June Update: NTT and APASP (and other acronyms)

Dear UFA Members,

We wanted to give you an update regarding some of the many things that are going on campus thus far this summer that have important implications for faculty and the broader campus. Clearly, it is a challenging budget environment and we anticipate more cuts as the Administration implements its strategy for living with the FY18 budget. A lot remains uncertain at this point and Administration appears to still be contemplating various scenarios. We have been and certainly plan to continue to stay engaged in the process throughout the summer months and communicate with our members. We want to remind members of their rights under UM policies and the contract.

We are particularly concerned to do what we can to protect our most vulnerable members. In particular, we want to remind you all of University Policy 350: Non-Tenurable Academic Appointments. This policy is cited in the CBA [please note that it is cited in the CBA (in section 9.110) as University Policy 101.2, as it was recently revised and this is the old policy number], and requires that lecturers be given “one semester’s advance notice of intent not to reappoint.” The full policy is available online:
http://www.umt.edu/policies/browse/academic-affairs/non-tenurable-academic-appointments

In addition to discussing this policy with UM Administration, we have been working with MEA-MFT and their legal counsel regarding the interpretation of this policy language. We encourage lecturers to contact us for further consultation if something changes in your appointment for next fall. We are hearing many different things about University communication with Non-Tenurable Members (including but not limited to lecturers) regarding employment contracts. We are much more successful at raising concerns when we have specific documentation to provide as evidence. It would be very helpful if you could share any information you receive with us so that we can accurately track and follow the process. Please contact our office administrator Darla Carothers (darla.carothers@mso.umt.edu) with this information. Please also cc me at Paul.Haber@umontana.edu

By now, we would imagine that most of you have heard about the early retirement incentive program, with those eligible to apply being contacted directly from HRS. We have heard from many of you questions about retirement–both the early incentive program and questions about general retirement guidance. We are very concerned about those cases in which for whatever reason those contemplating retirement have not received adequate and timely information to make important decisions. We have been working with the Provost and HRS to answer these questions and are still waiting for their response. We plan to send out a special communique on this subject. In the meantime, please take a look at the new UM Retirement website, which includes a printable checklist of the steps they recommend:

http://www.umt.edu/hrs/Personnel%20Resources/Benefits/Retirement/default.php

We send our thanks to those of you who have sent us your experience, concerns and questions– it’s very helpful in making sure we are asking the right questions.

We continue to bargain the new contract. As always, we are bargaining for increased, and meaningful, protections–including for Non-Tenurable Members, for whom we have put forth a substantial number of new proposals. Please stay tuned for more bargaining information in the coming months.

Last, and I would say most importantly, the budget prioritization process known by its acronym, APASP, has been hard at work since it really kicked into gear in May. The UFA has been intensively involved in this process. As many of you know, APASP is currently in the process of defining values and principles that will guide the process and criteria and metrics to evaluate individual departments and programs. When prioritization guru Bob Dickeson visited campus, we requested a separate meeting with him, to which we also invited MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver and Executive Director Erik Burke. At this meeting we took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of complying with all relevant CBA provisions and the willingness of MEA-MFT to back us up as needed (including legal counsel). We continue to apply this lens to the process as the foundation of our participation.

In sum, we are working hard to protect the contract and to advocate for increased transparency around these processes and, ultimately, for a better budget model. We appreciate those of you who have reached out to us over the past few weeks–please continue to do so. As always, we invite all of you to contact us with your questions, thoughts, concerns and general feedback.

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