NEWSLETTER, BARGAINING, PSU-AAUP

OAA: Un-“Principled” Changes

September 09, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

During the last round of bargaining, your Collective Bargaining team negotiated remote work language in our contract (Article 24, Sec. 14), which was to meet the interests of PSU-AAUP members who would like more flexibility and, whenever possible, have remote work options. However, in the chaos and uncertainty of Covid, the implementation of this remote work language, especially for our AP’s, ran directly afoul of the contract and had to be reworked. We are grateful to you, our members, because we only knew about these contract violations because alert members brought them to our attention.

In early August, many OAA AP’s received an email (packaged differently depending on the supervisor) containing some version of “OAA Principles for Staff Remote Work.” Emanating from the Provost’s office, the “Principles” amounted to a series of blanket restrictions on employees, particularly APs, who wished to work remotely after the official return to campus. These principles were very confusing to our members and to AAUP leadership as they ran counter to the language in our contract, most specifically their language that “employees may be approved to work remotely no more than two days per week.” The remote work language in the contract took months to write and no blanket minimums or maximums are present. Determinations for remote work are to be based upon specific job responsibilities and duties and between an employee and their supervisor. Moreover, the Principles email seemed to restructure the process for applying for Remote Work, a process that has a clear procedure bargained for and signed by administration (outlined in the contract beginning p.64 and reinforced through MOA #20 on p. 218).

When management does not follow the contract, this contributes to the overall sense of confusion and anxiety that has characterized our “Return to Campus.” PSU-AAUP’s response has been to hold the administration accountable to contract language they agreed to. We were prepared to file a grievance on behalf of the affected members, but PSU agreed to officially amend the Principles and send out to supervisors ones that are consistent with their legal obligations and we have agreed to hold off on filing a grievance. As of this writing, we have been told that updated guidance to supervisors regarding remote work that complies with the contract is being circulated. Again: thank you members for reaching out and we are glad to support you in this difficult time.

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