If you are receiving this email you are a dues-paying UFCT Local 1460 member.
Greetings, I hope this email communique finds all well as we immerse ourselves in the 2017-18 AY — the second year of the current 5-yr Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
As some of you know, I was away on sabbatical leave for SPR’17 — my second BTW, which leads me to remind all FT tenured and Adj CCE faculty to please avail yourself of this hard-fought-for-and-maintained faculty benefit. Granted, a Pratt sabbatical leave is just full-pay for one semester (thus 50% of your annual compensation) yet nonetheless, a great benefit which is shrinking-on-the-vine — becoming more-and-more extinct in today’s corporate-academia. Check the Institute calendar, this year’s October deadline for sabbatical application is coming up. Eligibility is being FT tenured or CCE, not for how long you have been tenured, unless you are applying for a 2nd or 3rd sabbatical wherein six-years since is required for that “seventh year of rest” :)
Please review the following updates, summaries, and anticipated opportunities & challenges that lay ahead for ’17-’18:
(I) Current Collective Bargaining Agreement on Website Here!
For all who have inquired find the current CBA ‘electronically’ above. If you wish a printed copy please stop by the union conference room: 123 North Hall.
A few highlights:
- A minimum of 3% for all FT & PT faculty for each of the five years (3.25% for years 4 & 5);
- CCE receive an additional 2% for yrs ’17-’18 & ’18-’19 (thus 5.06% each year);
- $300,000 Adjunct Equalization Fund ($150,000 dispensed this ’17-’18 AY & $150,000 dispensed next ’18-’19 AY);
- CCE Medical contribution reduced from 25% to 15% (an average annual savings of $2,500);
- TIAA-CREF Adm contributions per year(s): 1 (7%), 2 (5%), 3 (5%), 4 (5%), 5 (7%)
(II) Faculty Actions, Interfolio & ARPT Forum
The 2016-17 ARPT (Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure) faculty action cycle was yet again, another banner year! Note the following conferred — by B.o.T final determination — actions:
- FT Tenure: 4
- CCE: 16
- Reappointment: 18
- Promotions: 41 (FT & PT combined: 9 to Assistant Professor, 18 to AssociateProfessor, 14 to Full Professor )
- Status Change (from visiting to adjunct): 46
Article XVI of the CBA enumerates the procedures for ARPT. Each of Pratt’s twenty-plus department/area(s) has an autonomous ARPT or so-called: ‘Part’, ‘Cart’ or [Faculty] Peer Review Committee (PRC). When a faculty member applies for faculty ‘action’, i.e. reappointment, status change, promotion and/or tenure their application 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. Starting then at the Chair’s level [tier 2 of this 5-tiered process], three administrative tiers: Chair, Dean and Provost ultimately determine the fate of the faculty action request, the Board of Trustees ‘final approval’ [tier 5] sanctioning said determinations by the end of the spring semester of the academic year.
I am pleased to report that the level of concurrence and agreement between PRC recommendation & B.o.T final determination hovers in the 95% range. This fact is testament to the Faculty’s activism, due diligence & focus on this critical matter!
ARPT Process Transitioning to Online Platform over the Next Year
Over the next year, the ARPT process will be transitioning to the online platform “Interfolio.” Several departmental Peer Review Committees have begun to use Interfolio this Fall, and everyone else will need to make the switch next Fall.
This process is occurring in collaboration with the Provost’s office, and came about as a result of extensive discussion and study with faculty. You can read more about the process that brought us to this decision here. Great thanks to all faculty who participated in those discussions and process, and especially to PRC chairs working on the task this Fall! We’re confident that moving to the online platform Interfolio will both fit to our individual and unique departmental standards and procedures, as well as make the process of applying and reviewing easier.
PRC Chairs in particular, please keep an eye out for more information about preparing for next Fall over the upcoming year. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Union will yet again host an ARPT Forum this fall semester (off campus as usual). The format this year however, will be more panel-symposium than in years past. I believe in leading by example, and that we all learn more through personal testimony and experience. We are looking at a late-October or early-November Friday afternoon-evening booking. Stay tuned!
(III) UFCT Membership, Dues or ‘Agency Fee’
The dues authorization schedule for the UFCT, Local 1460, remains the lowest in the nation. For those faculty members making up to $60,000, union membership dues (or agency fees) will continued to be assessed at 1% of one’s pre-taxed (teaching) gross income for the fall and spring semester(s) only (no dues are paid on summer teaching, or on stipend-ed income). For faculty grossing more than $60,000, the percentage will remain at 0.85%.
It is crucial to keep in mind that the UFCT Local 1460 is obligated to pay its parent affiliates: New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) at the state level, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) at the national level, a combined annual per capita rate of $609.36 for each union member making $34,000 or more, $399.18 for those with incomes between $25,500-$33,999, $304.68 for those making between $17,000-$25,499, and $152.34 for those colleagues making between $8,500 and $16,999. As you can easily surmise, the UFCT retains very little money at the local level with a dues structure in the range of 1% (the nation-wide average is upwards of 1.75%).
Due to the fact that the UFCT is the exclusive bargaining representative for all of Pratt’s teaching staff employees i.e. all full-time and ‘regular’ [fall/spring] part-time faculty [adjunct and visiting] including our professional librarians, should not each of us be obligated to pay our ‘fair share’ for this representation?
As such, we will facilitating an enrollment drive this fall semester. I will be contacting delegates shortly asking that they follow-up with those FT, CCE or Adj faculty who have not as yet chosen membership or agency-fee.
Lastly, as UFCT President I continue to choose to remove as many disincentives to joining the union as I am empowered to effectuate; namely in reducing our Local’s dues schedule. However, I need each of you – as dues paying union members – to spread the word of the merits and benefits of membership through your respective department/area[s]. Although cliché, it is most assuredly true, there is strength in numbers!
During Spring semester 2017, a committee of 18 faculty from across all five schools met to discuss the possibility of transitioning the ARPT (Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure) process from paper to a digital tool.
In our first meeting, we discussed the specific needs our departmental PRCs (Peer Review Committees) had, what features a digital tool would need to have, and what challenges we might anticipate. You can read minutes from that first meeting below.
In our subsequent meetings, we considered the online platform provided by “Interfolio” (https://www.interfolio.com/). Interfolio is an outside provider whose platform is specifically designed for Academic Institutions. We determined that Interfolio’s platform includes important features for us, including ease of use, committee control of security settings, an ability to solicit and keep confidential outside letters, and flexible templates that each PRC can customize to their standards. We determined, therefore, that Interfolio would work for us. You can read minutes from those meetings & information about Interfolio below.
In order to best accommodate each PRC’s needs, we determined that some committees who choose to can start using Interfolio this Fall 2017. All PRCs will need to start using it with Fall 2018. There will be ample training and help for PRCs and applicants.
Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Emily (email@example.com)
Minutes from first meeting here
Minutes from second meetings here
Power point about Interfolio here
Quick-turnaround grants of up to $250 are available now on a rolling basis to Faculty-led, spontaneous responses to current events. Bring a speaker, host a workshop, create a pamphlet, plan a screening, etc. All faculty are eligible (full- and part-time, adjunct and visitor) and collaborations with students and/or staff are welcome. Email a brief proposal along with a basic budget to firstname.lastname@example.org. Coordinated by Darini Nicholas, Erum Nagvi, and Anna Moschovakis.
Dear UFCT Local 1460 Voting Member,
On May 2nd, the Union Negotiating Team closed negotiations with the Pratt Administration!
The signed “Memorandum of Understanding” (or MOU), which outlines changes to our Collective Bargaining Agreement, is below for you to review. Additionally, there is an “explanation” PDF of the MOU with short blurbs explaining the changes.
There will be four, two-hour meetings for members to learn about the new MOU. They will be
- Tuesday, May 31, from 10am-noon, in the Alumni Reading Room
- Wednesday, June 1, from 10am-noon, in the Alumni Reading Room
- Thursday, June 2, from 10am-noon, in the Alumni Reading Room
- Friday, June 3, from 10am-noon, in Library MMB (lower level, behind the desk to the right).
Additionally, for anyone unable to attend any of these sessions; yet have questions… please feel free to call the union office and leave a voicemail 718-636-3614 and someone from the negotiating team will get back to you ASAP (don’t forget to leave a return phone number).
Shortly after the review sessions, the Elections Committee will run a “ratification vote” for this MOU. All members will be asked to vote on this MOU.
Stay tuned, and we hope to see you at one of the meetings!
From: Kye Carbone
Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Dear UFCT Dues Paying Member,
As we come to the close of the ’15-’16 AY, the UFCT can confidently announce we are looking at a new five-year Contract with the Pratt Administration!
In the next few weeks, the negotiating team will thoroughly review a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) enumerating all contractual changes. We will then forward this MOU to all dues paying members for review. Additionally, the Union’s Negotiating Team will conduct multiple review sessions, and be available for questions.
Following this thorough review, we will ask the Elections Committee to conduct a ratification vote of the MOU.
It is our belief and hope that this review and ratification process can be accomplished within the next five-to-six weeks, so as to not get too deep into the summer months, and allowing the Institute sufficient time to update all necessary systems by September 1, 2016, the start date of this new CBA/Contract..
As you’ll recall, our two main focus-points for this negotiation cycle were: (1) Adjunct ‘Equity’, and (2) CCE / Librarian [Pay] ‘Parity’.
As such–while holding the line on all other past contractual gains–our focus was on how to make bold strides in such areas of equity and parity, while maintaining a continued record of robust percentage increases across-the-board for each year of the Contract.
(We have had 3% or or more each year for the last twelve-years. Should we ratify the MOU, we are looking at 3% or more for the next five years as well…)
- Five year Contract, across-the-board annual percentage increases as follows: 3% (’16-’17), 3% (’17-’18), 3% (’18-’19), 3.25% (19-’20), and 3.25% (’20-’21);
- Administration contributions to TIAA-CREF accounts as follows: 7%, 5%, 5%, 5%, and in the fifth year 7%;
- $25,000 Librarian Equity Fund (salary adjustments made prior to any annual percentage increase);
- $300,000 Adjunct & Adjunct w/CCE Equity FUnd (dispensed over two years: $150,000 in 2017 & $150,000 in 2018; contact hourly rate adjustments made prior to any annual percentage increase);
- Additional 2% increases on all CCE rates for year one and two (applied prior to any across-the-board % increase);
- Lowering the current 25% medical contribution rate for CCE Faculty to 15%!
It is the view of this Union and its negotiating team that effective collective bargaining requires that ALL faculty shall benefit! We are confident that when reviewed in full, by you, the voting membership, you will agree that this is great deal for us ALL!
TO: Peter Barna, Provost
FROM: Kye Carbone, President UFCT Local 1460
DATE: December 10, 2014
RE: Step III Grievance:
Cigna Plan Changes & Extreme Cost Increases
One hundred twenty-nine full-time and sixty-five adjunct w/CCE UFCT Local 1460 faculty bargaining unit members are currently enrolled in one of four Cigna plans: Plan A/single, Plan A/family, Plan B/single, or Plan B/family.
Likewise, many of our bargaining unit members are rightfully concerned about what are — from any objective stand-point – extreme cost-increases to these Cigna Plans.
- The employer, i.e. the Pratt Institute Administration, through its Human Resources, shops for, and negotiates with various health-care providers, plan-designs for its eligible employees;
- Pratt’s contract with Cigna recently came-up for renewal. (For the record: over the last decade Pratt has been in contract with Cigna, prior to that Oxford and before that Aetna…);
- Cigna is demanding — apparently as a condition for contract renewal with Pratt — that should the current A & B plan designs go forward without amendment or change, there will be an across-the-broad increase of 43.8% for each and every employee currently enrolled in Plans A or B;
- Cigna contends they “lost money” this past year due to the fact that twelve (12) individual claims each exceeded $100,000 in cost, when their ‘probability-rate’ (or cost-loss ratio) for the year was just one (1) claim potentially exceeding $100,000 in cost;
- The UFCT Local 1460 does not negotiate directly with any health-care provider. We only negotiate w/the Pratt Administration: (1) who should be ‘benefits eligible’ and (2) the respective contribution or percentage rate(s) for its bargaining unit members;
- At present a FT faculty member contributes 15% of the cost of their health-care plan, while an Adjunct w/CCE contributes 25%. These contribution rates remain the same and are not being increased.
The UFCT met w/HR on November 6th. Break-downs, information, data, and documentation ‘justifying’ the aforementioned Cigna increases were forwarded to the Union, which we have since forwarded to the Local’s State Affiliate: NYSUT for its review.
- Plan B (the higher of the two options) will continue without loss of benefits but w/a 43.8% increase;
- The current Plan A will be supplanted or replaced by a new ‘equivalent’ (in coverage) plan, although it disallows any out-of-network care. Moreover, this plan will now be a “High Deductible” alternative, i.e. wherein $1,300 for an individual, and $2,600 for a family plan, must be met before coverage is 100%. The Administration is proposing that they will contribute 100% of these deductibles to respective HSAs or ‘health savings account(s)’. The cost increase for this Plan A alternative will be 8.9% higher for 2015 than the current Plan A for 2014.
This Union clearly objects to what we and our members regard as exorbitant, irrational, extreme, and unjustifiable 43.8% increases in the costs of our bargained for health benefits. Cigna’s justification for such extreme increases, as was explained to us at our November 6th meeting, was Cigna’s inexplicable use of a low probability-cost-loss-ratio of one (1) ‘probable’ claim for the year exceeding $100,000, when there were in fact twelve (12) such claims.
It would appear then from the UFCT’s perspective, that in deliberately low-balling the ‘probable’ cost(s) of delivering health-care to Pratt faculty, Cigna is passing-off their diminished profit-margin to the unsuspecting bargaining unit member; who to the tune of a 43.8% increases in cost, will effectively subsidize Cigna’s so-called “loss”. This form of accounting is from the Union’s perspective, dubious at best, and possibly a calculated maneuver on Cigna’s part to appear as benevolent in ‘coming-in-low’ (two years ago) only to gouge their Pratt customers at a later date once we have become comfortable w/our plan-coverage, doctors, and/or health-care providers.
As such, the Union is rightfully concerned about what will be in the end, significant cost-increases to its members, and reserves all rights in contesting through the proper forum: Arbitration: (1) whether Cigna is permitted by law to fleece its customers or the ‘insured’ in using low-probability rates designed to maximize profit, and (2) whether the new high-deductible alternative plan replacing the current Plan A — disallowing any out-of-network care — is in fact “substantially comparable” in accordance w/the 2011-2015 CBA, Article XXVII: Health Benefits, section: 27.2.
To be clear, this Union will not and has not made any demands of the Pratt Administration to: (1) ‘cease and desist’ in withdrawing these plan proposals, or (2) postpone or discontinue its scheduled open-enrollment period… as the Union is convinced that were we to make any such demand(s), the fall-out would most assuredly guarantee that each and every member currently on either of the Plan A or B options, would be gifted by Cigna a draconian 43.8% increase to their respective health-care contribution(s) for the new 2015 year.
The Union believes this is exactly what Cigna wants. We will not be party to such antics.
As such, the Union will not take the bait nor be cuckolded by Cigna in appearing to be standing in the way of members having a choice between their current plan designs, and now, a new high-deductible plan alternative.
A formal hearing in which a full-review of all related information & data; cost analyses, and break-downs are presented to the Union, explaining how Cigna was able to impose such extreme increases to the insured.
- Did Pratt ‘shop-around’ for another health-care provider other than Cigna?
- If so, why did Pratt then choose to renew its contract w/Cigna?
- Has Cigna acted in good faith?
- Are Cigna business practices par-for-the-course? Do they meet a reasonable standard with respect to profit, and do such practices comport w/recognized norms within the health-care industry?