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Bargaining Update and Call to Action


Dear FSU Members,

We are fed up. The FSU (along with the other campus unions, by the way, who are experiencing the same thing), are sick and tired of how bargaining, and labor relations more generally, are being treated by the current University Administration.  And we need your help; keep reading for ways you can support your union.

Bargaining has gone on far too long.  Our last contract expired in June 2020; this is now the end of the third semester we have been bargaining the new one. Bargaining is taking so long because it is virtually impossible to schedule meetings: administration has continually dragged its feet, demonstrated poor to non-existent follow-through in responding to requests, emails, proposals, etc.  They have come to meetings unprepared (either because they have not read our proposals or not brought proposals of their own) and have comported themselves via a general inaction that, regardless of intent, has had the result of being obstructionist. 

In the meantime, the FSU’s Core Bargaining Team (CBT) has put countless hours into developing thoughtful, complex bargaining proposals, only to have them either swiftly and categorically rejected or else returned with requests for additional, unreasonable concessions.  

After a year and a half of bargaining, the Administration has yet to make a single proposal that we feel benefits faculty or the university as a whole.  To the extent that Administration makes proposals at all, they consist mainly of policies that would increase their control over our working conditions or enshrine new and more innovative ways to discipline faculty and librarians into the contract.  

The CBT has experienced bargaining overall as an expression of Administration’s consistent lack of respect for us (although perhaps it is just incompetence) and believe it reflects a broader lack of commitment on the part of the Administration to bargain or manage labor relations in a reasonable, productive, manner.

We write to ask for your active support in two actions.  

Thursday, December 2, from 12:30-1:30: Please join all the campus unions on zoom to learn more and participate in an email action.

Thursday, December 9, from 12:30-1:30: Please join all the campus unions on the first floor of Quinn for a rally; we will deliver a letter to the Administration demanding fair, serious, bargaining.

We could also use your support during the next two bargaining sessions:

November 29th,  4-5pm.               Register here.

December, 3rd,    3:30-6:30.         Register here.

The FSU has made many proposals and is eager to be finished with this work.  But even our modest proposals are likely to be rejected and bargaining will drag on if we do not put pressure on the Administration.  Please join us and the other campus unions.

For those of you interested in the details, below is recent update on bargaining.  We think you will want to read it…we just don’t advise doing so right before bed, because it will give you nightmares.


Core Bargaining Team               [SEE BELOW FOR IMPORTANT BARGAINING UPDATE]

Caroline Coscia, Senior Lecturer II, Political Science, FSU Vice President

Katie D’Urso, MTA Field Representative

Jessica Holden, Librarian III, Healey Library

Maria Mellone, Non-Reappointed (i.e., laid off) Associate Lecturer, Math

Alex Mueller, Associate Professor, English

Lorenzo Nencioli, FSU Senior Staff Member

Jason Rodriquez, Associate Professor, Sociology

Heike Schotten, Professor, Political Science

Steve Striffler, Director of the Labor Resource Center and Professor, Anthropology, FSU President

Tony Vandermeer, Senior Lecturer II, Africana Studies



The state-funded raises of 2.5%-2%-2% for each of the 3 years of the contract (with a 1.5% one-time bonus) are of course disgraceful and do not even keep pace with cost of living.  While our Administration does not control this, they do have the freedom to make salary proposals of their own – or seriously engage with our salary proposals – that address the declining financial situation of our faculty and librarians.   The Administration has yet to respond to most of our salary proposals, but early indications are not promising – see the next item on Librarian salary and raises.    


The FSU proposed that librarian promotional raises be increased by $1000 and that librarian salary floors be modestly increased so that, for example, new librarians’ starting salary would be $54,000 (the same as at UMass Amherst, where the cost of living is much lower). This proposal is the only one of the few CBT proposals the Administration has engaged with that involves any sort of financial commitment, but we suspect this is because it would affect only 14 people.   And yet, Administration wants to link these still-insufficient increases to a condition removing contract language limiting the number of hours librarians can work per week.  In other words, they will only accept poverty-rate raises for Librarians in exchange for removing the one workload protection guaranteed them in the contract; namely, that they cannot be required to work more than 37.5 hours/week. 

We would have thought Ebenezer Scrooge thought up this counter proposal if it hadn’t actually been stated aloud by our own administrators at the bargaining table.  Our library is woefully understaffed.  Our librarians routinely work more than their allotted 37.5 hours anyway, because there is too much work and not enough people to do it.  But our Administration wants to tie a meager increase in pay to the removal of the one workload protection the contract actually provides our librarians.  Seriously?


We have proposed the following:

  • that the per-course pay for summer/winter classes be raised to $6000.
  • that the Salary Floor for Associate Lecturers be increased from $40,000 to $46,200. 

    This would raise the minimum amount paid for a single course from $5000 to $5775. 
  • that promotional bumps for all faculty ranks be increased by $1000 (so, for example, the bump for promotion to Senior Lecturer would go from $5500 to $6500…and so on).
  • that NTT faculty who have been here for 20 years receive a longevity raise of $6500.

What do these FSU proposals have in common? 

  • They are obscenely modest, given inflation and the Boston area’s high cost of living. 
  • We have yet to hear from the Administration.


As you know, FSU members subsidize their jobs by paying costs that the university should.  One way we proposed to address this is to increase travel and research funds so that our members do not have to pay for their own conference travel, research expenses, or teaching-related costs.  

Months ago, we proposed that the FSU Travel Fund be expanded to include librarians, clinical faculty, and senior lecturers.  This was rejected.

We then proposed that the Travel Fund be expanded to include just librarians and clinical faculty (a total of 20 additional people) and increase the annual amount from $1000 to $1250 (since it is nearly impossible to go to a conference on $1000).  This was also rejected – with no explanation. 

RES FUNDS AND ANTI-RACISM TRAINING [you will not believe this one]

RES stands for “Research and Educational Support.”  This is the pittance amount faculty get each year from the Provost’s office to cover non-travel-related professional expenses.  The total RES Fund pool is  $200,000 annually.  However, each year, something like $70,000 of this pool goes unspent, largely because they are doled out to FSU members in small amounts and are difficult for faculty to access.  Historically, the FSU and the Administration have agreed that this “leftover” money goes to the library or for computers. 

Last Spring, however, the FSU proposed taking $50,000 of the RES pool out front and using it for anti-racism initiatives.  The crux of the agreement stated that the funds would

be allocated to and distributed by the Provost’s Office in consultation with the Restorative Justice Commission and the FSU to support anti-racism activities for faculty and librarians. At the conclusion of the fiscal year (6/30/2021) the Administration will provide the Union a summary of expenditures made pursuant to this paragraph.   

Administration agreed to this proposal and we co-signed it on March 8th, 2021.    

But get this:  When the FSU requested this summary of expenditures in the Summer/Fall of 2021, we assumed that none of the money could have been spent, since the FSU was never consulted in any way.  Much to our surprise, not only had the money indeed been spent, but it had somehow been spent on anti-racism initiatives that took place before our agreement was in place and that the Administration had said they were paying for out of the Provost’s budget as part of the Administration’s “commitment” to anti-racism.  Yes, you read that correctly:  the Administration took this bargaining agreement as permission to raid faculty RES Funds, spend them in violation of that very agreement, on events that were promoted as sponsored by the Administration and as evidence of its commitment to anti-racism, with no mention of the FSU or the faculty whose money it took to fund the programming. 

If the Administration’s inability to respond to email, show up prepared for bargaining sessions, or even schedule meetings in a timely manner feels disrespectful, and if their across-the-board non-response to any financial increases for faculty and librarians feels Scrooge-like, this deceitful appropriation of faculty funds to disingenuously and opportunistically present the administration as anti-racist takes these ugly behaviors to entirely new lows we had not even imagined possible.  We have asked Administration for an accounting of what money it has spent on anti-racism initiatives outside of the ones we unwittingly ended up funding for them with our RES money – but here, too, we have received no response.


  • We have proposed enshrining a 2-2 teaching load for all TT faculty in the contract along with a research-intensive semester for junior faculty.  We believe this is fundamental to the university’s expressed commitment to being a research university.  In typical fashion, the Administration is watering down this aspect of the proposal while proposing a series of unrelated concessions that would increase administrative control over course capacities, establish an additional mechanism for evaluating faculty research productivity, and require summer work.  Again, commonsense improvements in the contract that are aligned with the university’s ostensible mission continue to be thwarted by administrative interest in extracting an extra pound of flesh from faculty in return.
  • We have proposed enshrining a 3-3 teaching load for all NTT faculty in the contract.  This was rejected.  We countered with a proposal for a 3-4 teaching load for all Senior Lecturers and above.  We are awaiting administration’s response.   

Please join us and the other unions on December 2nd and December 9th (details above!) to demand the administration treat us and your union with the respect we deserve and to move these important proposals forward.