Welcome all to the 2016-2017 academic year. We have a lot of news, particularly because our bargaining unit dramatically expanded with Tufts’s acquisition of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), because of our union’s ongoing programs and progress, and because our first Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires on June 30, 2017, and we will soon begin working on proposals for our second Agreement.
The merger of the Museum School into Tufts University brought about 65 additional Part-time Faculty into our bargaining unit, who now constitute over 25% of our membership.
This is a positive development that expands and strengthens our union and adds some certainty to the future of the Museum School, but it will require all of us to address the associated issues of integration and adjustment that it entails. In addition, our union must adapt to the needs and preferences of a new cohort with a different institutional culture and history in a fine arts instructional context.
Negotiators from the university administration, Museum School Faculty representatives, and SEIU Local 509 met in June to reach a Memorandum of Understanding, which will serve as the template for the formal integration of Part-time Museum School Faculty into our bargaining unit and eventually into our overall Agreement, gaining access to the benefits that we have won.
In mid-August we had a productive joint meeting with volunteers from the Museum School, and we are actively recruiting more Museum Schoolers to serve as union representatives and to play other roles in the union as we reorganize to expand our internal structures. For example, we are replenishing our set of representatives and our representatives to the Lecturer University (Labor-Management) Committee, which we anticipate will be expanded to include a SMFA Faculty rep.
Please volunteer for these opportunities!
With respect to the
Professional Development Fund in Arts and Sciences
, most readers will know that we completely exhausted the $25,000 that was allotted to PT Faculty last year, putting us in good standing to continue to use these funds this year and to bargain for the Fund’s renewal and expansion in upcoming negotiations. A lot of this success is owed to member-activist Christine Cousineau of Urban and Environmental Planning, who expertly guided the PDF application process on behalf of our members, so impressing the administrators with whom she collaborated that she was recruited to a full time position. We want to thank Christine and congratulate her on her new role as Tufts Arts and Sciences Associate Director for Faculty Hiring and Work / Life. Many thanks and best of luck, Christine, see you ‘round the campus and around town!
Our second CBA: As mentioned above,
our current Collective Bargaining Agreement
expires at the end of next June. That means that we need to negotiate for a new contract to go into effect in the 2017-2018 Academic Year. Accordingly, we will be going through a process much like the one carried out several years ago. This fall we will be organizing multiple forums on the Medford Campus and at the Museum School where members can talk about the positive and other aspects of working at both campuses, and how our work life can be improved through collective bargaining. The results of these forums will inform those who volunteer to participate on our new negotiating committee. We hope to have a clear set of proposals and to open bargaining on our new contract in January 2017.