February 28 SLU union meeting

SLU workers met on zoom to debrief the recent labor management meeting, share information about a recent transparency issue, plan a picket, and continue our campaign planning on several issues.

LM Meeting

We had about 30 PSC members in the room. It shows our power when there are so many of us, we are prepared, and so many people have speaking roles. Notes from that meeting can be found here. People shared appreciation for coworkers who spoke clearly and directly to our needs. We reviewed the follow up email sent to management:

1)    Health and Safety

o    Management agrees to follow up with exterminator company about waterbug infestation, particularly in the 10th floor kitchen area, beyond the normal scheduled visits if necessary.

o    Management will consider policies and procedures relating to weather and environmental emergencies that affect faculty and students. Management agrees to share their thoughts on this subject.

2)    Staff daily attendance

  • Management will consider adding themselves to staff daily attendance

3)    Space and equipment issues

  • Management will evaluate the need for additional laptop purchases for pre-college student population
  • Management will report back on designating a private space for adjuncts to meet with students
  • Management agrees to a meeting with student-facing staff to collaborate on solving space issues

4)    Management will consider the following request for information and respond either a commitment to deliver the information and timeline or explanation of why that is not possible:

For all workers in NTA title: names, department, nature of work, number of hours they are working, and whether they have other titles (e.g. adjunct doing NTA work)  

5)    Payment issues

  • Management stated that NTA rate differentials for summer NTA workers will be paid out either in the last March paycheck or the first April paycheck
  • Management agreed to create a document within the faculty handbook that clearly explains procedures for NTA timesheets and payment.
Transparency issue

It recently came to our attention that SLU has applied for and received a CUNY anti-hate grant and there was a plan to invite two problematic speakers. The decision-making around this grant has highlighted ongoing issues we have as workers about how decisions are made at the school and how staff labor is allocated (e.g. public programming staff). The two speakers of concern are high profile and controversial figures that have publicly conflated anti-zionism with anti-semitism and have been criticized by the Jewish media. These events raise concerns about risks to campus community and our relationships with union partners who endorsed ceasefire in Gaza. A group of faculty and staff are meeting with management to remedy the situation and suggest alternative events and speakers. We discussed other ways that grant could be used, with examples from other campuses and our own labor angle on solidarity.

Informational picket

February 29 marked one year anniversary of our contract expiring. SLU participated in a coordinated series of pickets across CUNY by hosting our own picket, to which we invited other professional schools, CUNY Central, and Guttman. At the meeting we discussed logistics of this event, and our goals for it, e.g. practicing picketing for if we have to go on strike.

Bargaining update

We briefly talked about how bargaining is going and how after a year, there is still not an economic offer on the table from management. A member voiced concern about management pushing the union to meet in small committees that are not open to members, the way that bargaining sessions have been. Hidden negotiations weaken our power as a union.

Campaign building

We split up into breakout rooms to discuss: space, health and safety, and contingency.

Space: This group discussed the meeting that we proposed and management agreed to. We discussed creating a document of specific issues by floor and role, a comprehensive breakdown before we meet with them. We should also prioritize and identify quick fixes. We discussed the plans for the library. Is it possible to get all the workers on the 14th floor together to share concerns? Perhaps we can get input without a meeting, with a running document, asynchronous ways to weigh in. We discussed coworkers of color reporting that they feel “under the gaze”

Health and Safety: This group discussed the upcoming walkthrough that’s in the works and holding a health and safety meeting

Contingency: We discussed how to support creating more full time positions at SLU while also taking into account the fact that not all of our part-time coworkers want to have full time positions. We also talked about our information request and lack of movement on it.