Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Question on AAUP Affiliation for Discussion

At the next UNI-United Faculty/AAUP membership meeting, Friday, April 23, 2010, 3:30-5 p.m. in Seerley 115, the main agenda item will be  considering the following question.  Please feel free to comment on it in advance on this public blog.
Should UNI-United Faculty/AAUP, as of July 1, 2010, split into the following two separate, independent organizations:  (1)  UNI-AAUP, which will be an Advocacy Chapter of AAUP and (2) UNI-United Faculty, which will not be affiliated with any national labor organization?



Fact Sheet
Regarding
Splitting UNI-United Faculty/AAUP into Two Separate, Independent Organizations

The Proposal:  At a meeting of the UF Executive Board and the newly elected members of next year’s Executive Board (DeSoto, Hawbaker, & Strauss absent), it was recommend that the UF membership consider separating UNI-United Faculty/AAUP into two independent organizations:  an Advocacy Chapter of AAUP called UNI-AAUP and a collective bargaining unit called UNI-United Faculty, with UNI-United Faculty not being affiliated with any larger labor organization.

Current Situation:  UNI-United Faculty/AAUP is a collective bargaining unit representing faculty at UNI, affiliated with AAUP.  Campus chapters of AAUP can be Advocacy Chapters or Collective Bargaining Congress (CBC) Chapters.  Currently, UF is a CBC Chapter of AAUP.  Currently, UF members pay dues for UF, AAUP, and our chapter’s CBC membership.

Benefits of AAUP Affiliation:  The primary AAUP benefit is its ability to investigate possible violations of its standards and possibly sensor universities that violate them.  AAUP benefits do not include direct support or assistance for arbitrations or negotiations.  The CBC benefits include bargaining and training opportunities at its Summer Institutes, information exchanges between CBC chapters, and a voice and vote at CBC meetings.  The CBC is very active in attempts to organize faculty at other universities into collective bargaining units.

The Consequences:  If this proposal is approved by the UF membership, then UNI faculty will have the choice of joining UNI-United Faculty, UNI-AAUP, both, or neither organization.  All members of UNI-United Faculty/AAUP will remain members of UNI-United Faculty with significantly reduced dues.  The annual dues recommended by the UF Budget Committee, not yet approved by the Central Committee, for (1) status quo (no split), (2) UF alone after split, (3) AAUP alone after split are reported below:



          2010-2011 Annual Dues
Dues Category
Currently
No Split
UF alone
AAUP
Full-Time
$428
$500
$378
$185
Part-Time
$114
$200
$94
$46
Entrant/Spouse
$237
$300
$187
$92











If approved, when will this change become effective:  As of July 1, 2010

Will UF suffer from lack of support from AAUP?  If the split is approved, UNI-United Faculty will no longer be a member of the CBC.  However, UNI will have the same access it does now with AAUP staff handling issues related to AAUP principles and standards.  The Advocacy Chapter will have the same access to AAUP staff on AAUP issues as UNI-United Faculty/AAUP has today.

Is United Faculty required by law to be affiliated with a larger labor organization?  No.
 

18 comments:

  1. After reading the thread above, I would hope that the chair of the budget committee would also speak to the justification for such an increase in UF dues if no split occurs. I expect this increase can be backed up with relevant data/information and not just abstract generalities.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would like to know more about who is suggesting this and why. James Robinson

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi James,
    This is a fair question. This is an item that has been brought up before, but leadership has felt the benefits of AAUP membership have been significant. It is being brought up again now as an effort to save money. There are important consequences to consider of course, which will be fully discussed at the upcoming meeting. I hope you can attend.
    Best,
    Cathy DeSoto

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1. Who will have authority to bargain for UNI faculty?
    2. How will splitting into two separate organizations benefit UNI faculty?
    3. What is the role of an Advocacy Chapter?
    4. Will UNI faculty who pay lower dues by not being affiliated with AAUP--have membership in the Advocacy Chapter or no membership at all, receive the same collective bargaining benefits of those paying higher dues?
    5. What is the motivation for this proposal? It was stated that the proposal "is being brought up again as an effort to save money." Where/in which area? Are there other proposals for comparable cost savings?
    6. A majority of faculty (that didn't include me) voted for a January -June 30, 2010 salary reduction. How will a vote to split into two separate independent organizations effect what's next with that issue, the new fiscal year, and next year?
    7. Is there a reason the split needs to be implemented July 1?
    8. What Constitution and By-laws would the Advocacy Chapter have? Who would serve as the leadership for the Advocacy Chapter? Would both organizations operate separately or collaboratively in the best interest of faculty?
    9. At the meeting, will there be handouts with more details for us to read and review so that we have enough information to truly make an informed decision.
    10.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Let me try to answer anonymous' questions:
    1. Who will have authority to bargain for UNI faculty? UNI-UNITED FACULTY WOULD STILL BE THE BARGAINING AGENT FOR UNI FACULTY.
    2. How will splitting into two separate organizations benefit UNI faculty? THE SPLIT WILL GIVE UNI FACULTY MORE CHOICES; MEMBERSHIP IN UNI-UNITED FACULTY WILL NOT REQUIRE PAYING AAUP DUES.
    3. What is the role of an Advocacy Chapter?
    AN ADVOCACY CHAPTER IS THE NAME THAT AAUP GIVES TO NON-BARGAINING CHAPTERS. IT'S ROLE WOULD BE THE SAME AS ANY OTHER NON-BARGAINING AAUP CHAPTER, SUCH AS THE ONE AT U OF IOWA, ISU, ETC.
    4. Will UNI faculty who pay lower dues by not being affiliated with AAUP--have membership in the Advocacy Chapter or no membership at all, receive the same collective bargaining benefits of those paying higher dues? UNI-UNITED FACULTY MEMBERS WILL NOT BE MEMBERS OF THE AAUP CHAPTER UNLESS THEY CHOSE TO JOIN THE AAUP CHAPTER AND PAY THOSE DUES AS WELL AS THE UNI-UNITED FACULTY DUES. ALL FACULTY RECEIVE THE SAME BENEFITS PROVIDED BY THE MASTER AGREEMENT REGARDLESS OF THEIR MEMBERSHIP STATUS.
    5. What is the motivation for this proposal? It was stated that the proposal "is being brought up again as an effort to save money." Where/in which area? Are there other proposals for comparable cost savings? THE PRIMARY MOTIVATION FOR THIS PROPOSAL IS THE POSSIBILITY OF REDUCING THE DUES OF MEMBERS OF THE BARGAINING UNIT - UNI-UNITED FACULTY.
    6. A majority of faculty (that didn't include me) voted for a January -June 30, 2010 salary reduction. How will a vote to split into two separate independent organizations effect what's next with that issue, the new fiscal year, and next year? THE SPLIT WOULD NOT AFFECT BARGAINING AT ALL. UNI-UNITED FACULTY WOULD CONTINUE REPRESENTING ALL FACULTY IN BARGAINING.
    7. Is there a reason the split needs to be implemented July 1? THE UNI-UNITED FACULTY FISCAL YEAR BEGINS ON JULY 1ST.
    8. What Constitution and By-laws would the Advocacy Chapter have? Who would serve as the leadership for the Advocacy Chapter? Would both organizations operate separately or collaboratively in the best interest of faculty? THE CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS OF THE NEW, ADVOCACY CHAPTER WOULD HAVE TO BE WRITTEN AND APPROVED BY THE INITIAL GROUP OF MEMBERS. THE TWO ORGANIZATIONS WOULD WORK TOGETHER AS REQUIRED FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE FACULTY.
    9. At the meeting, will there be handouts with more details for us to read and review so that we have enough information to truly make an informed decision. DEPENDING ON THE POSTINGS ON THIS BLOG, THERE MAYBE ADDITIONAL MATERIALS PROVIDED AT THE MEETING.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS.

    HANS

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello-
    1. UF would bargain with BOR, but would not be officially affiliated with AAUP in this role.
    2. The idea is that persons could be one, the other or both. It is thought this would save some faculty money (e.g. if they did not also join AAUP).
    3/4. Yes, UF would still represent all members of the bargaining unit.
    5. I will have to defer to others.
    6. As president-elect, I will be responsible for bargaining successes and failures. I have some thoughts on how the split might effect bargaining, but they are too complex for a blog site response. You are welcome to contact me and we can talk further.
    7. I do not know of a reason a split needs to occur by July 1. I will defer to others on that question.
    8. Good question. My assumption is the bylaws would be quite similar. But current president might have a different view (I am not sure). The idea is that faculty could be AAUP members or just UF members -- to decouple the two organizations.
    9. Come to the meeting, I suspect there will be more information. This is a serious question. We need people who are interested and thinking it through (as you are) to be there, ask questions and vote.
    Best,
    Cathy DeSoto

    ReplyDelete
  7. If this proposal is approved, UNI-United Faculty would not be affiliated with the Collective Bargaining Congress of AAUP. Go to http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/about/cbc/ and http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/about/cbc/cbhand.htm for more information about the CBC.

    Individual faculty are NOT members of the CBC. Only collective bargaining units, such at UNI-United Faculty, can be members of the CBC. Individual faculty receive no direct benefits from the CBC. The only benefits that the CBC provides are those described in the links above.

    For more information about the benefits of AAUP membership go to http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/involved/benes/.

    UNI-United Faculty is the organization certified by IPERB to represent UNI faculty. All of the terms of the Master Agreement will remain intact and UNI-United Faculty will continue to bargain with the BOR as it has done so in the past, if the proposal is passed.

    Note that this proposal will save UNI-United Faculty over $24,000 per year that we now send directly to AAUP and the CBC. The split saves this expense and allows the dues to be reduced while simultaneously increasing the organization's revenues.

    Remaining affiliated with AAUP and CBC will result in a significant dues increase in order for the organization to operate on a break-even basis. The Executive Boards put forth this proposal for the membership to decide between (1) staying affiliated with AAUP and paying significantly higher dues or (2) dropping the AAUP affiliation and lowering dues. The decision is up to the membership to make at the meeting. I urge all of you to attend.

    Hans

    ReplyDelete
  8. Is the outgoing leadership (old) and the incoming leadership (new) of UF in agreement on dropping our AAUP affiliation. It seems the new leadership would have much more to loose as the result of such a drastic action especially given contract negotiations will begin again this coming Fall. Consistent with a previous comment regarding dues structure, is the newly elected leadership in favor of increasing dues at the level proposed by Hans (old leadership)? Why the move to bring up this issue now? If this represents a unilateral move, I am strongly opposed? In addition, given the limited time I have to dedicate to investigating other faculty unions and their workings - I am dismayed at the current leadership for even bringing up this issue at this point in the semester and giving little time for those of us who would like to investigate this issue further.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello,
    These are good questions showing long term thinking. As incoming leadership, I am still trying to understand what all the ramifiations of such a split would be. I can say that some of the incoming leadership are at least open to the idea of dropping AAUP affiliation and there was no objections raised at a recent meeting to at least bringing this up to the membership. I was not at this meeting. I am agnostic at this point, still collecting information on the ramifications. Hans is in favor of bringing this forward to the membership and developed the fact sheet that was distibuted (with some minor input).
    Please come to the meeting. UF really needs interested persons who are thinking long term.
    Best,
    Cathy

    ReplyDelete
  10. I was at the meeting between the old and new executive board. I am not certain which way I feel at this point, nor do I believe that this 'Has' to be done right now. However, it does seem reasonable to bring this topic forward to the membership for a discussion in light of the costs involved. For that reason, I supported putting the item on the agenda for the general membership meeting in order to have an open discussion and benefit from the collective wisdom of my colleagues - many of whom are far more knowledgeable in this area than I. I am already pleased to see the input here on this discussion thread as I believe it shows that this is a topic which merits careful consideration and discussion.
    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  11. I propose that we defer the vote to another date till we have all had time to thoroughly discuss the issue and understand its long term consequences. I would find it difficult to listen to all the information and then have to vote on it in the same meeting. This is far too important a decision.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Some additional information regarding how this proposal developed might prove useful.

    The proposal started in the Budget Committee, which is required to recommend the budget and dues for the upcoming year for the approval of the Central Committee. The Budget Committee felt that UF's dues were getting too high. So, the Budget Committee developed a dues structure that would result if UF discontinued its affiliation with AAUP.

    At its April meeting, the Central Committee authorized the current and new Executive Boards to act on behalf of the Central Committee regarding timely matters, because the CC ran out of time to consider various agenda items of a timely nature, including the Budget Committee's report.

    The combined Executive Boards met (with three absent), to consider several timely issues, including the Budget Committee report.
    After considerable discussion, the combined Executive Boards unanimously agreed that the Membership should consider dropping AAUP
    affiliation in order to lower UF's dues, while still giving UNI an AAUP presence with an Advocacy Chapter.

    The combined Executive Boards neither accepted nor rejected the proposal to drop AAUP affiliation. Instead, they recommended that the Membership consider the question.

    Hans

    ReplyDelete
  13. Some comments are in order.

    1) When we changed from NEA to AAUP affiliation it was very sudden. For years we said we needed the financial resources of NEA to fight grievances, then suddenly we decided we could get by without that backup.

    2) Being in a negotiation year is not a reason to postpone dropping the AAUP affiliation. I think the feeling of most of the people who have worked on negotiations is that AAUP has not provided us with important information/resources for negotiations.

    3) Our financial situation is not good; when we converted from NEA to AAUP we knew we needed to increase our reserves. That has not happened. We have had too much of an emphasis on minimizing the level of dues. (Our reserves have not decreased, there is no *immediate* problem.) Increased legal expenses because of the negotiations accompanying the salary reduction in a non-bargaining year (and some legal expenses accompanying health care discussions) have resulted in greater expenditures than anticipated this year.

    4) I personally think that affiliation with AAUP has more of a philosophical than functional advantage. If the level of dues is discouraging many people from joining, removing almost $200 per person which is sent to AAUP could help our situation.

    R. B. Campbell
    campbell@math.uni.edu

    ReplyDelete
  14. Russ makes some good points, especially the point about AAUP affiliation being more philosophical than functional. I am sure that we all support the fundamental principles of academic freedom, tenure, due process, and shared-governance that AAUP has championed for so many decades.

    The fundamental question is do we wish to force UF members to pay AAUP dues? When we first switched to AAUP, the dues was less than being with NEA/ISEA. That helped us to increase our "war chest" by a considerable amount. This past (non-bargaining) year, we have already spent some $17,000 on legal expenses for the items that Russ mentioned. We had to dip into our reserves to pay our bills this year, and next year our legal expenses could be in the order of $25,000, because it is a bargaining year, more if we have to go to arbitration over the contract.

    Bargaining, contract maintenance, grievances, and at least two (health benefits cost and overload compensation) ongoing labor-management discussions all involve the UF attorney. Running a union that aggressively protects, defends, and builds-up faculty rights is very costly, and AAUP does not help us with any of these costs.

    We have a difficult decision to make. Stay with AAUP and pay much higher dues, lower our dues by not affiliating with any national labor union?

    There is another alternative; stop spending so much money on defending and building faculty rights under the Master Agreement. I am sure that the administration would love to see an impotent United Faculty.

    Hans

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jim O'LoughlinApril 20, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    Due to family responsibilities I am unable to make the meeting on Friday, April 23. I'm concerned that there is no provision made for those who wish to vote on this issue but can't make a hastily-called meeting at the end of the semester. It seems that an issue this large should have received a formal and public discussion (beyond a blog) before being put to a vote and that greater efforts should be made for an inclusive voting process.

    Jim O'Loughlin

    ReplyDelete
  16. I agree with you Jim... I personally am hoping that this meeting serves as the beginning of the discussion rather than the decision. Like you, I have previous conflicts that will keep me from attending the meeting. That said, I have heard this suggested several times and it seems appropriate to start a conversation at the general meeting. My initial reactions are two fold..... First, I personally do not believe our dues are particularly high. When I left the Detroit area 23 years ago, I was paying higher dues than ours are currently. Secondly, I have immediate misgivings about dis-associating from AAUP - an organization that I most often find to be working for goals that I personally support.

    When I voted to place this on the agenda as a topic, I did not anticipate that a decision would be made....that is, unless there were overwhelming support for it.

    Even with the blog posts here, I believe that it shows that many members have misgivings about this idea that are similar to my own.

    Jeff Funderburk

    ReplyDelete
  17. 1. Hans' statement that "There is another alternative; stop spending so much money on defending and building faculty rights under the Master Agreement. I am sure that the administration would love to see an impotent United Faculty." sure sounds like a scare tactic of do it or we will lose benefits or jobs. This intimates that the outgoing board,and/or president like the idea.

    2. Brought up by the budget committee, must be decided soon because the committee is supposed to submit a budget. Is this for FY 2010/11 that starts on 7/1/2010? In what organization does the outgoing head set the budget for the incoming? Seems the new board might want to look at the financial statements and 'health' of these before developing a budget for the NEW executive committee. It also seems the outgoing group might stick to an end-of-term/fiscal year report only.

    3. I have no doubt that a lot of money was spent this year on legal fees or that these will likely increase next year. Lower reserves? What are the reserves? Why is a dollar amount here to back up these statements? Maybe a new board should re-evaluate the legal costs, hours, and representation, does everyone think the current team was so excellent that we should keep them? Maybe someone else can do better for less.

    4. Are we being offered swamp land in Florida. Handouts may be given? Would anyone buy land without seeing it? I still see no purpose mentioned for an 'advocacy' group, isn't that what a union is?? Cutting membership dues is the only reason for this proposal? This is insufficient, my observations have been that the amount of dues did not match the outcomes of union efforts; if members are informed timely (not last minute), have alternative choices of methods in voting, know the union finances, etc they may be willing to pay dues. Faculty want to know what they are paying for, it's simple.

    5. More secrets it seems--the question on the agenda (and the post looks as if a yes/no answer is expected) has no real info:
    What do advocacy groups do? Oh this is decided after we pass it. What would be the policies, procedures, structure, by-laws? Oh, this is decided after we pass it.

    6. So, who wants to pay to join a club that has no leadership and no way to decide on one, no mission, no structure, no clear purpose, no evidence of need, no idea of what members do or get or for what they are responsible, on and on. How do I know this won't be a shadow organization that actually undercuts negotiations the union is holding?

    There is a new AAUP prez, a new prez for United Faculty, why would this be brought up in the last minute by the lame duck? Why do lame duck presidents push through laws, appointments, and pardons while no one is paying attention?

    This reminds me of what I discuss in HIV training--just because your new partner says he/she is HIV negative does not mean it's true, it takes several weeks for the antibodies to show up, take the test again before having unsafe sex. A little delay of small pleasure can prevent a lifetime of illness. Here we are told it's all about saving members $$, we may regret the consequences of satisfying the immediate gratification.

    There is no reason to pass this now. Just sayin'

    ReplyDelete
  18. I just had time to start looking at the information that has been provided and the issues that have been discussed on this blog. I am very troubled that there appears to be an attempt to push this through so hastily by the outgoing officers. If you looked at the material carefully the new leadership was not at the executive board meeting where this was decided. I also do not believe that the intent of the the Central Committee's motion was upheld when the current president called this meeting -- the bylaws of UF clearly ask that the exec board bring issues back to the Central Committee. It seems that the term "time sensitive" in the motion was defined in such a way to make this potentially divisive discussion take place during the most hectic part of the semester.
    Now more than ever we need to stand together, I am very hopeful that the change in leadership will lead to a more transparent process of union governance that is truly responsive to the needs of the members.

    ReplyDelete