February 9, 2023
- We continue to have productive discussions about our job security framework, but the administration has still not responded to proposals on other key topics like workload and compensation
- Join your colleagues at the Board of Trustees meeting to tell the administration that we need serious progress at the bargaining table: specifically, a counterproposal on fair compensation for all faculty
We met with the administration again on Tuesday. While we continue to have productive discussions about our job security framework, the administration is still too slow in offering counterproposals on key topics like workloads and compensation. On Tuesday we responded to their proposals on appointments and renewals, performance evaluations, and Falk faculty with counterproposals that identify common ground, making moves in their direction in areas that don’t undermine our core priorities. We had productive conversations about the Falk faculty and librarians, and we see some space for making progress there.
We are committed to moving quickly, and we consistently respond to their proposals by the next session, if not during the same session. But we are still waiting for their proposals on a number of topics including workloads, discipline and discharge, tenure and promotion, layoff and recall, and all of our economic proposals. At our last session we presented counterproposals on appointments and renewals and academic freedom. Two weeks should be enough time for their team to review our changes and develop their own responses, to keep making progress on these areas where we have common ground.
We’ve been bargaining for a year now. Over the last two months the administration has finally started engaging productively on our top priorities, but a year is more than enough time for them to have developed a position on every part of our contract. They need to work more quickly between bargaining sessions, and they need to send decision-makers to bargaining sessions so that we don’t have to wait weeks to get agreement on sentence-level changes.
To make this clear to them, the Communication and Access team is asking you to join your colleagues on February 24 at the Board of Trustees meeting to give this message directly to the ultimate decision-makers at Pitt.
At Tuesday’s session the administration’s only contributions were, again, small changes to important but secondary articles on union rights and dues deduction. They presented a total of nine revised sentences. And while we are making significant moves to address concerns they raise and get to a strong agreement quickly, they continue to stick on unnecessary and inappropriate issues.
For example, our union rights proposal includes language allowing our union to communicate non-disruptively with bargaining unit faculty members. We are in agreement on 90% of this article’s language, but at this very late stage they are now holding things up by demanding that we agree to limit our communication with our members according to policies they can write and change entirely at their discretion. They won’t specify which policies they are concerned about—if they did we could examine them and agree to specific requirements. But while they know that it is inappropriate for our employer to decide whether and how we can communicate with members—a right that is already protected by the law—they continue to find reasons to stall.
To be clear, our discussions are productive in a way that they were not early last year, and we remain optimistic about achieving an agreement that makes substantial improvements. But the administration’s pace remains woefully inadequate to the task at hand, and they need to do much better. They have acknowledged that many questions that have come up in our discussions of appointments and renewals are contingent on other articles including workloads, tenure and promotion, discipline and discharge, and layoff and recall. Until they present their own proposals we will remain stalled on key issues, including complex and important economic issues.
Again, please join your colleagues on February 24 to let the Trustees know that we need the administration to move much faster, a year into this process.
Your bargaining committee
Tyler Bickford (chair), Professor, English, Oakland
Nicholas Bircher, Part-time Professor, Nurse Anesthesia, Oakland
Lauren Collister, Faculty Librarian, ULS, Oakland
Lech Harris (secretary), Part-time Instructor, English, Oakland
James Hill (archivist), Visiting Assistant Professor, History, Oakland
Haitao Liu, Professor, Chemistry, Oakland
Sabrina Robinson, Part-time Instructor, Slavic, Oakland
Valerie Rossi (clerk), Teacher, Falk Laboratory School, Oakland
Evan Schneider, Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Oakland
Paul Scott, Assistant Professor, Health and Community Systems (Nursing), Oakland
Jeffrey Shook, Professor, Social Work, Oakland
Stacey Triplette, Associate Professor, Spanish, Greensburg
Abagael West, Teaching Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, Oakland