Oregon State University is committed to working productively with United Academics of Oregon State University (UAOSU), the exclusive bargaining representative of OSU’s academic faculty.
This website is offered by the university to provide ongoing information as UAOSU and the university work to establish a collective bargaining agreement for all OSU teaching and research faculty with rank, as well as postdoctoral scholars and those academic faculty on academic wage appointments.
We began meeting with UAOSU in November. This is UAOSU and OSU’s first collective bargaining agreement, and we anticipate it will take some time for the process to be completed. We are committed to a productive and timely process.
We believe Oregon State’s mission as a leading land grant research university will be advanced by working collaboratively with UAOSU, other bargaining units represented throughout the university, the Faculty Senate, student government on our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, all faculty, staff and students, and university stakeholders.
Please continue to visit this website for updates regarding academic faculty union bargaining matters.
Provost and Executive Vice President
Oregon State University is committed to collaboratively, accountably, prudently and transparently reaching a collective bargaining agreement with United Academics of Oregon State University that:
- Supports the university’s land grant mission and values as Oregon’s statewide university;
- Supports the recruitment, retention and success of excellent faculty engaged in OSU teaching, research, and outreach and engagement;
- Takes into account the tuition burden borne by students and their families to pay increasingly more for their higher education while state financial support declines and employee benefit costs increase;
- Allows the university’s operations to remain financially sustainable;
- Aligns with university priorities, such as Strategic Plan 4.0; and
- Takes into account university responsibilities to invest in and provide safe, resilient and improved university teaching, research, and outreach and engagement facilities.
University Labor & Bargaining Team
University Bargaining Team
Heather Horn is assistant provost for academic employee and labor relations and serves as OSU's lead negotiator. Prior to joining Oregon on Feb. 28, 2019, she worked in labor and employee relations at the University of Illinois at both the Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses.
Steph Bernell is associate dean of the Graduate School. She has taught over 80 courses at Oregon State, primarily in the areas of health policy and health economics.
Peter Betjemann is an associate professor of English and director of the School of Writing, Literature and Film in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. He teaches U.S. literature, specializing in the timeframe of 1789-1900.
Sherm Bloomer is director of the Office of Budget and Fiscal Planning and a professor of geology and geophysics. He oversees development of OSU’s Education and General Fund budget, fiscal planning and tuition rate projections. Previously, he served as dean of the College of Science and taught undergraduate and graduate students for 22 years.
Viki Dimick Jackson is OSU’s employee and labor relations manager in the Office of Human Resources. Since 2011, she has served the university in both departmental and business center human resources.
Academic Labor Relations
The university’s policies and practices pertaining to academic employees are overseen by the Office of Faculty Affairs under the leadership of Senior Vice Provost Susan Capalbo in collaboration with the Office of Human Resources. Heather Horn, assistant provost for academic employee and labor relations, is responsible for contract administration to support academic employees, union representatives, supervisors, managers and administrators. Horn is the primary contact for administrative leaders, such as department heads, school directors and deans, seeking guidance on how faculty union negotiations and subsequent contract agreements may affect the management of academic employees. Horn also assists academic employees, who may have questions and concerns about employment matters.
An executive team of senior university leaders advises the president, provost, vice president for finance and administration and the university’s bargaining team as negotiations proceed.
The Parties resumed bargaining by confirming that the Parties will hold a negotiation session at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport on Sept. 10.
The United Academics bargaining team began the meeting by asking questions related to the three proposals the University bargaining team presented at the last session. The first questions sought clarity around the Grievance article. The Union asked whether the University had intentionally specified “designated officials” of the Union as the allowed representatives at Grievance proceedings, to which the University responded affirmatively. Because matters discussed in grievances often include confidential personnel information, the University team shared that it is important to have confirmation from United Academics that the person participating in the meeting is there in an official capacity. In addition, UAOSU requested that the University bargaining team details why the University’s proposal excludes grievances alleging discrimination from going to an outside arbitrator. University bargaining team members shared that these matters, if contested externally, are most appropriately not handled by a general arbitrator, but by the trained experts in this area working within the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Next, UAOSU posed questions related to those sections of the Arbitration proposal that focused on limitations to the arbitrator’s ability to award back pay. These questions revealed that United Academics was seeking to include benefits as an item that the arbitrator could award. Additionally, United Academics asked for more clarification about how costs would be distributed in the event that the parties reach a settlement. University bargaining team members expressed their understanding of United Academics’ request for more clarity, and indicated the University’s willingness to consider counter language in this section.
Remaining questions from UAOSU concerned the Discipline and Termination article. United Academics asked about language within OSU’s proposal allowing the University to make work assignment determinations for a bargaining unit member during an investigation. The University’s bargaining team responded that it is sometimes necessary to modify work assignments for an employee based on the nature of the allegations. Members of the United Academics bargaining team confirmed their understanding of this position. Their last question was focused on the language regarding the proposed process that the University would follow should a bargaining unit member abandon their job. United Academics sought confirmation about how the University would define the word “absent.” The Parties agreed that bargaining unit members on an active contract would need to be available should there be work-related responsibilities that needed to be accomplished. The University bargaining team also acknowledged the unique nature of the work performed by the bargaining unit members and recognized that there would be times when a bargaining unit member, with communication to their supervisor, might be traveling and unable to be as responsive as is customary. Both Parties agreed that the language is meant to address a situation wherein a bargaining unit member has functionally abandoned their position and their work. United Academics bargaining team members expressed their appreciation for the conversation and clarity about the proposed language.
Finally, the University bargaining team offered a counterproposal on the Personnel Records (Files) article. The proposal referenced “personnel records” as the broader term, covering personnel files, and also included language being sought by United Academics addressing (1) a bargaining unit member’s ability to add comments, explanation or rebuttals into their personnel records; (2) a bargaining unit member’s ability to petition for removal of a document from their personnel records. Members of the United Academics bargaining team shared their continued desire to cite both “personnel files” and “personnel records” in the proposal. They said they will provide a counter proposal for the University bargaining team’s consideration at a future session.
The Parties are set to bargain again on Aug. 21 from noon to 4 p.m.
The Parties opened the bargaining session by discussing the upcoming confirmed bargaining dates, and continue to work toward identifying a mutually agreeable date that will allow for a future bargaining session to be held at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.
United Academics opened by presenting a counterproposal on the Personnel Files article. The Union’s proposal seeks to include reference to both personnel files and to personnel records because Union bargaining team members state that, in their review of the law and university policies, it would appear that the two words are used interchangeably. The University’s bargaining team indicated that “personnel records” is the umbrella term that covers personnel files, so there is not a need to include both terms. In addition, United Academics is requesting the inclusion of “files and records relating to discipline.” The University shared its hesitation with such broad language given that this could contain confidential information, and thus decisions about what information should be shared need to be made on a case-by-case basis.
Next, the University bargaining team offered a package proposal containing three articles: Discipline and Termination, Grievances, and Arbitration. The first article shared was Discipline and Termination. The Parties agree to the principles of just cause when considering the need to address the poor performance or conduct of a bargaining unit member and further recognize the principles of progressive discipline, when appropriate. The University’s proposal offered both informal and formal mechanisms to address conduct and/or performance matters. In addition, the proposal asserted the right of a bargaining unit member to be accompanied by a union representative in a meeting that may result in discipline. The final section of the proposed article presented a process that the University would follow should a bargaining unit member abandon their job. Given that much of the work performed by bargaining unit members involves teaching, research, and mentorship, it is important to have the ability to act quickly when a bargaining unit member does not intend to return to work and coverage for classes or research laboratories is required.
The next article proposal offered by the University addressed Grievances. This proposal sought to acknowledge an alternative grievance procedure for complaints of discrimination. As in United Academics’ proposal, the University’s proposal transitions the given matter to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access for investigation. In addition, the University’s proposal offered three formal levels of review within OSU: by the supervisor, by a Dean/Director, and by the Provost. The University bargaining team said it is hoped that most matters will be addressed first informally and resolved in the initial discussions.
Finally, the University’s bargaining team offered an Arbitration article. Should a grievant not be satisfied with the reviews conducted at the previous steps, the arbitration proposal affords them the right to further appeal the matter to an external arbitrator. The article details how the two parties would work together to select an arbitrator; how the hearing would be conducted; the authority of the arbitrator, and how costs related to this process would be determined.
To conclude the bargaining session, members of United Academics bargaining team asked clarifying questions about the three proposals and indicated that they would have further questions at the next bargaining next session, which is scheduled to be held Aug. 15 from noon to 4 p.m.
The University bargaining team opened by indicating that Heather Horn will now be serving as the lead negotiator, and by giving a brief summary on her labor and employee relations background. We also shared that Steph Bernell, Associate Dean in the Graduate School, will be joining the University bargaining team.
The Parties then discussed and agreed to transition away from the Saturday bargaining sessions. The Parties agreed to seek alternative times during the work week for half-day sessions, recognizing that the full-day bargaining session in Bend may need to be maintained given the length of the drive. In addition, the Parties are still finalizing plans for the session to be held at Newport.
The University bargaining team offered a written counterproposal on the No Strike, No Lockout article, which very closely mirrored United Academic’s last written proposal on this article. This counterproposal prompted a discussion between the Parties about how employees should be referred to in the written proposals exchanged during bargaining. The University bargaining team requested to use “bargaining unit members” until such time that the Parties have reached a tentative agreement on all of the contract articles. At that time, we would be willing to revisit whether there is a desire to use a different term to refer to the employees who are represented by this contract. The Union expressed an appreciation for the open discussion and agreed to use the general terminology until the end of the bargaining process. After a brief caucus, the Union indicated their agreement with the proposal and the Parties signed a Tentative Agreement on this article.
The University bargaining team presented a written counterproposal on the Distribution of the Agreement article. The counterproposal indicated our willingness to post the contract online, after its full ratification, and to notify the Union once this task had been completed. We further indicated that the University does have a shared interest in notifying an employee, within their offer letter, that the position is represented by the UAOSU, and that we think this language is more appropriately placed in the article that discusses appointments and reappointments. The University bargaining team declined to agree to the printing of copies for United Academics and, instead, offered that we should consider updating the title of the article to “Electronic Availability of Agreement,” in recognition of how most people will access the contract. After multiple exchanges on this article, the Parties signed a Tentative Agreement on this article, which will be titled Availability of the Agreement.
The third written counterproposal that the University bargaining team presented was on the Savings article. This is another article on which, in principle, the Parties were very close to agreement. The purpose of the Savings article is to confirm that if one provision of the collective bargaining agreement is rendered unenforceable, or if there is contest as to whether or not a provision might be rendered unenforceable, then the remainder of the contract remains intact and enforceable. The Parties signed an additional Tentative Agreement on this article.
The University bargaining team also presented a fourth written counterproposal on the Labor Management Meeting/Consultations article. The Parties agree about the importance of building a strong relationship, and that these meetings are an important step toward ensuring that the “operationalizing” of the contract is consistent with the Parties’ understanding of the agreed-upon language. United Academics asked some clarifying questions about how many participants could be included in these meetings, about the frequency of the meetings, and about the purpose of the agenda being shared before each meeting. After this conversation, the parties broke for lunch and caucus. Subsequently, after multiple written exchanges, the Parties signed a Tentative Agreement on this article.
To conclude the day, the University bargaining team presented a fifth written counterproposal on the Non-Discrimination article. The University expressed its understanding that the Union is seeking to expand the overall number of protected categories. The University bargaining team highlighted that there are federally recognized protected categories, as well as a more expansive list within Oregon law. The University’s proposal affirmatively condemns discrimination on “any other basis protected by law,” ensuring that the contract can be uniformly enforced under legal precedent as it stands and as it evolves. Finally, the University bargaining team shared that OSU’s proposal constituted a response to United Academics’ stand-alone proposal on the Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination article. Specifically, the University Bargaining Team affirmed that the insights and experience of the faculty are integral to understanding how OSU’s processes can continue to be improved. The University’s proposal therefore provided for an annual meeting between the represented faculty and representatives from the Office of Faculty Affairs, Equal Opportunity and Access, and the Office of Institutional Diversity. United Academics indicated its appreciation for the proposal and shared the Union would review its position on the Non-Discrimination article, as well as the Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination article.
The Parties are set to negotiate again on August 13th from noon-3pm.
The University and the Union bargaining teams met on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, and signed tentative agreements on the Parties to the Agreement and Notices articles. While these are two standard contract articles, the two teams continue to make progress in this inaugural bargaining process.
The OSU bargaining team presented the University’s existing commitment to Academic Freedom, in response to the Union’s proposal on Academic Freedom. The University shared that its Academic Freedom statement is specific to OSU, has provided a solid framework for the OSU academic community to utilize when reviewing matters, was reaffirmed by Faculty Senate, and even embodied in one of the Senate’s resolutions. The joint statement reinforces that “… it is ultimately our values and our culture that will insure the integrity of OSU as a public institution serving in the best interests of society.” The University bargaining team expressed OSU’s interest in the inclusion of an academic freedom article within the collective bargaining agreement and further stated the University’s appreciation for the Union’s bargaining team’s examples that provided additional context for some of the specifics being requested within the Union’s proposal. The University bargaining team shared that OSU would further consider the specific examples, and would be prepared in a future bargaining session to continue to discuss this important topic.
The Union bargaining team presented a counterproposal on the Grievance article. The University’s bargaining team posed some questions related to the timeframes the Union has requested in its proposal. Specifically, the Union proposal seeks to extend the initial timeframe to submit a grievance through the primary grievance process, as well as increase the timeframe for a grievant to file an alleged discrimination claim through a newly proposed process by which a matter would be investigated through the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. The University’s bargaining team will discuss the requests, as submitted in this most recent counterproposal, and respond to the Union in a future session.
The next bargaining session is Saturday, July 27, 2019.
The University and Union bargaining teams met on Friday, June 28, 2019. The University bargaining team engaged the Union in a discussion about its proposed article on Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination. The University bargaining team shared that it must consider all of OSU’s compliance obligations regarding investigation of these claims. However, the University bargaining team said OSU recognizes that the process issues raised by the Union, including investigation times and communications regarding investigations, are a concern. The University bargaining team informed the Union team that OSU has reviewed the internal investigation processes involving reports of sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination, and is beginning to implement changes to improve these processes, and discussed ways the Union can provide information that may contribute to improvements.
The University also addressed proposals from the Union regarding a Hiring Article that applied to individuals applying for employed within the university. The University acknowledged that the Union acts as the exclusive bargaining representative of the members of the faculty bargaining unit, however, shared that since applicants are not yet employed by the University, they are not members of the bargaining unit. The University further discussed concerns related to the Union’s proposal on Family Medical Leave and definitions that differ with current statutory definitions. The Union team acknowledged that its proposal is seeking to expand the rights of its employee group, and said that Oregon House Bill 3031 – which the Union had referenced in its proposal and that deals with family leave benefits – had failed to be adopted by the Oregon Legislature. After further discussion, the parties agreed to revisit the issue at the next session.
The parties exchanged counterproposals on Personnel Files. The University accepted Union counterproposals on Notices and Parties to the Agreement, and as they had exceed the scheduled time, the Union proposed the parties execute Tentative Agreements at the next session.
The University bargaining team emphasized the collective bargaining agreement is a contract that requires the University to fully consider all elements of the proposals and the University’s obligations. While the Union suggests that the University bargaining team is stalling, the Union has continued to propose articles that the University team rejected as being too limiting or contrary to allow the university to meet existing obligations. A full analysis of proposals is critical to ensure that the agreement between the parties is a viable document and ensures the University can fulfill all of its obligations and serve the University community well. This is an important process that will take time and OSU is committed to reaching a good agreement with the Union and the represented faculty.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for July 10, 2019.
The bargaining teams met on Monday, June 17, 2019. The University bargaining team asked a number of questions regarding the Union’s proposals on Promotion and Tenure and raised concerns regarding the impact of some of those proposals. The Union bargaining team shared that, for the most part, its proposals were intended to be consistent with its understanding of OSU’s current Promotion and Tenure policy and practice. In addition, the Union presented articles regarding parking, post tenure review, workload, pre-employment hiring, faculty governance and the Faculty Senate.
The University presented two written proposals regarding Health and Safety and Parties to the Agreement. The University’s proposal on Parties to Agreement seeks to codify how the Union and University will be referred to throughout the contract. During the conversation on the Health and Safety article, the University raised concerns that the Union’s Health and Safety proposal presented a number of sections unrelated to health and safety that were not mandatory issues for bargaining. Specifically, the University interpreted the Union’s proposal to limit OSU’s ability to manage facilities and allocate space with the flexibility necessary to meet changing needs and priorities. The University highlighted the fact that the contract represents a large population of faculty, who perform a wide variety of tasks and some in remote geographic locations. The University bargaining team shared with the Union that these varied faculty tasks and locations necessitate that OSU managers are able to consider a wide array of factors in each circumstance to determine how to ensure providing resources and support to all of OSU’s faculty. The University bargaining team reinforced that OSU is committed to providing a work environment where faculty members have a healthy and safe workplace.
The Union indicated it does not anticipate presenting any additional new articles. So the parties will continue to work toward a common understanding and an agreement. The next bargaining session is Friday, June 28.
The bargaining teams met for a full day of bargaining on Saturday, June 8, 2019. The university presented a proposal regarding the grievance process. The university’s proposal provides a process by which a faculty member can bring forth a claim that a specific provision of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement has been violated. According to the university’s proposal, discrimination complaints would be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access for review and investigation. As well, faculty members would continue to have the ability to utilize the existing Faculty Senate grievance process should they desire to use that forum to submit a complaint for matters they choose to not pursue within the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
UAOSU presented to the university proposals regarding promotion and tenure, and shared concerns that there was a need for better clarity in the current language for the tenure and promotion process. Both bargaining teams engaged in robust discussion and the university bargaining team will seek additional clarification from the union regarding some of the UAOSU proposals at the next bargaining session.
The next bargaining session will be held Monday, June 17, 2019.
The University and UAOSU met for their 7th joint bargaining session on Saturday, May 18, 2019. The UAOSU presented data from other institutions and shared its wage proposal. The union is seeking guaranteed annual merit increases, annual cost of living increases, an established equity pool for pay adjustments, established minimum salary floors for each academic classification, a university-funded monthly child care subsidy of $50, and additional financial considerations. The University bargaining team caucused to review the proposal and responded by asking a few clarifying questions of the Union. The University will analyze these proposals to determine the scope of the financial requests being made.
UAOSU also presented an article on Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination that seeks to create a new committee with the stated purpose of creating improvements in existing University processes for addressing and investigating reported cases. The University asked a few clarifying questions and will review this proposal in more detail.
The University offered written counterproposals on three articles – Savings, Totality of Agreement, and Notices. The Union and the University continued to engage in dialogue on these three articles and exchanged written counterproposals. The parties reached agreement on a Totality of the Agreement article and signed a tentative agreement. In closing the negotiation session, the Union asked clarifying questions about the University Notice proposal.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for Saturday, June 8.
The bargaining teams met for a two-hour negotiation session on Wednesday, May 16, 2019, during which UAOSU presented two new proposals. One proposed redistributing funds supporting other areas of university operations to extend pay for up to nine months of salary and benefits to research employees whose grant funding has ended or been reduced, modifying the benefit eligibility requirements, bonuses for principal investigators, discount tuition for graduate employees and more. The second proposal would change the current structure of patentable work, copyright and royalties. The university bargaining team listened to the UAOSU bargaining team concerns and their reasoning for these proposals. The university asked for OSU-related examples that would help further understanding of the Union’s intentions within the proposed language.
The bargaining teams met for a half-day of bargaining on Monday, May 6, 2019. The University began by presenting three counterproposals on the Totality of the Agreement, No Strike/No Lockout, and Personnel File articles. The bargaining teams engaged in a discussion about the areas where they generally seem to agree, but have not come to agreement on other elements of the language. The parties are moving closer to an agreement on these articles; both are providing the reasoning for their position, which allows the parties to be more responsive in their counterproposals.
The UAOSU then presented a proposal for a Retrenchment article. The article was four pages in length and the university said it will need time to consider what is proposed before providing a response.
The university then presented a second counterproposal on the Personnel Files article, which generated more conversation about what the Union would like to see present in the final contract. This led to a broader discussion about how the parties have a different approach to the process. The university bargaining team is approaching the collective bargaining agreement as a contract between Oregon State University and UAOSU that identifies each party’s obligations. The UAOSU bargaining team communicated it was approaching the collective bargaining agreement as a communication to the bargaining unit members. As the university learns more about the proposals the union intends to present, it can better understand the scope of what the union seeks and assess its impact. We hope to continue a productive dialog and come to more mutual understandings.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, May 16.
Bargaining teams representing Oregon State University and United Academics of OSU (UAOSU) met for a half-day bargaining session on Tuesday, April 30. The parties continue to work toward an agreement on contract articles, including a Savings Clause. UAOSU presented three new proposals and two counterproposals. During the session, the university’s bargaining team member, Sherm Bloomer, director of university budget and fiscal planning, shared information about the university’s current financial projections and pressures OSU faces from proposed state funding levels and enrollment trends. Questions and discussion followed. The university will continue to bring financial information to bargaining sessions to aid in discussing contract proposals and to provide updates as the state budget is finalized.
Looking ahead, the bargaining teams anticipate exchanging additional non-economic proposals before economic proposals are presented. The next bargaining session is scheduled for Monday, May 6.
Members of the bargaining teams for the university and United Academics of OSU (UAOSU) met for a half-day bargaining session on Monday, April 22. During the session, the UAOSU presented the university bargaining team with six new initial proposals for consideration. In addition, the university’s team asked clarifying questions related to the UAOSU’s latest proposal on language within the Savings Clause, which directs how the labor agreement remains in effect while a section of the contract is invalidated. Specifically, the university is seeking language that acknowledges that the university and UAOSU will follow existing law, without citing references to specific state statutes that may change sometime in the future, requiring expensive and time consuming litigation in the future, if those statutes change.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for Saturday, April 27.
The bargaining teams for the University and United Academics of Oregon State University met in Corvallis for a full-day bargaining session on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The parties reached agreement regarding the ground rules that will govern the bargaining process. Each party presented contract language proposals.
- No Strike/No Lockout
- Entire Agreement
- Bargaining Unit Recognition
- Management Rights
- Academic Freedom
- Academic Classification
- Distribution of the Agreement
- Release Time
- Personnel Files
- No Strike/No Lockout
- Totality of Agreement
- Grievance Procedures
OSU and UAOSU bargaining teams met on the Corvallis campus Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, to complete discussion of ground rules and establish the parties’ agreements regarding how they will conduct the collective bargaining process. The parties worked productively and left the table prior to finalizing the ground rules to allow UAOSU bargaining team members to meet with members of UAOSU. OSUs remains committed to the ground rules as a framework for reaching agreement in this first collective bargaining.
While not required, collective bargaining ground rules are an important component of most bargaining processes and offer the foundation for reaching agreement. Ground rules are especially helpful for a first contract when the parties involved in bargaining have not negotiated with each other before and are beginning to build a relationship. Setting and defining expectations promotes community and commonality. Ground rules cover such things as: who speaks for each bargaining team; how proposals are shared; how agreement is finalized and documented; agreements regarding deadlines; expectations for observers; and other matters.
The OSU bargaining team looks forward to finalizing ground rules soon with the UAOSU bargaining team. At a Feb. 18, 2019 bargaining session, OSU proposed that substantive bargaining sessions be held on March 23 and April 27. UAOSU has agreed to those meeting dates.
Oregon State University has hired Heather L. Horn to serve as assistant provost for academic employee and labor relations. Heather will join OSU beginning Feb. 28 and will be responsible for managing academic employee and labor relations, as well as contract administration to support professional relationships with employees, union representatives, supervisors, managers and administrators. Heather will also serve on the university’s bargaining team.
Prior to joining Oregon State, Heather worked in labor and employee relations at the University of Illinois, at both the Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses. She holds a master’s degree in human resources and industrial relations and a certificate in entrepreneurship and management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.