NEWSLETTER, BARGAINING

Administration refuses to bargain to clean up mistakes caused by mismanagement

December 04, 2018 / Phil Lesch

The University presented proposals to PSU-AAUP in Labor Management Committee in late October for ten(10) Memoranda’s of Agreement (MOAs) to resolve contractual violations in the issuance of ten (10) Letters of Offer (LOOs) by Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science (MCECS). PSU-AAUP was concerned that agreeing to the MOA’s would not resolve the underlying problems: inconsistent processes for the issuance of NTTF and FT LOOs across schools and colleges; no consistent oversight with a lens focused on the Collective Bargaining Agreement; and oversight that is removed from the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) which is responsible for the employment of most ranked employees.

As part of the dialog about these problems, PSU-AAUP submitted a proposal to administration that we believe would address the underlying problems. Our proposal called for:

  1. Agreement that oversight was required in the issuance of FT and NTTF-CA LOOs consistent with the CBA, and
  2. The University should establish processes that provide for that oversight so that LOOs are verified prior to their issuance, and
  3. The University should commit the resources necessary to fix the problem by the end of Winter term, 2019, and
  4. We reaffirm that the departments are required to have approved guidelines for the evaluation of NTTF-CA in the continuous appointment process.

On November 28, 2018 the University advised the following:

PSU is not willing to bargain over this non-mandatory subject. What you propose falls into management’s prerogative to determine its hiring procedures and HR processes. In a perfect world, PSU would have resources comparable to other public higher education institutions to complete these reviews in the manner in which you propose.

In shutting down discussions about needed reforms, the University sends a clear signal to PSU faculty that they are more concerned about limiting negotiations with faculty to mandatory subjects, than they are to resolving underlying systemic problems that end up repeatedly costing the University money to fix.

Background

In early October 2018 the administration learned, and then subsequently brought PSU-AAUP’s Labor Management Committee, the fact that ten (10) NTTFs in MCECS were, and or have been hired issued fixed term Letters of Offer (LOO) that exceeded the time limits for fixed term appointments in the CBA Article 18 Section 3, or where service credit was granted by MCECS without consultation with the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) and the required negotiations and agreement of PSU-AAUP.

In 2018 PSU-AAUP and OAA had developed a process for the determination of service credit to be awarded to faculty members in fixed term contracts that were being converted to NTTF appointments eligible for continuous appointment under Article 18 Section 3, and that process was not followed on these LOOs.

Alarmingly, six (6) of the ten LOOs were appointments to ranks that no longer exist.

OAA does not presently review NTTF or FT contracts prior to their issuance by schools of colleges. In at least three (3) of the 10 cases it was shared with the Association by a member that the Office of Human Resources (HR) had informed MCECS that they could not issue a NTTF-CA probationary LOO until they had issued three (3) FT appointment LOOs. We would add that there is no agreement between PSU-AAUP and the University for this interpretation; the negotiating teams agreed that NTTF-CA could be and should be hired into positions eligible for continuous appointment from the beginning of their employment, and that fixed term contracts be used in only limited circumstances.

 

It is not clear how PSU-AAUP should proceed on the matter. The matter will be brought to the PSU-AAUP organizing committee to explore organizing campaign approaches to the problem.

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