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Faculty Forum Papers

March 1983 Collective Bargaining - Evaluation of Faculty Forum By

R.G Hicks
Civil Engineering (x4273)

February 28, 1983

     I had the opportunity to attend the faculty forum on Thursday, February 24, titled "A Faculty Union at OSU" and came away somewhat confused. Here we are about to vote on the collective bargaining process, but we have no idea what will be contained in the contract. Important issues such as wage scales, work loads and hours, role of faculty in administering research studies, and other equally important items do not appear clear even in the minds of Everett Hanson (President, OSU, AAUP) and Margaret Lumpkin (first Vice President, OSUFA).

     What was particularly disturbing was that when the proponents for collective bargaining were asked if proposed bylaws would be available prior to the election, Professor Hanson said that there wasn't enough time to prepare one. However, Professor Lumpkin stated that if we would like one, she would put one together before the election. If this is the case, it appears to me we are voting on a "pig-in-a-poke" and not a well thought out collective bargaining process.

     Equally disturbing is the continual comparison to existing union contract at Portland State, Western Oregon State, Southern Oregon State, U. of Connecticut, California State University System, and U. of Rhode Island. I would hope that OSU faculty would consider our university to be more prestigious than these universities. Why not make comparisons with universities such as California, Stanford, Texas, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc.? These universities and many others equally distinguished do not participate in collective bargaining.

     Also evident at the meeting was some uncertainty on the actual bargaining process. It appears to me that attorneys (at least on the management side) will be doing the negotiating. The "Faculty Alliance" will not be negotiating with the administration but with attorneys representing the State Board of Higher Education. How can we be assured that OSU will get its fair share of the distributions? Equally important, who will represent the faculty at the bargaining table and how will they be selected? This, too, is not clear.

     I certainly share many of the concerns of the faculty and their pursuit for a "better deal" with the administration. It is clear that many administrators do not relate well to their faculty. This could be because many of them have been away from teaching, research, and scholarly activities so long they do not understand the problems we face, particularly in situations with increasing enrollment and fixed budgets. Perhaps an alternate way of addressing the problem is to require that Deans and Department Heads serve fixed terms. They would be selected from OSU faculty or from faculty outside the university. This should result in a situation where the front line administrators are better aware of the problems and needs of the faculty, since they too will have recently been involved in teaching and scholarly activities. They also would be in a better position to communication these needs to the President. Maybe then the quality of education life at OSU would improve. It is ironic that his procedure is also used at prestigious universities such as California, Stanford, and many of the other previously identified.

     Though there are a number of major problems which need to be addressed at OSU, collective bargaining in my opinion, is not the way to correct them.