At the September Regents' meeting, NFA delivered the following testimony opposing then-Acting Chancellor Jane Nichols' memo ordering a freeze on various kinds of internally-funded faculty salary adjustments:
Good morning Regents. My name is David Steel, S-T-E-E-L. I am the Executive Director of the Nevada Faculty Alliance, an organization representing faculty with members at all NSHE institutions, and the collective bargaining agent for faculty at TMCC, WNC, and CSN.
I am here to express NFA's opposition to a memo issued by then-acting Chancellor Jane Nichols on July 24, 2017, ordering that NSHE institutions put a freeze on certain types of internally-funded salary adjustments. I am attaching the memo for the record.
Internally-funded salary adjustments represent a small fraction of overall salary movement for faculty. However, this small portion is important, as can be seen in former Chancellor John White's March 2017 memo to Governor Sandoval's office, which showed how NSHE institutions have repeatedly made use of these processes over the last several years.
Our first point of opposition to the memo is that such a dictate from the system office is unduly restrictive on the autonomy of the institutions to act as they see necessary regarding faculty salary.
Our second point of opposition is that this memo has stalled our ongoing collective bargaining negotiations, of which we have two. At one school, it caused Administration to rescind without substitute the salary proposal they had made.
Our third point of opposition is that the memo instructs the institutions to act contrary to the Procedures and Guidelines Manual. Chapter Three calls for an equity review of faculty salaries to be conducted on a biannual basis. But we've already had one institution state that it will not do a mandated equity study because of this memo.
Our fourth point of opposition is that Jane Nichols used AB 202 as justification for the salary freeze. AB 202 is a 2017 bill that calls for studies regarding various aspects of NSHE, including one of faculty compensation. We spoke with sponsors of the bill AB 202, as well as other legislators who voted for the bill. They clearly expressed that it was not their intention for the bill to be used as a rationale to freeze internally-funded salary adjustments for faculty.
Our final point in opposition of this memo is that we NFA, the bargaining agent for faculty at three NSHE institutions, were not consulted before-hand. Neither, as far as we can tell, were any faculty senates.
To conclude, this memo ordering a freeze on various types of internally-funded faculty salary adjustments: (1) handcuffs institutional autonomy; (2) interferes with collective bargaining negotiations; and (3) goes against the Procedures and Guidelines Manual.We have spoken to Chancellor Thom Reilly about this matter. He has taken it under consideration, but has not yet formally responded. NFA asks that the Nichols memo be rescinded or at least mitigated, by Thom Reilly or if not, then by the Regents, so that the institutions can proceed with providing salary incentives to improve faculty retention, morale, and success.