Implementation of MOA

Dear UFCT Member,

My apologies for the lateness of this email, but the Faculty need to look for the following communication updates regarding compensation (as agreed to in the MOA by membership vote):

  • Part time faculty will receive an email from the Office of the Provost Monday, November 2 with an updated appointment letter attached.
  • Full time faculty will receive an email from Steven Riccobono Friday, October 30 with an WTPA form attached.
  • The 3.25% increase that was already applied will be deducted from the October 30, 2020 through December 23, 2020 payrolls in both cases.

Also w/respect to TIAA:

  • Pratt’s contribution rate to individual faculty member’s TIAA/CREF will be reduced by 50% to 3.5%, beginning with contributions made in November.

Hoping All are safe, that your semester is going well, and that we SURVIVE today’s Election!

In Solidarity,

Kye

Election Results

Dear UFCT Voting Member,

Many thanks to ALL who voted; the resuls are clear, a large majority voted in favour of the MOA!

I want to personally thank each and every member who voted whether for or against.

I truly believe that although painful, we made the right decision for the Bargaining Unit given the circumstances.

Now we forge ahead!

In Solidarity,

Kye

187 votes were cast, which is ~50% of the total membership

UFCT Local 1460 Status Report

Dear Union Member,

I am sincerely hoping that all of you and yours are safe & healthy in these trying times. These last two-three months have been both surreal & stressful, and the uncertainty that lies ahead only exacerbates the underlying dread & anxiety.

On a personal note, my wife & I have been comfortably ensconced in our upstate schoolhouse since early March, which although idyllic wasn’t enough to shield my wife from the overwhelming anguish of having to countenance no less than seven siblings testing positive for COVID, three critical.

Gratefully, five harrowing weeks later, all have recovered; including my 90 year old mother in law.

Sadly though, as you might have heard, two of our esteemed colleagues in Architecture, Bill Menking & Lou Goodman have both passed due to COVID complications. Which reminds me that my family’s experience is not unlike far too many, and we are all in this together.

We are a Union, a democratic collective dedicated to defending all earned Faculty rights, protections and terms & conditions of employment as enshrined in a legally binding collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Pratt Administration. So with the semester over, we now await word from our employer Pratt Institute on what awaits us come fall ’20.

Let me state unequivocally that I honestly have no more insight than any of you about what the fall portends.

As Union President I am in regular contact with the Provost’s Office & HR. For what it is worth, there exists a respectful, professional & productive relationship between the UFCT Local 1460 & Pratt Administration.

Thus, fear mongering & rumours to the contrary, there has been NO conversation, much less any negotiation, between Union & Adm about Faculty “furloughs”, terminations and the like.

Whatever plan Pratt might or might not be entertaining (presently or ultimately) employ come fall, said plan will have to comport with ALL external State & Federal mandates, and be in compliance with our CBA.

Therefore, whatever the case may be with other comparable higher-ed institutions, let’s stay focused on the particulars of Pratt Institute — an art & design higher-ed college located in New York City, where roughly 70-75% of courses taught are “studio” in orientation and “hands-on”– thus normally ill suited for distance learning.

Yet, distance learning will almost certainly be the case in fall. As such, I counsel calm at this juncture as none of us knows definitively how this will be effectuated, or what the student enrollment numbers will be in late August / early September.

Moreover, what RISD, LIU, CUNY or New School may or may not do has nothing to do with us.

My conservative estimation is that Pratt could easily be facing a 10-15% drop in enrollment. What happens to a course, discipline, program, department or school when there is such a drop in revenue? This will be the landscape we’ll have to navigate together.

This is where one’s employment level or (faculty) status makes all the difference in the brave new world of diminishing returns we find ourselves. If tenured, FT or CCE, the deluge or hemorrhaging of students — which translates to the amount of work there is to be offered — would have to be rash; upwards of 40% for any tenured faculty member to be vulnerable to such austere measures.

For our brethren who are relatively new to Pratt; many esteemed Visiting Faculty & Adjuncts WITHOUT a CCE, I’d be dishonest in saying there is nothing to worry about.

This fall will commence the 5th year of the current 5 year CBA. There is NO reason to not expect the Pratt Adm to abide by the CBA — wherein ALL incumbent Faculty (FT & PT) “shall” receive a 3.25% increase in salary & 7% admin contrubution to our TIAA accounts.

COMMUNICATION
I am doing my best to answer all email & phone calls, and assure you I will respond in due time if I have not as yet. That said, my personal cell is: 631-662-8508 (I will not be in the Union office for the foreseeable future). Therefore please do not hesitate to email kyecarbone@gmail.com or call as you may need. Although I do not generally answer when I do not recognize a number, if you leave a clear voicemail with your phone number I will get back to you.

Moreover, in the interest of fostering greater communications, Holly & I will conduct at least two Zoom sessions* for all members: Tuesday June 9th, 12:30-2:00 & Wednesday July 8th, 5:00-6:30 and schedule more when and if needed. Please stay tuned. *email UFCT1460@gmail.com for links to the Zoom meetings.

As noted in the Provost’s last communique, Pratt will announce its fall plan no later than June 30th, so we’ll have much to discuss.

A few topics of interest:

FACULTY ACTIONS
I was just forwarded the faculty action (ARPT) report for AY ’19-’20 by the Provost’s Office. All who have conscientiously served their respective PRC or engaged the ARPT process should appreciate the fruits of your labors:

1) all 10 FT tenure track faculty applying for reappointment were rightfully reappointed;
2) all 6 FTers applying for tenure were in fact conferred tenure;
3) 12 adjuncts were conferred CCE;
4) 37 visitors granted adjunct status;
5) 45 promotions in academic rank

Best part: no denials!

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
There have been many queries about unemployment benefits for those of us who regularly teach summer.

In any usual year, summer teaching falls outside of “regular” fall-spring teaching; regarded as “extra” so no one can claim a right to compensation or any workload should a summer course or courses not enroll. Additionally as a higher ed institution Pratt is NOT on a trimester schedule.

Whatever CARE Act or Relief funds Pratt might have received, no funds were earmarked for Faculty much less those of us who rely on summer income.

That said, if you (like me) teach studio classes normally and would be teaching this summer absent the pandemic & the Institute’s decision to only offer more suitable non studio courses online, you may qualify for unemployment benefits.

I will be applying for unemployment myself, and although not confident that I will necessarily qualify; I have been assured by Pratt HR that they will not contest any claim should it pass bureaucratic muster.

Let’s stay connected.

In Solidarity,

Kye

Fall “ARPT Forum”

Dear Faculty Union Member,
This Friday, November 3rd, is our “ARPT Forum” — 22 attendees are confirmed, and there’s 8 spots left!  (ARPT is “Appointments, Reappointments, Promotion, and Tenure”).
It will be at Da Ciro, on Myrtle, from 4:30-7pm.
Join us to hear from faculty panelists about their departmental standards and criteria, recent developments, and best practices.  Share what’s going on in your department, and learn how to strengthen this essential, faculty-driven process by which we earn Promotion, Tenure, Adjunct status, and CCE.
A sketch of the agenda and the menu are below.  RSVP to Kye at kyecarbone@gmail.com.
Hope to see you there!
———————-
Agenda:
4:30-5pm:  Get a drink, chat
5-5:30pm:  Attendees–what’s going on with ARPT in your department?
5:30-6:15:  Panel presentations highlighting departmental processes & best practices–Patricia Madeja, Fine Arts; Keena Suh, Interior Design
6:15-7pm:  Moderated Q&A

UFCT Local 1460 Fall Status Report

Dear Member:

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 (emilybeall@gmail.com)

ARPT Forum

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?

Membership Drive

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!

In Solidarity,

Kye