The Faculty and Administration Bargaining Teams met on Wednesday, Aug. 6, for about four-and-a-half hours. Mediator Earl Leonhardt attended the session also.
Faculty Chief Negotiator Geoff Woolf said, “We were pleased that the Administration Team heard the concerns we raised at the bargaining sessions last week, particularly in relation to making our collective bargaining settlement contingent on the terms of a possible College contract with an outside vendor like Pearson Learning Systems.”
“The Administration Team told us on Wednesday they will not be bringing forward any contract language related to Pearson Learning Systems,” Geoff said.
“It’s our understanding that Pearson representatives will be making presentations at the Convocation on August 22, so it’s still important for faculty members to gain information about resources this company might provide related to distance education,” Geoff added.
“Decisions about relationships with outside vendors that might assist in carrying out academic work are topics of academic governance,” Geoff continued. “It’s good that we are no longer considering Pearson as part of our collective bargaining discussions, but that doesn’t change the fact that faculty members have an important academic governance task before them.”
“Faculty members in departments and programs still need to consider whether it’s in the best interests of their students to implement possible relationships with for-profit entities that wish to do business with the College,” Geoff said.
“At the bargaining table, we also have more to discuss related to Article 10 (electronically purveyed methods of instruction), which defines processes and compensation for faculty who develop and implement online courses,” Geoff said.
“This article has had essentially the same language for many years,” Geoff said. “We’ve told the Administration Team we are willing to discuss adjustments to Article 10 to address their concerns, but we also require assurance that past faculty work to implement online education remains protected.”
Discussion continues of possible non-tenure track positions
At Wednesday’s session the Administration Team also addressed concerns raised last week by the Faculty Team regarding possible full-time, non-tenure track positions.
“The Administration Team brought additional information to Wednesday’s session that described some parameters and limitations that could apply to implementation of Annually Contracted Faculty positions,” Geoff said.
“Adding non-tenure track faculty is certainly not an optimal situation,” Geoff continued. “However, it is a reality in higher education that we must come to grips with.”
“We appreciate that the Administration Team heard our concerns, and made a good faith effort to construct a proposal that attempts to preserve some of our most deeply held values about the quality of instruction provided by Cincinnati State faculty,” Geoff said.
“We still have several points that need further discussion before these annually contracted positions could be added to the bargaining unit, but it’s noteworthy that the Administration Team was willing to provide a meaningful starting point for those discussions,” Geoff said.
Discussion of non-economic articles seems near completion; bargaining continues on Friday
Additional topics of discussion on Wednesday included a few elements of workload, and a number of items related to Article 7 (selection and hiring), Article 3 (AAUP rights as the bargaining representative), and Article 15 (academic freedom and professional ethics).
Faculty Team Member Tom Burns said, “It seems like we’re making a lot of progress in discussion of the non-economic issues, and we’re getting close to wrapping up our work on those issues.”
“Once those items are moved off the table, the sessions should be even more productive,” Tom added.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 8, starting at 10 a.m. Both teams have agreed to make most of the day available for bargaining.