November 30, 2023
A fair salary floor for all faculty
- The administration is demanding that the majority of the lowest-paid faculty keep working for undignified and unlivable wages
- We need your support to win a real salary floor for all faculty
We met with the administration on Tuesday. We exchanged proposals on Benefits, Leaves, Research Support, and Sabbaticals. We are developing our counter on Compensation, which we will present next week.
After we filed an unfair practice charge on Monday, the administration finally "responded" to our Research Support proposal by rejecting it without a counterproposal. This is a position that they could have taken at any point over the last year, but instead they made this empty response simply to avoid legal liability for their unlawful delays in bargaining. Similarly, before the break, they responded to an outstanding information request within a few hours after learning that we were preparing a charge over that issue. That means they already had the data and were simply dragging their feet on providing it. It is embarrassing that it takes labor board charges for them to meet their basic legal obligations. It is even more shameful that the administration is paying a team of outside lawyers hundreds of dollars an hour to do this work for them, and they can't even meet these minimal requirements.
When we asked the administration's bargaining team about their reasons for rejecting our Research Support proposal, they could only offer boilerplate answers and clearly did not understand the underlying issues. As we move into economic bargaining, we are dealing with complex issues that are often unique to higher education. But rather than sending administrators to the bargaining table who understand the issues at hand, they are allowing themselves to be represented by outside generalist lawyers who lack any real understanding of how research funding works and how faculty jobs are structured. By letting an outside law firm make uninformed decisions about core operations, the administration is abandoning their obligation to responsibly manage our complex research university in the public interest.
We are preparing our counterproposal on Compensation to present next week. As we have said, our top priorities are to ensure sustainable salary increases for everyone and to win significant additional improvements for the lowest paid faculty. The administration has made some movement toward a salary floor, but they are demanding that these improvements exclude visiting faculty, instructors, part-time faculty, and Falk School faculty—the large majority of people who most need these raises. These faculty are highly trained and experienced professionals with advanced degrees who teach the same classes, do the same research, and serve the university like everyone else in the bargaining unit. But many earn less than $40,000 per year, with part-time faculty frequently earning at a rate equivalent to an annual salary of less than $30,000 a year. (The administration's proposal would set a floor of just $750 per credit, the equivalent of an annual salary of $18,000, for part-time faculty at the regional campuses!)
We will need your help to win a fair salary floor for ALL faculty.
Visit www.pittfaculty.org to learn more about our colleagues who urgently need these raises, and to request a membership card to build our strength as a union for ALL faculty.
The administration's demand is that hundreds of our colleagues keep working for undignified and unlivable wages. We won't be bullied into accepting this divisive demand from an administration that finds it easy to pay millions to themselves and their anti-union lawyers.
Your bargaining committee
Tyler Bickford (chair), Professor, English, Oakland
Pete Bell, Teaching Assistant Professor, Chemistry, Oakland
Nicholas Bircher, Part-time Professor, Nurse Anesthesia, Oakland
Chloe Dufour, Faculty Librarian, ULS, Oakland
Anthony Fabio, Associate Professor, Epidemiology (Public Health), Oakland
Lech Harris (secretary), Part-time Instructor, English, Oakland
James Hill (archivist), Visiting Assistant Professor, History, Oakland
Megan O’Brien, Master Teacher, Falk Laboratory School, Oakland
Sabrina Robinson, Part-time Instructor, Slavic, 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