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Union says UO planning 75 layoffs of faculty

A labor union representing University of Oregon employees says the school is considering a plan to lay off 75 non-tenured faculty members

Published on March 1, 2017 10:40AM

Last changed on March 1, 2017 3:30PM


EUGENE, Ore. (AP) The University of Oregon is considering a plan to lay off 75 non-tenured faculty members, according to a labor union representing the faculty.

United Academics said the reductions will affect employees of the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and other university units, The Register-Guard reported (http://bit.ly/2lX1Imd) Wednesday.

The university has already issued layoff notices to four employees who do maintenance and similar categories of work, said Theodora Ko Thompson, president of UO's Service Employees International Union, and more cuts could be on the way.

"I'm holding my breath at this point," she said.

The potential layoffs come as UO faces an $8.8 million gap in next year's budget caused largely by rising pay and retirement benefits.

According to UO documents, the university is proposing to cover most of the budget shortfall with tuition increases. The proposed tuition hikes for next school year include a 10.6 percent increase for in-state students and a 3 percent increase for out-of-state students.

The UO board of trustees will consider the new tuition proposal on Thursday and Friday.

"Roughly 80 percent of our educational budget pays salaries of our faculty, staff and administrators," UO President Michael Schill wrote in a memo to the board. "Therefore, any efforts to cut the budget will inevitably lead to a loss of jobs and pain to our community."

University spokesman Tobin Klinger said there is no detailed information to release about potential cutbacks at this point. But he said the university must also take into consideration how much the state Legislature will allocate for education in the state general fund budget.

"As the state budget continues to take shape, plans are being made to adapt to the final fiscal circumstances we ultimately face," Klinger said. "Academic units are being asked to look closely at expenses and make sure their available resources are in alignment with expenditures."

UO implements cuts to faculty as contract "nonrenewals," which have to be delivered to faculty by May 1, according to the United Academics contract. The jobs end with the end of the school year.

Last spring, the university issued nonrenewal letters to 79 faculty members.

Michael Dreiling, president of United Academics faculty union, said decisions about this year's cuts are largely taking place behind closed doors.

"This is all about shifting resources away from programs perceived to be either less valuable to that larger vision or have too many non-tenure track faculty in the programs or it's part of a restructuring plan," Dreiling said.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com



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