volume 39, number 5
Temple UniversityFaculty Herald

Letters to the Editor

Roberta Sloan, Chair-Department of Theater, Executive Producer – Temple Theaters

April 21, 2009

Dear Editor,

I would like to address the issue of agency fee/fair share, which seems to be a major obstacle in the faculty, librarians and professional staff obtaining a contract.  I am about to take a position unpopular to many, but one that truly expresses my deeply held sentiments.  I hope that you will respect the person in any replies you might make, even if you don’t agree with the position.

From a variety of sources, I have been told that both sides, TAUP and the Temple University Negotiators, seem to be at an impasse regarding the topic of agency fee/fair share.   Both sides have stated with certainty that they will simply not change their minds, and that in fact, no contract will be agreed upon until the “other side,” gives in.  So, we could wait another few years, and still not have a contract.   Meanwhile, we have been without a contract for a full school year, we have had no raises this year, and the merit folders of meritorious faculty are languishing on chairs’ desks. This is really untenable.

I am a member of TAUP.  I joined because I felt that if my voice was to be heard by TAUP, I should be a member. So, here is my voice on the matter:

The university has clearly stated that when the TAUP membership reaches 70% of those eligible to join, the university will impose an agency fee/fair share.  As much as TAUP has tried to garner the sufficient number of members to make this happen, they have failed to obtain this percentage of members.  Clearly, not enough faculty, professional staff, and librarians have joined TAUP despite a concerted effort to increase membership numbers.

Even though I chose to be a member, I do not feel that it is fair to insist that my colleagues should be forced to pay a fee.  I realize that TAUP represents the entire faculty, but this does not necessarily mean that the entire faculty wishes to be represented by TAUP – there is no choice since we are a unionized faculty. 

I look at the salaries of some of the Non-Tenure Track faculty in my department, some of whom have experienced great salary compression, and I do not feel that they, and others in similar situations, should be forced to pay an agency fee.

So, I say to TAUP – give up your position on this issue, and let’s move forward.  It is not fair to try to force approximately 40% of eligible faculty, professional staff and librarians to pay a fee when they simply do not wish to join TAUP, and in fact, if given a choice, might opt out of having a unionized campus.

Many of us are very tired of waiting for this to be over.  Obviously, the Fair Share/Agency Fee is a major “sticking point.”  My request to TAUP is “just give it up and let’s move forward.”  No one should be forced to have a deduction taken from their salary when they do not wish to join the union.

Remember, this is an opinion respectfully submitted by a dues-paying TAUP member, who like so many others, is tired of waiting for a contract to be agreed upon and signed.

Sincerely,

Roberta Sloan, Ph.D.

Chair-Department of Theater

Executive Producer – Temple Theaters