University Group Files Grievance Against Administration For Firing Lecturers
The University of Montana Faculty Association union has filed an official grievance against the administration over the firing of lecturers.
Faculty Association President Paul Haber said on Friday, that the UM administration failed to give the proper amount of notice to the lecturers when they notified them that their contracts would not be renewed.
"They must be given a semester notice if the university is not intending to rehire them for the next year," Haber began. "They sign contracts for a year, much like tenure-track faculty. So, for the 2017-2018 year we're about to begin on Monday, a semester notice would have required the university to have sent them all a letter before the start of the spring 2017 semester. In our case, we're alleging that the university violated its own rules, known as policy 350, by sending the letters out in August, rather than in January."
Haber said the university if treating its lecturers 'shabbily', by giving them so little notice.
"The university has treated them as 'disposable people', which is unethical, as well as being a violation of the contract, in my view," he said. "So, those lecturers will teach in the fall , and we'll see what happens in the spring depending on how the grievance goes."
Haber said interim president Sheila Stearns has acknowledged receiving the grievance, which will be handled according to the collective bargaining agreement with the administration.
"The president has 10 days to get with me, as the person who filed the grievance, and we can try to work it out," he said. "Of it can't be worked out then it gets kicked up the chain into an arbitration process which will result in binding arbitration, for which there is no appeal."
Haber said the process will take several months to be decided, however, the matter may be settled by both parties at any time during the process.
UM spokeswoman Paula Short told KGVO News on August 15 that notices went out to all 34 lecturers as part of the continuing effort to bring personnel costs in line with enrollment.