Contract Wins for Collective Bargaining Chapters

By Sarah Mink

Several collective bargaining chapters reached or ratified new agreements in recent months with contracts that include ground­breaking language on support for caregivers; new professional development funds that will sup­port research, teaching, or service related to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and some of the most significant salary increases in recent years.

Adjunct professors with the Suffolk Affiliated Faculty-AAUP chapter have successfully negoti­ated their first contract since 2017. For the last few years, they have been governed by an “evergreen clause” that maintained language in the previous contract until a new one was negotiated. The tentative agreement includes a 10 percent pay increase over three years as well as language that moves non-tenure-track professors to a “senior lecturer” status after they teach for eight consecutive semesters.

United Academics of the Uni­versity of Oregon recently ratified a new contract after several years of contract extensions. Highlights include a 5 percent increase to base salary retroactive to January 1, 2022, and a 2 percent increase in 2023, along with raises to sal­ary floors and upcoming studies on inflation and salary equity issues; one of only a few caregiving articles within faculty contracts in the country, with provisions that include grant funds for travel-related caregiving expenses and seed grants to increase the number and capacity of local care provid­ers; more equitable procedures for tenure-track faculty reviews, including clear mechanisms for stopping the tenure clock and for faculty development through less burdensome, more beneficial midterm reviews; retention of current levels of raises for promo­tion and post-tenure reviews for tenure-track faculty and creation of a system of commensurate raises for career non-tenure-track faculty; and an end to “up-or-out” decisions in promotion reviews for library faculty.

Members at the University of Rhode Island recently rati­fied a new three-year agreement. Faculty will see across-the-board salary increases of 3 percent in 2022, 3.5 percent in 2023, and 3.5 percent in 2024. Additionally, the contract expands teaching-professor appointments from four years to six, providing additional job security, and adjusts and homogenizes the salary scale for non-tenure-track teaching fac­ulty. The contract also establishes principles for online teaching that protect academic freedom, faculty control over selection of materials and methods of teaching, intellec­tual property, ownership of course content, and determination of workload.

The University of Cincinnati chapter reached an agreement on a new contract that includes across-the-board salary increases as well as raises connected to the salaries of peer institutions, resulting in a total increase of 4 percent in year one, 3 percent in year two, and 2.75 percent in year three of the contract; increases to minimum salaries ranging from 5.5 percent up to 12.9 percent, with the largest increases at the assistant professor and assistant librarian ranks; a new category of professional develop­ment “for individual Faculty or Faculty Teams that will strengthen institutional coordination and sup­port for ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion-related research, teaching, or service”; and an agreement to increase professional development funds by 25 per­cent, with a minimum of $20,000 each year going toward the new category of proposals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The contract also includes lan­guage to affirm that, as faculty members, library faculty have shared governance rights that are identical to those of all other uni­versity faculty members.