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.