APA Newsletter – March 2019

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March 2019

“The” Contract Bargaining Agreement

At this time, we still have not “seen” our actual contract.  Without the availability of the contract, knowing what is and isn’t there and protecting your rights as defined by the contract is very difficult. 

Mike comments on anticipated language of the unreleased CBA:

“What we anticipate and expect:

Clarification of the use of “Alternate Work Schedule” (formerly Flexible Scheduling); and the terminology “Flex Time”, also anticipated to be in the contract.

Alternate Scheduling occurs when “planning” and “agreeing” happens between an administrator and supervisor enabling the administrators to perform peak periods or otherwise inordinate lengths of time or timeframes that are not regularly scheduled—by making other scheduled time off arrangements possible.

This is not the same as vacation time. This is about the hours after work, and on weekends you occasionally dedicate dutifully to the university. 

Flex time is likely referenced in exchange for being scheduled to work on a holiday recognized by the universities. As well as in exchange for any time you are required to work through an emergency closure, and deemed temporarily essential.

While mentioning “vacation” and “essential” terminologies, lets go over that as well. 

There will be new clarification on vacation request procedures to the extent that when an administrator requests time off with required prior notice—a supervisory response is required within 5 working days. If not, untimely responses and denials that are arbitrary and capricious can be brought immediately after to the attention of the head of Human Resources. 

Essential personnel has become a topic. You are essential only when informed of such in writing by Human Resources. And your job description changes to reflect such. Such does not occur between yourself and your supervisor alone.”

Back to Brian:

What is the deal with Vacation hours (use or lose is looming)

There has also been considerable confusion regarding vacation time and the 480-hour ceiling.• Per our contract, the maximum number of VAC hours one can carry is being reduced from 64 days/480 hours to 50 days/375 hours BEGINNING 7/1/20
• Vacation time overage will be checked twice a year – May 1st and November 1st
(To clarify, you can exceed 375 hours AS LONG AS YOU ARE AT/UNDER 375 hours on May 1 and November 1.)
• During the last payroll period of June, 2020 any amount over 375 hours will be converted ONE TIME to sick time(the actual date will be published in the next newsletter).
• ***Beginning 11/1/20, any vacation time over 375 will NOT be converted to sick time and will be forfeited – once again, every first of May and November.***
• You contractually have the right to get your vacation hours under 375.  It is important that you request time off early (at least 30 days) if you are in jeopardy of losing time.
If you submit vacation requests 30 days in advance and are denied, please contact Mike, Rosa or Brian.

Raises, contractual

Reminder, the final 2% raise of this contract will happen July 1, 2019. (For all employees whose start date is April 1, 2019 or earlier).


Regarding the faculty contract: Last month I addressed this.  If you attended President Keenan’s forum on 2/25 (morning session), you witnessed a couple faculty voice their frustration.  Again, I want to emphasize that our contract and theirs are mutually exclusive.  The signing of our contract by the governor had no bearing on the state of theirs.

The good news here is, as announced on 3/5/19, “the Council of Presidents, the Board of Higher Ed and the Massachusetts State College Association have reached a tentative agreement”.   Given the current climate, I remind everyone we must continue to support the faculty in their efforts to get a signed contract.  We should take this one step further by contacting our representatives to also secure more funding for Salem State in these difficult financial times.

On that note, we urge everyone to look at your areas to implement and/or suggest financial efficiencies and cost-cutting measures.  Be mindful of little things, like energy usage; whether you need to make a copy or a printout; rather than throwing out that bad copy, use the back of it to take notes instead of using a notepad; if you manage contracts, take a look to see if they can be re-negotiated to the benefit of the university.  If you have cost-saving suggestions, let me know and I’ll add them to the next newsletter.

Are you aware that Amazon donates to non-profits and charitable causes based on your purchases, and Salem State is one of those institutions? 

Instead of going to www.amazon.com use https://smile.amazon.com .  Identify the organization your support by visiting https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepage?q=Salem+State&orig=%2F&ie=UTF-8 and selecting “Salem State University Foundation Inc”.   Note: Only purchases made from https://smile.amazon.com are eligible.

Currently, Amazon does not have a Smile application for your smartphone, so you must use a browser.

Don’t be a victim of fraud

During the holiday season members of the Salem State University community were approached through targeted emails pretending to be from administrative heads.  In these emails, each individual was asked to purchase gift cards as last minute “thank you” gifts.  The individual “would be reimbursed”.  The emails were well-crafted and looked legitimate, even addressing them by name.  They were instructed to purchase the cards and email the card numbers back to the sender as soon as possible.  The sender would then launder the cards through an online gift card reseller.  These scammers are getting very good.  The poorly crafted emails with grammatical and spelling errors are a thing of the past.  They will frequently address you by name instead of generic salutations and even send follow-up messages.  No one should ever ask you to send them funds or purchase for them via email.  You should always verify with the “sender” via a voice conversation (in person or on the phone).  If you still aren’t sure, have someone else look at the email or contact ITS.

A reminder of who your local APA Officers are:➢ Mike Pelletier – President➢ Derek Barr – Vice President➢ Chris Bittrich – Membership Coordinator➢ Brian Helman – Secretary and Grievance Officer➢ Rosa Di Virgilio Taormina – Lead Grievance Officer

All of us can be reached by phone.  Additionally, we have APA email addresses.  During business hours, we’re very responsive.  Outside of business hours, there will be expected delays, but know one of us will reply as soon as possible.  This Grievance Officer Pool is new to us as well.

Resources• State APA Bylaws• APA Agreement (expired 12/31/16; current not yet available)• Salem State Chapter Bylaws• Salem State Chapter Official Website*NEW!!*• Polaris channel (will need to login to access link) • Facebook Group*

*This private group was created in the hopes that we’ll get APA members from other chapters to also join, allowing for inter-chapter discussions.  The Statewide Board has avoided means for chapter-members to talk with each other, despite promises at the Annual State Meetings to provide such a mechanism.  Please consider joining.


Upcoming emails from Mike:

Salem Chapter APA Evaluations (Be prepared for April 1.)

Retirement seminars provided by MTA. You are welcome to email Ed McCourt today: emccourt@massteacher.org

Aside from our contract, the Commonwealth’s website contains a great deal of useful information.  Did you know that most employers in Massachusetts must allow eligible workers to take meal breaks or be absent from work for certain reasons?  Read more here.