Fact Check

Implementing the first faculty collective bargaining agreement at the University of Oregon is, by its nature, a complicated process. The University and United Academics worked hard to create a good first contract and we are continuing that work in the implementation stage.

It is important that the University community has accurate information during the implementation process. This “fact check” page exists to correct misstatements of fact about the contract or implementation, no matter where those misstatements may appear. The goal is to reduce confusion and promote discussion and decision-making that is based on reliable information.

“UO Matters”

Posted on UO Matters, September 8:

Claim:  On the topic of articles protecting Academic Freedom, Professor Bill Harbaugh wrote in his blog:  “In particular the proposal from President Gottfredson’s bargaining team includes none of the forceful pro free-speech language from current UO policy.”

Fact:  That simply is not correct and is very misleading. The University’s article on Academic Freedom, Free Speech and Faculty Responsibility clearly states that “All bargaining unit members are guaranteed the protections of freedom of speech, as derived from the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America and Section 8, Article I of the Constitution of the State of Oregon. The proposal is entirely consistent with the current UO Policy http://policies.uoregon.edu/policy/by/1/01-administration-and-governance/freedom-inquiry-and-free-speech.

Posted on UO Matters, September 6:

Claim:  Prof. Harbaugh incorrectly suggests that “the president will defend the current constitution for the 2 years of the contract, but he will not agree to put it in the contract….”

Fact:  The University’s Article 3: Shared Governance clearly states the University’s and the President’s commitment to the Constitution. The University will not agree to take decisions about shared governance away from the statutory faculty, the President and the Board of Trustees and place them in the hands of a third-party arbitrator. The article reinforces the President’s strong public statements in support of shared governance.

Posted on UO Matters and sent via e-mail, September 7

On Saturday, Professor Bill Harbaugh sent an e-mail to an undisclosed list of UO faculty and administrators concerning the University’s “Outside Activity” proposal. He also posted the e-mail on his UO Matters blog. The e-mail contains several inaccurate statements about the proposal and false assertions about the University’s motives.

The proposal is a good faith effort to address an important subject in a serious manner. We know that the United Academics bargaining team will review the proposal in that spirit and that we will reach productive agreement on this article and the overall CBA.

Claim:  Professor Harbaugh stated: “At the bargaining session on Friday the UO administration presented a new contract article: Article 52, Outside Activities. At this point in the negotiations, which are nearing conclusion, it is unusual to drop a bombshell. This is one.”

Fact:  The article was neither “new” nor a “bombshell.” The University first presented Outside Activities on May 23rd. On July 30th, United Academics presented a counter proposal Conflict of Interest and Commitment. Last week the University responded by once again putting Outside Activities on the table. The University is prepared to discuss the article and any bargaining member concerns at the bargaining table.

Claim:  Professor Harbaugh reports: “Some of these criteria are quite specific, and contrary to common practice. For example, when combined with the administration’s Intellectual Property proposal, it would seem that proposals to do consulting work will only be approved if the agreement makes clear that the work product of your consulting may belong to UO.”

Fact:  Nothing in the University’s Outside Activity or Intellectual Property proposals is “contrary to common practice” in U.S. research universities. As a matter of law, when a faculty member engages in outside activities, the faculty member may not use intellectual property owned by the University absent a written license to do so. Such a license may include a University interest in any intellectual property derived from the University’s intellectual property. In other circumstances, the University asserts no intellectual property interest in faculty research or creative work that is the product of independent consulting contracts.

Claim:  Professor Harbaugh asserts, “These new rules, if implemented, will make it close to impossible for faculty in music, law, business, economics, education, psychology, computer science, biology, physics, human physiology, etc. to engage in most consulting work.”

Fact:  There is no basis for this claim.  The University’s proposal is in alignment with the Outside Activities policies at a number of research universities, including some with much higher research profiles. For example, see the University of Washington, http://www.washington.edu/admin/rules/policies/PO/EO57.html. The policy requires the reporting of outside activity and defines appropriate types of activities. It also allows for exceptions to be granted where it is in the interest of the University. It does not prohibit or unreasonably limit the consulting activities of any faculty member.

The University is committed to building the UO’s research profile and to supporting the consulting work of the faculty. We trust the bargaining process and will work with United Academics to appropriately balance these two important interests.

Posted on UO Matters, July 24:

Claim: Professor Bill Harbaugh, an official consultant to United Academics and blogger for UO Matters, notes that he made some mistakes in breaking down the numbers in the University’s latest economics package. “These seem to be the only errors –either type I or type II –which the administration’s well paid consulting team has found in this post or in any of my other bargaining posts, since their June 4 fact-check,” he writes.

Fact: We disagree.

Let’s set  a few more things straight:

    • The University’s lead negotiator, attorney Sharon Rudnick, did not say that having “one faculty member on the UO Board, selected by the Governor, takes care of shared governance.” Not even close. For an accurate statement about the University’s position on shared governance see Update #22 from Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Barbara Altmann.
    • No one is trying to “chip away” at academic freedoms. In fact, the University’s latest proposal expands the language to ensure that research is also covered. See Update #23.
    • The University bargaining team has not been the only target of Professor Harbaugh’s criticism. He’s also made inappropriate and inaccurate statements about University leaders and colleagues.
    • (Edited for accuracy and updated 7/31/13 with latest information) Repeated references to a 17 percent “reserve fund” are incorrect. As explained (and shown) many times, The University’s reserve E & G fund will likely end the year much lower. Documentation the University has provided to the union bargaining team reports UO reserves are actually much lower than the industry standard.
    • Since the first of June, Professor Harbaugh has complained that “JH admins” got their raises and are out on vacation. A quick walk through Johnson Hall proves otherwise. President Michael Gottfredson and his team continue to work, even through scheduled vacations, on the contract and other business.

The University and the United Academics bargaining teams are making significant progress toward a first contract and are working hard to resolve outstanding issues. There is mutual respect and appreciation for the efforts of colleagues on both sides of the table. This is perhaps the most critical error in Professor Harbaugh’s blog. While he is busy disparaging the process and the participants, we are all working to reach an agreement that will best serve the interests of the UO community.

Published on UO Matters blog July 23:

Claim: UO Matters blogger Bill Harbaugh is also acting as an economic consultant for United Academics. Tuesday, when the UA bargaining team left the table to caucus, he went with the team. But that doesn’t mean he can get his numbers right. His post from the July 23 bargaining session garbles some of the numbers in the University’s latest salary package. Rather than repeat Harbaugh’s erroneous chart, see below.

Fact:  We’ll use Harbaugh’s format with the correct numbers:

2013: 1.5% ATB, retro to 1/1/2013.
2014: 1.5% ATB, 2% Merit, 0% Equity.
2015: 1.5% ATB, 3.5% Merit, 0% Equity.
2014: 1% of current NTTF salary in a pool for floors.
6% raises for promotions.

2013: 1.5% ATB, retro to 1/1/2013.
2014: 1.5% ATB, 2% Merit, 0% Equity.
2015: 0.5% ATB, 3.5% Merit, 1% Internal Equity.
8% raises for promotions.

Posted on UO Matters, June 4:

Claim: The blog paraphrases Sharon Rudnick, the University’s lead negotiator in faculty contract bargaining, as saying: “We are completely abandoning the Lariviere plan. We have spent the money he had budgeted for getting you to the AAU peers on other stuff. Sorry……”

Fact: First, to be clear, Rudnick did not say this or anything close to this.

Second, this post perpetuates the myth that there was a budget or fund set aside for the sole purpose of raising UO faculty salaries equal to their Association of American Universities (AAU) peers. The 2011 equity raise program for tenure-track faculty was a step in the University’s ongoing commitment to increasing faculty salaries. The University’s current salary proposal, providing an average of 10 percent in across-the-board and merit increases, is another step in that direction.

The University agrees that UO faculty should be paid commensurate with AAU peers and other AAU public universities. However, there’s no ignoring the fact that the University of Oregon has far less revenue than its AAU peers to invest in salaries, or other campus needs.

Data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) shows that, in fiscal year 2011, the University of Oregon could expend, per student, only 59.5 percent as much as our AAU peers and only 56 percent as much as the average of our OUS-defined peers. This data was provided to the United Academics’ bargaining team in April.

Despite revenue challenges, the University’s salary offer makes progress towards AAU parity. The University is prepared to invest an additional $15 million per year — for faculty compensation by June 2015.

This week, the University also proposed to dedicate an additional $486,000 to the non-tenured faculty salary pool ($645,000 with OPE), to assure progress on NTTF salary floors in the next two years.

Claim: “The OUS F&A committee just voted to recommend UO raise tuition ~6 % next year.”

Fact: Six percent is not the correct number and, in fact, overstates the revenue available for faculty raises. It is true that tuition AND fees for resident students will increase by 5.8 percent next year. But tuition, which provides ongoing operating revenue for the University, is increasing by 4.5 percent for resident undergraduates and 3.5 percent for non-residents.  The fee increases being proposed are targeted for specific purposes (e.g., Student Rec Center Expansion and Renovation project).

Posted on UO Matters, May 10 and repeated in NW Labor Press, May 15:

UO Matters Claim:  “(Former University of Oregon President and part-time faculty member Dave Frohnmayer) charges UO ~$270 an hour to help screw over the UO faculty… while also getting paid a $201,028 salary as UO faculty, at .50 FTE.”

Fact:  UO Matters once again has its facts wrong. Frohnmayer is not a part of the University team negotiating the faculty contract and he is not being paid to advise the team. Frohnmayer is also a part-time faculty member but UO Matters has grossly inflated his salary.

Posted on UO Matters, April 29:

Claim: “The guy that Jamie Moffitt sent to the Thursday bargaining session to answer questions about how UO couldn’t afford to pay its faculty? He got an 18 % percent raise over the past two years.”

The post goes on to list pay “raises” that Moffitt and members of the University bargaining/leadership team also received in the past two years.

Fact: There are a number of false statements in this post. For starters, Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration, did not send a staff member to the bargaining session to answer questions about how UO couldn’t afford to pay its faculty. Instead, she spent more than two hours at the bargaining table on April 24 explaining the University’s finances in significant detail. On April 25, one of her staff was in the audience observing negotiations and answered a question from the Union’s bargaining team about the University’s finances at the request of lead negotiator Sharon Rudnick. The question did not deal with “why the University couldn’t afford to pay its faculty.” We believe that this staff member was the “guy” to whom UO Matters refers. Needless to say the discussion of his salary was off-target, too.

Turning next to the “pay increases” for the University bargaining unit members: UO Matters appears to suggest that these people benefitted from some kind of special deal. This is not true. Three of the University representatives – Moffitt, Doug Blandy, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and Barbara Altmann, a French professor and Director of the Oregon Humanities Center – took on different jobs and additional responsibilities. Their salaries reflect that. Journalism School Dean Tim Gleason received an increase at the time he signed a new two-year contract in 2011 following the completion of a fifth-year provost’s review. The increase was in line with the equity increases many tenure-track faculty received in the same year.

Posted on UO Matters, April 26:

Claim: “If the admin team would stop wasting billable hours –over $350,000 since certification – we could easily have a contract by June 15.”

Fact: There’s no question that labor negotiations are expensive and time-consuming. Nor should there be any question about the University’s obligation to retain expert counsel. The first faculty union contract will represent a significant financial and legal commitment for the University of Oregon. The University president and leadership team are responsible for safeguarding public dollars and student interests and the University has no employees dedicated solely to faculty labor relations. It is both appropriate and expected that the University seek experts to assist on this critical matter.

Sharon Rudnick, a labor and employment lawyer at Harrang Long Gary Rudnick, is the University’s lead negotiator on the contract. She is assisted by her associate, Kate Grado.

UO Matters overstates by nearly $100,000 the amount the firm has billed in relation to contract negotiations. To date, the firm has billed $266,245 for a broad scope of work related to the labor contract.

Rudnick and Grado initially advised the UO on its options for responding to the Union’s petition for certification and negotiated the Memorandum of Understanding voluntarily recognizing the Union. They have also represented the University in the ongoing process of identifying and negotiating with the Union’s lawyers over whom among the UO faculty should be excluded from the bargaining unit.

With regard to the bargaining process, Rudnick and Grado have researched and written University proposals and counterproposals, represented the University at the negotiation table, worked closely with the University’s finance and communications teams, and advised deans and administrators about working within a union environment.

The University also has two UO employees on its bargaining team and other UO employees who are consulted on matters related to their expertise. They are not paid extra for doing extra work.

This post perpetuates the myth that the University is paying professional negotiators to go up against volunteer faculty at the bargaining table.

In reality, the United Academics team is represented by two national/international unions. It has access to all of those labor organizations’ resources, plus two spokespeople at the table who are professional labor negotiators, and a separate law firm in Portland representing it on the issue of union certification and supervisory exclusions. There are also nine faculty members on the United Academics bargaining team.

It makes sense that both the University and the Union have obtained outside professional assistance in these negotiations. They are important, and will establish the ground rules for the relationship between the University and the faculty for years to come.

Posted on UO Matters, April 2:

Claim:  (During the discussion on the University’s counterproposal on Article 8: Non-discrimination) UO Matters paraphrases a statement from University bargaining team member Tim Gleason: “We want to provide maximal protection from discrimination, but we don’t want grievances about anything beyond the legal minimum.”

Fact:  This paraphrase distorts the issues discussed. First, the University is strongly committed to diversity and equal opportunity and to having standards and procedures in place that support a workplace where discrimination is not tolerated. The University must also have a discrimination grievance process to address speech or behavior that violates that commitment to diversity. University negotiators maintained, however, that standard must be rooted in law and not in an aspirational concept or ambiguous standard proposed by the union.

The UO counterproposal clearly states that the University will not discriminate “on account of race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership, familial status, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or membership in non-membership in or activity on behalf of or in opposition to the Union.” The University also added language clarifying that discrimination includes “unlawful sexual harassment.”

Claim: (during the discussion on the University’s counterproposal on Article 42: Criminal Records checks). UO Matter paraphrases an exchange between United Academics negotiator David Cecil and UO chief negotiator Sharon Rudnick: “Cecil: Could we add language limiting the provost’s ability to talk publicly about crimes to those that affect work performance? Rudnick: Yes.”

Fact: Rudnick did not agree to limit the provost’s ability to talk about specifics if a faculty member was convicted of a crime. She did agree to consider language that defines the appropriate use of information provided by a faculty member who has been convicted of a crime.

Posted on UO Matters, March 21:

Claim:  “But President Gottfredson’s administrative bargaining team responded to the union’s proposal to at least make a bit of progress on this by 2015-16 with sarcasm and ridicule.”

Fact:  The University and the United Academics bargaining teams both are working hard at the table to understand the issues and the proposals under review. Both teams are acting in good faith and are respectful of each other’s proposals and questions. Both teams agree that faculty salaries need to increase. Professor Harbaugh’s persistent misrepresentation of the tone and tenor of the discussions is unfortunate and damaging to the bargaining effort.

The University has repeatedly said that it cannot fully evaluate the Union’s comprehensive salary proposal until all of the Union’s economic proposals are known and the University can estimate the total cost of those proposals. The Union has noted that it understands the University’s position and it is working to get all of its economic proposals on the table.

Claim:  “Doug Blandy denied that faculty were leaving over salaries. Rudnick suggested that AAU peer group comparisons are now irrelevant and that UO couldn’t afford both Wi-Fi and competitive faculty pay and that faculty would need to pick one or the other.”

Fact:  This is false on all counts. Blandy, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and a member of the University negotiating team, said that the University has successfully retained some faculty with competitive counteroffers this year and that the Union overstated the severity of the problem, but he never denied that faculty are leaving UO because of salaries. He and others have repeatedly expressed the need to pay competitively in order to retain faculty.

Sharon Rudnick, chief negotiator, did not characterize AAU peer comparisons as irrelevant nor did she suggest that the faculty would need to “pick” raises or Wi-Fi. Rudnick explained that the University could not responsibly respond to the United Academics salary proposal without considering the total cost of the Union’s economic proposals. The estimated $4 to $6 million needed to upgrade the campus wireless network was cited as an example of a current urgent need that must be funded as well. The point was to highlight the tradeoffs that are inherent in managing the University’s budget. The University is committed to improving faculty salaries and it put a proposal on the table that is a step in that direction. We are also committed to making sure that students and faculty have a technological infrastructure that provides adequate support for research and teaching.

Claim:  “FWIW, the administration now admits that there are emails between their bargaining team members about child porn.”

Fact:  This claim is ridiculous. The University responded to a nuisance records request from Prof. Bill Harbaugh asking the University to produce any and all emails from seven administrators that included certain words including “child” and “union” and “pornography.” After making an initial review of what would be an expensive and time-consuming request to fill, the University merely responded that it has some records that may fall under that broad category.

Posted on UO Matters, March 19:

Claim:  “The faculty haven’t had merit raises since 2007, were told in 2011 that real merit increases were coming, and were surprised that Gottfredson’s proposal simply ignored past promises to deal with external equity by moving UO faculty to our AAU peers.”

Fact:  It is true that faculty have not had merit raises since 2007 but equity raises were awarded in 2011. During that period, decisions about merit raises were not the University’s to make. As we noted at the table, UO was working under statewide budget freezes during this period and President Lariviere lost his job as a result of the 2011 raises.

The University did hope to follow the 2011 equity raise with a regular raise program. In early March, the UO offered to make merit raises available to all faculty (represented and unrepresented) as part of a salary package proposed for FY2014. United Academics did not accept the offer for represented faculty but it remains part of ongoing contract negotiations. The UO continues to be committed to increasing faculty salaries as aggressively as is fiscally responsible.

Posted on UO Matters, March 7:

Claim: OUS says UO should have reserves between 5% and 15% of spending. UO’s are currently 15.8%, even after accounting for the fact that the $80 million jock budget – more than 10% of UO—has zero stated reserves.

Fact: State Board of Higher Education policy requires the University maintain a 5% to 15% fund balance in the Education & General Funds (Budgeted Operations). This is measured against operating revenue, not operating expenses. It has nothing to do with athletics as athletic funds are not part of the Education & General Fund group. At the start of FY2010, the University’s fund balance was below the 5% policy threshold. Today, due to increased enrollment, the University’s fund balance is just above15%. University finance staff expects the balance to begin dropping in FY2014.

Claim: Gottfredson has apparently abandoned Lariviere’s “job number one” plan to get UO salaries up to AAU peers. Presumably this means he’s also given up on keeping us in AAU.

Fact: Nothing could be further from the truth. The University bargaining team has said repeatedly—and reiterated during the March 7th bargaining session—that remaining in AAU is a high priority and that includes bringing UO faculty salaries in line with AAU peers. In briefing union representatives, Jamie Moffitt, VP for Finance and Administration & CFO reiterated that it is unusual to offer to implement a salary increase mid-bargaining, but university leadership is committed to recruiting and retaining talented faculty and moving to a more regular, annual salary increase program.

Claim “Costs: We are going to need to start hiring new faculty (15 net per year – Berdahl claimed it would be 60.)”

Fact: The University has added an average of 15 tenure-related faculty annually over each of the past five years. The number of new hires is actually closer to 50 or 60, but the net added number must account for faculty who leave or retire. The University agrees that hiring more faculty is a priority and that it would take approximately 60 more net hires to return to pre enrollment surge tenure-related faculty / student ratios.

Claim: The University is overstating the increase costs of PERS and other benefit costs associated with the proposed salary increases: “Overall, all benefits 25 percent of raises, not 35.”

Fact: The University has been advised to budget for a 30% increase in PERS costs. This is the increase that is expected if none of the proposed PERS legislative proposals pass.  This equates to a $14.5 million recurring annual cost increase for the institution. The cost projections for the salary increase program were computed using a variable OPE (benefits) cost of 35%.  Variable OPE is running around 29% this year.  The expected increase in PERS is predicted to bring it up to 35% next year.  Average OPE rates on base salaries are higher than 35% as they also have to cover health benefits.  When faculty salaries are increased, we only have to pay the benefits costs that are variable (e.g., retirement) and not those like health benefits that are already covered.

Claim: Moffitt now tries to confuse people by combining the two years of costs and saying it will cost 5 percent. Actually, 1 percent this year, 5.15 percent or so in future years.

Fact: There is no attempt to confuse. The University’s proposed program provides for a 1.5 percent across-the-board increase effective January 1, 2013, and another 1.5 percent across-the-board increase effective July 1, 2013. Additionally, a 2 percent salary pool will be available for merit/equity increases. Between the three components, the average faculty base salary increase would be slightly more than 5 percent.

Claim: The University is sitting on $70 million. Where is it–not in my ASA?

Fact: The University’s unrestricted net assets (commonly referred to as carry forward balances on campus) total a little over $100 million. They are spread across the entire campus, including schools and colleges, auxiliary operations, designated operations and service centers. At the start of the fiscal year, $62.9 million of these funds were in the Education & General Funds (Budgeted Operations), with a majority of these funds sitting in various school and college accounts. It is incorrect to characterize the university as “sitting on” these funds. These institutional figures represent an aggregation of all unrestricted university fund balances, including funds located in department accounts, faculty ASA accounts, ICC accounts, etc.  It’s important to recognize that they are “one-time” funds that cannot be used indefinitely to support recurring costs.

Claim: A paraphrase of a discussion on the timing of the pay proposal indicates UO bargaining team member Sharon Rudnick said the UO had to “pay off all our other costs first – you guys get what’s left over.”

Fact: Not only didn’t Rudnick say anything like this, it is totally false. As VP Moffitt explained, the goal of the pay proposal is to retain and recruit faculty. In fact, the University has extended its offer at a time when a lot of uncertainty exists about recurring costs and available revenues. The University’s state appropriation will not be known until the legislative session ends in June and tuition rates for next year will not be finalized until the State Board of Higher Education reviews them in June.  Additionally, while the University has been advised to budget for 30% increases in PERS costs in FY14, it is not yet known whether current legislative proposals will reduce that cost in the coming and future fiscal years.  Federal agencies have started to provide guidance on sequestration; however, the University does not yet know what the full impact will be on the institution’s grants and projects.  Finally, as there has not yet been a chance to discuss all of the bargaining issues, the total cost of all economic proposals put forth by the Union is not yet known.  Despite all of this uncertainty, the University would like to move forward with implementation of the proposed salary increase program.

Claim: The Union is giving up its right to make a presentation to new employees.

Fact: Not true. United Academics’ counterproposal on Union Rights addresses the Union’s right to participate in faculty orientation.  It states, “The Union shall have the right to make a presentation, if presentations are made, and distribute information at orientations for new faculty members.”

Posted on UO Matters, March 5:

Claim: Multiple references to a 1 percent COLA for FY2013, including “The Bean/Gottfredson proposal for a 1% raise this year…”

Fact:  Under the plan proposed to United Academics, faculty will receive a 1.5% base salary increase that takes effect January 1, 2013. Faculty will receive another 1.5% base salary increase effective July 1, 2014. The effective 2-year base salary increase, referred to as COLA for convenience, is therefore 3.0225 percent.

The plan also provides for merit/equity raises, based on a 2 percent pool of all eligible faculty salaries to be awarded based on performance and allocated at the local level.

Claim:  When reporting on a long discussion of the University’s counterproposal on Strike and Lockout in which we proposed a compromise position on the question of bargaining unit members’ obligation to perform work of non-faculty employees on strike, UO Matters reports:  “Rudnick: We are not going to budge on this. If faculty don’t help out, you will face the administration’s wrath.”

Fact: Rudnick did not say any of this. The University is not proposing to require bargaining unit members to do all the work of striking employees. Its counterproposal on “Strike, Lockout” states that the University “will consult with bargaining unit members” concerning the work that needs to be done and that bargaining unit members “will not unreasonably refuse to” work with the University to maintain education quality and continuity for students in event of a strike. No one threatened the faculty with “the administration’s wrath,” or anything close to that. Rather, we explained that we could not contractually agree that bargaining unit members have no obligation to assist in efforts to keep the university operating if another union is on strike.

Claim: Rumor down at the faculty club is that Gleason’s wife, Jennifer Ulum, has some sort of public relations contract with UO.”

Fact: Jennifer Ulum does not have a contract with the University. For many years she was the principal owner of The Ulum Group, a Eugene-based public relations firm. She sold her interest in it several years ago. The School of Journalism and Communication did not engage The Ulum Group in any capacity while Ms. Ulum was associated with the firm. This policy was not required by state law but was in place to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. The Ulum Group did do limited work for at least one UO college while Ms. Ulum was associated with the firm and did have one contract with the School of Journalism and Communication after she left the firm. We address this rumor here because UO Matters presented it in the context of bargaining presumably to suggest some imagined conflict of interest involving a member of the University bargaining team.

Posted on UO Matters, Feb. 21:

Claim: The University is “lying” about the Business School allowing negotiations to continue in 450 Lillis.

Fact: Chief UO negotiator Sharon Rudnick explained that the Business School’s policies on room reservations for the Board Room do not allow the bargaining team to reserve the room for the rest of the school year going forward, and that the dean was unwilling to waive the policy. Rudnick and the University bargaining team agreed that holding negotiations in the current location was convenient for both bargaining teams and explained that the University had attempted to reserve the room. As promised at the table, the University bargaining team again discussed continued use of the Board Room for spring term with the Business School. Unfortunately, the room is heavily booked for Business School activities and it would be too disruptive to move those events to make way for bargaining.

Claim: Rudnick flatly turned down the union’s request for a 3.5 percent raise.

Fact: Rudnick agreed to consult with the university and provide a response to the Union at the next bargaining session.

Claim: Criminal background checks can be done “at any time” on faculty/staff.

Fact: Oregon law allows the University to do a criminal records check on all employees. The University made this proposal because how those checks are done is a mandatory subject of bargaining. The University is obliged, then, to negotiate with the Union about its continued ability to do these checks, which are routinely done now at hire and when an employee takes on a new assignment with a substantial change of duties. The University made it clear at the table that it does not intend to change current practice or require bargaining unit members to be subject to records checks in circumstances when other employees are not.

Claim: Under a drug and alcohol testing proposal, the university wants to be able to discipline people who “blow anything positive –not the DUI standard.”

Fact: The University has the right under Oregon law to require a drug or alcohol test upon reasonable suspicion. The University made this proposal because it involves a mandatory subject of bargaining. Our proposal reserves less authority to test to the University than it has under the statute. The proposal did not define what “under the influence” means. The Union and the University discussed how to determine the appropriate standard and the Union agreed to include a standard in a counterproposal.

Claim: The University wants to make sure the union “can’t make a presentation” at new faculty orientation.

Fact: The University’s counterproposal states that the information about the Union will be presented as part of new faculty orientation, in a manner to be mutually agreed to by the parties. Rudnick explained that the University is revamping new faculty orientation. Once the new format is determined the University will work with the Union to determine the best format for the Union’s presentation to new bargaining unit members. She explicitly stated that the proposal was not intended to interfere with Union communication with its members.

Posted on UO Matters, Feb. 7:

Claim: “Prof. Barbara Altmann accuses faculty union of supporting child pornography.”

Fact: The term “child pornography” came up as an extreme hypothetical during a discussion at the bargaining table on academic freedom. No one accused faculty – or anyone affiliated with the university – of engaging in such behavior.

“Register Guard”

Published in the Register-Guard, June 13:

Claim: In an op-ed published in the Register-Guard’s online and print editions, UO Prof. Gordon Sayre writes: “(President Michael) Gottfredson has abandoned the goal that Lariviere championed, of raising faculty compensation to the level enjoyed by faculty at other top public research universities. He insists on a 6 percent tuition increase for 2014, but will give professors and instructors raises of only 3.5 percent, the first across-the-board increases since before the economic crash of 2008.”

Fact: Sayre’s numbers are incorrect on all counts. Six percent is not the accurate number for the tuition increase. Tuition AND fees will increase 5.8% next year. But tuition will increase by 4.5% for resident undergraduates and 3.5% for non-residents. The fee increases are targeted for specific purposes, such as the Student Rec Center expansion and renovation.

Sayre also is incorrect about the salary increase the University has proposed to the faculty union. The University has proposed increasing salaries for tenure-track and tenured faculty an average of 10.3% through June 2015 and for non-tenure-track faculty by 11.37%.

The University and its president remain committed to increasing faculty compensation and to strengthening the UO’s standing as one of the nation’s premier public research universities.

“KVAL Television”

News report aired July 29: “Faculty Union UO Still $6M apart on salaries”

Claim: Yvonne Braun, an associate professor and member of the United Academics bargaining team, told the reporter: “Faculty largely have not seen raises in seven to 10 years and sometimes more in certain cases, we do feel like that needs to be addressed.”

Fact:  Prof. Braun’s statement is not true. In 2007, 2008 and 2011 there were significant faculty raises. In 2009 the Governor instituted a state-wide salary freeze. In 2012 the Union decided to not participate in the salary increase program offered by the University.

Here is the recent historical record of programmatic salary increases at the University:

On January 1, 2007, all faculty, both Tenure Track and Non-Tenure Track, received an average salary increase of 7%; 2.7% of that increase was a cost of living adjustment.  The University’s more than 1,000 Officers of Administration also received this increase.

On January 1, 2008, all faculty, both Tenure Track and Non-Tenure Track, received an average salary increase of 5%.  This was a merit based salary adjustment.  Officers of Administration also received this increase.

On November 1, 2008, faculty, including both Tenure Track and Non-Tenure Track, received a cost of living salary increase of 4%.  Faculty who held the title Adjunct, at that time, were not eligible for this increase.  Officers of Administration were eligible for a cost of living adjustment of 3.5%.

On May 1, 2011, a large number of market-based equity salary adjustments were made.  Tenure Track faculty received, on the average, a 4.6% salary increase related to external (market) equity.  Although adjunct faculty members were not eligible for this increase, the remaining Non-Tenure Track faculty received an average salary increase of 1.9%.  Officers of Administration received average salary increases of 2.3%.

The University has proposed a three-year salary increase averaging 10.3% for Tenure Track faculty and 11.4% for Non-Tenure Track faculty, including Adjunct faculty. In addition, the University has agreed to regularize promotion increases at a minimum of 6% for Non-Tenure Track faculty and a minimum of 8% for Tenure Track faculty.

The University is committed to recruiting and retaining excellent faculty. The salary proposal currently on the table is a significant investment in our high quality faculty and in the future of the UO.

“United Academics”

Posted on United Academics website, June 10

Claim: “Over the past few months the administration has raised its initial proposal of 5% for Jan. 2013-June 2014 to 10.5 % for Jan. 2013-June 2015. There is still work to be done to get them closer to our proposal of 16 percent for September 2012-June 2015…”

Fact: The University’s proposal has increased because it now covers an additional fiscal year and includes 1% for NTTF salary floors. In April, the University offered increases averaging 10.3% in across-the-board and merit raises effective by July 1, 2014. On June 4, the University added an additional 1% to the NTTF salary pool.

That means the University is continuing to offer an average 10.3 percent increase for tenured faculty and now 11.37% for NTTF.

Claim: “Their chief negotiator claimed that faculty who are making less than their newer colleagues hired at market rates may well not merit the sorts of increases that would bring the university closer to the salaries at other AAU institutions.”

Fact: This claim misstates this conversation at the table, which had nothing to do with AAU parity. Rather, Sharon Rudnick, spokesperson for the University, noted that the Union and the University should begin with a discussion of what “equity” means.  As an example, she suggested that “equity” did not mean pay solely for seniority. Rather, she said that it could be consistent with the definition of “equity” for a more senior faculty member to earn less than a more junior faculty member, if that difference were justified by the latter’s achievements and accomplishments. Mike Mauer, UA spokesperson, expressly agreed with that statement more than once. Not only is there agreement within the University bargaining team on the equity issue, but there is also agreement between the University and the Union.

“Email from United Academics”

Email from United Academics, May 20:

Claim:  “As currently worded, pending legislation does not guarantee representation nor voting rights for faculty, staff, nor students” on institutional boards.

Fact: The above claim is incorrect. Section 6 of Senate Bill 270, the legislation allowing for the Governor to appoint and the Senate to confirm public institutional governing boards at Oregon’s  public universities, requires each university board to include “a student enrolled at the university” who is a voting member of the board.

Section 6 also clearly states a faculty member and the university president will be non-voting board members.

Email from United Academics, Sunday, May 19:

Claim: “To date, faculty who have expressed concern over the future of shared governance at UO have been publicly dismissed by President Gottfredson and rebuffed at the union negotiating table.”

Fact:  President Gottfredson has talked about shared governance with UO faculty on numerous occasions, both formal and informal, including his first speech to the UO Senate on Oct. 11. Most recently, on May 20, Gottfredson answered questions posed by the Faculty Advisory Council and Senate Executive Committee.

The UA email is also off-target in saying that issues surrounding shared governance have been “rebuffed” at the union negotiating table. In fact, the University’s proposal on shared governance reaffirms its important role at the UO.  The University has also made it clear that issues of shared governance that directly relate to conditions of faculty employment – such as tenure and promotion – must be part of the labor contract.

The University does not agree, however, that a labor contract covering only a portion of the faculty is the appropriate mechanism for protecting and strengthening shared governance. Leaving such decisions open for an outside arbitrator to decide neither protects nor strengthens the long tradition of shared governance at the University of Oregon.

Claim: “At the negotiating table, President Gottfredson’s chief spokesperson has admitted that the UO constitution itself in (sic) not enforceable, and could be overturned by a new independent governing board.”

Fact: Sharon Rudnick, an attorney and lead negotiator for the university bargaining team, never declared the constitution unenforceable. Nor did she say it could be overturned by a new, independent governing board.

The proposed legislation establishing a public institutional governing board at the University of Oregon does not change the existing faculty governance structure.

“United Academics’ Reports”

The University also believes that the United Academics’ reports on the sessions have included inaccurate factual statements about University proposals and comments.

United Academics Bargaining Update, Feb. 19 & 21:

Claim: “We were alarmed to see that the administration made an ominous departure from current policy in proposing to eliminate the PTRAC (Promotion, Tenure, Retention Appeal Committee), a Senate committee also called for in the Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs), which our proposal preserves.

Fact: The Oregon Administrative Rules require a grievance process. They do not require the PTRAC process. When presenting its grievance proposal the University stated that we are proposing a single process, rather than having several different processes. This could result in eliminating the existing PTRAC process; however it would not eliminate bargaining unit member’s ability to grieve a violation of the tenure and promotion process. The University is committed to having an effective grievance process for all matters, including tenure and promotion, in the collective bargaining agreement.

Claim: “We find it unfortunate that the administration expends valuable time and money bringing minor issues to the table while we are trying to solve real problems, but we will continue to bring focus back to the important issues before us.”

Fact: By “minor issues” we can only assume the Union is referring to proposed articles dealing with subjects such as Drug and Alcohol Testing and Criminal Background Checks. These are mandatory subjects of bargaining. While we agree that these topics are not the core issues before us, they are topics that must be addressed as we put together a contract. In addition, as a public institution charged with educating students, we believe it is our obligation to have appropriate policies in place to address problems that do arise in these areas.

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