The FA bargaining team and administration have reached a framework agreement on a new contract. Final language must still be drafted on many items, and once there's agreement on the language the contract will be submitted to the FA's DRC (Departmental Representative Council) and then (unless the DRC disagrees) to the full membership for a vote.
I'm not on the FA bargaining team, so I don't know every last detail of the negotiations, and I don't want to completely step on what I expect to be a more official announcement from the FA before too long. But here are the highlights that I'm aware of.
- The contract will have a revised section on program review that should ensure faculty have enough time (three months) to advise (if not necessarily consent) to any mergers, program cuts, etc. This time period will give faculty time to make the case against any unwarranted changes, and build opposition to them.
- Various changes will provide faculty with some protection if their teaching load is increased in response to the fiscal crisis.
- Summer courses will be guaranteed a minimum of 1/2 month salary, and the process for determining whether a faculty member will get a full month has been made more transparent, and dependent on enrollment. Colleges won't simply be able to mandate 1/2 month for everyone.
- If the FA manages to get 50% membership it will get "Fair Share" (i.e., all faculty will have to pay dues to be represented by the FA). This matches provisions all three other IEA unions already have.
- Tenure protections from the last contract remain intact.
- "Administrative closure day" policy remains the same.
More details on all of this should be out before too long, and will certainly be available to all as this draft contract is discussed and debated this fall. I haven't seen every last provision, but it looks to me like this contract is a pretty good deal for faculty and for SIU, given all the uncertainties we face here. The best news is simply the fact that we have a contract that will provide us with some protection and certainty in what are uncertain and frankly scary times.