News and Comments: April 29, 2008

Dear members,

Several items of note:

1.  Ratification of the Collective Bargaining Agreement/Elections

As you probably know by now, on April 17th the Union and the Administration signed the Memorandum of Understanding (often referred to as the "MOU"), a document that lists the changes to the contract brought about through the collective bargaining process. 

These changes will be presented to Union members and discussed at a meeting to be held on May 1, from 12:30-2:00, in 110 Engineering. At this time, elections for the executive committee will also be held.

In the next stage of the process, all members will be sent a paper secret ballot and will be asked to vote on whether they accept the changes or not.  Ballots must be received back by the Union by May 23 at noon. 

This information has been outlined in greater detail in a letter sent by Kye Carbone to the Union membership, along with a copy of the MOU.

Please feel free to contact Kye, me, or any member of the executive committee if you have any questions at all, or would like more information (see the "About" section for contact information). 

2.  WWW.PRATTFACULTY.INFO

I just became aware of a website at www.prattfaculty.info that lists some, BUT NOT ALL, proposed changes to the CBA (I am a bit out of the loop because I am on sabbatical this year).  The site places, side by side, new, proposed CBA language and the old language, from the 2003-2007 CBA.  I checked the information that is on the site, and it appears to be correct, if incomplete.  

I want to make it clear that the UFCT 1460 executive committee is not responsible for this site, and we have no idea who is (unless again I am out of the loop and one of my colleagues knows something that I don't). 

THIS website–the one you are looking at now–is run by the Union executive committee.  In my capacity as UFCT secretary, I am the main person who has been posting on it.  Anyone–members or non-members–is invited to comment.  My "philosophy" of the site, if you allow me to put it this way, is to post basic information that is important to members, as well as general union-related issues of a more global significance (health care issues, strikes, labor issues at the state and federal level) .  This is why even readers outside Pratt are invited to participate.  I do this because I see our Union as part of the larger context of global labor and the fight to maintain workers' rights.  So far, I have not been very successful at generating input, despite a previous plea.  I do find it strange that faculty would rather debate Union-related issues on the academic forum than here, but again, that is just my opinion.  

I always sign my name to these posts because I want to make it clear that they are coming only from me and do not speak for the whole membership.  Indeed, I don't think I want to be part of an organization where one person is capable of speaking for the whole membership.  Again, as far as I can tell, www.prattfaculty.info is anonymous. 

3.  Collective Bargaining

There has been some discussion on the Academic Forum listserv about the proposed changes made to Article 3, the article protecting academic freedom.  Just one point about the way the discussion is proceeding: the way I see it, some posts create the impression that the COLLECTIVE bargaining process consists of the Union ALONE, as paradoxical as that may seem upon close inspection. 

The process consists–and I have just seen it myself for the first time with my own eyes– of representatives from the Union and the Administration literally looking across a real, concrete table at each other, each side holding a "wish list" of changes they would like to make to the CBA.  A lengthy process of series of back and forth discussions–i.e. negotiations–ensues.  

I just wanted to paint a more vivid picture of what is actually taking place to attempt to dispel the impression that I received from reading some of these postings that the Union alone initiated all of the changes in the MOU. 

Yours truly,

Suzanne Verderber 

 
AGAIN: Union members, please try to attend the meeting on May 1, 12:30-2, 110 Engineering, to discuss the MOU and to vote on the members of the Union executive committee.