Chief Negotiator’s Blog – 11-3-2020

October 3, 2020

Present for the Administration: K Buffkin, K Bannister, J Wade, G Kersaint, T Cheng, P Diplock

At this fourth meeting of the parties, we used the Zoom platform and did not experience any technological problems of getting in and out of the meeting. We have agreed to experimenting with WebEx for the next meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 5, 2020.

Three concerns with the Administration’s proposals submitted:

1. Article 16: The administration has submitted a proposal removing the AAUP’s ability to request that the President make recommendations to the Board of Trustees concerning governance of the University.

2. New Article: Office/Research Space – The administration continues to avoid any acknowledgment of the importance of adequate  office/research space assigned to faculty/adjuncts.

3. Article 3 Academic Freedom – The administration has submitted a proposal which includes the following sentence: “College and university faculty members are citizens, and when they speak or write as citizens they should make every effort to be accurate and to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.”

UConn-AAUP proposals submitted today:

UConn-AAUP Proposal Space -11.3.20 [2]

UConn-AAUP Proposal Article 37.7-Athletics-Audit.11.3.20

UConn-AAUP Counter-Proposal Article 13.2.C 11.3.20

UConn-AAUP Proposal Article 4 Governance

Administration proposals submitted today:

University Proposal Article 16 11.1.20

University Proposal Article 9 11.1.20

University Office Space 11.3.20

University Proposal Article 3 11.2.20

University Proposal Article 11 11.2.20

Article 33 11.3.20 University Proposal[2]

UConn Counter Proposal Article 4 Governance

Chief Negotiator’s Blog – 10/20/2020

October 20, 2020

Present for Administration: K Buffkin, K Bannister, P Diplock, J Wade, G Kersaint, T Cheng

This was the third meeting of the parties where there were technology challenges with our team entering the meeting.  It appear to be due to the  program Microsoft Teams. Teams is a University owned product using accounts. AAUP team members have been using alternative email addresses to protected account passwords. We have suggested using Zoom, but the university is reluctant to use, and suggests Webex. We are reluctant to use Webex, another university owned product.

  1. UConn-AAUP Proposals:

UConn-AAUP Counter-Proposal Article 13.2.C We feel HR should be performing an audit each year to ensure that anyone that is eligible for a multi-year appointment, is appropriately appointed to one.

2. Administration Response:

The following proposals need financial amount of proposal included:

Professional Development for In-resident faculty

Additional compensation proposal (12/12ths)

3. AAUP response to Administrations By-Laws Amendment

We want a snapshot of what is in place when the contract is signed. Allowing bylaws to be amended “from time to time” changes the bylaws, not the CBA.


Chief Negotiator’s Blog

October 13, 2020

Present for the Administration: K. Buffkin, K. Bannister, P. Diplock, T. Cheng, J. Wade, G. Kersaint

Articles presented by the AAUP:

10.13.20 Office Space

10.13.20 NTT Professional Developmet

10.13.20 12.12ths Rule Proposal

10.13.20 APPENDIX B Medical Leave Guidelines

Articles presented by the Administration:

University Proposal Article 22 Mergers and Acquisitions

University Proposal Article 17 10.13.2020

University Proposal Article 21 Continuation of Services

University Proposal Article 13.2.C PROBATIONARY PROCESS NTT

University Proposal Article 4 Governance

University Proposal Article 41 SIgn Off

University Proposal references to by-laws 10.12.2020

University Proposal Article 37.7 Athletics Audit

University Proposal Article 23 Savings Clause

UConn-AAUP Opening Statement for Negotiations


Opening Statement for Negotiations

October 6, 2020

As we open the next round of negotiations to improve the working conditions of our faculty and coaches at the University of Connecticut, UConn-AAUP shares the commitment of the National AAUP to address the national crises of inequality, systemic racism and implicit bias within large institutions of higher education. While we acknowledge the University’s past efforts to diversify the faculty ranks and to provide benefits and protections consistently across those ranks, we believe that more work remains to be done to combat inequalities and inequities across the university.

For example, progress in the realization of greater socio-economic equality among all Americans, particularly women and racial and ethnic minorities, has too frequently lagged or even reversed. At UConn, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion reports that racial and ethnic diversity among full-time teaching faculty largely unchanged from 2014 to 2020. In 2014, 21% of full-time teaching faculty at UConn identified as minorities and 22% did so in 2020. Higher education has special obligations to lead the country and the state of Connecticut back onto that path of progress.

We’ve had a preview of what this takes– at Rutgers, in its last contract. The administration committed $40M through 2024 in order to support efforts to hire, mentor and retain faculty from diverse backgrounds. Unfortunately, the process at Rutgers was very contentious, with a strike threatened and posturing afterwards as to who `won’. Together, we have the opportunity to learn from that example.

To remain competitive, UConn should have its own diversity initiative. An option often pursued to increase diversity is a hiring initiative — but retention and cultural change can be equally important, likely more cost effective. We argue for a broad context, to best optimize financial resources and to balance the delicate interplay between diversity and equity, as further expressed, below.

We can establish a holistic process, both for shared goals and productive negotiations. UConn-AAUP has heard from its members this year about interest in increasing diversity, including proposed contractual options, some of it requiring few if any resource commitments from the Board of Trustees. We believe we have a unique opportunity for cooperative change, which will advance our shared desire to make UConn a racially, ethnically and socially more equitable campus.

We also need to make progress in promoting economic security among all of the University’s faculty and coaches.   Recently, new faculty positions have been disproportionately posted in the tenuous non-tenure track positions. Over 50% of the full-time non-tenure track teaching faculty at Storrs are not only not tenured or tenure-track faculty, but they have only annual appointments. While some of these faculty may eventually be offered multi-year appointments, they now face up to six years of annual appointments and must bear the associated professional and personal risk and uncertainty. The instability of annual appointments is a negative for both the institution and the individual. Our best recruitment efforts are dashed by our poor attention to retaining diverse hires on annual appointments. It will be hard to solve diversity issues if we continue to rely on one year appointments.

We also share a desire, with the Board of Trustees and the administration, to maintain and enhance UConn’s position as a leading public research University. Unfortunately, state budget problems over the last decade have taken a toll on mid-career research faculty. While new faculty at the university have generally continued to be hired at competitive salaries for new faculty, pay freezes in half of the twelve years since — in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018– mean that salary growth for the core research faculty has failed to keep up with peer and aspirant institutions. UConn-AAUP is too aware of cases where successful faculty, who the university has invested in for over a decade leave to accept better offers elsewhere; and has heard from many other members how salary compression and inversion saps morale and can undermine diversity efforts. The time-scale for teaching and research excellence is different than it is in many professions. More often than not, losing faculty after a decade or two can be the most costly to an institution: losing faculty in the middle of productive careers certainly fails to re-capture that investment, but it also socializes newer faculty (if they are also productive) to spend more time keeping an eye on the door. It’s no way to run a business, much less a university.

Connecticut is a wealthy and productive state. And it long has been. But perhaps now more than ever, the state’s future economic prosperity depends on a foundation of creativity and technological innovation to drive prosperity. If the administration, the board of trustees, and the state of CT truly want to expand the University’s contributions to this state, the nation, and the planet we all share, it cannot allow the faculty foundation to crumble any further. Re-establishing salary competitiveness throughout the ranks of the existing faculty is essential for the UConn nation to move forward.

Forty-four years ago, the Board of Trustees and UConn-AAUP entered into its first collective bargaining agreement. Ever since then, the parties have come together to improve the working conditions for faculty and coaches. In that time we have built UConn into an international university. With the country in a state of crisis, the parties have a responsibility and an obligation to address these deficiency in our UConn institution through these negotiations.

We are hopeful that these negotiations will continue the traditions of being respectful of each other’s responsibilities, moving forward in good faith towards an agreement, and reaching as many win-win improvements as possible. Where necessary, we will attempt to trade on win-lose items. As always, we are determined to do what is best for the students we are entrusted to educate and the research we are so passionate to pursue. We look forward to forging a new contract with you.


Chief Negotiator’s Blog

October 6, 2020

Introduction of Teams:


Michael Bailey, Chief Negotiator

Tom Peters, CSE

Lyle Scruggs, Political Science

Jean McCarthy, Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

David Amdur, Associate Director


Karen Buffkin, Labor Relations

Kelly Bannister, Labor Relations

Juli Wade, Dean

Gladis Kersaint, Education

Peter Dicplock, CETL

Terrence Cheng, Stamford Director