Category Archives: 2021 Negotiation Updates

July 26, 2021: Bargaining Update

The two sides met last week on Thursday, July 22.

We began with discussion of the 3rd hold-over tentative agreement from last summer. In March of 2020, the union team suggested changes to the selection process for Promotion and Tenure (P&T) Committee members. Additional language issues were also identified, and changes were agreed upon. The teams agreed to a selection process that is a combination of voting and random selection. First, all faculty will vote for the member at large. Once that vote is completed, any remaining open seats will be selected through a random selection process. For each school a pool of eligible faculty will be created—minus those who decline–to replace committee members who are at the end of their two-year terms. Terms are still capped so that faculty cannot serve more than three consecutive terms.

Next, we discussed class size caps and how to address the administration’s proposal to formalize a process for setting and revising class size. We have stressed that this should be up to the discretion of faculty and department chairs who are best positioned to understand the needs of the students and the constraints of the department. Faculty want to promote optimal learning conditions for all students in their courses. The administration recognizes that changes cannot be imposed.

Large class sizes are a concern for many courses, including those with a significant writing component and those with hands-on work or discussion components. Some relief for faculty with high class numbers and/or writing intensive courses was recommended, potentially in the form of release time once classes reach a threshold. The definition of that threshold has not been set.

We pushed back on the proposed move to 15 contact hours from 12 for full-time faculty. We noted that student research mentoring is only possible because of our current credit loads. Several contracts ago a move from the range of 12-15 (with limits on prep periods) was negotiated down to 12 contact hours per semester in mutual acknowledgement of best practices in higher education. The standard contact hour/course loads in higher education are lower than our current standard of 12 contact hours per semester. Accrediting bodies have noted high workloads on our campus as an area to improve upon and have recommended decreasing workload. The lead negotiator for the administration stated that accreditation is not the highest priority for the University and that accreditation may need to be sacrificed in some programs.

Finally, we discussed sabbatical opportunities for non-tenure track faculty. We have a tentative agreement that non-tenure track faculty will be allowed to apply for up to two sabbaticals, at least 6 years apart, after they are in their first three-year contract (year 9) and that up to one per year will be awarded. In exchange we agreed that sabbatical opportunities for tenured faculty will be limited to two. This item has not been finalized but we look forward to signing this tentative agreement in our next meeting.

Important reminder: we are one month away from our negotiated increase and reinstitution of 403B matching. Please remember that with the onset of the pandemic, in the spirit of shared sacrifice, we gave up our contracted 403B match for the 2020-2021 academic year. Next month, we will again be able to take advantage of the match. Although it will take faculty 10 years to make up the lost retirement contributions if they contribute 5% (matched 2:1), we recognize that staff and many administrators also have had lost retirement contributions, and we are grateful to have the contracted benefit returning for us in August. In order to take advantage of the increased cap on matching, you will need to adjust your own retirement contribution through ADP. Instructions have recently been sent from HR, but if you have trouble or questions, please reach out to us or directly to HR.

Our next two meetings are scheduled for Tuesday August 3 and Thursday August 5. Keep an eye out for updates and for additional surveys to help us represent you at the table.

July 21, 2021: Bargaining Update

The two sides met again last week on Thursday, July 15.

We had been scheduled to negotiate twice last week, but the Tuesday session was canceled by the administration due to a personal matter of their lead negotiator (their attorney).   

On Thursday, we revisited tentative agreements discussed at our negotiation updates last summer.   Two of the three tentative agreements were reaffirmed by Administration and Union teams.  

The first reaffirmed agreement incorporates three-year contract language for non-tenure track faculty into the CBA.   This is important because it codifies the right of non-tenure track faculty to apply for these extended contracts.   Three-year contracts provide additional job security and protections for non-tenure track faculty during the duration of the three-year period.

The second reaffirmed tentative agreement provides additional definitions and guidance for academic ranks and titles.   

The third tentative agreement, which has not been signed off on yet by the Administration team, seeks to improve the functioning of the very important Promotion and Tenure (P&T) Committee.   It remedies some unfair voting issues (i.e., librarians currently can only vote for the at-large member) and provides for additional required steps for the P&T Committee (most changes have been well received and have been already implemented, such as the practice for allowing candidates for promotion or tenure to appear before the Committee to answer questions).   

Finally, we spent time discussing the administration’s proposals on workload, mandatory training, and scheduling.   We presented our concerns about how the proposed changes may impact student mentorship, faculty-student interactions, and student choice in creating schedules (e.g., to work around other commitments, such as E360 experiences and internships).     

Regarding recent discussions of health insurance coverage, we have requested additional information based on your feedback.   Some of you graciously provided us with estimates of how your costs based on your current premium and copayments would increase under the new plans.   Any additional information in this area will help to further inform how changes could impact faculty.

If you have a chance, please calculate your annual premium and out-of-pocket costs for this year based on your current plan and your choice of the new plans. Knowing the difference in cost would be immensely helpful to the negotiation team (send to

If you would like to be more involved with discussions or activities, please reach out to me, Ed or Ellen.    We are eager to have more people involved. Fill out this interest form and we can plug you into our activities:

Our next negotiation session is planned for Thursday, July 22.  Keep an eye out for updates!