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.