AAUP and OU administration still bargaining

UPDATE Tuesday 5 a.m.: OU said classes still canceled because faculty contract still not agreed on and faculty remain on strike/job action. OU vice president of student affair and enrollment management Mary Beth Snyder said in an e-mail to students that the “strike” is illegal, that the faculty union hasn’t bargained in good faith, and that OU will try to get an Oakland County judge to sign an order today forcing the faculty back to work. The faculty union said OU’s offer at 4:30 a.m. today was unacceptable and that talks will resume at 2 p.m.

It’s still unclear whether Oakland University students will be able to go back to classes tomorrow because as of press time Monday evening, the faculty contract negotiations were still ongoing and the faculty strike continues that canceled OU’s classes last week.

Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Beth Snyder sent out an e-mail after 10 p.m. Monday instructing students to check the OU website by 5 a.m. to see if Tuesday classes will be in session.

The negotiating teams for the faculty union and the OU administration have been bargaining since May, and continued talking on Labor Day Monday, said Lizabeth Barclay, OU management professor and spokeswoman of OU’s chapter of American Association of University Professors that represents about 600 faculty members.


“5:00 p.m. still bargaining. Slow progress,” said the latest information received Monday from Barclay.


“We are happy progress is being made,” Barclay said, but added that she doesn’t know when a tentative agreement will be reached. “For example, one year I was called at 3 a.m. to say we had a job action and was called back at 5 a.m. to say we had a tentative agreement.”


OU will e-mail its students if there is further news, and Barclay asked all students to check www.oaklandaaup.org for the latest updates.


Barclay said there was progress made on issues in the last two days, but she doesn’t know the details.


“I believe they are still working on integration of the medical school and the economic package,” she said. “The issues we are dealing with are big issue and we need to resolve them.”



AAUP said some of the issues it was concerned with were OU administration taking away some research and intellectual property rights from faculty, no increases in research travel funds and faculty governance.



Some instructors have e-mailed their students a curricular syllabus and messages saying they hope to get back in the classroom soon.


“I hope you understand that this job action is important to preserving the integrity of instruction at OU,” said almost-identical e-mails sent out by several faculty members. “We have been bargaining with the administration since May, hoping to come to a settlement before the start of classes. But throughout the summer, they issued non-negotiable demands that were impossible for us to accept. Only after the faculty voted to protest OU’s unfair labor practices and they saw the level of student support for the faculty did the administration begin meaningful negotiation.”



“Most of the issues have nothing to do with our salaries,” the faculty e-mails said. “Rather, they have to do with our ability to bring you a great education — how we control what is taught in the classroom, how we influence who is hired to teach you, and how we defend your interests at the university.”



As a policy, OU administration doesn’t comment on ongoing contract negotiations.


OU student congress is holding an open forum Tuesday from 2-4 p.m. on OU’s campus in the Fireside Lounge in the Oakland Center. AAUP representatives and OU administration representatives have been invited to address issues, concerns and comments.


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