May 2005 aaUPBEAT
AAUP Recommends New Contract
The union bargaining team reached a tentative contract agreement with the Administration on April 20. On April 22, the tentative agreement was submitted to the AAUP Steering Committee who unanimously endorsed it for presentation to the faculty. We are now ready to proceed to the next steps: faculty discussion and a contract ratification vote. If the proposed contract is ratified, the ratification will conclude a long, grueling but ultimately rewarding process. Already the AAUP's negotiators and officials have put in more than 260 hours of bargaining and bargaining-related activities.
Although our contract proposal does not include everything we hoped to win, we consider it a distinct success nonetheless. Our salary gains will bring us at or above the average salary for our comparative institutions at all ranks. When this is coupled with enhanced benefits and the important addition of a just cause provision to the contract, there is little doubt, as we see it, that the recommended contract is a step forward for faculty. Further proof of this is that the recommended contract diminishes the possibility of arbitrary decision-making with regard to the allocation of merit pay and also includes language to eliminate, in certain departments, problems with accurately and fairly determining workload.
As solid as we believe such gains to be, however, we are realists. As such, we consider it important, as part of the AAUP's efforts to prepare for its ongoing work, to acknowledge not just the contract's gains but also its problem areas.
In this regard, COLA is something we wanted but did not get. Another problem area was the Administration's desire to establish a committee to look into the possibility of cutting retiree health benefits in the future (see the "Memorandum of Understanding" on p. 34 of the full proposal). Although the AAUP is represented on this committee along with the Administration, we still remain concerned and therefore plan to conduct our own health care research in the months ahead so we can protect - and improve - existing benefits. An additional issue of importance to us, and one that was not resolved during our negotiations, is domestic partner benefits for health insurance and dental care. The Administration's unwillingness to confront the Board of Trustees on this issue prevented any progress from being made.
Our gains in the proposed contract did not come about easily but were the result of intensive bargaining sessions that entailed a great deal of research, time commitment and organization on the union's part. Fortunately, at the end of the day the union was up to the task of making important inroads in areas of importance to all faculty. We plan to continue this momentum by developing an AAUP plan of action for the coming year that builds upon the union's increasing self-organization and develops creative ways to confront - and find solutions for - problem areas like those mentioned above.
The immediate task at hand, though, is the contract ratification vote.
The process leading up to the vote entails the following.
A summary of key contract gains is below. The whole contract proposal has been sent to each faculty member by email.
Highlights / Proposed Contract
As stated in the Introduction, we believe we have achieved our goal of winning salary gains that will place us at or above the median in our comparator group.
The specifics of the salary gains can be seen in Table 1 below. For each of the contract's 3 years, salary gains include additional increases, depending on rank, from structurals.
Structural adjustments were not won easily. Initially, the Administration refused to consider such increases for anyone but Full Professors. The AAUP, however, found this position unacceptable and successfully developed arguments for countering it, although we were not able to get all that we wanted.
In the last contract, Full Professors did not receive structurals, although Associate and Assistant Professors did.
Employment Security and Working Conditions
The progress we made during this round of bargaining on matters pertaining to employment security and working conditions is significant and speaks to the heart of our concerns regarding these issues.
Three important areas are summarized below.
Ratification Vote Process
All full time faculty will receive a mailed ballot for a formal vote on the proposed contract on or about Monday, May 9th.
All ballots must be returned to the AAUP office by May 18th.
For further questions, contact either David Colton, Chief Negotiator or Linda Bucher, AAUP President.
2005 AAUP Student Award Winners
Christine M. Tate and Jennifer H. Adams
Christine M. Tate and Jennifer H. Adams, both of Wilmington, Delaware, are each winners of a $2,000 AAUP Student Award for graduate study.
Christine, a Mechanical Engineering major, has a 3.90 gpa. She will graduate with an Honors Degree with Distinction and plans to obtain a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. Ms. Tate has been active in research since her freshman year in biomechanics, the study of human muscle and bone structure. She is first author of a submitted article to a peer reviewed journal on "Lower Extremity Muscle Morphology in Young Athletes" and is leading an MRI research project for her Honors Senior Thesis. Christine has numerous scholarships and awards, including the Robert Byrd Scholarship and the Woman of Promise Award, has studied abroad in Costa Rica, Germany, and Tasmania, Australia, and has been active in various organizations including the Students of Holistic Living, V-Day UD, and as an R.A. in the summer college. Her long-term professional goal is to design mechanical systems for robots. She has already been accepted at Stanford, Cornell, and other fine universities for her doctoral studies.
Jennifer, a Nursing major, has a 3.84 gpa. She had completed a B.S. Degree With Distinction in Early Childhood in 1994, and then completed the nursing degree after a six year career at the University's Center for Disability Studies. Ms. Adams has been the coordinator of a research grant which investigated the effectiveness of center-based childcare, for which she collected and analyzed data and wrote several annual reports while studying for her second bachelor's degree. She then wrote a grant proposal for project INSITE which has resulted in the addition of staff to deliver services and collect data at the childcare center. Jennifer also assisted in writing a grant proposal for diabetes education programs. She had a full tuition scholarship from Union Hospital and an AAUW scholarship, has presented at six conferences, planned a statewide conference for child care providers, and has taught eight courses in higher education on child care issues. Jennifer also has an abiding interest in the environment, volunteering at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and the Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy. In the future, she plans to teach pediatric nursing at the university level.