Monthly Archives: October 2007

Membership Meeting October 31, 2007

From an email sent by Kye Carbone to the membership on October 24, 2007:

Dear UFCT Member:

I am apologizing at the outset of this email communiqué for the short notice, but apparently reserving a room for a much needed face-to-face union meeting has become more than a #?&* ordeal!

In any event, although I requested an early November date, it turns out that our first 'General Membership Meeting' for the semester is scheduled for: Wednesday, October 31st, from 12:30pm-1:50pm, in room: 110/Engineering [Be there, or be square!!]

Please make every effort to attend this CRUCIAL meeting, as I will be discussing –in detail — what-is-going-on in our negotiations for a new contract. Please bring your queries and a friend (as long they are a dues paying member of the UFCT) to this meeting.

As you might imagine, there is a lot on the table and a lot at stake in this negotiation.

Bottom-line, what happens in this round of negotiations will IMPACT everyone –including those fence-sitting "I'm an academic, not a worker" bargaining unit members who somehow can't afford to "join" the only support mechanism they –actually — have here at Pratt as the lowly "employees" they undoubtedly are.  I'm not being flippant here, this sentiment is far too common amongst our brethren and has the effect of dragging us all down when we, the UFCT — the sole bargaining representative for all full-time and part-time "teaching staff employees" is earnestly trying [our damndest] to bring EVERYONE up.

We do not, can not, and will not distinguish or discriminate between those who choose to join their union and those who choose to free-load; for NO ONE is necessarily granted anything whether it is a salary adjustment and/or increase (as based on promotion and/or years served), a minimum annual percentage increase, a course release, medical or pension benefits (to name just a few meat-and-potato's "conditions of employment"), without a strong — united –UNION!

In other words, the union is no more than the FACULTY as whole — standing together and strong on the issues that [should] unite us: (1) Respectable, equitable and comparable salaries and rates of compensation for ALL; (2) Medical, pension and fringe benefits commiserate with one's faculty status and years of service; (3) the intrinsic right (as the faculty employees we are) to 'Academic Freedom' (believe me, your "status" as US citizen does not guarantee this, but your faculty status and CONTRACT does!)

Whether a critical thinking liberal artist or studio artist, we are in this together– come hell or high water — inextricably linked as the Pratt faculty members we all are.

There are no replays for missed opportunities.

See you on the 31st!

In Solidarity,

Kye

Health Benefits for Part-Time Faculty (October 27, 2007)

From an email sent by Kye Carbone to the membership on October 27, 2007:

Dear UFCT Members:

The Office of Human Resources is making a genuine effort of notifying all Pratt employees of the ‘Open Enrollment' period which runs from: October 22nd to November 9th. The Open Enrollment period was announced on the pratt.edu web-mail system and notices were sent to individual homes. Moreover, HR has notified the UFCT directly, the following communiqué from Lisa Frankel who is the Benefits Administrator for HR: "Please encourage your membership to read and act on this benefits change-up/renewalperiod, which is running through November 9th. If someone is unable to get all the materials taken care of before that date, they can still reach out to me or Kisha Henry, Benefits Coordinator, and we will work with the deadline. Thanks for your assistance in this matter."

On the specific matter of health benefits for the part-time faculty, the UFCT has not surprisingly, been receiving a number of inquiries. As most agree, this issue is of critical importance to the faculty and to this Union. We have been in direct discussion with the Pratt Administration for over two years, and the issue is front and center in our current contract negotiations. With his permission, I am copying here, a response Tom Greene (HR Director) gave to a ‘benefits eligible' part-timer who was inquiring about the availability of health insurance for the part-time faculty:

"We are currently in negotiations with the faculty union and are hoping to resolve medical coverage for PT faculty among many other issues. At the moment however there is no change that has been agreed to. Assuming we reach agreement on it eventually, PT faculty will then be notified of the benefit and the opportunity to enroll. So you won't miss anything during Open Enrollment."

Stay tuned!

For now though, please read the attached document carefully, there is something here for everyone.

Regards,

-Kye

Here is the attachment to which Kye refers:

OPEN ENROLLMENT NEWS!

From the Office of Human Resources…

This year's Open Enrollment season will be held from

October 22 through November 9, 2007.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment is a period during which eligible subscribers may enroll in (or in some cases, transfer between) various benefit programs provided by Pratt Institute.

Who is eligible?

Benefits-eligible employees (i.e., your appointment at Pratt comes with a benefits package) can sign up and/or make changes to their benefits options while part-time faculty and staff can sign up for a supplemental retirement plan.

What choices are available?

The plans that are available are:

medical (except for members of 32B-J),

transportation reimbursement (TRIP),

flexible-spending accounts for dependent care (DCFSA), and

tax-deferred retirement savings programs with TIAA-CREF.

Employee participation in any of these programs is on a pre-tax basis.

Employees already participating in the Pratt Institute Retirement Plan also may sign up to temporarily opt out of making their contributions until they earn $8,000 in salary for 2008, $12,000 for clerical and technical members of local 153(the $8K / $12K Exemption), or to make additional non-matched contributions to their account.

Do I have to do anything?

Yes, if you:

medical

– want to enroll in a medical plan or change the medical plan you are enrolled in

-want to add dependents to, or remove dependents from, your medical coverage

retirement

-want to sign up for the $8K / $12K exemption

-are making additional contributions to your retirement savings (Supplemental or

Additional Regular Annuity) and want to continue without interruption into 2008

-want to sign up for, or resume contributions to, a Supplemental Retirement Annuity

-want to sign up for, or resume additional contributions to, your Pratt Retirement Annuity

commuter and/or dependent care benefits         

-are enrolled in the TRIP and/or DCFSA plan(s) and want to continue without interruption into 2008

-want to enroll in the TRIP and/or DCFSA plan(s)

No, if you are not making any changes to your benefits.

What happens if I don't sign up?

For some benefit offerings, you will not be able to enroll until next year's open enrollment season. There may be exceptions during the plan year (Jan 1 – Dec 31) if there is a change in status (e.g., loss of other medical coverage, divorce, birth of a child, etc.).

How do I get more information?

Information will be made available upon request. You may make your request for open enrollment materials by e-mail to hr@pratt.edu or via phone at (718) 636-3787. Of course, walk-ins are always welcomed.

Who will be available to help me?

The benefits staff of Pratt Institute will be available to assist you during this time. Staff members will be at the Pratt Manhattan location on the following dates and times:     

-October 30th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the SILS conference room (room 610)

-November 8th from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the SILS conference room (room 610) to coincide with TIAA-CREF (see below)

A representative from TIAA-CREF will be available to provide information and answer questions:

-Brooklyn: October 29th from 9a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Pi Shop (Pizza Gallery)

-Manhattan: November 8th from 9a.m. to 5 p.m. in room 702

Elections Update October 17, 2007

From an email sent by Kye Carbone to the membership on October 17, 2007:

 

Dear UFCT Member:

It is hard to believe that the UFCT will be once again conducting its elections, the current three-year terms for all four officer positions: President, VP, Secretary and Treasurer expiring on December 31, 2007. All UFCT members will have an opportunity to vote-in officers for all four positions for the next three-year term, which runs from January 1, 2008 thru December 31, 2010. 

Please contact the UFCT office if you are interested in serving the Union's Elections Committee. A call for volunteers was included in my fall 2007 status report. This report was sent to members both electronically and distributed to member's mailboxes. Thus far, three members have stepped forward. A committee of five or six would be sufficient.

The Elections Committee should be in position to start the elections process shortly as we are at the halfway mark of the semester. As is our custom, first a nominations ballot is sent to all UFCT members, followed by an elections ballot [which is both blind and secret]. It will be the exclusive task of the Elections Committee to conduct all balloting and tallying of ballots.

The UFCT's current officers are:

PRESIDENT: Kye Carbone, Adjunct Professor w/CCE, Foundation Art,

VICE PRESIDENT: Steve Doloff, Full Professor (w/tenure), English & Humanities,

SECRETARY: Suzanne Verderber, Associate Professor (w/tenure), English & Humanities, and

TREASURER: Anne Turyn, Adjunct Professor w/CCE, Media Arts.

Please contact the UFCT office ASAP if you are interested in serving this committee.

In Solidarity,

-Kye

Faculty Actions Update October 11, 2007

From an October 11, 2007 email send by Kye to the membership:

Dear Faculty Colleague:

The faculty action cycle has begun.

For those who are applying for: (1) Reappointment (those full-time faculty on the tenure track), (2) Promotion (part-time and full-time alike applying for a change in rank: Instructor to Assistant, Assistant to Associate, or Associate to [Full] Professor), (3) Status Change (the visiting part-timer applying for adjunct status), or (4) Tenure (full-time and those adjuncts applying for CCE), the application deadline (as set in each department/area) has either just passed, or is fast approaching, as Faculty/Peer Review/ARPT Committee deadlines generally fall within the early to mid-October period.

As most of you are aware, I have written about the ARPT issue extensively, as I have discussed this topic at many a union meeting, and in many faculty and departmental forums. In the last week alone I have had no less than six individual conversations with various bargaining unit members who either serve their respective ARPT Committee, or who are applying for a faculty action; still curious, confused or disheartened about the ARPT ‘process'. Ironically [and sadly for me] where there was once deep concern about the Pratt Administration's intentions regarding ARPT, there now exists greater concern for the ‘actions' of one's fellow peers. Accounts of ARPT faculty being appointed by a department Chair instead of elected by one's peers, committee members colluding with the department Chair and overriding the clear consensus of his/her committee peers, "non-recommendation" letters from committees where there is nothing "in writing setting forth the reasons for the determination", letters of dissent [sometimes from as few as one committee member] stating why they do not concur with the majority will of the committee they serve…

Notwithstanding an image of the faculty as petty and immature, this kind of faculty internecine warfare and overreach is deeply destructive to us all.

Article XVI of the CBA enumerates the procedures for ARPT, section 16.2 (copied below) specifically addressing the tasks and responsibilities of ‘Departmental Committees on appointment, reappointment, promotion and tenure.' In a nut-shell, that which is formulated in 16.2 is thus "forwarded" to the "Chairperson and/or Area Head" [the first administrative tier in the ARPT process] for their review (see: 16.3, copied below). Note that the Chairperson or Area Head is not involved until the Committee's work is complete and all such work "forwarded."

Moreover, it is only after the Chairperson or Area Head "add[s]" his/her comments to the evaluation reports "set forth in Article 16.2" that the individual faculty member involved is "given" copies of such "evaluation reports, recommendations and comments" and provided the opportunity to "append or affix" his or her [own] comments. In other words, it is the Chairperson or Area Head's responsibility [not the ARPT Committee's] to give the applicant [in a timely manner] all such "evaluation reports, recommendations and comments" so as to afford them ample time to "append or affix" should they desire.

Faculty members are peers, fellow bargaining unit members; they are not supervisors, or administrators. Faculty colleagues who serve on ARPT Committees act in a strict advisory capacity only! Faculty peers are neither empowered nor have the authority to: ‘confer' or ‘deny.' As such, their recommendations or non-recommendations are neither ‘actionable' nor ‘grievable.' The messianic and authoritarian tendencies of the few must not be tolerated nor allowed to corrupt a process that is of critical importance to the entire faculty. Our contract allows the faculty in each individual department/area to "figure-it-out" on their own — autonomously. Although still a work in progress or a missed opportunity in many departments, overall, the ARPT process improves with each year.

Don't allow the false allure of favoritism or the petty faculty rivalries in your department/area to cloud the inherent wisdom of Article XVI. 

In Solidarity,

Kye

 

From the 2003-2007 Collective Bargaining Agreement: 

16.2     At the same time, in an academic community, these matters of appointment, reappointment, promotion and tenure, must have input at the point of closest contact with the faculty members individually affected. Accordingly, the Chairperson of each Department shall receive written recommendations in all of these matters from the Departmental faculty and any other members of the Institute community who may be affected by these matters. The Departmental Committees on appointment, reappointment, promotion and tenure shall develop standards of eligibility, fitness and evaluation; which shall include teaching effectiveness and professional competence and may include non-teaching responsibilities, Institute service and public service. The faculty in each Department and/or Area and in the Library shall set up such procedures as they deem appropriate to effectuate the foregoing.

16.3     Evaluation reports and recommendations concerning reappointment, promotion and/or tenure, as set forth in Article 16.2 above, shall be in writing and shall be forwarded to the Chairperson and/or Area Head. The Chairperson and/or Area Head shall add his or her comments and copies of these evaluation reports, recommendations and comments shall be given to the individual faculty member involved who shall have the opportunity to append or affix his or her comments. These recommendations will then be forwarded to the Dean of the School or of the Library, who shall add his or her comments, with copies to the individual faculty member involved who shall have the opportunity to append or affix his or her comments. These recommendations will then be forwarded to the Provost, or such other academic administrative officer as may be designated by the Board of Trustees, for review and recommendation with copies to the individual faculty member involved who shall have the opportunity to append or affix his or her comments. Final determination is by the expressed approval of the Board of Trustees. Review and determination shall also take into account enrollment trends, distribution and budgetary considerations.  Differences between the recommendations made and final determination are to be clearly stated in writing setting forth the reasons for the determination.