(Ok, the tears were just mine because the conference room was so hot)
Well, we did it! Or, I should say, the bargaining team did it. All I did was sit in a swampy room and watch in awe as both sides of the table played ping pong with numbers. I won’t summarize the whole day, in part because my notes stopped making sense around 11:30, but mainly because I’d rather jump to the good part: our Tentative Agreements. First though, I have to remind readers that our team are all adjuncts, just like you. You know how full and often shifting and precarious your schedule is? Theirs is too. So it was really inspiring to watch them spend ten hours on a Saturday keeping figuratively cool despite the room’s literal temperature. (Also, shoutout to GEU observers for sticking it out with us to the sweltering end.)
Let me be clear: your team spent the Whole Day doing math. Ten hours. Of math. I mean, they made graphs! Bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts...there was a lot of talk about pie - the size of the PSU budget pie, its possible flavors, and how many slices of said pie were still in the fridge. After ten hours of math, weird things seem funny. And they never lost sight of their first priority, which is getting us significant and fair raises and benefits. That million dollar shortfall loomed over the negotiations for much of the day, but even when administration explained that they simply couldn’t budge any further, your Bargaineers refused to leave the table without a contract that would serve the needs of PSU’s part-time faculty. The fact that they’re not still sitting there means both sides worked together, and we have contract to be very proud of. In the short term, it will provide increased pay for all adjuncts, particularly for those faculty earning the lowest per credit rates (the vast majority of us). These sizable raises, which will kick in the fall of this year and next, are two long strides on the path to pay parity. And admin has committed to beginning the long-term work of achieving pay parity and addressing the inaccessibility of vital health care support for our union members.
We’ll have more details at our May 23 General Membership Meeting, but here is a very brief summary:
Secured raises for all members with a significant bump to those at the lower end of the payscale, effective Fall Term 2018 and Fall Term 2019, plus an across-the-board cost-of-living adjustment in Fall 2019
Developed more effective fee structures and secured administrative commitment to enforcing fair assignment practices, including increased course cancellation payments and late assignment fees.
Established a short-term solution for adjuncts experiencing financial hardship caused by a variety of factors--similar to the Interim Relief Fund, but with more sustainable funding.
Achieved commitment to actionable long-term health care solutions. Starting in advance of the next school year, administration, adjuncts, and a professional consultant will investigate options for PSU potentially providing adjuncts with supported access to a group health insurance plan.
Expanded access to Professional Development and Education Funds by eliminating minimum service requirements--now any adjunct can apply!
Secured funding to keep your Union afloat. PSU committed to a small but meaningful investment in your Union’s ability to function after the probable anti-union Supreme Court decision on Janus, demonstrating their belief in our ongoing advocacy on behalf of all of our membership.
Your bargaining team has done their job; now it’s your turn! Come to our spring General Membership Meeting to learn how you can benefit from this contract, and then vote on it! The final step in the negotiation process is when our membership votes to approve the gains we made.Our power comes from you. The more involved you are, the stronger our contracts will be. Member support and input throughout this process was a constant reminder, to both sides, that leaving the table without a good deal was ignoring a significant -- and vocal! -- part of PSU’s community. We look forward to seeing you on May 23rd to celebrate our achievements this year, plan for the challenges ahead (like the impact of Janus vs AFSCME), and vote on the contract!
General Membership Meeting, Celebration and Vote!
May 23, 4 - 5:30 pm