A New Year Update from AAUP Oregon

Posted by  Ashley Bromley   in       Jan 14, 2020     314 Views     Leave your thoughts  

Dear AAUP Oregon,

I have four items I hope you will take a few minutes to consider. First, would you please read, consider signing on to, and then share the petition in support of our colleague, Professor Jennifer Freyd. Professor Freyd has been denied an equity claim by the UO. Her case is now supported by the ACLU, the American Association of University Women, and the American Association of University Professors, among others. A legal decision against Professor Freyd will have dramatic and negative consequences across academia and all other professions. You can read more about the legal briefs on behalf of Professor Freyd’s case here.

Second, the 2020 Oregon Legislative Session is near, so let’s win part-time faculty health care. Your AAUP Oregon Legislative Committee wishes to draw your attention to our priority issue: winning subsidized health insurance for faculty who work more than half-time when their hours are aggregated across Oregon’s public universities and community colleges (more here). It’s time to end the unfair practice of denying affordable health insurance to faculty who have their work scattered across the state.

Alongside our Higher Education Coalition partners, AAUP Oregon has pushed to secure affordable health care for these faculty for several years. In 2015, we helped push the Legislature to pass SB 113, which directed the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to convene a workgroup of stakeholders to determine the best method for calculating eligibility based on hours worked across institutions. Through this work, it became clear that providing insurance directly through the institutions would be logistically impossible and cost prohibitive. Instead, our proposed legislation builds off of the current Oregon Education Benefits Board (OEBB) system, so that faculty teaching more than half-time across multiple institutions would qualify for coverage with a 90% premium subsidy for the employee-only premium. The program would be administered by OEBB and funded by the state, with no cost or administrative burden to the colleges and universities.

As the session progresses, we’ll request your support to achieve this win. As a first request, if you or a colleague would be directly affected by the expansion of affordable health insurance to part-time faculty, please get in touch by emailing ashley@aaup-oregon.org. We will need both written and in person testimony to support this legislative effort, and your voice could be an important addition. We anticipate the bill’s hearing will take place in the first week of February, so we need to have stories and availability for testimony set by the final week of January.

Third, if you did not hear the news in December, the anti-PERS ballot measures have been pulled. “I think it’s time for them to stop these corporate-backed attacks on hard-working public employees,” said Patty Wentz, a spokeswoman for the PERS Coalition, which represents several unions. Together, we stand with our allies in the PERS Coalition to preserve fair public pensions and oppose efforts to solve the fiscal challenges of Oregon on the shoulders of retirees. This is good news for AAUP across Oregon. 

Lastly, I hope you will take a few minutes to read this thoughtful report on the Defense of Knowledge, by AAUPs Committee A: it will strike a chord for many who are witnessing the relentless attacks on knowledge and the institutions that produce and share it.

Wishing you well, in solidarity through this new decade,

Michael Dreiling
AAUP Oregon, President
Professor of Sociology, University of Oregon

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