August 25, 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, August 11, the OT-AAUP and Oregon Tech negotiating teams met for their fifth bargaining session of the Summer. Joining OT-AAUP’s Negotiating Team was Associate Professor of Mathematics Joseph Reid and Associate Professor of Business Management Sharon Beaudry. The OT-AAUP team did not have any proposals to present. The Oregon Tech team presented their proposals on Compensation and Benefits.

First, the Oregon Tech team presented their Compensation Proposal. Needless to say, the OT-AAUP team was disappointed and disheartened by the Administration’s proposal, though not necessarily surprised, given the “quality” of some of the Administration’s prior proposals. The Association team then pressed the Oregon Tech Team as to why they had chosen a purely merit based compensation model, if they were aware of the many studies done that show merit based compensation models often do not work, and if they had any examples or studies of institutions where merit based compensation was successful. In response, the Administration’s team asked the Association’s team to prepare a list of these and other questions, and that the Oregon Tech team would attempt to present answers to the questions at the September 17 negotiating session. However, the Oregon Tech team did respond to the Associations question about the proposal not to give faculty any raises until 2022. The Administration’s team seemed to indicate that since faculty were not asked to “share” in the budget reductions due to COVID-19, it was necessary to put off raises until 2022. They did not address the fact that faculty were NOT given a COLA in 2020, although that was part of the current compensation policy.

Next, the Oregon Tech team presented their Benefits Proposal. Once again, the OT-AAUP team was extremely disappointed by this Proposal. The Association team asked the Oregon Tech team to explain their intentions driving this proposal and they explained that it was the intention of the proposal to attempt to bring health care costs in Oregon “in line” with the rest of the country. They seemed to indicate that the current 95/5 cost split was untenable and could not be sustained going forward. Additionally, Oregon Tech wanted the freedom to choose (with some unspecified and non-binding form of community input) different health insurance from those set by Oregon State PEBB. In conclusion, the Association team stated that they felt this would be a hard sell for their members, especially in light of the Administration’s Compensation Proposal.

For more information about OT-AAUP’s response to Oregon Tech’s Compensation and Benefits Proposals, please see the OT-AAUP website.

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