October 25, 2006

SIUC hopes Faculty Association will vote on proposal

by Sue Davis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale administrators said today (Oct. 25) they hope the SIUC Faculty Association will present the Administration's most recent contract offer to the Association's members for consideration and a vote.

"We think this a very generous offer in light of the economic situation of the State and the University," said University bargaining spokesman Gary Kolb. "This offer builds the salary base up in year one, creating a higher platform for salary increases in the next four years, and it addresses other salary issues as well."

The Administration's bargaining team put the offer on the table last Wednesday (Oct. 18.) The proposal provides for a 4.5 percent salary increase for this fiscal year, effective Jan. 1. For each of the remaining four years of the proposed five-year contract, the proposal offers the greater of a 3 percent salary increase or the average salary increase percentage the SIU Board of Trustees approves for non-represented employees. Each year one-half of the salary increase would be applied across the board and one half would be awarded on merit.

The University's offer also provides for substantial improvement to the salary increases for faculty promotions. If the proposed contract is accepted, Faculty who move from assistant to associate professor will receive a salary increase of at least $600 per month, compared to the current $300-per-month minimum increase. Those promoted from associate to full professor will receive at least a $1,200-per month-increase, compared to the current $600-per-month minimum increase.

In addition, the Administration has offered $2 million over the five-year life of the proposed contract to address parity and salary compression. The offer provides $250,000 in fiscal year 2008 to be distributed according to the equity formula, then an additional $350,000, $500,000 and $900,000 respectively, for the last three years of the contract.

Lastly, the offer increases the compensation paid to interim and acting department chairs and directors during the time they are in those positions.

The two bargaining teams have used a hybrid interest-based bargaining approach to the contract talks to explore and find mutually agreeable answers to many issues. The process, which allowed both sides to discuss issues and possible solutions early on before presenting firm proposals, was very beneficial, Kolb said. Now Kolb says it's time to get to the heart of bargaining, with the best interest of the Faculty and students in mind.

"When the proposals for parity, salary compression, promotion and annual increases based on merit and across-the-board are combined, we have a very good offer on the table that will result in substantial salary increases over the course of the next five years," Kolb said. "We think it deserves consideration."

The Administration and Faculty Association's bargaining teams have also reached tentative agreements on the following:

  • Faculty Association representation on Provost search committees.
  • Timing of reviews of Deans, Chairs and Directors.
  • Increased flexibility in the time for filing grievances.
  • Increased flexibility in constituting promotion and tenure committees.
  • A review of the research expectations for Library Affairs Faculty.
  • Greater transparency in the non-reappointment process.

The Administration has declined the demand that all Faculty pay a "fair share" fee to the Faculty Association.

The Administration has also declined the Faculty Association's demand for a new promotion and tenure denial appeal procedure. Instead, the Administration has encouraged the Faculty Association to work with the Faculty Senate to improve the operation of the Judicial Review Board. Last year the Judicial Review Board considered two such appeals, and it is scheduled to hear one appeal this year.