Session 29: Finding the balance on AP Issues

February 16, 2016 / Phil Lesch

Balance.  It’s a delicate, yet crucial part of bargaining.  In a bargaining unit like ours that is made-up of diverse constituencies, we strive to find balance in the gains we make for each group.  We’ve spent that past dozen sessions focused on academic professional issues.  So far, we’ve addressed pay and promotional and workload issues.  Now, there are just a few issues left on the table.

We were able to gain longevity adjustments for APs for up to two years and a classification and compensation study that will, hopefully, result in real pathways for promotion as well as opportunities to advance and grow within a job title.  We got important workload language that states that APs workload should not exceed 2080 hours/year (40 hours per week), and that no AP should have an unreasonable or excessive workload.  We are crafting a process for dealing with excessive workloads that we hope will be successful.  However, administration wanted to put this language in a letter of agreement that would sunset in two years and have to be renegotiated.

In our last session, the administration floated a package proposal that introduced a 6 month probationary period for newly hired academic professionals.  It also clarified the terms of employment for APs.  We have different interpretations of our current contract language about the terms of employment, which has resulted in a number of grievances.  The new terms of employment language proposed would resolve our conflicts and enhance AP job security.

While the introduction of a probationary period is a reasonable ask, what concerned us as a team was that the probationary period would be a permanent change, while many of the other gains we’ve made would be temporary.  The longevity adjustments will only occur over the next two years, and APs will have to wait for promotional pathways to be established and for a meaningful system of advancement within their job titles.  We don’t know what the class and comp study will result in, and we’ll have to bargain about the proposed changes.

Our team felt that the changes administration is seeking for terms of employment are permanent, while the other gains we made are temporary, and that doesn’t feel balanced.   After a lot of caucus time brainstorming and some back and forth, administration is willing to make the workload language a permanent part of the contract.  While this is a gain, we still don’t feel like we’ve achieved the balance we’re seeking. We are getting close and will continue to negotiate these issues in our next session.

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