As the academic year wraps up, the Foghorn checked in with the major campus unions to see what they have been up to.
USF Faculty Association
The University of San Francisco Faculty Association (USFFA), which represents full-time faculty and librarians, announced last month that they were searching for an executive director to help run the organization’s operations.
This is the first time the union has sought a full-time executive director. USFFA Vice President Keally McBride told the Foghorn that since the union started in 1975, the association has been run by a full-time faculty member who is elected as its president.
McBride hinted that the presidency has gotten tougher over the last few years, pointing to the role’s time commitment as the president is still expected to teach a full load of classes. “For many years, relations between management and the faculty association were very cordial; because this is no longer the case, and advocating for the full time faculty on campus was becoming increasingly essential, we started to look into other models,” she said.
The new executive director can also serve as a liaison between the faculty union and other labor unions on campus, and in the Bay Area.
“We determined that our members deserved someone whose only job was fighting for their interests,” McBride said. The USFFA executive board members will remain in their positions.
This comes after the USFFA wrapped up its most recent negotiations with the administration. McBride confirmed that USFFA negotiated a salary restoration, which followed the tumultuous negotiations last May that saw the USFFA take salary reductions to offset COVID-19-related losses. The USFFA was not able to keep the raises they negotiated in the last collective bargaining agreement (CBA), however.
USF Part-Time Faculty Association
The USF Part Time Faculty Association (PTFA) recently made headlines in the San Francisco Examiner after it alleged that the University stopped paying into city-mandated healthcare reimbursement accounts.
The Examiner reported that adjunct faculty members who were working remotely outside city limits because of the pandemic did not receive contributions in their account because the University interpreted that working outside the city means that law does not apply.
PTFA President Jill Schepmann said that the move was highly unusual. “We were surprised when we initially learned that the administration had stopped making contributions to our members living outside San Francisco pretty much immediately after we moved online in March 2020.”
In December 2020, Schepmann reached out to the administration which responded by saying the law did not require them to pay into the accounts.
“We appealed on an ethical level, and they still said ‘no,’” Schepmann said.
The PTFA subsequently requested information from David Philpott, assistant vice president for labor and employee relations.
In communications with the PTFA, Philpott argued that the decision not to pay employees working outside of the city was not a policy change.
The decision has affected roughly 130 adjunct faculty members and Philpott shared that the University saved approximately $80,000 by not contributing to accounts of employees working outside the city for the second and third quarter of 2020.
San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen recently introduced legislation to cover the loophole which would cover employees who would have normally worked in San Francisco, but could not due to the pandemic.
The PTFA is expected to enter negotiations with University management in June as the financial articles in their current CBA will expire. Schepmann said that she expects the talks to be arduous citing the 11-month-long negotiation that occurred between 2018 and 2019. Schepmann added, “When we go into bargaining, we’re working to protect our working conditions, and ultimately, we’re working to protect the classroom experiences of our students.”
The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Ethan Tan is a junior politics major and the Foghorn’s News Editor. He covers the University’s administration and campus labor unions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tanethans.