Tentative Agreement Reached by The University of Akron and Akron-AAUP

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.

Strike Authorization Vote Begins March 7, 2016

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?

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The FACTS about the Administration’s Spending Priorities

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.  

Instructional Salaries V Tuition at UA Continue reading

Event Announcement: Emergency All-Chapter Meetings

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Contract Negotiations and a Faculty Strike

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

The Akron-AAUP Response to Jon Pavloff’s Vote of No Confidence Comments

The following is the official statement released to the media on Friday by the Akron-AAUP in response to comments made by Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Jon Pavloff, after Thursday’s Vote of No Confidence by the Faculty Senate.

Akron-AAUP Disputes Statement that Overlap Between Union and Faculty Senate Influenced Thursday’s Vote of No Confidence

Of the 63 members in The University of Akron’s Faculty Senate, only three senators are also part of the Akron-AAUP leadership, two of whom were present for the Vote of No Confidence.

AKRON, Ohio – (February 5, 2016) – After the 50-2 Vote of No Confidence in President Scarborough by the University of Akron Faculty Senate yesterday, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jon Pavloff referenced “overlapping membership” between the Faculty Senate and the Akron-AAUP, suggesting the vote was merely part of the ongoing union negotiations.

“The Chairman is mistaken. The two bodies are quite distinct in purpose and membership,” says John Zipp, Professor and Akron-AAUP Chapter President. Of the 63 members of Faculty Senate, only three members of the AAUP leadership are members of Faculty Senate, and of those, only two were present for the Vote of No Confidence on Thursday.

“It is neither helpful to negotiations, nor responsive to the concerns of Faculty Senate, to dismiss so lightly the issues leading to the Senate’s vote today,” says Zipp.

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The HLC Report on Shared Governance at UA

From The Akron-AAUP Newsletter, November 18, 2015

On November 5, 2015, the administration emailed the campus community an update on the report from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC, the accreditors) on shared governance at UA.

The administration’s email began on an upbeat note: “I am pleased to report that on October 29th, the Higher Learning Commission notified the University that it ‘…concurred with the evaluation findings and affirmed that the institution is addressing the concerns related to (a) relationship and roles of faculty in shared institutional governance and (b) assessment of student learning in general education and in undergraduate and graduate majors.’”

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Web Site Access

There have been a number of reports that our website has not been accessible on campus.  IT personnel have been notified of the problem and we’ve been assured that this is a technical issue. We expect that it will be resolved very soon.

From “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear” by Wendell Berry

Thoughts like these ought to be at the center of any thinking about “strategic initiatives.”

The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education. Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It’s proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or “accessing” what we now call “information” – which is to say facts without context and therefore without priority. A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.”

https://orionmagazine.org/article/thoughts-in-the-presence-of-fear/

Akron General Medical Center and health care for faculty at The University of Akron

UA faculty and other employees have received a number of emails recently concerning The University of Akron, Apex, and the loss of Akron General as an in-network provider in 2016.

For your reference, here are links to copies of those messages:

October 2, 2015: From Nathan J. Mortimer on negotiations between Apex and Akron General

October 16, 2015: From Nathan J. Mortimer–AG informs UA that it will not continue in 2016 as in-network provider under Apex

October 21, 2015: From Tim Stover, President and CEO of Akron General on options available to UA to gain AG as in-network provider for 2016

October 26, 2015: From Nathan J. Mortimer—UA’s response to letter from Akron General

Akron-AAUP Chief Negotiator Kevin Kreider’s and President John Zipp’s Update
Regarding Akron General Medical Center
November 2, 2015

On Thursday, October 29th, representatives from the Akron-AAUP and the University administration met to discuss the Akron General situation.  We sought this meeting for several reasons.

First, as you may know, the President and CEO of Akron General, Dr. Tim Stover, sent an open letter to many University employees on October 21st.  Dr. Stover stated he had conversations with University leadership regarding the issue of Akron General not being an in-network provider through Apex (the University’s current third party administrator (“TPA”)) effective January 1, 2016.  Dr. Stover claimed that the University was aware for over a year that Akron General was not willing to be an in-service provider under Apex and that the University administration had represented to Akron General that the University would seek another or second TPA so that Akron General could remain in-network. We wanted to hear the University’s response to the letter, and to hear why it did not seek bids from other TPA’s to see if the in-network hospital systems currently available could be provided for 2016 at a reasonable cost.

Second, we reviewed the contract and addendum between the University and Apex and determined, in consultation with the Chapter’s outside healthcare experts, that the contract could be terminated by written notice on or before November 1st and, given the terms of the “runout” provisions, a substitute TPA could be found to offer the same in-network offerings for 2016.  It was our position that such should occur. Continue reading