January 2004 aaUPBEAT
Newsletter Editor Prepares to Step Down
A Union Vision: Thoughts on the AAUP's Past & Future
by David Colton
Introduction: Stepping Down as Newsletter Editor
For the past 12 years, I have served as Upbeat editor, transforming it from a sporadically published newsletter to a monthly publication. During that same period I also served on the union's executive council, first as president, then as past president - both of which are voting positions - and finally just as newsletter editor, a nonvoting position. I have also acted as chief contract negotiator during the last four contract negotiations.
Throughout my tenure as Upbeat editor, I have operated on the premise that the newsletter is of central importance to the union since it is our primary vehicle for disseminating the union's views on a variety of issues. Not only does the newsletter's status as a monthly publication insure regularity of information-sharing with the union's membership, it also provides the union with the opportunity to detail for the broader UD community its vision of higher education and the challenges facing academia during periods of technological, economic and cultural changes. Without such a platform for articulating our views, UD faculty would find ourselves at a severe disadvantage when combating Administration decisions that run counter to faculty interests.
Given the above, it goes without saying that the editor's position is an important one, since the publication, each issue of which is approved by the Executive Council, is designed to articulate policy and explore emerging issues. As with any influential union position, the newsletter's editorship shouldn't remain in a single individual's hands for too long, since that defeats the purpose of regularly renewing union vitality with new voices and new blood. Because of this, I will step down as editor following the May issue. This means that I will also leave the Executive Council and no longer be a part of the official union leadership. Although I will miss my AAUP responsibilities and the challenges that accompany those responsibilities, I simultaneously feel that the time has come to open the door for the emergence of new leadership. In this light, I see my resignation of the editorship as motivated by the same spirit that caused me, 12 years ago, to push for the newsletter's monthly publication: to strengthen the union by making changes when the situation calls for it.
I'll use the remainder of this newsletter to discuss issues I consider vital to the AAUP's future success.
The Union & Diversity
During my time on the Executive Council, working on the improvement of faculty salaries and benefits was a priority.
But another issue that was also of central importance was diversity. This issue's importance stems from the fact that higher education in a democratic society must be inclusive, providing all segments of society equal access, the only criteria being intellectual merit. As the ongoing national debates on affirmative action, rising tuition costs, federal monitoring of foreign-born graduate students and faculty, and pay equity show, diversity and diversity-related issues aren't just union concerns but are areas of interest to a wide portion of the population.
In this context, it should be a matter of pride to UD faculty that over the last decade the union has made significant gains for women (e.g., we negotiated a conditions of employment package for nontenure track faculty, the majority of whom are women, and an administered load policy covering maternity leave - see section 9.13 of the collective bargaining agreement).
However, as satisfying as I find it to have participated in these accomplishments, it remains true that other aspects of our diversity efforts haven't gone as well. Essentially no progress has been made in increasing UD's already low percentage of African-American faculty, which in turn reinforces the University's problems in attracting African-American students.
Just as disillusioning is UD's role with regard to gays: while mounting numbers of corporations and universities provide gays with domestic partner benefits (39.6% of Fortune 500 companies now give such benefits, up five times since 1997, while the number of colleges and universities offering similar benefits has skyrocketed to well over 100 in the last few years), UD's trustees continue to resist the idea, displaying a stubborn prejudice just as flawed as their predecessors were half a century ago when they refused to admit African-American students.
Regarding the hiring of more women and people of color, the Administration's so-called pro-diversity position is misleading. Administrators, while wrapping themselves in a cloak of positive-sounding goals like their "targets of opportunity" approach to the hiring of more minorities, fail to mention that any such new hires will usually be hired at the expense of existing positions that departments are trying to fill. This has the effect of pitting disciplines against each other within departments and ultimately undermining diversity efforts since diversity hiring practices can't be successful if they are applied in such a way as to put the quest for diversity in conflict with the search for scarce positions. Administration policies that don't acknowledge this fact create departmental turmoil, not diversity solutions. In the process the Administration stymies faculty efforts to come up with a concrete resolution to the diversity issue. Meanwhile, the Administration, adopting an above-the-fray posture, criticizes "backward" faculty for the school's diversity problems while obscuring the fact that the Administration's policies reinforce exactly the policies that they condemn.
This dead-end approach must be changed.
Who has the Power? Two Views of Union Leadership
There are two different views of union leadership.
The one, the so-called labor-management cooperation view, conceptualizes unions as worker formations that, although mandated to protect their members, are expected to do so within the framework of helping management achieve its own goals of greater efficiency, productivity and cost savings. This view, known as "jointness" within the industrial world and as "the corporate model" within many white collar workplaces, has been particularly noticeable in the U.S. over the last two and a half decades, ever since the late 1970s recession. Although usually obscured by a lot of rhetoric, the cooperation model is based on the premise that union members are obligated to work within boundaries set by management and therefore all union gains must be achieved on that particular playing field and not outside of it. In other words, union freedom is curtailed by management prerogative. In such a scenario, a main union priority is not to offend management because of the fear that if it does so management may set even more rigid boundaries than previously, further narrowing the space in which the union has to maneuver. Such a vision of union-management relationships stresses management's status as primary power-holder and the union's status as a supporting player with some, but not much, flexibility.
A different view of union leadership (the one which I subscribe to) is that both sides of the union-management equation have power, but of different kinds. At UD, for instance, the Administration clearly controls the purse strings and possesses considerable power in enforcing administered workload agreements. On the other hand, the AAUP is capable of mobilizing faculty and (when appropriate) sentiment in the state of Delaware against Administration decisions or misuses of privilege that run counter to faculty interests. Over the years, the AAUP has done this on a range of salary, benefits, equity and academic freedom issues. Although it's true that the AAUP has certainly not won all its struggles, the union's increased visibility and systematic presentation of educational vision over the last decade - both accomplished primarily through the newsletter and the union's bargaining strategies - coincided with, and indeed helped to create, the union's evolution into an organization that is more capable now than ever before of countering Administration excesses.
However, although this is true, the union's future success is far from guaranteed. If the union doesn't expand its presence and methodically publicize its views (through The News Journal and local TV as well as the Upbeat), vigorously enforce the collective bargaining agreement by filing grievances when necessary, produce new leaders, achieve new victories (as are needed, as previously mentioned, in the diversity area) and establish alliances with other unions (both on and off campus) as well as community groups, then the union will degenerate into nothing more than a subsidiary of the Administration. In that case, our salaries, benefits and overall security will assuredly suffer. These are not times in which our professional well-being can be taken for granted. For the AAUP to remain strong enough to protect its members, it must constantly reestablish itself through its activism and clear thinking.
This understanding of power relations - i.e., of the union having its own needs as opposed to being merely an adjunct to the Administration - is realistic, but by no means anti-Administration. Clearly, the AAUP and Administration can work together wherever there is commonality, which there frequently is. But just as clearly, the union must not fear taking a firm stand and opposing the Administration on issues that negatively effect individual faculty members, the faculty as a whole, or UD's overall educational charge. To not do this is to retreat from the union's mission of protecting its members and the institution's educational responsibilities.
Of course, none of this can be accomplished without a committed membership. This commitment can take a number of forms, including helping the union to plot strategies for dealing with specific issues, running for union office, using some service time to work for the union, etc. The number of faculty members doing such things is, to say the least, less than it should be. Even more disconcerting is that in a profession in which many members are protected by tenure, a benefit that originated in order to guarantee free speech rights in higher education, there are tenured professors who are unwilling to used their protected status to speak out in support of the rights of untenured faculty, diversity issues and so on. The union, to be more effective, must seek to improve this situation. Unused strengths are useless strengths.
The AAUP's Future Role & Faculty Involvement
As I have written numerous times in recent Upbeat articles, we at UD face the same phenomenon that faculties across the nation must face: a period of reduced financing for universities as well as ongoing efforts to organize higher education along corporate lines. These realities have the logical consequence of stepping up the pressure for increased workloads and intensifying competition between departments to see which departments can secure the most outside funding.
The departments which "win" such competitions will of course be favored by administrations that more and more view the institutions of which they are in charge as income generators rather than as educational deliverers. This favoritism will take the form of exacerbating already existing salary differences between various departments as well as determining which departments have "earned" the right to expand and which should be cut back.
Additionally, there will be a strain on benefits packages, particularly healthcare, as administrations and boards of trustees attempt to shift the cost of burgeoning managerial budgets and reduced government funding onto faculty.
Such realities mean that conflicts between administration and faculty goals are certain to increase over coming years, here at UD as well as nationally. For us this means that although we should certainly cooperate with the Administration whenever possible to combat common problems generated by the current situation in higher education, we must be pragmatic in recognizing that the quality of a University of Delaware education for decades to come will in good part depend on the union's capacity in the foreseeable future to build on its tradition of independent action and in the process protect academic freedom, effectively monitor workload assignments, preserve salary and benefits gains, insure equity and diversity, and be steadfast in presenting our vision of education and campus life to the surrounding community.
A passive union, or a union that sees itself as subordinate to the Administration, cannot accomplish such things, which means that it can't successfully help its membership nor save the communities it serves from the weakened education students will receive if the corporatization of higher education is left unchallenged.
Special Salary Adjustments Under Article 12.8 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement
by Leon Campbell
Each year the AAUP Contract Maintenance Officer (CMO) receives a list of the names of faculty designated to receive special salary adjustments under Article 12.8 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The list includes the adjustment amount for each recipient and the reasons the adjustments were made.
The CMO reviews the list with the Vice President for Administration to certify that the awards are for equity, market, market and equity and retention. The CMO reports on the salary adjustments to the AAUP Executive Council.
The amount of money distributed each year varies depending upon the funds available. Sufficient funds are not usually available to meet all of the needs of the colleges and some adjustments may be spread over two or more years.
The funds for 2003-2004 were distributed to faculty in all seven colleges as follows:
Equity ($54,372), Market ($80,120) and Retention ($50,801) for a total of $185, 293. The largest college, the College of Arts & Sciences, distributed a total of $72,040 for all categories.
Individual faculty members may send a request to the chair of the department, the AAUP Contract Maintenance Officer or the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research and Planning to conduct a salary equity analysis to determine whether or not salary adjustments under Article 12.8 may be warranted.
In 2004 there will be a five-week window of opportunity from January 26 , 2004 and ending on February 27, 2004 to respond to any and all formal requests for faculty salary equity analysis. Requests made after February 27, 2004 will not be processed.
The results of the salary equity analysis conducted by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning are sent to the dean of the appropriate college for review and discussion with the department chair of the faculty member making the request.
The recommendations of chairs are advisory to the deans. Ultimately, the Provost reviews all proposed salary adjustments and decides whether or not to authorize them. In keeping with University policy, individuals' salaries are kept confidential throughout this process.
Any questions regarding these special salary adjustments should be addressed to Leon Campbell, AAUP Contract Maintenance Officer at 831-6767 or firstname.lastname@example.org.