Nena Stracuzzi, Lecturer, Sociology UNHLU-AAUP, Vice President
Turns out, plenty. Thanks to the blood, sweat, and tears of many who came before me, in August of 2015, after fourteen months of negotiations, we signed our first collective bargaining agreement. And with significant gains from those efforts, we as a group have come a long way since 2013. I, for one, am grateful.
For starters, we’ve received double digit average percentage raises in all colleges for the period from 2015-2017. We’ve also received summer and J-Term compensation increases. We now have a university wide promotion structure and we eagerly await news of those who have submitted promotion packets. This is on the heels of many lecturers’ rank adjustments to Senior or Principal. We’ve achieved longer-term appointments and we finally have a grievance structure to address cases of arbitrary or capricious treatment, adding yet another layer of protection. Such enhanced job security was among our members’ top priorities. Significantly, like our tenured colleagues, we now have the opportunity to take a paid semester for professional development. These pedagogical leaves which provide us with much-needed time to increase our teaching effectiveness, whether to develop new courses or explore new technologies, are a monumental boon for lecturer faculty. Additionally, all lecturers are entitled to request funds annually for registration and travel to professional organizations, conferences, and/or workshops. Importantly, twelve weeks of paid parental leave were negotiated and finally, sick days for personal or family leave is contractually guaranteed. So too are the full protections of academic freedom guaranteed for lecturers. Truly, substantial advances have been made; while we may not yet have achieved all for which we collectively hope, we enter our second round of negotiations from a position of strength. With previous successes under our belts and only continued advancements to be made, the importance of collective bargaining is apparent. Such achievements for all could never have been made individually.