Akron AAUP Protecting Academic Freedom For a Free Society
The University of Akron Chapter |
American Association of University Professors

Dear Colleagues,
The members-only Chapter meeting to consider the proposed collective bargaining agreement will be held at 9am Monday, July 27th. You will receive a Webex invitation with registration information and the agenda prior to the meeting from Pam Schulze. Registration is required.

As we notified members by email on July 24th, there have been changes to the scope of arbitration (we reposted at the end of this email). Given the timing of this change, the Akron-AAUP Executive Committee has voted to delay the opening of the contract ratification voting period by 48 hours to allow members extra time to consider the issues.

Members will receive their electronic ballots at 1pm Wednesday, July 29th and voting will close at 1pm Wednesday August 5th.
We have updated the guide to what your vote means, and have also created a “decision tree” to help visualize the different scenarios.

For your convenience, here are the contract ratification materials again for your consideration:

Summary of proposed changes to the collective bargaining agreement.

Guide to What Your Vote Means (updated)

Exhibit A – Clean-up changes to current contract. Here you will see contract language clean-up and clarifications which have been agreed to by both parties.

Exhibit B – Memorandum of Understanding for Article 13. RTP.

Exhibit C – Reduction in Force List.

Exhibit D – Akron-AAUP Proposed Agreements for Ratification. The most substantial changes to the current CBA.

Recommendation of the Akron-AAUP Executive Committee to vote no on ratification.

Recommendation of the Akron-AAUP Departmental Liaison Committee to vote no on ratification.

Repeated item: Changes to the Scope of Arbitration 
There has been confusion regarding what exactly will occur in binding arbitration. This message addresses that confusion.

On May 19, the Administration formally invoked the force majeure clause in Article 15, Section 12  of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) as a basis for a reduction in force of bargaining unit faculty.  On June 8, the Chapter filed a grievance contesting this action.  The Administration requested an extension of time to answer the grievance, to which the Chapter agreed, and the Administration’s answer is expected soon.

The Administration and the Chapter were also negotiating mid-term modifications of the CBA under Article 33, Section 3, which led to the document that is the subject of the ratification vote.

The Chapter conducted negotiations with the understanding that even complete success with the Article 15 grievance would not fully resolve the reduction-in-force issue. This is because under Article 33, Section 3, any provision of the CBA is subject to a mid-term modification, so long as the requirements of that section are met. If the parties do not reach an agreement (e.g., if the modifications to the contract are not ratified by the Chapter members), either party may submit the Article 33 dispute to arbitration.  The arbitrator could modify the provisions of Article 15 (or any other Article) pursuant to the mid-term modification process set forth in Article 33, Section 3.

Accordingly, the Chapter proposed, and we understood that the Administration had agreed, to consolidate the Article 15 grievance and the Article 33 mid-term modifications into one arbitration in the event that the agreement is not ratified. Apparently, the decision to combine the two arbitrations had not been completely vetted by the Administration, and it now wants to de-couple the two arbitrations. Our counsel has advised us that while this is an unfortunate change because the situation is already complicated, the Administration has not acted in bad faith. For that reason, we cannot insist upon the original agreement. We understand from conversations between legal counsel that the Administration has not decided whether to pursue the Article 33 arbitration, and that decision will depend upon the circumstances at the time the arbitrator renders his decision regarding the Article 15 grievance.

Accordingly, if the membership rejects the proposed agreement, we will move forward with arbitration regarding the Article 15 grievance first. We anticipate receiving the arbitrator’s decision on or about September 18. We will then move forward with binding arbitration regarding the Article 33 issues if the Administration decides to continue to seek midterm modifications.

If the proposed agreement is rejected by the membership, both sides could agree to return to the negotiating table in an attempt to resolve our differences before or during the Article 15 arbitration.

The Administration and the Chapter have also agreed that if the membership ratifies the proposed agreement, the parties will arbitrate whether the University may discontinue or must continue retiree dependent healthcare benefits. This has not changed.

In Solidarity,
The Communications Committee of Akron-AAUP

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