September 2001 aaUPBEAT
Issues at the Beginning of a New Academic Year
AAUP Summer Institute at UD
The national AAUP 2001 Summer Institute was held at the University of Delaware from July 19 through July 22.
This was the twenty-second gathering of the AAUP collective bargaining chapters.
The institute was attended by AAUP members from 53 AAUP chapters, including two new chapters, the University of Vermont and the Part-Time Unit at Emerson.
The institute began with a welcoming dinner that included greetings from our national AAUP President, Jane Buck, to the University of Delaware campus, as well as additional greetings from AAUP chapter president Gerry Turkel and also from Maxine Colm, the Vice President for the Administration at the University.
During the institute, the AAUP's national staff and the union's organizers ran workshops dealing with a variety of issues, including contract negotiations, contract and grievance administration, higher education data and research, chapter and conference management, intellectual property, strategic communications, organizing, and the new academic labor system. In addition to these workshops there were numerous seminars.
Besides all the work that was done at the conference, participants had a chance to socialize at a dinner and dance on Saturday night.
Institute attendees as well as its organizers considered the event to be highly successful. There is little doubt that with changes occurring so rapidly in the academic world, institutes like this are essential tools in developing a coherent faculty approach to how to best protect our rights and higher education's integrity in the 21st century.
The UD campus provided an excellent environment for the institute. Also, we thank the national AAUP staff for organizing the Summer Institute here.
Scholarship Assistant Program for Dining/Bookstore Employees
As we have mentioned previously in these pages, corporatization at UD doesn't just affect faculty.
Campus Aramark and Follett employees, who are members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 439, work side by side with UD employees, who are also members of AFSCME Local 439. Both employee groups typically earn about $10 per hour. That, however, is where the similarities end. Aramark and Follett employees pay more for health care and typically do not have the same range of benefits. This disparity exists in spite of the fact that they both groups do equivalent work and belong to the same union. Until recently, equally disturbing was the fact that, during the pre-Aramark era, employees who held the positions now controlled by Aramark and Follett were eligible for tuition wavers. This benefit, which traditionally was prized by families who otherwise found higher education costs prohibitive, was eliminated when cafeteria and bookstore work previously controlled by the University was outsourced to Aramark and Follett. Although cafeteria and bookstore workers who remained University employees kept this benefit, the workers whose jobs were outsourced became ineligible for the tuition waver.
This, however, has now been changed. After the AAUP raised this issue in last January's newsletter, the AAUP established contact with both AFSCME Local 439 and the Administration in an effort to see if a solution could be discovered. Although the tuition waver problem for AFSCME 439 members isn't, obviously, a faculty contract issue, we chose to become involved because it is related to the general problem of outsourcing of University services.
As it turned out, once the issue was raised and discussed, the Administration moved on it rapidly. Consequently, a solution has been reached.
Although for tax purposes the tuition waiver plan for the University's Aramark and Follett employees can't be defined as a straight tuition waiver program, the "Scholarship Assistance Program for Dining and Bookstore Employees" that has been developed is the equivalent of a tuition waiver.
All Aramark and Follett employees "for whom financial need is a limitation" are eligible for assistance under the plan and will receive assistance. The Office of Financial Aid makes the determination regarding financial need.
To receive assistance a spouse or dependent child must be accepted as a full-time undergraduate student by the UD Admissions Office. The assistance is only available for fall and spring semesters. The relevant employee must be on active payroll of dining or bookstore services at the end of the registration period for which assistance is requested. Eligible students may take 12-17 credit hours per semester. Assistance is only available to full-time students.
Eligible employees can receive 2 scholarship assistant stipends per year.
To apply for assistance, a Request for Scholarship Assistance form from the Office of Labor Relations must be filled out, and also a Financial Aid form from the Office of financial Aid.
Working on this project with AFSCME 439 and the Administration was a productive experience. On the one hand we applaud the Administration for its willingness to accept leadership from the union on this matter. On the other, we are pleased with the coalition-building implications of working closely with AFSCME.
There is no reason why unions on the same campus shouldn't support each other in their efforts to achieve fair treatment.
Particularly now with contract negotiations coming up, the AAUP is happy to have deepened its ties with AFSCME Local 439.
Higher Education's Demographics and the Implications for UD
The rise in ethnic diversity is the most noticeable trend in U.S. population development. It is estimated that over the next two decades in excess of 60 percent of the new population growth will occur in the Hispanic and Asian sectors of the population. Much of this growth will occur in specific geographic areas: the southwest, California and New York. These areas of ethnic concentration will be complemented by the ongoing concentration of approximately 75 percent of the nation's black population in the southeast and Mississippi delta areas.
The question of how higher education deals with these realities is one of the most pressing questions facing academe at the 21st century's outset.
The University of Delaware is no exception in this regard. Although 19.2% of the state's population is African-American, only 5.7% of UD's student body is black. A similar problem is reflected with regard to the state's second largest minority group, Hispanics. Whereas Hispanics make up 2.4% of the student body, they represent 4.8% of the state's population.
Higher education's need to meet the challenges reflected by the nation's evolving demographics isn't just a matter of effectively dealing with matters of racial and/or ethnic diversity. It is also a matter of analyzing, and finding solutions to, problems of access to higher education that exist along purely economic lines.
In "Straight Talk About College Costs and Prices," a report issued from The National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, it is reported that "in the 20 years between 1976 and 1996, the average tuition at public universities increased from $642 to $3,151 and the average tuition at private universities increased from $2,881 to $15,581." What makes such increases troubling is that during the period 1987-1996 they occurred at a rate dramatically in excess of increased expenditures by higher education administrations on instructional costs. Tuition increases also outpaced expansions in funds made available through scholarships or other subsidies.
As if these figures aren't sufficiently disillusioning, tuition increases also stayed ahead of income increases. For instance, for the decade ending in 1996, median family income mounted by 37% while higher education tuition, minus scholarships and other grants, increased by 114% percent at public four-year institutions and 81% at private four-year institutions.
Such figures represent a deepening polarization between the haves and have-nots when it comes to the economic difficulties faced in the attempt to access higher education.
Another aspect of higher education's changing demographics pertains to the greater age range of students. This is due to a variety of variety of factors. On the one hand, more people in their late 20s and early 30s enroll in higher education institutions in an effort to prepare themselves for a rapidly changing job market that they fear will leave them behind if they don't acquire additional skills and knowledges to help them survive in the new economic environment. In addition to such preparation for the new economy, rising numbers of older students return to colleges and universities for reasons concerning fullness of life. As Harold Hodgkinson, a demographer who specializes in educational trends and issues, told The New York Times during an interview this past August, the so-called "traditional" college-age group, 18-22 year-olds, in fact make up only one-fifth of the nation's higher education students. He said that many older students sought the unique self-confidence that accompanies broadening one's knowledge.
"A lot of people," Hodgkinson told The Times, "are beginning to come back to higher education for a capstone experience in their 40's, 50's and 60'Hodgkinson s. Not for a better job, but for a vindication of their life. I was speaking at a commencement a few months ago and an older man walked across the state to receive his doctoral degree. Someone shouted, 'Way to go, grandpa!' I just love it. There is no reason to think that higher education was designed solely for the post-pubescent adolescent."
The range of demographics-related issues facing higher education cannot be ignored. If colleges and universities don't adjust to higher education's new environment, not only will older students seeking additional education for fullness of life reasons be left out, so will high percentages of the nation's racial and ethnic minorities and also a widening percent of low income people.
The AAUP & You
The University of Delaware chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is the faculty union at our institution and is affiliated with the national AAUP.
Our local chapter doesn't just represent its dues-paying members. All faculty members, regardless of AAUP status, receive the rewards of AAUP representation. Salary increases, benefits and workplace rights that AAUP negotiators win at the bargaining table belong to every University faculty member. And whether or not you are a AAUP member, the protections afforded by the AAUP grievance system are available to you. This means that even the non-AAUP faculty member has a place to go for redress in cases involving discrimination, promotion inequities, punitive salary decisions, or other forms of anti-faculty behavior.
None of this can occur without constant vigilance. Bread and butter economic issues as well as workplace protections must constantly be scrutinized to assure faculty members' well-being during changing times. In our last contract, the AAUP strengthened the faculty's situation in a number of ways. We won greater faculty control over departmental chairperson selections, more money for health and eye examinations, increased payment for one-year sabbaticals (it is now 75% of regular pay rather than 50%), and salary increases that are ahead of the current inflation rate.
During the current academic year the AAUP will negotiate another contract with the Administration. Once again the gains we win will go to all faculty members. We do our part, so why not do yours? If you aren't yet a union member join now.
The AAUP's purpose is to protect, and promote the interests of, UD faculty. In this sense we are a typical union whose mission is to assist members on a number of levels, ranging from economic security to protection against work overloads. But the AAUP is also different than other unions. We have unique concerns related to education and research. One of those concerns is to conceptualize, and make the Administration aware of, specific ways in which the University can deepen its commitment to educational excellence and to creating the kind of campus life in which a wide variety of people from diverse backgrounds can productively participate.
Last year the Administration informed state legislators that the University had a $570 million annual impact on the state economy, which makes UD a major economic, as well as academic, force in the state's life. One of the AAUP's tasks is to make sure this force is used effectively for educational purposes. In August 2000, the U.S. Education Department reported that during the 1990s public school test scores in reading and science stagnated. What impact do such facts have on higher education? In what ways can faculty guide the Administration with regard to the development of policies that will lessen such realities' negative impact on UD's academic life?
The AAUP takes such questions seriously. From faculty members' economic condition to a wide range of policy issues, we are there, representing you. Faculty members have nothing to gain by not supporting the union's work. As already stated, all faculty benefit from the AAUP's existence, whether or not they are dues-paying members.
Although a few of UD's non-AAUP faculty may have philosophical reasons (e.g., a disbelief in unions) for not joining, most non-members are not philosophically anti-union. So, if you aren't a member, please do not remain a non-member out of lethargy or self-absorption. Don't be someone who benefits from union activity without giving something back. Refusing to join only diminishes your individual power on campus. The smaller the AAUP, the weaker its negotiating power; the larger the union is, the greater its negotiating power and the more you -- and everyone else -- will benefit.
This is an especially important issue as we prepare ourselves for the upcoming contract negotiations.
A note to new faculty: join the AAUP and your local dues will be waved for the first year; you will be responsible only for your national dues. In addition, non-tenure track faculty pay only half of their national dues for their first four years of membership.
Faculty Input into Collective Bargaining
As already stated, the union's contract negotiations with the Administration begin this academic year. Faculty involvement in the build-up to these negotiations is imperative. If you have issues you believe should be placed on the bargaining table, or if you have additional commentary regarding AAUP bargaining strategies, contact chief negotiator David Colton at 831-1863.
This semester faculty will receive a questionnaire regarding faculty and campus issues. The questionnaire's purpose is to identify faculty concerns. You will receive the questionnaire sometime in October.