APA Chapter Board Meeting Minutes 11/4/2022

General Discussion

  1. Considering creating a Climate Survey to understand Employee Morale
    • How to increase morale
  2. Banking hours for use during holidays
    • Holiday Period Email (11/3/22)
      • Ambiguous as to what the actual policy is
  3. Exodus of employees
    • Transfer of duties (temporary or permanent)
    • Continuity of services
    • Compensation for those taking on (temporary?) additional duties
  4. Should APA start rallying, displaying support similar to faculty?
    • Wearing of pins or messaged shirts
  5. APA Membership Meetings
    • 2 per year, per bylaws
    • Board Office Hours
      • No agenda, no appointment, less formal – for membership discussion
  6. No one has stepped up for Treasurer
    • Per bylaws – vacation no more than 90 days
      • Filled by scheduled or special election
  7. Discussion of Remote Work Arrangement Policy
    • Mostly good document, but contradicts itself in several locations
  8. Grievances
    • Grievance regarding stipend for filling in for departed supervisor settled
    • Commencement –  Step II 11/16 @ 3p

SSU APA Membership Meeting

October 14, 2022, 11:30 – 12:30 via Zoom Meeting Minutes with Addenda

Additional information is added to these minutes for the benefit of those members who were not in attendance on October 14, 2022.

  1. Introductions
    1. Rosa Taormina – President, Grievance Officer
      1. SSU representative to APA Executive Board (state level)
      2. Meets with management monthly
      3. Assist members with various issues as they arise
      4. Serves as backup grievance officer when Mike or Brian cannot assist
    2. Derek Barr – Vice President
      1. Event coordinator extraordinaire
      2. Manages SSUAPA.org website
    3. Chris Bittrich – Membership Coordinator/Treasurer
      1. Onboards new members
      2. Liaises with statewide membership coordinator
    4. Brian Helman – Secretary, Grievance Officer
      1. Takes minutes at chapter board, and all-member meetings.
      2. Serves as one of three grievance officers
    5. Mike Pelletier – Lead Grievance Officer
      1. Works with unit members when contractual violations arise and files grievances, as needed.
  2. Upcoming vacancy for Membership Coordinator/Treasurer
    1. Special election to be held to fill this role; Rosa will fill in on an interim basis.
    2. Duties include: reviewing membership roster; coordinating with state on chapter membership; reaching out to new employees who are eligible to join APA
    3. Full description from our Bylaws: The Chapter Treasurer/Membership Coordinator shall be responsible for reporting financial and membership information related to the business of the Salem State Chapter and for the welcoming of new members within a month of receiving notification from Human Resources of their hire or transfer into a unit position. These duties shall include, but not be limited to the record keeping and reporting of Chapter funds and membership data, reviewing the monthly membership roster, sending any corrections to the APA Membership Coordinator, and responding to any inquiries from the State APA Membership Coordinator or State APA Treasurer within five (5) business days of the request.
    4. Position comes with a stipend of $175/month.
  1. Fall and Spring Membership Events
    1. Forming an APA committee (from membership) to discuss
      1. Email Derek Barr (dbarr@salemstate.edu) to volunteer
      2. We have a budget (which comes from member dues)
      3. Events would be for dues paying members and can be held on or off campus
        1. Social event (e.g Happy hour – food would be funded from our budget, but not alcohol)
        1. Chair massages (funded)
        1. Breakfast (funded)
  2. On-going Grievances / Issues
    1. Grievance process
      1. Steps: 
        1. Step I – Siobhain Feeney
        1. Step II – Rita Colucci
        1. Step III – Arbitration
          1. Goes to statewide executive board for approval before it can be moved to arbitration. Arbitration involves costs that are split between the university and union.
  1. Each step has timelines, but with mutual agreement can be postponed
  2. Any member can challenge violations of the contract
  3. Salary adjustment policy (grievance)
    1. HR has 90 days to review the request once submitted by the employee
      1. University created their own policies with new timeframes that are longer than those that are called for in our contract.
      1. Contract does not stipulate a date for implementation.
  1. Heard at Step 1; currently working with HR on a resolution.
  2. Commencement (grievance)
    1. No other state university in MA requires employees to work commencement.
    2. All other state universities do volunteers
      1. We are confident we can move to a volunteer model for Commencement
  3. Requested re-instatement of prior compensation model (one day for each ceremony worked), and were denied.
    1. Alternative scheduling is not uniformly applied across departments (what is given and what is allowed to use)
  1. Not contractual
  2. Number of Commencements have increased
  3. Failed at Step I
  4. We will move to Step II and if fails there, we will push for Step III
  5. Work From Home/Remote Work Policy (not a grievance)
    1. HR created their own policy that was more restrictive than one already negotiated at the State level
    2. Policy was generic to all unions, which made APA sound like there were hourly constraints
    3. Commencement language
    4. Only applies to Phase 1 Depts at this time:
      1. Institutional advancement
      1. Facilities and Capital Iprovement (designated positions only)
      1. Finance
      1. Human Resources
      1. ITS
      1. Legal
      1. Marketing and Communications
  1. If you are not in a Phase 1 department and are currently working remote or hybrid, you do not need to do anything else at this time.
  2. Anyone can request WFH, but not guaranteed
  3. SSU Issues Brought Up by Membership:
    1. Eligible employees are not automatically in the union
      1. People moving from AFSCME to APA need to be aware of transfer
    2. Tuition Remission Discussions?
      1. 9 State Universities – each has their own “sweetheart” deal; many of which are more generous than what we have at SSU.
      2. UMass employees have a nice deal
      3. At SSU, AFSCME’s arrangement is more generous than APA’s
      4. We should be getting the same deal afforded to our colleagues at their state universities
  4. Contractual Issues (what would people like to see in next contract)
    1. Items brought up prior to today’s meeting:
      1. Stipend for supervisors doing the work of subordinates
      2. Entitlement to WEA days even if time off was requested in advance of the weather closure
      3. Ratify new contract before the current one expires
      4. Change the evaluation process
        1. Current process has caused more confusion than the previous process. 
        1. No guideline as to where the line is between “Meets” and “Does not meet” Expectations
  5. Step increases for APA members
    1. Promotions are not given out in an equitable fashion
  1. 0 reduction in Social Security for public employees
  2. Increase in Meal reimbursements
    1. Perhaps a per diem to just be paid out to members
  1. Covering for colleagues during Leave of Absence
  2. Items brought up at today’s meeting:
    1. Stipend for covering for absent employees
    2. Clarification re alternative scheduling
  3. Other Issues/Topics Brought Up by Members
    1. We (APA board) should be getting job descriptions from HR. This is not something we get in a timely fashion.
    2. HR not providing job descriptions outside of immediate area
    3. HR will not allow the use of “comparable positions” outside of SSU (including UMass)
    4. What is Flex Scheduling vs Alternative Scheduling
      1. When does it need to be used?
    5. What is Work to Rule (MSCA)
      1. Strict confirmation to only what is explicitly written in the contract.
    6. Should (extra) time be accounted for in SSTA?
      1. State wants us to only put in what your normal work day is; however employees should feel free to enter their actual hours worked in the “comments/notes” section of their time sheet. This is a way to keep a record of your hours worked; however, it should be noted that this information will not add up anywhere.

October 14, 2002 : All Campus Meeting Minutes

  • Introductions
    • Rosa – President
    • Derek – VP
    • Chris – Membership Coordinator/Treasurer
    • Brian – Secretary, Grievance Officer
    • Mike – Grievance Officer
  • Vacancy coming up for Membership Coordinator/Treasurer
    • More information will be sent out
    • Review membership roster
    • Coordinate with state on chapter membership
    • Reach out to new employees who are eligible to join APA
    • Stipend position
  • Eligible employees are not automatically in the union
    • People moving from AFSCME to APA need to be aware of transfer
  • Fall and Spring Membership Events
    • Forming an APA committee (from membership) to discuss
      • Contact Derek Barr to coordinate
      • On or off campus 
        • Social event funded or not (e.g Happy hour – not funded)
        • Chair massages (funded)
        • Breakfast (funded)
  • On-going Grievances
    • Salary adjustment policy
      • HR has 90 days to review
        • Created their own policies with new timeframes
        • Contract does not stipulate a date for implementation
    • Grievance process
      • Step I – Siobhain Feeney
      • Step II – Rita Colucci
      • Step III – Arbitration
        • Goes to statewide executive board for approval
      • Each step has timelines, but with mutual agreement can be postponed
    • Commencement
      • No other state university in MA require employees to work commencement. 
      • All other universities do volunteers
        • Based on volunteering for Move-In, we are confident we can move to a confident model for Commencement
      • Requested re-instatement of a compensation model, which we had before
        • It is not uniformly applied across departments (what is given and what is allowed to use)
      • Not contractual
      • Number of Commencements have increased
      • Failed at Step I
      • We will move to Step II and if fails there, we will push for Step III
    • Anyone can challenge violations of the contract
    • Work From Home/Remote Work Policy
      • HR created their own policy that was more restrictive than one already negotiated at the State level
      • Policy was generic to all unions, which made APA sound like there were hourly constraints
      • Commencement language
      • Only Phase 1 Depts
        • ITS
        • Will request full list
      • Anyone can request WFH, but not guaranteed
  • Tuition Reimbursement Discussions?
    • 9 State Universities – each has its own deal
      • UMass employees have a nice deal
      • AFSCME has a nice deal
      • APA at SSU has a terrible deal
      • Everyone at SSU should be getting the same deal
  • Contractual Issues (what would people like to see in next contract)
    • New contract before the current one expires?
    • Stipend for performing the work for subordinates who leave
    • WEA given if already scheduled for time off
    • Changes to Eval process
      • More confusing that previous
      • No guideline as to where the line is between “Meets” and “Does not meet” Expectations
    • Step increases for APA members
    • Promotions are not given out in an equitable fashion
    • 0 reduction in Social Security for public employees
    • Increase in Meal reimbursements
      • Stipend that is just paid out
    • Covering for colleagues during Leave of Absence
  • Other
    • We (APA board) should be getting job descriptions from HR.  This is not something we get in a timely fashion.
    • HR not providing job descriptions outside of immediate area
    • HR will not allow the use of “comparable positions” outside of SSU (including UMass)
    • What is Flex Scheduling vs Alternative Scheduling
      • When does it need to be used?
    • What is Work to Rule
      • Strict confirmation to only what is explicitly written in the contract.
    • Should (extra) time be accounted for in SSTA?
      • State wants us to only put in what your normal work day is

SSU APA Chapter Meeting – 10/14/2022

Our meeting on Friday will begin promptly at 11:30 AM via Zoom (link posted at the bottom of this email). It is scheduled for one hour. I hope to address all items below in that timeframe, but if we are unable to, I will schedule another meeting for November or December to continue our discussions.

Here is our agenda:

  1. Hello and Welcome
  2. Upcoming Membership Coordinator Opening and Special Election
  3. Fall and Spring Membership Events
  4. Update of Ongoing Issues/Grievances at SSU 
  5. Discussion: SSU Issues (members are invited to share general issues affecting APA employees that are specific to SSU)
  6. Discussion: Items to be Added to Next Contract Negotiation (membership is invited to submit issues to be addressed in the next round of contract negotiations, for Rosa to present to the statewide Executive Board for consideration)
  7. Conclusion

If you are unable to attend the meeting, but would like to share SSU issues or items to be discussed in the next round of contract negotiations, please feel free to email those to me. If you’d like to keep anything off the SSU servers, please use a private email address and send the message to ssuapa@rosataormina.com.

Thanks,

Rosa

Zoom login information: 

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 818 5161 0135
Passcode: 742348
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Meeting ID: 818 5161 0135
Passcode: 742348
Find your local number: https://salemstate.zoom.us/u/kcHQ1KXm8r

What’s Happening in the World of APA Union Business

I hope this email finds you well and that you’ve been able to enjoy the great weather we’ve been having so far this summer!

I have not provided any updates in a while and that’s because things have been quiet – especially now that increases, retro pay, and covid bonuses have finally been paid out. As you may know, our contract is set to expire next year. Discussions about negotiating the next contract have not yet begun because we are currently negotiating mask and vaccine memoranda that are set to expire this summer. I’ll explain more below.

Regarding our Contract

I have heard from some members about issues they would like to see addressed in the next contract, including the exploration of:

  • Stipends for supervisors doing the work of subordinates (similar in nature to the already existing stipend for employees who take on the work of supervisors);
  • Changing the current evaluation process and timelines;
  • No tuition or fees similar to what’s available to our AFSCME colleagues; and
  • Step increases (or something similar) that will keep our salaries increasing at a level that is on par with that of our AFSCME colleagues who, in some instances, are earning more than APA employees.

These are just a few of the suggestions I’ve received. If you have ideas, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me an email with anything you’d like to see added to the contract. It’s my understanding that getting items added to the contract is challenging, but that certainly won’t stop me from pushing for further exploration and discussion of these issues prior to negotiating.

Regarding the Vaccine and Mask Memoranda

When COVID began, the union and management met to discuss health and safety protocols. As a result, two memoranda were created: one regarding vaccines and one regarding masks. Each of these had a provision that the parties would meet in one year to revisit the current COVID situation and reopen negotiations. You may recall that you were polled late May/early June about your thoughts on vaccines and masks. We are utilizing that feedback to guide our negotiations.

Late last month, the parties met for the first time to begin negotiations, primarily focusing on the vaccine memorandum of agreement (MOA). Management’s position is that all employees must be vaccinated (for current and new employees, unless an exemption has been granted) but they want to discontinue all on-site testing in favor of self-testing/self-reporting (due to the cost associated with on-site testing). As you can see, this is very one-sided, and discussions are ongoing. Management is also proposing that a university president unilaterally decide whether their campus should be masked or not. 

The APA executive board is working on a new MOA that takes into consideration the ever-changing world we continue to live in. In addition, we are demanding that each school have a team made up of union representatives, management, and students, to make decisions together regarding health and safety issues that impact employees and students alike.

So that’s it in a nutshell. I’ll keep you updated on any important developments as they arise.

Thanks!
Rosa

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