With the beginning of the school year looming Sept. 4, The American Association of University Professors and Oakland University have extended the 2009 faculty contracts for a sixth time, after both sides failed to reach an agreement by the Aug. 28 deadline.
The two sides have agreed to extend the current contract until Thursday at midnight.
According to AAUP President Karen Miller, the university’s bargaining team presented a revised economic proposition to the AAUP’s bargaining team during negotiations Tuesday.
“(Our) team got a proposal and is working on their counterproposal,” Miller said.
She said the AAUP hopes to get their proposal sent to the university sometime on Wednesday, however the parties are not able to meet until Thursday because of the state mediator’s busy schedule.
The AAUP bargaining diaries seemed optimistic that a resolution would soon be reached and that the teams may exchange proposals electronically in an effort to continue making progress.
OU’s bargaining diaries state that the gap preventing the negotiations is narrowing.
“We are encouraged by these developments,” the diaries stated. “The issues being considered are complex, but the teams from both sides are diligently working through them. Their efforts are appreciated and we look forward to finalizing a new contract very soon.”
The key issues of contention between the two sides continue to be faculty benefits, including tuition waivers, health care and faculty pay.
Currently, the university has proposed cutting the faculty tuition waiver, which allows faculty members and their immediate family to attend OU free of charge.
They have also proposed switching faculty to a performance-based health care plan, which penalizes people in poor health by requiring them to pay higher deductibles, and instituting a zero percent pay raise during the next three years.
The AAUP will hold a general membership meeting Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. to update members on the status of the negotiations and allow them to voice any options or questions.
Miller said the AAUP is still hopeful a deal will get done before the start of the school year.
AAUP’s bargaining team and Oakland University’s bargaining team have agreed not to speak with the media during negotiations.