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Bargaining Update: Raises, Merit, and NTT Equity


Dear FSU Members,

Here is a quick update from our two (!!) bargaining sessions last week.


As you know, the parameters for raises are set by the governor.  This year, those parameters are across-the-board raises of 2.5%-2%-2% over the three-year contract, plus a one-time 1.5% bonus (i.e. money that does not go on salary) in the first year.   

Administration, however, proposed carving merit out of these already spare across-the-board raises, offering us across-the-board raises of even less—1.5%-1%-1%—with the rest coming in the form of merit raises of up to 1%-1%-1%.  They also propose leaving Associate Lecturers hired after January 2018 out of this raise structure altogether (that would amount to approximately 115 of our current members).   

We are countering by insisting that all of the money be given as across-the-board raises (2.5%-2%-2%).  As it is, these raises do not even keep up with the cost of living.  They are simply too small to carve merit out of – both in the sense that everyone deserves at least a 2% raise and in the sense that squeezing merit out of 2% not only leaves some faculty with less but does not provide others with nearly enough to be worth the effort.  We have urged Administration to return with a proposal that includes merit paid for by them, on top of the across-the-board raises provided by the state, as well as an additional $500 bonus for all members (on top of the 1.5% bonus the state is providing).

Beyond this, the FSU is proposing that:

  • Promotional raises be increased in order to address our low salaries while keeping up with inflation and our colleagues at Amherst (for example, from Assistant to Associate Professor, or Lecturer to Senior Lecturer I); 
  • NTT faculty get a longevity raise of $6500 at 20 years of service; 
  • Salary floors be increased (again, reflecting both inflation and salaries at Amherst); 
  • To address more salary anomalies, increase the pool from $60,000 to $100,000 and include Scholarship of Practice Clinical Nursing professors of all ranks;
  • The Summer/Winter per course rate be increased to $6000 (yes, this would actually be an increase from what the university currently pays).  

As you can see from the attached, these proposed increases are quite modest.

ARTICLE 15: Faculty Workload

The other major proposal we are currently bargaining is located largely within Article 15 of our contract.   

With regard to Article 15, Administration is pushing for: 

  • greater control over increasing course caps; 
  • a formal path for evaluating whether faculty are or are not “research active” (and hence remain at 2-2 or be bumped to a 3-3 teaching load); 
  • a requirement that faculty respond to all work-related email communications in the summer.   

By way of counter, we are proposing that:

  • pre-tenure faculty be given a real Research-Intensive Semester prior to going up for tenure; 
  • a 2-2 teaching load be written into the contract for all tenure-line faculty; 
  • control over course cancellations for “low enrollments” should rest firmly with academic departments; 
  • NTT faculty should have basic rights in departments, including the right to attend department meetings and vote (with details to be determined by departments).  

Thus far, we have been very surprised by the Administration’s resistance to including NTT faculty in department governance, the very places where some of the most important decisions impacting NTT faculty’s working conditions are made.  This move towards a more democratic workplace would cost the university nothing, but make great strides toward ensuring equity and autonomy for our more vulnerable members. 


Core Bargaining Team

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 Membership Coordinator

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

For information on the FSU, links to our contract and bargaining updates, and a calendar of events, see the FSU webpage