Faculty Negotiations Move Forward

Faculty Negotiations Move Forward

We organized our union for Duke faculty earlier this year in order to be recognized for our contributions as teachers and scholars to Duke and our students. We wanted to give voice to contingent faculty in order to no longer be treated as invisible, marginal, and low paid ‘gig’ employees.

We can report that we completed the first semester of negotiations for our first union contract, and we are making real progress. This week over 20 faculty members attended negotiations and made important contributions at the table.

Our initial focus is to move contingent faculty off of the margins and to be included and respected as part of the whole Duke faculty. We’ve already reached agreement on 12 articles of the contract, including:

  • Academic Freedom – Ensures unionized faculty members can teach in the classroom and engage in scholarship and public discourse with the same freedom as other faculty
  • Non-Discrimination – Provides protection and recourse against discrimination through our contract
  • Labor-Management – Provides a forum for unionized faculty to meet regularly with administration leadership in a non-adversarial, problem-solving forum
  • Access to Services – Includes providing unionized faculty with computers and reimbursement for teaching expenses in the same manner as other faculty
  • Orientation – Provides orientation at the college and departmental level for new and current faculty.

We also made significant progress toward agreement on a new grievance procedure including binding arbitration among other issues. The negotiations are collegial and frank. We are working through many difficult issues about how contingent faculty are valued and fit into the overall teaching, learning and scholarship mission of Duke.

In our negotiations this week, we introduced new proposals to call on Duke to invest in our professional development and scholarship. We also made a series of proposals to move past contingency toward more stable and predictable faculty positions including:

  • Longer Appointments Moving toward more 3 and 5 year appointments with greater guarantees
  • Course Assignments The right of first refusal for courses we designed or previously taught as well as not losing pay or benefits if course assignments are canceled
  • Fair Evaluations Including self-evaluation, classroom observation and student evaluations
  • Opportunities for Promotion Making sure we are notified of open faculty positions and are given good faith consideration to be hired into these positions

We look forward to returning to negotiations on January 11th and 12th as we work to reach agreement on these issues and offer our initial proposals on compensation and benefits. We welcome all unionized faculty members to negotiations.

This post was written by
Comments are closed.