12.15.20 Covid Bargaining Update
The UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met on December 2 from 3–4 pm and again on December 8 from 4–5 via Zoom. The topic of our negotiations in both sessions was the impact of COVID-19 on Reviews, Promotion, and Tenure.
We now have agreement on a number of issues:
- When undergoing any performance review for a period impacted by the pandemic, faculty members may include a one-page description of the manner in which their work has been affected. All evaluators, including outside evaluators for Promotion and Tenure reviews, will be provided this description of how COVID-19 impacted the candidate’s work.
- The inclusion of eSET scores in annual reviews and P&T dossiers will be optional for all terms from Spring 2020 through Winter 2021. The decision by a faculty member to exclude them from consideration will not prejudice the review.
- Tenure-track faculty members in their probationary period may request and will automatically receive a one-year extension of their tenure-clock. Should they later decide to revert back to their original timeline, they may do so.
We continue to disagree on the following:
- How and by whom faculty will be informed of the option to include a COVID-19 impact statement in their review materials and dossiers. UAOSU wants to ensure that all bargaining unit members are aware of this right through notification by their immediate supervisors when review materials are being solicited and assembled. A one-time email from Faculty Affairs is more likely to be forgotten or overlooked and is, in our view, insufficient.
- The administration proposed a “sunset date” for the inclusion of COVID-19 impact statements for some reviews rather than our proposed language of “any term affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” We argue that the impacts of COVID-19 will be felt for an extended period of time and in ways that are neither predictable nor straightforward. A predetermined end-date fails to take that into consideration.
- While both sides to the negotiations recognize that the pandemic has created “differential impacts” on faculty members, the administration is reluctant to include “racialized and gendered” in the description of those impacts. UAOSU contends that inequalities related to specific social statuses and roles must be acknowledged. Acknowledging and addressing inequalities in the impacts of COVID-19 on faculty is crucial for OSU to work towards its values and goals for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice that have been expressed in documents like Strategic Plan 4.0. This will be an important piece of the campus education around COVID-19 impact that the administration has tentatively committed to undertake.
The ADVANCE Program at UMass Amherst has created a detailed document “Documenting Pandemic Impacts: Best Practices” that we have found helpful in thinking about these issues.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, December 16 from 12:30–1:30. Register here. Faculty attendance is welcome and encouraged.
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