When a full contract is approved, all subjects in the agreement are frozen for the length of the contract. The only exceptions to this are when unexpected working conditions situations arise (like the move to working fully online) and when both sides agree upon re-openers. Re-openers are a common feature of many multi-year agreements and provide a way to move forward without rushing to a decision on complex issues in a relatively short and hectic timeframe.
As you may recall, our 2018 agreement included a number of re-openers. Rather than addressing all of them at once, the timeline for addressing the re-openers was staggered, with the last of two re-openers slated to be resolved in spring 2020. As the spring semester began each side exchanged proposals on the re-openers: the district proposed changes to full time faculty evaluations and the FA proposed an extension of family leave.
That process came to a halt when the pandemic began, and we shifted focus to negotiating a variety of contractual changes necessary to move fully online. Despite being in the final year of our three-year contract, we are now moving to negotiate the final two re-openers. This is being done even as we are soliciting negotiation proposals for next spring’s full contract negotiation.
Note that just because something is being negotiated does not mean changes will necessarily occur. We may see no alterations to tenured faculty evaluations or family leave, or we may be asked to consider substantial changes to one or both.
Either way, the FA will keep you posted.
Photo (above) by Filip Kominik on Unsplash