Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What are NTFC members allowed to do in support of another union’s strike?
- Members CANNOT participate in a sympathy strike or work stoppage. Such action would violate the terms of our Collective Bargaining Agreement. (See Article XVII Unauthorized Work Stoppage.)
- While under our current contract, NTFC members must complete all of their own contractual duties and cannot and should not withhold their own labor. Nevertheless, NTFC recognizes, and will act fully to enforce, the rights of our members under the First Amendment to demonstrate solidarity and support for GEO. We encourage our members to support GEO in their fight for a fair contract by participating in peaceful protests, pickets, and rallies as per their First Amendment rights. See Ways to Help GEO.
Question: How should NTFC members respond if asked to replace a striking worker? What if, for example, we are asked to cover classes for a striking TA or GA?
It is NTFC’s position that Bargaining Unit members cannot be forced to take over the work assignments of a striking union. Such work assignments would include covering a striking instructor’s classes, grading, etc. Nothing in the Collective Bargaining Agreement requires members to comply with such replacement work requests.
To direct a Bargaining Unit Member to take the workload of another union’s striking member would be a change in working conditions. NTFC would immediately demand to bargain this decision and the impact, and NTFC would file an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) in response.
Furthermore, all members have signed personal appointment letters detailing their workload for the semester or year. Normally, if an employee is tasked with extra work or a course overload, such extra work would require an additional Letter of Appointment. (See Collective Bargaining Agreement ARTICLE XI HOURS OF WORK AND COMMITMENT.)
If you are asked to take on extra work to replace a striking employee, follow these guidelines:
- Let the union (NTFC) know right away by email or phone. The union will send a representative to have a conversation with the administrators of your department so as to protect you from an insubordination charge.
- Be sure to ask if you are required to do the work as part of your employment. If the answer is “no”, then you can say no. If the answer is “yes”, ask to continue the conversation with a union representative present. Then ask what the consequence would be if you were to refuse. Either get witnesses or get the response in written form.
- If your interpretation of the request is that you must comply immediately (e.g., if you are asked to cover a class right away), and the consequences of refusing would be disciplinary action, follow the principle of “comply then grieve”. Comply, but contact the union immediately.
- The most important thing is to let the union know that this issue is coming up in your department. At that point, the union will have a meeting with the department.