Monthly Archives: October 2014

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about the negotiation process: What is a negotiation?, What happens in a negotiation?, When is an issue or demand withdrawn?, How does the Union counter an administrative demand?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,