April 9, 2021, KLAMATH FALLS, Ore.—After 16 months of negotiations through a pandemic, Oregon Tech is disappointed that the faculty union, OT-AAUP, has decided to focus on a strike instead of coming to the table with a true intent to reach a reasonable first contract for Oregon Tech faculty. Oregon Tech believes the parties are making progress toward an agreement and additional negotiation sessions have already been scheduled. If the union were to strike, the University plans to continue providing students with the opportunity to continue their studies and complete their degree as scheduled.
The University’s fiscal health is being continually challenged by the uncertainties of the pandemic. Despite this, currently, OT-AAUP is proposing a 20% salary increase in the first year and additional incremental increases in the next two years. Oregon Tech currently pays full time nine-month professors on average 11% more than comparable institutions—$135,000 a year, when generous health insurance and retirement benefits are included. Using criteria agreed to by both parties, data presented to the faculty union April 5 demonstrates that current Oregon Tech faculty are already paid equal to or more than faculty at comparable universities. The OT-AAUP’s proposed salary increases would amount to approximately $9 million over the next three years.
The OT-AAUP salary increase proposals are coupled with a reduced commitment to student instruction time of roughly 20%. “Oregon Tech places emphasis on student instruction, and this has always been a point of pride for faculty and the University,” said Oregon Tech president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan.
“Oregon Tech remains committed to working collaboratively with OT-AAUP to achieve a sustainable first faculty contract that meets the interests of all of Oregon Tech and in particular, our students,” said President Naganathan.
- Oregon Tech faculty had pay adjustments of 2% across the board increase in both 2018 and 2019.
- In 2020, faculty were offered pay increases of approximately 2%—the same increase offered to administrative staff. OT-AAUP declined this offer on behalf of faculty and in negotiations proposed an estimated 20% increase in cost for salaries in 2021, plus additional increases over the next two years. According to OT-AAUP, the initial pay increase would be approximately $2.5 million compounded yearly with an additional $250,000 in 2022 and 2023 bringing the three-year (additional) cost to the University to approximately $9 million.
- A full-time professor at Oregon Tech typically works nine months out of 12 and receives an average salary of $90,253 or $10,028 per month. With generous health insurance (the University covers no less than 95% of premiums) and retirement benefits—OT-AAUP agrees Oregon Tech’s benefits package is the best in the country for faculty.
- Comparable salaries are based on schools that teach the same disciplines, offer similar degree types in similar numbers, with faculty of similar education, with similar enrollment, locale, etc. Compensation offers are made based on data and not subjective.
- In response to projected revenue losses caused in large part by the Covid-19 pandemic, non-faculty employees at Oregon Tech took 20%-40% hour reductions each week as part of the Oregon Work Share Program for more than seven months. Faculty were not asked to participate in this furlough program.
- OT-AAUP’s economic demands alone could equate to an increase in tuition of almost 20%, and do not take into account non-discretionary increased costs for health and liability insurance, retirement contributions, etc.
Press Release from OIT