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Update From The FSU Grievance Committee


Dear Member,

The FSU Grievance Committee (GC) has been very active this academic year. There are currently 7 formal, pending grievances that the GC is working on.  In addition to the formal grievances, the GC has spent many hours on grievance and contract related matters with FSU members that have not resulted in grievances. These include: informal resolution of contract violations, apprising members of their contract rights, providing advice on and support for Title IX and other potential disciplinary hearings, attending Weingarten hearings (see below), attending Labor-Management meetings, attending GC meetings, assessing potential contract language issues for contract negotiations, and much more.

We would like to report on a few of the formal and informal pending grievance and contract related matters that we are addressing or have addressed. (For reasons of confidentiality, we cannot report on all the pending grievance and contract related matters that we are dealing with).

We also encourage you to read this FSU primer on the grievance procedure. In addition, we strongly urge you to familiarize yourself with Weingarten Rights - that is, your right to have a union witness present for any meeting with your supervisor that is of an investigatory nature or may have disciplinary repercussions (see the Grievance  tab on the FSU website for more info, including a link to a more detailed MTA primer on Weingarten Rights).

Members who believe their contract rights have been violated have 60 days from the date of the infraction to file a grievance (see Article 25 of the contract). Contact the FSU office if you have questions about your contract rights or if you think your contract rights may have been violated.

Previous grievance updates can be seen here.

From the FSU Grievance Committee:

Caroline Coscia, Senior Lecturer II, Political Science

Ellen Frank, Senior Lecturer, Economics

Mickey Gallagher, MTA Consultant

Heather LaPenn, MTA Consultant

Gillian MacNaughton, Assistant Professor, SGISD

Cat Mazza, Associate Professor, Art

Laurie Milliken, Associate Professor, Exercise and Health Sciences

Lorenzo Nencioli, FSU Membership Coordinator

Update on Grievances and Contract Related Matters


Course Cap Increases Not Properly Approved- The GC has looked at a number of examples of student course capacities being raised for Spring 19 after the initial capacities were set (see Article 15.4 of the contract). The GC assesses that there have been violations of 15.4 and has filed a policy grievance. A hearing was recently held on this grievance and a decision will be rendered by the end of the semester.

Associate Lecturers- Improper Assignment of Rank-  Last academic year, the GC received enough information to indicate that a violation of the Associate Lecturer language of the contract may have occurred (see Article 21.11 of the contract). Specifically, it appeared that many non-tenure track faculty were hired as Associate Lecturers when they should have been hired as Lecturers (see Article 21 for differences between the two; the primary differences have to do with the temporary nature of the Associate Lecturer position versus the Lecturer position). An Associate Lecturer subcommittee was convened. They investigated the matter further and examined NTT hiring and appointment data, surveyed Associate Lecturers directly regarding the nature of their positions, etc. The conclusion of the subcommittee was that enough evidence existed to believe a systematic violation has occurred. A policy grievance was filed and a hearing was recently held. Currently, the parties (Administration and FSU) are in the process of requesting data (no decision deadline has been set yet). If you are an Associate Lecturer and believe you have been appointed to that rank in violation of the contract, please contact the FSU with your questions and documentation.

Continuing Appointment Rescinded Due to Other Position at UMass Dartmouth

A 75% UMB NTT member with a continuing appointment took an additional, full-time position at UMD so UMB compelled her to reduce her time here from 75% to 25%, citing conflict of interest policy. This essentially removed her continuing appointment. The member indicated that she was never told this was counter to current policies. The GC reviewed this action and felt that this policy does not apply to her. Furthermore, we asserted that even if the policy were to apply, a continuing appointment cannot be removed without due process. A grievance was filed and a settlement was ultimately reached. The  member’s continuing appointment was reinstated and compensation was issued for the lost salary.

Additional Work Not given to NTT- A Lecturer was not offered additional work per Article 21.3 in Fall 17 and Spring 18. A grievance was filed and a settlement was ultimately reached (the member was given monetary compensation).  

Other Filed Grievances- Individual members have 5 additional formal grievances pending. We will provide updates when those cases are closed.


NOTE: The Update on grievance/grievance issues does not include all 1 on 1 interactions with the Grievance Committee on contract or potential grievance related matters. Below is a selection of the most relevant matters since our last update to members on 5/15/18.

Continuing Appointment- Notification Delays (21.9)- 2 members have indicated to the FSU that they have not been notified whether or not they have a continuing appointment despite having the requisite amount of FTE’s. The GC conducted a study and determined that 13 or so other NTT who met the eligibility criteria for continuing appointments were not granted them. The GC contacted the Administration and the latter agreed to immediately initiate the continuing appointment review process for the effected members.

Continuing Appointment- FTE Lower Than Standard Workload (21.9)­-  A number of members have contacted the FSU indicating that they were granted continuing appointments but that the FTE of their continuing appointment was lower than their work history average. The Grievance Committee analyzed the data, noted that many of the Fall 18 continuing appointments were lower than the previous, average workload. However, the GC did not see cause for a grievance as (a) some of the FTE’s were explainable by other factors (i.e. recent increases in the number of TT faculty in departments), and (b) the contract language does not specify that a continuing appointment must be at a certain FTE. Members were apprised of this assessment. The GC notes that this issue will need to be raised in bargaining.

Tenure Track Faculty Member, Allegations Regarding Quality of Scholarship - a faculty member was alleged to have violated the UMB policy on conduct of scholarly research, and the Vice Provost for Research sent it to a committee of inquiry for a formal review (the UMB policy on conduct for scholarly research can be seen here). We have been supporting the faculty member through the formal process, through advising, and through informal discussions with the Administration. We are currently awaiting the Administration's decision.

Tenure Track Faculty Member, Violation of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy, Termination Procedures Enacted- A faculty member was alleged to have violated the University’s policy on sexual harassment (ODEI policies can be seen here). The ODEI conducted an investigation and concluded that a violation of the policy did occur. The Provost, citing Article 18 of the contract, concluded that the misconduct was serious enough to warrant immediate termination and enacted the dismissal procedures of Article 18. The GC assisted this member during the investigation process and negotiated a resignation agreement in lieu of dismissal procedures on his behalf.

Tenure Track Faculty Member, Workload Violation, Academic Freedom Issues- A faculty member was told that two under enrolled courses he was scheduled to teach would have to be combined although they were different courses and remained separate courses on WISER. This also resulted in the faculty member being compelled to change the content of the two courses once combined. The combined courses counted as only one course on his workload. The GC determined that this was a violation of the workload clause of the contract (15.4). It also determined that it violated the faculty member’s rights under the academic freedom clause of the contract (8). The GC advised the faculty member of his rights, and helped resolve the issue informally. The GC also advised another faculty member, who had also been involved in some of the meetings with the chair, on the contract violations described above.

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