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Bargaining Update

October 20, 2020 / PSU-AAUP

Academic Freedom
Bargaining is underway to address the challenges to academic freedom presented by changing political and technological conditions. Your bargaining team is working to create robust protocols for responding to pressure from off campus intended to intimidate faculty and APs in their academic pursuits. A proactive posture is necessary to support members who find themselves in a new and uncertain academic work environment.

Need some examples? How about these...

So, you’re a scholar with a twitter account. You use it to help disseminate items related to your research or teaching agenda – but, okay, you’re not above the occasional snark. In response to a tweet in the latter category, you find yourself ambushed by the right-wing outrage machine. Best to give a heads-up to your dean, right? “Let’s brace ourselves until this passes.” That certainly was Professor Burnett’s instinct. Her actual experience? Her college president threw her under the bus. Elsewhere, Professor McKevitt is also seeing what the underside of that bus looks like.

[Read more on Professor Burnett's and Professor McKevitt's experiences]

In a similar situation, this wouldn’t be PSU’s response, would it? Having protocols in place for dealing with these situations will help PSU steer clear of such ill-considered reactions (or silences) by administrators. Our bargaining team is working to make sure that such protocols exist and are accessible to those who need them, when they need them.

First time we have workload language in the contract for Faculty!
We now have an agreement on a process to address faculty workload issues, a first for us. It replicates as much as possible the process used for AP workload issues, including the faculty member’s option of involving PSU-AAUP in dispute resolution. This is a significant step in our union’s effort to create a university workplace that accommodates the whole person in work-life balance. But it is only a step. There’s more to do if we are to achieve workplace equity while recognizing the hidden labor performed by women, people of color, and LBGTQ members of our university community.

Upcoming Bargaining Dates
Wednesday, October 21st, 8am - 12pm. RSVP here!
Friday, October 23rd, 1pm - 5pm. RSVP here!  

Stay Tuned for Economic Bargaining
It’s been a long haul. We’ve been bargaining for over a year and have tackled a number of issues that we believe our contract needed addressing. These concerned AP classifications, academic freedom, family leave, post continuous appointment reviews, and more. We’re really hoping to move to economic matters very soon. 

We anticipate some conflicts with the administration around economics: the University continues to push for increased austerity measures even though year after year we continue to see pessimistic budgets followed by end of year surpluses. They have instituted hiring freezes, budget cuts, furloughs, tuition hikes, and there were no 2020 COLAs (essentially, a pay cut!). All the while, their end of the 2020 year actuals reported a 17 million dollar surplus. We hear them preparing to offer us nothing more than what already exists in our contract and we find this concerning.

It is our position that all academic workers deserve to earn a living wage, have their salaries keep pace with inflation, and their ongoing contributions to and their experience at the University recognized and rewarded. Our contract should promote equity for all of our members, including Academic Professionals, NTT Faculty, and Tenure-Related Faculty.  We also stand in solidarity with our adjunct faculty PSUFA members who deserve to at least be paid the same rate per class as our lowest paid NTTF instructors - equal pay for equal work.

Fighting for this will not be easy. The PSU administration is worried about the long-term impacts of COVID on their budgets, particularly as they concern enrollment and future state funding for higher ed. Because of their extreme cautionary stance on the budget, we will need your support at the bargaining table. Coming soon, AAUP members will have the opportunity to share a letter with President Percy about sustainable and necessary economics in our contract and our colleagues in PSUFA. 

We anticipate a day long discussion of economics in November. Stay tuned. 

Upcoming Bargaining Dates
Wednesday, October 21st, 8am - 12pm. RSVP here!
Friday, October 23rd, 1pm - 5pm. RSVP here!  

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