We had a short surprise visit from interim Provost Katznelson yesterday in our bargaining session. He asserted a strong desire to finish an agreement by the end of June and pointed to some of the recent positive changes in the University proposals. We reminded him of some of the important remaining obstacles to what we would consider a fair agreement including timeliness in non-discrimination and fellow equity.
On the topic of Non-Discrimination, the Provost said he shared our dismay with the Trump administration’s new regulations on Title IX, which aim to enhance the rights of accused sexual harassers instead of the rights of survivors of harassment. He then previewed the University’s newest proposal, which made meaningful movement in our direction, including a significantly shorter timeline to take many discrimination harassment claims to neutral arbitration if necessary.
Specifically, in their latest proposal the University has agreed that the Union may appeal discrimination and harassment grievances/complaints to neutral arbitration. For all discrimination and harassment complaints, the EOAA office would determine within 5 days if the case involved Title IX or not. If the Union disagreed with the determination, an agreed-upon independent lawyer would resolve the dispute within 10 days. For non-Title IX complaints, the Union would have the right to appeal to neutral arbitration after 90 days (instead of 180 in their last proposal) if the EOAA process was still incomplete. For Title IX cases, the Union could only appeal after completion of the EOAA process. They also proposed the right to re-open bargaining on this topic if the Title IX rules are overturned. While this proposal was a significant move in the right direction, we will continue to fight for more timely procedures and continue to work through our differences around the implications of the Title IX regulations.
On economic issues, the Provost touted the proposed major increases to Postdoc and Associate Researcher minimum salaries amidst a salary freeze for most campus employees. We acknowledged the significance of their proposal, but also pointed out the significantly lower increases (2%) for researchers above the new minimums during the first year of our contract. We will continue to fight for more robust increases for those already above the minimum.
Finally, we had discussion over the topic of fellow equity in regards to healthcare, childcare and other benefits and will continue bargaining over this topic.
We will work through the weekend to develop responses to their most recent proposals and expect to engage with the administration again on Monday and Tuesday. We will keep you posted. Please respond to this email if you would like to get more involved in efforts to win a fair agreement or if you would like to further discuss any of the articles.
As the situation with Trump’s proclamation to suspend new visas for foreign workers continues to develop, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee