Potential Strike at Oregon Tech, Plus Critical Updates!

Posted by  AAUP Oregon   in       Apr 6, 2021     368 Views     Leave your thoughts  

Oregon Tech Faculty Call for Strike!

Our faculty colleagues at Oregon Tech have voted to authorize a potential strike, facing a deeply intransigent anti-union administration. 

After over 500 days of negotiations, 92% of faculty voters have voted to authorize the strike. The faculty are united in their calls for a fair contract, and are ready to take action to secure one. AAUP Oregon members from across Oregon should be ready to stand in solidarity with our colleagues from Oregon Tech as they continue their struggle for fair compensation and protections from arbitrary workload increases.

You can send Oregon Tech President Nagi Naganathan a letter demanding they settle a fair contract now.

Follow Oregon Tech AAUP on Facebook and Twitter if you haven’t already to get the most timely updates as the negotiations continue.

Read the full statement from Oregon Tech AAUP here.

We will have more specific ways that you can help Oregon Tech AAUP members and faculty as the situation develops.

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Sign AAUP Oregon’s Petition!

Oregon Tech is the latest example of a worrying anti-union trend in Oregon higher education. Whether at the bargaining table, with internal communications, or in the courts, administrators across the state are trying to erode union rights and attack our shared governance. Amid this costly debilitating pandemic, university leaders across the state have hired high-priced anti-union attorneys to attack their faculty union’s every move and offer legal arguments which undermine shared governance.

That’s why AAUP Oregon is calling on Governor Kate Brown and our other elected leaders to remind the administrations across the state of their responsibility to protect faculty governance and honor the rights of faculty and other academic workers.

Sign our petition urging Governor Kate Brown to remind university leaders of the importance of Oregon’s labor rights and long standing faculty shared governance.

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Save the Date! AAUP Oregon Annual Meeting, A New Deal for Higher Education

The AAUP-Oregon Annual Conference will be held on Saturday, May 1, 10am-1pm via Zoom. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend!

Our Annual Conference brings together AAUP-Oregon members and allies to coordinate our statewide efforts in support of academic workers and quality higher education. This work has never been more important than it is at this moment!

Our focus this year will be on the “New Deal for Higher Education (NDHE): Oregon and the Nation.”

Following decades of defunding of higher education and the accompanying corporatization of colleges and universities, the AAUP, in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers, has launched the New Deal for Higher Education campaign for large-scale reform of our public system of higher education. The campaign seeks to reclaim higher education as a public good by reinstating a viable funding model while addressing tuition costs, institutional funding, and student debt relief.

Faculty leaders and activists from Oregon and California and representatives from the Oregon State Legislature will guide our discussions and explorations for moving this campaign forward in Oregon and the nation.

Breakout Rooms will focus on key Oregon campus problems we can organize around and tie into the NDHE.

Join us on May 1st to help build the voice of Oregon’s academic workers to protect our jobs, our students, our universities, and our futures!

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Important Legislative Updates

HECC Voting Rights

HB 2873/SB712 amends the HECC to include crucial graduate employee voices to the oversight board. This has been a crucial AAUP Oregon priority the past few sessions and has been derailed by Republican walk outs. In addition, while Faculty have consistently voted in decision-making processes, this legislation makes it a de jure rather than de facto guarantee faculty will vote (a total of 5 non-voting positions will become voting in addition to the grad student rep). You can also see the strong support from legislators on this important issue for us: Chief Sponsors are Senator Dembrow and Gelser and Representative Evans; Regular Sponsors include Senators Golden, Gorsek, and Prozanski and Representatives Alonso Leon, McLain, Noose, Ruize, Weber, and Wilde.

Part-time Faculty Healthcare

HB 2988 is similar to HB 3007 and SB 551 and creates a program which allows part-time faculty working at public institutions to purchase subsidized health insurance from the state’s public health insurance programs. AAUP Oregon has made this a legislative priority for several consecutive sessions and is committed to expanding health care coverage to faculty at public institutions. While this simple piece of legislation seems like an “easy” one, there are considerable roadblocks keeping this Bill from becoming a reality. Fortunately, we have a strong family of collaborators and comrades strategizing a final push for this much-needed legislative action to support our part-time faculty, especially as we’ve seen the weight they’ve carried over the years, including and especially during Covid.

The Board of Trustees Bill

SB 854 is needed to address the shortcomings and failures that we’ve witnessed in the system of independent boards at Oregon’s public universities. For years, these boards have failed to bring transparency and accountability to the administration of public universities (witness the latest fiasco at OSU); worse, the boards have failed to bring the kind of oversight that enhances the public mission of these cherished institutions. The bill will require the presence of a wider range of authentic public higher education stakeholders on those boards, thereby assuring that the mission of our great public universities is upheld and endures. You can read more at the link below, but here are some highlights:

  • More, official, input from faculty and students on Board Nominees for the Governor to consider in their recommendations to the Legislature.
  • More transparency by and accessibility to Board members.
  • Prohibits secretary of governing board from also being a member of administration of public university, aka, checks and balances stay in check and balanced.
  • Stronger appeals process for Board decisions

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/SB854

Our work on the legislative front is never easy, despite the strong support of primarily Democratic legislators committed to fair and equitable education for all and fair and equitable labor practices. Indeed, given the swing nationally, AAUP-OR and AAUP are committed to taking advantage of the moment we’re in. We all know we can’t wait any longer to make Higher Education live up to its meaning, to make higher ed actually accessible to all, and to make sure we faculty can best do what they do: produce and disseminate knowledge meaningful to the values so many of us hold. To that end, we welcome you to learn more about how to participate in The New Deal for Higher Ed, a national campaign to support Higher Ed so it can thrive to be what it needs to be in this time, a place to think and enact much needed justice reform for our greater society.

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In Solidarity,

Michael Dreiling
President
AAUP Oregon

Avinnash Tiwari
Vice President – Political Action
AAUP Oregon

Carl Bybee
Vice President – Communications
AAUP Oregon

About  

The Oregon State Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP Oregon) is the state-level organization of the AAUP. The Conference’s mission is to advance the collective interests of affiliated AAUP Collective Bargaining and Advocacy chapters, the principles and practices of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the overall interests of higher education faculty in Oregon through the promotion of excellence in higher education as an investment in Oregon’s future.

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