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Alliance of Professional Support Staff

General Membership Meeting

February 5, 2014


Coreen Bedford President of the former GV-COTA welcomed all to the meeting.

This is an unprecedented occasion for the University and the State of Michigan. The MEA vote meant a vote of confidence of the leadership of the elected officials of our local. Thank you for placing the trust in your local leadership and we will strive to communicate with our membership.

Thank you to Shawn Evans – the person who got the petition up and running with Jeffrey Rollins, they were strong enough to stand outside our Brown Bag meetings and ask for your support and signature to open this to a vote.

Thank you to the E-Board and Building Reps for the extra meetings and time that this has involved. Working as a whole unit has gotten us as far as we have come.

Mentioned the retirement of Dan Seely – after years of service, as he retired with no fanfare. Please drop him a note and thank him if you have ever worked with him in the past.

For the purposes of this meeting you are using 1 hour of lunch and 1 hour of paid time.

Voting Process – you must become a member of the APSS in order to vote on the information that will be presented. If you choose not to become a member of the union designate that on the form. You will however, not be eligible to vote. This union – make it yours, the collective whole of the group makes the decisions.

The Fee Payor Option – is now gone, in the past the dues amount went to the GV Scholarship. That option is gone, if you choose not to be a member no funds go to GVSU.

Instructions on the ballot:

Letter of Agreement for GVSU, the contract will roll over, other than the language that needs to be changed reflecting APSS. The first section – when we went forward it was assumed that COT would be stricken and we would be referred to as the PSS, the University thought that the acronym COT would not change. Some of the argument is regarding education, professional means degreed. Coreen wrote a two page list of reasons why we should now be known as the PSS. The University has right to identify their employee groups. The rest of the contract remains, we are doing a letter of agreement to prevent opening the contract.

Constitution / Bylaws – they have now been merged into one document. The change in name is our identity.

Logos – There have been 7 potential logos for you to choose. It will be our identifier. Copy center can now print on tee shirts and have offered when the logo is selected to print it on a tee shirt.

Purpose – Membership, reviewed – the employee wage scale will not change. If any other group chose to join they would be eligible. New/Probationary employees are eligible for membership.

Application – members – once someone fills out the membership form they are a member until they choose otherwise.

Membership Card – for all to get into meetings and eventually may be part of our voting process. We will build upon this option. There will also eventually be member only benefits, banking, insurance etc.

Dues – handout, when we originally approached this at the meetings the amount was different. We have re-worked and looked at the budget and then can establish dues. We worked to drop the dues by a significant amount.

Option 1 – flat rate fee.  This has been changed to 24 pays from the 21 pays that the MEA deducted. The thought behind the flat fee, doesn’t matter your classification level, hours you work you are all entitled to the same benefits and should all pay the same amount.

Option 2 – percentage based fee. This is a percentage of what your hourly rate is. It would equal 1 hour of work per month. The other consideration, we have Academic year, part time – how do we accommodate for that group. Because of the unknowns in the first year with the budget we have decided not to make concessions for those groups for the first 2 years. Once we have a better feel for what we will need we can readdress the issue. This is based on a flat rate not development pay.

Option 1 would be stagnant and not change until a vote of the members. Option 2 would increase every year based on the increased rates of pay. For academic year employees you could prorate your amount for the months that you are not working.

There are currently 366 potential APSS members. Fourteen PSS staff have been fee payors in the past. We hope that the margin is similar. The highest option for dues is still ½ of the MEA dues.

What do we do if 100 people decide to go right to work (RTW). They will enjoy the benefits of our contract – we would also need another meeting. However, we had a record number of members vote in the MERC election. In order to be independent we need to budget based on our best estimates.

Majority Vote

Contingency Fund – at the end of the year we cannot have money that exceeds our budget. The contingency fund can only be used by the membership. Also it is to protect members.

3.07 Financial Accounts – we have had a CD since 1979 which was built by local funds/fundraising. The budget was reviewed. Indication was that the MEA could/would seize those funds. We received a bill for MEA/NEA dues for January, after the discussion with our attorney and the executive board, we prorated and sent a letter stating paid in full. The MEA cashed that check. Between the CD and checking we have 58,879.14 to start our new union and cover some of our start up fees, attorney fees etc.

Budget – this is potentially an expensive year. Our attorney John Karafa, comes from a firm with a large amount of experience in employment law, There are also attorneys that can represent members as well. He has decreased his rate to 150.00/hour. He has already reviewed our bylaws, Letter of Agreement etc. We also have a Union Staff Representative which is a step in between the attorney. The bargaining team has experience bargaining, however, this is our first year bargaining the contract independently and we want someone with years of experience in bargaining and grievances.

Accounting situations have now changed. MEA would file all of our reports with the state. Now that we are an independent we are responsible to file our paperwork with the State of Michigan. We will also have to provide our own liability insurance. A local insurance company is the only company that offers this insurance.

Officer Compensation Fee

Option 1 – is a flat rate fee for the officers. This amount will not change unless voted by the membership.

Option 2 – is based on a formula 12 x (multiplier) x (highest wage of APSS classification).

The compensation rates were considered because there are a lot of hours spent on union issues, and the President and Chief Steward are available 24/7.

Building Representative Reimbursement – this will be addressed in our 5 year plan. The first year plan of our APSS will be membership/ bargaining. Leadership will look at what they want to do. Should they be elected if compensated, there are always building representative openings.

Rights of Members – 3.10 Membership Status, if a member is going into short term disability, their dues are waived entirely if they notify the membership director.

Terms/Title – this was based on the MEA structure previously. The APSS will have a President, Vice President, Secretary, Union Business and Financial Director (there is a lot more responsibility than that of a treasurer), Chief Union Steward (formerly Grievance Chair), Communications Director (this came from the survey stating the members would like increased communication) this role will be responsible for the website, technology, email (if interested the election will be the opportunity to run), the Membership Director is the final officer position.

The terms are 2 year, rotating terms. The first year all positions will be voted in, in 2015 the rotation of officers will start the 2 year cycle. If a position is vacated it is possible to have a 1 year term.

Election Provisions – There could be changes in the process – there is a hope to eventually vote electronically. There are no longer write in candidates. There is also a no vote option if there is a single candidate.

Section 5.02 – Presidential Responsibility to report in between meetings, transparency is necessary. Bare minimum there will be 2 membership meetings per year.

Section 5.03 – Vice President – there is no change to the Vice President role.

Section 5.04 – Chief Union Steward, the title of Grievance Chair did not reflect all the work being done to avoid a grievance. The committee name has been changed to Member Relations Committee. Committee members are appointed due to the volume of information.

Section 5.05 – Secretary – meeting scheduling, minutes, election process

Section 5.06 – Union Business and Financial Director – Research has been done by the UBFD, changing our accounts over to Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) for better rates. Language that also addresses how to record and protect our financial records.

Section 5.07 – Membership Director – maintain records, and responsible for membership cards.

Section 5.08 – Communications Director – through web, emails and other forms of communication as directed.

Section 6.03 – The Bargaining Committee – the only change is that the President is the Chair of the Bargaining Committee. There are openings on the committee and they are entering the research phase after completion of the membership vote.

Section 8.01 – Quorum will be 30% of active members

Section 9.01 – This language has to do with representation regarding what we just completed with MERC.

Please read the information provided.

Article XIII must be a 2/3 of membership present.

Our Fiscal Year will operate from July 1 – June 30.

Roberts Rules of Order will be followed.

Our attorney John Karafa was introduced. He works for McCrosky Law. Congratulations for taking control on a local level for yourselves. He has been impressed with Coreen and Cheryl with their passion, organization and confidence. He looks forward to assisting with our objectives. You can review their website if interested.  They have offices in Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Battle Creek. He looks forward to assisting this organization, if there are any questions please feed them through Coreen of Cheryl. If he doesn’t have the answer immediately he will research and get them quickly.

Coreen stated – the response of this organization on the ballot is precedent setting. It shows an interest in all people here. The Alliance of Professional Support Staff is a Joy to represent. Their first conversation with John he sent a summarized version of their phone conversation the same day.

Question & Answer

1)      Will dues start immediately? Dues will not be taken until the first check in April (April 8).

2)      Concern of the 5 year plan – where are we going? This process is open to ANY member who wants to be involved. There will be opportunities for input, all meetings are open to our members.

3)      Transparency – Will there be monthly minutes and the budget available to the members. The meeting minutes are currently on the website. The financials are not something we want displayed online until we can determine how to protect that information. We will release that information through the building reps. We are transitioning our website to APSSGVSU.org, that info will be released through email.

A recording of this presentation will be released via email and can be linked to YouTube. The handouts will be sent to members not in attendance.

Meeting turned over to completion of membership forms, and distribution of ballots from Building Representatives.


Minutes prepared by Michelle Holstege

Our first full membership meeting as the Alliance of Professional Support Staff has been scheduled:

Wednesday February 5th
11:00am – 1:00pm
2250 KC

Supervisors have been notified of this meeting and instructed to encourage full attendance by utilizing student and other staff to cover the department. You are expected to use one hour of lunch for this 2-hour meeting.

For those that cannot attend – we are videotaping the presentation. Information regarding access to the link will be forthcoming. By doing so, every member will hear the same presentation. The video link will not be available until February 6 or 7. The handouts to accompany the presentation will be available through your building rep or elected officials. Holland, Muskegon and Traverse City – if you don’t think you can be in attendance, let me know and I will get the handouts mailed out.

Members traveling from the Holland, Muskegon and Traverse City campus can request mileage reimbursement by submitting a mileage reimbursement form to Hollie Rago. These locations are eligible because free transportation is not available.

Members will be given until February 14 to vote. In order to vote, you need to be a member of the Alliance of Professional Support Staff. Membership forms will be available at the meeting. After the meeting, building representatives and elected officials will have them. Once you have signed a membership form, you will be given a ballot to vote with. Full details of this process will be provided at the meeting.

It is important that you hear the presentation, review the documents and ask all your questions. We are making history. We are shaping our future. We are setting the standard others will follow. Let’s do this together.

If there was ever a meeting you should attend..this one is it!

Coreen Bedford, acting President
Alliance of Professional Support Staff

Congratulations Members!

Today we all received notification the consent election of our employee group has voted in favor of the Alliance of Professional Support Staff (APSS). The voting breakdown:

  • Michigan Education Association (MEA) – 24 (9%)
  • Neither – 7 (3%)
  • Alliance of Professional Support Staff (APSS) – 235 (88%)

Total votes: 266 and one spoiled ballot

More information will come soon and we will begin planning meetings to organize under the APSS.