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Update From The FSU Grievance Committee


Dear Colleague,

The FSU Grievance Committee (GC) has been very active this year. There are currently 6 formal, pending grievances that the GC is working on, including the grievance related to Summer 2020 distance learning changes that was referenced in a prior communication from the Core Bargaining Team.  In addition to the formal grievances, the GC has spent countless hours on grievance and contract related matters with FSU members that have not resulted in grievances. These matters include: informal resolution of contract violations, apprising members of their contract rights, providing advice on and support for Title IX investigations, dismissal cases and other potential disciplinary hearings, attending Weingarten hearings (see below), attending Labor-Management meetings, attending GC meetings, assessing potential contract language issues for contract negotiations, and much more.

We would like to report on a few of the formal and informal pending grievance- and contract-related matters that we are addressing or have addressed. (For reasons of confidentiality, we cannot report on all the pending grievance and contract related matters that we are dealing with).

We also encourage you to read this FSU primer on the grievance procedure. In addition, we strongly urge you to familiarize yourself with Weingarten Rights - that is, your right to have a union witness present for any meeting with your supervisor that is of an investigatory nature or may have disciplinary repercussions (see the Grievance  tab on the FSU website for more info, including a link to a more detailed MTA primer on Weingarten Rights).

Members who believe their contract rights have been violated have 60 days from the date of the infraction to file a grievance (see Article 25 of the contract). Contact the FSU office if you have questions about your contract rights or if you think your contract rights may have been violated.

Previous grievance updates can be seen below and here.

Finally, we would like to offer our gratitude to our colleague Cat Mazza (Associate Professor, Art) who has completed her term as grievance officer after a year and a half of often challenging work. We thank her for her commitment to the FSU and to our fellow members.

From the FSU Grievance Committee:

Paul Dyson, Senior Lecturer II, English

Katie D’Urso, MTA Field Rep

Ellen Frank, Senior Lecturer, Economics

Gillian MacNaughton, Associate Professor, SGISD

Glover Martin, Lecturer, Biology

Laurie Milliken, Associate Professor, Exercise and Health Sciences

Lorenzo Nencioli, FSU Membership Coordinator

Update on Grievances and Contract Related Matters


Summer 2020 Distance Learning Course Development Fee- We reviewed the letter sent by the Provost on April 17th (see attached) and concluded that it violated Article 35.6(b) of the contract (the clause that stipulates that all faculty members who develop distance learning courses will be paid a $3,000 development fee). We recently filed a policy grievance on behalf of all members who will be impacted by the application of the terms of this letter. Our assessment is based on the fact that Article 35 does not make any distinction between synchronous and asynchronous modes of distance learning and therefore any courses that are developed or converted from in person to online (synchronous or asynchronous) are subject to 35.6(b). We should note that we recognize that the Covid-19 crisis compelled all courses to be switched to the online modality and that, with the FSU at the bargaining table, agreements on distance learning matters may be reached to modify the terms of these arrangements. Nevertheless, we believe it is important to assert our position on the nature of the contract language as it currently exists and that the administration is required to negotiate any changes to that language.

Student Course Capacities Exceeded Without Proper Approval- The GC looked at a number of examples of student course capacities being raised for Spring 19 after the initial capacities were set (see Article 15.4 of the contract). The GC assessed that there have been violations of 15.4 and filed a policy grievance (i.e. a grievance with more than one potential grievant. A level I hearing occurred and a level I decision was rendered with a ruling against the FSU. The GC voted to engage in settlement talks with Admin on this issue.  The FSU GC and the Administration have exchanged a number of settlement offers. The most recent settlement proposal from the FSU is summarized below:

  1. Monetary compensation for individual members cited in the original policy grievance.
  2. This agreement would be for the Spring 20 semester only. Permanent changes to the language, if any, would have to be negotiated and agreed to at the main bargaining table during negotiations for the successor contract
  3. The agreement would not be precedent setting

We will keep you updated on the Administration response to the FSU proposal.

Student Course Capacities Exceeded Without Proper Approval, Individual Grievance- An individual FSU member filed a grievance for their Fall 19 course on the same issue raised above (student course capacities exceeded without their permission). The grievant has agreed to have her grievance incorporated into the policy grievance referenced above.

Associate Lecturers- Improper Assignment of Rank-  Last academic year, the GC received enough information to indicate that a violation of the Associate Lecturer language of the contract may have occurred (see Article 21.11 of the contract). Specifically, it appeared that many non-tenure track faculty were hired as Associate Lecturers when they should have been hired as Lecturers (see Article 21 for differences between the two; the primary differences have to do with the temporary nature of the Associate Lecturer position versus the Lecturer position). An Associate Lecturer subcommittee was convened. They investigated the matter further and examined NTT hiring and appointment data, surveyed Associate Lecturers directly regarding the nature of their positions, etc. The conclusion of the subcommittee was that enough evidence existed to believe a systematic violation has occurred. A policy grievance was filed and a hearing was held. A decision was rendered at level I against the FSU. Both the GC and the Associate Lecturer Subcommittee addressing these issues decided that the best venue to pursue these issues would not be via a continuation of the grievance process but rather through bargaining and member organizing efforts.

Additional Work Not given to NTT- A Lecturer was not offered additional work per Article 21.3 in Spring 20. A grievance was filed and a level hearing is being scheduled.

Tenure Track Faculty Member, Allegations Regarding Quality of Scholarship - a faculty member was alleged to have violated the UMB policy on conduct of scholarly research, and the Vice Provost for Research sent it to a committee of inquiry for a formal review (the UMB policy on conduct for scholarly research can be seen here). We have been supporting the faculty member through the formal process, through advising, and through informal discussions with the Administration. The member filed a grievance and we are currently engaged in settlement talks with the Administration.

Dismissal of NTT With Continuing Appointment-  The Administration dismissed the member based on claims of egregious misconduct. The GC has reviewed the case and believes that the Administration did not properly followed the disciplinary procedures outlined in the contract and so we filed a grievance. The UMB Administration asserted that the Provost’s decision regarding dismissal of NTT is not grievable and sought to dismiss the case. We believe we have the right to grieve NTT dismissals up to and including the Provost’s decision. We then filed a level II grievance with the President’s office and are in the process of scheduling a hearing.


NOTE: The Update on grievance/grievance issues does not include all 1 on 1 interactions with the Grievance Committee on contract or potential grievance related matters. Below is a selection of the most relevant matters since our last update to members on 5/15/19.

Possible Inappropriate Usage of AFR Comments- A few members have indicated to the FSU that comments made in their AFR’s are inaccurate and/or seem to be reflective of possible disciplinary intent. We have advised these members that they should add their own comments to the AFR that address any assertions and/or inaccuracies they believe to be in the AFR comments made by the DPC, chair, etc. The GC is following up on these cases to determine if there are any contractual implications of adding such comments to the AFR. Please let the FSU know if you have concerns about inaccurate and/or potentially disciplinary comments being added to your AFR.

Tenure Denial- Possible Procedural Violations-  A member was denied tenure and believes that there were procedural issues and/or violations in the tenure review process. The GC is reviewing the concerns and is working with the member on a possible resolution.

Dismissal of Assistant Professor Sought For Alleged Misconduct- The member was accused of misconduct. The Administration is seeking to activate the Article 18 dismissal procedures. The FSU and the member have been working with the Administration on possible settlement talks for a separation agreement that would avoid the dismissal procedure.