September 20, 2018

AAUP Update: Response to Ruling

Colleagues:

Since my last communication, the Executive Committee had an opportunity to meet and have a discussion with the Chapter’s attorney on Wednesday, and it is our informed opinion that we shall appeal the judge’s ruling to Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals.

Although an unfavorable ruling last week was not totally unexpected at the Circuit Court level, it was disheartening. However, worse yet would be to stand by and watch as our union and our Collective Bargaining Agreement are ruined by a bad decision by one judge. We believe that Judge McGann’s opinion stemmed from a gross misreading of the law, and we believe that an appeals court will see this and side with us.

Before we proceed with the appeal, and before we offer you the details, please note that we are waiting on the full transcript of the opinion that Judge McGann read from the bench on June 19.  It will take about a week before our attorney will receive this document.

At this time, we can say we do not believe the narrow factually grounded procedure set forth in Section 8.5 of the Agreement is or was ever intended by the parties to provide a mechanism to resolve a dispute with the College over a failure to pay salary in accordance with the Agreement. When applicable, that Section provides for negotiation and fact-finding, the cost of which is substantial and is to be shared but does not result in anything more than an advisory opinion which the College could blithely ignore if it were contrary to the Administration’s desires.

Thus, Judge McGann’s grievous error results in there being no mechanism for the Chapter’s members to enforce the Agreement – a result directly contrary to the Legislature’s purpose in establishing collective bargaining for most College employees.

At the present time it is our informed belief, as we said above, that the best way we can protect our contract is to appeal the judge’s decision to Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals.

As far as this year upcoming is concerned, we have reached a tentative agreement for increases for FY’19 that would be effective in the fall.  The College’s attorney is currently drafting the terms of the tentative agreement.  Once the terms of the tentative agreement have been formally reviewed and accepted by the Executive Committee, the Chair of our Negotiating Team will issue a statement outlining the terms of the agreement.

We on the Executive Committee recognize the difficult position we are all in with regards to not receiving an increase in salary this year.  We appreciate your patience, your support, and your interest in communicating with us about the grievance, the court case, and how we are going to proceed.

We especially appreciate the number of you who have switched from paying the agency fees to paying the full membership fees in the past couple of months. We’re happy to report that we are close to 90% membership. We are an “opt-in” union. Although all Full-Time Faculty receive the protection of the union, no one is forced or coerced to join. Almost 90 percent of you have made the choice to join, and we sincerely appreciate this. We hope the rest of you will make the change soon.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

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