UFCT Local 1460 Fall ’14 General Membership Meetings

Dear UFCT Local 1460 Members,

The current 2011-2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will expire on August 31, 2015.

The UFCT Local 1460 has been in ‘contract’ with the Pratt Administration since 1972 when the Union was first granted recognition as “the exclusive bargaining representative for all full-time and regular part-time members of the faculty presently or hereafter employed by the Institute in the bargaining unit certified as appropriate for election by the National Labor Relations Board”.

It is in this tradition that we will be calling for negotiations to begin in spring 2015, thus entering a new negotiation-cycle w/the Pratt Administration for our next CBA.

The Union wishes to gather input from all bargaining unit members regarding said negotiations: What are the most pressing issues at hand?, What issues should comprise our ‘slate of demands’?

Our delegates have started this process in individual department/area(s) and collectively as an ‘Assembly’ which is open to all dues-paying members.

As UFCT President, I will therefore be holding three open-form ‘General Membership Meetings’ this Fall ’14 semester:

(1) Tuesday, 10/28 – ENGR #109, 5:00PM – 6:00PM

(2) Monday, 11/17 – ENGR #111, 5:00PM – 6:00PM

(3) Thursday, 12/11 – ENGR #109, 5:00PM – 6:00PM

Please bring your questions and concerns about the negotiation process: What is a negotiation?, What happens in a negotiation?, When is an issue or demand withdrawn?, How does the Union counter an administrative demand?

Directly following each GMM, will be a ‘Happy-Hour (two or three!) at the newly re-opened Brooklyn Public House (DeKalb & Vanderbilt).

Looking forward!

In Solidarity,


‘Clarification': Academic Calendar & “Studio” Days

Dear UFCT Members,

In my 8/24 email re. the new academic-calendar, studio-days, and ‘poaching’, I stated the following: “The Administration did not have a hand in “poaching”. Yet, I wholeheartedly agree, the Pratt “roll-out” for “studio days” is clumsy at best…”

It turns out, my statement is not completely accurate. Some administrators have indeed had a hand in poaching, as pointed-out and explained by our faculty colleague: Chris Jensen (Associate Professor, Math & Science, conferred tenure 2014, congrats!)

Note the following “summary of the poaching problem” which comes from Chris, a UFCT member and faculty representative on the campus-wide Calendar Committee. This summary represents Chris’ perspective alone and is not necessarily shared by other (faculty and non-faculty) members of the Calendar Committee…

“Based on what I learned as a member of the Calendar Committee, parts of Pratt’s Administration have definitely had a hand in the problem of class time ‘poaching’. Individual instructors also poach time, but this happens more rarely and much less systematically. The biggest poaching problems involve an administrator — most prominently department chairs in Interior Design, Communications Design, Industrial Design, and Architecture — who “schedules” one to five days of mandatory views/crits/survey; during this time students are expected to prioritize these studio activities over regularly-scheduled non-studio courses. This has been going on for a long time, and as far as I can tell represents a form of insubordination: the Provost and Registrar say this cannot happen, but certain Department Chairs just go ahead and poach time anyway.

The new calendar was designed to end this practice by giving those programs that hold comprehensive “crit weeks” the space they need to operate. Rather than having these departments steal time, the Calendar Committee figured that we should just give these programs what they claim to need. We all realized that these year-end crits are valuable; they just could no longer poach time from other courses.

The Calendar Committee considered the CBA in making its recommendation for Studio Days to the Provost. Whether or not these administrator-imposed crit weeks represent a violation of the CBA comes down to contact hours. If instructors show up for their normal weekly contact hours during the crit week — but just do so on a modified schedule — then presumably this is not a violation insofar as there is not expectation of any contact with students during the following “finals week”. Studio Days need not violate the CBA if properly scheduled and implemented by department and program chairs. That said, UFCT members should be vigilant, looking out for Studio Days requests on their time that exceed their contractually-mandated total of contact hours per course.”

Many thanks to Chris for this clarification.

In Solidarity,


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,



Need for UFCT to Re-Run Fall 2013 Officer Election for the Position of President

As a result of a complaint filed with the American Federation of Teachers (UFCT’s “parent” union), the UFCT will re-run the Fall 2013 officer election for the position of President.

The AFT recommended this rerun because of “a defect in the election process concerning the notice of election,” in violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.  Here is the full text of the AFT response: Response to Pratt College Election Investigation Request

The AFT also recommended we develop a Constitution and Bylaws.  A Constitution and Bylaws was developed and ratified, by membership vote, in May 2014, and can be found here, on this website.

A subsequent complaint containing a different allegation was filed with the Department of Labor.  The Department of Labor found, in response to the allegation, that no violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act occurred.  Findings from US Dept of Labor 29 May 2014.  The Department of Labor subsequently issued a Statement of Reasons for their decision.  Statement of Reasons from the US Dept of Labor 22 July 2014.


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:


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

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


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