Our bargaining team had a total of six bargaining sessions over the summer. While some progress was made on the more technical issues (such as access to personnel files) we were unable to reach any tentative agreements and we have received no economic proposals at all from the administration.
In our last session on August 11, the Administration also refused to engage in any substantive discussion about Evaluations. We know that the way to provide the best educational experience for our students, is to have reliable, consistent evaluation procedures. Evaluations also help our members chart a path for professional development and promotion. But this demand seemed entirely too much for the Administration. They feared that if our contract mandated regular evaluations of faculty, it would be entirely too complicated and they would be set up for contract violations. The burden of evaluating non-tenure track faculty appears too great for them to bear.
Instead of engaging in substantive discussion about evaluations, the post-Wise Administration is anxious about our e-mails. When discussing the right of NTFC to use the UIUC email system for union communications, the Administration’s team expressed concern about the potential for “defamatory” (uncivil) remarks which might be conveyed about them by union officials via e-mail. To us this concern projects their own shame. There is no evidence that non-tenure track faculty are embroiled in scandal or are part of the legal battles over first amendment infringement and union-busting at our university. Recent events have made it clear the Administration will take care of its own defamation. As faculty and union members, we have no interest in hiding our own communication while policing the content, or the tone of email communications or others.
As we continue to work toward our contract, we remain firm in our stance that non-tenure track faculty deserve transparency, true faculty voice, and ability to shape our institution and our work within it.