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May 4, 2015
TAUP, the Senate, and the Administration: We’re In This Together
Art Hochner, TAUP President & Assoc. Prof. of HRM
(In case you missed this article in the current Faculty Herald, we are reproducing it for you here.)
Recently, a friend opined that maybe TAUP’s successes had inadvertently undermined the power of the Faculty Senate. I disagreed.
Since he came to Temple about eight years ago, he only knows the recent past. I’ve been on the faculty for 37 years. The union and the Senate have co-existed since 1973, when Temple AAUP, TAUP’s progenitor, was certified as the bargaining agent. Before I was tenured in 1985 and afterward too, the Senate was the scene of vigorous debate and widespread participation. The collegial assembly of the Fox School forced the removal of two deans, one right before I arrived and one some years after. Unionization and strong, shared governance were not antithetical. On the contrary, they were complementary, and they still are. There’s a long history to the relationship of the two and the impact of actions by Temple’s administration on both, so I will provide a long view here.
What role does a faculty union play in an academic institution, particularly a research university?
TAUP is typical of faculty unions at universities. We negotiate over salaries, benefits, and vital aspects of faculty life, among other issues. Over the past 15 years, the role of nontenure-track faculty (NTTs) has changed dramatically at Temple because of negotiated agreements between the union and administration. NTT rights and compensation have become key issues at the bargaining table, with widespread support by all types of faculty. Tenure-track issues too rank very high in priority. The past 10 years have brought significant changes to T&P standards and procedural rights, with a large article in the collective bargaining agreement devoted to it. More changes go into effect in fall 2015 that will strengthen the faculty role and make the process more transparent. Before 2005, unlike other research universities, Temple had no true sabbatical program, just a small number of study leaves, and TAUP worked to make sabbaticals a reality. I could go on listing TAUP’s bargaining accomplishments. TAUP has been a strong and effective voice for all faculty and has played a vital role in the positive changes to make this a better university.
What is the relationship between the Senate and the union? In what ways do TAUP and the Senate complement one another?
The TAUP contract has expanded over time to provide legal backing for Senate prerogatives – such as selection of faculty to the University T&P Advisory Committee, to the Sabbatical Committee, and, indeed, for this basic faculty role: “to participate in the formulation and recommendation of educational policy within the University and its schools and colleges, as approved by Temple and its Board of Trustees” (TAUP-Temple agreement, Article 5F).
The Senate has many functions that TAUP does not and cannot have. Foremost among these are the Senate role in curricular matters and the university budget, but there are numerous others. TAUP doesn’t and won’t interfere in these key Senate prerogatives, though we try to work closely with the Senate when issues overlap. For example, in the 2014-2018 contract, we agreed with the administration on side letters covering childcare, tuition benefits, and workload, which open up an important collaboration between the Senate and the union. Other TAUP leaders and I participate as Representative Faculty Senators, and some have served as college representatives on the Senate Steering Committee and on other Senate committees. We believe in a strong and lively system of shared governance.
How does the presence in the Senate of the four professional schools that are outside the TAUP bargaining unit influence this relationship?
While the Senate comprises faculty in all Temple schools and colleges, TAUP doesn’t represent faculty in the schools of Law, Medicine, Dentistry or Podiatric Medicine. The Law School has its own bargaining unit and contract, which follows aspects of the TAUP contract, such as the T&P procedure. When TAUP was formed in the early 1970s, the faculties of the three (at the time) professional schools petitioned the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) to be excluded from our bargaining unit, which the PLRB granted. So, those schools have their own compensation arrangements, and have to come into line with the overall Faculty Handbook. The Handbook also governs the TAUP schools, with the exception of issues covered by the TAUP contract.
Does the union play the role of opposing party to the administration, while the Senate plays the role of partner?
I believe that neither the Senate nor TAUP ever seeks to oppose the administration; however, TAUP often gets perceived in that light. The Senate uses persuasion when it tries to deal with differences between faculty and administration. TAUP first seeks to persuade, but we have other resources to draw on, too: the law, our members’ dues, and our affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT and AFTPA). With a legal mandate to negotiate over a contract, discussion over issues can’t be indefinitely prolonged. Legal proceedings, as with Temple’s desire to remove department chairs from TAUP, may take considerable time, but eventually there will be a decision.
Recently, however, the Senate too often has found itself by-passed, as when the academic calendar was changed twice without faculty input. It was good to hear that the Senate Steering Committee pushed back on this and other issues. Moreover, the Senate successfully lobbied for review of Deans that include a significant faculty voice in the process. We want to encourage the Senate to continue advocating, loudly if necessary, for strong faculty governance.
Was my friend correct about the relative weakness of the Senate? In a way, yes, though the union hardly caused that. Retrenchment of more than 50 tenured faculty in 1982 weakened the power of both the Senate and the union and led to tremendous mistrust between the faculty and the administration. Strikes by TAUP ensued in 1986 and 1990, largely fueled by this animosity, as well as the faculty’s perception that the administration, under President Peter Liacouras, neglected the academic side of the institution and disregarded the faculty’s voice.
The faculty, in many ways, welcomed the increased emphasis on research and renewal of the academic side that President David Adamany instituted starting in 2000. Yet, the Board of Trustees had already taken full control over the presidential search committee, disregarding the Senate’s wishes. Later, President Adamany’s policies, particularly the 2002 rewriting and standardization of collegial assembly bylaws, put serious restraints on the faculty role in shared governance, setting deans firmly in control of their colleges. Adamany overrode both Senate and TAUP refusal to agree to creation of a university-level T&P committee, and established his own advisory body anyway. Such moves and the reduced recognition of faculty service activities diminished the Senate’s independence and led many tenured faculty members to focus on what they could control, their own teaching and, especially, scholarship.
Since 2006, when President Adamany resigned, the Senate leadership has been able to work more cooperatively with both President Ann Weaver Hart and President Neil Theobald. TAUP contract negotiations, however, both under Adamany in 2004-05 and under Hart in 2008-09 were fraught with tension and rancorous disagreement. Still, TAUP and Temple came to agreement both times, albeit well after the contracts had expired. Our most recent agreement, under President Theobald, was the most cooperative negotiation with Temple I’ve ever participated in of all nine since 1986. TAUP proposed an interest-based bargaining process and the administration responded positively. A mutual desire to discuss the issues and find resolutions pervaded the process. Of course there was plenty of disagreement, but no disagreeableness.
In the past few years there have been moves by all parties to rebuild trust and work together. For instance, with the planning for and implementation of decentralized budgeting, CFO Ken Kaiser and his predecessor, Tony Wagner, met many times with me and other TAUP representatives to update us and answer our questions.
What can we say about Provost Dai’s statements about TAUP and the adjunct organizing campaign?
With the campaign by adjuncts to become part of TAUP, I’ve read disturbing statements by Provost Hai-lung Dai. TAUP has represented full-time faculty for 42 years. Yet the Provost’s website refers to us as, “Local 4531 of the American Federation of Teachers – also known as the TAUP.” We are consistently referred to as Local 4531, not as TAUP, as if that were some kind of alias (AKA). And we are described as a “third-party intermediary” seeking to interpose our union between the administration and adjuncts.
Please. TAUP’s leaders are Temple faculty, librarians, and academic professionals elected from the membership. We are no third-party. The adjuncts want to be unionized, and many of those who have gone out to talk to adjuncts about unionizing are themselves Temple adjuncts. The AFT aids us in this effort because we asked for their support.
The Provost’s website says:
The AFT has said that it is not interested in representing the adjuncts who work in the schools of Medicine, Law, Dentistry and Podiatric Medicine, just as they have chosen not to represent the full-time faculty who work in those schools.”
As I said earlier, the full-time faculty in those schools chose not to be represented by us. I’m surprised at the bold falsity of this statement.
Numerous scare tactics are being used in communications from the administration to adjuncts and even to members of the TAUP bargaining unit, such as:
A contract may result in a union shop under which all adjunct faculty would have to pay dues every year to the union in order to keep their jobs. The fee could be up to 2 percent of salary. If a faculty member does not pay the required fee, the union can demand that he or she be dismissed.
Really? That’s not the case for the full-time faculty. In any case, all provisions in a union contract for the adjuncts would have to be negotiated de novo, as TAUP and Temple agreed in our pleasant contract negotiations in October 2014.
How did the relationship between TAUP and the administration go from cooperative throughout the contract negotiations to hostile in the adjunct campaign? Actually, TAUP hasn’t gone hostile. Our message is positive: Adjuncts deserve a voice, they deserve better pay and conditions, and together we can negotiate with the administration to enhance all faculty. After all, the faculty’s working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.
TAUP and the administration can disagree about many things, including whether adjunct faculty should be unionized. But our disagreements can be discussed in respectful and truthful ways. If Temple opposes the organizing campaign, we dispute their position, not their right to take it. Given the movement toward cooperative dialogue in the recent past, I call on the administration to continue that trend and to forgo these adversarial and specious attacks.
What is needed now?
TAUP, the Senate and the administration can and should work together for the best interests of students, the faculty, and Temple as a whole. We all want Temple to be the best university that it can, given the historical Conwellian mission and our current resources. We can accomplish more by working collaboratively. TAUP is willing and ready to do our part.
April 28, 2015
TAUP Accepts PLRB Decision on Chairs
TAUP is disappointed by but respects the ruling of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board that chairs of departments covered by TAUP are supervisors and managers and thus are no longer eligible to be in our bargaining unit. We are looking into the implications of this ruling for the terms of our contract and will be in touch as those implications become clearer, so that we can give guidance to chairs and rank-and-file faculty.
In the meantime, we hope and trust that chairs will continue to be strong advocates for all faculty in their departments and will show consideration for the rights of adjunct faculty in their desire for unionization with TAUP.