University reaches agreement with United Academics on proposed bargaining unit

The University announced Tuesday morning that it reached an agreement on the structure of the proposed single-bargaining unit for the faculty union and is putting the union forward to be verified by the Oregon Employment Relations Board. @@[email protected]@

“We have acknowledged from the beginning that our faculty has the right to organize. We did not oppose the organization effort nor did we support it,” Interim President Robert Berdahl said in a statement to the University. “It is ultimately up to the employees themselves and the ERB to determine the bargaining unit.” @@[email protected]@

Three weeks ago the University’s administration put forth objections to the proposed unit, saying that tenure-related faculty — along with a list of other employees — should not be included. These objections forced the ERB to hold a hearing to determine whether or not the proposed unit was in the best interest of the faculty, but now that won’t be necessary.

Provost and Vice President Lorraine Davis said that the objections over tenure faculty being included were concerns that the work the two groups do are too different to put them into the same category. She said that in the end the administration felt that it is the employee’s choice and decided to move forward by approving the proposed unit. @@[email protected]@

“All our objections were based on the steps of the ERB process, but indeed our objections were related to the description of the bargaining unit, particularly as it related to tenure-related faculty, but this is a matter of decision by the employees and the bargaining unit as proposed through the card check process,” Davis said.

The ERB will now tally the check cards signed by faculty and verify that there is a clear majority. Once the union has been confirmed they will be able to move forward and establish bylaws for themselves. According to the press release on the faculty union organization United Academics’ website, the union could be certified in a matter of days. @@

“Their goal was neither to oppose or support, they just wanted to make sure it was the right bargaining unit,” union organizer Scott Pratt said. “From my perspective that is fine, it is expected as part of the process.”

Despite the dropped objections and the progression of the process, there are still those who believe that one bargaining unit is not what is in the best interest of the faculty. Head of the mathematics department Hal Sadofsky said that there is reportedly a large number of faculty who don’t want to be part of the unit. @@*[email protected]@

“As a faculty member, the petitions and polls I’ve seen convince me that the majority of the tenure track and tenured faculty oppose representation by this union,” Sadofsky said. “It will be unfortunate if they are represented by this bargaining unit against their wishes.”

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