As we near the date the Board of Trustees will vote to ratify the modifications to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), we have significant developments to share with you. We have provided a summary below, but please know that we are preparing to send you a more detailed briefing soon. This is our fifth regularly scheduled update.
- The Negotiating Teams (NT) met Wednesday 7/8, Thursday 7/9, and Friday 7/10. Provost Wiencek and General Counsel Celeste Cook joined us on 7/9 and 7/10.
- Although challenging, negotiations were more productive than previous sessions. The two sides were able to reach agreement on a severance package for faculty who will be laid off, or who are on the list to be laid off but elect to retire instead. The severance payment is contingent on the membership ratifying the new agreement.
- The teams also reached agreement for a furlough proposal that is very similar to our initial offer, with an important addition discussed below.
- The team is still deeply concerned about the composition of the list of faculty to be laid off and its potential effect on some programs as well as the reputation of the University in the community.
- Despite repeated requests by the NT, the Administration hasn’t yet shared the criteria used to select faculty on the layoff list.
- The team is still pushing to have as many names removed from the list as they can. The Administration has agreed that the savings from any faculty who are not on the list and who voluntarily retire or separate from the University can be used to remove other faculty from the list. Our deadline for having those agreements in place is 8/21.
- We urgently request that any BUF who plan to retire or separate in the near future contact the NT at firstname.lastname@example.org before they inform the University. The team will be contacting faculty who, based on a number of factors, might be in a position to retire. We will use any voluntary retirements to try to prevent as many involuntary layoffs as possible.
- Addition to the furlough proposal: faculty who are on the list and who turn 65 by 12/31/20 may elect to be furloughed, with benefits, through the end of the month in which they turn 65. Faculty who wish to be furloughed under these provisions must elect to do so by 8/3/20 and will be required to sign a release and waiver of claims against the University. This is also contingent upon the membership ratifying the new agreement.
- As part of the severance package, the University has agreed that Article 15 (Retrenchment), Sections 9 & 10 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement shall apply. Section 9 allows for faculty whose positions are reauthorized within 3 years to be offered reinstatement at the same tenure level, rank and salary. Section 10 allows for a BUF who has been laid off to have first consideration for an adjunct teaching position in that program should they have the appropriate qualifications. This is also contingent upon the membership ratifying the new agreement.
- The severance payment is for faculty who are on the list to be laid off and who are either laid off or who elect to retire (rather than be laid off). It allows for the payment of $1200 per year of service up to a maximum payment of $12,000. Faculty who wish to take the severance package will be required to sign a general release and waiver of claims against the University. The severance payout is contingent on the membership ratifying the new agreement.
- Faculty on the layoff list who choose to retire (rather than be laid off) will receive a payout of their accrued sick leave up to 240 hours.
- The effective date of the layoffs is the date of the Board of Trustees’ action (scheduled for 1pm, 7/15). The separation date for faculty who are laid off is 8/21. This allows faculty members who are teaching Summer II classes to finish out their classes. It also allows some time for faculty to prepare for the loss of their benefits, offices, UA email accounts and access to online course materials. This also permits faculty on the list to retire before 8/21 and be able to secure their sick leave payout (please note that if you retire, you are not entitled to unemployment compensation).
- Again, the NT will keep pushing to bring faculty back from being laid off. If you are laid off, please provide Akron-AAUP a cell phone number and personal (non-UA) email address so we have a way to contact you with any developments.
- Under the conditions of the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) the NT signed in order to have access to the list, the team cannot publicly disclose any information about the list, including names, programs, or numbers until 72 hours after the Board Meeting. We do have permission to speak with individuals on the list and are doing so in certain circumstances (principally those who are eligible to retire).
- Understandably, you have many questions about our current situation. To help address these, we have prepared a list of FAQs. We have posted this list to the akronaaup.org website and will update it as needed.
Despite the measured tone of our communications, we at Akron-AAUP are distressed and saddened by the actions of the University. None of us has done anything to deserve this treatment, nor is the current financial predicament due to the faculty. A unique combination of factors has contributed to this truly horrible situation, and it’s not one any of us could have foreseen prior to this second round of negotiations. Our hearts go out to everyone on the list. Your dedication to your students and this institution is unquestioned by us.
Saturday’s Car Parade
Thank you to all who joined in our car parade on Saturday! We had over 50 cars participate and we truly appreciate you coming out to support our efforts. We also got some great coverage from WKSU this morning which you can listen to HERE.
Final Notice for Non-Members
Eligible faculty are welcome to join Akron-AAUP at any time. According to our chapter’s Constitution, members must pay dues in order to be considered “active members.” Because of the time it takes to process applications and payments, we want to ensure that everyone who wants to participate in the upcoming ratification vote is able to do so.
We expect that the Chapter members will vote on the proposed contract on or around July 27. In order to participate in that meeting, and the vote, we must have the following items from any applicant before noon Wednesday July 15:
1) Completed member application.
2) Completed payroll deduction form.
3) Payment (online or check) of summer prorated dues.
Please see below for more information on how to check your membership status, how to become a member, and how we prorate new membership dues.
The Communications Committee of Akron-AAUP