Yesterday, Friday, March 11, the members of the Barnard Contingent Faculty-UAW Local 2110 (BCF-UAW) Bargaining Committee met for the second time with the Barnard administration. The administration’s chief negotiator is Michael Bertoncini of the firm Jackson Lewis, which is known for its anti-labor practices. He is joined at the table by Associate Provost Pat Denison, Senior Human Resources Specialist Robin Beltzer, and Deputy General Counsel Andrea Stagg.
At our first session three weeks ago, we offered a complete contract proposal containing 41 economic and noneconomic provisions. We expected, three weeks later, to receive a complete counterproposal from the administration. Instead they returned to the table with only 13 individual management-oriented provisions. Even worse was the number of our provisions they rejected out of hand. Most of these are entirely standard provisions that are included in the contracts Barnard has signed with other employee unions. For example:
- They rejected proposals for health or any other benefits. Bertoncini said, “We do not intend to make any changes whatsoever in our benefits offerings.”
- They rejected any form of job protection or security. Bertoncini said, We’re “not looking to limit our discretion in any manner.”
- They summarily rejected our proposals for a grievance procedure and a standard of “just cause” for any discipline or discharge.
- They rejected a standard union rights provision that would allow fair dues collection after the contract is ratified by members. This would limit the resources we would need to enforce the terms of the contract.
- They reiterated their support for a “Management Rights” provision with onerous language that denies faculty autonomy in their laboratories, studios, or classrooms.
- They refused to offer any proposals to improve our wages. Asked when we could expect those, Bertoncini said, “not any time soon.”
We are calling open meetings for all contingent faculty after Spring Break to go over the details of negotiations and discuss what steps we must take to push the administration for a fair contract. It’s imperative that Barnard understand we need an agreement that improves our job security, addresses our economic situation and provides workplace rights. Together, we have the power to make a change at Barnard for contingent faculty. We will be in touch with more details soon.