Academics Work Load

Academic Workload Survey Update

Dear Faculty:

We are writing to follow-up about our brief workload survey that we sent out in the Spring of this year. Thanks very much to those who took the time to respond. In this email we’d like to report back about some of the responses we received, explain how the Buffalo Center chapter of the UUP will collectively respond to your concerns, and provide some additional guidance to those who have specific concerns about workload increases.

Your survey responses revealed that some of you have experienced significant increases in teaching and service obligations this semester, in many cases related to conditions created by the Covid pandemic. Several of you indicated that your workload or class sizes have doubled, or more, compared to previous semesters and years. Furthermore, some workloads have increased because there has been a decline in support, including the number of teaching assistants. In addition, for many of you, dependent care issues, both for children and older family members, have put a strain on working obligations. Last but not least, the obligation to teach with both in-person and online formats has increased the work burden on many of you.

This is what UUP plans to do to respond to these concerns. First, we will make the University management aware and urge them to address it. We will raise these concerns, including your (anonymous) specific experiences, in our next Labor-Management meeting, which is scheduled for October 28, 2021. Second, we include a short FAQ on when workload issues violate the standards agreed upon in our collective bargaining agreement as well as New York State labor law (the Taylor Law) and what to do and whom to contact when your workload increase crosses that line. Third, we plan to conduct another brief workload survey at the end of this semester, in order to determine whether workload concerns evolved, were resolved, or worsened. Fourth, because the UUP is preparing to bargain a new collective agreement, workload issues are topics we can and will also address there, with your feedback and participation. As our chapter consults and meets with each other in anticipation of this, we will raise this issue and seek out your suggestions for how to resolve workload problems.

Here are three links to some brief information on how the UUP can help if you have workload concerns:

(1)   This brief, one-page FAQ gives a few helpful hints on how to address workload creep: Workload FAQs.

(2)   This longer, three-page article goes into more detail about workload issues and how to address them: Workload Creep Article.

(3)   This link will download an Excel spreadsheet, already formatted as a workload log, to help you keep track of the hours spent in various assignments: Workload Log.

If you would like more information, including if you feel like you have an individual grievance, please contact Grievance Chair for Academics, Carine Mardorossian at The most important thing to keep in mind is that if we want to formally challenge a workload increase, we have to  do so within 4 months of when the workload increase first occurred. If enough of you respond, and are interested, we can also schedule an online Q&A session.

Please know that your elected officers at the UUP are working hard to protect your rights and interests.

In Solidarity,

Matthew Dimick
VP for Academics
UUP Buffalo Center