Published: November 6. 2015
The Faculty Affairs Council members voted in approval of the tentative agreement on the faculty contract, ending months of negotiation.
The electronic ballot that was open Oct. 28, 29 and 30 resulted in 197 votes in favor of the tentative agreement and 38 votes in opposition.
Associate professor Gretchen Van Dyke, Ph.D., teaches in the political science department. She was an FAC officer from 2000 – 2004.
“As a former officer, I was especially conscious that … there were some concerns about some of the details of the contract that (there) would be potential for us to come out of this process being divided because of disagreements and dissatisfaction with some elements of the contract,” Van Dyke said. “So that 197 out of 235 voted positively indicates that we still are a united faculty.”
Chairperson of the FAC, Michael Friedman, Ph.D., explained the two aspects of the contract that caused hesitation among faculty.
“I think the two main things that were problematic for people were the fact that The University was increasing the cost of insurance to the faculty,” Friedman said. “Health insurance costs were going up and that there was no provision for equity pay in this contract.”
However, several faculty members said the nature of contract negotiation implies a give-and-take. Van Dyke said FAC officers suggested this was the best contract they could get.
“The officers made it very clear to us, as the union membership, that this was the best deal we were going to get,” Van Dyke said. “And that despite the negatives in the agreement and concerns about the agreement, I think we decided to unite behind the agreement as the best possible contract that we can get.”
The FAC members had different concerns, and Professor Mary Beth Holmes from the communication department said this was because everybody is in different stages of life.
“You have to look out for the best,” Holmes said. “That’s not an easy thing to do – figure out what’s best for the most people.”
The approving vote demonstrates two large groups, made up of several individuals, agreeing on one contract. Donald Boomgaarden, Ph.D., senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said he is happy the FAC and the administration could come together.
“I’m very glad negotiations have led us to a contract,” Boomgaarden said in an email. “And I thank our FAC and FPC teams for their excellent collaborative effort.”
The administration did not respond to an interview request.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org