By Leanne Serbulo, VP for Collective Bargaining
We got off to a slow start, because the administrative team did not have a quorum. While we waited for the rest of the administrative team to arrive, we finalized the language for the three tentative agreements we’ve made so far: Sick Leave Bank, Work/Life Balance Task Force and the Academic Quality Task Force. We will issue a joint communication soon with more details about these three agreements.
Once the full administrative team arrived, we began to process Non Tenure-Track faculty employment issues. We completed the first three IBB steps —Framing the Issue, Exchanging Data and Identifying Interests. Our framing questions for this issue are: How can PSU provide Non Tenure-Track Faculty with employment security, respect and a guarantee of academic freedom, as well as recognize and reward their ongoing service to the University?
During our discussion about data and interests, we had an opportunity to highlight some of the struggles that Non Tenure-Track faculty face at PSU. We shared stories about the lack of job security, the late issuance of contracts, difficulties with retention and the need for job-specific promotional pathways. We had an opportunity to educate the administrative team about the rigorous peer-review processes used to evaluate NTTF; the unacknowledged contributions that research faculty make in mentoring graduate students, bringing in revenue and developing community partnerships; and the important role that NTTF play in faculty governance and curricular development.
Towards the end of the session, we introduced the Article 18 Task Force proposal as one possible option we could use to remedy these issues. The Article 18 Task Force was a joint labor/management task force that came out of our last Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Task Force was charged with coming up with a proposal to replace the current contract system that is used to employ NTTF. A special thanks to David Hansen, Phil Lesch, Michael Lupro, Alan MacCormack and Meg Merrick for representing AAUP on the Task Force and for devoting countless hours to this work. The Task Force met throughout Fall 2014 and presented a fully fleshed-out proposal for continuous NTTF employment to AAUP and Provost Sona Andrews in February 2015. The AAUP Executive Committee voted to endorse the proposal and to follow the Task Force recommendation to enter into interim bargaining so a new system could be in place before the 2015/16 academic year. Provost Andrews did not agree to enter interim bargaining. We have had to wait until now to negotiate this issue alongside all other issues for our 2015-2017 contract.
We will talk more about the Article 18 Task Force proposal and develop additional options at our next bargaining session on Friday, August 14th from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM in ASRC 620. We encourage you to attend! Your presence makes a difference and helps keep our spirits up!