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Frequently Asked Questions: Shared governance, union representation, and collective bargaining

What would happen to the faculty senate and shared governance if the faculty were to vote in favor of union representation and collective bargaining?

The faculty senate would remain in place, strengthened by a more focused and manageable mission. Traditionally, faculty senates embodied the ideals of shared governance and faculty participation.  As universities shifted to a corporate management model, in which administrators usurp the decision-making authority, senates have become marginalized in their ability to address both academic and labor relations issues.

Union representation and collective bargaining redefine shared governance and return a measure of faculty input, and balance, to the decision making process.

Since the faculty union would assume the responsibility for addressing working conditions through collective bargaining, the faculty senate would be better able to focus exclusively on matters of an academic nature.  A close and cooperative working relationship with the faculty senate and its leadership would ensure that both labor relations and academic matters are given full and thorough consideration.

Further, the union and faculty senate could work closely on matters that appropriately benefit from joint consideration or action. Some campuses, believes the faculty senate should continue to have primary responsibility for determining programs and curricula, methods of instruction, and subject matter; establishing standards for tenure and promotion, establishing requirements for earning degrees and certificates, and other similar matters.

The union has primary responsibility for negotiating provisions governing salary structure, pay increases, salary equity pay, merit pay, other compensation, benefit programs, work load, leave, protection of academic freedom, grievance procedures, and other labor relations matters. 

Procedures relative to appointments, tenure, promotions, sabbaticals, and research support would be included in the collective bargaining agreement but would benefit from joint union - faculty senate consideration.

Other areas of mutual interest and cooperation would include review of the university budget and making recommendations on financial issues that impact academic programs.