MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon Tech faculty and administration are currently at an impasse with either the acceptance of a new contract or a strike looming.
Faculty represented by the Oregon Tech-American Association of University Professors received what it calls a quote “disappointing last, best, and final offer” from university administration on Friday.
It said the offer doesn’t account for inflation and cost-of-living adjustments, that faculty will pay more for less secure health insurance and salary increases will be based on ‘merit,’ without defining what that means.
“We’re just asking to be brought back to where we were, simply,” Sean St. Clair, professor at O.I.T. and president of the AAUP, said. “Our math professors make less than some community college professors and so we’d like them to be brought up to a level that’s appropriate for a university of our size and stature,” he added.
The union said it wants similar to what professors at Southern Oregon University are getting and for everything to be written down so they know what to expect.
They are asking for fair workloads with many working overtime and say morale is very low at the moment.
“Faculty feel like they’re not being respected, or rewarded appropriately. My department lost one-third of its faculty in the last year and that’s because of the low morale. We’re having a hard time finding people, also, because our compensation is so slow,” St. Clair said.
A 30-day cooling off period ends April 16th.
Negotiations between faculty and administration will continue during the cooling-off period.
“We want to have what we had already and then we want to get back to teaching the students. We all came here because we love interacting with the students and we love teaching them. That’s what we’d like to focus on and it’s harder to do with the morale so low. So, yeah, we’d like to get this all in the contract and get back to doing what we love,” St. Clair said.
The contract affects about 156 people at Oregon Tech.