Davis Faculty Association

Union authorization cards signed by majority of faculty at University of Oregon

The American Association of University Professors — with which several UC Faculty Association chapters have a negotiated relationship, although the DFA does not — has been working to unionize the faculty at the University of Oregon. The AAUP has announced to its members an important step towards that goal. While there has been no discussion at UCD of unionizing, as an Inside Higher Ed article (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/03/15/university-oregon-faculty-takes-step-toward-unionizing) on this topic says:

The now-likely formation of the faculty union at Oregon would be a major victory for academic labor, which has struggled in recent years to organize at research universities. “It shows that faculty members are increasingly frustrated at the increased corporatization of research universities,” said Jack Nightingale, associate director for higher education organizing at the American Federation of Teachers.

The letter from AAUP to its members follows:

Dear AAUP Member:

We’re pleased to announce that yesterday, faculty members at the University of Oregon moved one step closer to forming a union when they filed union authorization cards, signed by a clear majority of faculty, with the state Employment Relations Board.

The faculty union, United Academics of the University of Oregon, will be jointly affiliated with the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers. The group includes tenure-track, non-tenure-track, and research faculty. In addition to a solid overall majority of UO faculty, the union authorization cards presented yesterday include majorities in all three classifications of faculty represented.

United Academics seeks to restore the voice of faculty in the university’s educational and research priorities. Enrollment at the university has grown by 4,000 students during the last five years, but support for instruction has not kept pace, resulting in dramatic increases in class sizes. One goal of the new union will be to restore budgetary alignment with the university’s core missions of teaching, research, and service to the state of Oregon, say faculty.

The union will be formally certified once the Employment Relations Board confirms that the signed cards represent a majority of the UO faculty.

“Oregon faculty have just made two-fold history,” says AAUP president Cary Nelson. “They are one of the first two major research campuses to organize for collective bargaining in decades. What’s more, their tenure-track and contingent faculty have combined forces in one union to show us how to guarantee quality education for the future. They and their colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago have led the way for faculty all across the country.”

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