Faculty Senate versus union representation

Collective Bargaining: What are the issues and the joint roles of collegial governance and the bargaining agent?
As discussion of collective bargaining increases over the next several weeks, the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP/UFA) will be distributing a set of statements about relevant issues and the roles that the organization would play as a collective bargaining agent. The AAUP/UFA intends to use its bargaining power to pursue the economic welfare of the faculty, the protection of academic freedom and the empowerment of the Senate as the collegial governance system of the University. These goals can best be accomplished by assigning some specific responsibilities and objectives primarily to the Senate and others primarily to the bargaining agent, the AAUP/UFA. In the course of meeting these objectives jointly with the Senate, the bargaining agent can use its influence to restore and even improve substantially the University’s declining national rank in both performance and compensation. Its influence can also be used to resist the corporatization of the University, a phenomenon becoming disturbingly widespread across the country.
The AAUP/UFA Executive Committee has established the Committee on Policy and Constitutional Issues to address the roles of collective bargaining and governance and to recommend policies to the Executive Committee that will determine the nature of the collective bargaining contract. This is the first in a series of position papers for that purpose. In this first report, we discuss how collective bargaining will strengthen faculty governance. We also present a list of issues for consideration by the bargaining agent — the AAUP/UFA — and faculty governance.
Collective bargaining can both protect and enhance faculty governance by providing legally binding support through contract negotiation and grievance procedures. If, for example, the consultative process through the Senate and its committees fails to resolve certain issues with the administration or regents, or if administration or the regents ignore Senate recommendations, the AAUP/UFA, as the bargaining agent, can negotiate these issues in the next contract. Alternatively, with an appropriate clause in the contract, an issue that impacts the faculty would become a grievance. Current examples that might fit these two procedures are, respectively, the switch to biweekly payroll and semester conversation.
There are four issues to be resolved: academic, economic, organizational and representational. The AAUP/UFA and the Senate have roles to play with regard to each of them. In some cases, for instance in establishing the principles for salary negotiations, the AAUP/UFA will have the leading role. In other issues, for example those concerned with academic freedom, the Senate will be the leader. As a general rule, the AAUP/UFA expects that Senate structures and procedures will remain much as at present. We believe a more open procedure of selection and election rather than appointment to Senate committees deserves consideration.
What, then, are the issues before us?
The following tables contain a list of issues, comprehensive but not necessarily complete, which has been prepared by the Committee on Policy and Constitutional Issues. It is offered as a means of focusing faculty discussion. For each item, we indicate an initial recommendation as to whether the bargaining agent (AAUP/UFA) or the Senate should be the primary agent in resolving an issue with the administration and the regents. During the coming weeks we intend to provide position papers that deal with how the various issues should be resolved, including both the objectives of negotiation by either the Senate or the bargaining agent and the procedures by which the objectives can be attained. Upon final approval by the Executive Committee, these policy positions will be included in the contract for negotiation. Not all of the issues listed below will require negotiation in the initial round, and some may not be negotiated at all if present practices remain satisfactory to both the faculty and administration.

The Committee on Policy and Constitutional Issues:
Chairwoman Roberta Humphreys, astronomy
Co-chairperson Eville Gorham, ecology
Co-chairperson Irl Carter, social work
Tom Clayton, English
John Dahler, chemical engineering and
materials science
Marti Hope Gonzales, psychology
Russell Hobbie, physics
Dick McGehee, math
Rick Purple, physiology
Paula Rabinowitz, English
Robert Sloan, geology
George Spangler, fisheries & wildlife
Steve Sperber, math
Robert Sonkowsky, classics
Craig Swan, economics