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FSU Raises, Bargaining, Health, and Politics!


Dear FSU members,

If you make it to the end of this overly long email you will have a guaranteed place in union heaven!  There is something for everyone!

General Meeting:  Please join us the FSU for its fall semester General Assembly meeting this Thursday (October 7th) at 3:30:  (contact FSU or Steve Striffler for Zoom information). We will be discussing bargaining as well as other issues (see here for more).

Bargaining -- The FSU has engaged in bargaining with the Administration for over a year.  We had hoped to re-start bargaining at the start of the semester but were unable to get the Administration back to the table prior to October 12th.  Admin is also indicating a reluctance to continue with “expanded bargaining” which we negotiated in 2020 to allow thirty FSU members to attend bargaining sessions – to insure that bargaining is transparent and open.  Now that university operations have returned to campus, and the MOU that allowed for expanded bargaining no longer applies, the Administration is looking to roll back expanded bargaining – because, we assume, they don’t want faculty/librarians to see their proposals firsthand (or hear their rejection of our proposals).  We hope to have this resolved prior to the first bargaining session on October 12th.    Please join our caucus (right before actual bargaining) at 3pm on October 12.  To sign up to participate in the bargaining session at 3:30 on October 12 contact FSU or Steve Striffler for information.

Raises and Merit: Our raises are largely determined at the state level.  The Governor sets the parameters, which are then haggled over with state-wide unions (including the MTA), eventually “agreed” upon, and then filtered down to the university level (where negotiation is limited). The FSU has not yet received a salary proposal from the Administration (except for the initial one of 0%-0%-0% that we got in 2020).  However, unions at other state colleges and universities have been getting proposals of 2%-2%-2% (raises over the three-year contract), with a one-time 1.5% bonus the first year.  Given that these disappointingly low numbers do not keep up with the rising cost of living, it seems very unlikely that there will be merit raises.  We have heard that Deans have been telling Department Chairs that there will likely be merit.  Please know that merit must be bargained with the union, and we have not begun the discussion.  Also know that other universities are not electing to squeeze merit out of 2% raises for a simple reason – to do so would inevitably require some faculty/librarians getting no raise at all.  The Administration could always opt to fund merit raises out of the university’s general operating budget, in effect topping off the state-funded 2% raises with additional merit raises.  This is, after all, where bonuses for Administrators come from.  

Health and Safety:  The FSU continues to receive emails from faculty concerned about (a) the overall lack of safety measures taken by the University with respect to Covid and (b) the shortcomings around the measures that have been adopted but are falling short in implementation.  There are kinks in the system.  Some faculty are not being told when a student in their class tests positive; more frequently, students are not being notified by University Health Services when someone tests positive in their class, which means they do not know to get tested.  We have also heard concerns – and communicated them to the Administration -- about ventilation issues in classrooms in Wheatley and (to a lesser extent) McCormack.  Consequently, the FSU – with the help of the MTA – will be testing air quality and ventilation on campus in Wheatley and McCormack.  Please email us with suggestions for testing sites (     

Engaging at the State and Federal Level – Last week the FSU participated in an all-campus union meeting along with about 200 UMB union members from the CSU, DCU, and PSU.   Merrie Najimi and Max Page, the President and Vice President of the MTA, discussed the MTA’s campaign to pass the Fair Share Amendment.  By creating an additional tax of 4% on individual income over $1 million dollars, the amendment would create an additional $2 billion in revenue annually for public education.  Passing the Fair Share Amendment is key to everything discussed above – better raises, safe and efficient buildings, etc.  For an even broader analysis of why we must engage in state and federal politics – and how to do so -- please see a provocative piece in DigBoston by two of our members, Professors Linda Ai-Yun Liu and Joseph Ramsey.  Stayed tuned for an upcoming Forum/Workshop on how you/we can become more involved in larger campaigns for public education.


Steve Striffler                                     Caroline Coscia

FSU President                                     FSU Vice President

Director, Labor Resource Center    Senior Lecturer II

Professor, Anthropology                  Political Science

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