Contract negotiations for AAUP Unit 1 began with a 2-hour session on Friday, June 13.
Members of the Faculty Bargaining Team said the first session was cordial and collaborative. Another bargaining session is scheduled for June 23.
“Both sides want to solve some of the same problems,” said Faculty Chief Negotiator Geoff Woolf. “We also have a shared interest in not repeating the contentious tone from the last time we bargained a contract.”
Faculty Team Member Yvonne Baker said that the Administration Bargaining Team expressed interest in continuing the kind of dialog that was present in the Faculty/Administration Communication Team (FACT) meetings. Two members of the College Board of Trustees participated in the FACT meetings, along with several members of the faculty and administration bargaining teams. (See AAUP News, May 12, 2014, for more about the FACT meetings.)
“The Administration Team told us that the Trustees hope that the tone of these negotiations will help set a positive tone College-wide,” Yvonne said.
Faculty Team Member Tom Burns added, “The Administration Team stressed several times that they want bargaining to be ‘solution-oriented’ rather than adversarial.”
The Administration Bargaining Team includes Steve Brooks, the College’s Labor Relations Manager, as Chief Negotiator, along with Academic Vice President Monica Posey, and Dean of Humanities & Sciences Robbin Hoopes. Vice President for Finance Mike Geoghegan is also a member of the Administration Bargaining Team, but he did not attend Friday’s session.
The Administration Team said others may join their team for discussion of specific topics, such as co-op or clinical experiences. The AAUP announced previously that “issues specialists” may be added to the faculty team at times.
Faculty Team Member Pam Ecker said, “The Administration Team told us they are not using an outside attorney as their Chief Negotiator this year, because they want to continue sharing ideas openly, as we did in the FACT discussions.”
Geoff said the Administration Team identified four goals they would like to achieve through this year’s negotiations:
● dealing with the faculty workload problems associated with the 36-unit annual load
● enhancing implementation of the College’s plans for improving student retention and completion of courses, degrees, and certificates
● increasing and facilitating online education
● maintaining fiscal sustainability in the next budget year and future years
“We appreciated that the Administration Team was willing to share their major concerns at the first bargaining session,” Geoff said. “The goals they discussed are important to faculty members, too.”
According to the Faculty Team, much of the first session focused on examining possible approaches for discussion of specific issues, to be implemented at future bargaining sessions.
“We’re working on developing a more collaborative approach to moving forward,” Geoff said. “Both teams agreed to bring materials to the next session that will help us examine where our interests coincide and where they may differ.”