As many of you caregivers know, 2020 was an incredibly difficult year. We were homeschooling our children, caring for ailing family members, all while trying to do our jobs effectively. In the spring of 2020 PSU-AAUP anticipated that many of our members would face significant challenges due to the pandemic and so we worked with administration to create several MOU’s to protect our members, including tenure clock delays and language around being able to note how the pandemic affected our work at times of review, including for AP’s, Tenure and NTT Faculty. There were other pandemic related MOA’s initiated in the spring by our then VP for Collective Bargaining, Mark Leymon (CCJ).
In conversation with AAUP National leadership, PSU-AAUP has learned that our union has been the most innovative chapter in terms of protecting our members from the impacts of the pandemic. This goes to show how strong our union is, thanks to union leadership and the support of our membership.
But we are still struggling, especially our caregivers! In the fall of of 2020 when the negative impact of the pandemic was unyielding, PSU-AAUP President Jennifer Kerns reached out to a dozen or so caregiving faculty and AP’s, asking them what they needed and what we should ask from admin if they could wave a magic wand and provide substantive relief. We submitted a three page document, detailing a whole host of “asks” informed largely by the wishes of our colleagues and informed additionally by feminist scholarship and critical race theory that details how the academy can improve to best support women faculty/AP’s and persons of color faculty/AP’s. We did not get most of what we requested and we will continue to agitate for more. However, the administration has expressed sympathy with our concerns and offered the following.
- Whenever possible, committee work and service responsibilities, including significant new projects such as program redesign, will be deferred during this academic year (20-21).
- Attendance at non-essential meetings shall not be required during this period. Determination of which meetings are essential should be determined by the academic units.
- Supervisors will provide flexibility to members in scheduling whenever possible.
- Supervisors and members shall be given a reasonable period of time to respond to each other. Supervisors and members are encouraged to provide notice and schedule meeting times when applicable.
- Members will be allowed to extend the use of Emergency Paid Sick Leave, provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, to June 30, 2021.
- Members shall be permitted to reduce their FTE partially, or use applicable leave as necessary during the COVID period. The University agrees that no member will be disciplined or experience any adverse consequences for reducing their FTE or using leave during the COVID period.
The Executive Council approved this MOA. You received this MOA in your @pdx inbox this week and we hope that you will vote to ratify. Moving forward, we hope to continue to work with the administration to find other innovative solutions to meet the needs of our caregiving faculty and AP’s. Stay tuned!