Academic Calendar & “Studio” Days

Dear Pratt Faculty Colleague,

Many of you have written me privately inquiring about this year’s Academic Calendar and so-called “studio-days”.

To be clear:  No faculty member is obligated to teach more than fifteen (15) sessions per course / per semester, as we are contracted; thus, paid for 15 sessions per course, per semester. Therefore, at base, I take the new implementation of ‘studio-days’ to mean that a faculty member either works during the studio-days week (for their final 15th class), OR works during ‘exam’ week (for their final 15th class). If teaching ‘studio’, your final critiques will fall within the studio-days week, if teaching ‘lecture’ then exams fall within finals week.

Moreover, the fall 2014 semester is not any longer in duration than usual, it beginning on: Monday 8/25 (the first day of the semester), and ending: Friday 12/19 (the last day of the semester). This period encompasses some seventeen calendar weeks, which is par-for-the-‘course’ (pun intended) to accommodate some twenty-plus individual and independent undergraduate, graduate, studio, and lecture department/area(s).

As example, for myself, I teach Wednesdays (my first class: 8/27th), and other than a missed Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving), I am for the most part holding class on consecutive Wednesdays week-by-week; thus, my last or 15th class (I teach undergraduate studio, the last class no more than a final in class critique…) is held on Wednesday, 12/10th.

Which is to say, the 15th class for studio courses will fall within the week of 12/8th…, and for or liberal arts courses, during the week of 12/15th…

Further, determining when a semester begins, ends, and/or when there will be semester breaks and/or days-off in between, are all administrative prerogatives; not withstanding their having to accommodate national and religious holidays. And, although ‘service’ on committees, etc, is certainly a part of faculty work (outside of teaching), particularly for full-time and CCE adjuncts, being invited to, or attending a faculty colleague’s critique or student review, is not, and will never be, recognized as a form of required faculty “service”. In a word, no faculty member is now being required to attend anything they do not wish to.

To reiterate, there is no added week or 16th class-session now being required of any faculty member institute-wide, thus no violation of a[ny] faculty term and condition of employment. Moreover, no ‘new’ faculty member is now required to teach beyond 15 sessions per semester.

Were this calendar change however, as many thought or feared, a surreptitious means for expanding faculty teaching hours without due compensation, the matter would have had to have been negotiated w/the Union. It was not, as it is not the case that in said changes to Pratt’s academic-calendar, and now with the memorization of ‘studio-days’, faculty are now being required to teach an ‘additional’ week.

That said, the implementation of ‘studio-days’ is actually an outgrowth of the unfortunate reality of [faculty] “poaching”, wherein a faculty colleague schedules his/her final student presentations or reviews, on days-or-times outside or beyond his/her regular scheduled class time(s):

  • ‘Imaginary’ Example:  ‘Design Studio’ meets Wednesdays 2:00-5:00, but final reviews are (incredulously) scheduled for Thursday at 9:30-12:30 [?], which is when you, I, or another professor teaches the same student, or section of students, but for another course. This ‘design’ professor In this example, is effectively ‘poaching’ on your time, my time, or another professor’s class-time.

The Administration did not have a hand in “poaching”. Yet, I wholeheartedly agree, the Pratt “roll-out” for “studio days” is clumsy at best, which unfortunately is too often the case w/such Pratt administrative initiatives, wherein a needless sense of insecurity is created for no good reason.

Alas, rest assured, there is no threat to our teaching.

Wishing all members an amazing fall 2014 semester

In Solidarity,

Kye

 

DoL: “Statement of Reasons” & Rerun Election

In my continued efforts of keeping all UFCT members apprised of the status of Jenny Lee’s formal complaints against our Union, and the subsequent investigations by the AFT and the Department of Labor, as triggered by her complaints, please find attached the: “Statement of Reasons” from the Department of Labor (DoL).

(The ‘SoR’ was referenced as forthcoming in the DoL’s initial response/dismissal letter to Jenny Lee, the one I forwarded to all members on Jun 08…)

To review, Jenny Lee released a barrage of allegations w/respect to last winter’s union officer election for [union] president; a contrived litany of charges of misconduct, and illegality.

The letter underscores again, that the UFCT Local 1460 has been fully cleared of all charges. Jenny Lee’s chief, and most serious allegation, that I intentionally “lied” and deliberately kept secret an ‘applicable’ UFCT Constitution & Bylaws as it stipulated ‘term limits’ which effectively rendered me ineligible for reelection, has now been fully dismissed by both the AFT, and the final arbiters in all such labor legal challenges, the DoL.

The 15-day mailed notification of “election notice”

However, you will indeed recall that the AFT mandated a rerun election irrespective of the in-applicability of the C&B as cited by Jenny Lee — once our Local fully formulated and then ratified by membership vote, its own Constitution & Bylaws (which was effectuated in spring) — as there was a so-called ‘defect’ in Vote-net’s adherence to the strict LMRDA statute of a “15-day” mailed notification of election notice, Vote-net having apparently fallen one day shy.

However, this turns out not to be the case, Vote-net providing proof that they actually effectuated a 17-day mailed notification of election.

Nevertheless, the UFCT has agreed to a rerun election, an election which will be conducted early this fall semester, and overseen again by Votenet.

This was a collective decision among the UFCT”s elected officers, NYSUT, and AFT- principally to stop Ms. Lee in her endless and continual litigious path, as she alleged multiple violations with last winter’s election.

The fact that she has no evidence doesn’t change the fact that as a ‘litigant’ she would still be free to seek remedy for each and every merit-less allegation, thus fully exhaust the appeals process she and other litigants are rightfully afforded. Point being, she could again appeal all the way to the DoL. I have no interest in re-visiting the last eight months, nor in granting Jenny Lee any such additional platform for her continual mischief. In fact, I look forward to a rerun election where Jenny Lee will be forced to talk about real issues that matter to union members.

It’s deeply disturbing when one of our own determines to destroy all that we have accomplished together. Our Union was deemed illegitimate and illegal by Jenny Lee. Justice prevailed, but not without an arduous process that split the faculty and caused endless disruption to the functioning of our Union.

The Union as always, was ever determined to be in line with all legal prerequisites and mandates, and has benefited from the overwhelming collective support of the vast majority of the membership throughout this difficult year. For this, I am eternally grateful.

We welcome this new year as a fresh start and look forward to the rightful end of Jenny Lee’s litigious gamesmanship. Moving forward, we will yet again, have the ability to operate fully, unencumbered by endless hours of defending the good names and hard work of the many.

The UFCT’s main focus for the upcoming academic-year is in preparing for our next contract-negotiation w/the Pratt Administration, a process in which all members are encouraged to participate, as there will be ample opportunity to contribute. (The current CBA expires on August 31st 2015, so we will call for the start of negotiations in February-March 2015).

Stay tuned!

In Solidarity,

Kye


President UFCT Local 1460

Constitution & Bylaws Ratification Voting Results

Dear Union Members,

Here are the results of the voting to adopt a new Union Constitution and Bylaws for our Union (UFCT Local 1460):

120  votes in favor   (81%).

28    votes against   (19%).

Of 407 Union members eligible to vote 148 (36%) exercised their right to vote.


The proposed Constitution and Bylaws are therefor now ratified.
As always, the Union Constitution & Bylaws are available at the Union Website:

http://www.pratt-union.org/wp-content/uploads/Proposed-Constitution-and-Bylaws-United-Federation-of-College-Teachers-Local-1460.pdf

We would like to underscore that this electronic vote was, and will remain, 100% secret and anonymous. No person at Pratt or at VoteNet Solutions is able to determine how anyone voted. 
Finally, we expect that this will be the last official email from this committee, whose duties are now complete.
Thank you for your participation in this process,
C+B Ratification Committee
Luis Alonso
Rick Barry
Linda-Lauro-Lazin

PS: The complete voting report may be downloaded by clicking here.

Proposed Constitution/Bylaws Review Meetings: April 22nd-30th

This semester our union has been working on an initiative to generate a Constitution and Bylaws.  Dennis Masback and I have been spearheading this project, and a previous email (copied below) detailed the process we’ve followed to generate the best-suited Constitution and Bylaws for our union.

At root, a Constitution sets forth the principles our union works under, and Bylaws specify what we do and how we do it.  This document is about how we operate as a Union (and is not about how we relate to the administration).  You can access a PDF of the proposed Constitution and Bylaws here:

Proposed Constitution and Bylaws United Federation of College Teachers Local 1460

We’ve scheduled a series of four meetings for people to come discuss, ask questions about, and better understand the proposed Constitution and Bylaws.  Any union member may attend, and we hope that one of these times suits your calendar if you wish to participate in these discussions.

The meetings will be on April 22nd, April 28th, April 29th, and April 30th, in North Hall room 108, from 12:45-1:45pm.  Feel free to bring your lunch.  We’re sorry that we’re unable to have any meetings on Pratt Manhattan Campus.  If you are unable to attend these meetings but have questions, please get in touch with both me and Dennis.

Subsequent to these meetings, all members will be asked to vote on whether to ratify and adopt the proposed Constitution and Bylaws.  More information about that process will be forthcoming.

Hope to see you soon!
In solidarity,
Emily Beall and Dennis Masback

Co-coordinators, UFCT Delegates Assembly

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Subject:  Constitution and Bylaws Initiative

Dear Union Member,

This semester, Dennis Masback and I have been spearheading an initiative to generate a Constitution and Bylaws for our Union.

We began this process at the beginning of the semester by looking at draft constitution & bylaws documents generated by a committee that convened in 2004.  We also received guidelines from the AFT on how to generate a constitution & bylaws, and researched other local’s constitution & bylaws from unions in our area.

From there, we generated a draft and solicited members of the Delegates Assembly for feedback, suggestions, and changes.   In March, we had a series of two meetings with Delegates, over the course of which fifteen delegates participated by attending these meetings or sending comments.  Dennis and I revised our draft, twice, to incorporate changes that emerged from these discussions.

Currently, the draft has been sent to our parent unions, NYSUT and AFT, for their review.

Once we receive a response from our parent unions, we will hold a series of meetings for all members to review and ask questions about the proposed Bylaws and Constitution.  We hope to have about four meetings, at varying days and times, over the course of two weeks in mid-to-late April.   We will circulate a copy of the document to all members about a week before our first meeting so that members have time to read it prior to attending meetings.

We are really excited about this new initiative that we believe will benefit our union by clarifying and codifying what we do and how we do it.   We look forward to those upcoming meetings and will let you know as soon as we’re able to schedule them!

In solidarity,

Emily Beall and Dennis Masback

Co-coordinators, UFCT Delegates Assembly

Election Results

555 Pratt faculty members were eligible to vote in this election.

256 (46%) voted, with 169 for Kye Carbone and 87 for Jenny Lee, giving Kye 66% of the vote, and Jenny 34%.

Of the 299 other eligible voters, two viewed the ballot and did not vote, and one submitted an empty ballot. The full election report given to us by VoteNet can be found here.

The electronic election was and will remain 100% Secret and Anonymous, no person at Pratt or VoteNet was or will be able to who anyone voted for.

We realize that the timing of this election was not ideal. On the other hand, VoteNet informed us that the voter turnout (46%) in our election was in the high range for union elections, of which they have conducted many.

Thank you for your participation in this process,

The Elections Committee

Union Election Update

Election preparations have been finalized. It will be administered electronically by VoteNet, and take place from December 23rd through January 6th. You will receive an email and paper mailing from VoteNet instructing you how to cast your vote securely and privately.

The email will come from the address “election_alerts@votenet.com” and have the subject “UFCT Local 1460 Officer Election”. You may want to whitelist this email address to ensure it does not go to your spam folder.

If you are not able to vote for any reason, please contact the Elections Committee.

Report: Election Town Hall Forum

On Tuesday December 10th, 2013, the UFCT 1460 Elections Committee held a candidates forum in Myrtle Hall at 5:00 pm. This was to give each candidate an opportunity to respond to questions from forum attendees. Attendees were invited to write questions on index cards, include the questioners name and who the question was addressed to. Cards were collected and separated into stacks based on who the question was directed to. Candidates Kye Carbone and Jenny Lee were given two minutes to respond to questions asked of them then the other candidate was given one minute to respond. For questions directed to both, each had two minutes to respond. The event was orderly and informative. There was enough time for all written questions to be addressed. The event wrapped up around 6:30pm.