Bargaining update_10.31

Your Faculty Association Bargaining Team met in multiple bargaining sessions yesterday, October 31, and more sessions are scheduled today. Their report is included below.

In yesterday’s Guest Column in the Daily Egyptian, President Poshard states that the university administration needs to be able to take budgetary actions, but the unions can then file a grievance or an unfair labor practice charge if we disagree with the action. President Poshard’s public statement is essentially in agreement with our latest proposals on layoff and financial exigency which recognize that it is the right of the Board of Trustees to make the declaration of financial exigency. As noted in the team’s report, our interests are in transparency and well-defined criteria for determining financial exigency for which the Board can be held accountable. But while President Poshard appears to endorse these principles in his guest column, the administration bargaining team is still unwilling to agree to this in practice.

The need for well-defined and transparent criteria concerning financial exigency was made very clear in President Poshard’s “Morning Conversation on WSIU yesterday morning. In this interview he made the claim that the administration could have declared financial exigency in the last two years. This gives some insight into administration thinking on the definition of financial exigency, when one considers that SIUC had a $15.8 million surplus for FY 2010, and as President Poshard acknowledged in the interview, our budgets have continued to go up. Not the budget for faculty salaries, though. Due to the hiring freeze on faculty, the expenditure on faculty salaries decreased by $1.8 million from Academic Year 2009-10 to Academic Year 2010-11, not including the additional one million dollar reduction due to furloughs.

Your FA Bargaining Team continues to bargain today and has committed to meet around the clock in an effort to reach a tentative agreement before the Thursday strike deadline.

In solidarity,
Randy Hughes


Bargaining Report
Faculty Association Bargaining Team
October 31, 2011

The Faculty Association team started our bargaining session with the Board team at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Both teams exchanged proposals on:

  • Article 5 (Operating Papers), Article 8 (Workload, Distance Education, and Overload) and Addendum X (related to the credit hour equivalencies).
  • Reduction in Force (layoff for financial exigency)
  • Temporary Wage Adjustments (which covers furloughs and unpaid administrative closures)

In our proposal on Distance Education, we made a number of concessions to make our language on Distance Education more acceptable to the Board team. There was an in-depth discussion regarding overload.  We remained firm in our position that we will not cheapen the time and labor Faculty put into performing overload courses. In our conversation, it became clear that one of the Board’s purposes for overload is to avoid hiring Faculty when there is a need to teach more courses.  Your team made it clear that the quality of education and the research stature of this university requires Faculty to do teaching and research and we explained that we’d rather have more Faculty lines than overload pay.

We also presented the Board team with a proposal on Reduction in Force (RiF). We incorporated numerous concessions from the Board proposal. However, we stand solid on our positions of transparency and accountability.  We restated our prior concession that the Board has the right to declare financial exigency. The major issue is: who holds the Board accountable? The Board’s refusal to resort to arbitration led us to recommend a fact-finding panel. This is no different from what President Poshard said in the DE’s Op-ed piece this morning: “the Administration must have final authority to make definite decisions” and “the union can then file a grievance or an unfair labor charge if they continue to disagree with the actions taken by the administration.”  We agree with President Poshard, and are working toward that objective.

At 9:30 p.m. Monday evening, your team offered the language on Temporary Wage Adjustments (TWA) which follows the same principles as in the Reduction in Force Article: the Board of Trustees has the right to declare the extreme, temporary, non-recurring financial crisis which may lead to Temporary Wage Adjustments.  At the same time a fair process needs to exist for challenging that decision if the Faculty finds it in violation of the standards defined in the Temporary Wage Adjustment Article.

Relative to RiF and TWA, when we offered the inclusion of a panel to review the declarations of the Board of Trustees, the Board team responded that they will not entertain any language that holds the Board accountable to any outside party.  Our response has been: why should the BOT be afraid of any review of their actions? After all, we are all accountable in regard to our actions. To this date, we have no answer from the Board team.

No tentative agreement was signed on Monday.

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