COVID-19 Updates

Check back frequently for updated information regarding the impact of COVID-19 to Faculty at the University of Cincinnati.

10 Important Questions & Answers from UC-AAUP Town Hall

Provost Asks Colleges For Permanent 12% Cut

Video of 3rd AAUP Town Hall Meeting regarding UC’s request to open discussions (June 11, 2020)

Notes from Twitter Training Workshop

Video of 2nd AAUP Town Hall Meeting regarding COVID -19 (May 20, 2020)

Video of 1st AAUP Town Hall Meeting regarding UC’s response to COVID-19.

Update on Faculty Development Funds for 2019-2020 (April 29, 2020)

UPDATE: Covid 19 and the state of UC (April 24, 2020)

AFT and AAUP Principles for Higher Education Response to COVID-19 (March 13, 2020)

Summary of Article 28 (April 17, 2020)

Tenure Clock Extension & Use of Student Teaching Evaluations During COVID-19 (March 30, 2020)

 

Ten Important Questions & Answers from the AAUP-UC University Wide Town Hall

The AAUP-UC Chapter received a request from the Administration to engage in formal discussions—including the exploration of potential contractual means—to address the financial crisis facing UC. This was discussed at the Town Hall meeting on Thursday. Following are some of the most important questions and answers.

1.   Is AAUP-UC required to engage in formal discussions with the Administration or renegotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)? 
No, the current CBA expires on June 30, 2022. The terms will remain the same unless both sides agree to change the terms.

2.   What are the next steps? 
Thursday’s Town Hall was the first step in collecting data from the members of the bargaining unit. Thank you to the 300+ who attended! There will be additional opportunities for Faculty to provide feedback, including a survey that will be sent out soon. The AAUP-UC leadership will exchange information with the Administration and determine whether it would be productive to pursue discussions. The Executive Council  will be as transparent as possible throughout this process. Any change to the CBA would have to be approved by a vote of the Chapter membership.

3.   What does the Administration hope to achieve?

We have not received any indication from the Administration at this time. Other Ohio Administrations and AAUP chapters have negotiated for the elimination or the delay of across-the-board salary increases. Any negotiation could be limited to specific subject areas or provisions of the contract.

4.  Are there benefits to engaging in discussions with the Administration?

Possibly yes. Some Ohio AAUP Chapters have successfully sought to maintain current workload requirements or negotiate other aspects of their work conditions via Memoranda of Understanding or the re-opening of contracts. Changes to some provisions in our current CBA, such as Faculty Development Funds (Article 24), could help the Administration and the Faculty better respond to the financial crisis brought about by the pandemic.

5. Are layoffs possible?

Layoffs would require that the Administration declare a financial exigency and invoke Article 28 of the CBA. To date, they have not done this. Article 28 contains a very detailed process and many protections for Faculty. If this becomes a possibility, we will inform the Faculty and review Article 28 at length.

6. Can I be required to teach additional classes in response to the pandemic?

No, any additional courses are considered overload and require compensation (see Article 13 of the CBA). Any changes to class size must comport with your unit’s workload document. Faculty should also share significantly in any reorganization, including increased class sizes, in response to the pandemic (see Article 27 of the CBA).

7. Does anyone realize that the Faculty have already put in tremendous work and a lot of uncompensated hours responding to the pandemic?

Yes! AAUP-UC does! We also realize that sometimes it feels like the Administration does not recognize this work or has taken this tremendous infusion of faculty labor for granted.  In any conversations with administrators, we will be sure to point out all the hard work that faculty members have done in response to the pandemic.

8.  I’m concerned about working conditions in the fall. What do we know about the administration’s plans for things like cleaning classrooms and providing PPE?

We are concerned too! Thus far, we have received very few specific answers from the Administration about health and safety protocols. The AAUP-UC recognizes that both faculty working conditions and student learning conditions are of critical importance. We will be raising these questions in conversations with the Administration.

9.  I think some of the things happening in my college or unit may be violations of the CBA or our workload policies. What should I do?

Please let us know what you are seeing and hearing! Faculty can reach out to their college AAUP-UC Associates, a member of the Executive Council, or the Chapter staff with questions or concerns.

10.  I’m ready to help. What actions can I take now?

Please be on the look-out for a survey from the AAUP-UC next week. We need faculty input as we decide next steps.

Several colleges have scheduled or are scheduling college-specific town hall meetings on Zoom. Participate in these town halls or contact aaupuc1@ucmail.uc.edu if this would be of interest to your college.

Follow AAUP-UC on Facebook and Twitter. Go to the AAUP-UC webpage for resources and updates.

Finally, join AAUP-UC!  We have received many, many new memberships over the last few months. Thank you to everyone who has joined! The protections provided by the AAUP-UC and the CBA have become strikingly clear in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. This is only possible though a robust and engaged membership. If you are still not a member, click HERE to join or email the office to determine your membership status.

In solidarity,

Connie Kendall Theado
President, AAUP-UC

UPDATE: Town Hall Meeting

NOTE: THIS COMMUNICATION WENT OUT BEFORE THURSDAY’S TOWN HALL.

Yesterday, the AAUP-UC Chapter received a request from the Administration to engage in formal discussions—including the exploration of potential contractual means—to address the financial crisis facing UC.

Re-opening the Collective Bargaining Agreement as part of UC’s response to the COVID-19 budget crisis is not required. In considering the Administration’s request, the AAUP-UC Executive Council will be seeking feedback from the Bargaining Unit, a conversation that will begin with the 3rd Town Hall scheduled for Thursday, June 11th at 10:00 a.mA zoom invitation for this Town Hall will be sent to all AAUP-UC Bargaining Unit members.

As a reminder, AAUP-UC and the Faculty Senate have convened a Joint Committee to collect data and propose solutions to the financial challenges facing the university. Specifically, the Joint Committee has been tasked with:

  • fully understanding the implications of UC’s financial crisis;
  • identifying solutions; and
  • advocating for the core educational and research mission of the university.

All of AAUP-UC’s actions, as well as the actions of the Joint Committee, are designed to preserve the University’s core academic mission. This includes working in solidarity with adjunct faculty and the staff members who are critical to this mission.

The Joint Committee will provide an update at the Town Hall.

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday.

In solidarity,

Connie Kendall Theado
President, AAUP-UC

Second Town Hall Meeting

TOMORROW at 10 a.m. AAUP-UC will host a second Town Hall meeting to update and solicit feedback on UC’s COVD-19 response tomorrow at 10 a.m. The Town Hall is limited to AAUP-UC Bargaining Unit members. A Zoom meeting invitation will be sent via email.

Update: Second Town Hall Meeting

Thank you to everyone who participated in the AAUP-UC Town Hall meeting last week. Over 200 people attended! As a result of this very productive meeting, we are in a better position to respond to the COVID-19 challenges we face. For those unable to attend, a video of the Town Hall meeting and other COVID 19-response information is available on the website.

In a continued effort toward transparency and education, the Chapter has decided to host a follow-up Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, May 20th at 10 a.m. A link to the meeting will be sent to the Bargaining Unit, and the meeting is only open to Bargaining Unit Faculty.

Many thanks, too,  to all of you who have joined AAUP-UC as full members in recent weeks. By offering a clear procedure that includes Faculty in decision-making processes,  our Collective Bargaining Agreement protects us from arbitrary layoffs and furlough such as those facing other Ohio faculty including Ohio University and Miami University. Ultimately, however, it is not the Collective Bargaining Agreement that makes us strong but our collective action working to improve higher education for all. If you have not already done so, please join AAUP-UC today.

In addition to the follow-up Town Hall next week, there will also be a Twitter workshop on Thursday, May 21st at 10:00 a.m. for faculty members who are looking to use Twitter for the first time or improve their tweeting skills. The workshop is open to full AAUP-UC members.

Finally, and despite our ongoing efforts to clarify the situation,  misinformation persists and continues to be communicated within and across colleges. To reiterate:

  • The Provost, the Faculty Senate, and the AAUP-UC are working together in the spirit of shared governance to understand the problems and respond to the COVID 19 crisis.

 

  • Any change to salaries or other working conditions would require a renegotiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or the declaration of a financial exigency per Article 28 of the CBA. To date, NO ONE has proposed either of these alternatives.

 

  • Salaries and salary increases are covered by the CBA. They cannot be waived by individual faculty members.
    • Faculty members cannot work “overload”  without receiving compensation as defined by Article 13 of the CBA.
    • Faculty members cannot switch from a 9-month appointment to a 12-month appointment without a corresponding change in compensation and duties.

 

  • Stipends and course release outlined in an appointment letter cannot be unilaterally changed. Changes to stipends or course release covered by the CBA, such as those for unit heads, must comport with the CBA. Other types of stipends or course release can be withdrawn by the administration; however,  faculty members cannot be required to continue to perform work that was being done previously for a stipend or course release, and should only do so voluntarily after weighing their own circumstances and the needs of their Academic Unit.

 

  • Any changes to the Workload document—or to RPT criteria—must be approved by the Faculty in the Academic Unit. Nothing that has happened changes this fact.

To be clear, COVID-19 has placed the university in a very difficult situation. The financial situation, although not fully understood, is very real. AAUP-UC is willingly and actively working with the Provost and Faculty Senate on solutions. The process must be inclusive, transparent, methodical, and data-driven. Efforts by some administrators to circumvent this process while perhaps well-intentioned are counter-productive. Faculty should also remember that, although motives may be altruistic,  no single individual can solve this crisis on their own. We need to work together for a solution.

In Solidarity,
Connie Kendall Theado
President, AAUP-UC