Issues and Settlements

2013 SHAC Winter Closure Grievance settled
PSU's March 9th, 2014 threat to cut off email from striking AAUP members found to be unlawful
New Hire Not Provided a Contract Consistent with the Position Advertised
Elimination of Early Childhood Training Center
Reduction of Pay of Academic Professional
Layoff in the Office of Academic Innovation
Academic Professional Denied Representation in Disciplinary Meeting
AAUP Unfair about Demonstration Guidelines
AAUP Grievance regarding SHAC Closure
AAUP Grievance on creation of the Office of Academic Innovation
AAUP Grievance regarding closure of Early Childhood Training Center (ECTC)
AAUP Grievance about the unilateral reduction of pay of a Program Administrator II
PSU Administration grants remedy on TSUSP Guideline contractual grievance; Association avoids arbitration costs
Agreement reached with Administration on revisions to PSU Consensual Relations Policy
Agreement reached with administration on revisions to the PSU Acceptable Use Policy
 

2013 SHAC Winter Closure Grievance settled
In November 2013 SHAC leadership decided they would close SHAC to students for several days during winter break. Approximately 6 SHAC employees had already been planning to take the days off as vacation days. 9 SHAC employees, however, were planning on working and were forced to use their vacation.

PSU-AAUP filed a grievance in December 2014- we could not allow units to establish their own work years and their own vacation usage requirements. Negotiations on the matter bogged down considerably during contract negotiations, and during mediation on the multiple Unfair Practice Charges we filed last spring. We are pleased to share that the matter is finally resolved. All the vacation days that the 9 SHAC employees were forced to use have been returned, and PSU-AAUP and PSU have reached agreement for the future- should SHAC decide to close to students at any time other than a University wide closure, SHAC employees will still be able to work and will not be required to use vacation.
 

PSU's March 9th, 2014 threat to cut off email from striking AAUP members found to be unlawful
On March 9th, 2014 the University Office of University Communications sent a brief e-mail to faculty with the subject heading of "PSU Strike guidelines and FAQs" which provided a link to a document that answered frequently asked questions in the event of an AAUP strike.That document contained the following question and answer:

“Would a striking AAUP-represented employee have access to email, their office or lab during a strike?

“No. Striking employees will not be permitted to engage in any activities related to their employment. The electronic log-in credentials for striking employees will be disabled during a strike, preventing access to email, Banner, D2L, VPN and other electronic systems..."

PSU-AAUP filed an unfair practice charge against the University alleging that this communication was unlawful. A hearing was held before an Oregon Employment Relations Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on September 3, 2014. The ALJ's decision was received this week.

The ALJ states:

"The University’s March 9 announcement that it would disable striking faculty’s e-mail accounts violated ORS 243.672(1)(a) by interfering with, restraining, or coercing Association members “because of” and “in” the exercise of rights guaranteed by ORS 243.662.

ORS 243.662 guarantees public employees the “right to form, join and participate in the activities of labor organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of representation and collective bargaining with their public employer on matters concerning employment relations.” In order to protect and enforce these rights, ORS 243.672(1)(a) provides that a public employer may not “nterfere with, restrain or coerce employees in or because of the exercise of rights guaranteed in ORS 243.662.”

Subsection (1)(a) provides for two separate violations, commonly referred to as the “because of” prong and the “in” the exercise prong. Subsection (1)(a) prohibits employer actions that interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees because of of their exercise of protected right; and it prohibits employer actions that interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of protected rights. Portland Assn. Teachers v. Mult. Sch. Dist. No. 1, 171 Or App 616, 623, 16 P3d 1189 (2000). The Association assert (ed) that the University violated both portions of subsection (1)(a). "

The ALJ found that the University violated both portions of subsection 1 (a). The decision includes a cease and desist order.
 

New Hire Not Provided a Contract Consistent with the Position Advertised
A new hire responded to an advertisement for a 12 month, 1.0 FTE fully benefited position with employment commencing July 1, 2014. (more) The candidate engaged in good faith in the screening process and was eventually offered the position, accepted the position quit employment at another University and moved across the country and started work on July 1. The contract they received after they arrived, however, was 9 months commencing September 16, with benefits commencing September 16, and a summer stipend with no benefits over the summer.
This is may have violated state law. ORS 659.815(1) provides:

  • No person, firm, company, corporation, or association of any kind employing labor, shall, either in person or through any agent, manager or other legal representatives, induce, influence, persuade or engage workers to change from one place to another in this state or bring workers of any class or calling into this state to work in any of the departments of labor by . . . Any false or deceptive representation or false advertising, concerning the amount or character of the compensation to be paid for any work . . . .

The new hire was forced to accept COBRA benefits from their former employer, which PSU agreed to reimburse. The new hire’s commencement of retirement benefits, however, was not resolved and will not be able to commence the waiting period for PERS until September 16.
This is not the first time that PSU presented an employment contract to a new hire that was substantively different than the job post, and substantively different than the verbal offer. In a notable previous occurrence:

  • PSU advertised an academic professional position as .75 FTE and the annualized salary at 1.0 FTE. The letter of offer, however, was at a salary of .75 FTE, or 25% less than advertised. The letter of offer was presented after the new hire had resigned their previous position and accepted employment at PSU and represented a significant pay cut from previous employment. Despite what the LOA said and to make matters worse, PSU paid the new hire at the 1.0 rate for a full year before catching the error. They demanded repayment of the 25% immediately. PSU-AAUP was able to get the matter resolved so that the new hire did not have to repay the overpayment of wages, but the pay was reduced to the .75 FTE amount. This was a financial shock to the employee, who was a single mother. She struggled financially for several years until she was eventually able to get additional hours.
     

Elimination of Early Childhood Training Center
We are pleased to share that we reached agreement on the ECTC. As the agreements involve individual employment matters we are not able to share explicit details, we can share that the employees received monetary settlements they, and PSU-AAUP, deemed satisfactory; and PSU will issue a letter to the Head Start community and put a notice on their website that provides clarification that the decision to eliminate the long standing program was not a negative reflection on the employees.


Reduction of Pay of Academic Professional
We are pleased to share we reached agreement on the reduction of pay of academic professional based upon the inappropriate use of Article 17 Section 5. As the agreement involve individual employment matters we are not able to share explicit details, we can share that we effected an agreement that enables the academic profession to remain employed on terms they, and PSU-AAUP, generally deem are favorable to her based upon the actual work they will be doing.


Layoff in the Office of Academic Innovation

We reached agreement in principle on the on this difficult grievance that should bring the most senior instructional designers back to work, and favorable monetary settlements for the other instructional designer and the Program Administrator 1. We hope to finalize the agreement in the next few days.
 

Academic Professional Denied Representation in Disciplinary Meeting
An Academic Professional received a calendar invite from their supervisor for a meeting that included Anne Lewis, from HR. She was advised it was a meeting where an oral reprimand with a notation to file would be imposed. The member asked that the meeting be rescheduled to a time that a PSU-AAUP representative could accompany them. HR representative Anne Lewis denied her request, advising she was not entitled to have union representation for the imposition of discipline. PSU-AAUP filed a grievance challenging the change in past practice as PSU-AAUP has been accompanying members facing discipline since 1978. The grievance was denied at level one, then at level two by Provost Sona Andrews. Scheduling is in process for presentation of the grievance to Chief of Staff Lois Davis at level 3.
 

AAUP Unfair about Demonstration Guidelines
PSU-AAUP found an enthusiastic ally in the Oregon Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in this case.  The PSU Demonstration Guidelines prohibited the use of traditional picket signs- those made of wooden sticks affixed to large placards. This is a matter that the ACLU has successfully challenged elsewhere. The issue is even more interesting as PSU attorney P.K. Runkles-Pearson is also the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Oregon ACLU. PSU and PSU-AAUP have entered into settlement discussions about the Demonstration Guidelines, and we anticipate we will reach an agreement that will be the template for a new Demonstration Guidelines that comports with the law.
 

AAUP Grievance regarding SHAC Closure
This past winter 2013 SHAC leadership decided to close SHAC and force AAUP members to use vacation or unpaid leave December 24-27. This is the first time a unit of PSU made the decision to close independent of the University Closure policy. PSU-AAUP determined that the unilateral action violated both the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act as the matter required bargaining with AAUP, and it violated Article 8- Past Practices of the Contract. PSU-AAUP filed a grievance, issued a demand to bargain, and filed a parallel Unfair Practice Charge (which we put in abeyance pending the outcome of the grievance). We have since entered settlement talks with PSU attorneys. We hope to reach an agreement that clarifies whether individual units can close independent of the University Closure policy, and that could return the vacation days that were taken from SHAC employees who would otherwise not have chosen to use them at that time.
 

AAUP Grievance on creation of the Office of Academic Innovation
Last Summer 3 academic professionals- two instructional designers and one program assistant, were given notices of layoff in the Office of Academic Innovation soon after the unit was created. No previous document about the OAI creation, including those provided the Faculty Senate Educational Policy Committee (EPC) who made a decision approving the unit, provided any indication that employees would be released. One of the employees was a member of the AAUP Executive Counsel and Co-Chair of the PSU-AAUP Strike Strategy Committee and the notice of layoff arrived right after that group had its first meeting and promulgated its first newsletter. PSU-AAUP also determined that a significant amount of those instructional designer's positions was slated to be transferred to lower paid new classified employee positions.

PSU-AAUP filed a grievance on the matter in Fall 2013 and then an Unfair Practice Charge in Winter 2014. PSU and PSU-AAUP interrupted the grievance process at Step Two to attempt settlement talks soon after we ratified the contract. Each side has submitted settlement proposals that could bring at least one of the laid off employees back to work with potential reinstatement rights for the other two

 

AAUP Grievance regarding closure of Early Childhood Training Center (ECTC)
In Winter 2014 the two academic professionals who had been in ECTC for many years were noticed that their unit was being closed and they were given their 180 day notice. PSU-AAUP filed a grievance citing the failure to follow Article 22- Retrenchment and included the matter in the parallel Unfair Practice Charge. The grievance was denied at Step One and on its way to Step Two was referred to settlement discussions with PSU attorneys. We've explored some settlement options but are not clear if a settlement is reachable.
 

AAUP Grievance about the unilateral reduction of pay of a Program Administrator II
In Winter 2014 a program administrator II was given notice of layoff and at the same time offered a program administrator II position for $20,000 less per year. The duties of new position were essentially the same, but the scope of responsibility, and the work load of the new position, was larger. PSU-AAUP filed a grievance challenging the reduction in pay, a demand to bargain the decision and effects of the layoff, and included the matter in the parallel Unfair Labor Practice Charge filed on other bargaining violation matters (the ULP is in abeyance pending attempts to resolve the matter directly with PSU). It was denied at Step One, then PSU-AAUP and PSU attorneys agreed to attempt resolution during post ratification settlement talks. We are still far apart.

PSU-AAUP proposed confidential mediation on the matter. PSU agreed to engage in mediation provided PSU-AAUP was willing to engage in mediation on the AAUP OAI grievance and AAUP ECTC Elimination grievance. PSU-AAUP agreed. AAUP General Counsel David Reese has reach out to Oregon State Conciliator Janet Gilman, the same mediator to help us reach tentative agreement. We will advise when mediation is scheduled and whether it was successful.

 

PSU Administration grants remedy on TSUSP Guideline contractual grievance; Association avoids arbitration costs
Last summer the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning submitted minor revisions to their School Guidelines to the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) for approval. OAA refused to approve the guidelines in total as they contained provisions regarding workload and merit pay. These provisions had been in the guidelines for many years. PSU-AAUP filed a contractual grievance at Division A asserting the guidelines were protected by the past practice provisions of the contract.

The University denied the grievance at every step and on March 12, 2014 PSU-AAUP filed a demand to arbitrate the issue. An arbitrator was selected, hearing dates were scheduled, and legal expenses for the legal challenge were approved. On the last day that we could cancel the arbitrator without incurring substantial cancellation fees PSU agreed they would grant the requested remedy and we signed a grievance settlement agreement that not only resolves the instant grievance from August 2013, but provides assurance from the University that they will honor the past practice of these provisions in TSUSP.


Agreement reached with Administration on revisions to PSU Consensual Relations Policy

On or about January 27 the PSU Office of General Counsel promulgated proposed changes to the PSU Consensual Relations Policy.
On February 14 PSU-AAUP provided input to the policy and a demand to bargain over the proposed revision.
PSU-AAUP met with PSU management on a number of occasions to bargain the matter and reached agreement in early May with an MOU that modifies the policy revision as AAUP requested.
 

Agreement reached with administration on revisions to the PSU Acceptable Use Policy
On or about November 1 the PSU Office of General Counsel promulgated proposed changes to the PSU Acceptable Use Policy.
On November 18 PSU-AAUP provided input to the policy and a demand to bargain over the proposed revision.
PSU-AAUP met with PSU management on a number of occasions and the parties finally reached agreement today on those revisions with an MOU that modifies the policy as AAUP requested.