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November 2017


Albert Einstein helps greet new members
Cynthia Eaton


That Albert Einstein: He's generally considered a smart guy, right?

Einstein was an ardent unionist who understood the importance of protecting workers' rights to have a say in the conditions of their own employment, "to protect their own economic status" and "to secure their influence in the political field."

At our new member bagel brunches this October, new hires learned about famous unionists from history. These include the likes of Albert Einstein, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Dewey, Samuel Gompers, Cesar Chavez, Mother Jones, Albert Shanker and John Lewis.

Contemporary unionists hail from TV, film and writers' guilds, including Paul Newman, Tom Hanks, Amy Poehler, John Oliver, Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Seth MacFarlane and Valerie Harper.

Athletes understand the power of unions too. Some of the more active unionists in sports are, in baseball, MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark and Javier Vazquez; in basketball, NBAPA President Chris Paul (Houston Rockets), NBAPA First VP LeBron James (Cleveland Caveliers), NBAPA VPs Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Carmelo Anthony (NY Knicks) and Pau Gasol (San Antonio Spurs); and in football NFLPH Executive Committee members Richard Sherman (Seattle Seahawks), Benjamin Watson (New Orleans Saints), Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis Colts) and Zak DeOssie (New York Giants).

So we're happy to let our new members know they are in good company!

Matthew Pappas
Matt Pappas, Ammerman new member coordinator, reviews how the promotion process can help new hires plan their first years at the college. (photo by Dante Morelli)

During each brunch, we also review the FA's purpose and function and offer some advice about members' first year(s) at the college. Below are the our campus new member coordinators:

  • Ammerman coordinator Matt Pappas
  • Grant coordinator Bruce Seger
  • Eastern coordinator Nina Acquavita

What have you done for me lately?

As new hires learn, the FA engages in a variety of activities on members' behalf. Here's just a sample of activities discussed at the bagel brunches:

Social Justice and Community Outreach
Professional Life and Financial Support
  • Professors on Wheels
  • Campus food pantry donations
  • Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: Jones Beach and Eastern Campus walks
  • Fair Trade sales
  • ZimKids Orphan Trust
  • Veterans Garden View project
  • Supporting brothers and sisters in other locals
  • Employee Medical Health Plan and FA Benefit Fund (vision, dental, legal)
  • Salary schedule
  • Promotion
  • Sabbticals and professional development fund
  • Class size and course load
  • Conflict mediation
  • Grievance process
  • Distance education
  • Retirement and financial planning workshops
  • Suffolk County legislative screenings

Bruce Seger at new member brunch
Bruce Seger, Grant new member coordinator, speaks with new hires about the FA's various initiatives. (photo by Cynthia Eaton)

New members are asked to consider the three areas assessed for promotion as a way to guide their first years at Suffolk:

  1. teaching or (for nonclassroom faculty) other duties
  2. professional growth
  3. college and community service.

Thus, members should focus on learning to do their assigned duties well, continue their professional growth and begin to get involved in college and community service.

For professional growth, the FA has negotiated not only biannual conference attendance funds for all members but also a supplemental $30,000/year fund for which for many of our members apply. For college service, most new members begin with department- and campus-based service, then progress to college-wide committees, projects, grants and the like.

So along with a full stomach, we hope our newest members leave their bagel brunches knowing they're in very good company and feeling a little bit smarter.