Thursday, December 31, 2015

Questions about Copyright & Intellectual Property?

The Local has received a number of questions on Copyrights, Intellectual Property and Patents recently. There are a number of agreements in place covering these including Article XXXIII of the Master Agreement which we think it very powerful language protecting your rights. Additionally there is a local agreement covering Patents that if you are even thinking remotely that it may cover you, you should read it and be familiar with its protections and provisions.

Council has compiled a document titled Copyright—When It’s Yours which deals with most of your questions and delineates the boundaries between your personal work and work you do as part of your regular duties and scholarship. [download the full document]

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Professional Staff Members Unite

On December 16, 2015, over 100 Professional Staff members attended the Local's Annual Professional Staff luncheon and learned how they can help the Local's leadership with acts of Solidarity. To find out how you can become more involved, contact Susan Hagen or Jennifer Higgins.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

More than 400 Books Donated to Irvington Public Schools

Members of AFT Local 1904 donated more than 600 books to Irvington Public Schools. The books will be distributed to the libraries and classrooms in the district. The Local's President, Rich Wolfson, and Community Outreach Committee member, Paul Martinez, delivered the books to the district in December 2015.

(From left to right: Patricia Dowd, Director of Special Services Irvington Public Schools; Rich Wolfson, President AFT Local 1904; Paul Martinez, Outreach Committee Chair, AFT Local 1904)

Rich Wolfson and Paul Martinez load 20 boxes of books (about 400 total) donated by members of AFT Local 1904

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Negotiations Update

The fourth negotiations session between our Union (our statewide AFT college/university council) and the State (the governor’s office and the college/university presidents) took place on Friday, November 6. But not much was accomplished.

Changes to the contract proposed by both sides were reviewed one by one. The State summarily rejected every union proposal regarding Professional Staff, and almost every other Union proposal. After lengthy discussion, the State reserved the right to review a few Union proposals for further consideration. One substantive issue discussed at length was the State’s proposal that department chairs act as supervisors to professional staff working in their departments, for purposes of professional evaluation, a proposal that the Union rejects. Additionally, the State made it clear it would not accept a provision for “transition to retirement” in the master contract, stating that each campus is free to negotiate such a program locally. In response to our request for management’s financial proposal, their response was, “We can give you one, but you won’t like it.”

Union contract negotiations are clearly not a primary item of concern for Governor Christie at this time and the responses from the management negotiating team reinforce the idea that these negotiations will take some time.

Each member should know that labor law regarding public employees in New Jersey, and almost every other state, is highly tilted toward management. From the perspective of negotiating a labor contract, in the end, management has the legal authority to impose its “last best offer” on all of us if we don’t agree with the governor’s and presidents’ terms. In addition, Governor Christie has politicized the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC), the organization that decides complaints from public employee unions, such that PERC is no longer considered an impartial arbiter of grievances. It is now much more heavily weighted toward management.

What can you do about it? First you can check to make sure that you are a full member of the union. The percentage of employees who are full union members is important as it is directly reflected in the number of votes our local has in negotiations. There are two categories, full member and agency fee payer. Full members dues are 1% of gross salary. Agency fee payers pay 0.85% of gross salary to receive the benefits that the union provides. By law the union has the legal obligation to represent both full members and agency fee payers during negotiations and in any dispute with management. If you are not sure of your membership status or discover that you are not a full member when you check your paystub, please contact Linda Turano, the union’s office manager, at extension 4453 for help.

Each Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., our local conducts a solidarity walk around campus. We begin and end the walk at the Sprague Library entrance. The walk takes approximately 20 minutes. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet with coworkers in a collegial atmosphere. Please join us.

You are encouraged to attend our monthly union meetings, where you can find out the latest union news and get answers to your questions. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 9 in Student Center 419 at 2:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Who's Really Behind Friedrichs v. California?

Jennifer Higgins, a member of AFT Local 1904 of Montclair State University, takes an in depth look at who is funding the supreme court case of Friedrichs v. California. This case poses a major threat to the rights of American workers and to this country's middle class, and it turns out that it is being funded by the same forces that have been attacking American working people for decades.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Faculty Office Hours Reminder

by Maughn Gregory, Faculty Coordinator

As we prepare our syllabi for Winter and Spring 2016, please keep in mind the contractual requirements for office hours, which are given in the Local Selected Procedures Agreement as follows:
Faculty members will post and maintain three (3) scheduled office hours per week at different hours and on each day corresponding to the faculty member's teaching schedule. The number of days on which office hours are maintained need not exceed three (3). Faculty members will inform students of these hoursand of their availability by appointment at other reasonable times.

The AFT Local 1904 interprets this paragraph as follows:

1. “… post” means on the course syllabus (not necessarily on an office door).

2. Faculty members must hold at least one office hour on at least one of the days per week that each of their courses is scheduled – but need not schedule more than a total of three hours per week. For instance, faculty members teaching three courses on three different days should schedule one office hour on each of those days. Faculty members teaching on four different days need only schedule office hours on three of those days. Faculty members teaching on two different days should schedule at least one office hour on each of those days.

3. Online and hybrid courses are the same as on-campus courses: faculty must notify students in ALL classes of their office hours each semester and each winter and summer session in which they teach, and schedule those hours on days that they teach, whether on campus or online.

4. The location of office hours may be in the faculty member’s office, at a different location on campus, or online (the Office of Information Technology provides faculty members with training in holding virtual office hours).

5. Each office hour should be a full 60 minutes (not the 50 minutes that constitute a classroom hour per course credit).

6. Each office hour is a time during which the faculty member is available to consult with students. Additional time a faculty member spends answering student emails or phone calls may NOT be added up and counted toward office hours.