Newsletter October-November 2012

Adjuncts United Newsletter

The Voice of Part-time Faculty at Syracuse University
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2012

Adjuncts United is dedicated to protecting, advocating, and ensuring the rights of all part-time faculty on the Syracuse University campus. We are a NYSUT/AFT affiliate.

WHAT’S INSIDE

  • President's Message
  • Treasurer's Note
  • What Your Raise Means
  • Open Enrollments Ends November 9
  • Who's in the Union
  • Nominations Sought for Union Officers, Reps
  • Apply for Professional Development Funds
  • Meet your Executive Committee
  • What do You Know?
  • About the Newsletter

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

By Laurel Morton, Acting President (moc.liamtoh|tromnasal#moc.liamtoh|tromnasal)

Hello members, First let me introduce myself: I’m Laurel Morton, part time faculty in the Fashion Design Program since ‘97. Second, please join me in recognizing the efforts of our recent Past President, Jeanette Jeneault, who is currently on a medical leave. With passionate commitment, expertise and vigilance, she contributed strong leadership and guidance through our early development and well into the second contract agreement with the University. You can reach her at moc.liamg|luaenejj#moc.liamg|luaenejj. In late August I stepped into the role of Acting President and at its first semester meeting in September, the Executive Committee voted Jeff Simmons to the role of Interim Vice President.

I am located at The Warehouse, 350 W. Fayette St., up on the 7th floor, with a great view of the Armory Square/Near West Side development- it is literally all around us. The Department of Design is pretty settled in down here and if any of you have not seen the space and would like a tour of the facilities, please let me know. Jeff has been teaching in the Writing Program for 11 years and is located on the Main Campus, in Room 014 HBC. He was involved with some of our early union organization, was on the first negotiations team, and has also been consistently involved in records auditing over the past years. He understands the part time faculty challenges and interests here at SU very well.

This is a busy time in the semester and I wanted to encourage you all to be vigilant about awareness of your probationary status and pursuing the benefits opportunities that are available to you. In particular, the open enrollment period ends Nov. 9 (http://openenrollment.syr.edu/ )and the deadline for healthcare reimbursement for the 2012 calendar year is Dec. 31. Contact Cathy Bottari in HR at ude.rys|rattobac#ude.rys|rattobac with questions.

Additionally we have had few Professional Development Funds requests to date; Fall requests and requests for the Spring semester can be submitted at any time. Over 20 of us have recently become post probationary and now qualify for reimbursement of qualified professional development activities as well as modified benefits — which includes access to vision and dental insurance, and the personal health care reimbursement.

With nominations underway until Nov. 15, there are opportunities available for Union Officers as well as Representatives from Schools and colleges here at SU. The form is available on the AU wiki if you missed the previous e-mail. http://adjunctsunited.wikidot.com/elections. The Exec. Committee is currently represented heavily in VPA and Arts and Sciences, with coverage from the Engineering school as well. Please consider stepping up! Exec. Committee meetings are once monthly and they offer an opportunity to guide union decisions, support fellow faculty, and further cooperative learning of our adjunct experience at SU. Maxwell…Law… Newhouse…Whitman…Falk Sports Mgmt…Information Studies…Education….there are many Schools and Colleges within this University and the opportunities for improved understanding of part-time issues and a more thorough representation within the union is called for by our bylaws and our common interests.

Best to you in your teaching and professional endeavors this Fall.

TREASURER’S NOTE

By Kari Shaw, Treasurer (moc.rr.yncwt|wahsek#moc.rr.yncwt|wahsek)

The beginning of the semester means not only a return to the classroom but a return of our paychecks. And that means that once again dues are being deducted from our paychecks. There is some important information about dues this year. The bad news is that our dues to our affiliate unions (NYSUT & AFT) have increased slightly. The good news this year is that their sliding scale moved up a bit, so some of us will be paying at a lower rate. Complete dues information is available on our website: http://adjunctsunited.wikidot.com/dues-agency-fee I suggest that everyone compare the amount of dues deducted with the posted schedule. Direct any questions to me at my e-mail address above. Payroll makes a lot of mistakes, but I don’t know about them unless you bring them to my attention.

If you also work at SU in some capacity other than teaching: Dues are supposed to be based only on your teaching salary. But payroll does not have a way to automatically separate teaching pay from pay for other sorts of work. This must be done by hand. For example, if you make $30,000/year in a staff capacity and teach one class per semester for $3500, your dues should be based only on the teaching part. Thus you should pay at the lowest level of dues. But unless we notify payroll otherwise, you will pay dues at the highest level. I do not have information about your paycheck, so it is up to you to catch this error. If this situation applies to you, send me an email.

WHAT YOUR RAISE MEANS

Adjunct United’s Agreement with the University guarantees a raise equal to the pro forma for each year of the three-year contract. Last year, the first of the contract, every continuing bargaining unit member received a raise of 2%. This fall we entered the second year of the agreement and the pro forma was again 2%. Half of the pro forma percentage – 1% was fixed across the board for all bargaining unit members and half was reserved for merit. According to the contract, merit raises are based on rankings established by each school or college. Every bargaining unit member in the same school or college with the same ranking should receive the same raise – either the same percentage or the same fixed dollar amount.

Kari Shaw, AU treasurer, will soon be receiving information from each school and college about rankings and raises. She will sift through the information to ensure that the contract was followed. Look for an e-mail from Kari in the next few weeks about this important aspect of our contract.

OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS NOVEMBER 9

The Open Enrollment period to add or change your benefits starts on October 29 and ends November 9. Information you need to make your benefit choices is on the University’s Open Enrollment web site (http://openenrollment.syr.edu/).

A major accomplishment of Adjuncts United has been securing benefits eligibility for many part-time faculty. All bargaining unit members who have a multi-year contract and teach at least 62.5% (at least 15 credits in an academic year, exclusive of summer teaching) are eligible for the SU full benefits package. All post-probationary part-time faculty who teach at least one 3-credit course in the fall and spring are eligible for modified benefits, which includes reimbursement for some premiums you pay for health insurance. Please review the current contract regarding basic inclusion rules, and direct any questions to Cathy Bottari in Human Resources. Being “benefits eligible” and actually receiving benefits you are warranted are not always the same thing. If you have questions about your eligibility, or believe you should be receiving benefits but have been told you cannot, contact Laurel Morton, moc.liamtoh|tromnasal#moc.liamtoh|tromnasal.

HEALTH CARE PREMIUM REIMBURSEMENT FORMS MUST BE RECEIVED BY CATHY BOTARI BY DEC. 31ST- EARLIER IF POSSIBLE TO FACILITATE THE PROCESS.

WHO’S IN THE UNION

Adjuncts United represents the part-time faculty at Syracuse University. Generally, that means anyone who is teaching at least one (for credit) course during the academic year (Fall/Spring) is a member of our bargaining unit. However, to be a member of the union, you must complete a membership form. Joining the union gives you a voice in your representation, as well as the benefits of membership in the New York State Union of Teachers (NYSUT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

All bargaining unit members pay local Adjunct United yearly dues of $35. These have never increased since we began collecting dues. No stipends are paid to anyone in leadership or other positions in our local. However, we also pay affiliate dues to New York State United Teachers/American Federation of Teachers and in return NYSUT/AFT offers us services (legal, financial etc.) and money to defray representation costs.

Why does representation cost money? If we have a grievance that goes to binding arbitration, we need to pay 50% of the arbitrator's fee as well as any other experts we may need to help us make our case. In general NYSUT, our state level organization, helps with these costs, as well as offering legal representation, but the approximate cost to us is about $2000 per case. Also there are bank fees, supplies, minor travel expenses, and event expenses, etc.

To join Adjuncts United and contribute your voice to the representation of part-time faculty at Syracuse University, contact Treasurer Kari Shaw (moc.rr.yncwt|wahsek#moc.rr.yncwt|wahsek) for a membership form.

NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR UNION OFFICERS, REPS

Nominations are currently being accepted for the election of AU officers and Executive Committee representatives. The available offices are President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. We also need representatives from all schools and colleges within the University to serve on the Executive Committee.

Election procedures require any candidate to submit a written nomination or declaration of candidacy to the Election Committee.

Nomination forms were e-mailed to all Union members the week of October 15 and are also available at http://adjunctsunited.wikidot.com/elections. All nominations or declarations must be submitted to Ellen Fallon, 210 HBC and received by November 15, 2012. The Election takes place on December 10th, 2012.

Please contact Sam Gruber, moc.liamg|reburgleumas#moc.liamg|reburgleumas or Ellen Fallon, ude.rys|nollafle#ude.rys|nollafle if you have any questions.

APPLY FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUNDS

Did you know there is a professional development fund to help part-time instructors pay for one-time expenses directly related to their academic responsibilities at the University? This fund is part of the labor agreement between Adjuncts United and the University.

All post-probationary members of the bargaining unit are eligible to apply for funds. So plan now for upcoming projects and travel related to your teaching, and apply for funding. Examples of activities eligible for the funds are conference registration, travel expenses, hotel accommodations, workshop fees or course tuition. However, training required by your department, your time related to the activity, and tangible property items (for example: performance clothing, computers and accessories, or software) are not eligible for reimbursement. The maximum award is $500.

Applications for funds for events from July 1 to December 15 are due no later than January 3, but you don’t need to wait for the deadline. AU’s Executive Committee reviews applications on a rolling basis. Applications are available through the University or Adjuncts United.

MEET YOUR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The Adjuncts United Executive Committee is composed of the officers (president, vice president, treasurer and secretary) along with representatives from each school and college. General elections are held every two years – the next one is coming up in December. A call for nominations will go out by e-mail in October, and official ballots will be sent to members’ home addresses in December.

Current members of the executive committee are:

  • Laurel Morton, VPA, Acting President
  • Jeff Simmons, A&S, Acting Vice President
  • Kari Shaw, A&S, Treasurer
  • Maureen Fitzsimmons, A&S Representative
  • Harold Burstyn, ECS Representative
  • Gail Hoffman, VPA, Representative
  • Carmel Nicoletti, VPA, Representative
  • Jonathan English, VPA, Representative

The Executive Committee meets monthly during the school year. Its duties include authorizing expenditures, representing the union to the University, discussion of, and planning representation for any grievances, as well as determining which grievances will be forwarded to arbitration. More information about the Executive Committee can be found on the Adjuncts United web page, http://adjunctsunited.wikidot.com/start .

GET INVOLVED!

Would you like to play a more active role in the union? Or maybe you just want to know more about what the Union does for us? Consider becoming a representative for your school or college on the Executive Committee. You’ll serve as a liaison between the Union leadership and bargaining unit members in your department who have questions or problems. There's an election coming up and nominations are now being accepted.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

Do you have news? Has someone in your department (maybe you?) been recognized for outstanding work? Or started an interesting new project? Published something? Exhibited work? Performed? Let us know, and we’ll share it with your part-time colleagues by publishing it here. Email Maureen Fitzsimmons, moc.liamg|isztifrm#moc.liamg|isztifrm.

And if you’re a writer, artist or photographer who would like to help produce the newsletter, we’d love to work with you! Email Maureen at moc.liamg|isztifrm#moc.liamg|isztifrm

ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER

Adjuncts United Newsletter is published at least once each semester during the academic year and is sent to all bargaining unit members. Our mailing list is based on the most current information we have from the University. We apologize if you receive this newsletter in error.

To view the newsletter online, click here

Published by:

Communications Committee, Adjuncts United

Contact: Maureen Fitzsimmons, moc.liamg|isztifrm#moc.liamg|isztifrm

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