KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — An unprecedented faculty strike at the Oregon Institute of Technology entered its second week on Monday, with both sides indicating some movement in negotiations — though the productivity of those discussions received a different treatment from OIT's senior leadership than it did from the faculty union.
In a statement on Sunday, OIT's leadership questioned the union's commitment to negotiations, saying that they received no response over the weekend after delivering a proposal at 9:45 p.m. on Friday night.
"Oregon Tech continues to provide quick turnaround responses to Faculty Union proposals but thus far has not seen the faculty union express the same sense of urgency to come to a contract agreement," administrators said.
Oregon Tech - American Association of University Professors (OT-AAUP), the faculty union, indicated on Monday that they are "increasingly close to a settlement," and are working to draft a third settlement package.
Both sides appeared to agree that the topic of workload has become the most recent sticking point.
"From the beginning of this process, the senior administration has proposed language allowing the Provost to change workload guidelines every year," the union said. "OT-AAUP wants to bargain over any of those changes that have a significant impact on faculty working conditions."
OT-AAUP said that their most recent proposals have a similar cost to those proposed by the OIT administration, but hinge on salaries being allocated more equitably.
Meanwhile, both sides highlighted that most students are without their regular professors as the strike continues without an agreement.
"Unfortunately, it has become more and more apparent that the faculty union is not concerned about the Oregon Tech students and is putting self-interest ahead of students," Oregon Tech said. "This pattern started when the faculty union went on strike, was further exposed when students found that some faculty members had taken down their coursework, with the effect of making it difficult for interim professors to step in and carry on with course instruction."
"Senior administrators have resorted to teaching classes themselves, much to the surprise and exasperation of students," OT-AAUP said. "Many classes, particularly the labs that are essential for Oregon Tech’s hands-on degrees, have been cancelled as there are no qualified substitutes."