Chief Negotiator’s Blog – Bargaining Session #7

Bargaining Session #7

December 7, 2015

The parties met on December 7, 2015 from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Originally scheduled with Mediator Lee Williamson, the parties agreed to work on the proposals on the table instead of integrating a mediator.

Nejat Olgac, Mechanical Engineering and Gary English, Dramatic Arts, were able to sit in on the negotiations as observers. Thank you for their participation.

The attorney for the administration opened the agenda with responses to our proposals on Student Evaluations of Teaching, MOA #3 – Tenure Appeal, Article 16 AAUP Rights, and Parking. The attorney requested to have a discussion only on our proposal on Appointment, Promotion, Tenure and Reappointment and he submitted a new proposal on Faculty Governance – Department Documents.

In response to our proposal on SET’s, we are encouraged with the movement by the administration on this issue but asked that our response be held out until the submission of separate proposal on Adjuncts. Some of their concerns may be addressed in that article.

Once again, the administration has shown progress in reaching agreement on Tenure Appeal, but our Team had two significant issues. Included in this proposal is the allowance for the By-laws to be “amended from time to time.” We stated quite clearly that we would not agree to any proposal that included this statement. Both the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the UCONN By-laws are two unique documents that need to be judged as of a specific version and date. Changes can be made to either document, but only through a memorandum of agreement between the parties. UConn-AAUP continues to press for a time-line to this process to keep the parties moving forward, similar to the grievance process.

A lengthy, heated discussion occurred with Article 14 AAUP Rights and the proposal by the administration to remove the present requirement for the President to transmit UConn-AAUP recommendations concerning the governance of the University to the Board of Trustees at their December and March meetings. Additionally the discussion surrounded the present requirement for the Board to express their position on those recommendations in writing back to the UConn-AAUP. As representatives of the faculty, we strongly encourage this access, opportunity and response to the Board.

Their attorney simply submitted their previous proposal on Parking without any changes.

Our proposal on Appointment, Promotion, Tenure and Reappointment includes a reference to the Provost’s Procedures page. The administration was looking for clarification as to what on that page we were referring to. Our response was exactly that. The Procedures – the step-by-step process one takes toward promotion and or tenure and the specified update to those procedures and that any changes to those procedures need to be negotiated with UConn-AAUP.

As you can see in the Proposal section of our website, the parties are making progress in relationship to the University proposal on Faculty Governance  – Department Documents, as well as the Promotion, Tenure and Reappointment document requirement within that article. Also included in this proposal is a requirement that the appropriate Dean to approve the documents. This is a little too much oversight for us and would prefer a “reviewed” standard.

Our first proposal of the day was the Adjunct Faculty proposal. We recommended per credit stipend increases, as well as language granting adjunct faculty better workplace protections Included in our proposal is a break-in-service clause allowing for reasons to continue on the 10 consecutive semesters without actually teaching a semester. Reasons may include medical, cancelling of the class due to enrollment or a full-time faculty being assigned the class., or if no class is available to teach. We also call for a seniority-type structure giving multi-year appointed faculty a first right of refusal for instructor of record and lab assignment over semester appointed adjunct, as well as semester appointed adjuncts to labs associated with their courses over other adjuncts, instructional specialists and/or their equivalents. There were questions raised by the administration on this article and so additional work will be done by us.

We submitted a counter-proposal on Article 14 Reduction of Staff removing the By-Laws “as amended from time to time” language, and we increased the amount of money available to a tenured faculty member for reimbursement for fees charged by professional placement or occupational counseling services and for reimbursement for coursework during the period of notice or recall.

We submitted a counter-proposal to Article 4 Governance calling for increased cooperation in governance and allowing this article to be grievable.

Our last proposal for the day was improvements to Article 22 Mergers and Acquisitions. Confirmed by our attorney, it would be impossible to require the administration to force any new faculty member to become a UConn-AAUP member if they were unionized with another union at their previous institution. If they were not part of a union at their previous institution, then we can require the Board not to challenge their inclusion in the bargaining unit. The administration concern is with merging or acquiring overseas institutions.

Our next two sessions are scheduled for December 17th and 18th.

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