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