COVID-19 Response – Update


Thank you all for your feedback, attention, and support as we continue to navigate this challenging time. What follows are two critical updates: the first details the AAUP-UC discussions with UC Administration about compensation in the context of projected budget issues due to COVID-19, and the second focuses on the future work of the Joint AAUP/Faculty Senate Budget Task Force. You can also watch a recording of the July 29th Town Hall on our webpage for more information about these topics if you were unable to attend.

We are grateful to everyone who took the time to complete the survey we sent out a few weeks ago. The responses provided important guidance to the Executive Council. Perhaps unsurprisingly, results indicated that Faculty have already put in a tremendous amount of extra time and energy converting Spring Semester classes and preparing for an uncertain Fall Semester. For example, 85% of faculty reported spending additional time over Spring Break preparing for remote learning, with the modal response being more than 30 hours of extra time. Faculty were also clear that, while they were reluctant to consider cuts to compensation or healthcare, they were willing to explore the option of extending the benefits of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for another year.

The final Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Administration and AAUP-UC will call for a 20% reduction in Faculty Development funds for FY 2020-2021 and will offer Faculty the option to take voluntary furlough days between August 2020 and April 2021.

What follows is a recap of the proposal/counterproposal process.

  • The Administration initially proposed 5 mandatory furlough days, an elimination of FY 2020-21 salary increases, and a one-year extension of the CBA. Furlough days would have been based on a work year of 146 days for 9-month Faculty and 209 days for 12-month Faculty. Compensation cuts would have been permanent and would not have been made up with increases in future years. For example, this would have cost an Assistant Professor making $60,000 more than $80,000 over the course of their career at UC.


  • In response to this initial proposal, AAUP-UC countered with a temporary one-year delay in the FY 2020-21 salary increase, where the increase would have been added back into a faculty member’s salary in the later years of the contract. This proposal would have comported with the cuts taken by UC’s upper administrators, which are temporary. It also would have produced a one-time savings for UC of over $7 million. Ultimately, however, the Administration decided that it was not in a position to extend the CBA for one year because of economic uncertainties. In short, the Administration turned down AAUP-UC’s proposal and the $7 million in savings it would have produced.


  • AAUP-UC also proposed labor-management committees to study and report on the UC budget, as well as the competitiveness of UC Faculty salaries. These proposals were rejected without counteroffers.


  • The Administration then proposed a voluntary furlough plan, which AAUP-UC was willing to accept after some modifications. While some individual faculty members have expressed an interest in participating in a voluntary furlough program, many faculty members—including those who have attended the Town Halls this summer—are skeptical of furloughs generally. A voluntary furlough program importantly leaves the decision to individual UC faculty members about whether to participate. Faculty who are interested in participating in the voluntary furlough program should contact the AAUP-UC office to obtain a form that delineates the procedure and their rights. This process is designed to ensure that the faculty member’s decision is informed and free of undue pressure.


  • The Administration initially proposed the elimination of most Faculty Development Funds for FY 2020-2021.  Based on the survey results, however, this proposal was not practical: Faculty still expect to have a considerable need for funding, and many will be adapting their professional development activities to fit the current crisis. Ultimately, an agreement was reached to allow a 20% reduction of most Faculty Development funds. The 20% reduction, along with any unspent funds will be returned to the colleges to alleviate the fiscal crisis.

Meanwhile, the joint AAUP-UC/Faculty Senate Budget Task Force continues to do its important work and will be releasing a comprehensive report later this summer. The AAUP-UC remains concerned about the nature of permanent cuts to college operating budgets. A recurrent theme raised by Faculty at the July 29th Town Hall noted that UC’s Administration has not provided clear answers as to why they are proposing permanent budget cuts to solve a temporary budget crisis. Earlier this month, Ohio announced that cuts to the State Share of Instruction (SSI) would be far less severe than what the UC Administration had projected. UC’s response was to eliminate the use of any of its reserve funds to deal with the pandemic. This is not the response one would expect of an institution in a financial crisis. The short- and long-term impacts of these permanent cuts are of concern to many Faculty and will have adverse effects for the core mission of the University. Permanent solutions are still necessary to re-focus UC on its core academic mission of teaching and research.

As we move forward, the proposed changes to Faculty Development funding and the option of voluntary furloughs will be incorporated in an MOU. Because we avoided reopening the contract, this action will not require a vote of the membership. The AAUP-UC team wishes to thank the Administration for their professionalism and cordiality during these discussions. We hope to continue to work with UC Administrators in good faith as we move forward together in partnership to keep UC’s academic mission robust and healthy.

Overall, these discussions resulted in a very positive outcome. Many other Ohio Faculties had furloughs and reductions forced upon them. We are fortunate that we have a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement as a foundation for these discussions.

And finally, thank you to our membership for your support. We have received many, many new memberships over the last few months, which not only makes our Chapter stronger but also better positioned going into negotiations in 2022. Remember that only members can vote on the Contract or changes made to the Contract. If you are not yet a member, please visit the AAUP-UC website or email the office for a membership form.

In solidarity,

Connie Kendall Theado
AAUP-UC President

Town Hall Meeting July 29, 2020

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey on COVID 19 responses. The participation rate was very high. Your responses are productively guiding the Chapter’s Executive Council as we move forward.

The survey results clearly demonstrate that  Faculty have put in a tremendous amount of additional work in response to COVID-19 and thus have reservations about making substantive changes to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). An AAUP Works article outlining the survey results will be published by the Chapter shortly.

To gather additional feedback and provide an update on the situation, we will be holding another university-wide Faculty Town Hall on Wednesday, July 29, at 10 a.m. via Zoom. A link to the town hall will be sent the day before the meeting.

As a reminder, the AAUP-UC Chapter received a request to engage in formal discussions with the Administration—including the exploration of contractual means—to address the financial crisis facing UC. Negotiations are not required, and the current CBA will remain the same unless both sides agree to change the terms. AAUP-UC has appointed a team to engage in preliminary discussions and exchange information with the Administration. Again, please bear in mind that these are not formal negotiations at this time.

The AAUP-UC team is composed of the AAUP staff, Eric Palmer (Executive Director), Jeff Cramerding (Director of Contract Administration), Dave Rubin (former Executive Director and consultant), along with the following faculty members:

Steve Mockabee, A&S
Amber Peplow, UCBA
Virginia Russell, DAAP

Professors Mockabee and Peplow also serve on the AAUP-UC/Faculty Senate Joint Budget Committee. Their expertise and familiarity with UC’s budget and the financial implications of the current situation have been advantageous. Professor Russell has been on past bargaining teams and is a particular expert in the area of faculty development funds. We thank all three of these faculty members for their commitment of time and service on behalf of our Chapter.

As always, the AAUP-UC Executive Council will continue to be as diligent and transparent as possible as these discussions proceed. I hope to see you at the Town Hall on Wednesday.

In solidarity,
Connie Kendall Theado
AAUP-UC President

COVID-19 Updates

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

AAUP-UC Executive Council Editorial:  Renewing Our Call for Clarity and Shared Governance Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 Response Update (August 3, 2020)

Video of 4th AAUP Town Hall Meeting with Updates of Formal Talks Between AAUP and UC

Town Hall Meeting for Updates on Formal Talks Regarding the Contract

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 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


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