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Oregon faculty, administrators reach agreement on union

Faculty and administrators at the University of Oregon reached an agreement this week on the composition of a faculty union at the university. The faculty organizing group, United Academics, had filed union authorization cards in March, and the University of Oregon administration then filed a broad range of objections to the proposed bargaining unit.

The administration and the faculty were able to resolve the objections, and the university will recognize the faculty union, making hearings and legal delays unnecessary. The union, which will be affiliated with the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers, will include more than 1,800 tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty, adjunct instructors, research associates and assistants, and postdoctoral scholars.

The authorization cards filed March 13 by United Academics with the Oregon Employment Relations Board included a clear majority of faculty in all classifications of faculty to be represented. Among the many research universities in the western United States, United Academics will be the largest integrated bargaining unit of tenure-related and nontenure-related faculty.

"This agreement and subsequent certification pave the way for UO tenure-related and nontenure-track faculty—working together—to have a more substantive voice in refocusing our university on the core mission of teaching and research," says Scott Pratt, professor of philosophy.

"We now have the official means to negotiate and collectively bargain for better working conditions, transparency and accountability. This will improve the learning conditions of our students," says Tina Boscha, instructor of English.

Michael Dreiling, associate professor of sociology, says faculty on the union's organizing committee "appreciate the UO administration's good faith effort to reach this agreement, avoid unnecessary delays and move forward to our first negotiations." [UA Oregon press release]

April 27, 2012