Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bargaining update #2

The third collective bargaining negotiation session between NFA-CSN and CSN Administration took place Monday, November 28th. At the meeting, CSN Administration offered responses to various NFA proposals from the previous session, and the NFA-CSN team introduced four new proposals.

CSN Administration responses to NFA-CSN proposals:

Administration response to NFA proposal on Recognition: Administration accepted NFA's proposal of standard language formally acknowledging Administration's recognition of the results of the collective bargaining election. The NFA team is happy to report this first tentative agreement (TA) reached on an article of the new contract.

Administration response to NFA proposals on Grievance Procedure and Arbitration: Administration declined to make counter-proposals to NFA's proposals on Grievance Procedure and Arbitration; they preferred to see more of the “meat” of the contract before negotiating the enforcement mechanism.

NFA believes that there is no need to delay negotiating an enforcement mechanism. The fairness of an enforcement mechanism is not dependent on other articles in the contract, just as our want in the broader society for fair courts is not contingent on the specifics of the laws those courts enforce. The Grievance Procedure and Arbitration articles we proposed are not unusual-- they conform to norms in academic collective bargaining agreements (CBAs)-- and so we believe that Administration can proceed.

In lieu of a counter-proposal, there was at least a discussion on aspects of the NFA proposals. Administration expressed their preference that the ultimate arbiter of disputes regarding the CBA be the CSN President. NFA has an entirely different view. We believe that contract disputes should not be adjudicated by one of the parties to the contract. That is why we proposed Arbitration: the ultimate authority to resolve disputes related to whether the contract is being followed should be a neutral third party in the person of an arbitrator. The NFA team strenuously argued this point, and will continue to argue it, because we see it as key to having a meaningful contract to which the parties can be held to account.

Administration response on NFA proposal on Non-Discrimination: Administration rejected NFA's Non-Discrimination proposal.

NFA had essentially proposed the current college policy plus protections against discrimination based on NFA membership or activity. Administration stated that they did not see the need to put existing policy into the CBA, particularly given that there are existing legal protections regarding discrimination. Administration counter-proposed that the Non-Discrimination article should only cover discrimination based on NFA membership or activity.

The NFA team did not agree that there is no reason to put current policy into the CBA. Putting policy in the CBA makes it legally enforceable and also not subject to change without faculty approval.

The NFA team also did not agree that the fact of laws and regulations covering non-discrimination makes it an inappropriate subject for the CBA, just as the fact of those laws and regulations does not make it an inappropriate subject for college policy-- and what we have proposed is essentially the existing policy.

We see no reason why the college should not affirm non-discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, etc. in the contract. CSN is a diverse community and, particularly in the current political climate, we believe that putting non-discrimination in the CBA would send a valuable message of our commitment to inclusiveness and opposition to discrimination.

New NFA-CSN proposals:

NFA proposal on Faculty Handbook and Policies and Procedures Manual: proposes that the Faculty Handbook be regularly updated in consultation with faculty. Also proposes that the Faculty Handbook and Policies and Procedures Manual be archived both electronically and in hardcopy on an annual basis, with the hardcopies stored in the CSN library.

NFA proposal on Emeritus Status: proposes that the current college Emeritus Status policy be put into the CBA.

NFA proposal on Saving Clause: proposes standard language stating that the legal invalidation of some part of the contract does not invalidate other parts of the contract.

NFA proposal on Policies and Practices: clarifies that policies in the contract supersede other CSN or NSHE policies where they conflict. Establishes that past practices not contradicted by the contract shall continue.