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General Membership Minutes October 9, 2013

FNTFO General Membership Minutes

October 9, 2013

Present: Sarah Rescoe, David Griffith, Cindy Fitzwilliams-Heck, Gerald T. Evans, Laurie Nelson, Kristin Lennon, Mary Baxter, Jean Walling, Lilia Caserta, Cynthia Milligan, Ken Main, Bernadette Fox, Denise Cosper, Linda Sherwood, John W. Johnson, Anna Rizzo, Jerry Nickles, Thuy Karafa, Dharma Shetty, Mary Bacon, TJ Lakin

Welcome President Anna Rizzo

Introduction of Officers:

President Anna Rizzo (biology); Vice President TJ Lakin (communications); Secretary Linda Sherwood (Language & Literature); Treasurer Dharma Shetty (math); Grievance Chair Beth Reynolds (Language and Literature), Contract Review Chair Cynthia Fitzwilliams-Heck (biology); Event organizers Lilia Caserta, Mary Bacon and Thuy Karafa; and academic senate Bernadette Fox.

Contract Maintenance Update

  • Insurance Bridge – no longer need Corbra for nonworking summer session
  • Service award committee – union members will be recognized for years of service
  • Initial restructuring of CAS evaluation tool completed – still not in final form
  • New tenure positions – adjunct members will not be converted to the positions


Gary Huey, FSU Historian, how the FFA came to be and the struggles

Jon Curtis, AFT, impact of new Affordable Care Act

Current FNTFO issues:

  • Adjuncts excluded from department votes
  • Adjuncts excluded from hiring committees
  • Adjunct 3 possible extinction in future

Committee reports

  • Contract revision
  • Membership chair
  • Union stewards
  • Web site maintenance

Union Meeting reviewing Contract

In preparation for contract negotiations in 2015, the union is reviewing the current contract.

This discussion will take place Wednesday, April 2, at 6 p.m. in SCI 137.

If you have questions or suggestions about the contract, you can reply to this post or attend the meeting.

The full contract is available on this site, and you can download it as a .pdf.

Members who signed up to review the contract are encouraged to post their findings and questions as a comment on this post.

Lunch with Leadership!

Our first monthly lunch with FNTFO leadership is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Rock from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The lunch is a “buy your own” opportunity to meet informally with leadership members to discuss concerns you have about the union, your job, benefits, etc.

There will be a sign posted nearby to help you identify the union leadership.

General Membership Meeting Jan. 16, 2013

FNTFO General Membership

Jan. 16, 2013

Member’s present: Paul Zube, Mary Bacon, Jerry Nickels, Cynthia Milligan, Lilia Caserta, Bernadette Fox, Thuy Karafa, Cynthia Fitzwilliams-Heck, Anna Rizzo, Janice VanEck, David Griffith and Linda Sherwood

Meeting called to order 6 p.m.

President’s update:There is a lot up in the air due to right to work legislation. I don’t anticipate a big problem. For those who don’t want to join, we won’t need to pay to AFT state and national.

Everyone we have represented so far has not been a member, so our work is going to decrease drastically. If you don’t join the union, and the university decides to eliminate your position, you won’t get any union representation.

When you are outside of the union, you are really at the mercy of how the university wants to treat you. That needs to be our tactic when we talk to people and be proactive and having them come to the lunches, etc.

The Affordable Health Care act is another thing we need to figure out. If you have a full time employee, the employer is obligated to provide insurance

Secretary’s update:

We have approximately 74 members and 48 feepayers.

The new website is up and running at You can find the form you will need to sign annually on there as well as additional information about events, etc.

Treasurer’s update:

Total income $30,356.21

Expenses $14,573.07

Net income $15,783.14

Our biggest expenses are dues to AFT Michigan and National, which is approximately $11,000 quarterly. We have to pay during the summer as well even though we aren’t collecting dues in the summer.

The quarterly amount will change in April when Michigan’s Right to Work law goes into effect.

Dues are based on how much money you make. We need to review what they actually made and review against what we anticipated they would make.

We need to find out if we have to issue a 1099 to officers’ for their stipends.

Grievance Report

Two possible grievances in play.

One is involving a 3 to have release time and an overload. It is in his letter of appointment that the 3 can have both.

The other involves mileage pay for 2s who previously received it.

Spring 2013 Calendar of Events

  • Monthly lunches with the FNTFO leadership on the third Thursday of each month from 11-12. This is meant to be a get-to-know event and for members to voice their concerns to the membership. The first lunch is Thursday, Jan. 17. There will be a sign nearby to help members identify the leadership.
  • There will be sack lunch socials on the first Thursday of each month at various locations around campus. Please join the FNTFO when you are near you. The first meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Starr building. The room location will be announced later.
  • FNTFO River clean-up. We did this last year. It is organized by Cindy Fitzwilliams-Heck, and it is a great chance for positive media coverage. This year the river clean up will be April 18, 2013.
  • Farmer’s market: June (Tues or Fri), which is an informational stand, possibly fund scholarship/sell lunch.
  • Adopt a highway (requires a fall and spring clean up)
  • End of year party (May 2013)

Election Results:

Election was handled by election committee via secret ballot.

Unanimous vote:

Secretary: Linda Sherwood

President: Anna Rizzo (who resigns from VP position to accept president office)

Vice President: T.J. Lakin

New Business:

In January 2014, we will need to create a union negotiation team.

Question: Does the state organization set up for deals for belonging to the union (car deals, etc.) It could be a selling point for some people in membership.

Motion to adjourn by Karafa. Seconded by Zube. Motion carried. 6:43 p.m.




General Membership Meeting Sept. 19, 2012

FNTFO General Membership Meeting

September 19, 2012

Present: Bijaya Acharya, William Burmeister, Lilia Caserta, Cindy Fitzwillaims-Heck, Bernadette Fox, David Griffith, Therese Harper, Cynthia Milligan, Jerry Nickels, Beth Reynolds, Janice VanEck, Kathleen Wykes, Paul Zube, Jean Walling, David Schrock, Thuy Karafa, Dale Skornia

Welcome: President Janice VanEck

  • Gave background of union/budget update
  • Need to meet obligations to state/national
  • Member numbers
  • Treasurer Harvey Hanna resigned
  • Cynthia Milligan appointed as treasurer
  • Financial Committee created: Beth Reynolds, Cynthia Milligan and Janice VanEck – open to additional nominations

Secretary Report

  • 115 unit members
  • 7 members weren’t listed in unit
  • To date: 13 feepayers and 48 members with 4 new members signed at meeting for total 52 members
  • Still need 56 members to sign form

Treasurer Report

  • Presented July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 Budget based on 97 members from Spring 2012 with an additional 20 to compensate for extra fall employees
  • Dues based on salaries
  • $30,000 of budget goes to AFT national and state
  • Union officers receive hourly wage (no minimum)
  • Expenses (some already purchased due to immediate need) laptop
  • Budget based on everyone becoming a member
  • Other budget costs: auditor, legal fee
  • Fee payers dues pay only for bargaining and defending contract

Questions about budget?

  • Legal fees? For defending contract, amount recommended by AFT
  • Budget is frugal – no extras
  • Why not base budget on fee payers instead of members?
  • Payroll nightmare
  • Initial budget does not include overload but will in spring
  • Employee ID is the # on printed paystub. It is not online. SS# can also be used.

Motion by Reynolds to pay outstanding officer stipends since July 1.

Point of order by Nickels. Need to approve budget first and then make motion.

Reynolds withdrew motion.

Motion by Nickels to approve budget. Griffith seconded. Motion carried.

Motion by Reynolds to pay reimbursement to Officers Reynolds and VanEck. Caserta seconded. Motion carried.

Other Business:

  • Secretary and President positions are up for reelection in January 2013.
  • President appoints and membership approves a nominating committee. President VanEck appointed Thuy Karafa, Cindy Fitzwilliams-Heck and Bernadette Fox.

Motion by Sherwood to approve president’s nominations for nominating committee. Nickels seconds. Motion carried.

New Business:

  • Stewarts needed. Nickels, Nelson, Lakin, and Alles.
  • Terry Harper requested FNTFO donate to the Big Rapids community library project but noticed no extra funds in budget. Possibly reconsider in January.

Meeting adjourned.


General Membership Dec. 7, 2011

The general membership minutes for Dec. 7, 2011.

FNTFO General Membership Meeting

Dec. 7, 2011

20 members present

Called to order by Tracy Busch 5:12 p.m.

Busch reports:

  • Bargaining update: final best offer, little progress, not about to settle, put hours and hours into negotiation
  • Told by admin they’d do more if no more actions
  • Admin wants to see if we’ll stand together
  • We make progress at bargaining table by organizational actions

Janice VanEck reports:

  • Worked with meditator throughout semester
  • Process of negotiation started previous fall
  • Made lots of progress
  • Focused on salaries, benefits and job security
  • Haven’t agreed on job security
  • Disagree with number eligible for benefits
  • Fact finding isn’t binding and is an effective delay tactic for university

Possible actions:

  • Strike
  • Grade withholding

None of us want to hurt students.

Update on VanEck’s mistake: mentioned to students in class that they wouldn’t receive final grades EARLY due to possible union action.

Beth Reynolds reports:

  • Occupy Wall St.
  • Possible things we can do: display posters and signs, wear FNTFO pins and shirts, send out press releases, sit-in at president’s office, post video of sit in on YouTube, hand out info packets at Timme, grade action TBD, withhold final grades for Fall 2011

Motion carried by membership to allow leadership to determine possible action.

Meeting adjourned.


Minutes Sept. 14, 2011.

The general membership minutes for Sept. 14, 2011.

FNTFO General Membership Meeting

Sept. 14, 2011

Attendance: Anna Rizzo, Linda Sherwood, Rick Saliers, Alice Bandstra, Bill Burmeister, Carol Deurloo, Janice Van Eck, Thuy Karafa, Kathy Wykes, Bernadette Fox, Laurie Nelson, Mary Bacon, Paul Zube, T.J. Lakin, Carole McKenna, Cynthia Milligan, Terry Harper, Susan North, Tracy Busch, Jean Walling, David Griffith, Lilia Caserta, Dharma Shelty and Beth Reynolds

Meeting was called to order by President Alice Bandstra, 7 p.m.


  1. 1.      General Announcements:
  • General membership meetings will be held approximately the third week of each semester.  Watch for announcements.
  • Eric Hansen earned his doctorate. Congratulations!
  • Cindy FitzWilliams-Heck received a grant.
  • Mary Bacon will attend a forensic science conference in Chicago.


  1. Introductions were made including Paul Zube who is new to the university this fall and will be teaching public speaking.


  1. History of FNTFO was presented by President Alice Bandstra. The union attempted to organize in 2008 and 2009 with MEA before successfully organizing with AFT in 2010. Union representatives have been working on various issues and language since an organizing meeting in January 2010. A vote to become a union successfully passed in June 2010. Contract negotiations have been ongoing since February 2011.


  1. Bargaining Update: Contract negotiations continue. In July, 2011 the administration requested a mediator. The two sides have been meeting regularly since February 2011. There has been progress on noneconomic issues. The union and administration have reached tentative agreements on many noneconomic issues including academic rights, arbitration and grievance procedures, health and safety, leaves of absence, sick leave (4 hours per pay period), bereavement leave and more.


The 3 most important things identified in a survey of union members were: 1) job security, 2) pay and 3) benefits.


Bandstra reported the two sides are getting closer on job security and haven’t started to discuss economic issues. The union has requested some cost information from the university. Health benefits are being negotiated but not yet finalized.


Initially, Bandstra had hoped to have the contract finished before this semester. Her new goal is to have it done by the end of this semester.


  1. Election Procedures: Officers were elected last January 2011. A decision was made to keep the elected officers in place until a contract was complete.
    1. Secretary Thuy Karafa resigned her position. As outlined in the union’s constitution the president appointed a secretary until the next election. Linda Sherwood was appointed as secretary.
    2. The current executive board includes President Alice Bandstra, Vice President Tracy Busch, Treasurer Harvey Hanna and Secretary Linda Sherwood.
    3. An election committee needs to be identified and approved by the membership. This committee is responsible for identifying candidates for the next election of the executive board. Committee members cannot seek office. The proposed election committee includes Beth Reynolds, Gitte Hansen, Anna Rizzo and Rick Saliers. Linda Sherwood motioned to approve the election committee as proposed. Mary Bacon seconded. Discussion about whether Gitte was still with Ferris (she is).  No more discussion. Motion approved with no opposed.


  1. Video Project: Vice President Tracy Busch has started a video project. There is a local filmmaker donating his time. Busch reported the project was initially conceived as an action to pressure administrators after they seemed upset about a YouTube video interview posted by The Pioneer. It now has developed into a larger idea to become a documentary and tell the story of AFT nontenure unions all over Michigan. The videos will tell member stories similar to the flyers the union put out earlier this year. It will tell the story of our union as well as how we are just part of a larger phenomenon. If you are interested in telling your story, contact Tracy.


  1. Stewards: The union is actively seeking volunteers to act as union stewards. Anna Rizzo is recruiting anyone interested in this position. It requires someone to be the liaison for about 10 union members. The plan is to have a union steward in each department in order to ensure the needs of each department are being heard. There is training involved. A few of the traits for a union steward include being a work-site leader, a diplomat, cheerleader, educator and communicator. If you are interested, contact Anna Rizzo.


  1. Forums: A few questions were asked during the open forum including the need to identify new hires that qualify for union membership. Union t-shirts were also distributed. Those present were then broken into small groups and asked to brainstorm about the union including developing alliances, projecting a positive image, possible actions, etc. After meeting for a while, each small group reported their ideas. The union plans to develop some weekly and monthly events including an FNTFO Awareness Day where union members would wear their union shirts to work. Other ideas include partnering with local nonprofits and doing events together, sponsoring a coat drive, collecting can goods for local food pantries, volunteering to work at the recycling center, adopting a highway, an Earth day event, developing a newsletter or some form of communication where FNTFO members can share good news and information about what they are doing in the classroom. Ideas for possible actions included wearing academic robes to class, walking in the homecoming parade, attending campus events as a group while wearing FNTFO shirts and buttons, etc. If anyone is interested in helping out with starting/working any of these events and/or ideas, contact Anna Rizzo.

Meeting adjourned.

Welcome to FNTFO!

The Ferris Non Tenure Faculty Organization ratified their first contract with Ferris State University just in time for the 2012-2013 school year, which expired June 30, 2015. They are currently negotiating their second contract and a mediator has been called in to help (as of August 20, 2015).

A dedicated group of teaching faculty, FNTFO is an AFT organization.

Our Mission Statement: “FNTFO is a community of professionals who are excellent and respected educators valued for our commitment to students and public service who create a unique educational experience. We strive to provide a just, respectful and collaborative workplace for the university and community.”