Letter to the NYU Faculty Updating the Status of the Negotiations Between the UAW and the University
January 22, 2004
Dear Faculty Members:
We are writing to update you on the status of negotiations between the United Autoworkers Union (UAW), which represents a portion of our part-time faculty, and the University since our last communication on October 17, 2003. At the request of the Administrative Management Council, we are copying all administrative staff.
Since our October 17, 2003 meeting with the UAW, we have not had any negotiation sessions. At the October 17 session, the University proposed that we engage the assistance of a mediator to attempt to find common ground between the parties’ positions. While the UAW agreed to mediation, in the months since that meeting, they have taken considerable time to agree to a specific mediator and to accept a date offered by the mediator for mediation. To ensure that the UAW would participate in this opportunity to reach an agreement, the University is paying 100% of the cost, which is contrary to the prevailing practice of both parties sharing the cost of mediation. Last week, the UAW agreed to a mediation session on February 6, 2004.
In November, the UAW held what it called a “strike information” meeting. Since their meeting, the UAW has publicly indicated that they are mobilizing their membership for a potential strike. We remain committed to reaching an agreement that benefits the entire University community and reflects the valuable contribution that our part-time faculty makes. However, while we believe reaching agreement is the best course of action for our part-time faculty, our students and the University community, we will prepare the University to ensure our students’ academic progress in the event that the UAW chooses to pursue a strike as a negotiation tactic.
The UAW and the University remain far apart on several critical issues. Significantly, we believe it is imperative to ensure the University’s ability, through its full-time faculty, to guide the academic direction of our schools, departments and programs. We also need to ensure that we continue to have the highest quality part-time faculty teaching our students to enrich their academic experience. These are fundamental obligations of the University through its full-time faculty that cannot be negotiated away. These are issues, among others, that remain in conflict.
Below is a brief outline of the critical areas of difference between the UAW and the University as we go into our first mediation session in February. For a comprehensive review of both parties’ positions on these issues, please go to: www.nyu.edu/publicaffairs/adjunctnegotiations.
UAW and NYU Proposals
The key issues that continue to separate the UAW and the University have remained essentially unchanged since May, 2003: management and academic rights, seniority/job security/presumptive reappointment, wages, healthcare and space.
Management and Academic Rights:
* The UAW has proposed removing the provision in the management and academic rights clause (previously agreed to by the UAW in the Graduate Assistant contract) that provides “decisions regarding who is taught, what is taught, how it is taught, and who does the teaching shall be made by the University.”
* The University has proposed maintaining the original management and academic rights clause - which is part of the current GA contract - which provides that the University and its full-time faculty determine the curricular and academic direction of the various schools and departments.
Seniority/Job Security/Presumptive Reappointment:
* The UAW has proposed a seniority and job security point system that would require schools and departments to re-appoint a part-time faculty member to teach the same course he or she has taught previously, every time it is offered, over all other faculty (including full-time or tenured) unless the school or department establishes that the part-time faculty member is incompetent or engaged in misconduct.
* The University has proposed that schools and departments be required to give good faith consideration to all part-time faculty members who have taught at the University when deciding whether to reappoint him or her to teach another course. Good faith consideration would require schools and departments to take into account only the objective merits of an individual’s performance and the academic needs of the department in deciding whether to reappointment him or her.
Wages and Healthcare:
* The UAW has proposed an economic proposal that seeks, among other items, a rate of pay more than three times the prevailing unionized rate in our region, full healthcare benefits for all faculty who teach one course in an academic year, as well as a defined benefit pension plan; fully implemented, the UAW’s economic proposal would cost the University in excess of $200 million, and necessitate at a minimum a 27% increase in tuition.
* The University has proposed an economic package that offers, among other items, the highest minimum salaries for unionized part-time faculty in the New York area, at least 2% pay increases for part-time faculty already earning in excess of the minimum (ensuring that every part-time faculty member receives a salary increase), guaranteed pay increases for each year of the agreement and subsidized health insurance for those who regularly teach at the University.
* The UAW has proposed access to equipped office space for every part-time faculty member, the designation of 11 exclusive part-time faculty lounges in University space, and a University-provided UAW office in the Washington Square area.
* The University has proposed access to equipped office space for part-time faculty members in degree programs to prepare and meet with their students.
We remain committed to reaching an agreement in good faith. The University has the opportunity to draw from a talented pool of people to teach our students. We aim to continue to attract and retain the most talented part-time faculty in the area. We are also committed to our students and their academic success; for that reason, full-time faculty and staff in schools and departments will be taking appropriate steps to ensure we fulfill our obligation to our students in the event that the UAW elects to pursue a strike.
We will continue to provide periodic updates as negotiations proceed and again, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a reminder, faculty members who are on the Faculty Bargaining Committee are (some may be on leave with other faculty serving in their absence):
Marisa Carrasco FAS
Alma Carten Social Work
Ned Elton Stern
Larry Ferrara Steinhardt
Marjorie Kalter SCPS
Carl Lebowitz SCPS
Robert Nickson Tisch
Kathy O’Regan Wagner
James Ramsey FAS
Kathleen Ross FAS
Jalal Shatah Courant
Sue Turk SCPS
Thank you for your attention.