05/18/20 Bargaining Unit Update
It is seems like much longer than just two months since our first message about our Demand To Bargain the changes that have been necessary to adjust and adapt to the challenges presented from COVID-19, and the rapid move to remote teaching, learning, and other operations. Our members have helped ensure completion of the Winter term, grading, advising, and other vital student support, and celebrating our most recent graduates. Through our members’ collective efforts and willingness to go above and beyond in countless ways, we ensured the core mission and activities of the University were effectively served.
With the announcement of the nine Restart Committees by President M. Roy Wilson, many expressed concerns over the lack of Faculty and Academic Staff representation on the committees. President Wilson’s approach was to appoint, overwhelmingly, administrators as the members of these committees. A few Faculty members were appointed by the Administration to represent the Faculty and Academic Staff. This continuing pattern of picking the representatives of the Faculty and Academic Staff, rather than asking the Academic Senate and the Union to appoint their own representatives to these bodies, is deeply troubling. The Union and the Academic Senate objected to this. During the May 6th meeting of the Academic Senate, President Wilson acceded to their demands, and representatives appointed by them eventually became members of these committees. The complete listing and rosters for the Restart Committees, with your Union representatives identified, are available at the following link: https://wayne.edu/coronavirus/campus-restart.
While representation of the Union on these committees is an improvement to the process, it is not a substitute for the direct bargaining that we are ensuring continues with the Administration as we move through the Summer and approach the Fall. As the Restart Committees attempt to establish broad guidelines for phased return to campus in the coming weeks and months; they must also address the complex array of uncertainties for health, safety, enrollment, and external regulations that continue to evolve rapidly. These circumstances will call for continued extraordinary efforts on the part of our individual members, and the Union collectively. For Faculty, the need to plan for the flexibility to teach in one of the many options from limited face-to-face, remote, hybrid, with synchronous or asynchronous components--and being able to shift during the semester if conditions change again. Academic Staff continue to shoulder increases in scope, quantity, and complexity of their advising and support of current and incoming students throughout the Summer and into the Fall.
Although the charge of the Restart Committees is to set broad guidelines for campus, the detailed planning and implementation will rely on schools, colleges, divisions, and departments. To be successful, this structure requires local shared governance participation by Faculty and Academic Staff members who are most knowledgeable about the specific needs and solutions for each area and discipline. Please reach out to chairs, supervisors, and deans to ensure that your voices are heard in those local decision processes.
The Administration leadership has publicly acknowledged the significant contributions and sacrifice that our members have made and continue to make. However, it needed strong action by the Academic Senate and the Union to get a place at the table in the process of setting the restart policies for the University. As your Union representatives, we continue to work on your behalf to ensure safe and equitable conditions for our shared work; and to assure the preservation of the hard-won benefits and rights in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. We cannot do this effectively without your support and personal efforts in your own units. Please continue to reach out to your Union Council Representatives or directly to the Union Office team with questions, concerns, or successful practices that may be shared. As stated previously, we offer opportunities for small 'pop-up" membership Zoom meetings. Several departments and other groups have participated in the past month. As always, our strength comes from our collective efforts and support for each other.
Charlie Parrish, President
Ricardo Villarosa, Chief Negotiator
Michelle Fecteau, Executive Director
--AAUP-AFT, Local 6075Wayne State University Chapter5057 Woodward Avenue, Suite 3301Detroit, MI firstname.lastname@example.org