Last Monday, the Portland State University Faculty Association (PSUFA) Local 3571 and the PSU administration came to a tentative agreement on a proposed contract. Adjuncts, or part-time professors, have been without a contract since their previous one expired at the end of June 2003.
Susan Fuhr, a PSUFA member who sits on the bargaining team and is a grievance steward estimated that it will take at least two weeks for the entire union membership to ratify the contract.
“This is not a great victory for us, but at least some points of positive growth are occurring in these difficult times,” she said. Fuhr was present for two hours of the seven-and-a-half hour mediated negotiation Monday.
“The administration has become more interested in the issues we were putting forward,” Fuhr said. PSUFA has won gains in job security and increased subsidy in union accounts like the limited health care fund for members in need. Other gains include the establishment of an orientation process for new part time professors and improvements in the grievance procedure for adjuncts.
No gains were made in creating pay equity between part time and full time professors and the proposed contract does not address multiple other issues the union has raised.
“Right now is a particularly bad time economically and politically that prevents us from achieving what we want,” Fuhr said.
The PSUFA is continuing its collaboration with students “so a year from now we will be in a much more powerful position,” Fuhr explained. Morgan
Stimson, a student senator, is putting a resolution before the student senate this Wednesday in support of the adjunct faculty.
“Students for Unity have taken a very proactive stand as a means of supporting our efforts and the Progressive Student Union is also publicly discussing faculty morale issues,” Fuhr said
Due to the tentative contract agreement and the senate resolution, the student forum on the condition of the part time faculty has been postponed for sometime next week, Fuhr said.