APA Chapter Board Meeting Minutes 3/3/2023

  • Rosa, Derek, Mike, Brian present
  • Statewide is pushing back against SSU
    • Meeting scheduled with Rosa and reps at state level on subject
  • SSU doesn’t understand (or respect) the definition of “peak”.  “Peak” refers to occasional extra hours during busy times, not scheduling whole extra (weekend) days
    • SSU Members are hesitant (ie terrified) to file grievances
    • Toxic environments across campus where membership are complaining, but not willing to make formal complaint
  • Meeting RE: Commencement wasn’t well attended.  Looking to schedule another one
  • Discuss with HR the issue of non-signed job descriptions
    • Concern with the constant opposition and defensive posture from HR, even for normal conversation
  • Still considerable confusion over the evaluation process
  • Tuition Remission
    • Other schools have a better package.  We’d like SSU to agree to a similar benefit or make a formal statement that they will not
  • Ask to meet with president, not a designee
  • Spring Meeting
    • Possible breakfast (catered?)
    • Breakfast at Marsh
  • Roberta James (MTA Rep) suggested regular office hours

APA Chapter Board Meeting Minutes 2/3/2023

  • Responses about Grievance email
    • Ask for more information
    • Only want to do 1 ceremony
    • Many high-profile people are in favor of moving forward
    • Next Steps
      • When we get the assignments, people need to respond with “based on my job description, I am not required to perform these duties”
      • Inundate them with individual grievances
    • On-going abuses of APA employees
      • Not allowing breaks
      • Forced work outside of scheduled hours
    • AFSCME
      • Reached out to state AFSCME
      • Overlap in duties
      • Do not know their timeline, if they will take-on
    • Change of job descriptions w/o member’s knowledge
    • Putting through “promotions” without acceptance (signatures) from members
  • Lack of contract language (dates) update
    • Health & Welfare benefits (dental) does not require dues-paying membership
  • Are getting list of new-hires who haven’t signed up for Union
  • Still do not have a printed contract
  • Dental coverage still a concern
    • Statewide committee has not been meeting
  • Current Grievances
    • MP
  • Discussion with Brett regarding grievances.  He has been more responsive
  • 199 paying members

APA Chapter Board Meeting Minutes 1/6/2023

  • Rosa, Brian, Derek, Mike
  • Step II Grievance Discussion (2nd Meeting)
    • Trying to compromise, but not voluntary
    • Bruce not accepting of a change
    • Originally told management was in agreement that AFSCME would also work
    • Management backtracked on AFSCME – they are too busy
    • No decision sent to APA yet, but expecting a denial of grievance
    • Will go to the Statewide board for arbitration
  • Work From Home
    • Conflicting language
    • APA redlined the contradictory language and returned to HR
    • No response from HR
  • Comparison of similar positions of AFSCME vs APA
    • AFSCME gets step raises, so can quickly pass APA for similar jobs
  • Membership
    • Onboarded roughly 20 new people in the last month
    • A couple previously non-paying have joined
  • Stipend Issue
    • Member told they were going to get a stipend for doing work over a period of time that was in addition to existing role
    • Amount of stipend is in question.  Contract reads that stipend will be the pay of the position.  Management is offering substantially less.
  • Positions not being advertised properly
    • Positions staying vacant for prolonged periods
  • Service Award years – buyback years
    • SSU is not acknowledging buy-back years for people who worked at SSU as full-time non-benefited.

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.