FA News, 8/12/2016

Dear Colleagues,

Below you will find an important report from Rachel Stocking, head of the Faculty Association bargaining team. I’ll highlight just two things from her report. First, the conceptual agreement our team reached with the administration would strengthen provisions to ensure that faculty have the time and opportunity to be fully involved in deliberations about program mergers or eliminations. Faculty will not gain the right to veto program changes, but the agreement would guarantee that any changes are made following full consultation with faculty, and without undue haste. Program changes are of course a particularly acute concern given the ongoing budgetary crisis in the State of Illinois, and the likelihood of a substantial drop in enrollment this fall.

Second, while the conceptual agreement would hardly give faculty all we may have hoped for, it was reached through cordial and productive negotiations following the principles of interest-based bargaining, a more collaborative approach to bargaining that replaces a zero-sum emphasis on winners and losers. It is certainly my hope that the agreement to maintain and strengthen faculty involvement in decision-making, together with the positive way it was reached, augurs well for faculty-administration relations in the future.

Dave Johnson
President, SIUC-FA


Dear Colleagues,

After 2 years of bargaining under very difficult circumstances (i.e., the budget crisis and its multiple levels of uncertainty), your FA Bargaining Team is happy to announce that we have reached conceptual agreement with the administration team on all the issues on the table.  The contract language, however, has not been finalized on many of the articles–we hope to have a tentative agreement on the whole contract during the Fall semester.  At that point, the tentative agreement will be delivered to the FA Department Representative Council (DRC) for a vote on referring the changes to the membership for ratification.  This final vote will be open to FA members only.

Given the current financial situation, the team opted for a short term contract–this one will expire June 30, 2018.  Although we did not gain salary increases at this time, we have retained the right to return to salary negotiations if and when there is a non-“stopgap” budget in place. In response to the administration’s current planning for departmental mergers and program eliminations, we fought hard to achieve enhanced faculty participation in the decision-making process for program changes, as well as ensuring that significant changes cannot be rushed through in the name of expediency. We have also gained some limitations on increasing teaching loads and recognition of those loads in tenure, promotion, and merit decisions. Summer salary was a particularly difficult issue, but we achieved language that clarifies the process of establishing salaries and protects faculty interests in the cost-recovery model for summer classes.

Other accomplishments include: improved protection of faculty rights in the grievance and discipline procedures; the establishment of a committee to investigate paid parental leave; clarification and protection for faculty’s intellectual property rights to syllabi; and Fair Share for the FA when our membership reaches 50%.

In the context of the budget crisis, we were also glad to have maintained the protections in the furlough and “reduction in force” language that we won in 2012. On the other hand, in the interests of providing relief to the University, we also agreed to suspend enforcement of the 26 to 1 Faculty/student ratio for the life of the contract (i.e., until July, 2018). While this appears to be a concession, its effects will be limited, since student enrollment is expected to decline significantly in the coming year.

All in all, despite inevitable disagreements and disappointments, we were also able to maintain cordial and primarily productive relations with the administration’s team through the slow but productive process of interest-based bargaining.

In solidarity,

Your FA Bargaining Team

About Dave Johnson
I'm an Associate Professor in Classics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Among other things.

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