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Education

Oregon Tech Faculty Union Votes To Authorize A Strike

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OIT/ Wikimedia Commons
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If a strike does occur, it would be the first-ever faculty strike at an Oregon public university.

The Oregon Institute of Technology’s faculty union voted this week to authorize a strike.

This comes more than 500 days after negotiations began between the union and OIT administration. The faculty union, Oregon Tech’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, is demanding salary increases and more clearly defined workload limits, among other requests.

The union said as of Friday, 96% of faculty had cast their votes, and 92% of those votes were in favor of authorizing a strike.

It is not guaranteed that the faculty will strike, but union leadership can now call for one if an agreement is not reached with OIT.

If a strike does take place, it would be the first-ever faculty strike at an Oregon public university. Portland State’s faculty union voted to authorize a strike in 2014, but reached a deal shortly before walking out. Eastern Oregon’s faculty union similarly came close to striking in 2006.

“The students at Oregon Tech deserve better and our faculty have come together with one voice to say that — while we absolutely do not want to strike — we are ready to take this action to ensure our faculty are treated with respect and our students provided the highest quality education,” faculty union President Sean St. Clair said in a statement.

OIT declared an impasse early last month, and OIT President Nagi Naganathan said he felt there was a “lack of progress” from the union.

That impasse is followed by a cooling-off period. After that period ends, the administration may implement its final offer and faculty can then strike, if they choose to.

The faculty union says negotiations will continue through the cooling-off period, which ends April 17.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting.