Dear Members

On June 28 the AASUA and Board negotiating teams met for the final time before breaking for the summer. Although we have not set any dates yet for the next set of bargaining sessions, both parties have agreed to continue negotiating in the fall.

As of the end of our bargaining session on June 28th we have reached a point where all language proposals from both sides have been presented, responded to, and negotiated. All that is left for presentation and negotiation in the fall are the monetary and benefits proposals from both sides.

With usual proviso that we are bargaining with the understanding that “nothing is considered to be definitively agreed until everything is agreed,” I can report that we have reached initial agreement on a number of items. Most of these are smaller items clarifying language and processes, but there have been a few significant items that I will detail below.

On items where no progress was possible during bargaining, the parties have either withdrawn their initial proposals in order to revert back to status quo language, or have “reserved” their proposals for possible further consideration and negotiation going forward. It is important to point out that the majority of key proposals from both parties fall into this second category: negotiations on the proposal have reached impasse, but the proposal has not been withdrawn in case there is a possibility of further bargaining or trading in exchange for other items later on.

Just as a reminder, you can see each side’s opening proposals at the bottom of the bargaining page on our website, and you can see previous bargaining updates at this link (you must be logged in in order for the links to work properly).

Some of our key wins since the last bargaining update include:

-        APO’s appointed to new positions at the University will no longer have to complete a probationary period in the new position. Even if the APO’s initial appointment did not include a probationary period, no probationary period will be required in any subsequent appointments.

-        TRAS and TLAPO members who have reached the maximum salary for their pay range will be able to request to opt out from the annual evaluation process by submitting a one-page summary report of their accomplishments and goals to their supervisor. The supervisor will grant the opt out request if, after reviewing the summary report, they deem performance to have been satisfactory or better.

-        A standard process and structure for annual reporting by FSO’s, and the requirement that Annual Report formats be approved by Faculty Council and include minimum information requirements, and that they cover all responsibilities of the position. 

-        Automatic conversion to T12 and Career Status for ATS members who meet the criteria, without them needing to request conversion.

Some of our proposals that were rejected by the employer since the last update include:

-        First consideration for postings in their constituency for APO, TLAPO, and TRAS members.

-        Automatic conversion to career status appointments for TLAPO and TRAS who have been in their position for six years.

-        Enhanced conversion language for ATS rejected by the employer because they believe “ATS category not intended to provide career/permanent employment broadly,” and that “the various types of appointment meet academic needs of University.” This despite the fact that data provided to AASUA by the employer demonstrates that almost half of current ATS have been here for over 10 years.

-        The employer rejected inclusion of language that would ensure that evaluations take into account the effects that unforeseen circumstances may have on the ability of the member to fulfill the responsibilities. The parties have, however, settled on including an LOU that would see the employer and AASUA agree to meet to discuss the impact of such a catastrophic event, and negotiate measures that mitigate negative or inequitable effects. As part of our compensation proposals, AASUA will also be presenting a proposal for the creation of a reimbursement fund that members can access to offset expenses incurred in moving to remote teaching during the pandemic.

-        The employer rejected AASUA’s proposal to have a formalized report for evaluation of performance for TLAPO.

Going Forward

While we have had success on a few key articles, there is still a large number of proposals on which no agreement or forward progress has been possible. Many of these are articles that our various constituencies labeled as high priority.

There is also a large number of proposals that the employer has brought forward that have been rejected outright by the AASUA negotiating team, but that the employer’s team has not withdrawn.

You will recall that there is also a significant gap between the opening compensation and benefit proposals presented by both parties.

Your negotiating team will continue to bargain in good faith and work toward reaching an agreement that benefits our members and the University as a whole. We are also aware that, given the factors above, this will not be an easy task.

We will be holding a town hall for all AASUA members in September to provide more detailed information about the state of negotiations and answer any questions members might have. Keep an eye on your inbox and the AASUA website in late August for further details.

At the same time, the AASUA Executive and the Job Action Committee have been working to ensure that everything is in place should we be unable to reach an agreement at the bargaining table or through mediation, and the employer move to lock us out or AASUA members vote to go on strike.  We firmly believe in the adage that the best way to avoid job action is to be fully prepared for job action.

Fear of, and unpreparedness for job action can often lead union members to accept a bad offer. AASUA has attempted to ease some of those fears by preparing a set of blogs answering some of the most frequent questions we have received about bargaining, impasse, strike votes and job action, and strike pay. You can find all of the posts by navigating to the Job Action 101 page on the AASUA website.

On behalf of AASUA Executive and your negotiating team, I would like to end by wishing you all a good and restful summer.