Sunday, February 24, 2013

AFMSU is unable to negotiate significant improvements in raises, and delayed the raises that we were scheduled to receive

Our raises are decided principally by the State legislature and Administration, and not by AFMSU. Consider salary increases at the University of Montana (UM), which has been unionized since 1978 (UFA). Since 2002, average raises at UM have been slightly lower than those at MSU (see the salary database here).  The UM union, which like AFMSU is backed by MEA-MFT, has been unable to effectively lobby the State legislature for significant faculty raises. AFMSU is unlikely to do any better in this funding climate. From 1987-2009, the average annual raise for MSU faculty was 3.6% per year (see here). MSU voted to unionize in March of 2009.  There were no raises in 2009 and 2010 as AFMSU worked on the CBA for over two and one-half years. Faculty then received across-the-board raises of 1% (plus $500) for 2011 and 2% (plus $500) for 2012. These raises came directly from our Administration and were certainly not a result of negotiations by AFMSU. For background on this issue, see the e-mails from President Cruzado of July 26, 2011 and August 24, 2011. The latter clearly shows that Administration planned to provide these raises. The union first blocked Administration from awarding these raises, and then claimed credit for having “secured” them. In reality, the union is powerless to increase our compensation and misled faculty into believing that salary increases were the result of AFMSU efforts. 

Just as the faculty-wide raises intended by Administration were delayed by the union, the first round of merit raises was also delayed for over one year. In June of 2009, the University Planning and Budget Analysis Committee (UPBAC) recommended that $180K (plus benefits) be allocated for merit increases for faculty for FY10. AFMSU, without a CBA in place, blocked these merit increases until October of 2010. Although the merit raises were retroactive for FY10, the union's presence resulted in an unnecessary one-year delay of the disbursement of $215K in merit raises. For documentation, see the e-mail memo from President Cruzado sent to department heads on December 7, 2010.   The union delayed these raises, and then claimed credit for having “secured” them.