On behalf of the FUSA Council, I would like to update you on the status of the class action grievance FUSA has filed regarding your 2021‐2022 step increase. (Re: Email, 11/29/2021, FUSA Grievance – Article 14).
The Administration’s response to the grievance now contains a new tactic in saying the filing of the grievance is “not timely,” implying FUSA is outside the allowed 45-day window to file. Per the contract, the 45-day window starts from the date the union had, with reasonable diligence, knowledge of the facts leading to the grievance. It is on this “start date” that FUSA and the Administration disagree.
The Administration has established the common practice of withholding raises and/or lump sums until after the term has started, waiting for enrollment numbers or other finances to be updated before making final budgeting decisions. In the spirit of cooperation, FUSA has patiently and in good faith given the Administration time to make such decisions. With that in mind, it is FUSA’s position that the window to file the grievance began in October 2021, when the final fall enrollment was in, and Dr. Atwater provided FUSA with a budget update that indicated the step increase would still not be funded.
It is the Administration’s position that the window to file began in May 2021, when Cabinet first began discussing not paying the 2021-2022 step, which would imply we would have had to file the grievance for not being awarded the 2021 -2022 step before the academic contract year had even begun. In addition, the Administration’s argument that the grievance was not timely was also unexpected since they had been following the steps of the grievance process up until that point.
The Administration did not respond to FUSA’s argument that the grievance was timely, so we proceeded to Step 4, Written Appeal to the President. The resulting meeting with HR and FUSA led to no resolution on the matter, with the Administration still stating the grievance is not timely and no funding is available to pay the step.
We are now at Step 5, the final step of the grievance process, which is arbitration. We submitted our case to the UFF – Contract Enforcement Committee, which voted unanimously that our case has merit and, as such, UFF will assist and represent us in taking the case to arbitration. The tentative arbitration date has been set for mid-June.
We will continue to keep you informed during arbitration. As always, we look forward to working with the Administration towards a satisfactory resolution.
Feel free to contact your campus representative should you have questions.
Elizabeth R. Key-Raimer, EdS
Professor of Counseling