Friday, November 14, 2008

Faculty contract negotiations

Last Monday the faculty union held an all faculty meeting to discuss the proposed new faculty contract for the next four years. The current contract officially ran out last summer, and negotiations have been going on for some time to bring a new contract up for ratification.

Faculty received the product of those negotiations last week. They are set to vote on the proposed contract next Monday evening. Since becoming unionized, no faculty contract has ever been voted down here at RWU. From what I have heard, faculty as are close this year as they have ever been to voting a contract down.

That is not to say that they will vote it down. But it seems that excitement for the proposed contract is very low. One of the issues some faculty have is that the contract downplays the idea of merit. Another issue is that pay increases for the contract are unusually low this time.

And while many faculty may be unhappy with the proposed contract it seems that there is a serious worry that this is not the time to vote one down. The argument goes that with the economy so weak, faculty have little leverage to renegotiate a new contract. If they were to vote this one down at least three things could occur:

They and administration could decide to extend the current contract longer. They could vote to strike (highly unlikiley), or they could work without a contract. it will be very interesting to see how next monday's vote plays out.

Stay tuned for updates

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