Letters to the EditorOpinion

Letter: Faculty union might contradict University ideals



In a Letter to the Editor on April 16, University professor Jane Cramer aimed criticism at University President Berdahl, claiming that he is anti-union and undemocratic in his efforts to negotiate with the State Labor Board about the conditions of the formation of a faculty union at University. @@http://www.uoregon.edu/findpeople/person/jane*[email protected]@ @@http://uoregon.edu/findpeople/person/robert*[email protected]@ @@https://dailyemerald.com/2012/04/16/letter-university-administrators-actions-violate-democratic-ideas/@@

What the letter failed to mention is that a large number of University faculty believe that unionizing the faculty goes against the very idea of a major research university, which traditionally places high value on the individuality of faculty. Professor Cramer failed to mention that more than 320 University faculty legitimately signed a petition declaring that tenure-related faculty should not be included in a union that also represents part-time nontenure-related instructors and researchers.

The petition organizers, after a careful accounting, report that this is 42% of active tenure-related faculty. The reason for this declaration is that tenure-related faculty often are the supervisors of those employees, and are meant to be the academic leaders of the institution, and so have different job priorities and responsibilities than the others.

It is not true, as implied in Cramer’s letter, that Portland State’s union covers all these groups: at Portland State there is a separate union for instructors working less than half time, whereas the proposed union for University would include all faculty and instructors. There is no reason to believe that President Berdahl is anti-union. It makes sense to ensure that any union that is formed serves the academic mission of the University.

Michael Raymer
University professor


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