Faculty and administration at Portland State University (PSU) have been in contract negotiations for months. Faculty say that too much money is going to athletics and real estate transactions, while the majority of faculty are working part-time, many of them on year-to-year contracts. (The union for part-time faculty settled their contract with the university in the fall.) The full-time faculty union, which is negotiating now, says that the current system is dragging down the ability for professors to build programs, work with masters students, and conduct multi-year research projects.
Faculty also are bargaining for higher salaries, arguing that their current compensation lags behind other universities. The school administration says that increasing pension costs and decreased state funding have contributed to PSU’s current shortfall of $7.5 million. In a letter to PSU faculty last fall, President Wim Wiewel addressed some faculty concerns, saying the football program would become self-supporting, and administrative salaries larger than $100,000 would be frozen.
The current full-time faculty contract was extended one month to expire February 28. The union and the university have met with a state mediator several times, with the next meeting scheduled for February 10.
Are you a student at PSU? Do you work there? What do you want to see come out of the budget and labor negotiations?