Temple Times Online Edition
    FEBRUARY 9, 2006
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TAUP withdraws its grievance against TU over merit pay procedures

The American Arbitration Association has notified the University that the Temple Association of University Professionals — or TAUP, the union representing about 1,100 full-time faculty members, librarians and academic professionals in 13 of Temple’s schools and colleges — has withdrawn a merit pay grievance against the University.

The union’s grievance, which was lodged in November, had asserted that that the guidelines used by Temple to award merit pay were inconsistent with TAUP’s contract with the University, because the guidelines considered performance during the three previous academic years, rather than performance during only 2004–05.

The grievance also had challenged the new contract’s higher standards for merit pay, which require outstanding performance in both teaching/instruction and research/scholarship/creative activity.

The University had contended that TAUP had waited too long to challenge Temple’s implementation of merit pay guidelines — eight months rather than the 20 days required by contract — despite being fully aware of a merit pay recommendation, submission, evaluation and award process that was completed by July 2005.

The withdrawal of TAUP’s merit pay grievance comes less than two months after arbitrator Ralph H. Colflesh Jr. denied TAUP’s grievance over the probationary period for tenure (see the Temple Times, Jan. 19, 2006). That grievance had been the first to go to arbitration since TAUP membership ratified a new collective bargaining agreement by a 430-8 margin last spring.
Among its provisions, the new contract increased the proportion of pay awarded based on performance from 20 percent to 33.3 percent of the total salary-increase pool. Merit raises of more than $800,000 were awarded by the Provost to 421 TAUP members in July 2005, based on recommendations from the deans and faculty committees.

“But the most significant aspect of TAUP’s decision not to pursue this grievance and the arbitrator’s recent award on probationary period extensions is that they institutionalize higher standards for teaching and research excellence at Temple,” President David Adamany said. “That must always be Temple’s goal.

“I am pleased that TAUP has decided not to pursue this arbitration. We always believed that the administration’s right to establish merit salary guidelines and the decisions to base merit pay awards on both teaching and scholarship were clearly set forth in the collective bargaining agreement.

“In addition,” Adamany said, “the remedy requested by TAUP had the potential to nullify merit salary awards made last year to 421 faculty members and unravel the work of several hundred faculty members who served on departmental and college merit salary committees. This would have been a serious setback for faculty participation in University decision-making.”