Faculty union strikes big in new contract


Photo courtesy of Holly Pinkart. The United Faculty Union has been bargaining with the university for major revisions in faculty contracts, such as raises.

Samuel Beaumonte, Staff Reporter

Photo courtesy of Holly Pinkart. The United Faculty Union has been bargaining with the university for major revisions in faculty contracts, such as raises.


Last Wednesday, CWU’s Board of Trustees voted in favor of a three-year contract that was bargained for by the United Faculty of Central (UFC). UFC’s slogan is that “Our working environment is our student’s learning environment.” Bargaining Chair and Associate Biology professor Holly Pinkart believes that the contract works towards this goal.

The contract raises faculty salaries by three percent for the first two years and two percent for the third, but the third year comes with a million dollar disbursement to equalize pay.

“The way a contract works is that we bargain,” Pinkart said. “We have an existing contract that we bring in changes for. There were certainly things that we wanted to say, but it’s a great contract.”

One of the bigger concerns for faculty was how incoming staff had higher salaries than those that had been at CWU for years.

“Faculty that have been here a longer period of time sometimes don’t have mechanisms by which their salaries increase at the same rate,” CWU Executive Director of Human Resources Staci Sleigh-Layman said to the Daily Record. “So we have some less experienced faculty at CWU that are close to, or above, what other people at the same rank are making, but have been here longer.”

Aside from salary raises and financial disbursement to equalize pay between new and long-term faculty, the contract established a basis for maternity and parental leave.

Previously, spouses who both worked at the university would be required to take their six-week leave at the same time, but this has been changed so that it can now be taken consecutively.

“The university was willing to work with us on what was definitely a problem, the people at the table have the power to bargain for us there and there is overwhelming support from the union members,” Pinkart said.

The contract also included a merit review system that provides non-tenure track faculty who have worked for five years or more with an opportunity for a pay increase. It also introduced a “phased retirement” program that allows tenured faculty of 62 years of age to apply, which allows them to work at 50 during phased retirement while still receiving full insurance benefits.

“I like the contract. I really like how the two sides worked together,” Faculty Relations Coordinator Charlene Andrews said.

In the next few months, the two sides plan on working together to introduce all faculty to the new contract.

“I think we have good faculty on campus that are very student oriented, I think that’s very important,” Andrews said.

The contract lasts three years and expires on Aug. 21, 2020. It is one year shorter than the previous four-year contract and a year longer than the contracts before, which settled for two years.

UFC also bargained for further protection of intellectual property, but after reviewing the current policy it was left as is.

“This is a fair and reasonable agreement that recognizes the hard work of our faculty,” CWU President James Gaudino said in an online news release. “A big part of the record enrollment increases we’ve experienced in the past few years is having quality faculty who are recognized as being among the best in their fields.”

UFC President Matthew Altman said in an online news release that faculty overwhelmingly approved the new agreement, saying that the contract reinforces the university’s commitment to faculty and student research collaboration and continues the effort to make faculty salaries competitive with peer institutions.

“Certainly for students, when faculty is treated well students are treated better. Keeping valuable faculty and retaining good people is always a priority for us at UFC,” Pinkart said.