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November 9, 2011


Members Present: Catherine Lynde   John Hess   Peggy Walsh   Heike Schotten   Pratyush Bharati   Marlene Kim   Kathy Kogan

Others Present: Lorenzo Nencioli, Membership Coordinator


Newsletter- The newsletter should be ready to be printed by Thursday, November 16th.

UMass Unions Meeting with President Caret- UMass union presidents from all campuses met with President Caret to discuss bargaining, among other issues. It was reported that Caret expressed opposition to the privatization process at UMass.

All-Union Meeting- There was a summary of the November 1st all union meeting. It was reported that all UMass unions have filed grievances over the administration’s refusal to effectuate the trigger raises from the 09-12 contracts.  The President’s office is working with the Governor’s finance people to see whether they think the triggers have been met and to see about another offer.  This would trade the back pay of the triggers for a 2-year new contract with 3.5% raises per year.

We asked people to write letters to Caret asking him to treat us like the other public sector unions in the Commonwealth – and put that new offer on the bargaining table.

Pension Bill¬-The recently proposed MA pension bill that would increase the percentage paid by future public sector employees has passed both House and Senate votes. This bill has an amendment that would allow public higher ed workers in the ORP to switch to SERS during a finite window of time. The MTA opposes this bill, though they support the amendment. It was noted that if this bill is signed into law, there would be a great need to provide information on retirement/pension issues to members considering the switch. The FSU will need to provide this information to its members and will consider asking the MTA to have retirement consultants speak to our members. Pratyush also agreed to draft up a series of bulleted questions that members may have re ramifications of a switch from ORP to SERS.

Proposal to convert NTT to full-time, ‘Visiting Professor’ status in CLA-It was reported that CLA Interim Dean Emily McDermott has expressed interest in starting a program that would convert currently employed NTT in CLA into full-time, year long positions and give them Visiting Professor status. We believe the intention is to remove the semester by semester paperwork needed for NTT contracts.

Parking- It was noted that the parking crisis is resulting in productivity issues since faculty members have to spend increasingly more time looking for parking. It was also noted that the North Lot will be shut down and Admin will likely propose opening a new lot in convention center and run shuttle busses to and from campus. It was proposed that, should this happen, the unions should ask that kiosks/shelter should be provided at the parking site. Marlene Kim said she would serve as the FSU rep to the ad hoc all-union parking committee.

Wheatley Air Quality Issue
It was reported that Admin is making progress in replacing the roof (It had been leaking frequently) and is planning to rip out a number of walls affected by mold. It was noted that union pressure has been effective in getting Admin to respond to the issue (they have also begun to enforce the no-smoking policy in and around Wheatley). It was also noted that union members have discovered that asbestos was used in Wheatley construction and that air ducts were damaged in 2006 and not repaired. An outside firm has conducted an air quality test but Admin has so far refused to release the results. The unions will use further pressure to get that information, especially in light of the fact that a number of employees have been sent home due to air quality related illnesses. CSU has already filed grievances on this issue. The FSU will consider whether it wants to follow suit after the 11/10/11 Health and Safety Committee meeting. Pratyush noted that there is also leaking on the 5th floor of McCormack. He will email Lorenzo details of this issue to be sent to members of the H and S Committee.

Grievance Committee Update
It was reported that the FSU has about 10 ongoing, filed grievances and numerous other grievance issues that are in the informal stage. 3 of the recently filed grievances have been concluded at the 1st step and have had decisions favorable to the FSU grievants (1 grievance was ruled unfavorably and has been re-filed at the 2nd step).

Proposal to Purchase ‘99% Buttons’
There was a motion to have the FSU purchase 500 buttons and distribute them to interested members. The motion was seconded. The motion passes by unanimous vote. Lorenzo and Heike will order the buttons and have expedited shipping. The FSU will send out an email to members offering them buttons. Lorenzo will inform CSU and PSU of our plans.

NTT Committee Update
The next meeting of the NTT Caucus will be on 11/15/11. It was noted that there is a need to form an ad hoc committee of NTT to examine the issue of NTT service and pay. Kathy Kogan agreed to raise this at the next NTT Caucus meeting.

CFHE Conference Report
It was reported that the 11/4/11-11/6/11 CFHE Conference had 90 attendees from 19 states. There was some disappointment expressed over a lack of action plan but it was also noted that the conference went very well. A virtual think tank will be set up. The next national meeting will be in Michigan. It was noted that there was no NEA presence at the conference but that AFT and AAUP did send reps to the conference. CFHE wants to have an FSU rep to an ad hoc steering committee. John Hess will talk with PHENOM about coordinating this effort.

There will a meeting of FSU and MSP reps on 11/18/11 to discuss bargaining issues. An FSU bargaining survey was emailed to members on 11/7/11 and will likely remain open for another week. Catherine said she would like to hold a series of FSU sponsored lunches geared toward different constituents (i.e. pre-tenured, NTT, etc.) to discuss bargaining issues face to face. Such lunches would only need 1 or 2 ‘facilitators’. CL and LN will set up dates for these lunches. It was also noted that the FSU bargaining team has not yet been constituted (so far, Larry Kaye and Marlene Kim will serve).

FSU Office ‘Re-Organization’
There was discussion of the possibility of hiring a part-timer or consultant to do all or some of the FSU’s membership accounting. LN agreed to track his daily workload so as to provide information on the percentage of his work dedicated to membership accounting (it was suggested that he maintain a spreadsheet to track this work). We’re still thinking about hiring a part-time organizer for FSU tenure track members.

FSU at Departmental Meetings
The plan to have FSU reps attend dept meetings and discuss the union (and hear feedback from members) has not yet been implemented but will be going forward. LN will contact departments and get schedules for upcoming meetings. It was noted that FSU reps will need a set of bulleted FSU talking points for the dept meetings. CL noted that MSP may have one. She will contact them and see if it can be adapted for FSU. It was also noted that the FSU has a pamphlet (‘What do I get for my union dues?’) written years ago that outlines the benefits of the FSU. Marlene Kim agreed to look at the pamphlet and determine how it could updated for member distribution.

Request to move union office
CL reported that the Provost has asked FSU, CSU, and PSU if they would be willing to move to another location (Healey, 11th). The consensus was that that space is not acceptable but that the unions would be willing to consider other spaces. There has not been further contact with the Provost about this issue.

Hidden Treasure
It was reported that Hidden Treasure, the 2 day event highlighting the achievements of UMB NTT, went very well but that attendance was very low. It was agreed that the HT Committee will have to examine this problem and propose a solution before next year’s Hidden Treasure.

Proposal to have Patrick Day speak to members
Patrick Day gave a well-received talk at Hidden Treasure outlining UMB resources for instructors who are dealing with problem and potentially dangerous students. It was suggested that the FSU sponsor a talk by Patrick Day for its members about this issue.