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Temple faculty and administration reach tentative contract agreement

Faculty at Temple University have a tentative four-year contract agreement, which includes 3% raises on average annually, health care concessions and new provisions on how student evaluations of their professors are used.

Students, faculty, and labor unions gathered on campus at Temple university last month to call for a fair contract for Temple faculty.
Students, faculty, and labor unions gathered on campus at Temple university last month to call for a fair contract for Temple faculty.Read more / File Photograph

Labor peace may arrive just in time for Christmas at Temple University.

The faculty union and administration this week reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract with raises for full-time members retroactive to Oct. 1, said Steve Newman, president of the Temple Association of University Professionals.

The tentative pact, which is subject to ratification by the union’s 2,700 full- and part- time faculty, librarians, and academic professionals and by the board of trustees, includes raises of about 3% annually on average, Newman said. But members will contribute more toward health insurance and pay new deductibles, he added.

New language on how student evaluations of professors are used by the university also is included, Newman said.

The evaluations, he said, “can’t be used for either the sole or primary criterion for evaluating faculty and personnel decisions, except in the case of discipline,” he said, for which “the administration can use it as a primary or sole basis for initiating the disciplinary process.”

» READ MORE: As Rutgers faculty reach contract accord, Temple faculty begin negotiations

Newman said the union had become concerned that the administration was relying too heavily on student input for things like merit raises, tenure decisions, and whether to reemploy adjuncts.

The new contract, he said, also includes more protections for full-time non-tenure-track faculty and adjuncts, and more money for adjuncts.

The administration also was happy with the agreement.

“I’m glad we were able to reach an agreement when we did,” said Sharon Boyle, associate vice president for human resources. “Our goal is always to provide fair and competitive wages and benefits, and also make sure that we can give the best to our students, and I think this contract recognizes all three of those goals.”

The union, Newman said, got a lot of support from some state representatives and City Councilwoman Helen Gym, who attended a rally on campus last month.

It was the first time the university used “open” bargaining, allowing members to watch.

» READ MORE: Temple University holding first ‘open negotiations’ with faculty: ‘This was us watching the sausage being made'

Newman gave high marks to the process.

“There was more transparency with our members, who got more involved,” he said. “It gave us good ideas and feedback.”

The sides began negotiations in April and had attempted to reach an early bird agreement. The previous contract expired Oct. 15.

Union members will vote on the tentative agreement by Dec. 13, Newman said. The board has not set a date for a vote.