Another productive meeting of the ULFA and Board negotiating teams took place on March 8. The Board team began with an update on the status of the ULFA team’s request for costing information on desired improvements to certain Schedule B benefits. They noted the costing requests have been handed off to the benefits carriers with an expected turn-around time of 4 to 6 weeks.
The ULFA team responded to the Board team’s latest proposals on Schedule E (professional activities report) and Article 13 (assignment of duties). While there is considerable distance between the parties’ respective positions on Article 13, progress was made toward a shared understanding of workable improvements to Schedule E. The ULFA team also presented its Article 28 (intellectual property) proposal, which has four main goals: organizational clean-up for easier readability, updating and standardizing language in the copyright section to align with the federal statute; specifying a process for staffing the IP committee; and improving provisions of the patent section to promote innovation, the commercialization of inventions, and the University’s ability to realize ancillary benefits from joint ventures between researchers and industry.
The Board team presented a response to ULFA’s Article YY (EDI) proposal that included a suggestion to rename the Joint Equity Committee (JEC) as the Joint Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee. The Board team also presented proposals to clarify management rights in Articles 1, 5 and 11. You may recall that at the previous meeting on February 22, the Board team presented proposed changes to Article 11 dealing specifically with how service should be included among members’ responsibilities and in evaluation criteria. All of the Board team’s proposed changes to Article 11 have now been presented.
As the March 8 meeting was somewhat shorter than usual due to scheduling conflicts, the parties agreed to identify items for discussion via email in advance of the next meeting, which is scheduled for March 22. The Board team requested a presentation by ULFA on its Article 15 proposal in the near future. This will enable the Board team to continue working on a response to the ULFA team’s proposal to clarify the procedures for probation, tenure/continuing appointment, and promotion, so that the language covers all job categories explicitly (Articles 19, 20, and ZZ). These were presented to the Board team on February 8 and 22. ULFA’s proposal for Article 15 also includes the establishment of a Teaching Professoriate, which the sides discussed in broad terms on February 8. The Board team has expressed interest in considering the idea of a Teaching professoriate in some form, although the visions of this held by the two sides are initially far apart.
You can track the progress of exchanged bargaining proposals in this spreadsheet. Although progress is being made in getting all of the issues in these negotiations onto the table for at least an initial discussion, negotiations are still in the very early stages and there is a long way to go before we will be approaching anything like agreement on any of the major issues at stake.