Oregon Tech Faculty Responds To Irresponsible Public Communication From Oregon Tech Administration
The following is an Oregon Tech AAUP press release
KLAMATH FALLS, Oregon – The American Association of University Teachers (OT-AAUP) issues the following response to a misleading press release issued by the Oregon Tech Administration on April 9, 2021.
The ILO administration issued a disturbing public communication following the union’s notice of its intention to strike. Professors will step down if a deal is not reached by 6 a.m. on April 26. If OT-AAUP is forced to strike, it will be the first time a public university professor has gone on strike in Oregon history.
“Most press releases don’t require a direct response, but this one does because literally every sentence lacks context, distorts data, distorts faculty intentions, or shames faculty,” CJ Riley said, professor of civil engineering. “We will not put up with this.”
Professors believe the Oregon Tech administration should be held to the same standards of integrity and quantitative literacy as faculty and students, and they believe recent public communications from the administration are insufficient.
The ILO administration declared the deadlock on March 10, triggering a statutory deadline for the exchange of final offers, the continuation of mediation negotiations and the process of calling for a possible strike. This process was not initiated by OT-AAUP; The ILO administration canceled the negotiations the day after its statement, although it offered to meet in addition since that date. The parties have met three times since, have an additional session scheduled this week on 04/15, and have proposed multiple dates until April 26.
The parties have even reached four tentative agreements since the OT-AAUP announced the results of its strike authorization vote on 2/4.
Which faculties are really demanding
Professors are asking for a fair salary compared to professors at other universities nationwide, not a 20% overall salary increase. Contrary to recent public communications from the ILO administration, the average salary of teachers overall all Ranks and disciplines at Oregon Tech in 2020 were just under $ 70,000, according to public data and data presented by the ILO administration during our last bargaining session – a drastically different number from the one they provided in their public communications.
Teachers are also asking for secure benefits, not increased coverage. It is misleading to represent compensation and the cost of benefits in one lump sum, as the ILO administration has done. “You can’t buy a house with your health insurance,” said Franny Howes, associate professor in the Department of Communication. “And teachers shouldn’t be afraid that their health insurance premiums will be changed at any time by their employer.”
Professors are asking for reasonable and clearly defined workloads, not a 20% reduction in work. Currently, only class hours are defined as a workload, despite the fact that professors are required to provide other services to the university, including counseling for students; curriculum development; committee work at departmental, institutional, state and national level; research; other professional development; etc. Professors simply ask to include these important work tasks in their defined workloads.
OT-AAUP will continue to bargain in good faith until an agreement is reached that provides fair compensation, secure benefits, and a reasonable and clearly defined workload for outstanding Oregon Tech faculty.