Session 30: Conceptual Agreement reached on AP Workload and Terms of Employment

February 23, 2016 / Phil Lesch

In our Friday, February 19th bargaining session, we reached a tentative agreement on AP Workload and Terms of Employment issues.  Those of you who have been closely following this negotiation know that we’ve spent hours going back and forth with the administrative team about what full-time employment means for academic professionals.  The tentative agreement includes new contract language that defines and AP workload as approximately 2080 hours/year (basically, a 40 hour work week).  It clarifies academic professionals’ right to flex their work schedules.  APs are not expected to keep hour-by-hour records of their work and when some weeks require additional hours or heavier workloads, supervisors must allow for a reduction in subsequent work or hours within a reasonable time frame.

Academic professionals should not be assigned an “unreasonable or excessive workload.”  APs who believe they have a workload that exceeds what a reasonable person can achieve within a 2080 hour annual standard will first work with their supervisor to adjust their workload.  If the AP and supervisor cannot come to a mutually agreeable workload reduction plan, representatives from AAUP and administration will negotiate a solution.  If a solution cannot be reached, the AP has the right to take the matter to arbitration.  An arbitrator will determine if the workload is unreasonable.  If it is, PSU will be issued a cease and desist order.   If multiple workload issues arise in a single unit, this will trigger a broader discussion in a regularly scheduled labor/management meeting.

The current contract states that APs can be let go with notice if their position is eliminated.  In the past, the administration has interpreted this section to mean that any AP can be let go, with or without cause, by simply issuing the required notice.  AAUP has always believed that the word positon means a job must be eliminated.  This disagreement has resulted in numerous grievances, none of which ever resolved the larger conflict.  The tentative agreement now specifies exactly what the term position means and when an AP can be laid-off.  Academic professionals can be let go with notice if they receive sanctions that warrant termination, if retrenchment occurs, of if a position is eliminated due to programmatic change.  If a programmatic change results in lay-offs, APs will be let-go in order of seniority.  Laid-off academic professionals will have recall rights if a similar job is posted.  This provision is designed to prevent departments and units from eliminating a job to get rid of a person then re-posting the same job with a slightly different description or title.

As part of the terms of employment package, the administration introduced a probationary period for academic professionals hired after July 1, 2016.  Newly hired APs can be let go in the first six months of employment without having to go through the terms stated above.  If multiple probationary employees are laid-off in a unit, the labor/management committee will meet to discuss and remedy the problem.

Academic professionals will no longer have to use vacation days if the university is closed for inclement weather or during breaks.  Unfortunately, this agreement will not cover the snow day we had in January, but if we get another snowstorm, it won’t be considered a “vacation.”

When we negotiate our economics package on March 10th, we will have an opportunity to possibly extend the frequency of AP longevity bumps and/or revisit the brackets we originally agreed to.

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