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ACT-UAW – Part-Time Faculty Successor Contract Negotiations Update: Session # 8

On September 15, the university participated in its 8th bargaining session with ACT-UAW, Local 7902. At the start of the discussions, we acknowledged the disruptions to bargaining caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, expressed our tremendous gratitude and appreciation for the ways that ACT-UAW partnered with us in the past to extend the contract, and emphasized our commitment to creating a sense of financial stability for part-time faculty moving forward. Most notably, the university and ACT-UAW were able to pull together during the pandemic and agree to two contract extensions which extended the contract to cover the ‘20-21 and ‘21-22 academic years and provided part-time faculty with health care coverage when they otherwise may not have qualified for it. We are proud of the way everyone worked collaboratively to create stability for all parties during this difficult time.

Given our history of being able to mutually agree to contract extensions with ACT-UAW, and our desire to facilitate more efficient and productive negotiations at the bargaining table, we proposed the following:

A one-time bonus in exchange for a contract extension

  • With the previously agreed-upon extension set to conclude in mid-November, we are keen to ensure stability for ACT_UAW and the university while we continue negotiations. All parties want to give these important issues the attention they deserve. That’s why we also offered additional time to discuss the extension – outside of the already scheduled bargaining sessions – to ensure discussions on the contract proposals are not slowed by the extension.
  • In exchange for the extension, the university offered a one-time bonus of $200 per semester for each bargaining unit member who completed a teaching assignment between Spring 2020 and Spring 2022, including Summer 2020 and Summer 2021, with the understanding that the university would continue to bargain with the ACT-UAW over its compensation and other economic proposals.
  • ACT-UAW rejected the university’s proposal and provided no counteroffer regarding the extension. ACT-UAW also declined to engage in the further discussions about a bonus without a complete response to its compensation proposal from the university, even though to date the union has not presented all of its proposals, including its proposals on Retirement Benefits.
  • It’s important to know that the union has agreed to contract extensions before on multiple past occasions for example, when  our community dealt with and adapted to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. An extension now would give the university and the union a stable foundation and allow us to continue thoughtful negotiations towards a renewal contract.

A request that the ACT-UAW provide a complete set of proposals

  • ACT-UAWconfirmed that it still has several proposals yet to be presented, including one on retirement benefits. The university needs to review the union’s proposals in totality, both non-economic and economic, in order to develop our counter proposals.
  • ACT-UAW was unable to provide the university with a timeframe in which it can expect to receive a full set of the union’s proposals.

The exchange of proposals in word documents

  • While this may seem like a small matter, providing proposals as Word documents rather than in PDF format will allow the parties to better track areas within proposals where the parties share agreement or diverge.  
  • This was a point of common ground. The union represented its willingness to agree to this, and we look forward to receiving their proposals as Word documents moving forward.

There is much work ahead, but the university remains committed to bargaining in good faith and we are confident that we will reach a mutually beneficial agreement – as we always have.

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