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The Point: Are You a CAT Person?


Greetings Colleagues,

Subject: Contract Action Team

Action Item: Consider Joining It!

As you will learn from our other blast email today (“Nuts and Bolts”) the Executive Committee  of the FSU last week elected our Core Bargaining Team (CBT) to take on the work of negotiating the successor contract to the one that we completed seemingly 15 minutes ago.  Our current contract expires at the end of June 2023 and the plan is to begin the next round of bargaining this coming winter. 

So, this week’s Point has a simple ask: please consider joining our Contract Action Team (CAT).

What is the CAT?  In our policies and procedures, this body is known as the “bargaining support Sub-Committee” and charged with support and building on the work of the CBT  But for now I want to make sure to say right up front that it is crucial that the CAT represents all of FSU’s constituencies –we will particularly need to hear the robust voice of NTT colleagues who work as associate lecturers and lecturers; we will need to hear from graduate program directors who have for years been working year-round without proper remuneration.  We will need to hear from colleagues in the library, in small and large departments, and across as many identity positions as possible.

The Executive Committee of the FSU has asked me to lead the CAT for this round, and I’m delighted to take on this work.  I understand the CAT to do its most important work in three main areas.

Consultation: CAT will be in regular contact with the CBT and will help the team disseminate and interpret the results of the crucial bargaining survey that will go out before long.  And throughout the bargaining season, the CAT will meet with the CBT to discuss particular proposals and the overall trajectory of the proceedings.  When appropriate, members of CAT will gather data from our various constituencies to get temperature readings and insights that we will then bring to the core team.  When needed we will read draft proposals and offer feedback to the CBT.

Communication: This is perhaps the most important function of the CAT—to act as a portal through which information can flow regularly, coherently, and manageably.  As already mentioned, we will communicate members’ concerns to the core team, but will also be entrusted with the responsibility to communicate to the broader membership (and sometimes the wider community on and off campus) what is taking place in bargaining. Expanded bargaining has proven itself to be a robust model for bringing more members into the bargaining process, and this year’s CAT will commit itself to drawing as many members into the bargaining conversations as is possible. We will attempt to do this through emails, tabling, meetings, and more.

Cheerleading: Bargaining tends to be a long—and sometimes grueling—process. Part of the job of the CAT is to try to help keep our collective spirits up.  Through workshops, rallies, department meeting visits and other ways to come together face-to-face and virtually, the CAT will take seriously the job of cheerleading and will try discover new ways to engage—and energize—the broad membership of FSU.

For now, please think about whether you might, in fact, be a CAT person.

This is your union. Please let us know at if you have any questions about the work of the Contract Action Team.


Jeff Melnick

FSU Vice President

Professor, American Studies

For information on the FSU, links to our contract and bargaining updates, and a calendar of events, see the FSU webpage