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ACT-UAW – Part-Time Faculty Successor Contract Negotiations Update: Session 18

The New School and representatives of ACT-UAW, Local 7902, met again for another full day of bargaining on Thursday, October 27, in the second session this week, continuing to work through the full package of proposals.

The union refuses to commit to bargaining sessions during the week of November 7

The New School, in its commitment to move ahead as efficiently as possible, offered multiple days to bargain over the next two weeks, including daily, full day sessions during the week of October 31 and the week of November 7, with weekend sessions on November 5 or 6.

The union insisted that it was unavailable to meet on Wednesday November 2 or November 4 and could not meet with the university at any time on the week of November 7 unless all 18 members of its bargaining team could attend, and asked the university to provide releases from teaching assignments and additional duties with pay for the committee members whose schedules conflicted with the university’s proposed bargaining days. The New School offered to honor the union’s request for the full week of November 7, and provide additional support to union bargaining committee members who needed assistance finding a substitute. This offer was made contingent on the union agreeing to a contract extension to December 31, 2022 in the event the parties were unable to reach agreement during the intensive sessions. The union rejected this offer and stated that it would be unable to agree to full-day bargaining sessions at any time in the week of November 7. The university continued to express its desire to come to an agreement before November 13, when the current contract extension ends, and regretted that the union appeared to have made a conscious decision not to do the same.  

For now, the parties will meet next week on the afternoon of Monday, October 31, all day Tuesday, November 1, all day Thursday, November 3 and on the morning of Sunday, November 6.

The union’s substantially unchanged position on compensation

The union began its compensation counter proposal presentation with testimonials from five part-time faculty concerning the university’s compensation structure and their teaching experience. The union rejected The New School’s compensation proposal, which seeks to level set compensation and is a compensation model that the union previously signaled it was willing to consider. Instead, the union provided its counter-proposal on compensation: $14,000 per 45-contact hour course or a 19% increase, whichever is greater (down from $14,500 per 45-contact-hour course or 20%, whichever is greater) in year one of the contract, and in subsequent years, the higher of a 5% increase or the rate of inflation as indexed by the consumer price index. The union explained its rate per course included modest adjustments up or down for courses with contact hours above or below the 45 contact hour threshold. The union offered no other concessions on this issue. 

Other matters addressed

The union largely held its previous position on key items, including medical benefits, and made only minor movement on issues including retirement benefits and classroom expenses. In many instances, the union failed to defend the basis for seeking certain demands, only explaining that in most cases they believed their requests reflected what they wanted and what they believed to be fair. There was some positive movement towards agreeing to bi-weekly pay days. A tentative agreement was reached on academic freedom.

The union also requested that some issues, such as leave and posting accrued hours, be tabled while key issues are prioritized for discussion.

We look forward to resuming our efforts to reach an agreement that benefits everyone and we will continue to share updates to keep you informed.

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