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September 5, 2018

FSU Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

September 5, 2018

Members Present: Marlene Kim; Peggy Walsh; Jeff Melnick; Steve Striffler; Monique Fuguet; John Hess; Jason Rodriquez; Joseph Brown, Tim Sieber; Emilio Sauri, Jessica Holden; Ellen Frank; Joe Ramsey

Others Present: Lorenzo Nencioli, FSU Membership Coordinator;

  1. Introductions: how we run these meetings/FSU for new members:
  2. Approval of the agenda: Motion to amend agenda (move item #10 to 1:40PM). Motion seconded. Motion passes.
  3. Approval of the minutes: Motion to approve Ex Com minutes from 5/3/18, 5/17/18, 5/29/18, 7/10/18, 7/31/18. Motion seconded. Motion passes.
  4. Budget Report:  Discussion of budget (see budget items below, contact FSU for copy of FSU budget), discussion of having different tiers or not, explaining the budget.


Jason, Jeff, Peggy, Jeff M., Emilio, John H., Steve S., Joe B. will speak at 10/3/18 meeting re budget matters if needed. Ellen will write up email for members re budget matters discussed above.

    5. Discussion of Oct 4 campus event: Joe R: Motion to co-sponsor event and inform members via email blast (contact FSU office to see flyer). Motion seconded. Motion passes.

    6. Parking bargaining update and input:

Motion to go into executive session. Motion passes.




Joe Ramsey, John Hess, Jason Rodriquez, and Emilio Sauri will serve on parking action subcommittee.

Motion made to extend meeting to 3PM. Motion seconded. Motion passes.

     7. Email votes policy redux: Discussion of proposed policy (see below). Jason will revise draft policy, bring back new proposal for next Ex Com meeting.

     8. Nonmembers of the FSU and all-in rapid response: Discussion of need for process for dealing with this when members drop out.


FSU FY19 Budget Notes




  • Member dues – portion of total union dues which are retained by the local (FSU).  As of this fiscal year, we will lose all those who chose not to be members of the union, but paid the mandatory agency fee.  I have calculated the budget assuming loss of agency fee payers and loss of 10% of full members.


  • Other income.  We receive a very small amount of interest on some $65,000 in savings as well as $25/member from the MTA.  The bulk of “other income” consists of dues collected for the MTA, all of which is transferred to the MTA (see expenses).




  • Most of our expenses consist of a projected $416,596 transfer of dues revenue to the MTA.  The remainder (606,386-416,596 = 191,647) pays local FSU costs.  Of this, 63% (not quite 2/3) covers employee compensation.  Most of this goes to Lorenzo; the remainder to an administrative assistant and a newsletter (now mostly blog) editor.  The budget includes salary for all three, health benefits for Lorenzo, other benefits for Lorenzo, and payroll taxes paid by employers (SSDI, Medicare, state unemployment and workmen’s compensation) – 10% altogether of base pay. 


  • This leaves some $73,000 for all other expenses.  Most of these are small – office supplies, printing, postage, bank fees, equipment, phone, website, etc.  Food and travel budgets reflect costs associated with bargaining when the team must travel out of town to attend bargaining sessions.  This year, we spent little on travel, since most bargaining took place on campus.  Food is provided during  some bargaining sessions (those that span a full day). 


  • Our second biggest non-office cost is the payment of stipends to FSU officers.  Paying these stipends is a long-standing practice.  (Note that each stipend involves an additional 10% expenditure for payroll taxes.)  The FSU president receives $10,000 annually.  Grievance officer stipends vary, since not all officers are full-time.  Last year we spent $8,000, but the budget for grievances was raised at the last membership meeting to $14,000 to provide money if more grievance officers are needed.  (Note that we also budgeted $3,000 last year to reimburse the clinical bargaining team – an expense that will not be necessary this year.)  Total stipends and associated taxes proposed for FY19 represent 14% of the budget. 


  • The largest non-office cost is the $27,385 we transfer to the Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) – an umbrella group between UMass Amherst and Boston -- 14% of the budget.  This staffs the JCC office, which mostly covers arbitration costs, pays for an accountant for both campuses, and a yearly audit.   UMA pays 2/3 and UMB 1/3 of the cost.  This expense as a non-negotiable obligation to the JCC—the JCC bylaws stipulate that we must pay 1/3 of the cost. 



Total FY19 Budget Breakdown as a percentage of FSU spending:


Employee salaries, taxes and benefits                     63%

JCC                                                                              14%

Officer Stipends                                                         14%

Food and travel for bargaining                                   2.8%

All other office costs                                                    6.2%





At the annual spring membership meeting, members asked that the treasurer look into whether we can tier the portion of dues paid to the FSU by income, just as is done by the MTA.  In fact, we already follow MTA rules on tiering.  Currently, faculty with 100% FTE appointment pay full dues (now $276/year).  Faculty with 50% appointment pay half as much.  Faculty with 25% appointments pay 20.4% of the $276 annual dues, and any faculty making less than $18,000 pay only 10.2% of the $276. 


It is possible and, according to HR, doable, to create instead a dues structure graduated by income instead of by FTE.   FTE salaries range, based on 2016 data, mostly from $55,000 to $130,000 with a few outliers at the top (in the $170,000s).  Not surprisingly, full-time NTTs are at the low end of the salary scale and full professors at the high end. 


To create a revenue-neutral, graduated dues system would require the ExCom setting income brackets, getting salary data for 2018 and calculating the “dues rates” per bracket needed to generate sufficient revenue.  While this is a manageable task, I would caution the ExCom that, in order to reduce fees for those with lower incomes, we would need to significantly raise fees for the highest paid faculty, perhaps alienating some of those faculty from the union.  Just a thought. 


Graduating Member FSU dues by Income


# of faculty

Proposed Dues

Total Collected

















130,000 +





The table above is a proposal that would graduate member dues by income.  Annual dues would range from $200 for faculty earning $50,000-$69,999 to $400 for faculty with incomes of $130,000 and above. 


Data used and data limitations:

I used salary data for 2015 (the only year for which I have complete salary data).  I eliminated all faculty who are less than full-time and who, therefore, already pay half or less of the $276 annual dues agreed to by the members in May.


My database lists 659 full-time faculty.  Obviously, some of these were not union members.  I do not have data on union-members-only by salary, so I simply assumed that all were union members.  I then multiplied 659 by $276 annual dues/member to arrive at a total of $181,900 annual FSU revenue that would be collected if all were union members.


The results are instructive only.  If membership tends to decline as incomes rise, then those in the highest brackets would need to pay considerably more than $400 in order to realize any meaningful reduction in dues for lower earners. 


To develop a system which we could actually implement, we need detailed data on the 2018 salaries of union members only.  Compiling this data will require going through a spreadsheet of faculty salaries, comparing it to a list of members and deleting non-members – a time consuming but not impossible task


Methodology and Results:

To be revenue-neutral, a graduated system would have to raise $181,900.   So I rejected any system which resulted in total revenue below $181,900.


I experimented with various numbers of income brackets (3, 4) but found that reducing the number of brackets below five really wouldn’t allow for any meaningful reduction in annual dues for those with lower incomes without drastically increasing dues on higher-earners and/or require that most members pay more than $276.  (This is because vastly more people earn relatively “low” incomes than earn very high incomes.)


I experimented with various dues levels.  Any system offering sizable reductions (say 50%) in dues for lower earners required increases of 100% or more for those in the top two brackets. 


I set a cap of $400 annual dues for the highest-earning (assumed) members.  This was arbitrary.  It seemed to me that dues above $400 would likely result in some high-earning members leaving the union.  But this cap limited the amount by which I could reduce dues for lower-paid members. 


Under the above scenario, 343 faculty would have their dues reduced by 9% to 27%. 


316 members would have their dues raised by 1.4% to 45%.



These are my personal reflections. 


In 2015, salaries for full-time employees ranged from $51,000 to $190,000.  Only 23 faculty earn $150,000 or above.  The median salary was $89,000.  Even for the lowest paid full-time faculty, annual dues of $276 represent only 0.5% of their annual earnings.  Reducing dues by 27% (to $200) for those earning around $51,000 means they would pay 0.4% of their annual earnings.  For the median earner, $276 is 0.3% of annual earnings.  Reducing those dues by $26 (to $250) means they would pay 0.28% of their annual earnings in dues.


While the FSU dues decrease for the lowest earners (in this scenario) would be 27%, it should be noted that it is only an 8% decrease in their total member dues, including the MTA portion.


Reducing dues by $76 for those earning below $70,000 would add $6.33 to their monthly earnings – enough to buy three additional beverages or one pre-packaged sandwich a month in the UMB cafeteria.  I’m not suggesting that even a little bit of extra money is not valuable to people with low incomes.  But we are not talking here about minimum wage workers.  We are talking about folks whose base salaries range from $50,000 - $69,999.


These are not meaningful numbers, in my opinion (and this is my opinion only).  And implementing a graduated system would be cumbersome for the union.  Brackets would need to be adjusted each year for inflation and changes in salaries.  Dues levels would have to be adjusted each year as the FSU budget and membership numbers changed.  If we experience membership reductions due to Janus, we would need to update our data and recalibrate regularly – possibly more than once a year. 


One possibility is to emulate the state of Alabama and have only two brackets – one for the lowest-earners (say $50,000 - $60,000) and a flat rate for everyone else.  We could, for example, cut dues for that group by 50% and raise dues by $15 on all other members.  Of course, this means that nearly 600 people will pay higher dues, which is not, I believe, what people at the membership meeting seemed to be looking for. 


And, again, this is simply a thought-experiment based on inadequate data.  Once we compile a list of members by salary, the numbers would all have to be reworked.  But this thought-experiment took me 5-1/2 hours and that’s because I already had salary data (from when I analyzed merit pay) sorted by FTE and salary.  Personally, I don’t have time during the semester to do this again.  I suggest that one or more others do more informed calculations.  I would be happy to meet with whoever is interested and explain the data and methodology I used.  Doing this does require a high degree of numeracy and expertise in excel.  


Ultimately, however, this is a policy decision, not  numbers game.  We will need to develop more accurate numbers at least a week before the membership meeting, with policy guidance from the ExCom and be able to present to the members two or three reasonable scenarios. 



FSU Ex Com Voting procedures for email votes:

The FSU ExCom will permit electronic voting for votes that don’t require deliberative discussions. 

The voting period will extend 3 business days from the time the email has been sent out. The vote will not be called until the time period has expired. 

Emails from ExCom members requesting a vote shall go to the FSU email, and the email call for the vote will come from the FSU email.

The FSU ExCom will send out a call for the votes with the subject line EX COM VOTE. 

Emails calling for vote must specify exactly what the vote means and its impact:  e.g. a no vote for this additional MTA delegate must say whether a slot remains open or if the next person is chosen. 

If two ExCom members want a discussion rather than an email vote, the voting will cease and a discussion will occur at the next opportunity.

The FSU ExCom will investigate internet voting software such as doodle voting. 




Policy on FSU Executive Committee E-votes

The FSU Executive Committee permits e-voting according to the policy outlined below:

1) When a motion is made to call an e-vote, the motion must be seconded.

2) If the motion is seconded, a 24-hour period for discussion will commence. The committee member who seconded the motion initiates the discussion with an email that begins “EX COM Evote Discussion”. The email should include the motion and the time that discussion will end. Any committee member can opt into an additional text message notification. During discussion, if more than two Executive Committee members say the motion requires in-person discussion and vote rather than online discussion and e-vote, the motion is tabled until the next meeting of the Executive Committee.

3) When the 24-hour discussion period has concluded, the FSU Parliamentarian will create a Doodle poll and send the link to the Executive Committee with a subject line that begins with “EX COM Evote”. Any committee member can opt into an additional text message notification. In the absence of a Parliamentarian, the Executive Committee member who seconded the motion will fulfill the role of the Parliamentarian.

4) The FSU Parliamentarian will call the vote to a close when 48 hours have passed or all Executive Committee members have voted, whichever comes first. Any committee member can opt into an additional text message notification.

5) When the vote has been called, the FSU leadership and/or membership coordinator will work with the member who made the motion and any other members as practical to implement the outcome without unnecessary delay.