I am writing this letter as President of the University of Akron Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which represents 586 full-time faculty. I have been following the contract negotiations and current impasse that has resulted in a faculty strike. To my dismay, I have observed that the WSU administration has resorted to using its students as pawns: putting their education at risk, and frightening them with threats of withdrawal of financial aid, all in order to avoid bargaining with faculty in good faith.
Let me be clear: the faculty at any university is not a problem to be managed. The current strike at your institution is not merely the undesired outcome of a typical labor-management dispute. The faculty are quite simply the backbone of any university, and they are the key to student success. When faculty fight for better working conditions, they are fighting for better learning conditions for their students. Your openly hostile attitude toward the WSU faculty reveals your dismissive view of students, evinced when subs, adjuncts, and administrators are hastily thrown into classrooms, or classes are cancelled altogether, all destroying the good faith needed as a basis for shared governance.
Shared governance–an anathema to many a dysfunctional university administration– is necessary for any university to function effectively. The pattern of wasteful spending on the part of the administration presents an all too common case of chronic mismanagement without real consequence for managers. Instead, the Board of Trustees seeks to punish the faculty for the administration’s misdeeds. In the end, it will be the students and the community at large who will suffer because of the Board’s dereliction of of its fiduciary responsibility to the institution.
It’s not too late to return to the bargaining table. The students, faculty, and the community at large are waiting.
Pamela A. Schulze
Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to meet with Provost Rex Ramsier and Interim President John Green to discuss many of the issues you have raised at the listening sessions and at one-on-one meetings over the past few weeks.
Although there are still many challenges that we are facing, I am encouraged by Interim President Green’s response to our immediate concerns. As you may have already read, the Interim President has committed to extend the timeline for consideration of the reorganization proposals. He also agreed in our meeting to listen and consider additions to the process to allow for additional data collection and analysis.
I also had the opportunity to raise your concerns about Akron-AAUP representation and the overall faculty representation on the Steering Committee for the development of the Three-Year Action Plan. I have assurances that the Akron-AAUP will have representation on the committee beginning next week. We will share information on that with you as soon as it is publicly announced.
My pledge is to continue listening to your ideas and concerns as we move forward and to continue to serve as your representative to the administration.
Thank you for taking the time to complete our survey, attend listening sessions and reach out individually. A lot of work lies ahead, and I feel privileged to serve you as we navigate it together.
Julie A Cajigas
Acting President, Akron-AAUP
The much anticipated fourth Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University of Akron administration and the Akron-AAUP, approved by both parties in April, has now been completely collated and signed. You may find it here, on the Akron AAUP website, under “Current Contract.”
Or, you can download it here.
We again thank Kevin Kreider and the Negotiation Team for their outstanding work in procuring such a strong contract for all of us.
It’s been a busy and challenging semester – through collective action, we’ve achieved a lot. We thank you for your support, and wish you a happy and fruitful summer!
The text of the recently ratified collective bargaining agreement is in the final stages of proofing and formatting. The document will be posted here, under Current Contract, as soon as it is available.
The University of Akron Board of Trustees and The University of Akron Chapter of The American Association of University Professors have concluded the process of negotiating a new labor agreement by affirmative ratification votes of both parties. The membership of the Akron-AAUP voted in favor of ratification in an electronic vote that ended Wednesday, March 23. The University’s Board of Trustees approved the agreement at a special Board meeting held today.
The Administration of The University of Akron and the University of Akron Chapter of the American Association of University Professors have reached tentative agreement on all issues pertaining to contract negotiations. The tentative agreement now must be ratified by the University’s Board of Trustees and by the membership of the Akron-AAUP. The timetable for ratification is being established.
The Akron-AAUP chapter membership will begin voting after an informational meeting on Wednesday, March 16.
Both parties recommend ratification to their respective constituents.
Members Only Strike Authorization Vote Begins March 7 – Join Today to Vote
After over a year in negotiations for our fourth collective bargaining agreement, negotiations between the Akron-AAUP and the University administration have reached an impasse. Accordingly, the Akron-AAUP will be conducting a strike authorization vote from Monday, March 7 to Friday March 11. Only members may vote to authorize a strike.
It is imperative that we all understand what is really at stake in these negotiations. Let’s be absolutely clear about why we’re even considering a strike: the administration’s priorities are out of line with the educational mission of the university. Did you know that a 1% raise for all of the bargaining unit faculty amounts to around $520,000 (not including benefits), or approximately 1/10 of one percent of the total university budget? It’s clear that the goals of this administration are not compatible with the quality educational experience that our students deserve.
Compensation and Benefits – How far apart are Akron-AAUP and the university administration?
Akron-AAUP had Dr Rudy Fichtenbaum, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Wright State University, conduct an analysis of The University of Akron’s finances. Here are some facts from that analysis we thought you ought to know.
Despite tuition increases, instructional spending per student is flat.
From 2002 to 2015, although tuition per student more than doubled, the university has not spent that money on student instruction. Over the same period, the total spent on instructional salaries remained nearly flat (not adjusted for inflation).
The administration’s priorities are not in line with the educational mission of the institution.
Tuesday, March 1, noon – 2 p.m. in SU 312
Wednesday, March 2, noon – 2 p.m. in SU 312
Join us for an emergency all-member chapter meeting to discuss the status of negotiations and the potential for a strike. These meetings will be held in the Student Union, in room 312. Please choose whichever date works best for your schedule.
We will be discussing the upcoming strike authorization vote, the current status of negotiations, and will answer questions about the need for a strike. These are members-only events, but membership forms will be available at the door. There has never been a better time to become a member of Akron-AAUP than now. The more members who are standing behind us, the better chance we have to secure a fair contract and avoid a strike.
There are a number of extremely important dates you need to be aware of. Here is a tentative timeline that shows the negotiating and fact-finding events occurring over the next few weeks:
March 1 & 2: These two emergency all-member meetings are an opportunity for chapter members to meet with chapter leadership and our negotiating team to discuss the status of negotiations, our imminent strike authorization vote and to discuss next steps. It is critical that members attend in order to be fully informed of the issues.
February 15, 2016
Why are we considering a strike? What are the issues at stake?
The larger issues at stake are the quality of education at The University of Akron and the University’s misplaced priorities. We believe that the University administration must prioritize the educational mission of the institution in a way that places academic instruction and student learning first. Faculty who are fairly and competitively compensated is essential to this goal.
Where do we stand today?
We have submitted all of our proposals to the University and now have all of theirs. The following Articles are still being negotiated; Article 20 (Distance and Distributed Learning); Article 16 (Compensation) and Article 17 (Benefits). Recently, we have reached agreement on Article 18 (Professional Development Leave), and Article 19 (Intellectual Property).
While there has been progress on non-economic issues, we now face very difficult negotiations on compensation and health care benefits. The Akron-AAUP regards the University’s salary proposal as entirely insufficient, and the increased costs of health care plans, and aggressive phase-out of retiree spouse and dependent coverage, all as punitive, unnecessary, and indefensible. Continue reading