Monthly Archives: November 2007

Negotiations Update November 29, 2007

From an email sent from Kye Carbone to the membership, November 29, 2007

Dear UFCT Member:

This is the second in a series of emails to UFCT members regarding our recently concluded contract negotiations. Hopefully, these emails will serve to explain in more detail the "how" and "why" of negotiations.  Once a 'Memorandum of Understanding' (MOU) is vetted by the negotiating team and signed, copies will be distributed to all voting members of the UFCT. At that time, a meeting will be called wherein the MOU will be reviewed and discussed. Following this review a ratification ballot will be sent to all dues paying members of the Union. A simple majority of votes cast in the affirmative is needed for ratification.

Today's email is specifically related to newly negotiated minimums for all bargaining unit members, full-time and part-time, union member and non-member (the UFCT negotiates for everyone!) Keep in mind; that at a minimum, one will at leastreceive 3% per year for the life of this four-year contract. Which is to say, everyone gets something. However, depending on where you are in the faculty schema as determined by your rank, status and years served you might be receiving much more- a percentage higher than 3%. Appropriately, many will receive upwards of 10% and 15% as based on an earned promotion in rank and one's "years of service." Every bargaining unit member shall receive the higher of: (1) the annual percentage increase *or* (2) the applicable minimum.

Context

It is very difficult to express in words what happens in a negotiation; a context in which many issues are operating simultaneously. Separating-out one issue from another is challenging as each invariably dovetails into the other. As example, thethree major "economic" items in negotiations were (as always): (1) salaries, (2) medical and (3) pension costs, except that in this round of negotiations the UFCT demanded that such economic issues be addressed for all faculty, not just full-time and CCE bargaining unit members.

Of the three, salaries are always addressed last. So, if you achieve say, medical benefits for a contingent of the bargaining unit that has heretofore been uninsured and miraculously the Administration commits to a 50% contribution, is not the Unionforced into having to determine what this will actually cost, as well as assess the implications of such costs on pension and salary expenditures? The answer is yes, and in a nutshell, this is why we had to achieve a bit less for the overall redress of part-time rates, as the costs associated with covering 100, 200, 300 or 400 adjuncts is quite frankly, astronomical! Again, in confronting this kind of allocation, does the Union then retreat, say we aren't really serious about getting medical for uninsured adjuncts; that one of the chief demands of the Union for many a contract was just posturing on our part? I don't think so, as that would be antithetical to what an inclusive, unified union does in negotiations. We should all agree that a bedrock tenet of collective bargaining is that all boats [or is it ships?] be lifted.

Minimums That Matter

It was not until the just expired 2003-2007 Collective Bargaining Agreement that salary minimums for the full-time faculty and contact hourly rates for the part-time faculty were actually raised in any significant way. Due to a history of stagnation in the raising of minimums many a faculty member in years past applying for promotion (a change in academic rank) saw very little (if anything at all) difference in their salary or rate upon promotion as almost all faculty members were just above what were exceedingly low minimums. However, that changed in a significant way by the re-structuring that took place in our last contract. As such, this new structure has afforded significant raises to a large number of the faculty as based on such rightfully earned promotions in rank and one's years of service.  Moreover, many endemic inequities were finally being addressed.

In this round, the UFCT went into negotiations simply wishing to continue the progress made, and capitalize on the re-structuring breakthrough of the last contract. Remember, the UFCT is extremely rare in that all of its bargaining unit members (the full-time and regular part-time faculty and our professional librarians) shall have academic rank: Instructor, Assistant, Associate and Professor. As such, all applicable salary/rate minimums are thus tied to these four ranks which include now (as of the last contract) additional minimums in five-year increments as based on years served at the two highest ranks: Associate and Professor.

FT Minimums

Effectively, the Union's original demand was that $10,000 be added to each cell or minima. We were able to get $8,000. Therefore, for the next contract, the following shall be the new applicable minimums for the full-time faculty:

[The 2003-2007 MIN is to the left, the new MIN in bold on the right]

Instructor: $35,000 [+ $8,000 =] $43,000

Assistant: $40,000 [+ $8,000 =] $48,000

Associate:

Up to 5 yrs. $47,500 [+ $8,000 =] $55,500

6 to 10 yrs. $50,000 [+ $8,000 =] $58,000

11 to 15 yrs. $52,500 [+ $8,000 =] $60,500

16 to 20 yrs. $55,000 [+ $8,000 =] $63,000

21 to 25 yrs. $57,500 [+ $8,000 =] $65,500

26+ yrs. $60,000 [+ $8,000 =] $68,000

Professor:

Up to 5 yrs. $52,000 [+ $8,000 =] $60,000

6 to 10 yrs. $55,500 [+ $8,000 =] $63,500

11 to 15 yrs. $59,000 [+ $8,000 =] $67,000

16 to 20 yrs. $62,500 [+ $8,000 =] $70,500

21 to 25 yrs. $66,000 [+ $8,000 =] $74,000

26+ yrs. $69,500 [+ $8,000 =] $77,500

How the structure works…

EXAMPLES:

(1) A FT Associate in their 6th year (as full-time) currently making $50,000, will have their salary adjusted to $58,000, the applicable minimum (@ 6-10 yrs.) "higher" than their present salary + 3% ($51,500). This faculty member receives a 16% raise.

(2) A FT Professor in their 12th year (as full-time) currently making $59,200, will have their salary adjusted to $67,000, the applicable minimum (@ 11-15 yrs.) "higher" than their present salary + 3% ($60,976). This faculty member receives a 13.17% raise.

(3) A FT Assistant in their 3rd year (as full-time) currently making $55,400, will have their salary adjusted to $57,062, their present salary + 3% "higher" than the applicable minimum (@ the Assistant level: $48,000). This faculty member receives a 3% raise.

PT Minimums

Effectively, the Union's original demand was that $200.00 be added to each cell or minima. We were able to get $100.00. (Everyone needs to know that the Administration dug-in after their commitment to provide medical to adjuncts and insisted that each

rate only be increased by $50.00 with NO PERCENTAGE INCREASE! The effect of this proposal would have been that anyone with a CHR higher than the applicable minimum [there are many of us] would be granted: 0%, 0%, 0%, 0% for the life of the contract! Wouldn't that have been good news?) Therefore, for the next contract, the following shall be the new applicable minimums for the part-time faculty:

[The 2003-2007 MIN is to the left, the new MIN in bold on the right]

Instructor: $850 [+ 100 =] $950

Assistant: $1,000 [+ $100 =] $1,100

Associate:

Up to 5 yrs. $1,150 [+ $100 =] $1,250

6 to 10 yrs. $1,200 [+ $100 =] $1,300

11 to 15 yrs. $1,250 [+ $100 =] $1,350

16 to 20 yrs. $1,300 [+ $100 =] $1,400

21 to 25 yrs. $1,350 [+ $100 =] $1,450

26+ yrs. $1,400 [+ $100 =] $1,500

Professor:

Up to 5 yrs. $1,300 [+ $100 =] $1,400

6 to 10 yrs. $1,375 [+ $100 =] $1,475

11 to 15 yrs. $1,450 [+ $100 =] $1,550

16 to 20 yrs. $1,525 [+ $100 =] $1,625

21 to 25 yrs. $1,600 [+ $100 =] $1,700

26+ yrs. $1,675 [+ $100 =] $1,775

How this structure works…

EXAMPLES:

(1) A PT Associate just promoted to Professor currently in their 16th year (as part-time) with a CHR of: $1,425, will have their rate adjusted to $1,625, the applicable minimum (@ 16-20 yrs.) "higher" than their present CHR + 3% ($1,467.75).  This faculty member receives a 14.03% raise.

(2) A PT Associate in their 10th year (as part-time) with a CHR of: $1,200 will go into their 11th year with a CHR of: $1,350 this new applicable minimum (@ 11-15 yrs.) "higher" than their present CHR + 3% ($1,236). This faculty member receives a 12.5% raise.

(3) Assistant in their 20th year (as part-time) with a CHR of: $1,280 will receive no more than 3% ($1,318.40). However, should they apply for a promotion to Associate (effective their 21st year) they would receive a 9.98% increase in their CHR ($1,450 the applicable minimum for Associate @ 21-25).

To be continued…

-Kye

November 25, 2007 Negotiations Update

LOCAL NEWS

Dear UFCT Member:

I am pleased to announce that on Tuesday, November 20th, at about 10PM, the UFCT and Pratt Administration reached agreement on what would be (upon ratification) a four year contract effective September 1, 2007 thru August 31, 2011. Although there remain some small items and details in need of clarification and resolution, the heart of this settlement is a considerable win for our entire bargaining unit. Shortly, a 'Settlement Agreement' (as yet not fully written nor signed by the negotiating team) will be distributed to all UFCT members. This document will enumerate all changes, amendments and revisions to the current 2003-2007 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Once vetted by the membership, a ratification ballot will be sent to each union member. Ratification will be determined by a majority of votes cast. However, for the time being, a few noteworthy highlights for your perusal:

[1] a four-year contract, 3% annual percentage cost of living increases;

[2] $8,000 added to each full-time minimum at all ranks and levels (average increase 18%);

[3] $100.00 added to each contact hourly minimum (at all ranks and levels) for the part-time faculty;

[4] medical benefits for what will be adjunct 'C's' (following the re-structuring of the PT ranks) with an institute contribution of 50%;

[5] expanded sabbatical leaves for adjuncts;

[6] a monthly 'release' day for librarians for professional development…and…

[7] an AGENCY FEE for the UFCT!

There is much here to discuss and much we can all be encouraged about.  Overall, this agreement recognizes the value of everyone who comprises the UFCT bargaining unit as each of us are stronger together than a part.

That said, this negotiation would never have been possible if not for an exceedingly
smart and effective team. I am forever grateful to: Steve [Doloff], Suzanne
[Verderber], Holly [Wilson], Bob [Zaccone] and Ric [Brown] for all of their tireless
efforts on behalf of all of us!

I have tried to de-compress the last few days and hope that all of you have had a
restful and enjoyable Thanksgiving break. Stay Tuned!

In Solidarity,

-Kye

Getting Evaluated and Promoted: The Basics

The process of evaluating faculty at Pratt for retention and promotion is called the "ARPT" process.  ARPT stands for Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure.  Article XVI of the CBA enumerates the procedures for ARPT. Each department has an ARPT or so-called: "PART", "CART" or [Faculty] ‘Peer Review Committee.' When a faculty member applies for any "action", i.e. reappointment, status change, promotion and/or tenure, their application package is first submitted to their department's faculty/ARPT committee. Those faculty colleagues serving the committee make either a "recommendation" or a "non-recommendation" to the department's Chair or the area's ‘Head', the faculty serving as they do in a strict advisory capacity only; which is to say that, such recommendations are not ‘actionable' decisions as faculty peers are not empowered nor have the ‘authority' to ‘confer' or ‘deny'. Likewise, starting at the Chair's level [tier 2 of this 5-tiered process], three administrative tiers: Chair, Dean and Provost determine the fate of the said faculty action request, the Board of Trustees ‘final approval' [tier 5] sanctioning such determinations by the end of the spring semester [or academic year].

The ARPT issue is of critical importance to the entire faculty as it is crucial that we all do as thorough a job as is possible; in keeping with the letter, sprit and intent of Article XVI. Absent this necessary consciousness and the faculty's collective determined dedication to this matter (to do it ‘right'!) we are mere fodder for those administrative whims – should they exist – that wish to keep us all running in place. [Headline: ‘Academia Aint' Pretty!]

This process takes place in the early Fall of each academic year.  The due date for the submission of materials to the ARPT committee, as well as the kinds of materials that need to be submitted, is determined by the ARPT committee.  The deadline for the submission of the ARPT committee's recommendations to the Chair is established by the official academic calendar.  To get more information about this process, ask to speak to a member of the ARPT committee within your department.     

ARPT and Faculty Actions

The 2006-2007 ARPT (Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure) faculty action cycle was a banner year for Pratt's faculty. This is due in small measure to the Union's enforcement of article XVI of the CBA. Note the following conferred faculty actions:

FT Tenure: 7 (of seven applications)

CCE: 12 (an historic high for a single year)

Promotions: 43 (FT & PT combined)

Status change (from visiting to adjunct): 30

UAW R.I.P.?

Read Max Fraser's piece from The Nation on how the latest UAW negotiations for the top three American auto makers are eroding the union from within.  This provides insight on the challenges of unions within the context of globalization (and "reverse globalization," that is, foreign firms like Toyota and Nissan setting up shop in the U.S. and establishing low wages and undermining unions in areas of the country that have a weak union tradition).

 –Suzanne Verderber

Elections Update November 2, 2007

Local News 

Dear UFCT Members:

The following members have volunteered to serve on the UFCT's Elections Committee: (1) Kathryn Filla (ID, FDN) (2) Danny Gerzog (ENG) (3) Martin Skalski (ID) (4) Gerson Sparer (Math & SCI) (5) Holly Wilson (Libraries) These five members are duly charged with conducting our elections. The Committee will set all procedures and deadlines for the sending, receiving and tallying of both the nominations ballot and the elections ballots.

In Solidarity,

-Kye

Academic Freedom November 28, 2007

GLOBAL NEWS

The following article raises key issues related to academic freedom.  What is the meaning of “academic freedom” in the current, highly politicized environment in which we teach?  Can restrictions be placed upon teachers in terms of their right to speak out about political issues like the Iraq War?  Isn’t informing students about the current political environment an important part of “teaching”?  Can any subject matter really be politically or ideologically neutral? Is it possible to check politics at the classroom door?

–Suzanne Verderber      

Washington Teachers Under Fire For War Protest Participation
by Chris Daniels

Published on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 by King 5 News (Washington)

TUKWILA, Wash. – Students in Tukwila are rallying around a group of teachers in trouble with the school district for taking part in an anti-war protest.

That war protest turned into a full-fledged controversy at Foster High School in Tukwila. Should teachers have encouraged students to walk out of class to protest the war in Iraq?

The civics lesson is now under the microscope.

The Tukwila School Board is sorting out whether anyone should be punished over the issue. A Foster High School social studies teacher remains on paid administrative leave after the district says he participated with students in a walkout and protest of the war.
The students rallied outside a school board meeting Tuesday night and rallied to the defense of their teachers inside.

“Why are we being punished, why are we being silenced?” asked one student.

Roughly 125 Foster High students walked out of class earlier this month to protest the war, part of a state-wide effort. But the Tukwila School District is investigating six teachers who may have encouraged the students, including the one who marched out with the kids.

“Even though he is a teacher, he has a right too,” said another student.
The district says teachers were warned not to participate, but says this is not about politics but rather student safety.

“To us, students leaving during the middle of the day, without parent permission, can be a volatile and unsafe situation,” said Jan Lande, Tukwila School District spokesperson.

At least one parent agreed at Tuesday night’s meeting agreed.

“If I was here at the school and I left, they would have fired me. You’re here to teach!” said one parent.

No word on when the investigation will be done or if punishments will be handed down. Some of the students who walked out had notes from home; others who didn’t were given so called unexcused tardies.

Tenure Threatened for K-12 November 26, 2007

Global News 

On November 26, 2007, I attended a candlelight vigil organized by the United Federation of Teachers held outside the Department of Education headquarters at 52 Chambers Street.  Despite a steady drizzle (the UFT provided candles and rain ponchos), hundreds of New York City public school teachers turned out, as did the police and the local media.  At issue is the status of tenure for K-12 teachers.

–Suzanne Verderber

The UFT website cites a November 15, 2007 New York Times article which “revealed that the city has hired a team of lawyers and former principals to help principals build cases against tenured teachers who they believe are incompetent.  The centerpiece of the effort is the Teacher Performance Unit of five lawyers, headed by a former prosecutor.  A separate team of five consultants, including former principals, will work with principals to improve struggling teachers’ performance and in those cases where teachers fail to improve the consultants will help the teacher prepare the documentation necessary to remove them.  The effort will cost $1 million a year.”

UFT President Randi Weingarten responded as follows: “There comes a point in time that recycling old arguments no longer works.  School reform is tough.  It takes a lot of different initiatives working in tandem to get results.  It takes qualified teachers; it takes working conditions that foster real progress; it takes an accountability system that’s fair and accurate; it takes engaged parents; and above all it takes collaboration between teachers and principals. It is unfortunate, that at the first sign of bad news —  today’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, which in three out of four categories showed no progress between 2003 and 2007 – the preemptive response by this administration was to blame the teachers. The blame game should stop and people should be rolling up their sleeves and working together. The mayor should apologize to the teachers and use the $1 million this unit will cost elsewhere. It’s time to shift the responsibility back to the school system. This union is not against accountability. We are against ‘gotcha’ and scapegoating and shifting blame to teachers who are working as hard as they can."