Dear Alma | Ambitious

Dear Alma,

My department head says that if we have a faculty union then she could no longer negotiate a retention deal with me… Could this be true?

Truly,
Ambitious

Dear Ambitious,

It’s wonderful to hear you hope to stay at Illinois even if you get a terrific outside offer. Is it the scenery that keeps you in Champaign-Urbana, or the generous retirement plan?

But seriously,  what your department head is saying is not true. Faculty union contracts at research universities specifically allow heads, chairs and deans to meet outside offers.  Such “extra-contractual” raises are addressed in the recently negotiated  contract at the University of Oregon, for example. What is more, it is not true that you would need a union representative present at negotiations – you would simply negotiate with your department head and the dean as is done currently. The policy on retention salary adjustments at Oregon (under Article 26) does not even mention the union.

Thanks for asking!
Alma

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