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What Is an MOU?

by Mary Gross

photo credit: Sebastian Bill

You have seen “MOUs” on our FA Council Agendas or referred to in various meetings, but what exactly are they? MOUs are Memorandum of Understanding, or more technically the written agreement which captures two or more parties understanding on mutually agreed upon issues. The District and FA have entered into a number of MOUs over the past few years, particularly with matters involving responses to the pandemic that necessitated agreements for some temporary changes and/or suspension of certain areas in our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

MOUs allow for the District and the FA to open discussions on matters in-between full contract negotiations or to address issues that arise that are more limited in scope or deemed temporary to address matters that need to be solidified in a formal manner. For example, our CBA dictates the workload and on-campus requirements for classroom and non-classroom faculty. The pandemic necessitated a shift to fully remote work for all faculty, so an MOU was crafted to address that and the temporary suspension of certain on-campus requirements.

MOUs will also typically have a specified end date and include language indicating the “non-precedent setting” nature of the agreement. Sometimes, however, MOUs can serve to inform future negotiations on issues we may want to become part of our CBA. They can serve to provide insight and evidence that result in assisting with future bargaining positions. So, while our CBA is essentially frozen until our next re-opener, MOUs provide us with the opportunity to address critical issues during this time.

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