Bargaining Update: BGSU-FA says “NO” to Post-tenure review
The BGSU-FA and administration negotiating teams met for an eight-hour bargaining session Wednesday, June 20. In a sign of progress, the two sides signed tentative agreements on Unpaid Leaves, Partial Leaves, and Civic Obligation Leaves.
As a matter of principle, the BGSU-FA did not offer a counter-proposal to the administration’s previously submitted proposal on Post-Tenure Review, deemed by faculty to be unacceptable.
The Mazey administration presented its Post-Tenure Review proposal six weeks ago. Since the BGSU-FA has thoroughly reviewed it — and resoundingly rejected both the proposal and the concept of post-tenure review.
Post-tenure review creates insurmountable negative consequences while offering few, if any, positive results. BGSU already has policies and procedures that reward faculty excellence through promotion and merit, as well as disciplinary actions for failure to fulfill job responsibilities. Establishing a new regime of post-tenure review would greatly increase paperwork for chairs, directors, and deans; foster an atmosphere of distrust between faculty and administrators; and stifle the faculty creativity and scholarly risk-taking essential to academic freedom and professional growth.
What are the consequences of faculty not offering a counter-proposal to the Mazey administration’s Post-Tenure Review proposal?
- If the BGSU-FA and the administration agree to the terms of a full contract (without outside mediation), post-tenure review will not go into the faculty contract.
- If the BGSU-FA and the administration come to an impasse on any aspect of the contract, either can initiate the fact-finding process. Then an independent fact-finder will request each sides’ viewpoint with accompanying reasoning and documentation for each article of the contract not yet agreed upon. The fact finder will then make a determination and present a completed contract for the administration representatives and members of the BGSU-FA to vote on for ratification.
To make a determination, fact-finders rely on a combination of the two sides’ positions, current procedures at the institution, and prevailing practices across academia. The administration’s post-tenure review plan is a radical departure from current BGSU policies. It is also unique in Ohio as only two other public campuses have any form of post-tenure review, and those are minimal compared to the administration’s drastic proposal. We would prefer to solve this issue without fact finding, but we believe we can present a strong case that this policy is not consistent with BGSU’s current policies or with other contracts.
Meanwhile, the mutually agreed-upon deadline of July 1 for the completion of a full contract looms. In accordance with common negotiating practices and the advisement of the third-party mediator, the BGSU-FA has refrained from submitting its economic proposals (salary and benefits) until the the two sides agree upon non-economic issues. The administration team’s refusal to tentatively agree to anything substantive before May 8, and its continued reluctance on a number of issues, mean that there is a lot to do with little time until the deadline.
The BGSU-FA will continue to negotiate for a strong first contract in an expedient manner. The BGSU-FA will also continue to press the Mazey administration on its pledge to negotiate a contract by July 1 and its promise of respectful, collegial, and professional treatment of BGSU faculty.
The next negotiation session is scheduled for June 28 and will include the independent mediator.