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Update From The FSU Grievance Committee


Dear Colleague,

There is currently 1 formal, pending grievance that the GC is working on (a ‘grievance’ is the process by which resolution of possible violations of your contract rights can occur; for more, we encourage you to read this FSU primer on the grievance procedure and this primer on contract and other rights).  In addition to the formal grievances, the GC has spent countless hours on grievance and contract related matters with FSU members that have not resulted in grievances. These matters include: informal resolution of contract violations, apprising members of their contract rights, providing advice on and support for Title IX investigations, dismissal cases and other potential disciplinary hearings, attending Weingarten hearings (see below), 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).

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:

Paul Dyson, Senior Lecturer II, English

Katie D’Urso, MTA Field Rep

Ellen Frank, Senior Lecturer, Economics

Gillian MacNaughton, Associate Professor, SGISD

Glover Martin, Lecturer, Biology

Laurie Milliken, Associate Professor, Exercise and Health Sciences

Lorenzo Nencioli, FSU Membership Coordinator

Update on Grievances and Contract Related Matters


Summer 2020 Distance Learning Course Development Fee- Issues related to this grievance and distance learning in general will be dealt with at the bargaining table (see here for more information).

Student Course Capacities Exceeded Without Proper Approval- The GC 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 assessed that there have been violations of 15.4 and filed a policy grievance (i.e. a grievance with more than one potential grievant). A level I hearing occurred and a level I decision was rendered with a ruling against the FSU. The GC voted to engage in settlement talks with Admin on this issue.  The FSU GC and the Administration engaged in settlement talks and reached a formal agreement with the Administration.  This agreement:

  1. Provides monetary compensation of $200 per over enrolled student for 3 individual members cited in the original policy grievance plus 1 additional member who filed the grievance separately (see below).
  2. Will not be precedent setting.

Additional Work Not given to NTT- A Lecturer was not offered additional work per Article 21.3 in Spring 20. Level I and level II decisions were rendered. The GC did not see a viable path to winning an arbitration case and so elected not to pursue the case further.

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. The member filed a grievance, got a Level 1 decision, filed for Level 2, got a Level 2 decision.  We are engaging in settlement talks and hope to conclude an agreement shortly.

Denial of Sabbatical Credits For Parental Leave– The semester in which a member took paid parental leave was not counted as creditable time for purposes of assigning sabbatical credits. A grievance was filed and a settlement was reached. The creditable time will be added to this member’s sabbatical credit total but the FSU and the Administration will address whether such time will count in all other cases at the negotiating table.


NOTE: The following update on other grievance and contract related 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 10/20/2020.

Possible Inappropriate Usage of AFR Comments- A few members have indicated to the FSU that comments made in their AFR’s are inaccurate and/or seem to be reflective of possible disciplinary intent. We have advised these members that they should add their own comments to the AFR that address any assertions and/or inaccuracies they believe to be in the AFR comments made by the DPC, chair, etc. The GC is following up on these cases to determine if there are any contractual implications of adding such comments to the AFR. Please let the FSU know if you have concerns about inaccurate and/or potentially disciplinary comments being added to your AFR.

Dismissal of 2 NTT’s With Continuing Appointments-  The Administration has initiated 2 separate dismissal procedures for 2 members based on claims of egregious misconduct. The GC has reviewed the cases and believes that in both cases the Administration did not properly follow the disciplinary procedures outlined in the contract. The GC has chosen to represent the members during the hearing process (note that the FSU approved a policy on when/if the FSU will represent unit members who are subject to dismissal proceedings; that policy can be seen here- check ‘Grievance Committee’ about half way down).

Individual Contracts Not Issued/Work Assignments Changed- The GC has spoken with a number of faculty members who received offers of letter but were never formally given appointment letters (i.e. individual contracts) upon assumption of employment. In some cases, the terms and conditions of their work assignments were changed. The GC agreed to assert that, in the absence of a formal appointment letter, a letter of offer will be considered tantamount to a binding document (it should be noted that it is not clear if the Administration will agree with this assertion). The GC also will be working to assure that letters of appointment are provided to all new members on a prospective basis by requesting that the administration provide copies of letters of appointment for all new faculty members prior to orientation in August each year.

Inappropriate comments or reduced ratings in Provost/Chancellor personnel reviews – Several faculty members have inquired about pursuing grievances or other action in response to erroneous, discriminatory or other inappropriate comments in the Provost/Chancellor personnel reviews this year, as well as reduced ratings where this has not caused a change in the overall recommendation. We have advised faculty to respond the reviews, pointing out the errors or inappropriate language and asking that the response be added to the Basic File, as well as asking for a revised review letter. If you have received a personnel review letter from the Provost/Chancellor that you feel contains inappropriate or discriminatory statements, please contact the FSU.