The negotiating teams for the AAUP and administration (ANT) met on February 22 for our first bargaining session of 2018 (our January session was scratched due to weather). Earlier in the month, we had sent them counter-proposals on Retrenchment and Benefits. President Birx attended this session in order to specifically address concerns over the salary proposal described below.
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:
- Salary (ANT) — We were pleased that the administration, in their latest salary proposal, dropped their request to reopen negotiations on salary in 2019 and 2020, and instead offered salary increases in those years. For the sake of clarity, we will summarize their salary proposal by year:
- 2018 – This time, the administration’s proposal offered to set aside 1% of the total salary budget for the bargaining unit for a May salary increase, with an additional .5% of the total salary budget for the bargaining unit set aside for equity adjustments to selected faculty salaries. Another .5% would be paid out in one-time merit bonuses to select faculty in May.
- 2019 – The administration’s proposal offered to set aside 1.5% of the total salary budget for salary increases beginning in July. Additionally, they offered to set aside .5% of the total salary budget for the bargaining unit to be paid in one-time merit bonuses to select faculty in November of 2019…if the university had a ”positive margin in the University’s overall financial picture.”
- 2020 – The administration’s proposal offered to set aside 1.5% of the total salary budget for salary increases beginning in July 2020 and to set aside .5% of the total salary budget for the bargaining unit to be paid in one-time merit bonuses to select faculty in November of 2020…if the university had a ”positive margin in the University’s overall financial picture.”
We had a frank discussion with the President about the institution’s priorities for investing our limited resources. While we concede that the financial situation the administration has found itself in means we will not rectify the situation in this contract, we again pointed out that PSU has long neglected to invest in faculty, resulting in PSU faculty salaries lagging an average of 8% behind those of our colleagues at similar institutions (according to the administration’s own comparator data). Although we appreciate the administration’s willingness to move toward us in this latest counter, even their latest proposal would not cover cost-of-living and health-insurance increases. At a time when quality faculty are leaving the University, when retention is suffering, and when faculty are working harder than ever in order to realize the vision of clusters, it is our position that PSU needs to invest in its faculty. We will work on another counter-proposal.
- Retrenchment (ANT) — We are very close to agreement on this article. At issue in this version of the article was the administration’s position that the reasons for retrenchment (specifically for program curtailment) need not be spelled out. We had earlier conceded that low-enrollment or inability to hire/retain faculty were legitimate reasons to cancel a program and retrench faculty, provided the program curtailment follows PSU’s long-established governance procedures involving the Curriculum Committee and a faculty vote. In looking for ways to compromise on this issue, we conceded this time that there might be other budgetary factors that could lead to program curtailment–for instance, a program that was minimally enrolled, adequately staffed, but whose ongoing technology demands made it too expensive to continue. The ANT agreed, in principle, to our request to enumerate the reasons a program could be curtailed so we will work on another counter-proposal. However, as we said in December, our continued 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.
- Promotion, Tenure, & Evaluation (ANT) — Because we are very close to agreement on this article, we were surprised to see the administration’s request to accept the current proposal, but to reopen negotiations next January to resolve changes in supervisory titles and other processes as we move to an integrated cluster structure. Both sides agreed that we do not want faculty to be confused about the P&T process, but the AAUP argued that we should work together to create a process that is both clear and flexible in THIS contract, rather than reopening negotiations in a few months. After some discussion, the ANT agreed. We will work on a counter-proposal.
Finally, both sides agreed to set dates for two additional bargaining sessions: Tuesday, March 27; and Thursday, April 12.
Our next bargaining session is scheduled for March 8.
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 and Post-Tenure Review OPEN AND ONGOING|
|Retrenchment OPEN AND ONGOING|
|Salary OPEN AND ONGOING|
|Agency Fee OPEN AND ONGOING|
|Benefits OPEN AND ONGOING|
|X No Strike or Lockout Refused (AAUP)|