On Friday, May 30, Jim Daszenski (VP for Administration), Jennifer Snyder (VP for Professional Rights and Responsibilities), Kim Semder (VP for Contract Improvement), and I met with the Board and Dr. Dolan. All five members of the Board were present, which we felt (particularly on a Friday afternoon at 4:00!) was a mark of respect for GNTA. We had a very straightforward discussion, which lasted for about an hour.
We began by describing our dismay at the 2% salary figure. We explained that this appeared to be an opening shot across the bow in negotiations, nearly nine months prematurely, made worse by being public. We summarized our financial history for the last five years, reminding the Board of the sacrifices we made in the last and the current contracts. Kim described how we create a package of contract proposals through the CIC and how important that democratic process is to us as a union. We acknowledged the financial and community pressures that the Board is facing, but we also outlined the pressures GNTA members are feeling. We clearly communicated that we are committed to representing the interests of the faculty and negotiating a fair contract, no matter how long that takes.
The Board listened respectfully and asked several questions. President Barbara Berkowitz responded that a budget, particularly projected over a long term, is merely a blueprint, and that the Board could not possibly know a specific number to put in the personnel salary line prior to completed negotiations. She explained that they chose the 2% figure based on the 2% tax cap and that the Board recognizes that it is too early to speak about negotiations in concrete terms. Finally, she assured us that the Board intends to negotiate in good faith with us and is keeping an open mind.
We felt that the discussion was fruitful for both sides. We did caution the Board that we might break somewhat with tradition, should negotiations become protracted, and provide our members with more information about our progress than we have in the past. We do NOT feel that this blog, which is easily accessible to the public, is an appropriate forum for such information. To that end, PLEASE provide us with a personal email address for you by clicking the link below, if you haven’t already done so. It may become your only source of information on negotiations.
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