The negotiating teams for the administration and the PSU-AAUP met on May 3. The AAUP brought a counter-proposal for Salary. It was rejected by the administration. The ANT brought no new proposals for Benefits, Retrenchment, or Agency Fees.
However, after seeing our original draft recap of the session, President Birx–and Dean Mears and Julie Bernier from the ANT–asked to meet with members of the AAUP Negotiating Team to discuss some of the issues in the recap.
The President explained in some detail the financial difficulties resulting from increasing discount rates and falling retention over the last few years. He acknowledged that the worst of that is almost behind us and that we should “turn the corner” after next year. While this was not an actual bargaining session, in order to bring negotiations to an amicable close, the President indicated that he is willing to authorize the ANT to shift some of their positions. Our conversation with the President and members of his negotiating team resulted in the following understandings that we intend to push for at the table:
- Salary – The president stated he is willing to rework the configuration of the guaranteed salary raises, but not the total amounts. Furthermore, he is willing to split the 2019 and 2020 margin-bonuses we described last time so that the first .5% of any such bonus is added to base salary, and any remaining gains are awarded in one-time bonus payments. President Birx also indicated that he is willing to drop his opposition to minimum salaries at rank.
- Retrenchment – Given the uncertainty around retrenchment, we pressed the President to make concessions on this issue. He responded by saying there will be no retrenchment for three years [which is the life of this contract]. We intend to include that language in our retrenchment article. After hearing mixed messages on this for the last several months, we expect this will come as a huge relief to many faculty who have been wondering if the URI process would result in retrenchment.
As we stated above, nothing is final until the negotiating teams from both parties sign tentative agreements. However, we take the President at his word that these changes will be adopted by his team and we intend to incorporate these changes into counters on Salary and Retrenchment. We still await the administration’s response to our last proposals on Benefits and Agency Fees. Nevertheless, if the ANT carries through on the President’s new positions, it is now possible that we will come to agreement on the contract in the very near future.
Our next session is scheduled for May 21.
Proposals that have been resolved and those that are still on the table:
|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)|