WOU Faculty Negotiations

Home » 2017 WOUFT CBA Negotiations Archive

Meeting Dates:

All Meetings will be held in Hamersly Library, Room 107, 5:00 PM

  • Monday, February 6, 2017
  • Thursday, February 16, 2017
  • Monday, February 27, 2017
  • Thursday, March 2, 2017
  • Thursday, March 16, 2017
  • Monday, April 10, 2017
  • Monday, April 17, 2017
  • Monday, April 24, 2017
  • Monday, May 1, 2017
  • Monday, May 8, 2017
  • Monday, May 15, 2017
  • Monday, May 22, 2017

 

Meeting Recaps

February 6, 2017 Meeting Recap:

On February 6, 2017 representatives from the University and WOUFT met for the parties’ first bargaining session to negotiate a successor agreement to the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire on July 1, 2017.  Decided beforehand, the parties elected to use the opening bargaining session to welcome each other and provide the opportunity for each group to hold the floor for presentations of their general perspectives and concerns.

Among many others, lead representatives for the Union – Dr. Mark Perlman, WOUFT President, and Dr. Bryan Dutton, Lead Negotiator for WOUFT – provided summary presentations on the Union’s positions.  For the University, Dr. Rex Fuller, WOU President, shared the school’s interest in finding common ground on the Union’s issues, solving inefficiencies born out of the existing agreement’s language, and the challenges the University faces in positively managing the impact of Oregon’s significant budgetary changes.

The parties closed the session pledging to positively engage the bargaining process and to diligently work toward resolution of an agreement.

February 16, 2017 Meeting Recap:

On February 16, 2017, representatives from WOU and WOUFT met to exchange and discuss first proposals for renewal of their collective bargaining agreement currently set to expire on July 1, 2017.  During the bargaining session, both parties provided proposals for amended language relating to the Agreement’s Article 7, “Assignment of Duties.”  The University’s proposed language can be found here. The issues the University’s proposals were drafted to address were 1) increased opportunity for curricular/course development by faculty; 2) issues of clarity; and 3) the establishment of shared responsibility between the University and the faculty for tracking each faculty member’s credit bank.

After fielding clarifying questions from the other party, the groups entered caucus to further discuss the proposals internally.  Following caucus, WOU and WOUFT continued to discuss and clarify the proposals.  The parties concluded the bargaining session after several hours without agreement on any proposed language but with the understanding that they would reconvene at the next bargaining session having considered the proposals.  The parties will hold their next bargaining session at 5:00pm on Monday, February 27, 2017.

February 27, 2017 Meeting Recap:

On February 27, 2017, representatives from WOUFT and the University met to continue bargaining over the terms and conditions of a new collective bargaining agreement to succeed the current agreement, which is set to expire on July 1, 2017.

During the meeting the University proposed slight changes to the language of Article 22: Faculty Development, found here.  These slight language changes mirror portions of the language proposed on February 16, 2017, related to Article 7 and are intended to maintain consistency between the two clauses.

WOUFT presented proposals related to Article 2: Definitions; Article 7: Assignment of Duties; Article 24: Online Teaching; and Article 22: Faculty Development.

In response to the proposals presented by the parties on February 16, 2017, the University declined the following proposals from WOUFT:

  • Article 20.  WOUFT’s proposal related to waiving the full cost of membership to the WOU Health and Wellness Center for faculty.  The University declined, citing in part, significant financial constraints; the standard reflected by other Oregon state universities; and the maintenance of equity throughout the University’s faculty, staff and student body in requiring a fee for use of the Center;
  • Article 24.  WOUFT’s proposal related to the University’s policy on intellectual property.  The University declined on the permissive subject of bargaining, citing maintenance of the Administration’s right to create and apply an intellectual property policy applicable to all university employees; and
  • Article 7. WOUFT’s proposal related to removing the graduate faculty exemption from credit banking for leadership of individually designed courses.  The University declined, citing the teaching load relief already granted to graduate faculty by Article 7, Section 4.A.2.a of the current agreement.

The University left open for further discussion, the remainder of WOUFT’s proposals on Article 24 and Article 7 citing further investigation into the impacts of the requests.

WOUFT, for its part declined the University’s proposals as written.

WOUFT and the University are set to continue bargaining on March 2, 2017.

March 1 and March 2, 2017 Meeting Recaps:

On March 1, 2017, WOU bargaining representatives and President Rex Fuller presented the leadership of WOUFT with a one-year package proposal intended to address several concerns shared by the University and the Union while mitigating the budget shortfalls that may come from the Oregon legislature.  By including within the proposal favorable economic enhancements and key non-economic improvements, the University hopes to safely bridge both parties past the considerable uncertainty facing Oregon’s higher education community.

Under the terms of the one-year proposal, certain language in the existing collective bargaining agreement would be amended or removed in exchange for the corresponding terms stated within the package proposal.  All current language not addressed by the one-year proposal would remain as currently written.  The one-year proposal would become effective on July 1, 2017 and expire on June 30, 2018.  The full proposal can be found here.

The proposal offered by WOU establishes the following:

  1. The creation of a new Labor-Management Committee.  Under the terms of the proposal, the parties would agree to create a labor-management committee intended to identify, investigate and discuss issues the University and the Union believe to be key to their relationship, the health of the parties and the University.  WOU believes that by creating such a cooperative body, the parties will be better able to uncover important facts related to the issues, understand with greater clarity the challenges posed by those issues, and together work to find possible solutions.  The labor-management committee is not proposed by WOU to supplant the bargaining process.  Rather, the committee is intended to prepare the parties for more informed and more fruitful bargaining.
  2. The opportunity for three-year contracts for the University’s Non-Tenure Track Faculty.  As written, the University would replace current language that provides certain established non-tenure track faculty with a letter of intent for reappointment with the opportunity to receive a three-year contract.  The new language promises the University’s established non-tenure track faculty with the opportunity to receive a commitment from the Administration that promotes stability for the faculty member and the University’s students.
  3. A competitive salary increase.  The package proposal offers an average of a 2% salary increase to the faculty’s step structure and a similar increase for eligible Lecturers, Instructors and certain Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professors.
  4. The maintenance of status quo on Health/Dental Insurance and Faculty Development Funds.  The contract offered to WOUFT maintains current levels of health and dental benefits as well as funds dedicated to faculty development.

WOU’s one-year proposal expires on March 10, 2017, as the parties will need to continue bargaining at a pressing pace in order to reach agreement on a new contract by July 1, 2017, the date of expiration of the current CBA.

On March 2, 2017, representatives from the WOU and WOUFT met to further discuss the one-year proposal.  WOU was prepared and indeed answered several questions related to the contract offer.  WOU further offered WOUFT the ability to clarify any further questions it had prior to March 10th by direct contact with the University’s bargaining team

March 13, 2017 Meeting Recap:

On Monday March 13, 2017, WOUFT presented WOU with a one-year proposal in response to the University’s proposal from March 1st.  The University’s March 1, 2017 proposal can be found here.

On March 16, 2017, representatives from WOU met with the WOUFT bargaining team and rejected the Union’s March 13th proposal.  At that time the University exchanged a second, one-year contract offer that incorporated a number of the proposals WOUFT made in its March 13 offer. WOU’s most recent proposal from March 16 can be viewed here.  WOU has asked that WOUFT respond to this proposal by April 10, 2017.

April 10, 2017 Meeting Recap:

On April 10, 2017 representatives from the University and WOUFT met to continue bargaining over language to a successor collective bargaining agreement.  The groups last met on March 16, 2017 at which time the University presented the Union with its second iteration of a one-year contract package proposal.

Prior to the 16th, WOUFT and WOU met on several occasions attempting to craft language for a one-year package proposal that would allow the parties to transcend the significant challenges of Oregon’s budget crisis.  For its part, during these sessions, the University was clear to communicate to WOUFT that its principal interest was to positively recognize faculty through reasonable wage increases and the maintenance of other benefits.  The University conveyed that a one-year package proposal was a unique approach to arrive at some stability for the upcoming year as factors, such as state appropriation and the enrollment picture, emerged.  A longer term agreement and other interests addressed by the full CBA, the University stated, would be best negotiated under more certain conditions.

Under this belief, on March 16th WOU offered WOUFT a one-year package proposal that included, among other things, the following:

  1. A 2% wage increase to all faculty covered by the WOU-WOUFT collective bargaining agreement;
  2. Augmented faculty office hours to require only one of the five hours of “student consultation” be scheduled on-campus;
  3. An automatic extension of the tenure-clock for new parents;
  4. Reassignment for innovative or curriculum creation or revision;
  5. Multiple year contracts for certain NTT faculty; and
  6. The creation of a Labor/Management Committee.

WOU’s March 16th one-year package offer can be found HERE.

Despite offering the benefit of these changes, the desire for a focused one-year package agreement, and conveying the clear and demonstrated duress of the University budget, WOUFT continued to propose  language changes for more than ten different articles, twenty-seven different sections or subsections and the creation of completely new contractual language.

Due to WOUFT’s insistence on broad changes, that in some instances caused additional economic impact, WOU decided that giving the Union’s posture full consideration required negotiation over the full contract and a longer term.

Though disappointed by the failure to reach agreement on a one-year package deal to buy relief in such a rough economic climate, representatives of the University remained at the bargaining table to hear the concerns of WOUFT and answer questions before adjourning the session.  Bargaining will resume no later than April 24, 2017.

April 24, 2017 Meeting Recap

On Monday, April 24, 2017, representatives from WOU and WOUFT met to continue bargaining over a successor agreement to the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire June 30, 2017.

During the groups’ last meeting on April 10, 2017, WOUFT rejected a one-year package proposal from WOU that included, among other things, a 2% wage increase in the 2017-2018 contract year, the maintenance of current benefit levels, the opportunity for 3-year contracts for non-tenure track faculty, and reassignment for faculty developing technologically innovative courses/coursework.  WOU proposed this one-year package in order to navigate the significant budget shortfall within Oregon and the impact it promises to have on WOU.  Ultimately, on the 10th WOU discontinued discussions with WOUFT on a one-year package, citing the Union’s insistence on the inclusion of language that would obligate the University to greater recurring economic costs and the relinquishing of rights traditionally left to the University.

As promised by the University on April 10, 2017, the University proposed a “Global” agreement that collected language on all issues and articles it intended to pursue through the remaining negotiations.  The University’s “Global” proposal can be viewed HERE.  Generally, the University’s proposal offers, among other things, a contract with the following:

  1. A 3-year term reflective of the guidance given by the Oregon State Legislature’s Ways and Mean Co-Chairs on April 21, 2017 found HERE;
  2. A 1% wage increase in the ’17-’18 and ’18-’19 contract years, and a wage re-opener in the ’19-’20 contract year;
  3. An opportunity for 3-year contracts for non-tenure track faculty;
  4. Changed language to permit the University to be more competitive in its pursuit of new faculty;
  5. The elimination of the current credit-banking system in lieu of a system of annual payout for SCH over a full annual workload;
  6. The establishment of a Labor-Management Committee to address workplace issues; and
  7. The opportunity for tenure track faculty who become new parents during the tenure clock to gain an automatic year-long extension to that period.

WOU offered this proposal looking to respond to interests it understands WOUFT to have, while recognizing the continued economic hardship within the state budget.

During the April 24, 2017 bargaining session, WOU and WOUFT were able to tentatively agree on language concerning 1) new parents and the tenure clock; 2) the establishment of a Labor-Management Committee; and 3) re-vamped office-hour requirements for all faculty.  WOU hopes that these steps forward continue to propel the groups toward a full agreement prior to the expiration of the current contract.

The groups will meet again on May 1, 2017.

May 1, 2017 Meeting Recap

On May 1, 2017, representatives from WOU and WOUFT met again to continue bargaining over a new collective bargaining agreement to take effect July 1, 2017.  A week earlier, the WOU bargaining team presented WOUFT with its “global” proposal intended to speak to all issues of University interest in one document.  WOU’s April 24, 2017 Global proposal can be found HERE.

The parties opened the session with WOU requesting additional bargaining dates beyond the last date currently scheduled on May 22, 2017.  WOU noted that there are only three more dates currently scheduled and that it was the responsibility of the parties to continue uninterrupted bargaining past the 22nd.  After caucus, WOUFT declined to provide WOU with future bargaining dates, stating that it was the Union’s belief that a new agreement could achieved in the remaining bargaining sessions.  WOU restated its request to set future dates, but acknowledged the groups common interest in finding agreement on a contract by May 22nd.

Despite the disagreement above, the parties were able to tentatively agree on three separate proposals: one originating in WOU’s global proposal attached above, and two provided by WOUFT during the session.  Principal among these tentative agreements is language originating in WOU’s proposal on changes Article 11, Section 6, providing certain non-tenure track faculty with the security of 3-year employment contracts.   The parties also tentatively agreed to slight, clarifying changes to Article 8, Sections 6 and 7; and Article 11, Section 5.

At the close of the session, WOUFT stated that it intended to provide WOU with its full proposal during the next bargaining session on May 8, 2017.

May 8, 2017 Meeting Recap

On May 8, 2017, WOU and WOUFT met to continue bargaining over the terms of a successor collective bargaining agreement for University faculty to become effective July 1, 2017.  The groups spent the session clarifying WOUFT’s proposal presented to WOU the previous Friday, May 5, 2017.  The parties will continue bargaining on May 15, 2017