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. 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.
- Introductions were made including Paul Zube who is new to the university this fall and will be teaching public speaking.
- 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.
- 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.
- Election Procedures: Officers were elected last January 2011. A decision was made to keep the elected officers in place until a contract was complete.
- 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.
- The current executive board includes President Alice Bandstra, Vice President Tracy Busch, Treasurer Harvey Hanna and Secretary Linda Sherwood.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.