Nena Stracuzzi, Lecturer, Sociology
UNHLU-AAUP, Vice President
WHAT HAS YOUR UNION DONE FOR YOU LATELY? Turns out, plenty. It seems fitting in our first union newsletter to reflect on all we have gained. Thanks to the blood, sweat, and tears of many who came before me, in August of 2015, after fourteen months of negotiations, we signed our first collective bargaining agreement. And with significant gains from those efforts, we as a group have come a long way since 2013. I, for one, am grateful.
For starters, we’ve received double digit average percentage raises in all colleges for the period from 2015-2017. We’ve also received summer and J-Term compensation increases. We now have a university wide promotion structure and we eagerly await news of those who have submitted promotion packets. This is on the heels of many lecturers’ rank adjustments to Senior or Principal. We’ve achieved longer-term appointments and we finally have a grievance structure to address cases of arbitrary or capricious treatment, adding yet another layer of protection. Such enhanced job security was among our members’ top priorities. Significantly, like our tenured colleagues, we now have the opportunity to take a paid semester for professional development. These pedagogical leaves which provide us with much-needed time to increase our teaching effectiveness, whether to develop new courses or explore new technologies, are a monumental boon for lecturer faculty. Additionally, all lecturers are entitled to request funds annually for registration and travel to professional organizations, conferences, and/or workshops. Importantly, twelve weeks of paid parental leave were negotiated and finally, sick days for personal or family leave is contractually guaranteed. So too are the full protections of academic freedom guaranteed for lecturers. Truly, substantial advances have been made; while we may not yet have achieved all for which we collectively hope, we enter our second round of negotiations from a position of strength. With previous successes under our belts and only continued advancements to be made, the importance of collective bargaining is apparent. Such achievements for all could never have been made individually.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Spring Chapter Meeting
March 31, 2017 2:10-3:10pm location tba
We will be voting on our dues for AY 2017-18, discussing Negotiations, as well as welcoming our new officers (results of online voting). We may also be voting on amendments to Bylaws.
Important Issues on our minds...
On Friday, February 3, join your colleagues in McConnell 220 between 2 and 4 for a caucus/educational session on Right to Work, the subject of several bills currently before the NH State Legislature.
Right to Work = Wrong for NH
In case you missed the Legislative Alerts last month, Right to Work (RTW) has not gone away! On February 8th, 2017 at 10:00am in Concord, both the NH Senate and House will consider the bill(s) that will strip union's right to recover the costs incurred in protecting and benefitting Agency Fee payers (those bargaining unit members who do not choose to join the union). Agency fees ensure stable finances for our union so that we can pursue grievances and arbitrations for all. UNHLU, like all unions in NH, have the 'Duty of Fair Representation' of both Agency Fee payers and Members alike. If you are able to attend the hearing in Concord, try to get there early (opens at 8am) so that you can put your name on the speaker list and/or register your opposition to these politically motivated and divisive bills.
Supporting our UNHPA Colleagues
Organizing 200+ lecturers was hard enough; imagine 2000 staff, all in different units! That's exactly what the organizers of UNHPA are doing right now. We support them 100% and have provided guidance and encouragement along the way. More recently, the Executive Committee has sent a letter to President Huddleston (see below) asking him to stop impeding the process.
To learn more about OS and PAT unionization efforts, go to:
From: Sarah Hirsch, President
On behalf of the Executive Committee
UNH Lecturers United-AAUP
To: Dr. Mark Huddleston, President
University of New Hampshire
Dear President Huddleston,
We are writing to ask that you end your administration’s massive effort to deter UNHPA from unionizing its members. As the Executive Committee of UNHLU-AAUP, we are disappointed in the nature of such efforts. We are not alone: we join former Governor Maggie Hassan and others at the local and state level in expressing our disappointment in your efforts to misinform and disenfranchise the PA staff.
Even UNH parents have contacted us to express their dismay at your role in the propaganda effort, which includes letters to parents, students and community members that are blatantly biased and seem intent to confuse, not clarify. And worse, the website “Your Voice Matters” deletes non-conforming comments in an effort to control the conversation. How else can you explain that all the ‘Employee Testimonials’ are anti-union? UNHLU President Sarah Hirsch, for one, posted a pro-union comment on December 1, 2016, which was never published. Apparently, not all voices matter.
This fall, UNHPA staff members signed union cards, enough to file for an election to represent approximately 500 employees. This is a considerable number with which to begin and in line with the Lecturer and Tenure Track bargaining units. Those not represented in the first filing will have their chance in the near future. This and future organization of staff groups will only strengthen UNH’s commitment to fair treatment of its employees. As a former AAUP member, you know yourself the value of union membership. Likewise, as a leader on campus, you know the diligence and intelligence of our staff. Why not allow them to gather information fairly and allow them to decide for themselves?
We ask that you withdraw the challenge to the NH Public Employee Relations Labor Board and redouble efforts to inform widely, with opportunities for both sides to speak, without further interference. We ask that you and your representatives step out of the way of a legally protected democratic right to organize. Please remove your challenge at the NHPELRB, and let the process proceed naturally and without infringement.
Many are still unaware of our right to file grievances under our CBA. Grievances are how we seek resolution or redress for violations of our contract or of UNH policy. The specific details are in our CBA, but please ask yourself the following if something concerns you:
• Have I or a group of lecturers been wronged in some way? How?
• Have I sought the assistance of the UNHLU Grievance Chair?
The first advice we offer is simple: keep careful documentation of anything related to the situation that concerns you. If the grievance relates to a verbal exchange you have had with someone, follow up with an email to state how you remember the exchange and ask for confirmation or clarification. This is sometimes all it takes to informally resolve the situation, but if not, reach out to the Grievance Chair.
Once the Grievance Chair meets with you and reviews your documentation, you collaboratively decide on which specific parts of our contract or UNH Policy have been violated. For example, if you received a notice of non-renewal after the deadline, that would be clear violation. If you suspect that you are being discriminated against in some way, then a different part of the contract is being violated, and we will work with you to prove how.. Once you are aware of a contract violation, you have 90 days to file a grievance. The Grievance Chair will help you craft your argument, and the union will file the grievance for you. You'll also want to be clear about what you desire as a resolution of the problem.
Over the last year, UNHLU has managed dozens of successful grievances. These resulted in compensation to the grievant or granted another desired resolution. Other cases are heading to arbitration, which is a process that guarantees that an unbiased third party hears the case and decides a fair resolution.
Of course, grievances and their resolutions are confidential, and the Grievance Officer or any member of the EC cannot discuss them. Speak up if there is something that you suspect might be a problem that the union can help you with. If you feel that you may have a case, please contact: unhlu.grievance.unh.edu.
Prentiss has neither published nor presented at conferences. His focus has been teaching in the ESL classroom, specifically, encouraging positive relationships and teaching English to enable his students to build their own relationships within the UNH community and beyond.
Lessons are centered on essential language and on giving students the majority of class time to practice real-life language. Prentiss does this by treating the class not as a 'class' but more as a gathering of friends who share a common goal. Class activities do not come from pre-formulated lesson plans but instead spring spontaneously from communicative goals. The desire to express something becomes the impetus for learning and success. Of course he is there to assist with needed grammar and vocabulary but the 'play' is theirs.
By creating relationships and modeling real communication, Prentiss successfully helps launch learners on their own journey of sharing life through English.
Adam St. Jean, Lecturer, Chemical Engineering
UNHLU-AAUP, Contract Administrator & Co-Lead Negotiator
After months of preparation, the negotiating team for UNHLU-AAUP is once again meeting with the Administration to hammer out our next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Our team is appointed by and answers to the Executive Committee of our union. Returning co-lead negotiators, Adam St. Jean (CEPS) and Catherine Moran (COLA), lead the team which includes Israel Yost (CEPS), Jesse Morell (COLSA), and John DeJoie (CHHS). Well trained and experienced negotiators, all. Attorney Glenn Milner, on retainer from our union, will make appearances as needed, consult, and serve as legal fact-checker. The Administration’s team includes Candace Corvey, Jim Varn, Brett Gibson, and Kathy Neils.
Prior to the first negotiation session in January, the UNHLU negotiation team met regularly to develop strategy and align our priorities. A survey was distributed in November 2016 to all union members to determine the membership’s bargaining priorities. Your input determines our goals. Not surprisingly, a clear majority indicated that job security was the main priority. Also, members strongly indicated that the current workload/FTE structure for Lecturer Faculty, which was a major concession on our part during the last round of negotiations, is not working and needs an overhaul. Most Lecturer Faculty remain at 0.88 FTE, an unworkable paradigm from the past. Other issues will pass across the table as we move forward, and we will regularly communicate our progress.
Remember, all aspects of our current CBA remain in place until both sides ratify its replacement. This protection is often called an ‘Evergreen’ clause, and is part of the CBA that we negotiated last time around. This means that important items such as the benefits cost-sharing arrangement, the grievance procedure, and the promotion structure are guaranteed during negotiations.
Look for more details on the state of our contract negotiations at our 3rd Annual Spring Chapter Meeting March 31 2:10-3:30. All are welcome!
Charli Valdez, Senior Lecturer, English
UNHLU-AAUP, Communications Director
Fall semester was the first semester lecturer faculty used web-based evaluations. In April of 2016 the faculty senate passed a motion to move to web-based evaluations. At the time, the senate voiced concerns about confirmed lower response rates and lower ratings as compared to paper evaluations (Tenure track faculty began using web-based evaluations as early as fall semester 2014.). Since such a turn can cause “hurdles for continued employment and promotion,” in February of 2016, all deans committed to “re-calibrate the online evaluation numbers”. Further concern was expressed regarding the separation of quantitative and qualitative results. As per our CBA, lecturer faculty’s teaching activities are evaluated based on classroom observation, FAR information, and course evaluations from students. As only one piece of such evaluation, the quantitative and qualitative evaluation-materials from students must be reviewed together. Furthermore, the faculty senate plans continued data analysis of the differences in scores based on “faculty demographics between the two evaluation modes.” Indeed, there is evidence questioning the validity of student evaluations, in particular as it relates to gender and racial bias.
Finally, the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs recommends the following to improve response rates:
“Please help encourage participation by using any or all of these methods:
· Allot class time to take course evaluations.
· Make a personal request for student participation. If possible, give examples of how suggestions in the past shaped future classes.
· Post an announcement to MyCourses.
· Send email reminders to your students."
A Farewell Message
We are fast approaching our 3rd anniversary as a union, and I would like to take a moment to celebrate and thank all those who have served boldly and selflessly for the good of all lecturers at UNH Durham and Manchester. We have come a l-o-n-g way since those first days of the nascent organizing committee. And even longer since the first lecturers stepped forward to form ad-hoc committees and the Council that paved the way for our successful campaign.
I am stepping aside as President in 2 months, and until then I will focus my efforts on the transition. We already have great officers in the Executive Committee, but we will need more! And we will need volunteers in every department to support the contract negotiations for 'CBA II' that are currently ongoing. If you have received any benefit from our union (see VP Stracuzzi's article above), please consider stepping forward and nominating yourself or another for the offices that are opening up: President, Secretary, Communications Director and At-Large.
Contact phillip.deen@ unh.edu to make your nominations.
I prepare to leave the EC with pride & gratitude. It's been the experience of a lifetime, and I look forward to the many great things to come.