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This Union is for You


Letter from the Interim President

Dear Colleagues,

I’m serving as FSU President while Catherine Lynde is on sabbatical this semester.  My letter this issue will discuss parking and the movement to a 2:2 course load, but first I’d like to tell you a little bit about me.

I grew up in an immigrant neighborhood in Los Angeles, and because of this, learned Spanish from the streets.  My parents were farm workers—I’ve seen the low pay and degrading conditions many people labor in.  I worked in low-paid food service before moving up to low-paid clerical work while (barely) supporting myself through college and graduate school.  Because of these experiences, I’ve always felt that this nation could do better.  As a result, I am a labor economist studying the working poor and race and gender discrimination.

I’ve been a community activist and then union activist, working at the Labor Center at UC Berkeley and then for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  I’ve continued to work with many different labor unions, either teaching popular economics to ordinary workers, helping unions with economic analysis for their contracts, or otherwise trying to prevent workers from getting hammered. 

It’s great to work for my own union, and I’ve heard about a lot of problems from across the campus.   The confluence of having a new contract, new AFR procedures, and movement to a 2:2 course load in CLA has produced a perfect storm that has conspired to keep me away from my research deadlines as the number of questions and concerns on campus have mushroomed.  Catherine chose a great semester to take her leave!

Here’s an update on some of the issues:

Pay increases:  At last!  Both merit pay (due on 6/30/12) and cost of living increases (1.75%, due on 7/1/12) appeared in your October 26, 2012 paycheck.  Retroactive pay back to these dates will be paid on 11/9/12.  We will be receiving another salary increase come January 2013 and again in June 2013.  We’ll see how long these take. 

Bargaining for Non-Tenure Track Faculty; Distance Learning:  Bargaining in these areas was relegated to separate committees for the current contract.  Bargaining for NTTs is underway but stalled (see page 6); bargaining for distance learning has yet to begin.

New travel money:  The current contract stipulates that all tenure track faculty must receive $1000 per year for this and the next academic year in new travel money in addition to any professional development (PD) money that each college had provided.   Contact your Dean for information and application procedures and keep us informed if you encounter problems.

Parking fees:  We still need volunteers to help with organizing, research and negotiations.  Please volunteer!  If you are too busy, you can still help in small ways.  Contact the union office for petitions and sign-up sheets.

Closing of the North Parking Lot:  The North Lot will close permanently at the end of this fall semester.  We are very concerned about the effect this will have on faculty and staff and our ability to perform our jobs, and will ask the administration to meet and bargain over the impact of the closure.

Movement to a 2:2 course load in CLA:  Reports from various task forces as well as the draft final proposal can be viewed at  We do have a right to negotiate these changes.  We have heard from some of you about your concerns about this change.  Please feel free to continue to contact us with these.

Budget:  The problem of not providing departments with their carry-forwards has caused agony and concern, as junior faculty cannot access their start-up money, research money put in various accounts cannot be accessed any longer, and overhead brought into the university by research grants has been taken away.  Got a story, concern or a problem because of this?  Contact us.  We are collecting stories and pressing for a resolution.    

New AFRs:  Wasn’t this electronic AFR fun, as always?  We thought so, too.  If you have any feedback to improve this, send them to  If you had any concerns about the process, contact and cc the union at

This union is for you.  We appreciate hearing any concerns, comments, or suggestions from you so that we can continue to improve this university and your working conditions.  It has been a huge pleasure to serve you this semester.  I will continue to do so by serving on the FSU bargaining team and Executive Board once I turn the reins back to Catherine in the spring.  Stay involved in the union.  We’re only as strong as our members are active and voice their opinions and concerns.   


Marlene Kim, Economics, FSU Interim President