NLRB Charges 2019

USF-PTFA Files Charges with NLRB

What you can do to help USF Part Time Faculty in Contract Talks

1. Part Time Faculty File NLRB Charge of
“Unfair Labor Practices” Against USF Administration

February 12, 2019
San Francisco

The USF Part Time Faculty Association (USF-PTFA), a union of approximately 650 adjunct faculty at the University of San Francisco, filed charges of Unfair Labor Practices against USF Administration with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on February 11.  The PTFA is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers/California Federation of Teachers, Local 6590.
The Union and USF Administration are currently engaged in contract negotiations that began in June 2018.  The negotiations are the longest in the Union’s 36 year history.  A federal mediator has been involved since summer 2018.
“Administration has been dragging their feet in negotiations since the first day,” said John Higgins, PTFA President.  “They’ve violated the current contract before and during negotiations.  They’ve threatened and tried to intimidate the Union bargaining team. Some of our members will not file grievances because of fear of retaliation.  The Union hoped we'd be able to negotiate amicably, but Administration has chosen a different path.  Part time faculty at USF deserve a fair contract for us to better serve our students.”
The NLRB charge was necessary because the USF Administration:
  • Failed to follow provisions of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA);
  • Failed to notify adjuncts of the acceptance of 2019 PHP applications;
  • Failed to provide information to the Union required to appropriately represent members;
  • Made unilateral changes to the current CBA without notice to the Union;
  • Used intimidation and threats against part-time faculty on the Union negotiating team;
The last negotiations meeting between the Part Time Faculty Association and University Management took place on December 17, 2018.  The next meeting is scheduled for February 28, 2019. 
Contested items include
  • Salary (the Union proposes a 5% increase over 2 years, equal to the % increases of full time faculty);
  • Health care rates (adjuncts currently pay more for health care premiums than any other covered group on campus);
  • Job security and predictability;
  • The manner by which part time faculty are assigned courses;
  • Part Time Faculty Peer Review Committee with adjunct input on promotion applications and evaluation processes;
  • Inclusion of part time faculty into decision-making at all levels of the university;
  • University attempts to freeze promotion in the "Preferred Hiring Pool," (PHP is the only promotion structure for part time faculty at USF).  
  • Security and benefits for members who do not have PHP status.
Sue Bae, Vice President of the PTFA, said “We love USF.  Our Mission and Values speak of Jesuit values, social justice, and concern for human rights.  The University's motto is, `change the world from here.'  That's what we're trying to do - change for the better our lives as adjunct faculty, our university, and the students we work with."
Additional Information:
Facebook: usfPTFA               
Twitter: @usfPTFA
Instagram: usfPTFA

2. PHP Applications an Example of
Administration Violations of Our CBA

February 14, 2019
TO: PTFA Membership
FROM: PTFA Executive Committee

We recently notified you that the PTFA filed charges of Unfair Labor Practices with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against USF Administration (see item #3, below).

Here's one example of why we filed on your behalf -- and what the Association has been encountering with Administration during contract talks:

Our current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) discusses the Preferred Hiring Pool (PHP), the only system of promotion for adjunct faculty.  Section 12. 1 of the CBA says that
"Application to the PHP is submitted to the dean each spring semester on or before February 15th."  
This process holds even during contract talks.  Unilaterally changing the current CBA during negotiations is a violation of labor law.

After hearing complaints that deans and chairs were telling adjuncts that they could not apply for PHP this February, the PTFA sent this demand to Administration on January 28:
 "[...] the Union requires by Tuesday, January 29, 5:00pm information about the application process to be followed for 2019 PHP applications in each college and school.

"The Union requests by Friday, Feb 1, 5:00pm documentation that all deans, chairs/directors, and appropriate parties have been notified that the PHP application process is open and accepting applications, and that they have shared this information and the application processes with part-time faculty in their college/school/department.  

"Note, too, that unilateral changes of the CBA and current practices by Management to PHP seniority course assignments during negotiations are considered a violation of the CBA, as well as an unfair labor practice by making a unilateral change at this time [...]

A discussion between Administration and the Union reached agreement on this process and statement:

"The University and the USF Part Time Faculty Association are currently engaged in contract negotiations.  We have agreed to the following: 
"By Feb 15, 2019, applicants for PHP and PHP 2 need only send a brief email to their Associate Dean indicating an intent to submit.  Chair notification and supporting documents are not required at this time. The actual deadline date for submissions will be no earlier than April 1, and will be announced in a subsequent communication."

As per the agreement, both the Union and Administration were supposed to send this statement to all USF part time faculty.  The Union sent the message to members on Feb 3 and immediately confirmed with Administration the delivery.  We expected that Administration would notify adjuncts soon thereafter.  We waited.  And waited. 

Finally, on Feb 7, the Union requested evidence that Administration sent the notice to all USF part time faculty.  Administration provided no evidence as of Feb 11.  We understand that at least one chair did notify adjuncts in the department, but there was no widespread notification by Administration to correct their misstatements about PHP applications.  
Bottom line: Administration sent no notice about PHP applications, thereby reneging on the agreement.

This was the last straw in a string of similar actions by Administration since August 2017.  The Union had no option but to hold USF Administration accountable and file charges of several Unfair Labor Practices with the NLRB on February 11.

We can negotiate a new contract, but the CBA is only as strong as the will of Union members to enforce the contract.  We must hold Administration accountable.

You have a right under our CBA to apply for PHP spring 2019.  
To do so, 

"By Feb 15, 2019, applicants for PHP and PHP 2 need only send a brief email to their Associate Dean indicating an intent to submit.  Chair notification and supporting documents are not required at this time. The actual deadline date for submissions will be no earlier than April 1, and will be announced in a subsequent communication."

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