April 2005 aaUPBEAT
Update on AAUP-Administration Bargaining Sessions
Contract Negotiations Continue
The Collective Bargaining Committee has held eight meetings with the Administration since January. On average, these negotiating sessions have lasted two hours each, totaling approximately sixteen hours. At least two more meetings are planned, although we are committed to meeting more often if necessary. Our top priority is making sure all our contractual concerns are met.
So far, bargaining sessions have been collegial, informative and productive. When disagreements have arisen, discussions have been respectful but candid.
In addition to negotiating with the Administration, our bargaining efforts have also entailed internal union discussions in order to develop tightly reasoned positions backed up by hard data. These discussions have occurred not only within the bargaining team but also at Executive Council meetings as well as at four special AAUP Steering Committee meetings. During the course of these Steering Committee meetings, various proposals were discussed and approved; also, following the commencement of negotiations, the committee has received bargaining updates from the union's chief negotiator, David Colton.
At this point in the bargaining process, we have reached tentative agreements with the Administration on a number of issues. The remaining issues to be negotiated pertain to salary. Our data on what the Administration can afford in these areas is well researched.
Below is a summary of important salary-related information.
Table 1, on page 3, includes some of the data the union has used to establish the need for a salary increase that meets reasonable demands and secures the University's ability to hire and retain outstanding faculty. The table presents the average salaries of fulltime UD faculty by rank - Full, Associate and Assistant Professors - and also places these salaries in context by comparing them with the average salaries at twenty-four Category 1 Doctoral Degree Granting institutions in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
As can be seen in the table, the University of Delaware is one below the median in the ranks of Professor and Associate Professor and three below the median for Assistant Professor. Moreover the AAUP Collective Bargaining Committee believes that the most important comparators are state institutions such as the University of Virginia, Rutgers University (New Jersey), Pennsylvania State University and University of Maryland at College Park. Table 1 shows that for Associate Professors, UD salaries are below all but one of these institutions. We are below all of these institutions for Full Professors and Assistant Professors.
This is clearly not good enough. If UD wants to compete with universities that are Category 1 doctoral granting institutions, we must have faculty salaries that are above the median in our comparator group and that stand in a better relation to the state institutions mentioned above. As we detailed in the January newsletter, the University can more than afford to meet this salary standard given the great resources at its disposal.
The facts in support of this contention are many.
In addition to the facts just mentioned, AAUP bargainers must also consider other factors. Inflation has gone up about 3 percent. The cost of basic commodities like gasoline and housing have been increasing dramatically. Also, there is a great deal of concern that a weakening dollar will cause even greater increases in the cost of living over the next two years.
The bargaining team will keep all this in mind as we continue our negotiations with the Administration.
Further Salary Concerns: The National Context
According to a National AAUP press release issued on April 5, 2005, the Association is about to issue its Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2004-05. The report, entitled "Inequities Persist for Women and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty," analyzes data gathered from 1,416 institutions of higher education
The press release, which summarizes some of the report's findings, helps to place our salary negotiations here at UD in a national context.
As the above facts make clear, our efforts to improve salary levels here at UD exist in a national context of financial under-recognition of faculty. Whether this under-recognition takes the form of salary gains that fail to keep up with inflation or continuing inequity between different faculty groups (e.g., women-men, etc.), such trends must be stopped.
As we stated above, since the UD Administration is financially positioned to meet our demands without danger to the University's financial health, this is what the union is working toward.
The full report on "Inequities Persist for Women and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty" will be made available on April 18 at a seminar and media conference in Washington, D.C. The report will also be posted on the AAUP's website. The report's author is Dr. John Curtis, the AAUP's director of research.
Stay Informed, Participate and Join the AAUP
As members of the AAUP bargaining team continue to make the case for bettering your working conditions, benefits and salary, we ask for your support. We urge you to read all our reports regarding the contract negotiations, participate in contract-related discussions with your colleagues and at your departmental meetings. Additionally, when the time comes, attend the open meetings at which AAUP officials will present, and answer questions about, the contract proposal. And, most importantly, join the AAUP now if you are not a member. We have seen a significant increase in the union's membership since negotiations began in January. A continued increase in our membership numbers will be our greatest strength as we negotiate for you. Better salaries depend on it. So, join now!