UNH Statements on Faculty Contract Negotiations, 2011
Nov. 7, 2011
Statement from UNH Lead Negotiator Regarding Negotiations with AAUP
In recent public statements, the leadership of the faculty union has made certain assertions that require immediate response from the university.
First, the union’s recent letter to faculty correctly quotes the university’s proposal regarding the 6/30/14 Trigger to Market guarantee in the salary proposal, but goes on to claim that it will “….provide no assurance that [salaries] would ever recover their current position at the comparison-group mean.” In fact, the trigger mechanism ensures exactly that. It provides an assurance that no prior AAUP-UNH contract has ever provided; specifically, the average base academic year salary of UNH faculty will at least be at the mean of the comparator group as we enter the next contract.
Second, the leadership of the union makes predictions about what the mean of the comparator group will actually be over a four-year period. Even in normal times it is impossible to predict faculty salary movement over several years at eight separate institutions. But, these are not normal times. The economic environment is extremely uncertain and most, if not all, of our comparators are in significant financial difficulty. Based on our latest scan of the comparator institutions, several have not set FY12 increases. Only 1 of the 8 has set the increase for FY13, and none have contracts covering FY14. The fact is that no one can predict the FY14 mean or what level of increases will be required to keep UNH at the mean between now and then.
The Trigger to Market is an institutional commitment to long-term competitiveness in faculty salaries that would eliminate the need to make predictions about faculty salary trends in the next few years.
Oct. 28, 2011
Statement from UNH Lead Negotiator Candace Corvey Regarding Negotiations with AAUP
In recent public statements, leadership of the faculty union has made two assertions that require immediate factual correction.
First, they have asserted that the benefits changes proposed by the University would “wipe out most of the gains” that would derive from the UNH salary proposal. This is incorrect. The benefits changes represent roughly 2.4 percent of the faculty salary base. In contrast, the overall salary package is currently 7.9 percent plus any adjustment required to bring the average faculty salary to market at the end of the contract. Even if agreement is not reached by 12/31/11, causing the salary package to drop to 5.9 percent due to the loss of the 2 percent lump sum for FY11, there would be a net increase in total compensation.
Second, they have suggested that the University is “…doing its best to create a demoralizing crisis atmosphere over the budget.” In fact, the administration has simply been prudent and truthful in its budget reports to the community. FY11 closed with a surplus due to energetic savings efforts in anticipation of a 50 percent drop in state support for the FY12-FY13 biennium. To compound the challenges of FY12 and FY13, UNH enrollment has missed its fall target leading to a net undergraduate tuition revenue shortfall of $2.3 million on top of the ~$33 million loss in state support.
No university administration would elect to spend its time and energy cutting and downsizing if such actions were not plainly essential to maintain financial equilibrium. It is obvious to any objective observer that the leadership of UNH has no incentive to try to create crisis where none exists.
Oct. 27, 2011
UNH and UNH Chapter of AAUP at Impasse; Process Continues with Mediation
The University of New Hampshire administration and the UNH chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) have agreed that contract negotiations are at impasse for the second time in nearly a year. The next step in the process is mediation, which is expected to occur before the end of the semester.
Impasse occurs when the parties agree that progress is stalled and that outside assistance is required to facilitate efforts to reach a settlement. According to state labor law, the university and the AAUP will now engage in mediation and, if necessary, fact finding. Each requires a neutral, third party who is in a position to encourage resolution of the challenging issues that led to the impasse. There is no provision for binding arbitration in state law.
The primary unresolved issues are salary, benefits and revisions to the termination clause. “We are extremely disappointed that negotiations have gone on for so long and the parties remain so very far apart,” said Candace Corvey, the UNH administration’s chief negotiator. “Many economic challenges including, but certainly not limited to, the epic 50% cut in state funding to UNH have reasonably shaped the university’s positions on salary and benefits.”
According to Edward Dupont, chair of the University System Board of Trustees, the bargaining parameters set by the Board for salary and benefits proposals are “….generous in light of the tremendous financial pressures facing the state and the university system and extremely fair in comparison to the marketplace and to non-unionized employees of the system.” Data for FY11 show UNH faculty salaries at market.
The UNH administration’s most recent formal proposal was for a four-year contract containing a 7.9 percent salary package plus the possibility of an additional market adjustment. The package included a 2 percent lump sum bonus for FY11 contingent on agreement by December 31, 2011, and 5.9 percent in base salary increases over the period FY12 through FY14. The administration is also seeking changes to faculty benefits that would bring the AAUP faculty into parity with all other employees of the university, who have already taken such reductions, and make an important contribution to ongoing efforts to contain benefit costs across the system. According to Corvey, the leadership of the faculty union is proposing a 16 percent salary increase over the four years and has agreed to less than 10 percent of the benefits changes on the table. “It is extremely difficult to find any basis in fairness or economic reality to justify their position,” said Corvey.
“The university is committed to an approach to total compensation that continues to attract and retain talented faculty and staff by keeping pace with the marketplace as its resources allow,” said Corvey. “It is important to note that the 7.9 percent salary package is a minimum, because the offer includes an additional commitment to bring faculty salaries to the mean of the comparator group at the end of the contract if they have fallen below that mean by FY14. This represents a remarkably powerful commitment on the part of the Board of Trustees and the president to ensure that faculty salaries remain competitive even in the most difficult financial conditions. No one can predict with any degree of certainty what the marketplace will look like in 2014, but we can assess the facts at the time and adjust accordingly.”
With respect to revisions to the termination clause, the university believes that the president should be able to swiftly terminate any faculty member who is found guilty of or pleads guilty to a sex offense or an act of violence. “We certainly believe that anyone accused of such egregious acts deserves appropriate due process, and clearly the N.H. judicial system provides those rights. But, additional layers and months of process within UNH after an external court has established guilt are unwarranted. The university has made a simple and completely justifiable proposal to the union covering a narrow set of plainly unacceptable behaviors, and we do not understand why the union leadership resists it,” said Corvey.
The current one-year faculty collective bargaining agreement expired June 30, 2010.
- About UNH
- About This Site
- Academic Affairs
- Corporate Resources
- Finance & Administration
- President's Commission on the Status of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Issues
- President's Commission on the Status of People of Color
- President’s Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities
- President's Commission on the Status of Women
- President's Office
- Provost's Office
- Student & Academic Services
- University System of New Hampshire
- University of New Hampshire at Manchester
- UNH in 2020
- Brief History
- Campus Resources
- Communications & News
- Fast Facts
- Inclusive Excellence
- Mission and Institutional Identity
- Shop UNH
- Student Consumer Information
- UNH in 2020
- UNH Today - The Weekly News Magazine
- Virtual Tour
- Academic Departments & Programs
- Colleges & Schools
- Continuing Education
- Course Search
- Summer Session