The College of Medicine’s first full-time faculty member, Dr. W. Robert Fleischmann, was a due-paying member of the Faculty Association for four months before his exclusion from the union in January.
He has not asked for a refund of the dues, taken from his $150,000 salary, and does not intend to.
“I no longer pay, since I received notice from the FA that I was no longer an FA member,” he said in an email.
Fleischmann is married to Linda Perkowski, associate dean of medical education.
He began work on July 1, and paid FA dues from about September through December, he said. He declined to comment on his motivations or feelings.
A final agreement was ratified Jan. 12 following a six-month contract impasse between the FA and the administration. The FA conceded to exclude full-time CMED faculty from the union in exchange for the benefit of keeping MESSA health care for members.
David Jesuit, FA bargaining team member and associate professor of political science, said the bargaining team fought hard to keep CMED faculty in the union to avoid cases like Fleischmann’s, and for stronger solidarity.
Jesuit’s impressions and opinions are not necessarily shared by everyone on the FA or its bargaining team.
He said the exclusion of CMED faculty from the FA was the No. 1 reason FA members voted not to ratify the contract, in his opinion.
“It was a huge concession,” Jesuit said. “It was a very bitter pill for a lot of members to swallow.”
The final agreement also states CMED faculty who have an equal or greater appointment to CMU’s other colleges may remain in the union.
So far, there are six CMED faculty members hired who were previously hired at CMU. Five of them were previously in the FA, and will remain members.
Psychology Professor Gary Dunbar is one of them. He currently has a 50 percent appointment to CMED, and he will remain primarily a faculty member of the psychology department.
He said the final contract “makes sense.”
“Although I am hoping there will be a rich exchange of ideas and collaborations between CMED faculty and my fellow FA members, there are fundamental differences in how CMED will structure the educational experiences for their students,” he wrote in an email. “In addition, the expectations for CMED faculty varies considerably from what is expected of most of their non-CMED counterparts. As such, I think the flexibility that the negotiated contract provides is in the best interest of CMED.”
Besides Dunbar, the other CMED FA members include chemistry professor Ajit Sharma, biology professor Steve Gorsich, physical therapy professor Peter Loubert, and health professions professor William Saltarelli.
Leslie Wallace, the sixth previously employed member, is a health sciences adjunct and Union of Teaching Faculty member hired as part-time CMED foundation sciences faculty.
CMED Dean Ernest Yoder said he is unsure if she will remain in the UTF.
Yoder said there is a possibility for CMED to include more FA members, such as those from CMU’s other six colleges, and those co-recruited with other colleges.
During state fact-finding, CMU’s bargaining team said there are only two medical schools in the country with unionized faculty: Temple University in Philadelphia and Wayne State University.
Hiring progress uncertain
Before CMED classes start in summer 2013, Yoder anticipates having 30 foundation science faculty and 80 clinicians hired.
Clinicians will be adjuncts, not included in the UTF.
So far, there are about 18 foundation science faculty and 46 clinicians hired, according to a list provided by the university.
However, some of them have already finished working with CMED.
“I was a consultant of sorts with CMED for about a year, but I don’t have an appointment with them,” Health Professions Professor James Lile said in an email.
He remains on the list of foundation science faculty. Others are unsure if their work in CMED will continue.
“There is a good chance I will continue with my 50 percent CMED appointment when classes begin fall 2013. However, to be honest, I am not sure,” Saltarelli said in an email.
The hiring of three listed faculty members is still in the process.
However, when asked how many CMED faculty members will remain working when classes start, Yoder said “I believe most everyone on the list.”
In total, less than 58 percent of CMED’s starting faculty are now fully hired.