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Faculty Forum Papers


THE ISSUE IS GOOD COLLECTIVE BARGAINING



by

Floyd B. McFarland
Department of Economics


March 3, 1983



THE ISSUE IS GOOD COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Our problems have long and complex roots, going back even further than "the good old days" when the Legislature found itself confronting budgetary surpluses. They let the position of Higher Ed slip back then, and it is still slipping. Quality is deteriorating. When we literally "fell off the guage" of comparator schools, administrators of high rank provided us with another scale, so that we are now back into the middle ranks, and anyone who chooses, snoozes. Shall we wait around to see if history really repeats itself?

By no stretch of the imagination is collective bargaining per se going to solve our problems. Only united effort and grim determination put into practice can do that, and only with time. So let us get started. The Oregon economy is going to be somewhere between a mess and a disaster area for the remainder of this decade, it appears, and the legislators are going to dabble grease only to squeaky wheels. If we continue to sit rather meekly, which is really all we can do until we get united, we will get only nice words and a nod of spite or scorn for continuing to play the role of sheep.

University faculty collective bargaining started slowly and with a clouded record of success in the United States, but has surged forward in recent years to include more than half of total faculty in the country. The recent success stories are of importance to us, whereas the early failure are not -- simply because we learn. How to draw upon the most successful experiences, to emulate the good and avoid the bad, clearly is the issue with us. Of course it is true that the very best schools have tended not to turn to collective bargaining. Unfortunately, that is not us; faculties under stress and strain have gone to bargaining in great numbers, and that's us. Yes indeed --- how we all wish that we did not need collective bargaining!

We need to avoid nit-picking issues such as the number of office hours and the like, as Portland State has shown readily can be done, and encourage the U of O to follow our lead. When we get all three Universities of the Oregon System pulling effectively together, and some of the colleges, so that we are not merely making polite requests via a commonplace commercial lobbyist, we will finally succeed. Floyd B. McFarland
Department of Economics
March 3, 1983
Opinions expressed by authors of Faculty Forum articles are not necessarily those of the OSU Faculty or Faculty Senate.