In Spring 2022, just a couple of weeks before the start of the semester, online caps were lifted by Ferris State Administration. Both the FFA and FNTFO unions filed grievances for the increased workload.
FNTFO members who have taught online for the Spring 2022, Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 semesters may be entitled to one-time monetary compensation. Not every FNTFO unit member who taught online qualifies for the compensation.
If you taught online during those semesters, reach out to Grievance Chair Sarah Lucas at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have not already done so. Sarah can let you know if and how you are impacted by this agreement.
Here are the specific details, which were presented to the union at their general membership meeting on April 13, 2023.
Ferris State University Administration (Steve Reifert and Michael Garrity) have agreed to give members of FNTFO the same settlement agreement that FFA reached.
The FFA agreement was twofold: first, there was an agreement on a new course cap and second, there was a monetary settlement for instructors who were affected.
The new course cap that was agreed upon is a 20% increase from the original online course caps that had existed prior to the unagreed-upon dramatic shift that occurred at the start of Spring 2022. For example, if your section had a prior (to spring 2022) online cap of 15, then your new cap going forward should be 18. (20% of 15 is 3, so 18 would be the new agreed-upon course cap for that online class).
The FFA agreed to pay overloads to instructors for any courses that they taught in Spring 22, Summer 22**, and Fall 22 that had students above that 20% course cap agreement. For example, if your previous course cap had been 15 then for you to receive any compensation for that course your enrollment would have to exceed the 20% agreed upon increase. Meaning your course would have to have at least 19 students in it to receive an overload pay for that course. The benefit of this agreement is that even if you have 1 student over you will receive a full overload pay for that course. (rather than pro-rata). The downside to the agreement is that if you had students over the original course cap but not exceeding the new 20% course cap then you will not receive anything for that course.
How this affects our members:
We will get the same deal as FFA with regard to course caps going forward and the monetary settlement.
What we are doing now:
From our meeting with Steve Reifert and Michael Garrity on Tuesday 4/11 we received the administration’s list of all those in our bargaining unit who taught classes that went over the 20% cap increase size. The administration has agreed to compensate all those in our unit who have been identified as having taught classes that exceeded the 20% cap increase.
We have just completed our cross-check of the list provided by the administration and provided Reifert and Garrity with our corrections.
If you taught online during Spring, Summer, or Fall 2022 semesters and your actual course enrollment exceeded the 20% new course cap limit, please reach out to Sarah Lucas (email@example.com) if you have not already. If you taught online those semesters but are not sure if your actual enrollment exceeded the 20% new course cap limit, please reach out to Sarah Lucas. She will help you determine whether or not you qualify for the settlement compensation.
Please reach out to Sarah no later than Friday, April 28th. Our aim is to present a final list to admin at our next scheduled meeting on Friday May 12th. At this meeting we hope to settle the matter once and for all and to have the payments necessary to be made to each unit member to go out to payroll and be on the next qualifying pay period.
The fact that the administration is willing to give us the same deal that FFA got is a big win. That being said, it is minimally decent of them as humans to provide equals with equal treatment (non-tenure faculty and tenure faculty). So, we are happy that the university gave us this same deal, but also have impressed upon them in our conversations that this is also expected to some degree as well.