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 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 ( 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.