Message from the President
September 14, 2012
With a deadline of September 30 fast approaching, a number of people have inquired about the progress of the AAUP contract negotiations. Last month, a special working group met to address the issues of faculty performance and review, which were a point of contention earlier in the summer. The working group was appointed by Professor Charles Parrish, President of the WSU AAUP-AFT, and me.
The group completed its work after several weeks of discussion and delivered its recommendations to Professor Parrish and me. After review, we submitted them to the negotiating teams. The recommendations resulted from a collaborative approach that recognized both the importance of tenure and the necessity of accountability. We felt they were a good foundation for the bargaining teams to build on, and the full bargaining team resumed negotiations.
We were hopeful that by this time we would have been further along. Recently, however, bargaining has become much more difficult. Considering the timing and the progress necessary to reach a final agreement, the University has decided to initiate mediation. Mediation brings into the process a neutral mediator designated by the state, and is not uncommon in difficult contract negotiations. I feel this is the best way to introduce greater objectivity into the negotiations, while keeping us moving in the right direction.
To reiterate some of my earlier messages, the majority of our faculty are excellent — deserving of our respect and appreciation. They are entrusted with our greatest responsibility — the discovery and sharing of knowledge for the good of our students and the betterment of the world. We have no intention of compromising their ability to do so. But we must also be mindful of our resource constraints during these challenging economic times, and the need for all of us to be accountable for our responsibilities.
Bargaining is a process of give and take, and is best handled at the bargaining table. Focus on a single issue, or a particular point in time in that process, can give a distorted view of reality. Please trust the process and the good intentions of the people involved. We still have a lot of work to do, but I am confident we will reach an agreement that serves our students, our faculty, and Wayne State University.