31 Jul Moving Forward, With Or Without An Agreement
- Objections Disregarded: Provost Poser says she is moving forward with a summer compensation plan, one rejected by our membership, heedless of ongoing negotiations.
- Pattern of Bad Faith Bargaining: This is the latest and loudest gesture in a long pattern of undermining the union’s right to formal bargaining.
- Undercutting Negotiations: Continued unilateral actions by Admin cast serious doubt over further negotiations, leaving policy gaps unclarified ahead of the Fall semester.
- Defending Our Rights: Regardless of bargaining outcomes, UICUF will put its full weight behind defending members’ rights, especially to safety and academic autonomy, and will vigorously support members’ ability to practice these rights.
Degrading Trust and Undermining Negotiations
It is time, and perhaps well past time, to ask how sincere our administration actually is in pursuing ongoing negotiations with the union. Indeed, the latest turn in bargaining has left our team with significantly diminished confidence that any meaningful agreements can be reached before the start of the Fall semester.
In an email yesterday, Provost Poser informed us of her intention to move forward with a plan to narrowly distribute $1 million dollars among roughly four hundred faculty slated to teach large asynchronous classes in the Fall. This plan was resoundingly rejected by a vote of the union membership weeks ago for failing to acknowledge the work of nearly one thousand other faculty members doing similar preparations. Yet with this announcement, Poser declared that it is already “too late” to change course, seemingly acknowledging that once again, implementation was underway even as the administration claimed to be negotiating with the union.
To be clear, these faculty deserve this money–and much more–for all their work well beyond contractual norms. So do all the other faculty in our bargaining unit putting in the time and effort to craft exceptional remote classes for their students this Fall. And while we disagree with how the administration is choosing to distribute these funds, we are far more disturbed by the implications this move has for the wider negotiation. At a minimum, their laser focus and simultaneous total inflexibility on compensation issues undercuts the notion that the administration is committed to working collaboratively on other issues. In particular, the health and safety of our members and students–which the collective faculty have indicated over and over are far more important–has been shoved behind conversations on compensation by the administration, conversations we now understand to have been farcical from the outset.
Meeting Is Not Bargaining
Bargaining, by definition, means negotiating to agreement. Since the beginning of these negotiations, however, the administration has set a tone of meeting with us, while studiously avoiding actually bargaining with us. By failing to bargain in good faith on compensation and so many other issues in the past, the administration is guilty of more than just poor form. They are systematically undermining the very basis of the union’s rights to represent you, our members, and our ability to enforce the contract for which you’ve all fought over the years.
We will return to negotiations this afternoon to express our concern that these negotiations are heading in the wrong direction. Regardless of bargaining outcomes, however, UICUF will remain committed to vigorously defending our faculty’s rights, especially to a safe and healthy environment for ourselves and our students, by all means available to us.
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