The first bargaining session between our union and the College Administration was held on Friday afternoon, February 10, 2023, in Ladd 207. It was collegial, productive, and mutually informative–a wonderful start to the collective bargaining process.
Representing the Skidmore Administration were Michael Orr (Dean of the Faculty); Rob Manfredo (Attorney at Bond Schoeneck & King); Julie Delay (Director of Human Resources); and Sarah Delaney Vero (Strategic HR Advisor). Our union was represented by Sean Collins (SEIU) and fifteen NTT union members, including seven members of the Negotiating Committee.
After introductions, members of the Negotiating Committee gave a PowerPoint presentation to the Administration. The presentation established some shared principles for the negotiations, provided an overview of NTT union accomplishments across higher education, discussed some of the issues and challenges facing Skidmore NTT faculty, and discussed some goals for the collective bargaining agreement.
After the presentation, Sarah Vero responded to our principles of negotiation, saying: “This is where we are as well.” Rob Manfredo suggested that the future bargaining sessions might take place every other Friday from 2:00 to 5:00. He also suggested that non-economic negotiations be conducted together for the full and part time collective bargaining units, but economic issues be negotiated in separate meetings for each group. (These issues will be discussed by the Negotiations Committee.)
Sean Collins followed up on some information requests, including an updated unit list. In answer to questions from the Negotiating Committee, Dean Orr stated:
- There has been no change to the College’s policy of who can teach in the FYE program. NTT faculty who have taught in the FYE previously can continue to do so during the contract negotiations period.
- The Administration intends for both full-time and part-time NTT to receive GSAs while our Collective Bargaining Agreement is being negotiated
- The Administration likewise intends to continue rolling out the equity adjustments announced last May and to make the requisite title changes and raises for NTT faculty who are successfully promoted
- The College’s FAQ page regarding unionization had not been updated since the election. Sarah Vero suggested that perhaps the FAQ was no longer needed.
We then held a “caucus,” meaning that the administration left the room so that NTT faculty in attendance could discuss issues and strategies. During the caucus, we discussed Rob Manfredo’s suggestions. The conversation was robust and both issues will need to be discussed in the future by the Negotiating Committee. We are likely to delay or slow the pace of bargaining sessions until Sean Collins returns from paternity leave (around March 24), but otherwise the Negotiating Committee was amenable to an every-other-week schedule of meetings with the College Administration. The general sense from the NTT faculty in attendance was to push back on the idea of splitting the units during any part of the negotiations. After the caucus, Sean told the Administration that we would get back to them on Rob’s suggestions.