04/20/20 Union Update to Bargaining Unit

Dear Colleagues,

In our last update, we shared Administrators may wish to adopt.

As we complete the Winter term, and move into the Spring/Summer and Fall terms, we face a new environment of rapid change bringing increasing levels of uncertainty. We will need to maintain a continuing strength and mutual support as a Union. This will be more critical than ever. Below is a brief summary of our ongoing negotiations with the Administration related to COVID-19 since our last update:

1. Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET)

Faculty have been notified that they have options, including opting out or waiving scores after receiving them. Exercising the waiver results in deletion of the scores for that class from the data set.

2. Tenure/ESS Clock

The Provost’s Office has been asking the Union for a clock stoppage for those Faculty or Academic Staff requesting such an accommodation due to COVID-19 related issues.

3. Academic Staff work-at-home

An abrupt shift to working from home created challenges for many Academic Staff related to expectations of schedule availability, hours, and productivity. While the negotiations with representatives from the Administration have been generally amicable, there were several areas that needed further clarification that have been resolved.

4. Remote Instruction

Challenges related to expectations, resources, and capacity needed to shift to remote instruction from campus classrooms continue to be an area of concern for our Faculty members. With the need to engage in contingency planning for the Fall semester, we continue to negotiate with the Administration.

5. Parking Fee Deductions

As of April 1, parking payroll deductions have been suspended. Some of our members requested cancellation of their semester parking agreements prior to the pause in deductions. Although parking policy for reinstatement includes a 30-day delay, our Union Council Parking Committee reported that the issue is being resolved for any member who submitted the cancellation request.

6. Return to Campus

This week, the Administration began forming a committee to plan the return to campus operations. The Union has a representative on that committee. However, we have made it clear to the Administration that mere representation on a larger committee is not a replacement for direct negotiations for matters that are mandatory subjects of bargaining.

7. UPDATED HR COVID-19 Page: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the expanded Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Earlier we reported on an expansion of our Special Needs time available to use for child care during this time of school and daycare closures. As of April 1, the FFCRA and expanded FMLA provide an alternative that some members may wish to use. As there are several possible options to address a need for leave time related to child care, please contact our team to discuss the best options.

While conditions are changing quickly, we will work to provide updates on issues that will affect our members. Please continue to send inquiries and examples of issues that need to be addressed as you experience them personally or learn about them from other members. Many of the clarifications and updates to the evolving policies and practices being negotiated with the Administration are matters that our members have brought to our attention. We will monitor your messages and continue responding as promptly as possible to any inquiries that we receive.

In Solidarity,

Charlie Parrish, PresidentRicardo Villarosa, Chief NegotiatorMichelle Fecteau, Executive Director