FT Bargaining Update – 5.9.16

Dear Fellow Full-time Lecturers,

We, the members of the bargaining committee of the Tufts Full-Time Lecturers Union, have been negotiating with the administration since last summer towards our first contract. These negotiations are culminating in a day-long session this Friday, May 13 from 9am-4pm (location TBA). We will be holding our own Lecturers’ meeting this Tuesday, May 10 from 1-2:30pm in Miner 224 to prepare. Below is a quick recap of the process so far and details about the salary and raise issues that are still being discussed.

We encourage you, as someone who will be covered by the new contract, to participate in — or to at least witness — these final deliberations. A strong turnout this Friday will show the administration that we are united in our belief that we deserve a contract that values our role as teachers at Tufts.

CONTRACT PRIORITIES

From the beginning of the negotiations, we have emphasized that we are part of one faculty in which teaching and research are the twin pillars of Tufts’ mission. All of our positions have flowed from the view that teaching, and our role, needs to be better supported to ensure a productive balance.

Our main objectives have been:

  • Longer appointments
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Meaningful senior lecturer promotion
  • Professional development support
  • Workload protections

TENTATIVE AGREEMENTS

So far the bargaining process has been positive and in good faith. The good news is that we have reached agreement in three of these areas: appointments, promotions, and professional development, including:

  • Fair evaluation and grievance procedures
  • Professional development funds allocated for senior lecturers ($750/yr) and a pool of funds that lecturers can apply to for up to $650/yr.
  • Senior Lecturer promotion will come with a $3500 salary increase, similar to that of Assistant to Associate Professor. Senior lecturers will also get 5 year contracts, instead of just 3.
  • Professional development leave – 3 paid leaves of 1 semester will be available to senior lecturers each year on a competitive basis

OUTSTANDING ISSUES

We have now arrived at the salary portion of negotiations, which has proved challenging. We want to guarantee strong minimum salary raises over the three years of the contract while raising the salary floor for our lowest paid members. We have made significant compromises with the administration, including keeping lecturer appointments at 3 years (had pushed for 5) and senior lecturer appointments at 5 (had pushed for 7) and backing off our original proposal to peg minimum pay for lecturers and senior lecturers to minimum pay for assistant and associate professors.

Our bottom line proposal on salary includes:

  • A minimum (guaranteed) 2.3% merit increase percentage each year
  • Plus a flat equity increase each year ($1500, $750, $750)
  • A bump-up for those who don’t meet guaranteed minimums after these increases. (Guaranteed minimum of $57k for those earning less than $54k and guaranteed minimum of $60k for those earning $54-57k).
  • A $3500 increase for current Senior Lecturers and those promoted to Senior Lecturer during the contract.

Over the three-year length of this contract, our proposal would mean a minimum 6.9% + $3000 (or more for those currently being paid under $57,000). For the average Lecturer making $61,500, the increase would be $7,429 or about 12%. For the average Senior Lecturer making $75,108, the increase would be $12,052 or about 16%. These salary increases would never happen through the regular merit process.

Tufts’ salary counter proposal is not as fair or guaranteed:

  • 3% merit raise is only guaranteed for the first year and in years 2-3 would be the same standard merit increase (not guaranteed)
  • Flat equity increase would be only $700 in first year (plus an additional adjustment to guarantee everyone at least a $2000 increase with the merit raise). In years 2-3, there would be a $25k fund to distribute at the Deans’ discretion for superior performance and equity (~$250/year if divided among all Lecturers).

In sum, the difference between the administration’s proposal and our proposal is about $256k per year by the third year of the contract, a fraction of a percent (0.07%) of the A&S annual budget for FY 2019. We think their argument has little merit and does not value our role as a pillar of one Tufts faculty.

NEXT STEPS

Our goal from the beginning has been to achieve equal pay for equal work. Whether Tufts faculty are doing research or mostly teaching, we’re all putting in the time and effort to make Tufts a great institution. We can and should be recognized for that effort. The Union proposal, if ratified into a contract, will still leave us below the salaries of our tenured and tenure-stream colleagues, but it’s a good start. At the very least, our proposal begins to remedy the inequity imposed on many of us in 2008, when the workload of many lecturers was increased to 6 course equivalents per year from 4, with no change in pay.

We can make the difference in this last stage of negotiations if we show the administration that we stand strong and together. It will be harder for the administration to justify their positions in front of a large group of us. We need as many of the nearly 100 of us in the union to be a visible reminder that we play a central role in the success of the University.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Come to our Lecturers-only meeting on Tuesday (May 10, 1-2:30pm @ Miner 224)
  • Come to the all-day bargaining session on Friday May 13th (9-4, place TBA), even if only for a portion of the day.
  • Help spread the word and talk to other fellow Lecturers to get them involved.

 

Our goal is to agree on contract terms by the end of that meeting. We are hopeful that we will reach an agreement that meets our approval. And if not, we will need to determine the next steps we are willing to take. This is the moment that we’ve been working towards and we need your involvement.

If you have questions or concerns, please call 607-759-9561. One of us will give you a reminder call later this week.

 

Hope to see you soon!

Your Bargaining Committee