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FSU Bargaining Update


The FSU bargaining team has met with the administration a few times since our last update; this is what has occurred (for previous updates on bargaining, including areas of bargaining not listed in this update, click here):

We have agreed to major changes in the contract language concerning CAPS/Distance Learning/Continuing Education.

►Distance Learning- (DL) For all faculty, DL courses will now contractually be treated in exactly the same way as in-person courses. For NTT faculty, this means that DL courses will now officially be subject to the course assignment regulations in Article 21,[1] as is (mostly) the current practice. Several current practices will be written into the contract for the first time to ensure that these continue: a) right of first refusal for DL course developers, b) receiving a $3000 course creation stipend, and c) the royalty fee of $500 when someone else teaches the course. A new provision will allow departments the option to contract with faculty members, e.g. by offering a stipend or course release, to develop a DL “shell” course intended to be taught with varying instructors and content. Intellectual property rights for such courses will remain with the departments and not with the individual faculty member. The FSU would be required to be party to all such agreements so that faculty can ensure agreement on these in their departments. In addition, the Administration sought to end the practice of paying an overage fee ($100) for every student above the course limit for distance learning courses.[2] We have agreed to that in exchange for language enhancements in Article 15 (Faculty Workload; see below).

►Faculty Workload-  We agreed to contract language that specifies that (a) individual faculty members have the final decision about adding additional students to a their courses once the course enrollment limit was reached, and (b) departments have primary responsibility in setting course caps. Current contract language specifies that the average workload in a department can’t be changed during the life of the contract. The Administration had proposed eliminating this provision but have since agreed to rescind this proposal.

►Continuing Education- Fall/Spring CAPS courses (offered off-site or between 3 p.m. Friday and Sunday regardless of location) will now be labeled “Continuing Education” courses. They will continue to be paid at the individual faculty member’s rate. Summer/Winter session courses will also now be classified as “Continuing Education” courses and will be subject to a clarified seniority assignment system based on total number of summer/winter courses taught. Those with seniority standing will continue to be guaranteed up to two courses in the summer and up to one in the winter, subject to department course availability. Summer/Winter continuing education courses will be paid to tenure track faculty and NTTs with the rank of Lecturer or above at the rate of $5,100 (the previous rate was $4,800 for TT and post-probationary lecturers). Associate Lecturers will be paid $4,500 per Summer/Winter continuing education course (increased from the previous rate of $4,400 for probationary lecturers); and any Associate Lecturer who is currently paid more than that amount, such as those converted from Lecturer in the previous contract, will not have their Summer/Winter rate lowered.  All CAPS contract language is now in Article 36. 

By enshrining these distance learning and continuing education policies in the contract, we have ensured that they cannot be changed except at the bargaining table. This will put us in a much stronger position to protect these rights should there be any structural changes to CAPs or distance learning, inclusive of those that may occur via UMass Online

►Librarians – We have reached final agreement on all language for librarians, including an agreement on changes to the Annual Report and Evaluation for Librarians, which will now be called the Annual Librarian Report and Evaluation of Professional Activities to align with faculty and Amherst librarians. The report also adds language to clarify professional activities; procedures for negotiating over a stipend for internal appointments to department head, and exceptions added to minimum years in service for promotions (see here for the tentative agreement).

►Clinical Nursing Faculty – We have made progress on a major point of contention between the parties--workload. The Administration has recognized that the current workload structure for clinical faculty cannot be sustained and has shown willingness to address our concerns. We have asked them to provide a written counter-proposal and expect that this proposal will include some combination of a 4/3 or 3/4 Fall/Spring teaching load, and two clinical nursing tracks (one for those who perform teaching, scholarship, clinical practice, and service; one for those who do only teaching and some limited service).

From the FSU Bargaining Team:

Caroline Coscia, Senior Lecturer, Political Science

John Hess, Senior Lecturer II, English/American Studies

Larry Kaye, Senior Lecturer II, Philosophy

Marlene Kim, Professor, Economics

Steven Levine, Associate Professor, Philosophy

Tina Mullins, Librarian III


Pat Halon, Graduate Program/Director, Nursing- FSU Clinical Nursing Bargaining Team Member

JoAnn Mulready-Shick, Senior Lecturer II, Nursing- FSU Clinical Nursing Bargaining Team Member

FSU/MTA Staff:

Mickey Gallagher, MTA Consultant

Lorenzo Nencioli, FSU Membership Coordinator


[1] For TT faculty, course assignments are assigned the same way as regular classes. 

[2] We agreed to this for a number of reasons.  First, we didn’t believe we were on a sound contractual basis to contest this if the Administration decided to unilaterally implement the change, because taking in many more students than the course cap undermines the argument that the course cap is too high. We also believed that language enhancements we received above were worthy of the trade. Finally, we were hard pressed to justify maintaining this policy while we simultaneously argue that any increase in individual faculty members’ class sizes must be met with a decrease in workload elsewhere. In short, we did not believe we were on solid ground in advocating for limits on class size increases while simultaneously having a policy that incentivizes such increases. Instead, we wanted to dis-incentivize over-enrollments and incentivize creating additional sections.