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November 9, 1995


PBS questions? Contact Senate budget policies committee

To the editor:

Pitt's Planning and Budgeting System is now in its fourth year. The system offers faculty and staff opportunities to participate in the process through the planning and budgeting committees (PBCs) of their units. This is particularly important as implementation of the University's long-range plan begins to affect unit budgets.

The Senate budget policies committee wishes to call attention to the collegial and participatory intention of the PBS process. Under PBS this committee "is responsible for reviewing whether the PBS procedures are followed and whether all constituencies involved are provided adequate opportunities to participate in the process and to be informed of its outcomes." The Senate budget policies committee is available to assist in PBS implementation and to provide information. Any member of the University community who has questions or concerns may contact either me (624-9052, fax 624-9163, 221B Allen Hall) or Philip Wion, chair of SBPC (624-6534, fax 624-6639, 509J CL).

Richard Pratt,

Chair Process Review Committee,

Senate Budget Policies Committee


J.W. = Just Wonderful

To the editor:

Despite the fact that it is a near certainty that I will become persona non grata in the view of my faculty colleagues for engaging in the heterodoxy of praising not only any garden-variety member of the University administration, but especially the top banana, Board of Trustees chairperson J.W. Connolly, I must say loudly and clearly how much I admire "J.W." for the principled and sensible positions he took as reflected in Bruce Steele's extensive interview with him in the University Times (Oct. 26). With seasoned and bold leadership like this, I'm tempted to anoint J.W. as the Tom Glavine of the University Board of Trustees, and may he participate in Pitt's board meetings with the regularity of a Cal Ripken Jr.

Among others, here are examples of positions he took which are freighted with integrity and stand out as avatars of university leadership:

* His explicit search (aided by the Fisher report) for goals and directions for Pitt.

* "As I've said to the trustees, my objective is to get an unfair advantage. That's what I want for the University of Pittsburgh. I don't want our fair share of state money. I want an unfair advantage compared with other state-funded universities. This is an important institution."

* His gutsy defense of those J. Dennis O'Connor "parachute" provisions which he thought were warranted.

* His unembarrassed push for undergraduate education.

* His unequivocal and reasoned posture opposing the same-sex policy, although I personally support that policy.

* His statement, "…all of the parts of the University to which we are committed or which remain a part of the University should be distinguished. That has to be our goal."

* "…we can't keep tuition down at the expense of faculty."

* When he said that we don't need a search committee to nominate replacements for the associate vice chancellor for Business and Finance, J.W. said unflinchingly that "Ben [Tuchi] should have filled that position based on his perception of the kind of person who was needed, the skills he believed were required, and gotten on with it. [To use an H.J. Heinz metaphor, Ben Tuchi's in the soup!] And here we were laboring with a search committee." Attaboy, J.W. Call it as you see it! (To me there is scarcely more pleasure in life than to see one administrator raising hell with–and not "loyally" supporting–another!) With J.W. at the helm of our — to use another H.J. Heinz metaphor — souped-up Board of Trustees, I'm bullish about Pitt as it enters the next millennium!

Robert Perloff

Professor Emeritus

Katz Graduate School of Business


Compare Rutgers, not Temple, to Pitt

To the editor:

Both the pro and con positions in the recent debate on collective bargaining at the University Senate meeting made reference to the example of Temple. But Temple has its own special character and problems, which have to do with the fact that as a public institution it has to serve the large undergraduate population of the Philadelphia area, which limits its ability to develop as a research university. In my opinion, a more reasonable comparison would be with Rutgers — a university of the same size and character as Pitt, which has had collective bargaining since 1970. Some years ago I was offered a position at Rutgers at a salary almost double what I was making at the time at Pitt, with an additional generous annual stipend for office, travel and research expenses. Under the terms of the collective bargaining contract at Rutgers, all medical insurance costs were paid by the university, and for an addition $20 or $30 a month, faculty and staff could get optional dental insurance for themselves and their families. As a matter of course, all tenured faculty members active in research (i.e. who published regularly) received a one-semester sabbatical leave every three years at 80 percent of pay, and this did not appear to be conditional on acceptance by the department head and/or the dean. As for the idea that collective bargaining might be incompatible with truly effective and innovative leadership, Rutgers had at the time an exceptionally dynamic and able president who, working closely with his faculty, was able to get from the New Jersey legislature, even at a time of fiscal restrictions, the necessary funding to build up, with some very ambitious hires, internationally ranked programs in English, history, philosophy, law, physics and other fields.

I eventually turned down Rutgers' offer (even though it was 25 percent higher than what the dean was prepared to offer in response) for family reasons. But it was evident to me that Rutgers was a place that was moving ahead of Pitt academically, that was more ambitious about its future, that did a better job of educating both graduates and undergraduates, that rewarded its faculty better and gave them more of a role in determining what their university should be. By contrast, as we are all aware, in many areas Pitt has lost ground in the last 15 years, Though I don't know them as well, I think the record at the CUNY and SUNY systems and the University of Florida–all of which enjoy collective bargaining — has been similar to Rutgers.

Obviously, collective bargaining cannot be a panacea for each and every problem we face; in particular, it is no insurance against the effects of recession and fiscal crisis on state-funded institutions. Like us, Rutgers has faced in recent years some serious funding problems. I also understand that collective bargaining may not be appropriate at institutions like Princeton, Harvard or Stanford, which have vast private endowments and relatively pampered and powerful faculties. But at state-related research universities like Pitt or Rutgers, not only has collective bargaining been compatible with the pursuit of excellence and innovation in scholarship and teaching; it may be one of the preconditions for maintaining and furthering such values. It is after all the faculty, not the administration or trustees, whose upper ranks often come from outside academic life, which is finally concerned in a vital way with these matters.

John Beverly


Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures


To the editor:

I read with interest your report about the forum on faculty unionization at Pitt. Unfortunately, almost all of the statements reportedly made by union opponents about Temple University and its faculty union were false, exaggerated, or misleading. If a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, then even less is treacherous.

First, as to calling Temple a "second-rate institution," Temple has never really pretended to be an elite bastion. The historic mission, set by its founder Russell Conwell in 1881, is to educate working men and women to lift themselves up into the middle class. We do that admirably well. We have a number of truly excellent programs and a faculty drawn from the best institutions. The diversity of our student body is terrific. We have an even higher proportion of graduate students in our student body than Pitt does. However, we and Pitt both live in Pennsylvania, with the same funding streams. Unless Pitt can operate on something other than tuition and state appropriations over the long run, faculty will be fighting with the administration or with each other over a shrinking pie. Faculty needs a vehicle with clout to protect our interests, our professionalism, and the quality of the teaching and scholarship we perform.

Second, Temple doesn't have bad faculty-administration relations ("unrelenting faculty-administration conflict") because of the union. Instead, it has a union because of bad faculty-administration relations, which predated collective bargaining. But unionization does not guarantee turmoil. We negotiated six contracts in our first 14 years without any overt conflict.

Third, there has been no "significant faculty attrition to help pay for economic gains." Faculty size, contrary to Professor Massey's assertions, is larger than it was in 1985. According to Temple's Office of the Provost: In fall 1985 there were 1,655 full-time faculty. In fall 1994, there were 1,720 full-time faculty.

Fourth, Professors Massey and Brumble assert that there was "an exodus of 3,000 students after the 1990 strike…that is still not made up." This is a half-truth. In the fall semester of 1990, over 3,000 students dropped out. But by the fall of 1991, one year after the strike, virtually all of them had returned and enrollments had increased back to the level of 1987. In fall 1994 enrollments were higher than 1987 by 1.2%. (Enrollments had spiked upwards in 1988 because of Temple's No. 1 national ranking in NCAA basketball, so 1987 is a more normal comparison year.) Any problems caused by the strike were quickly alleviated.

Fifth, Professor Massey criticizes us for the "partial substitution of unit seniority … for the traditional protection of tenure." He could not be more incorrect. Tenure is not only protected, but even if a department were eliminated, faculty have, in effect, tenure in the University, not just in their department. Prior to being laid off, tenured faculty from anywhere in our bargaining unit must be offered teaching duties in non-departmental university-wide programs, such as Composition, Remedial English, Remedial Math, or Intellectual Heritage. The language is so strong that the administration has not contemplated retrenchment since 1982. In 1982, over 50 tenured faculty were retrenched because at that time tenure could be revoked if one's department or program were reduced or eliminated. Our faculty union got the stronger language put into the contract in 1984.

Sixth, contrary to Professor Massey's assertions, the salary data published by AAUP in their annual reports on "the economic status of the profession" are clear. Pitt salaries are stagnating and Temple has taken off. The average full professor at Temple, according to 1994-95 figures earned $78,100; Pitt's main Campus fulls $76,300. Temple associate professors earned $54,800; Pitt's $53,400. Temple assistant professors earned $47,200; Pitt's $44,000.

Look at relative standing of universities, reported in the annual AAUP survey. At Pitt's main campus in 1985-86: full professors ranked in the 2nd quintile, associates 3rd, and assistants 4th. In 1985-86, at Temple it was: fulls 3rd, associates 3rd, and assistants 3rd. Last year, 1994-95, Pitt is 2nd, 2nd, and 2nd, while Temple is 1st, 1st+, and 1st. Apparently, Pitt has kept up with entry-level salaries for lower ranks but has stagnated for senior ones. Temple has improved at all ranks. While Pitt faculty got a pay freeze this year, Temple faculty got a 4% across-the-board increase in July. Our merit pool (1% of the base) for this year comes in January '96. Three other pools of $350,000 (0.5% of base) for market inequities, salary compression, and exceptional excellence comes early in '96, too. Last year, Temple faculty got the same (5.5%), while Pitt faculty got about 4%.

By the way, these salaries were negotiated in 1993, over one and a half years before the previous contract was to expire. There was zero turmoil and good publicity for the university.

Even if we were to agree to a salary freeze for next year, it would be because we agreed to it, not because an all-wise administration decreed it. Negotiations give us an effective say in salary policy, unlike at Pitt.

Seventh, Professor Massey's comments about the health insurance situation here at Temple are ridiculous. There is no comparison to what occurred at Pitt in the past year. After the 1990 strike our joint labor-management health care committee studied the issues. As a result of our committee's discussions, Temple made a deal with Blue Cross to provide all our health insurance for a $5 million first year saving and Better Benefits.

No, the union did not just stand by and do "absolutely nothing." We actually applauded Temple for making a sound, reasonable and win-win decision. Previously, about 85 percent of our faculty and staff were already enrolled in either the traditional Blue Cross/Blue Shield indemnity plan or the Blues' Keystone HMO plan. For those employees, the carrier is still the same, but benefits have improved. We now get 100% coverage at ALL area hospitals, not just Temple Hospital. We get out-patient mental health coverage, well-baby care, routine checkups and a prescription plan, which we never had before. And there's less paperwork.

However, Professor Massey should not minimize the contract provision that says that the benefits must be equal or greater if Temple switches carriers. That gives us the power to take the University to a third-party arbitrator in case of a dispute. Do the faculty at Pitt have any vehicle to get their complaints adjudicated? Far from being negative, this new health plan is a plus and gives hope for the future of joint problem-solving. We have found ourselves on the same side on this issue. But if it had all been left up to the Temple bureaucracy alone, it could easily have been as nasty a mess as it was at Pitt.

Eighth, other claims authoritatively made by the anti-union side are purely ignorant assumptions. For instance, they say that Temple faculty have increased our salaries at the expense of other things, such as the library, class size and "just about anything." That assertion is simply unfounded. We do not negotiate the library budget. That is a managerial prerogative under Pennsylvania law. Temple's library has gone very much "on-line" recently, so any reduction in staff does not mean less of a library. Temple is spending more on the library now. "Red meat at the bargaining table" it is not. Our librarians — 85 percent of whom belong to the union — would kill us if we treated it that way! Temple's Faculty Senate advises the administration with regard to educational policy, budgetary priorities, and other matters. But the administration makes up the budget and decides how to fund faculty salaries and how much they can afford. We do not bargain over plans for dorms, classroom buildings or basketball arenas or over administrator pay, fees for consultants, lawyers, vendors, etc. Budget cuts are administrative choices, not ones made at the bargaining table. The union, however, gives faculty a strong voice for our own interests.

I hope that the faculty at Pitt will decide on unionization based on the authentic facts and the worth of the arguments. It is regrettable that any faculty members would make statements devoid of truth or distorting verifiable facts. It is distressing that a sister institution and an entire faculty have been devaluated so that one side can score points in a debate. Your issue is not about Temple but about your own direction. Whether unionization will solve all your problems is subject to debate. At Temple, it has not solved all of the problems, but it has helped with some significant solutions. It is a path that is not without some worries, but it sure beats passivity.

Arthur Hochner


Temple Association of University Professionals

and Associate Professor

of Human Resource Administration

School of Business & Management

Temple University


David Brumble, who spoke against unionization at the recent University Senate meeting, responds:

I was gratified to find that Arthur Hochner of Temple University is a reader of our own University Times. But he might do better to keep up with reading closer to home. Had he read The Philadelphia Inquirer on Feb. 17, 1995, he might have a clearer understanding of what is happening at Temple. There Hochner would have found an article about Temple's budget woes — budget woes which result partly from low enrollment. He could have learned that in 1989 Temple's enrollment "peaked at 32,632 students. This year it is 30,150." Hochner himself acknowledges that Temple lost "over 3,000" because of the strike — which means that Temple is still short some 1,482 students.

On this matter of enrollment Hochner's logic is giggle-inducing. He wants to assure us that "Any problems caused by the strike were quickly alleviated," and so he must disappear the 1,482 missing students. This Hochner manages by the simple expedient of marching back through the years until he finds a year that is below the current enrollment level! 1987 thus becomes "a more normal comparison year." And — poof! — we find that the strike did no real harm at all. In fact, Hochner assures us, enrollment is up 1.2% over the 1987 level!1 But one does sense a failure of nerve here — Hochner could have gone back to, say, 1955 for his "normal comparison year"; then he could have asserted that Temple's enrollment had more than doubled after the strike.

And had Hochner read The Philadelphia Inquirer he would have realized that 1989 was Temple's peak year, not 1988, the year of the basketball. Hochner assures us that the strike did no real harm. No harm? How can Hochner so breezily dismiss the loss of 3,000 students — for whatever length of time. Think how disruptive that strike must have been to force a tenth of Temple's students to drop out. Hochner's attitude is nice evidence for my assertion in the debate that a faculty union bureaucracy would not much care about students.

Hochner's account of Temple's faculty size is a similar exercise in special pleading — although this time he has to go all the way back to 1985 for a favorable "comparison year." Again, The Philadelphia Inquirer could have saved him from error. Hochner could have read the statement by Temple's President Peter Liacouras that Temple is planning "budget slashing" which could cut the "non-tenured faculty by 40." Attrition should account for most of these cuts, we read, but not all. As I said in the debate, faculty unions are willing to sacrifice the least secure for a bit more money for the secure majority.

Hochner's math is also risible. Those of you who saw the UF's most recent little green flier will remember its stunning bar graph, showing that the average salary at Temple was $7,400 higher than at Pitt! "Having a union does make a difference." During our recent Senate debate on unionization, however, Gerry Massey pointed out that the UF's graph hides the fact that, because Temple has been doing less hiring than Pitt, Temple has a considerably higher percentage of its faculty in the upper ranks — 43% of those in the UF's bar graph are full professors at Temple, 34% at Pitt. This makes a considerable difference — as does Philadelphia's 14% higher cost of living.

So now Hochner has redone the UF's sums for them — and so we find that the difference between Temple's assistant professors and Pitt's is just $3,200 (6.8%), between associates $1,400 (2.5%), between fulls $1,800 — a whopping 2.3%! Differences of this magnitude lead Hochner to exult that "Pitt salaries are stagnating and Temple has taken off." Taken off? Now, I would not be mistaken. Hochner may be one of hyperbole's lovers — still, I would like to have 2.3% more money. And an additional $3,200 for each assistant professor would be very good indeed. But I would not want to give up assistant professors to get my 2.3% — nor would I want to see the size of the faculty cut by attrition. This would mean larger class sizes and less time for research.

But, says Hochner, it is "ignorant" to assume "that Temple faculty have increased our salaries at the expense of other things, such as the library [and] class size." Perish the thought! Again, Hochner ought to read The Philadelphia Inquirer — where he would have seen his own lamentations on impending cuts which will necessitate larger class sizes: Arthur Hochner, president of the professors' union, said faculty members "have been worried for years" about the prospect of heavier teaching loads, "and now it's here." He said research and service obligations may suffer.

"I don't know where we're going to find the time," he said.

Ah, what a tangled web we weave…. But look again at what Hochner says in his forgotten interview. He speaks resignedly, wistfully — gee, we've been worried that this might happen to us. And golly, now it is come — ah, fate! and we poor faculty are powerless to prevent it. An act of God, alas. But wait a minute — this is Hochner speaking, speaking in his person as "president of the professors' union"! This is the guy who is in charge of negotiating! Why, he has only to sit down and bargain for smaller classes, security for non-tenured faculty, and research time. Why — of course! He could probably trade easily for the "4% across-the-board raise" he boasts of in his letter to our University Times.

Hochner has provided me with more evidence that, as I said in the debate: It is generally recognized that university unions…are willing to chip away at libraries, cut staff, increase class size, just about anything in order to settle for the one thing which they know the secure majority is going to want. A bit more money.

In the Senate debate I reported that Temple's libraries had lost 15% of their staff since 1988! Hochner does not trouble himself this time to find a suitable "comparison year." Instead he blandly assures us that what with library automation those cuts were just fine, no problem at all. Pitt's Rush Miller is no Luddite — so the next time you see him, you just ask him when he's going to give up the 15% of his staff that computers have made redundant. I defy Hochner or our own UF to find a Pitt librarian who thinks that our library staff can be cut painlessly by 15%. Anyone who thinks that university library staffs can be cut painlessly in the '90s simply does not understand how much librarians have had to learn, how much they have changed, how many new services they are providing.

So, Professor Hochner allows us to see the mind of an experienced faculty union bureaucrat at work: he asserts that a 15% cut in Temple's library staff was no real problem; he asserts that the loss of "over 3,000 students" was "quickly alleviated"; and he is quite willing to sacrifice non-tenured faculty, research time, and smaller class size on the altar of a bit more money.


Gerald J. Massey, who also spoke against unionization, responds:

I want very much to reply to the rather nasty letter from the head of the Temple faculty union. Alas, I won't return from Germany and Poland until Nov. 16. I plan to respond to the letter in the Nov. 22 issue of the University Times.

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