Publication of the Collective Bargaining Agreement
After an editing and signature-gathering process that took far longer than expected, our current CBA is now available on the UAW Local 2322 web site: Goddard Faculty CBA 2015-2018. A hard copy will be mailed to union members later this month. The CBA will also be posted on the college’s web site.
GCFU Officer Elections
The terms of office for the GCFU’s Interim President and Vice President will end in May. Thus, it’s time to think about electing new officers, who will serve for a standard three-year term. Given the key role played by these faculty members in protecting members’ rights under the contract, as well as setting the stage for the next round of bargaining, it’s very important to involve the broadest range of faculty. (Wouldn’t it be great if we turn out to have several serious candidates and they use the opportunity to promote a vigorous discussion of our collective visions for the direction of union activism at Goddard?) Here’s a preview of the process.
First, we’ll be holding a referendum on a proposal that has been under discussion within the union leadership for a number of years. The proposal is to modify the officer positions so that the two officers are designated as Co-Chairs rather than President and Vice President. We believe this is more in keeping with how the position optimally works, is in line with our collaborative and community-oriented philosophy, and may be a more inviting alignment for faculty members considering running for the office. (In addition, the staff union is led by co-chairs.) We anticipate holding the referendum by the end of March, so that when the call for nominations goes out in April, the exact titles and structure of the leadership positions will be clear.
Nominations will be closed by the end of April, with time for candidates to circulate statements giving their qualifications and reasons for wanting the position. The election will be conducted by e-mail ballot, with results by mid-May and the new officers expected to assume their duties on June 1.
Obviously, successful elections can’t happen without good candidates. Please think about whether you would be willing to serve. The outgoing officers are planning to hold a meeting to explain our work and answer your questions.
A Vermont-Based Servicing Rep for Goddard Faculty and Staff
The recent departure of staff at Local 2322 has meant that our devoted servicing rep, Ryan Quinn, has taken on extra duties, and at times this has meant reduced availability to Goddard faculty and staff units. In the interests of providing Goddard employees with an optimal level of support, the Joint Council of the Local recently voted to hire a part-time (20 hours/week) servicing rep who will be based in Vermont and will work exclusively with our two Goddard units. This will be a particular boon to our sisters and brothers in the staff union, since they interact face-to-face with management on a daily basis and really need the support of a representative who can be physically present for grievance meetings. The arrangement will also have decided benefits for faculty, as a Vermont-based rep will be more available to meet with faculty who are on campus for residencies, as well as having more direct venues for interacting with management on our behalf. The hiring process will be getting under way shortly, and David Palmer (Joint Council Representative from the Goddard College Staff Union) and Jan Clausen will serve on the committee along with the President of our Local, Jocelyn Silverlight, and several other Local members. UAW rules specify that hiring is to be done from inside the union, so the person hired is expected to be a current Goddard employee.
We have filed two grievances that are relevant to all faculty members:
Union Meetings: This semester our new CAO Lewis Jones made a new directive that the faculty union meeting can no longer be listed in the residency schedule. The CAO did not inform the union officers of this decision, so we first heard of it from faculty in the programs. When we asked the CAO for a rationale, we were told that it was because the union meeting is not relevant to student learning. We filed the grievance on the legal basis that it is an established past practice that cannot be unilaterally changed. At the step 1 meeting we also argued that the unionization of Goddard’s workers is highly relevant to the students’ education because it is part of Goddard “walking its talk” on social justice and that the administration’s unilateral decision to remove the listing of faculty union meetings from the residency schedules is disrespectful to the union and has negatively impacted faculty morale. The administration denied the grievance at both step 1 and step 2, arguing that it was not a consistent past practice because the meeting was not always listed in every program’s residency schedule. In our view, as we argued at step 2, the past practice was that the decision about whether or not to list the meeting on the residency schedule was made at the program level and should remain that way. We will now consider the legal and practical merits of proceeding to arbitration on the issue.
Appointment Letters: Many faculty members have not received reappointment letters, and some have been missing them for 2-3 semesters. These letters are how faculty members have historically been informed of their reappointment status and term, and the delay on these letters is raising widespread concern among faculty. We asked the administration to give us a timeline for completion of the letters, but were told that HR is behind and would complete them as fast as possible. We have filed a grievance with a Step 1 meeting scheduled for March 16.
Jan Clausen, GCFU President
Karen Stupski, GCFU Vice-President