March 12, 2004

University, Faculty Union Reach New Agreement

March 12, 2004   NR 03-04

The University of Alaska has reached a tentative agreement for a new collective bargaining agreement with United Academics, the union representing over three-fourths of the university's full-time faculty members.

Teams representing the university and the union put the final touches to the agreement late Thursday after several weekend and late night sessions. The agreement provides for salary adjustments needed to recruit and retain top quality faculty, improvements to the health plan, encouragement for faculty effort that will contribute to the state's economic development, and a renewed commitment to academic freedom.

University President Mark Hamilton was pleased with the outcome of the negotiation. "This contract was negotiated by professionals with the best interests of our students, the faculty, and the state always at the forefront of their minds. No threats, no bluster, no guns to the head. The union bargained hard for its members and we respect that. Now we must get these contracts funded so we can strengthen our focus on educating Alaskans for the bright future that lies ahead."

United Academics President Michael Jennings commended the union's negotiators for improving the contract in several key respects. "We achieved much-needed gains in our salaries, obtained an increase in the university's commitment to rising health insurance costs, and improved several processes that are important to our members. Our faculty deserve respect for their hard work and I think this contract reflects that. I'm proud of what our negotiators accomplished, juggling bargaining sessions with their research and teaching responsibilities, and I'm sure they look forward to getting back to their students."

The agreement is subject to ratification by the union's members and approval by the University Board of Regents. Details of the settlement will be available upon conclusion of the approval process.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: James Johnsen, UA Vice President for Faculty and Staff Relations, 907-474-7894