Labor Relations Progress and Updates


In my October 2014 blog I shared my thoughts on interest-based bargaining (IBB) and encouraged the University and AAUP to consider this approach.  The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) describes IBB as “a process that enables traditional negotiators to become joint problem-solvers. It assumes that mutual gain is possible, that solutions which satisfy mutual interests are more durable, that the parties should help each other achieve a positive result.”

There have been many positive developments since my posting.

IBB Info Session

On January 22, 2015 the University and AAUP jointly participated in an IBB overview session presented by Janet Gillman, State Conciliator with the Oregon Employment Relations Board.  Janet is familiar with PSU; she served as a mediator for the negotiations last year between the University and AAUP (and is a PSU grad!). She also facilitated the SEIU-PSU IBPS process in May last year and the efforts from that collaboration remain strong today.

Thirty persons attended the 1.5 hour session, including representatives of the AAUP bargaining team, and AAUP leadership and representatives from the University.

The session covered:

  • IBB Principles and Process
  • Why use IBB?
  • What makes and breaks the process?
  • IBB for economics
  • Employment Relations Board training and facilitation services

Main Takeaways

What I took away from the session was that IBB has potential for assisting during the bargaining process by using problem-solving methods. IBB can also improve ongoing relationships, clarify interests, provide a venue for discussion, moves to yes, and build agreement.

After the initial IBB introductory session the AAUP and the University teams each evaluated their interest in moving forward with additional training sessions.  Both agreed that there was benefit to participate in IBB training as a next step.  The training will be conducted over two days and is designed to build skills for all participants in communication, group process, and consensus and decision making.  AAUP took the lead and worked with the Oregon Employment Relations Board to schedule our first joint meeting to be held on March 10th.

Related Personnel Additions 

Professor Shelly Chabon assumed the role of Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Leadership Development in December 2014.

Carol Hawkins began last week as our Director of Academic Employee and Labor Relations.  This is a new position and was created with a desire to increase the attention dedicated to working with our academic labor organizations. We created the position by restructuring existing positions within the Office of Academic Affairs. AAUP and AFT provided input on the job description, served on the advisory committee that selected the first round candidates and the finalist, participated in the campus interviews and provided input on the finalists. Carol reports to the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Leadership Development (Shelly Chabon).

Progress on AAUP/University Task Forces

I am pleased to report that progress is being made on the following task forces called for in the 2013-15 AAUP-University Collective Bargaining Agreement.

  • The members of the joint task force to examine current employment terms and notice requirements for non-tenure track faculty (Article 18) have worked together over the past five months and produced a report in February with a set of recommendations for guidelines and policies for greater stability for Non-Tenure Track Faculty appointments. The University and AAUP are reviewing the report and have agreed to provide a response to one another in March.
  • The members of the joint task force to examine and consider revisions to Article 27 (imposition of progressive sanctions) have been meeting and expect a report to be completed in February or March
  • The members of the joint family-friendly task force to review relevant University policies and practices and identify possible changes to provide greater support and career options for employees balancing family and career have been meeting and reviewing FMLA and other leave options as well as approaches for banking leaves. The group is preparing a report to be completed by February or March.
  • The Faculty Senate was charged by AAUP and the University (October 6, 2014) to form a joint task force to examine academic quality. The Faculty Senate has formed the task force and it has begun its work.

As you can see, there are a lot of positive efforts and work taking place.  As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of these topics.

One thought on “Labor Relations Progress and Updates

  1. Sona, The progress you are making to proactively engage with the Senate and the union is very impressive. Thanks for your leadership. Randy


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