Core Contract Planning Update – June 1, 2015

Nearly two-dozen core faculty members attended our inaugural meetings to discuss the collective bargaining process and begin to work together to prepare for negotiations – which will begin in the Fall 2015 Semester.

The tone and content of the meetings was collegial and positive, and we agreed to schedule follow-up meetings for next week, (details below).

Union Contract Planning Session

Thursday, June 11 – 11:00am or 4:30pm

U-Hall, Room 2-048

If you cannot attend this session, but still want to be involved, please contact Zev Nicholson.

Below is a brief summary of our meeting(s) and agreed-upon next steps: 


1. Bargaining Goals & Proposals
Our proposals and goals will be drawn from three principal sources:

  • Information Provided by the Administration: We will make an information request pursuant to Federal Law for data and policies relevant for drafting proposals.
  • Priorities of the Core Faculty: We will survey the Core Faculty regarding issues of concern.
  • Outside Examples: We will research other peer institutions, both union and non-union, and how they have addressed comparable concerns.

We will make the request for information shortly as well as begin the survey process during the summer. For an outline of subjects that are appropriate or mandatory subjects for collective bargaining, click here.


2. Vision & Framework
There is interest in beginning a dialogue with the goal of creating a consensus among Core Faculty on our vision for Lesley’s students, faculty and, in general, its future. This vision/framework would help provide context to bargaining goals and proposals as well as create space for a broader discussion regarding the future of our campus community.


3. Bargaining Committee
The Bargaining Committee is responsible for developing the goals and proposals, attending bargaining with the administration, making decisions at the bargaining table, communicating with colleagues, and ultimately making a recommendation for ratification upon reaching agreement on the whole contract. The Bargaining Committee will likely meet twice per month with the administration for 4-5 hours per session.


4. Bargaining Committee Makeup
Following considerable discussion, there was general agreement to the following:

  • The Bargaining Committee should have guaranteed seats for representation from each college and school, including Threshold. For example, each college/school would get one seat for every 10-15 Core Faculty members.
  • Core Faculty members in each College and School through a process of self-selection and consensus should designate their respective representatives. In doing so, it is important to make sure the Committee, to the extent possible, is representative of the Faculty (e.g., race, gender, rank, different teaching modality, etc.). Participation in Faculty Assembly leadership is a criteria that should be given appropriate weight.
  • Designated alternates from each College and School would make sense given the frequency and length of bargaining sessions.
  • Other Core Faculty may self-select to participate on the Bargaining Committee in addition to those selected to fill the minimum seats. Also, the negotiations will be open to any Core Faculty members who want to attend.
  • The process of selection can begin via email and conversations over the summer and, if necessary, continue into September.


5. Inclusion of the Whole Core Faculty
About 30 faculty members were excluded as supervisory. Under Federal labor law, supervisory personnel are not included in bargaining units and not covered by the National Labor Relations Act. The list of exclusions was initially supplied by the administration, agreed upon by SEIU Local 509 and approved by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

We did discuss how to approach this matter:

  • The excluded faculty could petition (sign union cards) to join the Union. Lesley administration could voluntarily agree to their inclusion in the bargaining unit.
  • Absent the administration’s voluntary agreement, the matter could be litigated.
  • Even if those excluded faculty remain outside of the bargaining unit, we do not need to create unnecessary obstacles that create division — but rather seek opportunities for a collaborative coalition around common goals.


6. Relation to Faculty Assembly
The bargaining process — and eventual contract — can be used to strengthen the role of the Faculty Assembly by requiring:

(a) information be provided regularly by the administration;
(b) input on decisions related to the faculty, students (e.g., enrollment, retention, graduation rates) prior to the decisions being made; and
(c) defining shared governance in a clearer and more enforceable way.


7. Next Planning Meeting June 11
We agreed to meet next week (see details above) to cover several key issues:

  • Review and modify our information request
  • Review and modify the contract survey
  • Agree to process for choosing representative bargaining committee
  • Agree to a summer meeting timeline so that we are more prepared for negotiations at the start of the Fall Semester


We look forward to seeing you June 11. But please feel free to contact Larry Alcoff with any questions, ideas or concerns you may have in the meantime!

Written by LesleyFF