Faculty union strikes tentative deal with University of Oregon

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EUGENE, Ore. - University of Oregon faculty, both tenured and non-tenured positions, may have their first labor contract with the school's administration.

Staff and administrators have tentatively agreed on terms of the contract after months of debate and discussions that began in November 2012.

The new contract will give annual pay raises to faculty for the next two years.

Many professors have not received a salary increase in over a decade.

"This contract over the course of two and half years will give faculty an average salary increase of 11.75 percent," said Prof. Susan Anderson. "This is for some members of the college who have never received a raise, as well as staff that have gone without raises for several years."

The contract also includes additional merit increases for faculty upon promotion or to reward exceptional achievement.

Additionally, non-tenured staff now have increased job security. The university has offered these individuals longer contracts than were previously available

Anderson said that the morale of staff at University of Oregon has been low. This agreement assures staff that they are valued by the University and its leadership.

"It's one of the few contracts in the country where non-tenure related faculty and tenure-related faculty collaborated on a contract," she said.

Provost Scott Coltrane commended staff for working with the University on the deal.

"Both United Academics and the university have really put something on the table that meets everybody's needs," he said. "This contract invests in faculty and really builds excellence here at the University of Oregon."

United Academics, the faculty bargaining union, represents 1,800 faculty members. It will convene on October 8 to ratify the contract.

ADDITIONAL TERMS OF THE CONTRACT (per the United Academic's website)

Investing in faculty. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members would receive an average pay increase totaling 11.9 percent and non-tenure-track faculty members would receive an average pay raise totaling 12.4 percent through fiscal year 2015.

Rewarding excellence. While all faculty members will receive across-the-board increases, the contract includes additional merit increases for faculty upon promotion or to recognize outstanding achievement. Tenured, tenure-track as well as non-tenure-track faculty would receive a minimum 8 percent salary increase upon promotion. Full professors would receive an increase of up to 8 percent at their first post-promotion review. The tentative agreement also ensures the integrity of the promotion and tenure process.

Promoting research. UO policies addressing academic freedom will now specifically include research as well as classroom instruction, reaffirming the principle that faculty must be able to pursue controversial subjects without fear of censorship or retaliation. The tentative contract also compensates faculty on sabbatical with 100 percent of salary during the first quarter, up from 85 percent.

Job security for non-tenured faculty. The university has offered non-tenure-track faculty longer contracts and a specified role in department governance.

PERS "pick-up." The university and the union reached an agreement regarding the 6 percent PERS "pickup" should state law change.

Subsidized health care. Ninety-five percent of the cost of health insurance premiums will be paid by the university for the employee and all dependents.

Tuition discounts for dependents. Faculty already receiving a discounted tuition benefit for one dependent child attending an Oregon state university would qualify for discounted tuition for a second child enrolled in an undergraduate program at the University of Oregon.