March 2002 aaUPBEAT
AAUP Leadership Recommends New Contract
The AAUP's contract negotiations with the Administration have entered their final phase. On Friday, March 1, the union's steering committee unanimously endorsed a tentative collective bargaining agreement made on Feb. 25 between the AAUP negotiating team and the Administration. The steering committee's endorsement means that the tentative agreement will now be presented to UD faculty for a ratification vote. Although the contract was negotiated by the AAUP, all UD faculty members are eligible to vote, regardless of whether or not you are union members. The contract protects all faculty regardless of their AAUP status.
In the weeks prior to the vote, the union's bargaining team will hold two contract-related open meetings with faculty members. One of these meetings will already have been held by the time you receive this. The other will be held on March 14. Details will be supplied to faculty in separate mailings.
In an effort to make the contract ratification process less cumbersome and more "user-friendly" than in the past, the process has been altered to include two new elements.
First, balloting will no longer occur at a centralized voting places. Instead, we are instituting mail ballots this year. On March 11 all UD faculty will be mailed ballots through the campus mail. Ballots must reach the AAUP office by return mail no later than March 20 at 3 p.m.
Second, in addition to mail-in ballots, each faculty member will also receive a full copy of the AAUP-Administration collective bargaining agreement with all new changes highlighted in bold print. During past ratification votes, faculty only received summaries of the contract changes and had to go to a centralized location - e.g., the library, the AAUP office- to view an actual contract with the changes highlighted. Providing faculty members with the full contract with the relevant language highlighted should help faculty arrive more quickly at an understanding of the proposed contract's details.
To give you a heads-up on what the agreements strengths and weaknesses are, we will provide you below with a summary of the contract's main points. If ratified, the contract will govern faculty-Administration relations for a 3-year period, from July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2005..
Proposed Contract: the Strenghts
Research/Scholarship Semesters for Assistant Professors. With an eye toward the special needs of Assistant Professors, the AAUP initially planned to bargain for mini-sabbatical reimbursement payments that amounted to 75% of salary for the period of time in question. We have instead won a stronger settlement on this issue. Assistant Professors will now "be eligible for a semester at full pay devoted to research and scholarship during the third or fifth years of the probationary period of service. This research/scholarship year will count as part of the six-year probationary period for purposes of promotion and tenure."
Long-Care Health Insurance. The University has agreed to make long-term care insurance available to eligible faculty and spouses. Faculty members will be required to pay any costs related to the insurance. The scope, terms and conditions of the benefit will be subject to change on an annual basis.
Health Benefits. The wellness program will be extended to retired faculty, effective July 1, 2002. Also, the maximum allocation/ceiling of a FSA health care account will be increased from $1,500 to $2,000.
Academic Unit By-Laws. The faculty of all academic units must develop a set of by-laws for their units and "submit them for approval to the approval by the appropriate chair/director, dean and provost no later than June 30, 2003."
Retirement Incentive Program. The AAUP and Administration have agreed upon a one-time-only special retirement incentive for full-time faculty who sign, by June 30, 2003, a retirement agreement specifying that they will retire no later than June 30, 2005. This incentive is also available to faculty members who have already signed retirement agreements that specify their retirement date as somewhere between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2005.
Also in accord with this agreement, the University will contribute the equivalent of 11% of the faculty member's final base salary to her or his TIAA/CREF or Fidelity retirement account for an additional two years following the effective retirement date.
Written Merit Criteria Guidelines. In the proposed contract, the AAUP has won language that reduces the possibility of arbitrariness in merit decisions. A departmental chair or other academic unit head must now make her/his merit decisions in accordance with written guidelines developed by her/him in consultation with department faculty members. These criteria then must be ratified by a departmental faculty vote before being submitted to the appropriate college dean.
The new written merit criteria must "include a well-defined metric that communicates the value assigned to the different levels of contribution in teaching, scholarship and service. And must also be consistent with the department's criteria for promotion and tenure."
Salary Increases, Merit Payments and Structural (Or Lump-Sum) Payments. Salary increases and merit payments will be as follows during the proposed contract's 3 years. We remind the faculty that the current inflation rate is approximately 1.1% a year.
For the period July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2003, continuing members of the bargaining unit will receive an across-the-board salary increase of 2% with an additional 1% available for merit increases. Regarding merit pay, in each of the University's colleges 1% of the 2001-2002 base salary of continuing members of the bargaining unit will be allocated to the merit pool and then divided up within that college according to the guidelines set out in Article 12.4 of our collective bargaining agreement. Also included in the 2002-2003 salary year are structural or lump-sum payments for assistant professors (1% of base salary) and associate professors (0.5% of base salary). For an assistant professor the payment for 12 months is $580 and the payment for 9 months is $565. For an associate professor the payment for 12 months is $400 and for 9 months $350. The phrase "of base salary" refers not to the individual professor's salary but to the average base salary in her or his group.
For the period July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004, continuing members of the bargaining unit will receive an across-the-board salary increase of 2% of their 2002-2003 base salaries with an additional 1.5% available for merit increases. Regarding merit pay, in each of the University's colleges 1.5% of the 2002-2003 base salary of continuing members of the bargaining unit will be allocated to the merit pool and then divided up within that college according to the guidelines set out in Article 12.4 of our collective bargaining agreement. Also included in the 2003-2004 salary year are structural or lump-sum payments for assistant professors (0.5% of base salary) and associate professors (0.5% of base salary). For an assistant professor the payment for 12 months is $400 and the payment for 9 months is $300. For an associate professor the payment for 12 months is $415 and for 9 months $365.
For the period July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2005, continuing members of the bargaining unit will receive an across-the-board salary increase of 2% of their 2003-2004 base salaries with an additional 1.75% available for merit increases. Regarding merit pay, in each of the University's colleges 1.75% of the 2003-2004 base salary of continuing members of the bargaining unit will be allocated to the merit pool and then divided up within that college according to the guidelines set out in Article 12.4 of our collective bargaining agreement.
Maternity Issues. New language pertaining to maternity benefits for faculty cites the need for departments to provide women faculty with options including the possibility of a "one semester administered load that allows a choice of either partial or full relief from teaching duties during the semester of the birth of a child or immediately following the birth of a child."
Proposed Contract: the Weaknesses
Although the bargaining team is pleased with the contract's strong points, we also recognize that it reflects certain failures.
As we stated at the beginning of the negotiating process, bargaining requires more than just a small group seated at the bargaining table, trying to hammer out agreements on a variety of issues. It also requires a collective vision within the union of what we want and a group commitment to build the union into a larger unit so that we can exercise our power more efficiently. This is work that can't be put off until the next contract negotiations . It must be done now. If you aren't a member of the union, join. If you are a member of the union, help us to recruit more members.
As a bargaining team, we think we have won you a good contract. Now it is for you to decide whether you agree with us. Read your contract copies when you receive them in the mail, and don't forget to attend the March 14 open union meeting (you will receive details in the mail) if you have contract-related questions. After you've informed yourself about the contract, make sure your mail ballot reaches the AAUP office by no later than 3 p.m. on March 20.
The bargaining team thanks you for your cooperation during this process. Any questions regarding the proposed contract can be directed to the AAUP's chief negotiator, David Colton (831-1863).