As strike deadline approaches, Oregon Tech officials seek state injunction to prevent walkout | #students | #parents

Approximately 200 full-time faculty at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) in Klamath Falls in southern Oregon may strike on April 26 if an agreement is not reached between the university and Oregon Tech-American Association of University Professors (OT-AAUP). The union said 92 percent of members voted in favor of the strike authorization on April 2, with nearly the entire membership taking part in the vote.

In a last minute effort to block a strike, management has sought an injunction with the Oregon Employment Relations Board. OIT has also filed an unfair labor relations complaint against the OIT-AAUP, claiming failure to bargain in good faith. The union said its lawyer was reviewing the OIT filing, calling it a “delay tactic.”

Among the objectionable actions cited by the university was a no confidence vote by the Faculty Senate for OIT President Dr. Nagi Naganathan. The resolution cited the fact that Naganathan had increased salaries for administrators while allowing faculty pay to stagnate.

Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) campus in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Purvine Hall (Wikimedia commons)

OIT faculty are seeking salary increases, preservation of health benefits, tenure-track job security, and clearly defined workload limits. The average faculty salary at Oregon Tech was just under $70,000 in 2020, below other major universities across the state. As math instructor MaryLou Wogan stated in an open letter in Herald and News, “Presently OIT faculty earn only 87% of what their counterparts do at other Oregon institutions. During this same time period the OIT administration salaries increased by 18.7%.” The union has denied a statement by the university that staff are demanding a 20 percent pay increase, merely stating their intent to win a salary that is closer to the state average.

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