Meeting of the Truman State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
2015 September 15, 4:30-5:45 PM, at the DuKum Inn
Present: Xiaofen Chen, Sergio Escobar, Christine Harker, Mark Hatala, Craig Hennigan, Marc Rice (presiding), Jason McDonald, David Robinson (secretary), Matthew Tornatore, Torbjorn Wandel, Tom Zoumaras
Next meeting: Tuesday, October 20, 4:30 PM at the DuKum Inn
Chapter and national/state dues: Several people present paid their chapter dues ($10 per semester). National dues (which include money for Missouri Conference) should be paid directly to national: http://www.aaup.org/membership/join [After the meeting, Kathryn Brammall, chapter treasurer, reported that, with 8 people recently paying dues for two semesters each, our treasury balance now stands at $285.00. The treasurer or any chapter officer will accept dues.]
Weingarten rules: Since there has been a Truman Chapter of AAUP, chapter officers and members have offered to accompany faculty members who are called in by supervisors for important/difficult meetings. In the past, administrators allowed this, apparently understanding that it was for the good of the university as well as for the faculty member. Weingarten rights, a Supreme Court ruling originally having to do with union representation, have been extended to non-union employment settings by the NLRB, and AAUP advises all academic employers to honor them. See the later sections of this document: http://aaup.org/issues/collective-bargaining/collective-bargaining-revised-and-revisited-2001
A faculty member recently requested Weingarten rights for such a command-meeting here at Truman but was refused, and that faculty member had to attend the meeting alone. A week or so later the University General Counsel, Warren Wells, ordered all deans and chairs to “refuse any Weingarten request from faculty.” This information came to our chapter by word of mouth; our AAUP chapter officers will confirm this order in writing, so we can start an investigation and pass information about this new university policy to our national AAUP counsel for their advice.
Salary issue, what we can do: This issue dominated this meeting, since it was highlighted in the agenda that invited the faculty.
A fairly large group of faculty from the Department Classical and Modern Languages (CML) started the salary complaint rolling again last spring: they sent a delegation to meet with President Paino and then wrote a follow-up letter to him. (See document below.) These CML faculty members acknowledged the president’s expression of support on the issue, as he explained some plans to them. However, the plans to remedy the salary situation have been delayed due to “lack of resources.” Truman faculty salaries, in the meantime, keep falling farther behind those of nearly all other state universities, year after year.
It is sadly ironic, someone noted in the chapter meeting, that our splendid reputation as a “public ivy” prompts uninformed people to assume that Truman faculty are actually paid more than elsewhere, when the opposite is the case. Salaries are so low that morale is also low; hiring new faculty is now difficult for many departments; senior faculty are experiencing salary compression (where their salaries are very close to those of new hires), even salary inversion (where new hires actually have salaries higher than senior faculty of same or even higher rank). At the same time, Truman’s chief administrators enjoy compensation levels higher than at most other state universities in Missouri, and money can be found for their favorite projects. Faculty are beginning to face the fact that salaries actually have lowest priority on campus, especially as some of the deferred maintenance is being addressed. For some sad details, study this website from Chronicle of Higher Education: http://data.chronicle.com/178615/Truman-State-University/faculty-salaries/
Since there is no plan of action for salaries from administration, Truman faculty members are working in the AAUP chapter to formulate one. It was agreed that we would start with an informational survey of the faculty during this semester, with more active steps to follow. The chapter officers will coordinate, for now. Anyone with specific information on salary compression or salary inversion, or ideas for what the faculty need to do to address salary issues, should consider passing this on to a chapter officer.
Marc Rice, president
Mark Hatala, vice-president
David Robinson, secretary email@example.com (for confidential messages)
Kathryn Brammall, treasurer
Marc Becker, webmaster
May 20, 2015
Dr. Troy D. Paino
Truman State University
200 McClain Hall
100 East Normal
Kirksville, Missouri 63501
Dear President Paino:
We in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages would like to begin by thanking you for the serious and respectful attention with which you have treated our concerns about salary inversion, compression and overall salary stagnation, and we are grateful for this opportunity to express our position more fully.
From the outset, we acknowledge the ongoing economic constraints under which higher education generally, and Truman State University specifically, has been laboring for over a decade. We fully understand that as available funding has dwindled, administrators such as you are faced with the ever-increasing necessity of doing more with far less. One of the clear areas of economic constraint is that of equitable allocation of funding for faculty salaries.
We understand that for an institution such as ours to remain intellectually viable, it must be able to recruit top-level faculty members, particularly in light of ongoing retirements. We further understand that attracting and retaining highly-qualified applicants depends upon many factors, not the least of which are starting salaries that are at least regionally, if not nationally competitive.
However, when there is a lack of proportionality between the salaries of current versus incoming professors, the perception of fairness is jeopardized. Such a situation is a serious threat to the morale of current faculty, impinging upon the trust that we must have in our administration and the collegiality among those who feel overlooked and new colleagues, who have been the beneficiaries of long overdue salary adjustments. This is the case for several tenured faculty members in the Spanish program, as well as in several other departments, after the recent round of hiring. As a result, the salaries of several full and associate professors in CML (and elsewhere on campus) scarcely exceed those of our newly hired colleagues. This is also the case for several instructors in our department who have taught for many years at this institution. We recognize that, in part, this has been the consequence of the near-decade-long stagnation of salaries (2000-2012), a situation not of your making. Yet the message that this situation seems to send is that current faculty and their ongoing contributions to the institution are not valued, if compensation is to be a reflection of the institution’s estimation of its employee’s performance.
Again, we sympathize with your position, caught between the competing demands of state officials who are increasingly indifferent to higher education on the one hand, and our request for more equitable remuneration on the other hand. Nonetheless, we urge you to give careful attention to this deeply corrosive issue.
[Here follow the signatures of 22 faculty of various rank in the Department of CML]