Great news! The faculty union at the University of Oregon, whose struggle I reported on a few days ago, has forced the administration to give up its extreme proposals on faculty freedom, autonomy, and privacy, and has signed its first contract. Thanks in part to all of you who wrote the administration.
Here’s how one union member, in an email, describes the victory:
Over the past week, the administration has completely backed off its extreme proposals around faculty rights and free expression. Specifically:
The contract guarantees that freedom of speech includes freedom to voice internal criticism of university personnel or practices.
The administration completely dropped its proposal to regulate faculty’s right to consult with outside organizations.
The administration completely dropped its proposal to be allowed to “monitor” and spy on faculty emails, files or web surfing, and can only access faculty computer usage for truly “legitimate” needs such as system maintenance (with “legitimate” now a defined and grievable term).
The administration completely dropped its demand about owning all creations, inventions and course materials of faculty — we agreed to set up a joint union/administration committee to discuss this issue in the future, but until and unless that committee comes to voluntary agreement, there will be no change in the current policy, under which faculty own their own products.
I’m sure that the many messages from faculty across the US and internationally helped convince the administration to do the right thing.
Thank you to all of you for weighing in on this!
Proving once again that if you care about the future of the academy you should join a union, if you can, or support academic unions, if you can’t.
I haven’t seen a copy of the settlement, but the union also reports that it won average salary increases of nearly 12 percent over the two years of the agreement and minimum salaries for non-tenure track faculty. You can read more about the settlement here.
Congrats to the union! Well done.