Friday, December 22, 2017

Bargaining update #14

In December, two collective bargaining sessions were held: 8 Dec and 18 Dec, both at the West Charleston campus.

At the first meeting, tentative agreements were reached on two contract provisions: “MFA to Salary Grade 5” and “Relocation Expenses for New Hires.” No additional tentative agreements emerged from the second meeting.

The following contract proposals were discussed during the December meetings. Dates in parentheses identify the meeting(s) at which the topic was discussed. In this summary, topics are presented in alphabetical order.

Arbitration (8 Dec. and 18 Dec.)
On 8 Dec., NFA reported that an AAUP legal expert has reviewed ADMIN’s counter-proposal on Arbitration. NFA shared that consultant’s concerns with ADMIN’s text. While ADMIN seeks to make arbitration dependent upon “mutual agreement” of both parties and to limit arbitration to “contract adherence, no case facts,” NFA takes AAUP’s recommendation to challenge these provisions, for these reasons. Mutual agreement gives parties veto powers over the other’s interests in seeking third-party scrutiny. Both parties have interests in bringing facts to arbitration; interpretation and application of the CBA includes review of facts. Another sticking point for NFA involves ADMIN’s prohibiting “appeal of a decision made in accordance with the CBA.” ADMIN explained this language articulates that disciplinary determinations should not be appealed; ADMIN is “not interested in arbitration” that challenges factual decisions made at the college.

On 18 Dec., Arbitration was again discussed as NFA continued to probe ADMIN’s resistance to this issue. ADMIN expressed skepticism of arbitrators’ knowledge and expertise in dealing with higher education conflicts. ADMIN offered willingness to “think outside the box”; maybe selecting arbitrators from “past college presidents” would enable ADMIN to look more favorably on this proposal. NFA questioned whether higher education is “a black box” that people outside it cannot understand; in fact, NFA noted, arbitrators come from all professions, including education, and are well trained and certified for their profession in arbitration.

E-Hire for Tenure (18 Dec.)
ADMIN presented a counter-proposal to NFA’s 26 Oct. counter-proposal.

Grievance Procedures (8 Dec.)
NFA presented its counter-proposal to ADMIN’s last counter on Grievance Procedures. NFA proposes Step 1 (Informal meeting) “may” be skipped if a grievant feels intimidated by the immediate supervisor involved (dept head/director). When ADMIN asserted that creating communication at the lowest level possible is preferable, NFA agreed in theory but explained that “may” is not mandating avoidance, only protecting bargaining unit members from being bullied by contentious supervisors. NFA inserts into Step 3 the Vice President of Student Services to clarify chain of command for Counselors; NFA adds into Step 4 that grievances not represented by NFA cannot be resolved “inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement.” NFA adds in Step 4(f) a provision for grievances alleging discrimination or discriminatory harassment because institutional procedures provide a longer timeline (365 days) than state (NERC, 300 days) or federal (EEOC, 180 days) laws do for addressing such issues.

Program Directors (8 Dec. and 18 Dec.)
On 8 Dec., NFA requested to amend its 6 Nov. 2017 counter-proposal, increasing Program Director credits from 3 to 4 in light of survey research recently completed on Program Director IU’s distributed across all departments. NFA has additional changes to propose after receiving ADMIN’s next counter-proposal.

On 18 Dec., in the context of discussing ADMIN’s “Summer Teaching” counter-proposal, NFA raised questions about language making Department Chairs solely responsible for preparing summer teaching schedules. NFA asked if ADMIN’s language was rewriting Program Directors’ job descriptions because, in many departments, Program Directors have been tasked with summer scheduling. ADMIN explained that Department Chairs, per organization chart, bear final (sign-off) responsibility for scheduling and that, per ADMIN’s resistance to including job descriptions in the contract, there was no intent to limit Program Director duties.

Summer Teaching (18 Dec.)
ADMIN presented a counter-proposal to NFA’s “Summer Teaching” proposal. Although ADMIN reduces NFA’s “$ per IU” and pro-rata asks, this counter offers a 15% raise and a 7% raise, respectively.

Work out of Title (8 Dec. and 18 Dec.)
At the first meeting, ADMIN presented its “markup” of NFA’s latest “Work out of Title” counter. Admin deletes “within their regular work hours” as inconsistent with the self-scheduling character of faculty work and replaces “assign” (again) for “ask” in describing management of bargaining unit members’ duties. ADMIN’s discussion point that “faculty can still say ‘no’” led to NFA’s question if “assign” would allow supervisors to discipline those who refuse or downgrade their next performance evaluation; ADMIN explained that “may decline” protects bargaining unit members from such adverse repercussions. NFA asked if adding “time-sensitive” to the wording “perform substantial tasks” would clarify that supervisory requests for last-minute, time-consuming projects are included in this provision; ADMIN asserted that “substantial” could cover that. NFA received ADMIN’s hand-edited text as an official counter-proposal.

On 18 Dec., NFA resubmitted a hand-edited counter-proposal that accepts ADMIN’s 8 Dec. text changes and inserts “without prejudice” to the “bargaining unit member may decline” sentence. NFA explained that the added language preserves the verbal claim ADMIN made previously about refusals not being subject to punishment or retribution. ADMIN received NFA’s “markup” as an official counter.

Additional Discussion: Salary and Scheduling (8 Dec. and 18 Dec.)
On Dec. 8, ADMIN updated NFA on progress made by CSN and the NSHE Chancellor to study faculty salaries. CSN’s in-house salary equity study committee has been formed and will soon hold its first meeting. The Chancellor’s NSHE salary study committee has been formed; this committee, not CSN’s, will consider external comparators. CSN’s internal committee will recommend equity criteria and discuss whether an outside consultant should be hired to conduct the study. ADMIN could not readily report the cost of hiring the consultant who performed that last salary equity study in 2013. ADMIN asserted that any further discussion of salary increases needs to work within the parameters of CSN’s budget request for 2019-2021, already submitted to the Chancellor. Some of NFA’s contract requests have been included in that proposed budget.

On 8 Dec., ADMIN expressed interest in presenting having a final contract to the June Regents meeting. This goal would require having all provisions settled by the end of February so that final draft could be printed in March for voting before May 1. On 18 Dec., ADMIN proposed a schedule of future weeks when meetings could occur; NFA and ADMIN set a tentative schedule for the next three meetings after the holidays: 1/11, 9 am, NLV; 1/26, 11 am, WC; 2/9, 10 am, HEN.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bargaining update #13

The NFA-CSN and CSN Administration bargaining teams met for bargaining sessions, on October 10th and October 26th. Various item were discussed with varying levels of progress being made; this update focuses on two of high priority for faculty: Salary and Benefits. These were discussed in these sessions, and NFA is disappointed to report that little progress was made.

Salary: The parties have been negotiating the parameters of internally-funded equity studies. On October 10th, Administration re-introduced a Salary proposal, having rescinded their previous proposal. The main content of Administration's October 10th proposal was regarding an equity study. Their proposal was substantially similar to that which they had previously made. NFA's critique of this proposal is the same as that of the previous, similar proposal, and can be found here. The NFA-CSN team spent a solid hour of the session expressing our view of the shortcomings of the Administration proposal.

Subsequently, on October 26th, Administration revised their Salary proposal. The revised proposal was improved by the addition at least of a timeline. However, on many other points, including above all the lack of a guaranteed amount of money to be distributed by the equity study, NFA continues to find Administration's proposal lacking.

Moreover, other important aspects of NFA's Salary proposal were not addressed, namely, initial placement, and overload pay (Administration has said they will bring an Overload Pay proposal to the next bargaining session).

On a positive note, Administration did indicate that they were returning to their original plan of performing an equity study this academic year (that plan had been canceled due to then-Chancellor Nichols' memo, which NFA successfully opposed). While NFA of course believes that equity studies negotiated in a CBA are the better vehicle for making salary adjustments, this will at least give Administration the chance to demonstrate good intentions in the meantime.

NFA-CSN will bring a Salary counter to the next bargaining session on November 6th. We have found that faculty feel strongly about the need to improve compensation, and from the beginning of negotiations we have consistently expressed this priority to Administration. We are not going to stop now.

We believe that the negotiations can potentially move forward productively, and we have always attempted to be reasonable. If however, an impasse develops, we will evaluate our options, including how to best call our bargaining unit members into action.

Benefits: October 26th, Administration brought their first counter on Benefits. Administration agreed to four parts of NFA's original proposal: that benefits not modified in the CBA are to continue; that the parties will jointly lobby for improvements to health insurance; that information regarding employee benefits will be provided through CAPE sessions; and that online teaching is an appropriate medical accommodation for faculty considering medical leave.

While agreement on these issues is welcomed, important items were not addressed in Administration's counter:

  1. Sick Leave Bank-- NFA has proposed a Sick Leave Bank be created for faculty, just as there is one for classifieds. Administration said that “for now the answer is no” citing uncertainty about how this would be implemented in Workday and also claiming that if it were implemented for CSN, it would have to be implemented NSHE-wide. NFA believes that the logistics in any case should be workable (there were sick leave banks before there were computers, after all), and that protection in the case of catastrophic illness through pooling voluntary donations of earned sick days would be of value.

  1. Sick leave payout upon retirement-- this is a benefit enjoyed by numerous of CSN's comparator institutions. Administration has claimed that cost prohibits CSN from having such a benefit, however they have not provided a clear cost estimate. NFA does not believe that the costs are as great as Administration apparently thinks. We look forward to looking through the data.

  1. Parental leave-- NFA has proposed that bargaining unit members going out on FMLA leave upon the birth or adoption of a child, be afforded five weeks of paid time off, before having to use sick leave and/or unpaid leave. Studies have shown the importance of parental leave, and some of CSN's comparator institutions have it. It would help elevate CSN's family-friendly status, and attract new faculty. However, Administration did not include this in their Benefits response.

  1. Health care premium increase freeze-- NFA had proposed CSN set aside money to absorb the cost of health care premium increases for bargaining unit members. Administration was not interested in this, saying they preferred not to have uncertain costs based on potential premium increases.
  2. Social Security opt-in-- as a number of faculty have previously contributed to Social Security, and are faced with a penalty for not having contributed while working as a state employee in Nevada, NFA had asked for an opt-in option to be established whereby faculty could voluntarily direct a portion of their retirement contribution toward Social Security. Administration expressed that they thought political resistance would be too great, since all the other state employees would lack the option.

NFA will bring a counter to the next bargaining session.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Administration's “clarification” on salary studies

On October 17th CSN President Richards sent an email titled “Clarification of Various Salary Studies” with information regarding different salary studies pursued by CSN, NSHE, and the Legislature.

In describing CSN equity studies, Dr. Richards wrote “Compares (and adjusts) salaries of academic faculty within the institution based on experience and education. Does not compare with other institutions.” The basis provided was NSHE Procedures and Guidelines Manual Chapter 3 Section 2.3.d.

NFA in our Salary proposal have asked for other criteria to apply to an equity study than comparison with other CSN salaries-- most importantly, that faculty's salaries be compared to the Community College Academic Salary Schedule. Does then the NFA proposal contradict the Procedures and Guidelines Manual?

No. The Procedures and Guidelines Manual Chapter 3 Section 2.3.d states that equity plans “must include but are not limited to the following:” and then lists features including comparison to the salaries of academic faculty within the institution. The Procedures and Guidelines Manual does not preclude use of other factors in an equity study, and in fact we know that other NSHE institutions have used a variety of criteria in conducting their equity studies.

Moreover, NSHE Code specifically allows for collective bargaining agreements to modify even NSHE Code. This is stated in NSHE Code Title 4 Chapter 4 Sections 13.2 and 13.3. Therefore even if it were not allowed for in the Procedures and Guidelines Manual, nor practiced at other NSHE institutions, NFA could still negotiate for other criteria to be used in equity studies.

We believe it is important to regularly compare CSN faculty salaries to the Salary Schedule, so that the Salary Schedule has meaning. Dr. Richards in his email notes that at the NSHE level a study is being carried out that may update the NSHE Salary Schedule. But what good will that do current CSN faculty? The Salary Schedule is used in determining initial salary placement for new faculty, but what else? Our research showed that approximately 80% of our bargaining unit have base salaries that fall below the median of their grade range.

We think that it should be the case that the Salary Schedule should be referenced in equity studies, so that faculty who are behind that objective measure can be brought up to speed. We do not want it to be the case that a faculty member's colleagues also being underpaid is sufficient justification not to address that faculty member being underpaid based on NSHE's own metrics.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bargaining update #12

The teams met for bargaining sessions on August 11th and September 22nd. At the September 22nd session, tentative agreements were reached on Market Hires and Dues Deduction. This brings the total number of tentative agreements to seven. NFA is cautiously optimistic based on Administration's tone and their expression of interest in reaching a final agreement in a timely manner.

Salary memo:
At the August 11th meeting, Administration brought up that then-Acting Chancellor Jane Nichols had issued a memo prohibiting certain types of internally-funded salary adjustments. On this account, they rescinded without substitute their Salary proposal.

NFA opposed this memo, speaking to legislators, Chancellor Reilly, and ultimately testifying at a meeting of the Regents. Subsequently, Chancellor Reilly issued a clarification memo largely rescinding the Nichols memo. This had just come out before the September 22nd bargaining session, and at that session Administration indicated they would be bringing a new Salary proposal at the next meeting.

Other items from the sessions--

August 11th:

Market Hires: NFA presented a counter-proposal. This proposal was substantively very similar to Administration's last proposal. The main change was to the number of years after which a Market Hire could apply for tenure. NFA proposed five.

Dues Deduction: NFA proposed that current practice for dues deduction for NFA members continue.

September 22nd:

There was some discussion of an information request put in by NFA for documents related to EEOC/Affirmative Action topics. NFA wants this information in order to assess the equity situation at CSN, particularly in the light of various statements that have been made to us by faculty members (which, in the absence of evidence, we are unable to verify). However, Administration had rejected a previous request for faculty racial and age information, stating that such information was confidential. It does seem that they will provide at least some documents responsive to the current information request.

Market Hires: Administration accepted NFA's 8/11 proposal. While the language and parameters are a negotiated compromise, NFA is pleased that the sides were able to agree on the core concept of this proposal – that Market Hire faculty should have a path to tenure, as a way to redress the surprising fact that in general long-time Market Hire faculty have been paid less than tenure-track counterparts, while also lacking the job security of tenure. Now, once the CBA goes into effect, Market Hire faculty with five or more years of service will be able to apply for tenure.

Dues Deduction: Administration accepted NFA's 8/11 proposal.

Scheduling: The NFA-CSN team pushed for more frequent and longer meetings. Administration did not agree on the necessity of this, as the teams are also initiating a series of working group discussions on various proposals that could also move the process forward. The NFA-CSN team finds Administration's position reasonable if the working groups are indeed productive, but nonetheless still wants more and longer sessions as we feel these will help speed a resolution to negotiations.

In the end, bargaining sessions were agreed for:
Tuesday 10/10 3pm, West Charleston, Room TBA
Thursday 10/26 9am, North Las Vegas, Room TBA

Monday 11/6 3pm, West Charleston, Room TBA

State Assemblywoman Heidi Swank supports faculty collective bargaining with Open Letter to the Regents

Friday, June 16, 2017

Overall bargaining status check and review -- June 2017

The NFA-CSN and CSN Administration bargaining teams have been negotiating for the first faculty CBA (collectively bargained agreement) since November 2016. This is a general status update.

Schedule of negotiations:
There have been seventeen negotiating sessions so far; a rate of a little slower than one session every two weeks. NFA had preferred an average rate of one session per week, while Administration preferred a slower pace.

Both sides agreed on cycling the meetings across the three campuses.

Mandatory and permissive bargaining topics:
One issue that arose early on was the status of various bargaining topics. NSHE Code delineates certain subjects as “mandatory,” meaning that if one party wishes to negotiate on that subject, the other side must negotiate. Administration has taken the position that they only want to include items in the CBA on subjects found in that list. With that rationale, they have declined various NFA proposals.

As a general matter, so long as they are not unlawful, items other than those on the mandatory list may be negotiated, (these are called “permissive” subjects of bargaining). NFA's position has been, if an item would bring benefit to students, faculty, and/or the institution, then we will propose it, regardless of its status as mandatory or permissive. We hope that Administration will look at such proposals as attempts to promote the common good at CSN, and evaluate them with an open mind. This would be nothing out of the ordinary-- it is very rare to find an academic CBA that does not have some permissive items included.

Support for NFA bargaining:
NFA is proud to report that we are receiving grassroots support from a variety of quarters. We have collected hundreds of faculty support cards, we have circulated a student support petition that has garnered over two thousand signatures from CSN students, and we have received letters of support from several legislators. We will continue to build our support as bargaining proceeds.


Recognition – the employer recognizes NFA as the bargaining agent for CSN faculty.

Saving Clausea technical item stating that if part of the contract is legally invalidated, that does not invalidate the whole contract, and that the parties will renegotiate a part of the contract that is legally invalidated.

Distribution of the AgreementAdministration agrees to post the CBA on the CSN website, and to inform new hires about the bargaining unit and how to find the CBA.

Overload RequestsA request to work zero up to an including four overload units shall be granted by the Department Chair or Program Director; from above four up to and including six overload units may be granted by the Department Chair with the Dean's approval.

Safety – Several aspects:
  • Administration agrees to provide a safe and clean working environment.
  • Faculty can raise safety concerns, and have the right to a written response.
  • If a faculty member has concern for the safety of her/himself and/or students, he/she has the right to dismiss class if necessary.
  • NFA will have an appointee on the CSN Safety and Security Committee.

Salary (NFA first proposal 2/24/17; Administration counter 3/24/17; NFA counter 4/7/17) – Faculty consistently rank Salary as a key issue, and it is no mystery why: after the furloughs, base reduction, and salary freeze of the recession, faculty would like to recover some ground. NFA-CSN has consistently expressed the importance of compensation in these negotiations, and the high priority our team places on this item.

NFA's proposal had several parts:

  • Pay raises: equity studies to distribute salary increases equal to 2.5%, 3.0%, and 4.0% of the total salary pool shall be conducted in contract years one, two, and three respectively. The objective would be to make sure faculty salaries stack up to the Salary Schedule, to address compression and/or inversion, and to enhance competitiveness in recruitment and retention. No faculty member below their Q3 salary figure in the Salary Schedule should receive less than a one percent increase.

  • Initial placement: the system for initial salary placement shall be published; faculty shall have the right to a written explanation of their initial placement; evidence of an incorrect initial placement shall be given high consideration in a faculty member's salary equity review request.

  • Overload pay: increase pay per overload IU to $1017 (the 2014 NSHE-recommended figure.)

Administration's response did not contain provisions on initial placement or overload, nor did it commit any definite amount of money to an equity study. More information regarding the differences between the teams on Salary can be found here and here.

Benefits (NFA first proposal 3/10/17) – NFA-CSN's proposal contained various items:

  • Freeze bargaining unit members' contribution to health care premiums.
  • Create a joint NFA-CSN/CSN Administration committee to lobby appropriate entities for improvements or alternatives on health insurance.
  • Establish an opt-in for faculty to Social Security.
  • Allow faculty to apply unused sick and/or annual leave to either advance retirement or to receive a lump sum payment upon retirement.
  • Parental leave-- grant five weeks paid leave to be used prior to the use of sick days or unpaid leave in FMLA circumstances.
  • Create a sick leave bank.
  • Give faculty considering medical leave the opportunity to teach all online classes for up to two semesters, if qualified to teach online.

Administration has not countered; they have indicated they are exploring the feasibility of various of these items.

Grievance Procedure (NFA first proposal 11/14/16; Administration counter 4/28/17; NFA counter 5/8/17) – NFA proposed a standard grievance procedure. This is a procedure to enforce the CBA (not to be confused with the existing institutional complaint procedure). Administration said they preferred to see what items might be in the CBA before negotiating an enforcement mechanism, and their first response came more than five months later.

The Administration counter was similar in structure to the NFA proposal. NFA accepted some of Administration's preferences, while other differences remain, perhaps most important among them over NFA's organizational right to pursue a grievance. More information can be found here.

Arbitration (NFA first proposal 11/14/16) – NFA proposed a standard arbitration procedure. This is the typical final step of a grievance procedure in resolving a CBA-related dispute, where a ruling is made by a neutral third party with relevant technical expertise-- an arbitrator.

Administration said they preferred to see what items might be in the CBA before negotiating Arbitration. However, even after NFA had put its proposals on the table, they still have not responded on Arbitration. NFA does not see why, given that they have responded on Grievance Procedure. This is a mandatory subject of bargaining that NFA on which NFA has been trying to negotiate since the second session.

Both Grievance Procedure and Arbitration are vital to the overall integrity and meaningfulness of the CBA, and NFA sees no reason why Administration should fear straightforward, functional, standard Grievance and Arbitration articles, which is what we have proposed.

Non-Discrimination (NFA first proposal 11/14/16, Administration verbal counter 11/28/16, NFA counter 12/6/16, Administration written counter 12/12/16, NFA counter 2/24/17, NFA revision 4/28/17) – Both sides agree that the employer should not discriminate based on NFA membership or activity. The persistent disagreement is over whether the employer should commit in the CBA not to discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and a host of other criteria.

Administration says they do not want to, because they consider existing laws proscribing such discrimination as already providing sufficient protection. They said they would not want to supersede those legal protections with the CBA, and that anyway, discrimination is not a problem at CSN. NFA has modified its proposal to be clear that the protections offered by the CBA would be in addition to and not superseding or replacing existing protection offered by the law.

NFA believes that it is important to affirm non-discrimination in the CBA, regardless of whether discrimination is or is not a problem at CSN (a subject on which different people may have different opinions). NFA also notes that such language is common in academic CBAs. That is why NFA produced a document titled “Non-Discrimination Language in Academic CBAs: 101 Examples” containing one hundred and one examples of faculty CBAs with one form or another of similar language regarding non-discrimination.

Administration's refusal to agree to Non-Discrimination is a surprising inconsistency with its repeated statements on the subject, and hardly qualifies as going “above and beyond” on the issue.

More information can be found here.

Discipline and Termination (NFA's first proposal 3/10/17, Administration counter 3/24/17, NFA counter 5/8/17, Administration counter 5/30/17) – While various aspects of the disciplinary process are shaping up through negotiation, a difference of overwhelming importance to NFA remains: we think it should be the place of a neutral third party to make the final determination as to whether discipline is justified. There should be recourse outside the structures of the employer, as there is for the overwhelming majority of other unionized faculty and unionized workers in general. More information here.

Summer Teaching (NFA first proposal 2/13/17) – The NFA proposal has two parts:
  • Assignment: classes should be given out equitably such that no one receives two class assignments before someone else seeking to teach similar classes receives one.
  • Pay: increase pro-rata pay to .025 times base pay per IU, and increase fixed dollar amounts for classes not qualifying for pro-rata pay. Eliminate existing loophole by which full-time faculty members taking over classes from part-time instructors have been paid at the part-time rate.

Administration and NFA met to discuss cost estimates of this proposal (the estimates were within 10% of one another). Administration has not yet responded with a counter-proposal.

Contact Hours Multiplier (NFA first proposal 3/24/17) – NFA has proposed to increase the IU value multiplier for Laboratory and Studio contact hours incrementally over three years to bring it to 1. We believe that lab instruction should not be valued less than classroom instruction. Our objective is to achieve parity, as they have at TMCC. We have also proposed that the Clinic/Lab/Studio IU value multiplier (clinical supervision work engaged in primarily by Nursing faculty) should be increased from 0.4 to 0.5 over the course of three years, based on discussions with faculty engaged in that work.

Administration has not yet countered; they have indicated they are looking at the costs.

Shared Governance (NFA first proposal 12/12/16, NFA revision 4/28/17) – NFA's first proposal was multi-faceted, including among other things a call to conduct a collaborative study of Shared Governance to generate recommendations for improvements, and a process to develop explicit unit-level Shared Governance protocols. However, Administration responded that they were not interested. NFA then dropped those parts of the proposal, and reduced it to several core elements:

  • Faculty Senate: affirmation that duly adopted Faculty Senate policies are binding; requirement for CSN President to provide a written explanation of his/her decision to rescind a duly adopted Faculty Senate policy to all members of the Faculty Senate.
  • Consultation: that NFA and Administration will meet within two weeks of a request by the other party to consult on matters related to the CBA.
  • Release time: provision of release time and facilities support for Shared Governance activities.

Administration has not responded to NFA's revised proposal.

Faculty Engagement and Participation / Faculty Contracts (Administration first proposal 2/3/17, NFA counter-proposal 3/10/17) – This proposal was first made by Administration with the title “Faculty Engagement and Participation.” It specified the hours worked within the week and days worked within the year, and included provisions for mandatory attendance at various functions, including the supervisor's right to require attendance at events.

After discussion with constituents, NFA rejected the mandatory attendance provisions, citing among other things concerns about conflicts with teaching, and the fact that attendance is already accounted for in evaluations. Our counter, which we titled “Faculty Contracts,” came back on hours worked within the week and days worked within the year, by proposing the status quo, broken out by contract type (Administration's proposal did not account for the different contract types).

Market Hires (NFA first proposal 2/24/17, Administration counter 3/24/17, NFA counter 4/7/17, Administration counter 5/30/17) – NFA was able to determine that, far from being paid above the average faculty member in exchange for foregoing the tenure track, Market Hires in fact make on average ten thousand dollars less than the overall average faculty salary. There are many valuable faculty, including faculty working in CTE (Career and Technical Education), who are Market Hires, and high attrition in this category resulting from lack of job security and lagging salary is a detriment to the College's mission. NFA therefore proposed a path to tenure for Market Hires. Administration has accepted the principle, but the details are still under negotiation.

Counselors (NFA first proposal 2/3/17, NFA revision 5/30/17) – The provision of quality and accessible academic counseling is vital to student success. Counselors had numerous suggestions to improve the functioning of their unit, which has been struggling with under-staffing and speed-up. These were listed in NFA's first proposal on Counselors.

However, Administration is implementing a restructuring plan that was more radical than Counselors had envisioned at the time of the first proposal. The restructuring will move the bulk of the academic counseling work to advisors-- non-tenure-track positions with no degree requirement. Counselors will be reserved as a less numerous and more elite position. In light of the changed situation, NFA presented a revised Counselors proposal.

Librarians (NFA first proposal 2/24/17) – The NFA proposal contained five items generated by librarians, dealing with the administrative structure and place of the library unit, the compensation for “site coordinator” duties (which had formerly been compensated but currently are not), and librarian contracts. Administration has not responded.

Faculty Offices (NFA first proposal 12/6/16) – The NFA proposal in it's entirety reads “CSN administration shall provide one functionally equipped faculty office per bargaining unit faculty member. The faculty member has the right for this office to be located on the campus at which the faculty member performs the majority of his/her in-person instruction.”

Administration asked a question about what would apply for faculty teaching one hundred percent online, but did not subsequently make any counter-proposal. NFA sees no reason why this very basic proposal would be objectionable. It is plainly beneficial for students to have faculty available in offices on the same campus on which they are receiving instruction.

Work out of Title (NFA first proposal 3/24/17, Administration counter 4/28/17, NFA counter 5/8/17) – Spurred by complaints from the faculty, the idea of NFA's proposal is to provide a disincentive for the assignment of non-professionally-appropriate work tasks to faculty, by imposing an extra cost for such assignments.

Administration came back with a counter regarding overtime assignments. While this contained reasonable elements, it did not address the fundamental motivation of the NFA proposal. NFA countered by including a version of Administration's overtime idea, while maintaining our position that there faculty should have protection against the assignment of non-professionally-appropriate work tasks.

Successorship (NFA first proposal 12/12/16, NFA revision 5/19/17) – The first NFA proposal contained two aspects: protection in the case of outsourcing or reorganization, and requirement that the employer negotiate outsourcing with NFA. Outsourcing is not foreign to higher education-- it can happen, and has, including in NSHE. Faculty deserve the basic protection of a guarantee of continued employment under the terms of the CBA.

Subsequently, NFA revised this proposal to also include details of contract duration and re-negotiation. We also struck the proposed requirement for negotiations with NFA regarding outsourcing, to focus on the most basic element of our proposal-- that faculty should continue to be employed and the CBA continue to apply in the case of outsourcing.

Emergency and Temporary Faculty Appointments Applied to Tenure (NFA first proposal 2/3/17) – The idea of the NFA proposal is that e-hire time should count toward a faculty member's tenure clock, if the faculty member so chooses. E-hires are common at CSN and those who are successful are often hired into permanent positions. In those cases, the e-hire time is sometimes applied to the tenure clock and sometimes not, depending on the specifics of the situation (does the faculty member know this is possible? does the Department Chair want to do it? etc.) Our proposal aims to establish a clear, standardized procedure.

Administration has said they are investigating the idea, but has not yet responded.

MFA as a Grade 5 Qualification for Salary (NFA first proposal 2/3/17, Administration counter 5/8/17, NFA counter 5/19/17) – There are a number of reasons why the MFA degree should be considered a highest-qualification for fields in which it is relevant, and at various other higher education institutions it is. Administration has accepted the idea in principle and the negotiation is now focused on what fields the MFA is relevant to. More information on this topic here.

Hiring (NFA first proposal 2/13/17) – The NFA proposal is based on the existing hiring policy, but varies by pushing for a greater role and powers for the faculty search committee in the hiring process (the first committee). Formerly, the first committee had greater powers, but over time they have been eroded. Given that the first committee is the only one with access to a teaching demonstration, and given that faculty have important expertise in judging the quality of a potential new hire, we see recovering some of the first committee's authority as highly likely to benefit CSN overall by increasing the average quality of hires.

NFA's proposal also includes some other modifications, including granting limited relocation expense reimbursement to faculty hired from outside the Las Vegas area. Relocation expense reimbursement is a perk that will help attract quality candidates, and will help faculty through a potentially lean period between paychecks, given that the first CSN paycheck for July 1st hires comes in October.

Administration has said they are preparing their counter.

Program Directors (NFA first proposal 4/7/17) – Defines a standard set of duties and authority for Program Directors, as well as procedures for evaluating, adding and removing Program Directors, and contains increases to Program Director compensation in the form of a stipend and the establishment of a minimum of three IUs release per semester (currently many Program Directors receive two IUs when formerly almost all had been at three or above, a change that was implemented in 2016).

Administration has indicated that compensation “could be negotiated,” but that they do not want to establish any duties, authorities, or procedures for Program Directors in the CBA. They said that they don't want “job descriptions” in the CBA, but that point aside, this proposal does not establish a job description-- Program Director is a set of additional duties. It is normal in an academic CBA to have special roles with extra duties described in the CBA, including compensation, and associated procedures.

Department Chairs (NFA first proposal 5/8/17) – Similarly to the Program Director proposal, the Department Chair proposal delineates the role, compensation, and associated procedures for Department Chairs. The proposal is status quo policy, with one change made in the election procedure, to address a situation that arose in a Department Chair election last semester.

Administration's response to the proposal was similar to its response for Program Directors, and NFA believes the same arguments apply as to why Department Chair should be included in the contract more fully than just compensation. Intrinsically tied to compensation for extra duties are what the extra duties are, and how a faculty member gets or loses the ability to perform them.

Faculty Infobook (NFA first proposal 11/28/16, NFA revision 4/28/17) – this proposal was spurred by the Faculty Handbook being out of date (last updated 2013), and the difficulty some faculty have experienced in finding past versions of policies and the time periods in which they had applied. The proposal initially called for yearly updating of the Faculty Handbook, for timely updating of the Policies and Procedures website, for hardcopies of the Faculty Handbook and the Policies and Procedures Manual to be available in the libraries, and for an archive of those documents to be created for the purpose of historical record and housed in the library.

Administration objected to the use of the word “handbook” as they say a handbook can be construed to be creating a legal contract, accordingly NFA changed to the term “infobook” – it was never our intention to create some kind of back-door contract. Administration also objected to the production of hardcopies and said an archive was unnecessary because historical policy information was already readily available.

To move forward, we pared our proposal down to its most core idea-- that the Infobook should be updated yearly in consultation with NFA, and that the Policies and Procedures website be updated in a timely fashion.

Emeritus Status (NFA first proposal 11/28/16) – This proposal was for status quo policy. Administration said they do not want to include anything on Emeritus Status in the CBA. NFA argued that this is a mandatory subject of bargaining because it relates to compensation (compensation for emeritus work is described in the existing policy). Administration argued that emeritus faculty are not in the bargaining unit, therefore that is irrelevant. NFA argued that the procedure to obtain emeritus status may occur when the faculty member is in the bargaining unit (existing policy states it can take place within a year of retirement-- either before or after) and therefore it is relevant, and furthermore a “procedure for addition in workforce,” another mandatory bargaining subject.

NFA's perspective, is that it is hard to see why Administration would object to putting status quo policy that is working well into the CBA. Is there some plan to change this policy in the future?

Academic Freedom (NFA first proposal 12/6/16) – Faculty had expressed to NFA concern that academic freedom should be safeguarded. Academic freedom is a core value of AAUP, and AAUP unions always seek to establish it contractually. CSN's existing policy is good, so that is what NFA proposed go into the CBA. However, Administration said that they had no interest in putting the policy in the CBA. Again we are left to wonder, why wouldn't Administration agree to making this policy enforceable via the CBA?

Financial Exigency (NFA first proposal 2/3/17, Administration counter 2/13/17, NFA counter 2/24/17, Administration counter 3/10/17, NFA counter 4/7/17, Administration counter 4/28/17) – makes various changes or clarifications to NSHE code regarding procedures surrounding the declaration of financial exigency and associated layoffs. Through a process of give and take, a reasonable compromise has been reached, with one point of disagreement still outstanding-- NFA proposes that a faculty member who was recommended not to be laid off by his/her case review committee, but who was nonetheless laid off by the CSN President, should have the right to appeal that decision to the Chancellor.

To NFA, this seems like common sense. What is the cost-- a little bit of the Chancellor's time? With someone's job set to be lost through no fault of their own, and a review committee backing that person's continued employment, surely review from a higher authority would be beneficial.

Immigration Status (NFA first proposal 3/24/17) – this short proposal simply asks that faculty members not be compelled to report the immigration status of members of the CSN community, nor be compelled to deny a student services based on immigration status.

Given that CSN is a Hispanic Serving Institution in a diverse city, with a diverse faculty and student body, and that this proposal would not require any changes from present practice, NFA had thought this would be an uncontroversial proposal. However, Administration said that while they agreed with the spirit of the proposal, they did not want such a provision to appear in the CBA.

The CBA and NSHE Code, Policies and Practices (NFA first proposal 11/28/16, NFA revision 5/8/17) – the purpose of this proposal is to indicate the role of the CBA in the overall policy environment in which faculty are situated. As per NSHE code, the CBA articles may modify or supersede NSHE Code, but in cases where NSHE Code is not modified or superseded by the CBA, Code continues in effect.

NFA considers it beneficial to have an explanation of the role of the CBA attached to the CBA, to help make it user-friendly. Administration has agreed that the description of the role of the CBA in the proposal is accurate. However there is some question about unintended legal consequences (the article possibly giving NFA the right to grieve non-CBA policies was discussed at the table). That was never NFA's intention with this proposal, and NFA is open to finding a way to remove the possibility of any such loop-holes.

Professional Enrichment Programs (NFA first proposal 4/7/17) – Several aspects:

  • Salary advancement through professional development: specifies aspects of this procedure; importantly, an accounting of progress toward advancement shall be maintained by HR, and available to the faculty member.
  • Professional development: sufficient travel funding shall be maintained; new or master course creation and other activities should be incentivized monetarily or through release time.
  • Sabbatical: specifies aspects of the sabbatical process, including the necessity for a written justification should a sabbatical application be denied.

Administration has not yet responded.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bargaining update #11

The teams met for a bargaining session Tuesday, May 30th, at North Las Vegas campus. NFA-CSN brought a revised proposal on Counselors, while Administration brought counters on Market Hires and Discipline and Termination.

The NFA-CSN team also indicated our acceptance, pending resolution of terminological differences, of Administration's counters on Overload Requests and Safety.

Counselors: The NFA-CSN revised proposal was presented by Counselor Luis Ortega. It had been updated based on the restructuring plan for Counseling and Advising that Administration is moving forward. The Counselors seek to contractually establish some of the terms described in the draft restructuring plan, for example that Counselor compensation and tenure will be unaffected by the restructuring.

Administration counter on Market Hires: Administration changed their proposal on Market Hires in two ways. First, they increased the number of years after which a Market Hire would be eligible to apply for tenure from four to six; second, they wanted to establish that a Market Hire would not be placed on the salary schedule after conversion.

Administration's reasoning on the first is that the Market Hire should have come in at a higher salary, so these extra years should be a counterbalancing consideration. On the second, there appears to be some concern that placing Market Hires on the salary schedule will open up the possibility for other faculty to make equity adjustment requests based on the Market Hire's potentially higher salary.

While NFA is open to arguing the merits of these rationales, in the first instance it is disappointing that Administration would negatively shift aspects of their already-made proposal, in effect worsening their first proposal.

Administration counter on Discipline: NFA-CSN had made large movement from our original proposal in response to Administration's first counter. However, Administration made hardly any movement in their second counter. This lack of movement included not incorporating or addressing NFA's suggested technical language regarding faculty discipline committee administration, which presumably should have been non-controversial, for unstated reasons.

Still more concerning is that an important difference in principle remains regarding the final authority in disciplinary cases. NFA-CSN feels strongly that this authority should properly rest with a neutral third party, such as an arbitrator or a faculty committee. If the employer terminates a faculty member, that faculty member should have the right to have the decision reviewed by a neutral third party, and invalidated if it was flawed.

This is a basic fairness issue, and a right enjoyed by virtually all unionized workers, both in higher education and in general. For good reason-- besides helping ensuring justice is done, having this right promotes a positive work environment, since it greatly diminishes the possibility or appearance that disciplinary decisions have been taken for improper reasons.

Administration on the other hand, has stated their preference that the decision of the CSN President should be final in cases of discipline and termination. They say that the President is currently the ultimate hiring and firing authority and they want it to stay that way.

NFA-CSN has not seen any compelling reason why having the President as the final authority on discipline and termination rather than a neutral third party would lead to more accurate and fair outcomes; nor why it would contribute to the best work environment possible; nor why CSN faculty should not have this right when so many other unionized faculty and other workers do.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bargaining update #10

The teams met for bargaining sessions Monday, May 8th on North Las Vegas campus, and Friday May 19th, on West Charleston campus. These sessions were somewhat low-key, as due to family and work obligations Administration Lead Negotiator Patty Charlton was absent from both, and CSN General Counsel Richard Hinckley was absent from the first.

Similar items were discussed at both meetings.

MFA as Grade 5 credential for salary: NFA had previously proposed that a MFA be counted as a Grade 5 salary credential for faculty in relevant fields. Reasons include:

  • MFA may be the terminal degree;
  • A course being taught by an MFA aids in establishing that the course's units are transferable;
  • In the past MFA has been treated as a Grade 5 salary credential at CSN;
  • MFA is the only degree besides PhD that research Universities will treat as a qualifying credential for tenure-track positions;
  • MFA is accepted by other community colleges as a highest qualification.

On 5/8, Administration countered by accepting the basic premise that MFA should count for Grade 5 for applicable faculty, and seeking to define the precise areas in which that would be. Administration's proposal was that it should be for “Studio Arts,” based on policy from Austin Community College, considered a comparator institution to CSN.

As to what precisely “Studio Arts” might refer to at CSN, on 5/19 NFA presented a counter listing out areas in Fine Arts, Media Technologies, and Creative Writing in English. These are productive and/or performative areas, most of which take place in a physical studio, where MFA is commonly recognized as a relevant credential, and in which there are faculty teaching at CSN who are already having their MFA counted as a Grade 5 credential.

New proposal- Department Chairs: On 5/8, NFA brought a new proposal regarding Department Chairs. This was in specific reaction to a situation that arose with a Department Chair election this semester. The NFA proposal was status quo Department Chair policy, with one alteration made to address the situation that occurred.

Administration returned on 5/19 saying that they did not want to negotiate anything on Department Chairs other than compensation, which is a mandatory subject of bargaining. It was later noted that they felt the same way about Program Directors.

NFA immediately pointed out that in the TMCC contract, all aspects of the Program Director and Department Chair roles are spelled out. Administration responded that they were not moved by this. According to their thinking, these were permissive topics that TMCC Administration chose to negotiate, but that they prefer not to.

NFA believes that in fact the role, duties, and process to get and lose Department Chair and Program Director status, are all mandatory subjects of bargaining implicitly tied to compensation. You cannot negotiate compensation without negotiating “for what.”

The TMCC contract is sensible in this regard. We also note that both Administration Lead Negotiator Patty Charlton, and team member John Adlish, at a previous session invited an NFA proposal on Department Chairs along the lines of our Program Directors proposal.

Revised proposal- Successorship: On 5/19, NFA presented a revised proposal on Successorship. This added some new sections formally proposing a contract duration of three years (on which the parties had appeared to be in informal agreement), that the parties should be able to reopen the contract for modifications upon mutual agreement, and that the contract should continue in effect if a successor agreement has not yet been ratified at the time of its expiration.

The proposal also modified the no-outsourcing language by taking out the proposed requirement for Administration to meet and negotiate with NFA over any outsourcing, while keeping our core point that in the case of oursourcing or reorganization, bargaining unit members should keep their employment and the new employing entity should be made to recognize NFA and be bound by the CBA.

The NFA team presented a number of cautionary tales about outsourcing in higher education. Team member John Aliano formerly worked at the College of Sante Fe where all faculty lost their tenure status and the school was privatized. Various other examples were presented, including NSHE's push to outsource DE several years ago, and the outsourcing of IT at CSN. Faculty should have the guarantee of protection of the CBA and union status in the case that something like this affects members of the CSN bargaining unit.

Administration listened to NFA's arguments and then asked what protections tenure status would afford in this kind of scenario. The NFA team raised several reasons why this would not be enough, from the fact that not all the bargaining unit has tenure (pre-tenure and market hire faculty), to the potential for financial exigency layoffs as part of the outsourcing process, to, as Aminul Km of Math pointed out, the loss of teaching work for the bargaining unit leading to later layoffs.

For NFA, outsourcing is a dangerous game, attractive to some because of cheapness, that can lead to a drastic decline in instructional quality, hurting students. We want to make sure that bargaining unit members continue to be employed under the same CBA-established conditions, so that we can be at ease knowing that we will be able to continue to provide quality education to students.

Revised proposal- Policies and Practices: On 5/8 NFA presented a revised version of our Policies and Practices proposal. It distilled our original proposal down to its most essential elements: a description of the authority of the CBA and what it will and will not do vis a vis other policies. It indicates that, as per NSHE code, the CBA is the highest order policy document, and that other policies inconsistent with or contradicting the CBA are superseded by the CBA, while at the same time other policies that are consistent with and not addressed by the CBA are not negated by the existence of the CBA.

Administration agreed with the description of the authority and role of the CBA, but did not want to put this article into the CBA. They indicated some concern about it granting NFA the ability to grieve non-CBA policies through the CBA. That is not NFA's intention with this item, and we are confident we can find a way to address this concern.

Overload Requests: NFA and Administration went back and forth with minute changes to the Overload Requests proposal, which is very similar to status quo practice. The first four units of overload “shall be granted” and units above four up to six “may be granted” by the Department Chair, in consultation with the Program Director if applicable, with approval of the Dean (a small change from requiring VPAA approval).

Work out of Title: The parties were at cross-purposes regarding Work out of Title, which was discussed in both sessions. The intention of NFA's proposal was to assure that faculty would not be assigned inappropriate work tasks as part of normal work time. Administration's counter dealt only with the assigning of additional tasks outside of normal work time. So the two proposals did not address the same thing.

At the second session, the NFA team amended much of Administration's language regarding additional tasks into our proposal. But Administration was not interested in NFA's proposed protection on the types of work faculty could be made to do (namely, that if a faculty member was assigned a task not in his/her job description, he/she would be due extra pay). One bone of contention was Administration's not wanting to include any job descriptions in the CBA. NFA believes that having clear, well-defined expectations for what kind of work a faculty member may be expected to do would be of benefit.

The bottom line for NFA is that faculty members are professionals, and due the professional respect of a guarantee that they will not be made to do inappropriate work-- or at least, the guarantee that if needs must and they are made to, it will not happen frequently and they will receive additional pay as a consideration.

Grievance Procedure: Administration's first counter on Grievance Procedure (with grievance defined as an allegation that the CBA has been violated, NOT grievance in the sense of an institutional/NSHE complaint not related to the CBA) had a similar structure to NFA's first proposal. Differences included:

  • Whether NFA as an organization should have the right to pursue a grievance
  • How long various time periods for filing and responding to a grievance should be
  • Who on the part of Administration should be involved in each step of the process
  • Whether NFA should have organizational control over what grievances go to arbitration

NFA countered on 5/8 holding that NFA as an organization should have the right to pursue a grievance, and that we should have control over what grievances go to arbitration. Both are normal rights for a union to have, and important. We adopted some of Administration's numbers on time periods for filing and responding, and in other cases moved our numbers closer to theirs. We accepted Administration's language on who would be involved on their part in each step of the process.

Discipline and Termination: NFA presented a Discipline and Termination counter on 5/8. Our counter adopted a large amount of language from Administration's first counter. In their counter, Administration had listed four points of disagreement with our original proposal, and we made changes addressing three of the four points (Title IX, apparently unclear language around discipline panel selection, standard of proof).

We did not accept Administration's fourth point, that the final authority in any case of discipline must be the College President. We believe it is best that this power rests with a third party. We have proposed that a faculty discipline panel, or an arbitrator serve this function. Having discipline decisions subject to review and confirmation or denial by a third party is normal in a union context. Unionized hotel workers and tradespeople have that right, and so should faculty. We don't believe this should be particularly controversial.

Some disagreement continued on the standard of evidence required for termination. NSHE code asks for “evidence which establishes that it is more likely than not that the respondent has violated the rules of conduct.” NFA added the word “much” to “more likely than not” to indicate we think it should be more likely than an approximate coin flip that a person has actually done what they are being fired for supposedly having done. Administration said that they saw our point, but that they preferred to keep a consistent standard with NSHE and general legal practice, as “much more likely” does not have an established legal interpretation.

Despite the differences on both Grievance Procedure and Discipline and Termination, Administration expressed that they thought we weren't too far from agreement. NFA is also cautiously optimistic.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bargaining update #9

The teams met for bargaining sessions Monday, April 17th and Friday, April 28th, on West Charleston campus.

Monday, April 17th:

This session was shortened to an hour due to some members of the Administration team having to attend to urgent, unexpected duties. The teams agreed to do an extra hour at a future session to make up the lost time.

NFA-CSN team offered a counter on Safety with a minuscule change of one sentence from the passive to active voice and a specification to ensure the teams were on the same page with our terminology.

CSN Administration asked questions regarding the NFA proposals on Financial Exigency, Work Out of Title, and Contact Hours.

One issue that arose was a terminological disagreement. NFA-CSN prefers to refer to the parties to the contract as “NFA-CSN” and “CSN Administration,” and the employees to whom the contract applies as “bargaining unit members.” CSN Administration prefers to refer to their party as “CSN” and the employees to whom the contract applies as “academic faculty.” Administration's preference to call themselves “CSN” makes the CSN-NFA team wonder-- aren't faculty also CSN? And students, and classifieds-- our whole community? In any event, at least the parties appear to be clear on who is being referred to, even if they prefer to make that reference using different words.

Near the end of the session, NFA-CSN went through a brief review of some of the proposals on the table, to facilitate moving forward.

Friday, April 28th:

Salary discussion

The session began with Administration initiating a discussion on Salary based on a document they posted on their website. The text with NFA-CSN'sresponse can be found here. While Administration's document was rather aggressive, the tone at the table from both teams was respectful and there was a reasonable discussion of the issue.

Much of the discussion centered on whether a specific amount of money should be allocated to the Equity Study in the form of a minimum guaranteed pool of money set aside for that purpose. NFA continues to see such a concrete commitment of resources as vital. Administration contends that their past actions in the 2013 Equity Study establish them as a good actor, and therefore no minimum guarantee is necessary, and that having a minimum guarantee could undermine the potential to get a larger amount (NFA doesn't see how).

There was also some discussion of the criteria by which the Equity Study should be done, and particularly what degree of specificity to have in the CBA (collectively bargaining agreement). NFA-CSN's position is that specificity is of value and we are open to increasing the specificity of our proposal.

Financial presentation

CSN VP of Finance Mary Kaye Bailey gave a presentation on the College's finances. NFA-CSN has already given our presentation, based on research by Dr. Howard Bunsis, a Professor of Accounting specializing in forensic accounting and public budgets.

There were various disagreements between VP Bailey's presenation and Dr. Bunsis' analysis. VP Bailey contended that while by general accounting standards the evaluation of CSN having over $30 million in unrestricted reserves is correct, NSHE policy places restrictions on much of that money such that only $7 million is truly unrestricted. She also said that while the NSHE is slated for a $115 million budget increase this biennium, CSN could be facing a loss of base between two and four million, noting of course that the legislative session is not over yet.

NFA-CSN thanks the Administration for engaging in this discussion. We will review the presentation.

Revised NFA-CSN proposals

Handbook/Infobook: NFA-CSN brought a revised proposal on the Faculty Handbook (which we now call the Infobook in our proposal as per CSN Administration's argument that a Handbook can be construed as creating a legal contract, which is not our intention). This revised proposal distills the article down to our most core point-- that the Infobook should be updated yearly, and that NFA should be consulted on the information contained. That would prevent scenarios such as the present one where the Handbook has not been updated in several years and contains outdated information.

Non-Discrimination: What NFA-CSN has asked for on Non-Discrimination is not out of the ordinary for an Academic CBA, and to show that NFA-CSN presented a document titled “Non-Discrimination Language in Academic CBAs: 101 Examples.” This contained examples of language similar to Section 1 of NFA's proposal (affirming non-discrimination for protected categories such as race, religion, etc.) from one hundred and one Academic CBAs from all over (we could have done more but you have to stop somewhere). We wanted to reassure Administration that the general idea of what we're asking for is nothing that hasn't been agreed by people in their shoes many, many times before.

NFA-CSN also presented a revised proposal. We dropped our section which had to do with how often training should take place, as Administration had raised various objections and we did not want it to dilute focus from our main point in Section 1. We added a new section at the end to clarify that any protections granted by the CBA would supplement and not replace existing legal protections. We feel that our proposal is good, would send a good message, and would contribute to a good culture.

Shared Governance: Based on past table discussion with Administration, NFA-CSN pared down our Shared Governance proposal to certain vital elements, namely sections on

-Faculty Senate: asking that Administration affirm that duly adopted policies signed by the President are binding (at the table some sessions ago, CSN General Counsel Hinckley said that this was the case); asking that should the President exercise his right to rescind a policy at any time, he should provide a written explanation (essentially the same thing said in the current revision of the Policy on Policy Development).

-Consultation: that the parties should meet within two weeks of a request by either party to discuss issues related to the CBA.

-Release time for Shared Governance: increase the release time for the Faculty Senate Chair; establish release time and grant use of on-campus facilities for NFA.

Administration counter-proposals

Safety: a minor change based on the previously mentioned terminological disagreement.

Grievance Procedure: Based on NFA-CSN's first proposal, but with substantial changes, including to the time limits for various steps of the process, restructuring and re-wording of various steps and the preamble, removal of NFA-CSN's organizational right to file grievances, and other assorted changes.

Financial Exigency: Similar to NFA-CSN's last proposal, but insisting that NFA-CSN's proposed right for a laid-off faculty member to appeal the decision to the Chancellor not be included.

Work Out of Title: There were several points of divergence between NFA-CSN's proposal and Administration's counter.

-First, Administration does not want to include job descriptions in the CBA (there will undoubtedly be more discussion of this in the future), while NFA-CSN had tried to make it crystal clear what is work in or out of title by specifying that in the CBA.

-Second, Administration is apparently defining work out of title as only something that takes places outside of the normally allotted work time, which was not NFA-CSN's intention in our proposal. Our intention was to prevent the mis-use of faculty for work tasks not appropriate to their jobs regardless of whether that occurs within the normally allotted work time.

-Third, Administration prefers that compensation should be negotiated on a case by case basis rather than a rule put into place. NFA sees this as possible, given that at the table Administration responded agreeably to the right of faculty to decline a task out of title if they felt the compensation was not appropriate. However, having a rule also has benefits.

Overload Requests: Agreeing to much of NFA's proposal which was similar to the status quo, while taking out NFA's proposed language on the possibility for faculty to work additional IUs in the case of unexpected departmental shortage.

NFA-CSN response to Administration's Salary narrative

Administration posted a statement on Salary to their website. This is NFA's response. Administration's statement text is in italics, NFA response is in plain text preceded by a dash.

NFA criticized CSN’s counter-offer on salary arguing that faculty have received zero raises over the last ten years, which they believe indicates that faculty aren’t valued.

NFA’s argument that there have been no raises for 10 years is incorrect as demonstrated by their own data.

--- This is not an accurate representation of NFA's view on the history of salary increases at CSN. NFA presented data showing the history of salary increases, so it's not fair to say that NFA says there have been no raises. NFA's position is that faculty's effective compensation, outside of the 2013 Equity process, has been stagnant, given inflation, increase to health care costs, furloughs, and base reduction.

The argument that faculty aren’t valued is an emotional reaction that is absolutely untrue.

--- If unhappiness about compensation history over the last years is an “emotional reaction,” it is one shared by many faculty. Through numerous conversations, and surveys, the collective bargaining vote, and our bargaining support cards, we have seen that the feeling that “nobody is looking out for me” is widespread among faculty.

Also, NFA has written that CSN is not willing to commit any resources to CSN’s salary proposal.  Again, this is an incorrect conclusion clearly contrary to the CSN salary proposal.

--- NFA-CSN cannot detect any hard commitment of resources in the CSN salary proposal. We cannot see how this is “clearly contrary” to the text of CSN's proposal.

Faculty base salary levels rose 23% since FY07 because of merit and COLA increases.  Additionally, the Governor has proposed a 2% increase on July 1, 2017 and another 2% increase on July 1, 2018.

--- First of all, depending on the window chosen, these numbers can look much different. Substantial raises in '07-'09 bring up the total here; when looking at '10-'17 it is 5.5%-- at the same time as four years of furlough and two years of base salary reduction, which Administration does not mention anywhere in their salary narrative.

Second, taking the '07-'17 window, the government's CPI calculator shows that there has been 20.9% inflation. Combined with increases to health care expense, all of the gains are wiped out. NFA had shown a slide earlier in the negotiation comparing COLAs to CPI changes to make this point.

CSN is also fully supportive of efforts to request that the Legislature make an appropriation for merit pay.  The College leaves that task primarily to the NFA through its legislative contacts, especially those who have written in support of NFA-AAUP/CSN negotiations.

--- This paragraph encapsulates what NFA sees as a typical attitude of NSHE toward faculty salary. A profession of support (“fully supportive...”) is matched with a lack of actually doing anything (“The College leaves that task...”).

We have seen this play out repeatedly. For example, for this legislative session NSHE has repeatedly declared that faculty merit pay is their top priority. However, what NFA has heard – hearsay, but from the mouths of trusted legislators – is that this is not at all what they advocate or are focused on behind closed doors. Indeed, NSHE in the form of Regents declared their delight with the Governor's budget when it was announced, despite their supposed top priority of faculty merit going unfunded.

No wonder that faculty feel weakly advocated for, and want to take more agency in determining their compensation.

In addition to merit and COLA increases, CSN performed an internal Equity Study in 2013, and 336 academic faculty (approx. 70%) received increases to base salary levels in 2014.  The largest adjustment was just over 42%, the smallest was slightly less than 2%, and the average adjustment was approximately 18.5%.  These adjustments were funded by internal CSN resources pursuant to the NSHE Procedures and Guidelines Manual.

--- NFA is in general thankful that such raises were granted. They are a bright spot in the overall bleak picture. They also show that the College can fund and has-- as the Administration statement indicates – internally funded raises.

While appreciating that these raises were a substantial financial outlay, NFA-CSN has obtained the data and is reviewing the numbers presented here. We have already found an example of a sub-one-percent raise among those who did get raises, and of course, there were numerous faculty who didn't get any raise, as Administration notes.

Therefore, using the data from the last 10 years, academic faculty base salaries have increased substantially.   

NFA also has used a comparison of merit appropriations with step increases for the classified employees.  CSN does not believe this is an appropriate comparison because the classified employees’ salary levels are lower (generally ¼ or ½ of the salary levels of academic faculty).  This is one of the underlying justifications for the Legislature’s appropriations for step increases. 

--- One NFA slide in our Salary presentation did show that it has been the case that classifieds have received step increases when faculty did not receive merit. Comparison with classified step increases is an approach we take at the legislature to make our case. It seems strange that Administration is re-presenting arguments against faculty receiving merit, and anyway it is not relevant to the negotiations at CSN.

Nevertheless, the reference to the classified employees emphasizes the point that the Legislature is the source for appropriations for special adjustments, and this overall responsibility is not placed with each individual college or university absent legislative appropriation.   

--- NFA-CSN does not agree. Administration only several paragraphs ago touted its 2013 Equity Study, which was funded entirely by NSHE resources (half from CSN, half from NSHE). Therefore, even pre-CBA (collectively bargained agreement) the legislature has not been the source for every adjustment and the College and NSHE have had a role. This is part of why NFA-CSN chose Equity Study as one of the main arenas for our Salary proposal in the CBA negotiations.

NSHE’s established method to enable a review of the appropriateness of the professors’ salaries relative to the job-market is to perform the NSHE salary study.  Everyone agrees that this should be done, and CSN urges that we collaboratively insist that it be done.  

--- A salary study by NSHE to move the numbers in the Salary Schedule would indeed be welcomed by NFA. Why not?

However, the more fundamental problem faced at CSN, is that faculty salaries do not stack up to the Salary Schedule. NFA believes that more than three quarters are below the so-called median on the schedule. Without an Equity Study referencing the Salary Schedule, as NFA has proposed, there is no mechanism by which faculty salaries move based on the Schedule. So the problem is not just what the numbers are, but bringing them to reality.

Thereafter, depending on the results, Legislative appropriations need to be made to match the outcome of the study.

In reply to NFA’s salary proposal, CSN has proposed to:
-Perform another internal Equity Study with a target completion of 4 months after CBA ratification.  CSN recognizes that these studies must be performed at appropriate cycles.  As noted earlier, the results of Equity Studies are implemented with CSN internal funding sources.
-Join with NFA to request NSHE perform the NSHE salary study.

Regarding the note that “these studies must be performed at appropriate cycles,” NFA notes that Administration did not perform the 2015 Equity Study, disrupting the two-year pattern prescribed in NSHE code. There has been no Equity Study since 2013.

No one disputes the painful rise in employees’ out-of-pocket costs on the medical benefit.  This is a national phenomenon driven by national policy decisions.  Salary adjustments can help with this problem, but CSN is not permitted to absorb the increased cost of premiums.

--- It is a national phenomenon, and also a state phenomenon. The legislature could allocate more money, or take different policy decisions. This goes back to feeling weakly advocated for in the political sphere. NFA-CSN also wonders what Administration is referring to in being “not permitted” – it seems that with the will to commit resources and some creativity a solution could be found to help defray faculty health care costs.

CSN must follow all applicable law, which includes the Regents’ Handbook.  Importantly, Section 9 of the Collective Bargaining chapter provides:

The System is constrained by funding resources external to its control and subject to approval by bodies not participant in negotiations such as are provided by these regulations. No provision of any bargaining agreement negotiated pursuant to this chapter which requires the expenditure of funds for any purpose shall be effective unless and until funds are appropriated and are made available to the System by the Nevada Legislature….

So far, NFA has not provided a meaningful or reasonable response to CSN’s point that this law must be followed.  NFA’s only response is that “CSN can pay.”

--- This is a reductionist presentation of NFA's discussion on this point, which includes: that we are asking for Salary via an internally funded method that has been used before; that co-funding is now the budgeting reality, with CSN receiving less than half its operating budget from legislative appropriation; that unrestricted reserves can be argued to be already appropriated for any purpose; and that Salary is listed as a mandatory subject of bargaining in the NSHE Code.

To us, our Salary proposal successfully balances the above text from Section 9 with Section 13.1(a) which lists as a mandatory subject of bargaining “a. Salary or wage rates or other forms of direct monetary compensation.”

CSN is not permitted to ignore lawful requirements.  CSN is not willing to unilaterally modify the means and manner for funding salary adjustments.   

--- In NFA-CSN's view, an Equity Study is not any major modification to the “means and manner” of NSHE salary adjustments. It is part of the Code, and as a recent legislative information request to NSHE revealed, Equity adjustments have been commonplace all across NSHE over the last five years.

We have further determined that there is a large amount of discretion given in determining the criteria for the Equity Studies.

Therefore, although a CBA, per code, may modify code (Section 13.2-3), and so we could conceivably negotiate for Salary in many different ways, we have chosen negotiating over the Equity Study, given both how it is already presented in code and how it has been put into practice throughout the system over the last five years. We feel that involvement for a faculty union in determining the parameters of an Equity Study, from the resources available to the criteria to be used, is appropriate based on Section 13.1(a) listing Salary as a mandatory subject of bargaining.