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The Point: Finally, Some Actual Points


SubjectThe refusal of UMB administrators to bargain 

Action: Write to Executive Director of Labor Relations, Mickey Gallagher 

Greetings, Colleagues: 

For this week’s Point we want to honor the name of this weekly blast and try to boil some important matters down to some actual bullet points. The occasion is the continued refusal of UMB’s administration to come to the bargaining table with us in the modality we all agreed to last time (virtual, with an expanded FSU team).  We were prepared to meet last Wednesday, and they simply did not show.  (In fact, they did not even manage the courtesy of responding to our email earlier in the week when we reminded them of our plan to continue bargaining as we did in the recently-concluded last round.) 

So, please find below three bullet points about what signals we believe these management Beacons are beaming from the third floor of Quinn through their refusal to meet with the FSU’s bargaining team.  We also want to remind you that former FSU President Steve Striffler wrote a fantastic primer on expanded bargaining a couple of years ago, if you need a refresher.  

*The administration literally does not want YOU to hear directly what THEY say in bargaining sessions. Former MTA President Merrie Najimy has written about how being “a witness at the table is completely different than just getting a report afterwards. Members who witness the process themselves feel more informed—and they get fired up at the disrespect” coming from management. (I have still not recovered from hearing one member of the management team last round refer to a hypothetical NTT faculty member as “Joe Schmo.”) 

*The administration literally knows that the right to expanded bargaining has been settled in the Commonwealth but are practicing a strategy of obstruct and delay (thus, among other things, holding your next raise hostage).  The decision handed down by the Department of Labor Relations in the Belmont case in October, 2021 makes it clear that management cannot refuse to meet in bargaining simply because of the presence of a silent, expanded team.  Our management knows this but continues to act in a disingenuous and punitive way.   

*The administration literally has given no explanation for why they refuse to bargain with our expanded team, suggesting that they know that one of the most predictable outcomes of such a process is increased member involvement and better agreements for unions.  You know that management’s lead negotiator for this round is Mickey Gallagher, the Executive Director of Labor Relations on campus, right?  And you also know that earlier this century Mickey Gallagher was MTA field rep for our union, right?  (See here for the kind of work Mickey Gallagher used to do).  There is no doubt that with her expertise and experience, the management of UMB knows that expanded bargaining has been a major positive innovation for all kinds of unions around the country. 

I’ll end on a personal note: during the last round of bargaining, I attended almost every session as one of the silent members of the expanded team. I learned more about how UMB works in those sessions than I had known over my previous ten years on campus.  Truly an efficient education. 

Please write Mickey Gallagher (, the Executive Director of Labor Relations at UMB and lead negotiator for management (and please cc Ask her to keep negotiations open and transparent by allowing virtual-expanded bargaining, as we did last round.   


Jeff Melnick 

Vice President, FSU