An Update on Contract Negotiations
To Our Part-Time Faculty:
Negotiations with ACT-UAW Local 7902 have reached a critical moment, with the contract set to expire tomorrow, November 13, at midnight.
The university has presented a strong, fair and achievable proposal and has been repeatedly responsive to the union’s requests, as well as the university’s very real financial constraints. Unfortunately, the union has shown little commitment to making the proposal updates needed to reach a deal for you.
To help get to the finish line, the university has strongly encouraged bringing in a jointly selected, professional mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to accelerate progress on an agreement. The union has repeatedly rejected this request.
The Union’s Lack of Preparation
On Friday, November 11, The New School and Local 7902 met for another day of bargaining. While the union owed the university approximately twelve responses on items that the union said it was open to negotiating, the union came to the table only prepared to discuss four new counter proposals on wages, medical and dental benefits, pay day, and faculty appointments, respectively. Considering that the union used 8 hours in private meetings away from the bargaining table on Thursday, November 10, to prepare its proposals – and then canceled that session at 6pm, two hours before the scheduled end time after it realized it needed even more time to prepare – the university was disappointed to see the union’s continued lack of preparation yesterday. We were further disappointed to learn late Friday that the union was canceling the parties’ session today, Saturday, November 11, because the union needed more time to “contemplate movement on our remaining proposals.” However, the union’s message to part-time faculty today inaccurately claimed it canceled the session to provide the university with “more time to carefully consider the union’s reworked economic proposals.” A screenshot of the email from the union’s president is here, and the university’s response is here.
The University’s Continued Efforts to Move Toward Agreement
The university made movement on Thursday, including agreeing to the union’s bundle proposal on Article II Bargaining Unit Information, Article III Union Security, and Article IV V-CAP Checkoff, as well as agreeing to the union’s desire to continue to allow employees to accrue their sick and safe leave rather than receiving it at the beginning of the year. On Friday, the union made slight movement, but their revised economic demands still contemplate part-time faculty receiving a nearly 100% increase in year one of the contract alone. This is simply unrealistic and unsustainable for the university.
The university has reviewed the union’s counter proposals, assessed the projected financial implications of each, and determined what is achievable given The New School’s finances. We were prepared to respond to the union’s economic proposals today and we were hopeful to receive the union’s many outstanding proposals on non-economics. We await the union’s readiness to come back to the table. To see an evolution of the university’s movement at the table and the valuation of our proposals to date, see the chart here.
With the contract expiring on Sunday night, time is of the essence. The university had offered again to meet with the union today in the event the union is able to complete its work and come to the table prepared. The university will reconvene with the union at 9:00am tomorrow with great hopes that the parties progress on reaching a contract that delivers for our part-time faculty members and the entire New School community. We are sharing this urgent update with you so that you have accurate information about the university’s proposal. As mentioned above, you can see some details of the proposal here. We hope that we can come to an agreement swiftly and to everyone’s benefit.