As we announced previously, the University of Akron Board of Trustees and the Akron-AAUP membership have voted to ratify our new contract. We are happy to report that we had an excellent turnout: 81 percent of members voted in the election. The agreement was overwhelmingly approved: 97 percent voted in favor of the initial question (the January 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2023 contract), and 96 percent voted in favor of the second question (the January 1, 2024 through June 30, 2026 contract).
Speaking on behalf of the Executive Committee, we are all happy that negotiations are behind us (this is especially true for Chief Negotiator Rich Londraville and the rest of our stellar negotiating team!). Our members’ support is what enabled us to obtain a good, fair, and reasonable contract. Thank you.
Having a contract for the next six years should lend much-needed stability to faculty-administration relations. Yet, in many ways, our work has just started.
Moving forward, the Chapter and the Administration must work together to achieve stronger shared governance and greater financial transparency, which are essential for meeting the challenges that lie ahead. To help accomplish this, the Administration has promised to work with the chapter to develop a Memorandum of Understanding on shared governance. The University requires the active involvement and leadership of faculty to support our students, accomplish our collective goals, and move The University of Akron forward as a world-class urban research university. With contract negotiations behind us, we can now return our focus to the University’s fundamental mission — teaching, research, and service. These three pillars represent more than just our mission; they represent our promises to students that can only be kept with meaningful shared governance.
Finally, while we are pleased with the new contract, let us not forget the faculty who were part of the Reduction In Force (RIF) action last summer. Like you, we remain concerned about the welfare of our colleagues who, through no fault of their own, are no longer part of our bargaining unit. Akron-AAUP is setting up a fund that faculty and others may contribute to to help our former colleagues. Each of us should consider our own circumstances to determine the appropriate donation amount, but if every faculty member donated $1800 each (an amount equivalent to the $3000 stipend negotiated for development of distance learning classes, less STRS contributions and taxes), each of the RIF faculty would receive about $11,000.
As you know, academics who lose their positions suddenly aren’t able to find other positions for at least a year, given the academic hiring cycle. That’s in the best of times. In a pandemic, it is even harder. Our Negotiating Team has forged a contract that provides stability and security for the next six years, so I urge you to consider donating to this fund to assist our colleagues who have not been as fortunate as us. More details will follow once the fund is established.
|Pam Schulze, President