UA Facility union rally amid contract negotiations

    Ralliers marching infront of the Alaska cpatiol building (Kevin Allen / KINY)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - United academics, American Association of University Professors, American Federation of Teachers Local 4996 rallied at the state capitol Wednesday afternoon to advocate for the approval of a fair contract.

    The university administration offered their "last best offer" during federal mediation earlier in the year, and was approved by the board of regents last month.

    The offer included a raise of 3%, 2.5%, and 2% through three years.

    The funding was then left up to the legislature, but no increases for full-time faculty were in the budget passed by lawmakers.

    Professor of mathematics at the University of Alaska Southeast Jill Dumesnil, is the organizational vice president of the union for the Juneau campus.

    Dumesnil sits on the union negotiating team, she said their reason for rallying is to make the public aware of the fact that united academics is in contract negotiations with the university.

    She was asked for her reaction to the last best offer.

    "I felt some disappointment that it was the last best offer and that they didn't seem to want to continue to negotiate, but we have continued negotiation since then, including Federal Mediation, which is ongoing."

    The union proposed a 5% increase to faculty pay, 3 to 7% next year, and 3 to 6% the year after.

    "Faculty have received a single 1% raise in the last six years and we want to make it clear that that has has resulted in a 20% decrease in our purchasing power," she said. "We do not feel like faculty are a cost driver for the university but in fact, investment in faculty is an investment in the future of Alaska. So one of our signs says 'UNAC faculty: an investment in Alaska,' because that's what faculty are, we educate generations of future generations of Alaskans, to be productive members of society, and our working conditions are indeed the conditions under which students learn."

    Dumesnil said a mediation session is scheduled for Thursday.

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