PSU-AAUP met with administration to continue bargaining on Friday, May 29th. Both sides had previously agreed to bring new ideas to push forward the conversation on family medical leave, which has been a topic of bargaining since February. Administration brought back to the table the current definition of family that HR uses for sick leave asserting that it is sufficient, and proposed that they do nothing to improve the leaves available at PSU. This lack of willingness to come to the table with new ideas was very frustrating. AAUP re-articulated the problem with the current definition of family, most notably the unnecessarily gendered language, and the lack of flexibility for non-traditional families. As has been highlighted by recent events, family may not only be those you are related to by blood or traditional marriage, but those you happen to be quarantined with. The Oregon legislature has already recognized this, in writing a definition of family in the paid family & medical leave program (HB 2005-2019) that includes: “Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a covered individual is the equivalent of a family relationship.” While HB 2005 will not go into effect until 2023, AAUP believes strongly that family medical leave should be extended to include all those who are family to an individual. We were not able to come to an agreement on Friday, and will continue, for another day of bargaining, trying to come to agreement as to who should count as family.
Every day that the Administration comes to the bargaining table unwilling or unprepared to come to consensus on the definition of family is a day lost that could be spent focusing on more pressing issues. It is costing money, time, and energy that should be spent on figuring out how to support faculty and students through these trying times and come up with innovative measures to carry this institution into the future. Administration needs to show that they respect, value, and recognize that TTF, NTTF, and APs are vital members of the PSU community, without which the broad mission of the University can not be fulfilled. The sooner that PSU-AAUP and Administration finish bargaining and agree to a new contract for PSU-AAUP members, the sooner PSU-AAUP members and Administration can focus on returning to serving students and delivering top quality, affordable education to students.
We worked hard with the administration responding to their request that they be able to furlough some of our members. While we worked to protect our members, we also helped to save the University millions of dollars. Therefore, we went into bargaining Friday morning hoping the administration would recognize our commitment to PSU. PSU-AAUP asks that the administration demonstrate their commitment to the TTF, NTTF, and APs that drive the core mission of the university at PSU by prioritizing our contract and working with us to come to agreements that respect our contributions to the University.