Bargaining a New Contract. What you need to know

Dear Colleagues and Comrades,

As you may know, your faculty union, United Academics, is preparing to bargain toward our new collective bargaining agreement. Our first day of regular table sessions will be Thursday, January 9, from 12-3 in EMU Crater Lake North. Future sessions will be Thursdays 12-3 as well, so mark your calendars.

In preparation for those sessions next term, your bargaining team is meeting with the administration’s team to discuss the ground rules for how bargaining will go.  

In general, bargaining follows a set pattern, much of which is legally enforced. Some of the basics are below to get you started. If you want a more helpful primer, one can be found here on the UA webpage.

At the Table

Our first bargaining session is January 9 from 12-3 pm in EMU Crater Lake North. Starting January 16, the two teams will meet every Thursday from 12-3 pm in Chiles 125.

Typically, the teams sit across from each other at a long table. The parties exchange written proposals, and then engage in dialog about the proposals. The parties will ask questions of each other, explain their proposals and perspective, and try to come to common understanding and agreement.

The parties will frequently caucus among themselves in separate locations. These breaks can sometimes be long. When you attend a bargaining session, bring a computer or some grading to do!

When the parties come to agreement on a proposal, they will ‘TA’ – tentatively agree – the proposal. Essentially, they are agreeing to no longer bargain on that particular proposal. When all proposals have been ‘TAed,’ the proposed contract goes to United Academics membership for a ratification vote. If the contract is ratified, bargaining is over.

Faculty Participation

All faculty are invited to attend bargaining sessions. When faculty come to bargaining sessions, it shows the administration that we are united and paying attention to what’s happening at the table. Bring your laptop or papers to grade. It’s ok to come late or leave early.

You can also participate by putting a UA sign on your office door, wearing a T-shirt or button, or putting a sticker on your laptop or water bottle.

Faculty going the extra mile join the Contract Action Team. Faculty can contribute their energy and ideas about how to best engage faculty across campus. Do you have artistic flair or a knack for creating catchy slogans? An eye for editing that can be put to use on communications to our members? Thoughts on how to articulate what UA members care about and the ways in which we make our university better? You can contact Tina Boscha ([email protected]), Chair of Organizing and Membership, to join the CAT.

Your bargaining team and UA council and staff want your input, presence, and help during this process. Don’t hesitate to contact us as we go with questions, comments, concerns, tips, or whatever else you have to offer. It helps the bargaining team if you attend sessions, and it also helps you to see how we will move from the proposals we will start with on January 9 to the final CBA that all UA members will vote to ratify at the end of the process.

If you are unable to attend sessions, it’s easy to follow along. We will email; updates and post regularly to the United Academics website. There, under the “Bargaining” tab, you will be able to follow along with our proposals, summaries of the bargaining sessions, and other relevant announcements. Keeping yourself and your colleagues informed about bargaining, as well as attending any sessions you can, will help us ensure we negotiate the best possible contract.

We want you to participate in ways that work for you, so please contact Tina for more on ways to be actively involved in this process: [email protected].

In Solidarity,
Your Bargaining Team and Contract Action Team