President’s Report to the Representative Assembly meeting, February 2015

photograph of UNAC President, Abel Bult-Ito
President, United Academics

President’s Report by Abel Bult-Ito for the Representative Assembly Meeting

28 February 2015

Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, Anchorage, Alaska

 

1. Meet and Confer.

• We had a meet and confer discussion on 1 December 2014 to discuss performance expectation letters.

2. Executive Board Meetings.

We had Executive Board meetings on

• 15 January 2015: Phone conference on ALRA, RA training, faculty time off, campus updates, AAUP conference.

• 14 December 2014: In person meeting in Anchorage with Emeriti Alan Norton, interim president, and Joe Mininni, director of marketing. We discussed options for retirement health benefits. UA Director of Labor and Employee Relations Donald Smith also attended.

• 19 November 2014: Phone conference on BOR meetings, Emeriti planning, improved communication plan, campus updates.

3. Board of Regents Meetings.

I attended the 5-6 November 2014 BOR budget meeting in Fairbanks and the 11-12 December 2015 meeting in Anchorage. Cyndee West and I also tried to attend the BOR Annual Retreat on 23-24 January 2015 but were shown the door. The BOR decided to do the entire retreat in executive session, and Regent Mary Hughes appeared to be the driving force for this decision. This shows that we need to continue to demonstrate to the BOR that this university can only thrive with open communication and decision-making. We need to stand strong even if the doors are slammed in our faces. We need to make every effort to educate the BOR and organize our members to make this a success.

4. National Meetings Attended.

a. AAUP-CBA Executive Committee Meetings

I attended and participated in the AAUP-CBC Executive Committee meeting and regional AAUP-CBC meeting 29 January – 1 February 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Cyndee West and I presented a one-hour workshop at the regional meeting on “Knowing What You Want and Getting What You Need Union-Management Relationships and Successful Negotiations.” This workshop was well received.

I also attended and participated in an AAUP-CBC Executive Committee phone conference on 8 December 2014 related to the AAUP-CBC budget.

5. Other Meetings.

a. 2015 Legislative Session.

• I attended the legislative sessions of the Alaska House and Senate in Juneau on 21 January, 5, 10-11, and 23-24 February 2015. I attended presentations by UA President Pat Gamble to Senate Finance Committee and the University of Alaska House Finance Subcommittee on the UA budget as modified by Governor Walker. I also met with about half of the legislators and/or their staff during this session. A detailed report on the current UA Budget in the legislature will be discussed on 28 February.

b. Meeting with members.

• I communicated with several members and elected officers in Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks during in-person meetings, by email, or by phone.

• I attended two Title IX investigative meetings with members and two investigative meetings with members related to claims of discrimination.

c. Budget Meeting with Administration.

Soren Orley (UAA), Tony Rickard (UAF), Matthew West (student worker), and I met with UA administrators on 31 October 2014 to discuss fund raising and other alternative funding sources for the university. This was an informational meeting, which did not result in any firm commitments by the administration regarding diversification of university revenues, but gave an impression of business as usual, even in the face of severe budget cuts coming soon.

d. JHCC meetings.

I attended Joint Health Care Committee (JHCC) meetings as the chair of the JHCC on 10 December 2014 and 25 February 2015. The JHCC approved several motions that can be found at: http://www.alaska.edu/benefits/joint-health-care-committ/

e. EPEA/AFT Board meetings.

I attended APEA/AFT Board phone conference meetings on 2 December 2014 and 3 February 2015.

f. AFL-CIO Convention.

I attended the AFL-CIO Legislative Conference 20-21 January 2015 and was also able to meet with Senator John Coghill and Representative Sam Kito.

6. Alaska Labor Relations Agency (ALRA).

The ALRA issued a decision on the unit clarification petition on 17 December 2014, which would move a number of members from UAFT to United Academics. UAFT appealed this decision on 17 January 2014 to the Superior Court in Anchorage. They also included a request for a stay of the implementation of the ALRA decision. Subsequently, United Academics filed a response and an affidavit (Abel Bult-Ito) on 30 January 2014. The Superior Court granted the stay 12 February 2014.

UAFT submitted their appellant’s opening brief to the Superior Court on 11 July 2014. UAFT has requested several extensions, which we granted. Our brief was submitted on 7 December 2014. The response brief from UAFT was submitted on 19 January 2015. As we are not expected to have oral arguments, we are now waiting for the Superior Court Judge’s decision, which could take several months.

If appeals go all the way to the Supreme Court of Alaska, the total process could take up to two years.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Abel Bult-Ito

26 February 2015

 

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