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SOU, faculty reach tentative agreement

The parties were almost to the point of a 30-day cooling off period when SOU came ‘mostly in line’ with what the union had requested

When it came to reaching a contract agreement, it turned out Southern Oregon University and the faculty union did not need 30 days of “cooling off” after all.

The bargaining teams for the Association of Professors of SOU and the university administration announced Tuesday they had reached tentative agreements on what the final articles would look like, paving the way for a contract to be ratified.

“After months of challenge and frustration on both sides, SOU has accepted some of the most important articles in our contract,” APSOU said in a statement.

Joe Mosley, university spokesman, said SOU cannot offer an official comment on developments at this point — or even confirm there is a tentative agreement — because that might be interpreted as an attempt to influence the union vote.

Faculty members will have a chance to discuss and ratify the contact after it is presented to the APSOU board for approval.

Late last week, the union declared an “impasse,” which could have triggered a required 30-day “cooling off period” — a term coined by the Oregon Employment Relations Board. But that period didn’t mean the parties had to stop negotiating.

In a statement to the Mail Tribune Tuesday, a faculty union representative said SOU’s offer was “mostly in line” with what APSOU had requested, including raises for faculty. While they would not receive a raise during the current school year under the tentative agreement, they would get a 2.5% increase, followed by two 2% raises, for three years of the 4-year contract.

Both parties agreed to memorandums of understanding that establish work groups to explore language on curtailment and intellectual property, the union said.

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.