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AAUP advises faculty

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by Jaclyn Roco
LV Life Editor

Marcus Harvey, American Association of University Professors West Coast labor negotiator, met with University of La Verne faculty members recently to offer advice on effective negotiating strategies that the faculty hope will lead to salary increases.

The meeting was called after last year’s negotiations with administrators left faculty with a 2.19 percent raise ­ lower than expected.

Currently, the salaries of ULV professors, excluding those in the College of Law, are below comparison groups, said Richard Gelm, faculty representative for the Board of Trustees and chairman of the history and political science department. Some administrator salaries are above those at comparable colleges, he said.

Comparison groups include private universities of a similar size with similar programs and student populations.

Harvey was in brought following a faculty poll, Gelm said adding that more than half the faculty members who responded to the poll though bringing in a negotiator help them address the salary issue was a good idea.

Prior to the meeting, Harvey was briefed on faculty concerns. His role in the matter was to give an outsider’s opinion on how Faculty representatives could best address the issue, Gelm said.

AAUP is a nationwide professional support organization for university professors.

ULV’s chapter is now headed by President Claudio Muñoz, associate professor of accounting.

“We are a strong AAUP chapter that remains strongly connected,” Gelm said. “Marcus (gave) ideas on how we can be effective as a collaborative unit.”

Harvey suggested that to raise awareness when dealing with faculty salaries, faculty members should act as a cohesive group.

“The question is how to exert critical leverage as a group,” Harvey said.

ULV’s AAUP chapter has taken a first step in the right direction, he said.

Now, the ULV faculty must map out a plan and “escalate” its actions.

“The main purpose was to give ideas on how to set up negotiation strategies,” Gelm said. “Even if we are not the ultimate labor union, that doesn’t mean we don’t have the power.”

“A strike would be the ultimate weapon, but we don’t want that,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re powerless.”

So far AAUP and faculty salary committee members have voiced their concerns without being aggressive, said Sharon Davis, co-chairwoman of the faculty salary committee and professor of sociology.

Harvey suggested the groups must persevere toward the goal of parity with comparable colleges.

“My suspicion is that very few are happy with salary,” Harvey said.

The wrong way to address low salaries, he said, would be to do nothing.

Harvey suggested that faculty hire a consultant to do an analysis of the situation, independent of the administration.

Faculty should also publish both faculty and administrative salaries, he said.

“The administration is challenging (you) to contest (the low salaries),” Harvey said.

“Escalation is the key to show that the faculty is united,” he said.

“One of (AAUP’s) strengths is that we are not alone. We are working together for a common goal; we are plugged in with them,” Gelm said.

Harvey’s advice brought this notion of unity to light for most faculty at his session.

“I felt the existing information could be put to use,” Gelm said. “(Harvey) re-emphasized that AAUP is a national professional organization.”

Ann Wichman, professor of sociology, said she thought Harvey’s talk was very effective.

“I thought that he was low key, reasonable and made an effective contribution to faculty who were trying to improve their salary conditions,” she said.

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