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CBA Negotiations

American Association of University Professors
Wright State University Chapter

 

Negotiations toward a new CBA will begin on January 13, 2017. The new CBA will apply to our unified bargaining unit and will thus replace the two CBAs now in effect: one for the original TET Bargaining Unit, and the other for the NTE Bargaining Unit.

AAUP-WSU Negotiating Team
Name e-mail Telephone
Adrian Corbett, Chief Negotiator adrian.corbett@wright.edu 937-775-2058
Marty Kich, AAUP-WSU President martinkich@gmail.com 419-303-4619
Alan Chesen alan.chesen@yahoo.com 937-775-4597
Tom Rooney tomrooney.phd@gmail.com 937-775-4130
Bobby Rubin robert.e.rubin@gmail.com 937-775-3756
Stephanie Triplett stephanie.triplett@wright.edu 937-238-6379
Thomas Wischgoll wischgol@gmx.net 937-775-5057

We also expect to have our Executive Committee Advisors, Rudy Fichtenbaum and Jim Vance, at most negotiating sessions.

The ground rules that govern the negotiations were agreed to on January 13, 2017.

 

Statement from AAUP-WSU's Chief Negotiator, Dr. Adrian Corbett, regarding contract negotiations, October 20, 2017

In brief, the administration/Board still has no concrete proposals for the next contract, and they refused to meaningfully participate in third party mediation. However, they indicate they intend to look at reducing faculty pay and benefits. They also want to explore provisions to make it easier to fire tenured and continuing appointment faculty without cause, and to weaken due process. Finally, they signaled that they want to increase teaching workloads.

Read all about it in the full statement from AAUP-WSU's Chief Negotiator, Dr. Adrian Corbett, immediately below and in this pdf file.

Statement from AAUP-WSU's Chief Negotiator, Dr. Adrian Corbett, October 20, 2017

We have made no progress at all in mediation sessions. Therefore, we told the lawyer hired by the Board of Trustees to serve as its chief negotiator that we would participate in the scheduled October 20 mediation only if, 48 hours in advance, in accordance with the ground rules signed by the parties in January, he provided us with actual proposed CBA articles that he would negotiate about. To put it more bluntly, we were unwilling to drive to Columbus and waste a third day only to find that the Board-chosen chief negotiator was again not prepared to actually negotiate specific articles with us.

Just before the 48-hour deadline, this lawyer sent us a narrative "presentation" of the Board's position with respect to resuming negotiations. Since this "presentation" contained no specific CBA proposals whatsoever, we promptly informed the mediator that we would not attend the October 20 session. 

The narrative presentation, while containing no specific CBA proposals, does outline the Board's position regarding the status of each CBA contract article — and the separate workload agreements as well!

Before continuing, it is important to understand that before beginning negotiations, the parties have always agreed on the ground rules to govern the negotiations. This year was no exception; you can see a signed copy of these ground rules at

http://www.wright.edu/administration/aaup/nego/Ground-Rules-Approved-2017.01.13.pdf

In particular, rule 4 "Document Exchange" required the parties to propose all changes to non-economic articles by March 10 — which the parties did in fact do — and to exchange proposals on a specified list of five economic articles on April 7. The negotiations were thus confined to the non-economic articles the parties had exchanged by March 10 plus the five specified economic articles.

Now, back to the "presentation." It states

The Administration reserves as "open items" various Articles that contain provisions that have economic impact and have been presented to date by either party but, given the change in financial circumstances of the University, may and/or will be modified, rejected, accepted, or countered by the Administration during the future economic bargaining phase of negotiations (and not during this non-economic phase). Further, any current Articles with economic impact that have not been presented to date by the Administration also remain open and reserved for the future economic bargaining phase of negotiations, and "new" Articles yet to be proposed by the Administration on yet to be introduced economic topics remain open and reserved for the future economic bargaining phase of negotiations.

This is nothing less than a unilateral re-write of the ground rules. In particular, the Board's position is that it can unilaterally declare virtually any CBA article as open for negotiation, signed ground rules notwithstanding. We categorically reject any attempt by the Board to re-write the rules governing negotiations, and we emphatically reject the Board's wish to open virtually any CBA articles for negotiations.

One of the more outrageous examples of their attempt to unilaterally re-write the ground rules is the following statement from its "presentation":

As the parties also need to address the issue of combining the NTE and TET contracts, to avoid confusion the Administration deems the NTE contract provisions as open (unless a TA has been reached) until the parties discuss and/or agree upon a way to most effectively and efficiently address this issue.

What does it mean to say the NTE contract is "open"? It means that the Board can propose modifications of all provisions that cover NTE faculty, even if they had previously not proposed any changes.

Another outrageous example pertains to the workload memorandums of understanding (MOUs). The Board's "presentation" lists these MOUs as open for negotiations. But the workload MOUs are not part of the CBA. In fact, the dispute resolution process is different for the CBA and the workload MOUs. In the case of the CBA, unresolved issues go to a fact-finder who recommends language to resolve outstanding issues; and, if either side rejects the fact-finder's report, faculty have the right to strike. In contrast, if either party wants changes in the workload MOUs and agreement cannot be reached, the differences go to binding arbitration.

Now why might the Board want to change the workload MOUs? To increase faculty workloads so they can reduce the number of faculty — faculty who continue to teach our students and perform research with distinction! Meanwhile, at the October 20 meeting of the Board's Finance Audit and Infrastructure (FAI) Committee, the administration's top three managers of money and property — whose annual base salaries alone are about $0.75 million — continue to report that spending at WSU is still not under control.

Outrageous examples continued: The "presentation" also lists a new economic article but with no specifics – not even a title! The Board is asking us to negotiate a matter to be named at a later date, and you can bet that it will target your paycheck, your health benefits, or both.

Regarding Faculty Governance Article 10, they want to "Modify Administration proposal to further provide flexibility and inherent management rights in faculty involvement in governance provisions." What does this mean? Article 10 now guarantees the existence of a Faculty Senate. Do they want abolish the Senate? Article 10 also requires administrators to explain reasons for decisions that are made contrary to BUF recommendations. This provision is designed to hold administrators accountable for their actions. Has that provision been targeted by the Board?

In Article 14 Discipline, they want to "Modify Administration discipline proposal to further provide for a less formal more practical process allowing the Administration more flexibility, but still protecting employee due process." In Article 15 Termination and Unpaid Suspension, they want to "Modify Administration termination and unpaid suspension proposals to further provide for a less formal more practical process allowing the Administration more flexibility, but still protecting employee due process." At their core, these two articles guarantee that a faculty member accused of wrong doing receives due process. Weakening these protections is a step toward at-will employment, in which an employer can discipline or even fire an employee with impunity.

Finally, consider Article 17 Retrenchment. The administration made no proposal regarding this article by the deadline specified in the signed ground rules. But the "presentation" lists this as another one of the many articles as open for negotiation. Now, this article prevents summary dismissal of BUFMs — thus guarding both our academic freedom and the University's academic integrity — and provides severance pay when the administration can in fact justify retrenchment-related dismissals. Not many months ago, the Board eliminated bumping rights for classified employees and cut severance pay for unclassified employees — unilaterally because neither group is protected by a Collective Bargaining Agreement. At the October 20 FAI Committee meeting, the administration would not rule out additional staff layoffs. We can see where the Board wants our protections under Article 17 to go. It is virtually guaranteed that they want to weaken BUFMs' job security, rolling back protections for NTE faculty on continuing employment agreements, and making it easier to abolish academic programs and to lay off tenured faculty. 

What does all this mean for the Bargaining Unit Faculty?

One way or the other, the Board will try to divide the Bargaining Unit Faculty, pitting NTE and TET faculty against one another.

But we are one faculty and we will not be divided!

At this point, the EC believes we need to focus on preparing for fact-finding. It is unlikely that the fact-finder's report will recommend language amounting to a unilateral rewrite of key provisions of our CBA. But the unlikely still might happen. So we should be prepared to reject a report that is unfair. Likewise, if the fact finder's report is acceptable to the RCMs, the Board might reject it. In either case, we should be prepared to strike.

We believe that a very credible threat of a strike is the best way to avoid a strike, which should be a last-resort option. But it is possible that a strike may be the only way to avoid a complete gutting of our contract. If you believe that the risks inherent in a strike are a reason not to strike, you should reconsider your position. If the administration guts our contract, more risks than you are trying to avoid will become the permanent condition of your employment.

It is now more important than ever that we stand united. The Board has repeatedly shown neither respect for faculty nor concern for our students. After all, faculty working conditions are student learning conditions! We understand that the University is facing a financial crisis, but WE didn't cause it. Over the last five years, the salaries and benefits of full-time teaching faculty have accounted for 16%-17% of the total institutional budget. In the first two of those five years, we received zero raises, and in the last three years, our raises have been offset by attrition. Over those three years, we have lost 71 positions, with the total faculty in our bargaining unit declining from 659 to 588. The Board has acknowledged that the over-spending has not been on instruction, and yet we have already contributed a great deal to resolving the budget issues created by reckless spending on non-instructional initiatives and positions. We and our students generate the revenue for this university. Without us and our students, this University not only does not function — without us and our students, it has no reason for being.

 

Message to BUFMs from Chief Negotiator Adrian Corbett, September 21, 2017

The message below was sent to all BUFMs on September 21, 2017 with subject: UPDATE on Contract Negotiations re: Mediation Session 9/15

To all BUFMs:

I wish that we could say that we made progress and negotiated over any contract articles during Friday's mediation session in Columbus. I wish that we could say our time was productively spent. Unfortunately, none of that happened.

Two facts emerged during Friday's mediation:

First, the Administration/Board is still not willing to negotiate a new CBA. Its negotiating team presented neither proposals of its own nor counters to proposals that we had made. Thus, nearly six months have gone by since it has engaged in any legitimate negotiations.

Second, the Administration/Board has proposed yet another meeting where instead of negotiating with us, they will present us with a "global discussion" of how the current CBA prevents them from addressing the fiscal crisis of the University. From what little they have been willing to say about what that language actually means, we have concluded that, in essence, they want to "restart" the negotiating process so that they can "cherry-pick" language that they would like to see changed. Since all of the non-economic articles were already on the table before the administration/Board hired an outside labor attorney as their new chief negotiator, such a "restart" would amount to regressive bargaining by the Administration/Board, which is an unfair labor practice.

As if to confirm the conclusions that we drew at our mediation session, at the Board of Trustees Committee meetings on Friday, Board members said that they would like more flexibility in making contingency plans for retrenchment.

We want to emphasize, again, that maintaining job security for all of our members is a top priority, and we suspect that what they will propose will affect both TET and NTE BUFMs. We have told the administration/Board that we will listen to their "global discussion" before our next mediation session, but only if that presentation is attended by both WSU President Cheryl Schrader and Board of Trustees Chair Doug Fecher.

We also informed them that our attendance at the next mediation session on October 20 will be conditional on their giving us proposals in writing 48 hours in advance--in accordance with the ground rules that both sides signed before beginning the negotiations--so that we can see that they are truly ready to negotiate.

We have made it clear that our team has very little trust in the administration's new chief negotiator because we feel he has lied to us on several occasions about what he has been prepared to do. We are not even sure that he has actually been given the power to negotiate with us.

We cannot be expected to negotiate a contract in good faith without some degree of trust that the administration is reciprocating. We will reject any loss of real compensation or erosion of job protections for TET or NTE faculty. Job security is a top priority. Faculty didn't create this financial crisis, and eliminating faculty positions isn't the way to solve it. We are ready to go to fact-finding and beyond to protect the faculty.

Best regards,
Adrian
Adrian Corbett
Chief Negotiator, AAUP-WSU

For more about the terms mediation and fact-finding, please see this recent post to the AAUP-WSU blog.
Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. You can also post to the AAUP-WSU Blog.
NTE? TET? BUFM? CBA? RCM? What are all these acronyms? See this guide.
The list of AAUP-WSU Executive Committee members is available on our officers page.

 

Report to BUFMs from Chief Negotiator Adrian Corbett, August 31, 2017

To all BUFMs:

Welcome to the beginning of a new academic year! We have not resolved our contract negotiations at this time, but we are continuing in mediation to resolve some issues before we go to a fact-finder.  (For more information about the fact-finding process, click here.)

We have agreed to meet with the fact-finder either the week of January 22 or January 29 of 2018. This to gives us time to try to come to an agreement with Administration through the mediation process. If we can agree on contract issues before the fact-finding date, then there will be no need for a fact-finder. Our next mediation session will be on September 15.

Thanks to the provision we negotiated in the ground rules, status quo must remain until the new contract is in force, so all provisions of the existing contract remain in effect except for compensation increases. Here are some important highlights:

Please feel free to contact me at adrian.corbett@wright.edu with any questions you have about contract issues.

Best regards, Adrian
Adrian Corbett
Chief Negotiator, AAUP-WSU

 

Even More Exchanged Proposals

Here are even more subsequently exchanged (counter) proposals. You may wish to compare to the current NTE CBA and the current TET CBA.

Article 13-NTE (Appointment and Promotion of Non-Tenure Eligible Bargaining Unit Faculty) -- proposal by administration

Article 13-TET (Promotion and Tenure of Tenured and Tenure Eligible Bargaining Unit Faculty) -- proposal by administration

Article 14 (Discipline) -- proposal by administration

Article 18-NTE (Institutional Environment of Non-Tenure Eligible Bargaining Unit Faculty) -- proposal by administration

Article 18-TET (Institutional Environment for Tenure Eligible and Tenured Bargaining Unit Faculty) -- proposal by administration

Article 21 (Distance Learning) -- proposal by administration

Article 29-NTE (Pedagogical Development Course Releases For Non-Tenure Eligible Faculty) -- proposal by administration

Article 29-TET (Professional Development Leave For Tenured Bargaining Unit Faculty) -- proposal by administration

Article 34 (Emeritus Faculty) -- proposal by administration

 

Still More Exchanged Proposals

Here are still more subsequently exchanged proposals and some counters as well. You may wish to compare to the current NTE CBA and the current TET CBA.

Appendix F (Grievance Form) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 13 (Appointment of NTE Faculty and Promotion) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 13 (Promotion and Tenure of TET Faculty) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 18 (Institutional Environment) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 21 (Distance Learning) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU


Appendix A (NTE Candidate Review Statement) -- proposal by administration

Appendix D (NTE Promotion Schedules) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Appendix D (TET Promotion and Tenure Schedules) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Appendix X (A Retirement Incentive "supposal") -- proposal by administration

Article 1 (Preamble and General Definitions) -- counter-proposal proposal of February 3 by AAUP-WSU

Article 2 (Recognition) -- counter-proposal of February 10 by administration

Article 3 (Non-Discrimination) -- counter-proposal of February 17 by administration

Article 3 (Non-Discrimination) -- counter-proposal of February 24 by administration

Article 4 (Affirmative Action) -- counter-proposal of February 10 by administration

Article 4 (Affirmative Action) -- counter-proposal of February 17 by AAUP-WSU

Article 6 (Management Rights) -- counter-proposal of March 10 by administration

Article 7 (Faculty Rights and Responsibilities) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 7 (Faculty Rights and Responsibilities) -- proposal by administration

Article 9 (Academic Calendar) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 10 (Faculty Involvement in Governance) -- counter-proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 10 (Faculty Involvement in Governance) -- counter-proposal by administration

Article 11 (Annual Evaluation [for both TET and NTE]) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 11 (Annual Evaluation for NTE) -- proposal by administration

Article 11 (Annual Evaluation for TET) -- proposal by administration

Article 15 (Termination and Unpaid Suspension [TET]) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 15 (Non-Renewal, Termination of Appointment or Suspension without Pay [NTE]) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 15 (Termination of Appointment or Suspension without Pay [NTE]) -- proposal by administration

Article 17 (Retrenchment) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 22 (Outside Employment) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 28 (Vacation and Sick Leave) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 29 (Professional Development Leave and Pedagogical Course Release) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 30 (Leaves) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 34 (Emeritus Faculty) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 36 (No Strike / No Lockout) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 37 (Amendments) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

 

Second Set of Exchanged Proposals

Here are subsequently exchanged proposals. You may wish to compare to the current NTE CBA and the current TET CBA.

Article 4 (Affirmative Action) -- proposal by administration

Article 4 (Affirmative Action) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 12 (Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching) -- proposal by administration

Article 12 (Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 16 (Grievance and Arbitration) -- proposal by administration

Article 16 (Grievance and Arbitration) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 38 (Grievance and Arbitration) -- proposal by administration

Article 38 (Grievance and Arbitration) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

 

Initially Exchanged Proposals

The parties have exchanged proposals as follows; you may wish to compare to the current NTE CBA and the current TET CBA.

Article 1 (Preamble and General Definitions) -- proposal by administration

Article 2 (Recognition) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 2 (Recognition) -- proposal by administration

Article 3 (Non-Discrimination) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 3 (Non-Discrimination) -- proposal by administration

Article 5 (Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibilities) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 5 (Academic Freedom and Professional Responsibilities) -- proposal by administration

Article 6 (Management Rights) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 8 (AAUP-WSU Rights) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 8 (AAUP-WSU Rights) -- proposal by administration

Article 10 (Faculty Involvement in Governance) -- proposal by AAUP-WSU

Article 10 (Faculty Involvement in Governance) -- proposal by administration


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