Hello TT Faculty members,
The fact-finding hearing before Mr. Barton Bixenstine took place on April 22nd and 23rd. As requested by Mr. Bixenstine in a March 8th email to the parties, AAUP-KSU submitted its fact-finding position statement to Mr. Bixenstine with a copy to the University on April 18th. The administration chose not to submit a pre-hearing position statement. (Both parties submitted a pre-hearing statement in 2015.)
At the hearing, AAUP-KSU presented several hours of testimony and submitted 47 exhibits supporting our position. The administration presented a brand new proposal for Article XII (Salaries). In the new proposal, the administration has moved away from the tiered approach to standard increments and are now proposing that all Faculty receive a 2% increase in each of the three years of the contract. This represents a slight increase over the across the board equivalent of their tiered proposal (1.94% in the first year, 1.83% in the second year, and 2% in the third year). However, they have now pulled back from proposing a $1,000 increase for promotion to Full Professor. There was no change in their position on Article XIII (Medical Benefits). The administration presented several hours of testimony and 21 exhibits supporting their position on the two Articles. Although they had not previously presented us with much in the way of data or evidence during negotiations, there were few surprises in what was presented at the hearing.
We now await Mr. Bixenstine’s report outlining his non-binding proposal for a fair settlement on the outstanding issues. Once we receive the report, AAUP-KSU will make it available to our bargaining unit members. We will then conduct a vote of our dues paying membership on whether or not to accept the fact-finder’s report as the basis for the new contract (along with the provisions previously agreed upon by the parties). At the same time, the Board of Trustees will vote on the fact-finder’s report.
Should either party reject the fact-finder’s report, AAUP-KSU will likely notify the State Employee Relations Board (SERB) of our intent to strike starting the first or second week of the Fall semester. In that event, Faculty would be notified of the specific start date for a strike at the same time we submit the notification to SERB and the University. (See Frequently Asked Questions about Strike Authorization and What Happens During a Strike?)
AAUP-KSU hopes to receive Mr. Bixenstine’s report in time to conduct the vote before Faculty go off contract for the summer on May 18th. However, there is a slight chance that we will have to conduct the vote later in May. To ensure that you don’t miss your opportunity to vote on this very important issue, dues paying members are advised to check their email frequently for news of the vote, and non-dues paying members of the bargaining unit are advised to become members.
Deborah C. Smith
Chief Negotiator, AAUP-KSU Tenured & Tenure Track Unit