November 18, 2022
- We have presented our economic proposals
- Our compensation proposal would dramatically improve salaries for the lowest paid faculty (one of the top priorities in the bargaining survey), while ensuring everyone’s salaries keep up with inflation and increase with experience
- Our benefits, leaves, and research support proposals would protect what we have, extend benefits to more people, and expand benefits and resources in key areas
- We will all need to work together in order to make substantial improvements in these areas
We are pleased to share that we have presented our economic proposals to the administration. These proposals cover compensation, benefits, leaves, and research support. We know that these issues are important to you and we have worked hard to draft proposals that would substantially improve all of our working conditions, but we will need your help to demonstrate to the administration that these are issues that you care about and that you support these improvements. Join our Communication and Action Team (CAT) to help spread the word about these proposals and organize your colleagues to help us get big wins at the bargaining table.
Our compensation proposal reflects the fact that we have a wide range of faculty in a number of different positions with different scales and markets. But everyone deserves a salary that sustains its purchasing power, that increases with experience, and that has a reasonable floor given our training and expertise. Everyone also has a right to salaries that are equitable and fair. And we all, including the administration, have an interest in flexibility, so that Pitt can continue to recruit and retain excellent faculty. We heard from you in the bargaining survey that salaries, especially for the lowest paid faculty, are a top priority for everyone.
Our compensation proposal would bring us closer to meeting Pitt’s own longstanding written policy requiring that salary increases be tied to “the percentage of the previous calendar year’s increase in the Consumer Price Index,” that salary inequities “such as salary compression or differentials attributable solely to gender, race, or other inappropriate factors” should be “removed,” and “that average faculty salaries at the Pittsburgh campus are at or above the median (for each rank) of AAU universities.” Keep in mind, this is our opening position, and we will bargain with the administration to reach a final agreement for you, the membership, to vote on. We believe this proposal puts us in a strong position to bring back a fair and equitable contract for your review.
We have proposed:
- A salary floor of $60,000 for full-time faculty, pro-rated for part-time faculty. This reflects living wage requirements for families in Allegheny County, the salaries of faculty at peer institutions, and the simple fact that all of our faculty have advanced degrees and very high skills and deserve to earn a professional salary.
- Annual maintenance increases of 8.3% per year, the current inflation rate, to keep up with the increasing cost of living.
- Annual “experience increases” of $5000 per year for full-time faculty, pro-rated for part-time faculty, so that everyone’s salary grows as their careers advance.
- Minimum 10% increases for faculty who are promoted.
We also proposed a fair and transparent process for individual faculty to receive salary adjustments if their own salary is unfairly below their peers at Pitt or at peer institutions or if they are subject to salary compression.
In addition, our proposal includes flexibility for individual faculty salaries to be increased due to exceptional merit or market considerations or other reasons.
Our benefits proposal covers the following: Health Care, Retirement, Disability, Education, Dependent Care, Parking and Transportation, Fitness Facilities, Professional Development Support, Flexible Work Arrangements, and Visa Support.
In most of these areas our proposal would protect the benefits we have while expanding them to everyone in the bargaining unit, with improvements in key areas:
- Our proposal would ensure that reproductive care and gender affirming care would be protected if the legislature tried to attack those rights.
- We proposed strong new financial support for childcare expenses and expansions of university-provided childcare.
- We proposed that parking at the regional campuses should be free for faculty, who have no choice but to drive, since those campuses have fewer space constraints. We also proposed financial allowances for parking for faculty in Oakland, to help offset the cost for faculty who drive and help incentivize development of new parking solutions.
Our leaves proposal covers Holidays, Family and Medical Leave, Sick Leave, Sabbaticals, Leaves for Professional Enhancement, Buyouts, Unpaid Leaves, Vacations, Union Leave, Bereavement Leave, Intimate Partner Violence Leave, Jury Duty and Subpoenaed Testimony, and Service in the Armed Forces.
This proposal would ensure that existing access to leaves are protected in the contract, while expanding these rights to all members of the bargaining unit. We also proposed expanding sabbatical leaves to non-tenure stream and part-time faculty, more transparent and consistent policies for buyouts, clear policies on sick leave and bereavement leave for all faculty, and a new policy for intimate partner violence leaves, an issue that is often invisible but affects more people than is commonly acknowledged.
Our proposal would protect current programs for research incentives, create new transparency around the distribution of indirects, walk back salary reduction policies and soft money requirements, and develop a new system for bridge funding for faculty who experience gaps or delays in external research funding.
We are waiting for a response from the administration on these proposals. The administration has only agreed to meet once in November and once in December. Our next bargaining session is not until December 14. As we have said before, there are a number of ways to address these goals, and we look forward to hearing the administration’s ideas for how we can fairly compensate our work, protect and expand core benefits, and enhance our research and scholarly work.
Your bargaining committee
Tyler Bickford (chair), Professor, English, Oakland
Nicholas Bircher, Part-time Professor, Nurse Anesthesia, Oakland
Lauren Collister, Faculty Librarian, ULS, Oakland
Rekha Gajanan, Part-time Instructor, Composition, Bradford
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
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