By Leanne Serbulo, VP for Collective Bargaining
We had a short bargaining session yesterday. At the beginning, we presented a list of data that we’ll need from the administration to process economic issues. We’re going to attempt to use Interest-Based Bargaining to negotiate salary and benefits. Our facilitator has successfully used this process with other educational unions in Oregon, and she assures us that it can work. However, IBB requires full data-sharing and transparency, and these two elements are critical if we are going to use this process to negotiate the economic portions of our contract.
At the top of our data list, we wanted to know if the administrative team was given a set amount of money that they could bargain with (as was the case with our last contract). We learned that apparently no cap has been set yet, but their team plans to have additional conversations with upper administration once they learn our economic “interests” and priorities. We emphasized that if their team is operating with financial constraints, they need to be upfront and honest about it at the table. We hope that in their subsequent conversations with upper administration, their team will be given the flexibility they need to meet faculty and academic professionals’ economic needs.
As we get closer to negotiating economic issues, both sides have decided to invite some economic experts to help us understand PSU budgets and spending priorities. We’ve invited Howard Bunsis, Chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress, to give a presentation at our January 22 bargaining session about the PSU audited financial statements and budget priorities.
We spent the remainder of the session going over some of the AP retention data we got from Human Resources. We also had a short presentation from Robert Mercer, Assistant Dean of CLAS. He spoke about the importance of involving academic professionals in decisions that affect their work lives. Toward the end of the session, we presented a sample of what a step system for academic professionals could look like. In our last session, the administrative team wanted to consider an alternative to a step system, and they promised to develop another option for today. But, they did not have an option ready to share with us.
During our next session, we will evaluate our step system option and any option the administration brings to address pay and promotional issues. We will then brainstorm options to deal with workload and job security issues and the lack of input many academic professionals have in the decisions that affect their work lives. Please join us at our next session: Friday, December 4th, ASRC 630, and show your support and solidarity for our academic professionals.