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October 13, 2016

FSU Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, Wednesday, October 13, 2016

Members Present: Marlene Kim,  Ursula Tafe,  Karen Suyemoto,   Linda Dumas,  Sofya Aptekar,  Andres Henao-Castro (via Skype),  Ellen Frank, Tina Mullins,  Kathy Kogan,  Steve Levine

Others Present: Lorenzo Nencioli, FSU Membership Coordinator;  Jeff Keisler, TT Grievance Officer (via Skype)


1.NTT orientations-  Wednesday, October 19th, 2-3:30, Campus Center, 4th floor meeting room (4201) and Thursday, October 20th, 1-2:30, University Hall, 2nd floor, Seminar room (2320)

2.No on 2 Phone Banking- Thursday, November 3rd, 6-8:30

3.Need TT grievance officer- Members should think of potential replacement in event Jeff steps down at end of Fall 16. Update:  he will not be doing this but we should think of people when he eventually steps down. 

4.TT Ex com member- Linda Dumas stepping down at end of year. Need to think of replacements. 

5.Forum with Nick Collins- Marlene Kim and John Hess met with him (he is MA state rep). He wants to have a forum on Nov 16 or 17 about public higher ed de-funding. There was discussion of this.  Discussion of Provost’s visits to departments and potential alliances between Admin and union regarding change of regime with new Board of Trustees to UMass under Governor Baker.

6.Board of Trustees’ Efficiency Drives- Other campuses are being asked to adopt proposals that would tie departmental funding to metrics like graduation rate. Has not happened at UMB yet but could. UMB Admin is fighting this. Discussion of whether or not this can be impact bargained.

7.CPCS update. 

8.MTA Director of Higher Ed- Robert Vodicka is stepping down. Interim Higher Ed Director Katie D’Urso has been appointed while search for permanent replacement will occur but this means that there will not be any more membership training sessions by Vodicka.

  2. FSU Treasurer- Steve Levine elected Treasurer previously but Ellen Frank wishes to take over role and Steven okay with stepping down. Motion made to elect Ellen Frank as FSU Treasurer. Motion Seconded. Motion to elect Ellen Frank as FSU Treasurer passed unanimously.
  3. Uncollectible dues- There was discussion of the list of uncollected dues and agency fee monies from the 15-16 academic year. The Ex Com reviewed the lists and discussed the list of ‘uncollectible’ dues and agency fee funds (the uncollected funds that they agree to forego collection for; reasons for this vary but can include retirement of faculty in question). Motion made to approve the list of FY16 ‘uncollectible’ dues and agency fee funds. Motion seconded. Motion to approve the list of FY16 ‘uncollectible’ dues and agency fee funds passes unanimously.


3.Scholarship fund for non-paying FSU agency fee members- There was discussion of what scholarship fund would receive money from unit members whose pay is suspended per Article 7.7 (Sofya did research on specific scholarship funds that would be suitable for FSU since current language in Article 7.7 does not specify which funds it will go to). Discussion of whether or not funds should be going exclusively to Jim Green Scholarship in Labor Studies or the Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix Immigrant Achievers Scholarship or both. Motion made to have any funds generated from Article 7.7 pay suspensions to be given in an even split to  both scholarships (if Admin refuses one scholarship, motion would allow for entirety of funds to go into the other scholarship). Motion seconded. Motion to have any funds generated from Article 7.7 pay suspensions to be given in an even split to  both scholarships passes (if Admin refuses one scholarship, motion would allow for entirety of funds to go into the other scholarship).    

  1. Grievance Committee staffing and workload (see proposal below)- Proposal is to have 5 total FTE grievance officers (2 TT and 3 NTT). Discussion of need for an officer who would function as a contract implementation/contract monitoring officer, not just someone who deals with grievances. Since we already have 3 grievance officers (1 TT, 2 NTT, one of whom is part-time), should we hire more? Grievances and bargaining should be priorities for FSU. If we can’t accept full proposal, maybe we can take 1 or 2 extra officers, rather than 3, depending on FSU budget situation. A case could be made to Admin that something like an Ombudsman, to be an FSU officer, would be of benefit to Admin. Discussion of whether or not Admin would see benefit of FSU proposal to fund such positions. Ellen willing to serve as grievance officer again.


Reason to have additional grievance officers is not just to cover pending cases but to train multiple FSU members to be able to serve as grievance officers in event of other officers stepping down. Also, sees need for someone to monitor the NTT portions of contract re Associate Lecturers, additional work, etc.

      KAREN SUYEMOTO LEAVES           

Discussion of stipends and how to determine what officer stipends should be. Discussion of whether or not TT will take position if there is stipend but no CLR. Ellen and Lorenzo will look at FSU budget and report back to Ex Com on possibilities for re-directing funds to cover additional officer stipends.

  1. FSU Communication Committee report (see below)- Recommended getting rid of newsletter, eliminating Newsletter Editor position, creating informational blog instead. This way we will also know how many people are reading the materials. Discussion of issue of whether or not Newsletter Editor is under contract and whether or not we can sever economic relationship with Editor at this point. Concern expressed about ‘interactivity’ of any comments on an FSU blog or social media site and how to manage ‘offensive comments’. Discussion of need to look at Newsletter Editor’s contract and to see if she is willing to transition into type of work mentioned above. Marlene and Lorenzo will review Newsletter Editor contract. We need to take opportunity to do this new work to show UMB community we are a ‘live organization’. Discussion of need to have monitors of blog.



  2. NTT Caucus- We are having meetings again during the next few months. Focus will be on having more informational sessions (i.e. get-to-know-your contract).

Grievance Committee Proposal on Responsibilities and Needed Resources

Submitted for discussion by the September 1, 2016 FSU Planning Retreat

The Grievance Committee (GC) requests your confirmation of our responsibilities, the number of grievance officers (GOs) and establishing a procedure for member representation requests

The GC is made up of GOs who are appointed by the FSU Executive Committee.  In Spring 2016 there was 2 full time NTT GOs, 2 part time NTT GOs, a compliance officer and one TT GO.  Today, there is 1 full time NTT GO, 1 full time NTT who needs to cut back on workload, 1 part time NTT GO and 1 TT GO.

This document outlines the activities taken by GOs.   The Core Grievance Activities are those related to grievances.  Additional Activities are those that the GC feels are important to the operations of the GC and member outreach.  Member Request Representation explains non grievance filings yet require GOs to attend and prepare.

Core Grievance Activities

The following[1] lists the core activities grievance officers do.

Initial Contact – in person, telephone or email

            Communicate with member, discuss issue, explain grievance process, obtain

            documents and/or materials from member.


            Review materials, determine if there is a contract violation, if there is a violation discuss

            with member what takes place, if there no violation then provide the member with written

            explanation and recommendation for an informal resolution. This can take hours to do.

Step One Filing - members

            Complete and submit the form, prepare hearing materials, prepare the member for the

            hearing, attend the hearing, provide any additional materials requested by the hearing


Step One Filing – policy grievances

Determine that the issue is so great that it impacts a substantive number of members. Complete and submit the form, prepare hearing materials, attend the hearing, provide any additional materials requested by the hearing officer.

Informal Discussion – member and departments

            If there is no violation there may be an opportunity to solve the issue through informal

            discussion.  Attend with member and assist in finding a solution.

Documentation- Maintain a written record of above items.

GC Meetings

            Meet frequently to review current and potential cases, inform FSU Executive Committee

            and/or bargaining team of issues.

FSU Executive Committee Meetings- Make sure one is in attendance. Serves ex officio.

Labor Management Meetings- Attend to resolve contract disputes.

Additional Activities

These are activities that the GC feels are important to our members and wish to do. 

Mentor potential replacement grievance officers

            This is very important as one cannot just jump into this position without training.

Conduct ‘Know Your Contract’ sessions

            Semi-annually inform members about hot issues and the contract.


Information Sharing

            Submit information for inclusion into FSU member communications (newsletter, email

            blasts, website).



Member Request Representation 

Members have the right to request a union representative for any meeting that may result in the member’s discipline. 


These requests include meetings with department chairs and/or program directors; and attending ODI meetings/hearings. These requests require confidentiality.    Many times the request for representation comes with little warning frequently the next day.  Just this week the FSU received requests for ODI representation for meetings this week.


Policy establishment

The GOs want to help members but the current level of resources (number of GOs and GOs teaching) makes fulfilling all these meeting requests difficult.  How do we provide representation with limited resources (GOs)?  Should GOs attend/handle the more important requests while FSU Executive Committee members attend less egregious case meetings?   


The second option requires a commitment of the FSU Executive Committee that Committee members will attend these requested meetings, that the information is confidential and that a recap of what took place is to be provided to the GC.


We believe that these meeting requests will not reduce and could increase over the next year so it is imperative that we establish a doable policy that will be properly implemented.



Projected Need[2]

            3 NTT Grievance Officers      2 TT Grievance Officers 


Compensation for these positions is important as one grievance can take many hours of analysis time. 


NTT- the last year of the current contract does not contain any release/stipend.  The NTT GOs were not paid for Spring 2016.  Unsure if any payment will be for Fall 2016.  Compensation must be secured.  Failure to do so could leave FSU with no NTT GOs.


TT- The practice of continuing CLRs is needed to fill these positions.  The increase in TT related cases is growing[3] and expected to remain high. 


[1] For this document the activities are bulleted.  We can easily provide more detail/depth during the Retreat.

[2] Depending on the case(s) a TT might assist in an NTT case and vice versa

[3] Closing of CPCS, department in receivership, tenure cases.

Report from Communications Committee

  1. Who Can Post on Facebook Page
  • There is no central administrator on Facebook. 
  • Right now, Amy Todd, Sofya Aptekar, and Joe Ramsey are administrators. 
  • We should get the FSU on as an Administrator. This involves Lorenzo or Jill creating a Facebook profile using an email account. 
  • The FSU ExCom should decide who should be Administrators. 


  1. What Can Be Posted on Facebook or Twitter? 

The FSU needs to have a policy on what should be posted on the FSU Facebook page and on Twitter. 

  • A suggested policy is that this can include anything including solidarity with other unions, higher education, the MTA, FSU events, relevant media articles, anything from email blasts. 
  • If the FSU is representing people on both sides of an issue, we should not take a position on this issue. 
  • If an issue has not been discussed in email blasts, the President should be consulted regarding whether this issue can/should be posted (e.g. Africana Studies).  


  1. What is the purpose of social media? 
  • Inform people
  • Recruit members and involve members in activities
  • Build a larger network


  1. Proposal to switch from newsletter to blog


Background: Last year, only one issue of the newsletter came out (although this was the fault of too many competing demands on the President). We have difficulties recruiting people to write for the newsletter or edit it. We have little information about the number of members who are reading the newsletter. The newsletter costs $350 per issue per year plus a newsletter editor cost of $5000/year.

Proposal: A blog on the FSU webpage would replace the newsletter. Articles published on the blog would serve a similar purpose to the newsletter: to inform members, encourage involvement, and build solidarity.

Advantages of having a blog:

  • More flexible deadlines and structure.
  • Potentially easier to recruit contributors because it is more flexible.
  • Cost savings (amount?).
  • We will know how many people are reading.
  • More interactive (allows comments).
  • Easy to integrate with our existing social media platforms.


  • An unknown number of members prefer to have a physical copy of the newsletter.
  • Once we omit the newsletter and newsletter editor, it is unlikely that we will get her or the newsletter back again. 
  • Need to re-do the website for this.