Bargaining began at 8 am and, as planned, covered the articles on Grievance, Governance, “Health and Safety,” “Physical Conditions”(admin. proposal) and Physical Environment (union proposal covering similar items).
The latter proposals were discussed for the second time. Admin. maintained that governance could actually not be covered in a union contract since the University Statutes alone governed practices and a union contract could not override the Statutes. Kay countered that the Statues provided little guidance and no specifics. She informed the admin. team that the University Senate is currently working on language that would define the status of NTT faculty within the Statutes. The admin team seemed uninformed about the nature of the Statutes or the initiative of the Senate to remedy the situation, but it refused to further consider our faculty governance article.
Health and Safety were then discussed at some length. Our team questioned the general nature of the admin’s proposal and its vague commitments, while it seeks to obligate all BU members to report any violation of health and safety laws. We learned that the Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Act applies to the University and that the University is committed to following the provisions of this Act in our workplaces.
Our “Physical Environment” proposal which asks the University to provide us with appropriate equipment to do our work (access to computers, phones, office space, mailboxes, IT equipment for teaching, lab equipment as appropriate, access to the library ) was rejected for cost reasons.
“Are you sure tenured professors have these things”? we were asked. We do not know, but we do know that we need these items to do our jobs! Since we rejected the admin’s vague and non-committal language on these articles, the admin team withdrew both the Health and Safety and the Physical Conditions articles it had proposed.
The last part of the session was taken up with a renewed discussion of the Grievance article. We objected to the admin’s insistence that in order to reach a binding resolution to a grievance we had to have an HR representative at each meeting between employee and employer. This was a new demand on the admin’s side and we were unwilling to accept this example of regressive bargaining. After some firm words from our negotiator the admin. agreed to withdraw this sentence. We expect an agreement on the Grievance article in the near future.
The session ended at 10:43.