AAUP Reaches Agreement With University
The University of Connecticut chapter of the American Association of University Professors and the University have announced a tentative agreement to help address the state's and the University's critical fiscal difficulties through a one-year freeze on AAUP bargaining unit salaries.
The agreement will eliminate the contractual increase scheduled for Fiscal Year '04 and extend the contract term by one year to Fiscal Year '07. The primary purpose of the agreement is to mitigate the need for personnel reductions at the Storrs-based programs, while accommodating the ongoing programmatic changes at the University.
The agreement is subject to approval by the membership of the AAUP bargaining unit, the Board of Trustees, and the Connecticut General Assembly. The AAUP is the bargaining unit for about 1,400 faculty, research professionals, and coaches at Storrs and the regional campuses.
University President Philip E. Austin expressed appreciation to the AAUP for stepping forward to propose this agreement. "The men and women represented by the AAUP are committed to the University's ongoing excellence as a center of teaching, research, and service to the people of our state," he said. "At a time of state fiscal crisis, all of us are called upon to make short-term sacrifices for the long-term good of the institution. I am grateful to the AAUP, and particularly the executive board and the AAUP executive director, for their willingness to undertake an agreement that is in the best interest of our students, our faculty, and the University community as a whole."
Edward Marth, executive director of the AAUP, said, "The AAUP and the University have always worked as partners, and together we have helped make UConn one of the nation's great public institutions of higher education. This proposed agreement continues that tradition. By helping to promote budgetary stability and forestalling the need for layoffs of AAUP members, it keeps the University moving in the right direction at a critical moment in its history.
"The University cannot succeed in its mission when such uncertainty as we witness today looms so large," Marth added, "leaving many to question whether the best qualified nationally would want to enter, begin, or continue a career at UConn, where one's colleagues might be given layoff notices, and research is adversely impacted, classes closed, and a spiral not easy to reverse takes a toll that is perhaps avoidable."
While the AAUP is a member of the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) and continues to support efforts to reach an overall agreement, Marth said he hoped that a statewide bargaining stalemate would be broken soon and all differences would be resolved.
He said reaction from legislators has been very positive. "They see this as a building block for an overall settlement," he said.
Salary and fringe benefit savings from the agreement between the AAUP and the University in FY '04
are estimated at $6.6 million. When added to the estimated savings at the Storrs-based programs from a freeze on non-unionized employees, FY '04 annualized salary and fringe benefit savings will total an estimated $7.9 million. Estimates based on the early retirement incentive program, as outlined in House Bill 6397 indicate an additional $3.7 million in savings could be achieved, for a total savings of $11.6 million.