Bargaining Begins Tomorrow, March 1st

Dear WOUFT Members, 

As you may know, WOUFT and WOU will be entering bargaining soon. This year, we are using a process called Interest Based Bargaining (IBB). 

Because IBB looks very different from traditional bargaining, and because SEIU’s processes are different than ours, the members of both the WOUFT and WOU  bargaining teams are sharing this letter with information about the timelines and expectations as we work together to revise the collective bargaining agreement between WOUFT and WOU.

What Do All These Acronyms Stand For?

CBA stands for Collective Bargaining Agreement, the employment contract bargained between a union and administration and ratified by members of both.

SEIU is the union that represents classified staff at Western Oregon University and other higher education institutions in Oregon.

NTT stands for non-tenure track, a catch-all term for faculty at Western Oregon University who are not in a tenure-line position.

TT stands for tenure track, meaning faculty at Western Oregon University who are in a tenure-line position.

WOUFT is the Western Oregon University Federation of Teachers, the faculty union at Western Oregon University.

WOU or WOU Admin in the context of bargaining refers to Western Oregon University’s administrators, such as the president, provost, deans, etcetera.

What is IBB?

In traditional bargaining, both sides stake positions and argue for them. IBB is different in that it is more collaborative. Instead of arguing opposite positions, both teams work together to become joint problem-solvers. IBB assumes that mutual gain is possible, and that mutually arrived upon solutions which satisfy mutual interests are more durable. In short, IBB helps the parties work together to achieve a stronger, more equitable contract that helps everybody.

This short document from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service describes the core concepts of IBB. At WOU, we are working with Oregon’s Employment Relations Board as our facilitator to ensure that we arrive at an improved contract as a result of our bargaining sessions this time. We chose to engage in this process after much study and many conversations with others, and are committed to the process so that we can hold more in-depth conversations about the contract. 

What is the Timeline?

Our first official bargaining meeting is March 1st. Under Oregon law, both parties must engage in good faith bargaining for at least 150 days. Bargaining sessions of up to 8 hours will take place once every other week for the foreseeable future. 

Members of both bargaining teams are committed to communicating regularly and transparently throughout the process when we have more information about the timeline and bargaining progress. 

What’s Happened So Far?

In January, the WOUFT executive committee and bargaining team, alongside the WOU administrative bargaining team, completed two full days of training led by the Employee Relations Board’s expert facilitators. This training allowed us to build a strong foundation for bargaining, and we are all optimistic about this fresh approach. We have also met several times to set up ground rules and to practice the IBB process. 

What Topics Will Be Explored?

IBB is somewhat of a fluid process. However, WOUFT and WOU have identified the following topics to begin our conversations. These topics, as we come to understand them better through the IBB process, will develop into “interests” to be explored for bargaining proposals.  

WOUFT TopicsWOU Topics
Improve the working conditions of our Non-Tenure Track (NTT) faculty and include NTT faculty into the fabric of WOU.

Ensure equity, clarity, and consistency across campus in the promotion and tenure process.
Improve workload equity and transparency across NTT and TT faculty positions.

Achieve better workload equity among faculty members.

Ensure a transparent and equitable promotion and tenure process.

Clearly articulate expectations for teaching excellence based on the university’s mission, vision and values.

Ensure that the promotion and tenure process reflects these expectations.Ensure equity in the allocation of faculty development funds.
Structure faculty teaching, research and service obligations and better support faculty in meeting those obligations.Ensure that units have adequate resources to accommodate sabbatical requests.
Recognize, capture, and compensate faculty leadership and administrative roles in the CBA.

Provide equitable opportunity to leadership positions for faculty.
Clarify roles that are administrative vs. roles that are faculty leadership.
Ensure that all faculty are fairly and comprehensively compensated for all of the work they perform.Prioritize transparency, consistency, and equity in summer pay.

Fair and equitable wages and compensation.
Empower faculty and academic programs in the Article 15 process and protect faculty impacted by such decisions.Identify and promote the conditions to allow division chairs to be represented by the bargaining unit.
Ensure that online and hybrid courses meet university definitions and regulatory requirements.

Outside of formal bargaining sessions, members from both bargaining teams will have meetings with their respective stakeholders and solicit more information to continually refine our shared understanding of these topics and how they relate to interests, as well as possible proposals, throughout the bargaining process. 

I’m a Faculty Member and I Have Questions!

WOUFT has been talking to its members for a long time about the opportunities and challenges of IBB. This has included a survey on workload with a focus on service that was sent out last Spring and Summer, holding listening sessions in Spring and Fall of 2023 to help us understand concerns across campus, and sharing information at our Winter 2024 General Membership meeting. We will continue to share updates at future General Membership meetings. And, all faculty, whether you’re union members or not, are welcome and encouraged to attend! 

WOUFT Executive Committee members and WOUFT bargaining team members are all full time faculty, and we have limited capacity to respond to individual messages during this busy time. However, we understand that everyone else is just as busy. If this is the first time you are hearing about IBB, you are always welcome to reach out to us directly—whether you are a dues paying member of the union or not. 

We are here to represent you!

WOUFT Bargaining Team Members

Earlene Camarillo (Chair), Nathaniel Applefield (AFT-Oregon field rep), Stewart Baker, Scott Beaver, Ben Cote, Bruan Dutton, Leigh Graziano, Chloe Hughes, Ken Kirby, Melanie Landon-Hays, Elisa Maroney, Rebecca McCannell, Chehalis Strapp

WOU Administration Bargaining Team Members

Judy Sylva (Chair), Chelle Batchelor, Kristin Latham-Scott, Desiree Noah, Jamie Smith, Amy Clark (alternate)

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