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Bargaining Recap for March 27

The negotiating teams for the AAUP and administration (ANT) met on March 27 for our second bargaining session of 2018 (two sessions were scratched due to weather).

Below is a description of the proposals that were discussed, followed by a list of the proposals that have been resolved and those that are still on the table:

  • Promotion, Tenure, & Evaluation (tentative agreement reached) We have been in agreement on the basic tenets of this proposal for some time, but we were still working to ensure that the P&T process would be clear to applicants as we transition to clusters. The final version we brought to the meeting maintains a process that is similar to the sequence we have traditionally used: your application begins with a Department/Disciplinary P&T committee, then moves to your Department Chair or Cluster-designated evaluator, then moves to the Provost, the President, and finally the BOT. The new process is flexible enough to allow for some variation from cluster to cluster (if you still have a Department Chair, they are part of the process–but if you don’t, whatever faculty the cluster has designated as your evaluator will play that part in the process). Importantly, the final article does away with the requirement for candidates for promotion to submit external reviews of their scholarship (a practice that was applied very unevenly in the past), nor does it include a “Post Tenure Review” (other than the traditional work plan we have been using for some time). We thank the administration for their willingness to collaborate on this vital article.
  • Retrenchment (ANT) — We have not yet submitted a counter-proposal on this article, but we nevertheless discussed it at the bargaining session. At issue the last time we met was the administration’s position that the reasons for retrenchment (specifically for program curtailment) need not be spelled out. We left the last meeting promising to spell out more concrete reasons (in addition to low-enrollment or inability to find/retain qualified faculty) for curtailment, but in hours of meetings we were unable to come up with a legitimate reason that was not covered by those two circumstances. We seemed to make some headway at this session in arguing that “insufficient enrollment” and “consistent inability to find/keep qualified faculty” covered all of the possible reasons a program could be curtailed. However, in light of recent developments (especially the retrenchments and curtailments at other USNH institutions) we decided to have additional conversations with our membership rather than press for a tentative agreement at that meeting. Ultimately, we want to ensure that this agreement protects the academic mission of the university so our position is that retrenchment should not be an easy, or frequent, option for the administration–the situations that may call for retrenchment should be clear, the processes for making the decision to retrench should be transparent and arrived at via shared governance.
  • Benefits (ANT) — Caryn Ines was unable to attend this session so we were unable to come to any final agreements on any of the outstanding issues, but we did discuss two items of special importance to faculty. First, we discussed lengthening the time of Family and Parental Leave to 16 (rather than 12) weeks. Our position is that 16 weeks corresponds to the length of the semester. The current practice is for faculty on leave to use the additional four weeks of the semester to do miscellaneous work as assigned by their supervisor. Anecdotally, we know that this is applied very unevenly–some faculty are given substantial work assignments for this period, some are given very light assignments, and many are told to never mind it at all. The semester is a basic and logical unit of time for faculty. It makes sense (and provides consistency and transparency) to extend the leave to a full semester. The administration, however, worried that the BOT would reject this out of fear that other types of employees would insist on 16 week leaves. The second issue we talked about was vacation accrual for 12-month faculty. For many years, the policy was that 12-month faculty accrued vacation days at the rate of 2 days per month. A few years ago, the accrual rate for 12-month employees with less than five years at the university was reduced to 1.5 days per month. The administration said this was part of a cost-saving measure. Our position is that Assistant Professors don’t get shorter summers than Associate Professors; i.e., that the distinction seems arbitrary and affects such a small number of people that the cost-savings (6 days of vacation per year per junior 12-month faculty) are negligible.

Finally, both sides agreed to set dates for two additional bargaining sessions: Thursday, April 19 and Thursday, May 3.

Our next bargaining session is scheduled for April 12.


Proposals that have been resolved and those that are still on the table:

Proposal/Topic

Definitions  OPEN AND ONGOING
 Recognition Tentative Agreement Signed
 Union Rights  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Non-Discrimination  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Savings Clause  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Safety  Tentative Agreement Signed
√ Faculty Rights  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Personnel Files  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Academic Freedom  Tentative Agreement Signed
√ Appointments & Rank  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Grievance  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Discipline  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Professional Development Funds & Leaves  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Workload  Tentative Agreement Signed
 Shared Governance Tentative Agreement Signed
 Management Rights Tentative Agreement Signed
 Intellectual Property Tentative Agreement Signed
 Promotion, Tenure & Evaluation Tentative Agreement Signed
Retrenchment  OPEN AND ONGOING
Salary  OPEN AND ONGOING
Agency Fee  OPEN AND ONGOING
Benefits  OPEN AND ONGOING
X No Strike or Lockout  Refused (AAUP)

 

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