RWU Faculty Association trying to reach final contract agreement


Courtesy of June Speakmen

RWU FA bargaining team head and professor June Speakman

After about a year and a half of contract negotiations, the Roger Williams University Faculty Association (RWU FA) have reached the final stages of deciding on a new agreement.

“We [RWU FA bargaining team] have finished negotiating and are now finalizing the agreement which we will put before the faculty for a vote sometime this semester and the administration will put it before the board,” said RWU FA bargaining team head and professor June Speakman.

The RWU FA has what is called a conceptual agreement. Speakman said that means they are one stage before a tentative agreement and have agreed in concept what each side will present to its constituency.

“Whether the board or whether the membership approves, it remains to be seen,” said Speakman.

This comes after the four year contract that was in effect from 2017 to June 30, 2021 was extended a year.

A year and a half of trying to finalize a new agreement is a relatively normal amount of time procedurally according to Speakman.

Finding time to work on union matters amongst busy teaching schedules between the seven members of the bargaining team, Speakman said is one of the main reasons working on the new contract was not quicker up to this point.

As head of the bargaining team, Speakman could not give specific details related to what happened in negotiation or the current process of trying to finalize the agreement, but she said, “As with all negotiations in any sort of labor union situation, the employer and employee tend to disagree on things like compensation and workload. Employees tend to want higher pay and employers and employers may argue they cannot provide higher pay. That’s very common.”

She also cited the balance between the number of classes versus the amount of time for their research agenda faculty get as a possible issue some professors may have had.

Some faculty members have been wearing pins that read “RWU FA” and Speakman said the union provided them to members to show solidarity with the bargaining team.

Speakman said she expects a final agreement to be reached sometime this semester.