by Gary Samson
A New Contract for UNH Faculty
After more than two years of on-and-off negotiations, the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) have signed a five-year contract.
The agreement specifies a $400 increase to faculty members' 1998-99 base salaries, as well as across-the-board pay raises of 4, 4.6, 4.8, 5.15 and 5.15 percent for the five fiscal years covered by the contract. The first two years are retroactive. In addition, the minimum that assistant professors may be paid will increase from $35,000 in the first year to $43,000 by the time the contract expires in June 2003.
Average salaries will rise over the course of the contract from $70,300 to $89,098 for full professors, from $52,691 to $66,902 for associate professors, and from $42,040 to $53,476 for assistant professors.
Since 1991, when UNH faculty members voted to unionize, the AAUP has negotiated with the system's board on behalf of more than 600 tenured and tenure-track professors at UNH and UNH-Manchester. (About half of UNH professors are union members.) Two previous contracts were also signed behind schedule, but the process for this contract was longer--28 months--and more adversarial than in the past. The AAUP's initial request called for a 6-percent salary increase, while the board of trustees originally offered 3 percent. The union's goal was to move UNH salaries closer to the New England state university average, while trustees countered that the system's resources were insufficient, due to low state funding, for a larger increase.
The new contract calls for the formation of joint USNH-AAUP committees in February to work toward a more collegial and timely approach to negotiations.
The negotiations were "difficult," notes UNH President Joan Leitzel, and she adds that the agreement "required significant compromise for both parties." It's a sign of progess, she says, that USNH and AAUP are working to develop "collaborative and efficient processes that result in competitive salaries for UNH faculty."
In addition, new USNH Chancellor Stephen J.Reno, with the blessing of the trustees, is working on short- and long-term plans to "ensure competitive and fair compensation for non-union employee groups on campus," according to Candace Corvey, vice president for finance and administration.
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