2019-2021 Bargaining Updates

Tentative Agreement: January 14, 2022

WOUFT Bargaining Team is pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with the WOU administration team.  The agreement is as follows:

Year 1:

TT and Tenured get one step, and .5% COLA effective following ratification*.

NTT get 3.5% COLA, effective following ratification.

Year 2:

TT and Tenured get 1.50% COLA, and one step, both effective
September 16, 2022.

NTT get 2.75% COLA, effective September 16, 2022.

Promotional steps remain intact, as do years of service increases for NTT.

*Please note that “following ratification” means that you will see the increases for year one in your February paycheck as long as we ratify by February 5th.

Additional Information

While we recognize that our faculty clearly deserve more, we are also cognizant of the financial difficulties that WOU continues to face. Given these various factors, we feel we’ve reached the best outcome possible.

The next step will be a formal distribution of the agreement followed by a WOUFT ratification vote.

Also, a huge thank you to those of you who came to HL 107 and RWEC 101 to support us and those of you who sent messages of encouragement during our mediation session. We deeply appreciate your encouragement!

In Solidarity!

The WOUFT Executive Council and Bargaining Team

Bargaining Update: January 6, 2022

WOUFT and WOU administration entered mediation on January 6, but unfortunately, the daylong mediation session did not result in the resolution we had hoped for. Instead, we concluded the day with a listening session led by the mediator where the WOUFT Bargaining Team video conferenced with Jay Kenton, Carson Campbell, Sue Monahan, and Heather Mercer. In this session, WOUFT emphasized the grassroots nature of our position, requesting modest increases that are far overdue as faculty have gone several years without compensation increases. Our asks are aligned with our contract (steps) and cost of living adjustments that affect our daily lives. 

Their offer of a one-time bonus and a 1% cost of living increase each year fell far short of what you made clear is needed.  Steps are integral to the contract tenure-track faculty have been hired under and offer greater earning value over the long term. Steps contribute to retirement, long-term planning, and stability in our contract. We heard from you, the members, that the steps need to be honored and so we have fought hard for these as part of the mediation process today. 

We agreed to enter another mediation session next Friday, January 14, in the hope that some agreement can be reached. As you know, as long as we’re still “at the table”, we are still actively working toward securing the best agreement possible.

Here are some positive actions we have in the works that help as we move forward to this second mediation session:

  1. We have a member meeting scheduled on Wednesday, January 12th at 4:00 PM to meet with you, to discuss our next steps in bargaining, and brainstorm actions for a better contract. You can use this Zoom link to attend the meeting.
  2. We received positive student support from the ASWOU student leaders today, and have started to work with them to gain support for a fair faculty contract.  They are currently soliciting student stories about the good that faculty do. 
  3. Because we will have another mediation session next Friday, it’s another chance for you to come by and support the team. Please plan to join us at the rally! 

WOU Budget Report (September 2021) aka LERC Report

In 2021, WOUFT asked Mark Brenner, an economist with the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center, to review WOU’s finances. The goals for the report were twofold:

  1. To update and extend the financial analysis conducted by Dr. Howard Bunsis the prior year.
  2. To evaluate the University’s claims of financial hardship and their decision to lay off faculty.

You can read the entire report at WOU Budget Report (September 2021).

Bargaining Progression Chart

Trying to keep track of the bargaining proposals between WOUFT and WOU administration? We’ve created a chart so you can see how bargaining progressed from April 2021 through November 2021. If you have any questions, please contact Sue Kunda.

Bargaining Update: November 22, 2021

WOUFT met with WOU administration today. They renewed their offer of flat salaries for the next two years for TT and NTT faculty, and no step increases (except for promotion). They did increase the “bonus payment” offer each year from $750 to $1000. The small amount of movement made in their latest offer sends the message that WOU administration is not willing to offer much more, and certainly not anything close to what faculty have said they are willing to accept. 

The message from WOUFT members clearly indicates that they are expecting step increases and that our salaries should not be tied to enrollment.  Further, a bonus does not provide lasting benefit to salaries. WOUFT insists that faculty be made a priority at WOU and that is not shown by the WOU administration’s current proposal. 

While we remain ready to continue bargaining, the university’s latest offer suggests to us that the chance of reaching an agreement in bargaining is very small. Both parties agreed that entering the mediation process may be the best avenue to reach an agreement. However, WOUFT offered next Tuesday, November 30th, as a potential date for an additional meeting. 

We are approaching the end of our agreed upon 4 week meeting timeframe and while we again remain open to further conversation around this, if there is no significant movement, then mediation will be the next step in the process.  We’ve reached the point where mediation may bring the most positive outcome, as we saw three years ago.  

If you have any questions, please reach out to Bryan Dutton at duttonb@mail.wou.edu

Bargaining Update: November 16, 2021

Today, WOU offered their counter to the proposal WOUFT presented last Friday.  Their proposal included no step increases, but a $750 “bonus” for each year (i.e., 2021-22 and 2022-23).  This proposal does not include a 1% reduction as did their previous proposal.  In summary, while this is a slight improvement, our salaries would remain flat with no step increases for tenure-track / tenured faculty and only bonuses for all faculty (i.e., non-tenure track, tenure-track, and tenured) that would not begin to keep up with inflation and would not compound in future years.  Please note that promotional step increases would remain intact under their proposal.

Your WOUFT team responded with the following: 

  1. All step-eligible tenured and tenure-track faculty shall receive a one-step increase effective September 16, 2021 and another one-step increase effective September 16, 2022. 
  1. All tenured and tenure-track faculty shall receive a 3.1% COLA [down from the 3.3% in our previous proposal] effective September 16, 2021. Faculty will not receive a COLA in 2022.
  1. All non-tenure track faculty shall receive a 4.5% COLA [down from the 4.7% in our previous proposal] effective September 16, 2021 and another 1.4% COLA effective September 16, 2022. 
  1. A $500 cash stipend for all non-tenure track faculty to be paid upon ratification of this agreement.

Shortly after WOU received our counter-proposal, they suggested ending this bargaining session.  WOUFT agreed, so we won’t meet again until Tuesday, November 23rd at 11 am.  

In the meantime, your WOUFT bargaining team encourages you to attend the coffee chat prior to the Board of Trustees meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, November 17th) in the Ochoco room from 9:00-9:30.  We hope to see many of you at this meeting as the results of our recent survey indicated a strong desire to participate in actions in support of our bargaining. There will also be a unity coffee break at the same time outside the Werner University Center in support of our SEIU cousins. 

If you have questions, please feel free to email Bryan Dutton (duttonb@wou.edu). Please remember to attend the membership meeting on Monday, November 22nd at 6 PM. Zoom details will be sent in advance of the meeting. We look forward to seeing you!!

Bargaining Update: November 12, 2021

In the spring of this year WOUFT began bargaining with WOU administration over faculty compensation for 2021-22 and 2022-23. The  administration offered a proposal that would cut tenure track pay by 3% in 2021-22, and that reduction would remain in place in 2022-23. Non tenure track faculty salaries would remain at their 2020-2021 levels. 

WOUFT responded with a proposal that created a new salary schedule which would reduce the number of steps from 40 to 22, in order for faculty to reach the top of the scale sooner in their careers. While the WOU administration liked the concept, they rejected the proposal as too expensive. 

At that point the parties agreed to suspend bargaining until fall enrollment numbers came in. According to the end of the 4th week data, enrollment is down approximately 12%; WOU had already budgeted for an anticipated 10% decrease. Additionally, the ratios of student enrollment have shifted to more graduate and online students, increasing the balance of tuition dollars as their tuition is higher. 

Last week, the WOU administration sent a revised proposal that would reduce salaries by 1% for 2021-22 and remain in effect through 2022-23. To offset the salary reduction, WOU administration offered all tenured and tenure track faculty a $900 “bonus” for both years. 

As you know, faculty salaries have not increased in two years. Meanwhile, the consumer price index has jumped significantly — more than 6% in the last year alone. 

This week we sent out a survey to all dues paying members.  Of the ~ 63% who responded in less than 24 hours, the results clearly indicate:

  • That faculty demand a fair compensation increase for the coming two years. 
  • Many are so discouraged with the employment situation at WOU that they are actively looking for work elsewhere. 
  • Many of our members also indicated a strong desire to take direct action in support of gaining a fair pay increase. 

Based on these results, we crafted this proposal

We presented this proposal to the WOU administration tonight at bargaining.  They received the proposal, but spent the majority of the time discussing their suggestion to form a combined salary committee. WOUFT has already formed a long term salary task force–if you are interested in serving on this task force, especially if you are an NTT, please let us know. We respectfully declined the administration’s proposal at this time.  

We appreciate your responses to the survey and your willingness to engage. Your participation in direct action will be absolutely necessary. We will be reaching out to all of you to engage in various types of direct action in support of the proposal that we presented this evening. For example: talking to your colleagues, participating in member meetings and campus demonstrations, and outreach to community allies. 

By agreement, the parties will be bargaining only until the end of November. At that point, if an agreement has not been reached, they may elect to engage in mediation. If mediation fails to bring about an agreement, your WOUFT bargaining team will need to actively engage you in planning our next steps. 

If you have questions, please feel free to email Bryan Dutton (duttonb@wou.edu). Please remember to attend the membership meeting on Monday, November 22nd at 6 PM. Zoom details will be sent in advance of the meeting. We look forward to seeing you!

WOUFT Article 16 Proposal

You can now read the July 14, 2021 WOUFT Article 16 Proposal.

2021-2023 Article 16 (Salary) Bargaining

The WOU administration started the bargaining process by proposing that tenured and tenure-track faculty take a 3% pay cut for AY 2021-22 and a subsequent pay freeze, at the lower rate, for AY 2022-23.  WOU has indicated that the pay cut would be temporary, and that their intention is to restart the next round of negotiations from a point no less than 2020-21 levels, but this is of course nonbinding.

The pay cut would not be applicable to NTTs or to those tenure-track faculty who started at WOU in fall term 2019 or later. WOU proposes no annual step increases, but step increases for promotion are included.

WOU does not dispute that the state funding picture will not be clarified until at least late June, and is aware that the American Rescue Plan (functionally the 3rd ‘CARES’ Act) will provide WOU with a significant cash infusion, likely well over $10 million. There is much to know and learn about the financial situation still. WOU enrollment numbers are still uncertain. We have commissioned a financial analysis using the latest financial data, as a follow up to the one Howard Bunsis did.

We think WOU can do better by you, our hard-working faculty.  Your WOUFT bargaining team will develop a counterproposal in the upcoming weeks. If you have questions, ideas, or concerns please contact your bargaining team representative. Your voices are important.

Our next full bargaining session will be scheduled for late June or July.

Recent Letters of Agreement: Click on the appropriate link below to download the Donated Leave Bank LOA or the latest COVID-19 LOA.

Donated Leave Bank LOA

WOUFT has negotiated and signed an LOA with administration permitting faculty who are leaving WOU to make a one-time donation of a maximum of 520 hours to the Donated Leave Bank.
If you are a retiring faculty member who is considering making such a donation, please consult with HR to determine how it may affect your retirement distributions.

COVID-19 Letter of Agreement (LOA)

The COVID-19 LOA, extended through Fall Term 2021, secures faculty members’ rights including:

– the right to transition course modality back to in-person once the COVID-19 crisis has abated,

– flexibility for faculty supervising student teaching, internships, and practica,

– a commitment from the university to provide reasonable technical, physical and knowledge -based support,

– for tenure and/or promotion, some flexibility regarding the relative emphasis for each of teaching, scholarship and service during the COVID-19 crisis,

– postponement of approved sabbaticals, if requested by the faculty member,

– the option to suspend the use of Student Course Evaluations for evaluative purposes during the COVID-19 crisis,

– the option to request a clock stoppage for tenure-track faculty,

– each full-time University employee will be eligible for an additional 80 hours of sick leave, to be used before July 1, 2022 to care for themselves or a family member for whom the employee is responsible, and

– postponement of classroom observations for the fall 2021 term unless faculty request to be observed.

Please read the entire COVID-19 Letter of Agreement for additional terms.

If you have any questions please contact Melanie Landon-Hays or Bryan Dutton.

2019-2021 Collective Bargaining Team




Office #

Adele SchepigeB-Team Chairschepia@wou.eduRWEC 125
Bryan Lally (AFT-OR)Team Spokesperson  
Bryan DuttonWOUFT Presidentduttonb@wou.eduNS 021C
Dirk FreymuthWOUFT VP of Membership and Organizationfreymutd@wou.eduAPSC 233A
Chloë HughesWOUFT Treasurer; Education and Leadership Rephughesc@wou.eduRWEC 128
Melanie Landon-HaysWOUFT Secretary; Education and Leadership Rephaysm@wou.eduRWEC 123
Scott BeaverWOUFT Communications Directorbeavers@wou.eduMNB 120
Ken KirbyNon Tenure-Track Repkirbyk@wou.eduBELL 303
Chehalis StrappBehavioral Sciencesstrappc@wou.eduTODD 309
Bojan IlievskiBusiness and Economicsilievskib@wou.eduWEST 206
Tad ShannonComputer Scienceshannont@wou.eduOED 227
Becca McCannellCreative Artsmccannr@wou.eduCH 312
Miyuki ArimotoCriminal Justice Sciencesarimotom@wou.eduMA 205
Elisa MaroneyDeaf and Professional Studiesmaronee@wou.eduRWEC 144
Jennifer Taylor-WinneyHealth and Exercise Sciencetaylorj@wou.eduRWEC 233
Mark PerlmanHumanitiesperlmam@wou.eduHSS 304
Sue KundaLibrarykundas@wou.eduHL 208B
Ben CotéNatural Sciences and Mathematicscoteb@wou.eduMNB 131
Isidore LobnibeSocial Sciencelobnibei@wou.eduHSS 210B

Independent Financial Analysis of Western Oregon University from Dr. Howard Bunsis:

Read Me First

Dr. Bunsis’s Presentation to the WOUFT Executive Council (YouTube, edited)

Dr. Bunsis’s Presentation (slides only)

Full Text of 2019 FYS Team Teaching Tentative Letter of Agreement