Partners in Progress: Women’s and Gender Studies faculty and United Faculty

Partners in Progress: Women’s and Gender Studies faculty and United Faculty

Dear Colleagues:

This message is to thank UNI’s Women’s and Gender Studies faculty for their vital role in the recent faculty salary pay equity victory.

During previous contract negotiations, United Faculty proposed that the Board of Regents include in our contract the requirement for a faculty salary equity study. Because the proposed study was a permissive topic of bargaining, the board twice exercised its right to not consider UF’s

Subsequent to the board’s unwillingness to do the right thing, UNI’s Women’s and Gender Studies faculty took a leadership role on the issue. Led by Elizabeth Lefler, WGS faculty collected data and sent a template for an equity adjustment letter to all WGS affiliated faculty. A
critical mass of WGS faculty then sent independent salary adjustment requests to their Deans, requiring Deans to assemble salary data. As a result, the provost’s office (acting Provost Mike Licari and Associate Provost Nancy Cobb) agreed to a meeting in May 2014 with WGS faculty.
During that meeting, the WGS faculty sought a comprehensive study to examine possible salary inequities among faculty in all protected classes. In addition to Elizabeth, Catherine MacGillivray, Carissa Froyum, Catherine Zeman, Cate Palczewski, Kathleen Scholl and Kim Baker played key roles in the WGS initiative. Because salaries are a mandatory topic of bargaining United Faculty’s former Vice President and former WGS chair, Barbara Cutter monitored the progress toward establishing a study. Eventually, United Faculty and the administration convened the joint committee. After two years of analysis and collaboration both parties agreed to salary increases for 51 faculty members.

We must not fail to acknowledge the strong and effective advocacy provided by our WGS leaders and faculty. Without their efforts the pay equity issue would not have moved out of the quagmire it occupied in 2014. WGS Chair Catherine MacGillivray recently observed that success
on the pay equity issue demonstrates what is possible when we coordinate, “activist efforts on the part of women and others on this campus, alongside strong and progressive unions such as UF.” I could not agree more.

We have so many crucial challenges facing UNI faculty and our families. By joining together, we can transcend all of them. Let us never forget that faculty working conditions are student learning conditions. If you are not a member of United Faculty, please visit our
website at and complete the online membership form today.


Joe Gorton
President, United Faculty

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