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Leaders Praise University of Oregon Agreement

A Milestone for the Academic Profession

September 19, 2013

For more information please contact
Robin Burns

Washington, DC—National leaders of the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers praised the historic agreement announced Thursday night between their joint affiliate, United Academics, and the University of Oregon. AAUP and AFT officials said the tentative two-year agreement demonstrates how the two unions are working together to strengthen colleges and universities across the country.

Howard Bunsis, chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress, called the tentative agreement “a historic moment for everyone who works in the academic profession. The membership was able to achieve a contract that fairly compensates those who do the critical work of educating the students at the University of Oregon and conducting world-class research,” he said. “Just as important, this contract gave a voice in the process and a seat at the table to both tenure-track and contingent faculty. That voice and that seat will demonstrate to students and the university community that everyone benefits when we work collectively.”

“The big winners in this agreement are the students at the University of Oregon,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “The agreement preserves academic standards and will make the university better. It includes salary adjustments that recognize the value that our members contribute to the university, and it extends professional job protections and benefits to non-tenure-track educators. This milestone agreement raises the prestige of the institution, and that is good for the university and for students.”

Highlights of the tentative agreement include:
• Average salary increases of 11.75 percent over the two-year life of the agreement.
• Robust protection of academic freedom and free speech.
• Extension of job security protections to contingent faculty members.
• Transparency and consistency in rules and professional practices regarding career path and promotion decisions.
• Reinforcement of participation in campus governance by all instructional staff at the University.

If ratified by United Academics members in a vote scheduled for Oct. 8, the deal would be the first contract for the union, which represents more than 1,800 faculty and other academic employees at the university.

In a separate statement, United Academics leaders called the agreement a major step forward.

“Fundamentally, this contract is about transparency and making policies enforceable at the university,” said Deborah Olson, an instructor in special education and a member of the United Academics bargaining team. “We organized as a union because faculty at the University of Oregon want a voice and a vote on the important policies that affect our work. This agreement achieves that.”

United Academics is a joint affiliate of the AAUP and the AFT. In addition to the University of Oregon, other institutions where the two national organizations jointly represent faculty include the University of Alaska, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the University of Vermont, Wayne State University (in Detroit) and the City University of New York.

The mission of the AAUP is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities.

Media Contact: 
Robin Burns
Publication Date: 
Thursday, September 19, 2013