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May Bargaining Recap

The AAUP and administration’s negotiating teams met on May 5 and again on May 25. Below, is a summary of most of the proposals exchanged and the discussions that followed, organized by topic.

Shared Governance

The administration has not revisited the issue of the role of Shared Governance at PSU. We asked them for an update on our proposal at the May 5 meeting and they said they had not received permission to bargain on this proposal. We asked them again at the May 25 meeting and they said their priority ahead of that meeting was the other proposals listed below.

Workload

The administration’s counter-proposal on workload acknowledged the faculty’s need for some flexibility in defining the distribution of faculty workload (for instance, when a scholarly project demands more time, or when the faculty undertakes some important service endeavor), but it lacked the sort of transparency that we have insisted must be part of these reforms. Their proposal also omitted any reference to the 80/10/10 model we had used to define our current workload distribution, leaving us in a state wherein teaching time is (somewhat) accounted for, but time for service and scholarship remain unclear and unquantifiable (even while expectations for those activities remain high). We intend to bring a new counter-proposal this summer.

Salary & Benefits

We have not had substantive discussions on this, but we have exchanged proposals. Our proposal asked for a raise that would bring us to equity with our comparators (using the salary data provided by the administration). Their proposal included no salary raises (nor Merit Pay, nor even cost-of-living increases). Instead, it suggested we re-open negotiations each year beginning with FY19.

Our benefits proposals included:

  • a retirement plan based on our 2011 plan, with the addition of a standardized Separation Incentive Plan and a reimbursement for the retirement funds PSU faculty were denied in 2011 (no faculty at other USNH institutions were denied these retirement contributions)
  • a health plan based largely on the one that UNH faculty receive
  • a leave-of-absence policy based largely on current policy
  • an increase in tuition and dependent-care assistance

The administration countered with:

  • a cut in retirement benefits for faculty hired in 2018
  • current tuition assistance plan with no mention of dependent-care assistance
  • a 3% increase in employee contributions to health care premiums

The administration plans to make a presentation supporting these proposals at our scheduled July 25 meeting.

Retrenchment

The ANT brought a proposal to the May 4 meeting that described a retrenchment policy (retrenchment allows the university to terminate tenured faculty in specific cases). In our discussion, we asked them to clarify the role the AAUP would have in determining the need for retrenchment, how seniority would factor in, etc. We will bring a counter-proposal to a later meeting.

Faculty Rights & Safety

At the May 4 meeting, we presented a proposal that, among other things, asked the administration to guarantee access to academic buildings when the university is open in snow- or ice-events. After some clarifying questions, the ANT agreed to bring a counter with some slight alterations.

Agency Fees

At the May 4 meeting, we presented a proposal that allows the AAUP to allow faculty to deduct their membership dues from their payroll, and allows the AAUP to create an Agency Fee to cover the cost of negotiation, grievance, etc., for faculty who are not members of the association.

Additional Items

Other proposals exchanged (but not yet discussed) dealt with Post-Tenure Review (ANT proposal), Appointments & Rank, Intellectual Property, PT&E, and Professional Development. We believe we are very close to having agreements on Academic Freedom, Personnel Files, and Faculty Rights & Safety. The ANT promised to bring back counters to these with slight revisions.

Our summer bargaining sessions are scheduled for June 15, July 25, and August 10.

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