The URI/AAUP/PTFU (Part-Time Faculty United) Negotiation Committee has achieved a major victory for URI’s part-time faculty. It is now time for the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education (RI CPE) to do the right thing by also accepting the arbitrator’s award.While there are several important improvements to the successor Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), perhaps the most significant item is the arbitrator’s proposed salary correction increase.In his award decision arbitrator Hon. Frank J. Williams (retired) has stipulated a substantial and guaranteed correction salary increase for URI’s adjunct faculty through 2020. The contract will provide significant gains in salaries at all levels of the pay scale. Salary increments are based on the number of credits for each course taught for a full semester. Courses with higher credit levels will receive a proportional increase per credit. Level I minimum per course pay will be retroactively set at $3,900 for fall 2015 and will rise to $5,500 by fall 2020; at Level II the increase will rise to $5,745 by fall 2020; and Level III salary increases will rise to $6,000 by fall 2020.Although the Negotiation Committee recognizes this amount falls below the salary correction figure we argued for, the Negotiation Committee nonetheless believes that the amount stipulated by the arbitrator is an equitable and fair salary increase at this time.It is our conclusion that the arbitrator’s award must also be approved in its entirety by the RI Council on Postsecondary Education. It was RI CPE’s decision to initially force negotiations into interest arbitration and the council should now accept the arbitrator’s fair and equitable decision as detailed in his judgment award.We firmly believe anything less than what the arbitrator has awarded would be unacceptable. The union’s financial expert, Gayle A. Corrigan, president, MRP, has proved, and the arbitrator has taken her budget analysis into consideration in arriving at his decision, that the university has the financial resources to fund the proposed salary correction increase. We must not forget that URI’s part-time faculty will still not receive health benefits, tuition waivers, life or disability insurance — all argued for by the Negotiation Committee and all rejected by the administration.The RI CPE is meeting on April 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rhode Island College Faculty Dining Center, 600 Mount Pleasant Ave., Providence, to make its decision on the arbitrator’s award. In solidarity and in victory! Dorothy F. Donnelly, Ph.D.
Edward S. Inman, III Dorothy F. Donnelly, Ph.D. is chief negotiator for URI/American Association of University Professors, Part-Time Faculty United. Edward S. Inman III is president, URI/American Association of University Professors, Part-Time Faculty United.