COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT
THE RESEARCH FOUNDATION FOR THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA, LOCAL 1104
November 25, 2013 - June 30, 2016
1.1 This Agreement is by and between The Research Foundation for the State University of New York
("RF") and The Communications Workers ofAmerica, Local 1104 ("Union").
2.1 The Research Foundation for the State University ofNew York, pursuant to the certification issued
in 29·RC·11666, recognizes the Communications Workers of A'llerica, Local 1104, as the
exclusive bargaining representative for collective bargaining with respect to wages, hours, or other
terms and conditions of employment of Research Project Assistants employed by the Research
Foundation for the State University ofNew York.
3. MANAGEMENT RIGHTS
3.1 Management retains all rights and powers not limited by an explicit provision of this Agreement.
These rights include without limitation the right to take any action, make any decision, and make
any change with respect to all aspects of the business and the workplace. The only exception to
this rule is that management may not violate an explicit provision ofthis Agreement.
3.2 Management has the sole and exclusive right to determine the number of bargaining unit positions;
the number and types of job positions; qualifications, duties, responsibilities, standards of
performance and standards of conduct; and the availability of work. Management may establish
and enforce any rules, regulations and procedures, provided only that they do not violate an
explicit provision ofthis Agreement.
3.3 There are no limitations on management's right to assign work to persons outside the bargaining
unit, including but not limited to supervisors and subcontractors, regardless of whether that work
has been or is normally performed by bargaining unit members. There are no limitations on
management's right to take any action orto make any changes in accordance with the terms ofthe
applicable sponsored project and/or the wishes ofthe applicable sponsoring agency.
3.4 The right to reasonably accommodate disabled persons in accordance with applicable laws,
notwithstanding other provisions ofthis Agreement, isvested exclusively with the RF.
4. PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS
4.1 The parties understand and agree that the relationship between aPrincipal Investigator ("PI") and a
bargaining unit member is both academic and supervisory in nature. Academic issues are outside
the scope ofthis Agreement.
5. LETTER OF APPOINTMENT
5.1 A Letter of Appointment will be issued by The Research Foundation to each bargaining unit
member and will include the following information:
- Appointment title;
- Effective date of appointment and anticipated end date of appointment, subject to available funds and academic eligibility;
- A statement that bargaining unit members are expected to perform duties in scholarly and scientific investigation;
- Salary attime of appointment;
- Benefits information;
- A statement that the position is covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the Research Foundation and the RA Union, CWA Local 1104.
5.2 The Research Foundation will forward a copy to the affected unit member whenever it processes
an Employee Change form. The Research Foundation encourages all Pis to notify Research
Project Assistants as soon as practicable ofchanges in funding that will affect their appointment.
6.1 Supervisors or Pis may perform written performance evaluations of RPAs in which case the
evaluation will be shared with the RPA and placed in his/her personnel file. If no evaluation is
provided, up to once per academic year the RPA may submit a request for an evaluation to RF's
Human Resources officer who will then formally request that the supervisor or PI complete at least
an abbreviated evaluation form which will be shared with the RPA and placed in his/her personnel
file. The parties acknowledge and agree that no performance evaluation may be used for the
purpose ofchallenging acourse grade orother academic determination.
7. PERSONNEL FILES
7.1 RPAs may examine the contents of their personnel file by appointment with Human Resources,
except for recommendations or letters of reference. Such appointments will be made within one to
two business days of the request. A Human Resources representative will be present and no
material may be removed, copied or taken from the file. If the RPA chooses, he/she may be
accompanied bya union representative.
7.2 RPAs may prepare awritten response to any statement or information contained in their personnel
file, and such response will be placed in their personnel file.
8. ORIENTATION AND TRAINING
8.1 The Research Foundation or its agents will conduct general orientation and/or training programs,
such as an annual benefits program, and training provided by SBU's Environmental, Health and
Safety office. Additional training may be provided as determined by the respective laboratories or
8.2 If abargaining unit member believes that additional training is needed, the individual may submit a
written request for such additional training to his/her PI or supervisor. Such requests will be
acknowledged in writing.
8.3 At the annual benefits program, the Union will be given space to set up a table adjacent to the
entrance to provide information to bargaining unit members, provided such information is not
critical ofthe RF, the University orany individual.
9.1 All safety equipment and/or training required by RF and/or SBU policies, procedures and directives
will be provided atno cost to individuals in the bargaining unit.
10. NO DISCRIMINATION
10.1 Bargaining unit members will not be discriminated against by either RF orthe Union based on race,
creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, sexual preference, gender identity, gender expression,
marital status, disability, age, veteran status, or any other factor protected by applicable law.
Further, the parties acknowledge that discrimination should not be tolerated based on any factor
that is not relevant to his/her job duties. Alleged discrimination on grounds other than those
protected by applicable law may be raised by bargaining unit members and/or their Union
representative but will not be subject to a section 301 lawsuit, or an unfair labor practice charge, or
the grievance process herein.
11.1 RPAs are subject to discipline up to and including termination for unsatisfactory performance
and/or inappropriate behavior, induding non-compliance with RF policies and procedures, SBU
policies and procedures, specific Lab or Program policies and procedures, work-related
instructions, and/or the provisions of this Agreement.
11.2 No bargaining unit member shall be disciplined without good cause. Discipline should be
progressive, and initiated by a documented Verbal Counseling, except for the most serious
offenses. Disciplinary actions include a Written Warning, Suspension, or Discharge from
employment. Employees who receive a disciplinary action will be given an opportunity to respond
11.3 At Verbal Counselings, the RPA may choose to be accompanied by another RPA.
11.4 A Performance Improvement Plan ("PIP") may be implemented for serious and/or recurring
offenses, and/or as a step in progressive discipline. The PIP is a formal plan of correction for a
specified time period, usually 30, 60 or 90 days, by the end of which the employee must meet
11.5 The University's final determination that an individual's student status is suspended or terminated
shall constitute good cause for the RF's suspension or termination of such employee as a
Research Project Assistant.
11.6 A Program Sponsor's decision to bar or remove an employee from its program shall constitute
good cause for the RF's termination ofthe employee from such sponsored program.
12.1 All bargaining unit members are paid on an exempt salaried basis up to a maximum of 20 hours
per week (.50 full-time equivalent "FTE") during the academic year and up to a maximum of 40
hours per week (1.0 FTE) during the summer. In most cases, PhD students who are not also
employed by the State are appointed to a .50 FTE position during the academic year, and during
the summer they are appointed to either a .50 FTE position or up to a 1.0 FTE position; but such
appointments are subject to available funding and program needs as determined by the PI.
12.2 The minimum salary for a bargaining unit member is $17,145 at one half (.50) FTE per academic
year (19.4 pay periods), minus any income from separate employment by RF in a non-bargaining
unit position or bythe University to perform duties in scholarly or scientific investigation or from a
12.3 Research Project Assistants who are on the active RF payroll on the date this contract is ratified
shall receive a $350 increase in their annual salary effective the first full payroll period after the
contract ratification date.
12.4 For the 2014-15 academic year, Research Project Assistants shall receive a $250 increase in their
12.5 For the 2015-16 academic year, there will be no scheduled salary increase; however, if Stony
Brook University's Sponsored Program Expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 have
increased by at least two percent (2%) over the preceding fiscal year, then the Union may request
re-opener negotiations solely on the issue ofsalaries for the 2015-16 academic year during August
12.6 Nothing contained herein shall prevent the RF, in its discretion in accordance with the terms of the
applicable sponsored program(s), from granting further upward stipend adjustments to individual
employees, or from making other salary adjustments based on available sponsored funding or a
change in sponsored program requirements subject to the minimum salary in section 12.2.
13. HEALTH, DENTAL AND VISION BENEFITS
13.1 Bargaining unit members are eligible to participate in the Research Foundation's health insurance,
dental and vision benefit plans for Graduate Student Employees. The Research Foundation shall
notify the Union and all bargaining unit members no less than thirty (30) days prior to any change
in health, dental orvision benefits.
14. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
14.1 The purpose of this Article is to provide a fair and effective procedure for identifying and resolving
disputes regarding the interpretation or application of this Agreement as specified below. It is
understood that neither party will attempt to circumvent the grievance procedure by commencing
an action under section 301 ofthe National Labor Relations Act during the term ofthis Agreement.
This procedure shall not apply to any academic matters.
14.2 A Grievance is defined as a dispute or disagreement over the application of, interpretation of, or
compliance with, an express term of this Agreement.
14.3 Step One. The Union or bargaining unit member who wishes to file a grievance must deliver to
Human Resources Services ("HRS") awritten grievance within forty (40) calendar days ofwhen the
affected bargaining unit member first knew or reasonably should have known of the alleged
violation. The written grievance must clearly identify the case and contain the following
information: (1) the date ofthe first known instance ofthe alleged violation; (2) the specific term or
provision of the Agreement claimed to be violated; (3) a description of the facts giving rise to the
grievance; (4) the specific remedy being sought; (5) the signature of the person submitting the
grievance; (6) a statement whether the person who submitted the grievance requests a grievance
meeting with HRS; and (7) the date signed. If the written grievance fails to satisfy any of the
enumerated requirements it shall not be considered a proper grievance. HRS will notify the person
submitting the grievance within ten (10) days of receipt of the grievance of its insufficiency. The
person filing the grievance shall have ten (10) days to correct the insufficiency and resubmit the
A proper written grievance will be evaluated by an HRS Representative and a written response to
the grievance will be issued within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt. The HRS Representative
will meet with the affected bargaining unit member and his/her Union Representative upon request
for the purpose of presenting the grievance. The HRS Representative will notify the Principal
Investigator prior to the meeting and invite him or her to attend. If such a Step One meeting is
held, then the written response to the grievance will be issued within thirty (30) calendar days of
14.4 Step Two. If the matter is not resolved in Step One, the grievance may be advanced to Step Two
by submitting a written appeal to HRS within thirty (30) calendar days of the Step One Response.
The grievance will be reviewed by a representative of RF Central Office and a written Step Two
decision will be issued within thirty (30) calendar days of the Step Two appeal. Except as
otherwise provided herein, any issue that is not resolved in Step Two will be addressed in the
negotiations for a successor Agreement. Any RF action resulting in a reduction in payorbenefits, or the withholding ofa scheduled across-the-board pay increase provided in Section 19.3, and not
resolved in Step Two may be advanced to Step Three. However, reductions made by a PI based
on sponsored funding needs are within the PI's sole discretion and are not subject to arbitration. In
addition, any reductions made by RF pursuant to a system-wide change for all RPAs across the
SUNY campuses are not subject to arbitration.
14.5 Step Three - Arbitration. For those issues that have not been resolved in Step Two and are
SUbject to arbitration, the Union can advance the grievance to Step Three by submitting a written
notice to HRS within thirty (30) calendar days of the Step Two Response. The Union must
simultaneously file a Demand for Arbitration with the American Arbitration Association ("AAA")
which will administer the case in accordance with the AAA Rules for Labor Arbitrations.
The Arbitrator shall not add to, subtract from, modify or alter the explicit terms or provisions of this
Agreement. The jurisdiction of the Arbitrator shall arise solely from this Agreement and the
Arbitrator shall be limited to the determination ofthe Grievance as described in the underlying Step
Two Request. The Arbitrator shall confine the decision and award solely to the application and/or
interpretation of this Agreement. Where provisions of this Agreement call for the exercise of
judgment, the Arbitrator shall not substitute the Arbitrator's judgment for that of the employer's
official making such judgment.
All administrative fees will be borne by the party filing the Demand for Arbitration. All fees and
expenses of the Arbitrator will be divided equally between RF and the Union. Each party shall bear
the cost of presenting its own case.
The parties will request that the Arbitrator shall issue a decision in writing within thirty (30) days of
the conclusion of the hearing. The Arbitrator's decision shall be final and binding on the RF and
the Union. Any determination by the Arbitrator in regard to benefits must be in accordance with the
RF's plan document. If the Arbitrator finds that the RF caused a reduction in payor benefits in
violation of an express provision of this Agreement, the remedy will be to reinstate the conditions
preceding RF's action and to reimburse the affected employee(s) the amount by which their payor
benefits were reduced; provided however, that such reimbursement shall be limited to thirty (30)
calendar days prior to the date of initiating the grievance.
The RF will not call as a witness in the arbitration hearing any employee represented by the Union,
unless such witness is issued a subpoena to testify. The Union will not call as a witness in the
arbitration hearing any non-bargaining unit employee represented by the Union, unless such
witness is issued asubpoena to testify.
14.6 Time Limits. The time limits set forth in this Article shall be strictly enforced and may only be
extended by mutual written agreement. Grievances that are not commenced and/or advanced to
the next step within the specified time limit are waived. Agrievance may be withdrawn at any time
by the Union orthe employee.
15. UNION MEMBERSHIP
15.1 The RF and the Union agree to respect the right ofeach individual in the bargaining unit to decide
whether to join the Union or not join the Union. Neither the RF nor the Union will discriminate
against any individual in the bargaining unit based on the choice that he/she makes.
16. UNION SECURITY
16.1 As a condition of employment, every Research Project Assistant covered by this Agreement shall,
within thirty (30) days from appointment or within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this
Agreement (whichever if later), either execute a Union membership card, or pay a service fee to
the Union if the individual decides not to become a member of the Union. In either case,
individuals may exercise their right under Communications Workers v. Beck, 487 U.S. 735 (1988),
to pay only that portion of the dues or service fee that the Union uses for collective bargaining,
contract administration and grievance adjustment; and excluding that portion ofthe dues or service
fee that the Union uses for other purposes such as political activity.
16.2 During the term of this Agreement, to the extent authorized by a signed written statement from
each bargaining unit member which is revocable at any time, the Research Foundation will deduct
from their wages such dues or service fees as specified in writing by the Union. The Research
Foundation will remit such funds to the Union with a list of the names, departments and amounts
for each bargaining unit member on a monthly basis. Under no circumstances, however, will the
Research Foundation have any financial liability to the Union in the event of any oversights or
errors. The Union shall indemnify and hold harmless the Research Foundation against any and all
claims, demands, suits, judgments, settlements, or any other forms of liability, including the costs
of defense, arising out ofor by reason of action taken or not taken by the Research Foundation for
purposes ofcomplying with any provision ofthis Article.
17. LISTS OF BARGAINING UNIT MEMBERS
17.1 Upon request up to three times per calendar year, the RF will provide the Union with a list of the
names, addresses, salaries, department, and Supervisor and/or Principal Investigator ("PI") of all
bargaining unit members. The list will be provided in an electronic format within two weeks ofthe
18. ACCESS FOR UNION REPRESENTATIVES
18.1 The Union will give RF written notice of the representatives including name and contact information
who are authorized to administer this Agreement, and of any changes to its authorized
representatives. Such authorized representatives will be granted reasonable access to bargaining
unit members for purposes of contract administration, provided that they do not interfere with
anyone who is working and do not enter any laboratories without advance written permission from
a designated RF representative at Stony Brook.
19. NO STRIKES OR LOCKOUTS
19.1 During the term of this Agreement, neither the Union nor its officers or members shall engage in
any work stoppage, sympathy strike, sick out, slow-down, boycott of The Research Foundation or
picketing (excluding informational picketing). The Union will actively discourage any such activity
by any bargaining unit members. Individuals who violate this provision are subject to immediate
discharge (unless the RF decides to impose a lesser penalty within its sole discretion), and the
only issue that may be grieved is whether or not the individual was engaged in the prohibited
activity. RF will not lockout any bargaining unit members during the term ofthis Agreement.
20. COMPLETE AGREEMENT
20.1 This document sets forth the final and complete terms of the Agreement between the parties with
respect to all subjects addressed herein. The written terms of this Agreement supersede any and
all prior agreements, understandings, representations and discussions between the parties with
respect to any and all issues. No third-party shall infer nor impose any obligation that is not
explicitly provided herein.
20.2 During the term of this Agreement, the parties waive bargaining with respect to any action, decision
or omission. The Union's sole and exclusive remedy for any management action, decision or
omission that is alleged to be improper shall be the grievance process which is limited to alleged
violations of explicit provisions ofthis Agreement.
21.1 This Agreement becomes effective upon ratification (November 25, 2013) and expires on June 30,
2016. It is understood that if no successor agreement is reached, the terms and conditions of this
Agreement will remain in effect following the expiration date hereof and there shall be no strike or
lockout until such time as either party serves the written notifications required by Section 8(d) of the
22. SAVINGS CLAUSE
22.1 In the event that any provision ofthis Agreement isfound to be in contravention ofany Federal,
State, City or local law orregulation, orfound by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid,
such invalidity shall not impair the validity and enforceability ofthe remaining provisions ofthis