Since the beginning of the semester, the two sides met Jan 27 and Feb 8. The chapter has requested additional dates for negotiating prior to spring break, noting that after spring break advising and other demands will make finding times even more challenging. The chapter seeks to have a CBA in place prior to commencement, but the administration seems to be moving slowly to delay continuing discussions to the summer months. Among other things, this would have the effect of delaying for another year any pay increase/raises until at least the next academic year.
Retirement: The Administration would like to change the retirement plan and is working with a consultant. They would like to present the changes at an upcoming negotiation. We exclusively discussed retirement on February 8th, and the administration has proposed another session solely about retirement, by way of meeting with the consultant. The administration is seeking more control over retirement contributions and is expecting to save money in fees by switching plan administrators. At the negotiating session, the Administration could not state how much money (if any) having control of retirement would save the University nor did they say that there was a plan that was being considered. Administration also stated that it could take years to move any funds from our current plan (TIAA/CREF) into the new one. Administration is moving all non-faculty to the new plan. Administration was unclear if (any) faculty stay in TIAA, if faculty would have to pay increased costs to the provider.
Workload: Administration is still seeking to increase workload with a mandatory 15 contact hours for future new hires. We would like to begin including advising in the calculation of release time and the administration has agreed to discuss caps on number of advisees. The union remains opposed to an increase in workload for any faculty, as we are already above the normal teaching load for faculty at 4 year colleges, and well above the average for Universities.
Economics: The Administration continues to push back on honoring the negotiated increase in matching to the retirement plans that was proposed in exchange for faculty sacrifices last year. Since we have yet to see the benefit of that negotiation, we remain far apart in these proposals. Faculty who lost contributions last year will find it harder and harder to plan for retirement with current inflation rates. In addition to decreasing contributions for all faculty, the administration seeks to contribute even less for future new hires. Despite the fact that all proposals on the table from both sides are now less than the inflation rate and despite the significant increase in health care costs, the administration is not moving significantly on raises.
Training: We have agreed to include 6 hours of mandatory training per year. Currently no training is mandated so this is an increase in required training hours at the discretion of administration.
Healthcare: We are waiting for the President to respond to the grievance we have submitted. Faculty are currently experiencing increased prescription prices and other healthcare costs. The Administration has agreed to the current healthcare plans (the “temporary” plans) for the duration of the CBA but we remain far apart on reimbursement for additional costs in the form of HSAs or HRAs. Additionally, premium cost sharing percentages remain far apart, as despite the poor relative quality of the plans, the administration would like to keep faculty out of pocket cost for premiums close to what they were before, keeping the cost savings for the University.