Chief Negotiators Blog #16,
March 3, 2016
Your negotiating team met with the administration from 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM on March 3, 2016 at the Depot Campus. There were two faculty observers that attended the session and we thank Suman Majumdar and Amy Kenefick-Moore for being there.
The session began with a discussion of the UCPEA contract currently sitting on the docket at general assembly. It was reported today that the Senate leadership of Martin Looney and Bob Duff agreed with Governor Molloy that the contract should be rejected by the Senate. That vote is expected early next week. This announcement clearly exerted outside interference on our negotiations, which was revealed by the unwillingness of the administration to discuss anything related to their Article 19 Salary and Benefits counterproposal. After a little prodding, they agreed to review their proposed structural changes to the article and answer many of our questions.
The administration then moved a package of proposals forward for our consideration, which included their proposed Article 13. This of course is a non-starter for us. We then forwarded a two-article proposal forward which will be carried over to the next negotiating session.
The action of the legislature, especially the Senate, is troubling. The parties are required to negotiate in good faith and reach agreement of a successor agreement. Although the legislature has always had the final authority on approving contracts before they become effective, they have understood the process of collective bargaining and stayed on the sidelines. Inserting themselves into this process tips the balance of negotiating further towards the employer and away from the employee. Should the elections in the Fall swing the Senate to a Republican majority, this could be a common practice for future negotiations and a practice that will be difficult to correct.