URI adjuncts file complaint against president, state for compensation

THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND adjunct faculty union has filed a complaint with the Attorney General”s office against URI President David Dooley and the RI Council on PostSecondary Education. /COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND
THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND adjunct faculty union has filed a complaint with the Attorney General”s office against URI President David Dooley and the RI Council on PostSecondary Education. /COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND

Updated: Tuesday, June 13 at 11:54 a.m.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – URI/AAUP Part-Time Faculty United, the union representing approximately 450 University of Rhode Island adjunct professors, filed a complaint against URI president David M. Dooley and the R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education on Friday, June 9, according to a letter from Dorothy F. Donnelly, the union’s senior representative and chief negotiator.

The complaint, which was filed with the attorney general’s office after five years of contract negotiations and arbitration ended in April 2017, claims Dooley and the R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education are choosing to ignore a recent ruling by Frank J. Williams awarding adjunct faculty a salary increase.

According to Donnelly’s letter, Williams said: “The award is a fair and equitable award that is in the best interest of both parties.”

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By not honoring the ruling, said Donnelly in her letter, this action falls in line with the “serious violation” of state law perpetrated by the R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education over the past five years of discussions.

Robin McGill, spokeswoman for the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, on Tuesday clarified that Williams’ decision was non-binding and both parties remain in negotiations. She said the state office “expects an agreement sometime this summer.”

“We’d prefer to have it as soon as possible. Nobody wants to be operating without a contract,” she added.

Union representatives also claim the R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education failed to attend a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 7. McGill said there was no council meeting scheduled for that day, but there were committee meetings which took place as planned.

McGill said, as of Tuesday, the R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education had not been contacted by the attorney general’s office.

“In the meantime,” said Donnelly, “we’re continuing with negotiations because we want to receive what the arbitrator said we should receive, a corrected salary increase.”

According to Donnelly, part-time faculty at URI haven’t received a pay increase in 15 years.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey.

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