Negotiations Summary Report #9 – Feb 9, 2016

Throughout negotiations, summary reports will be added to the Negotiations page of this website for future reference.

Negotiations Meeting #9


FA: Loveland, Lynch, McGuinness, Michalak, Shepard, Walz
Admin: Allen, Behnke, Berchtold, Fedorchak, Losinger

We caucused at 3:00.
Formal Negotiations began at 3:07.

  1. Regina stated that she wanted us to start “thinking outside the box.” She said, “Let’s put health insurance on a shelf—mutually.” Regina stated she was authorized by the Board of Trustees to do this.
  2. Mike responded, “How would we do that?”
  3. Regina: “Make it contingent.”
  4. Mike: “We will never give on health. Everything we put on the table is on condition of no health insurance increase.”
  5. Regina: “We will have to see what the Board thinks.”
  6. Mike: “We will just deal with our proposal.”  Mike presented the settlement agreement which was updated by the NRC and NC.
  7. He added, “In April we gave you a comprehensive settlement proposal covering a wide range of items—some never touched on. Today we are putting forward a package ready to be signed (you won’t) and go through it. I will forward you a highlighted copy.”
  8. Mike began to go through it, indicating our changes and rational for doing so. The changes included adjustments to the settlement that would be acceptable to the college while maintaining our concern for our constituents’ needs.
  9. Mike stopped at article 28 and discussed the pride he sees when he is on campus, reflecting the quality of the institution. He stated that the exceptional faculty should be supported by the administration. He said, “The quality of instruction is a great point of pride. You advertise that quality. We are not talking about comparability with institutions, but rather what is fair and just.”  He stated that in order to get this ratified, we need to demonstrate to the faculty that there is added value to being a part of the institution or the administration needs to make up for the last settlement (and pay us more).
  10. Under Article 38I (class size) he indicated that the faculty feels it is important to have a voice because of pedagogical reasons.
  11. Regarding the new article on page 8 of our proposal: Mike stated that with regard to adjuncts: they are a significant part of our union and there needs to be something in the agreement for them. It was agreed that the reference to level II adjunct pay indicated overload level II pay.
  12. Under Article 23 Health Insurance: He explained that the eligibility for buy-in to the College Health plan for adjuncts was based on a formula in the recently agreed-upon “Just Cause” MOU.
  13. Mike concluded, “That’s our settlement package. It’s stripped down and ready to go.”
  14. Regina asked to take a break. She said she would “state the obvious” and that was that they desire to settle as high as possible with the budget.  However, this settlement is a distance from where they are on the budget.
  15. Before the administrative team left the room, Regina distributed a document with percentage increases linked to revenues.
    • She explained the president retrieved this information in California and this document is based on “gain sharing” (Click here to view this latest Admin Salary Proposal with Gain Sharing).
    • Mike asked, “Where is the Health Insurance piece?”
    • Regina pulled out a second document that included the Administration’s multiple health insurance proposals to date (Click here to view this Admin Health Insurance Multiple Proposal). (It should be noted that at the beginning of the meeting she had suggested we take health insurance off the table and she was now putting it back on.)
    • Mike objected strenuously both to the “gain sharing” and to the two separate documents.
    • Regina asked if Mike would let her speak.
    • She finished, then Mike asked if the insurance “proposal” changes is there is a change in salary?
    • Regina said it was a package.
    • Regina said she could sweeten compensation with a one-time payment of $500 (almost one percent) this year or next year—but not on base salary.  She stated that the fact that the Board of Trustees was moved this much was a miracle.
    • She identified two problems – a percentage decrease of 4.3% from Spring to Spring (they are hoping to close at a decrease of 3%) and applications for fall are down 3.79%.  She stated she was scared the Board of Trustees will get “gun shy” (she heard this happened 5 years ago).
    • She declared they are “pulling out all the stops” to raise revenue. She said, “You know, Jenae is leaving” (presumably admissions will experience a decrease in productivity?).
  16. The team caucused and decided to request a meeting with the Board of Trustees.
  17. When we reconvened, we agreed that Nate and Larry would meet to get an updated list of faculty salaries to see what raises/adjustments would be.
  18. Regina stated, “We took time to read through your proposal to pick out as many “yesses” as we could.” She asked if we were ready. Mike responded, “Yes, but what is before you is a package.  Meaning we cannot discuss compensation with health insurance on a ‘shelf’.”
  19. She stated that the Board meets next week which is a good thing – good timing.  She reiterated the request to have Larry and Nate meet to “price things out.”  She stated she had sent a request to Lynn and Jeanette for a fresh payroll analysis.  Mike responded that they can run different scenarios. He added, “We have.”
  20. Regina reviewed changes to settlement agreement and stated:
    1. Article 13, sick leave, section 12 – yes but no carry over.
    2. Article 16, section 2, paragraph A – she agreed.
    3. Article 19, Work year – “we are open to the concept, but this needs to be discussed.”
    4. Article 23, Health insurance – yes.
    5. Waiver Benefit – She asked “what’s your priority?”  Mike replied that we could set a scale.
    6. Survivorship Benefit – Nate brought up that the change from family to individual plan (since spouse deceased) would be a cost savings.  She stated it was the right thing to do.
    7. Article 28 – Compensation
      1. Regina talked about when they put 5% on the table for PT adjuncts there were other factors to consider.
      2. Regina mentioned a work session with Dr. Battisti in that he thought the differential with compensation was 13-14% and she said it was more like 10%.
      3. Nate brought up the fact that the adjuncts don’t have health insurance costs.
      4. Regina stated the “goal was equity” and that she would “rather lead than follow with the adjuncts and BCC wants to be the first in the country.”
    8. Unused sick days – Regina stated that 50 sick days for someone making 80,000/yr. could be $20,000 and then said “you need to pick your priorities.”
    9. Article 38 – Load – tentative OK – Regina wants the OK from Francis and academic deans.  She stated the need to work on language.
    10. Independent Study – she stated we need to work on this and there is a desire to get it settled.  “This should have been negotiated prior to the negotiations.”
    11. Class Size – Regina stated she wants to run this by the Associate Vice Presidents and Dr. Battisti.
    12. Article 46 – Waiver of Tuition – yes.
    13. Article 47 – Early Retirement – tentative OK – “need clarity on the issue.”
    14. Article 48 – Retrenchment – Regina stated we have “no ability to force high school teachers out of their classroom.”  Mike stated “we are not asking to fire someone – this cuts off the program.”  Dave Michalak stated this is how it is stated right now.  Regina said we need “more talk.”
    15. Article 49 – Professional Development Recognition – Regina stated we may have approximately 3 people going for this per year.  She said, “We need to keep talking about this.”
    16. New Article – Distance Learning – Regina asked if we can defer this to labor management.  Mike said “No, because it won’t get done.  We can have a subgroup work on this.”  There was discussion about who would be on the subgroup.  Dana was asked if someone would talk to Dr. Battisti about who would represent academics.
    17. New Article – Adjunct faculty – Yes to this with understanding that Level II is Level II Overload.
  21. Once Regina completed her review of the contract, Mike said, “We want to talk about where we are. From where we sit, you are the messenger of the Board. We request a meeting with those Board members who are controlling negotiations.  We are at a point where we can open a dialogue.”  He stated, “Consider this a request.”  He pointed out that there is no downside to this.  He stated, “We have to reach an understanding of where each party is coming from.”
  22. Regina responded, “We have a parameter of 2%.”  Mike stated, “We have parameters as well.”  He said, “We are here to negotiate and we have the authority to settle.  Opening a direct dialogue would be useful.  We don’t think this is an effective process. Your numbers are astounding. This team is shocked that we are still at 2%.  This is a $52 million operation and you choose .4% to invest in the faculty.”
  23. Regina asked, “Is this (meeting with the Board) unprecedented?” Have you ever talked to a Board before?”
  24. Mike explained that he talks to Boards all the time.  He said, “Quite frankly, the composition of the team is unprecedented in that usually there is a board member and CEO usually present. Here there is neither a Board member nor the President.
  25. There was a discussion on how negotiating teams are set up and the historical context at SUNY Broome.
  26. Mike mentioned that the ESPA agreement was a package and included an increase in health insurance and a 6% raise.  Regina said that was $1/hour raise. She asked, “Do you want to do that?  Put it on the table. We can do that.”
  27. Mike said, “That’s insulting.”
  28. She then said it was a living wage that was brought forward by SUNY Central and that ESPA was in a unique position.  More than ½ ESPA employees make less than $15/hr.
  29. Mike said, “So if you hadn’t been forced to make this salary change by SUNY Central you would not have done so.”
  30. Regina responded, “No.”
  31. Regina added, “You can go to the Board if you want to. But they will turn around and ask me about “ability to pay.” And we will be right back here.” She added, “If we were stable, then 3%. If we were up—“
    • Mike: “Again how did you come up with 2%?
    • Regina: “It’s what was budgeted for.”
    • Mike: “Right… you have a budget that values faculty at 2% in salary with a possible increase in health insurance.”
    • Regina: “If we felt we could afford…….and saw others were there……”
    • Mike: “You used comparability. We don’t use that argument. We’re talking about the value of the work.”
    • Regina said, “Where is your evidence that others are settling for higher? There is none.”
    • Mike said, “We have it but we’re not using it. We are not putting comparability on the table. This has never been the center of the argument – value has been our centerpiece.”
    • Regina: “There is no evidence that others settled higher than we did.” She added, “We settled in good faith.”
    • Mike: “What does that mean?”
  32. Dave Michalak explained that the president said last time that if we settled, then we would have a better salary adjustment the next time around.
  33. Regina asked us to stop referring to the last contract.
  34. Mike explained this agreement needs a margin that makes up for the sacrifices from the last contract and the consideration that the faculty are doing exceptional work.
  35. Regina pointed out that there was a reference to other schools in Hal’s PowerPoint.
  36. Mike explained that she was focusing on an incidental finding and missing the point of the presentation.
  37. Regina asked Mike to share it or stop referring to it. “I will share if you will share.”
  38. Mike asked what “it” was.
  39. Regina asked what he meant.
  40. Mike stated “This is an absolute merry-go-round. It is not going to move us forward.”
  41. Fred said to Regina, “I think the 2% is coming from the board and I don’t think that it’s where you want to be. The Board’s mind needs to be reached.”
  42. Regina said, “It’s the number budgeted.”
  43. Fred stated that it is budgeted based on the board.  He brought up the $750,000 contract with P&J. He mentioned they could reduce the cost of P&J and have the ability to pay if the money is managed appropriately.
  44. Mike said, “I think we’re done.”
  45. Regina said, “I agree.”

Meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.

Next meeting set for Friday, March 4, from 1-2:30.

Respectfully submitted,
Dr. Suzanne V. Shepard
Dr. Meghan McGuinness
Members, Faculty Association Negotiating Team