The transition to online-only teaching, the closing down of campus, and other, significant changes to working conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in two recent bargaining sessions between representatives of NTFC and the administration. Like many other higher education unions, we’re now working towards a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the administration to get these items guaranteed by a written agreement.
Items to be Covered by the MOU
There has been some informal discussion of what this fall will look like in terms of in-person/online-only instruction. On this topic, the administration indicated at our most recent meeting on May 1st that, should any in-person instruction resume, faculty would likely be given the opportunity to determine for themselves what risks they are willing to take. It was indicated that those over 60 or those who are otherwise put especially at risk by the virus will, in any case, likely not be required to resume in person instruction.
On the whole, we are confident that future bargaining sessions will continue in this positive direction.
The administration was amenable to the below proposals/discussions:
- Promotional Case Progress: we’re working to ensure that departments take into account the lack of peer to peer reviewing, the closure of labs, the closure of libraries, and the special circumstances affecting working conditions when considering promotions. We especially want the administration to instruct departments to consider the special circumstances and how they relate to promotions for those under or working toward Teaching Assistant Professor and Research Assistant Professor titles.
- ICES Forms: ICES Forms are slated to not be included in promotion dossiers, per the request of individual faculty members to have them removed. While this was earlier communicated by the Provost, we’re proposing this language be included in our MOU so that we can hold the administration to this promise for several years down the road.
- Mult-Year Contracts: We want the administration to remind departments of their obligations per Article X of our contract to offer multi-year contracts to certain faculty.
- Professional Development Funds: We’ve proposed that the $500 in Professional Development Funds guaranteed by our contract should rollover one time this year. This is due to the fact that many opportunities to use these funds, such as conferences or traveling for research, have been cancelled or made unsafe.
- Inadvertent Data Breaches: We don’t want faculty who are new to technology like Zoom and other online teaching tools to be punished should they violate data policies therein. Rather, we’re emphasizing that the administration instruct departments to provide resources and make a teaching moment out of any first-time offenses.
Our union works best when we all communicate what our concerns and priorities are. Have something you want us to discuss at the next bargaining session? Contact us.
NTFC Communications Committee
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