PROFESSORS from the Faculty of Arts and Letters are asking the UST Faculty Union (USTFU) to convene a special assembly to discuss the million-peso donation to “Yolanda” victims, along with questions over collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.

The Arts and Letters Faculty Association (ALFA) is demanding a clear explanation from the Union, which, in early December, opted to channel P1 million of its Christmas party fund to typhoon victims. Faculty members were requested to sign a waiver to approve the proposed donation without a general assembly.

In a letter to USTFU last Nov. 29, ALFA clarified that its members were not against the donation, but said the matter should go through a general assembly.

Union by-laws state that a disbursement exceeding P300,000 must be discussed and approved in a general assembly.

According to union board member Revenendo Vargas, the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets) was the only college that did not submit signatures to USTFU.

However, the donation will proceed as the union board has obtained a majority vote even without the signatures from Artlets.

The money will be coursed through a foundation, which will then give aid to the victims, Vargas added.

CBA concerns

ALFA also wants to disuss CBA issues such as the transfer of promotions and reclassifications to a separate faculty manual and changes in the USTFU panel of negotiators.

Other existing CBA provisions to be withdrawn under the new agreement should also be discussed, it said.

“Taking into account serious allegations concerning the USTFU panel’s conformity with the request of the UST panel to withdraw essential provisions of the existing CBA ratified by the majority members, without consulting the general membership, we deem it necessary to clarify the same and vote, if necessary, all in the spirit of transparency and accountability during such special general assembly,” said the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Varsitarian.

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ALFA also requested that the general membership of the union discuss which of the UST panel's “wishlist” in the CBA should be accepted or not.

But USTFU President George Lim said a general assembly is not possible.

“Upon the advice of our legal counsel, it is both premature and illegal to call an assembly for such purpose. The USTFU CBA panel cannot be expected to call for one every time a contentious issue is taken up; they are only expected to negotiate in behalf of and in the best interest of the membership,” said Lim’s letter of reply to ALFA dated Dec. 18.

Parties may raise their concerns on the new CBA during its ratification.

“We will initiate an information drive once we have finished the new CBA and call for a ratification where the members can vote to accept or reject. Should you feel shortchanged with the final document or are unhappy with its provisions, you are free to campaign for a rejection,” Lim said in his letter. Gena Myrtle P. Terre

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