The Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP) is the union that represents nearly 2,300 full-time and part-time faculty members, librarians, and academic professionals at 13 of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges.
Temple University has 11 unions representing 4,800 employees. In the last fiscal year, we successfully settled two separate contracts representing thousands of workers.
Since 1990, the university and its unions have successfully settled approximately 82 agreements without experiencing work stoppages or strikes. We have achieved this by establishing partnerships with our union leadership based on a mutual goal of reaching a contract that is fair to both parties, recognizing the critical work of our employees while also being responsible stewards of the university’s resources.
The current contract expires October 15, 2023.
In early May 2023, Temple leadership proposed to the union an 18-month extension to the current agreement that offered guaranteed increases for its members and stable health insurance contributions. The university proposed the extension as a benefit to both parties.
All parties, especially our students, would benefit from stability in the face of other unavoidable challenges, such as leadership changes, a significant drop in enrollment, or significant budget cuts associated with both a drop in enrollment and shrinking appropriations.
The union members would have received a guaranteed increase effective July 1, 2023 (there is currently no scheduled increase). The union was encouraged to counter the university’s initial salary increase proposal; they did not.
The parties could collaborate on critical mutually identified issues without the threat of an expiration or strike.
The university also discussed a proposal to assist nonrenewed, nontenure-track faculty.
Following weeks of no response to the university’s proposal, the union rejected the university’s offer, preferring instead to engage in full negotiations with no guarantees of pay increases for its members.
Following TAUP’s rejection of the contract extension, on Friday, Aug. 18, Temple University representatives met with representatives of TAUP, presented them with the university’s non-economic proposals and mutually agreed upon the ground rules for contract negotiations.
From the outset, the university has offered to meet as frequently as possible for negotiations. Since then, the union offered seven dates on which they are available for additional bargaining sessions before the Oct. 15 contract expiration. Temple agreed to these times and remains willing to negotiate at any time and as frequently as needed to get to a fair agreement.
From the university’s perspective, the priority is a swift settlement that acknowledges the union’s concerns and respects the outstanding work of our faculty while remaining good stewards of the university’s limited resources. To that end, we have made minimal proposals with no material concessions sought from the union, all intended to clarify contract language that will create a clearer mutual understanding going forward.
A key factor that will play a role in the negotiations is Temple’s operating budget. Since fiscal year 2021, in order to make up for budget shortfalls, we have reduced expenses by approximately $170 million. That’s an average cut of more than $42 million per year. This has largely been done by reducing administrative budgets including those in the schools and colleges, eliminating vacant positions, and holding certain salaries flat, including those of all deans and officers for four out of the last five years.