand Fair Wages and Workload at OIT

4-26-21

Press contact: unite@oregontechaaup.org

For immediate release: Faculty organized through Oregon Tech – American Association of University Professors (OT-AAUP) went on strike at the Oregon Institute of Technology Monday, initiating a historic action to demand fair wages, secure benefits, and reasonable and clearly defined workload.

“We organized our union in record time and we’re the first faculty ever to go on strike in Oregon,” said Mark Clark, professor of history and OT-AAUP past president. “I hope Oregon Tech’s senior administration is prepared to negotiate a similarly historic contract.”

Negotiations continued through the weekend but no deal was reached, triggering a strike at 6:00 AM Monday morning. Senior administration rejected OT-AAUP’s good faith offer, leaving the union with no other recourse but to strike.

Picket lines now surround Oregon Tech’s campuses in Klamath Falls and Wilsonville, Oregon, and an informational demonstration is taking place in Salem at the Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene Clinic. An online picket live stream is available at OT-AAUP’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/oregontechaaup/.

Oregon Tech faculty first organized in 2018 over an ongoing struggle to secure fairer labor practices. Bargaining of their first contract began in fall 2019 and continued for over 550 grueling days without reaching a contract.

Oregon Tech’s senior administration declared impasse on March 10, 2021, indicating they felt negotiations with the union were no longer making progress. Their final offer was presented to faculty on March 17, and OT-AAUP also presented a final offer. Final offers were followed by a mandatory 30-day cooling off period during which negotiations continued. After that period ended, the administration was permitted to unilaterally implement their final offer, and faculty members were permitted to strike. 92% of voting OT-AAUP members voted to authorize a strike if a fair contract could not be agreed upon.

The last day of the cooling off period was April 17, but the union gave senior administration until April 26 to reach an agreement. Despite that, Oregon Tech’s senior administration was not able to agree to a fair deal for the teachers who make their university run.

Bargaining will continue through the strike until an agreement is reached. OT-AAUP will fight tirelessly for a contract that secures for fair wages, secure benefits, and reasonable, clearly-defined workload for Oregon Tech faculty.


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

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