Monthly Archives: January 2011

November 10, 2010

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

November 10, 2010 at Skyline College


EC Members Present:  Eric Brenner, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Dave Danielson, Sandi Raeber Dorsett, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Yaping Li, Monica Malamud, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Joaquin Rivera, Masao Suzuki, Elizabeth Terzakis

Other Members Present: Tadashi Tsuchida

Facilitator: Katharine Harer

Meeting began at 2:30


1.                  Appointments of a) new CSM Part-time faculty co-representative and b) a new Cañada College Professional Development Chair

Lucia Olsen has stepped down from her position as co-PT Rep, which she had shared with Lisa Melnick. Rebecca Webb, a part-time English instructor at CSM has offered to fill in for the remainder of Lucia’s term. The issue was taken up in two parts: first to fill the vacant co-position or not.

Motion: The EC agrees to appoint a replacement for Lucia Olsen, who has resigned.

The motioned carried.


Yes -9
No – 2
Abstain – 0

Motion: Rebecca Webb nominated as the replacement for Lucia Olsen.

Discussion: Katharine is in favor.

The motioned carried.


Yes – 8
No – 0
Abstain – 4 

The EC agreed that Monica should appoint a new Professional Development Chair for Cañada College. Janette Medina will be the new chair.


2.                  Introductions were made.


3.                  Statements from AFT members (non EC members) on non-agenda items.

Joaquin—Richard Holober is running for supervisor. Put it on the agenda for the next meeting.

Katharine—Joe McDonough passed away. Dan will send out a card from the EC. An article will appear in the upcoming December Advocate.


4.                  Minutes of October 13, 2010 AFT Meeting

The minutes were approved with minor changes.


5.                  Negotiations update

The negotiators announced that the first mediation session would occur the following week. The EC discussed future strategies for negotiations.


6.                  Academic calendar discussion

Joaquin distributed a rollover calendar mock up for discussion. We agreed that it was time to send out another academic calendar survey to faculty to see how the “fewer” FLEX days approach worked out for faculty across the district.

Motion: The EC accepts the rollover calendar.

The motioned carried.


Yes -13
No – 0
Abstain – 0

7.                  Discussion of possible dates for three meetings:

a.      the union philosophy/union-building strategies “special focus” EC meeting;

We decided to schedule this meeting on the March 11, 2011 FLEX day. Dan will send out an email to solidify details of time and place. Plan on a two- to three-hour meeting.

b.      the CFT leadership training meeting;

We decided to arrange this meeting via email. CFT had proposed several dates in January 2011.

c.       a meeting to explore collaboration with CSEA

Teeka, Dan, and Monica will work on our possible increased collaboration on projects of mutual interest with our CSEA colleagues.


8.                  District Shared Governance Council (DSGC) Report

We successfully stopped the board policies that we believe should be negotiated items from being pushed through at DSGC last month. AFT had support on this issue at the DSGC table from Senate faculty, classified staff, and administrators. The items in question were tabled until the legal questions regarding the Council’s purview are resolved. We are still waiting to hear from the District’s legal counsel regarding the November 2009 and October 2010 demand letters prepared and sent by our attorney.

Jim Keller presented a Measure G update at the November 1, 2010 DSGC meeting. Faculty asked about the District’s plans for allocating Measure G funds amongst the three colleges, but Keller could only respond that the plans were “ambiguous” at this point. Faculty asked Keller why the Measure G allocation process has not been more transparent. Jing Luan insisted that in fact the process has been completely transparent (even though it has also been ambiguous). Keller also reported that the District had hired a consulting firm to help with the logistics of implementing Measure G. He also indicated that the District was actively exploring how to renew the Measure G parcel tax funding once it expires in 2014.


9.                  District Committee on Budget and Finance (DCBF)

Masao reported that two-thirds of the Measure G money has now been allocated in accordance with the District’s usual allocation model. The District will keep one-third of the funds in reserve. The DCBF has emphasized that Measure G funds are fungible, meaning they may not be used for ongoing expenses. However, it does seem that the District can use Measure G monies to pay current part-time faculty’s salaries and use the resulting fund one “savings” for District expenses that fall outside the legal parameters of Measure G. Some EC members present felt concerned that money might be used inappropriately, but others reported that the Measure G meetings and reports at their campuses seemed to be above board and to be following the appropriate shared-governance avenues. Watchful waiting is our current charge.


10.              Measure G spending update

Eric reported his concern that Measure G funds may be being spent without careful consideration of the colleges’ and District’s educational planning priorities. Despite Teeka’s report that the District reported through Jim Keller that the campus allocation process was still ambiguous, the spending requests at Skyline came out to exactly $1.7 million, which seems to be the unambiguous amount forwarded to each of the colleges as budget “placeholders.”

Others chimed in that in their observations the Measure G requests seemed reasonable and appropriately followed established college procedures of shared governance and equipment request.

Dan noted that while the Board of Trustees had noted that Measure G funds would be used to bring back cut classes, the language of Measure G was significantly broader in scope. Measure G funds can legally (and must be) spent on not only part-time faculty salaries, but also on instructional equipment and student services, among other budget areas that seem somewhat distant from the classroom.


11.              No-strike clause campaign

Elizabeth has had success with the no-strike clause campaign. She explained her techniques. CSM and Skyline EC members will try to replicate Elizabeth’s efforts on their campuses. We are seeking full-time faculty signatures first.


12.              AFT/Academic Senate statement on the Trust Committee update and spring 2011 social event

Ray Hernandez is writing a one-page abstract of the longer “white paper.” It is the abstract that he will read to the Board of Trustees in early 2011.

The Senate asked if AFT would like to plan a social event together in the spring. The EC agreed to do so.


13.              DEAC discussion

We need an AFT member to serve on a DEAC subcommittee (guidance for student-teacher contact).


14.              Changes to AFT 1493 constitution

Monica and Lezlee have worked some more on the updating of our constitution. Monica will form a subcommittee over email to continue this effort.


15.              Grievances

PERB issued a complaint against SMCCD for violating an employees hours of employment. There will be an informal settlement conference on November 30. 


Meeting Adjourned: 4:55 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by
Teeka James, Acting Secretary


October 13, 2010

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

October 13, 2010 at Cañada College

EC Members Present:  Eric Brenner, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Dave Danielson, Sandi Raeber Dorsett, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Monica Malamud, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Joaquin Rivera, Masao Suzuki, Elizabeth Terzakis, Lezlee Ware

Other Members Present: Bruce Maule

Guests Present: Zev Kvitky (CFT), Jim Araby (CFT)

Facilitator: Monica Malamud

Meeting began at 2:30

1.       Welcome and Introductions

We introduced ourselves and welcomed everyone to the meeting.


2.       Statements from AFT (non EC) Members on Non-Agenda Items

Zev Kvitky and Jim Araby presented CFT’s positions on ballot measures in the upcoming state election. Zev and Jim asked for volunteers to help with CFT phone banking and other campaign efforts. CFT supports Jerry Brown in the gubernatorial race. All of CFT’s positions can be reviewed on its website.


3.       Retirement Issues Update—ORIGINALLY AGENDA ITEM 9

Bruce Maule teaches accounting at CSM and sits on the District Retirement Board of Authority for AFT. The District must pay for the retirement health benefits for all retired employees whose contracts give them that right. Bruce reported that the balance of the fund was $10,652,908.12, as of September 30, 2010. Bruce said this balance as nothing short of miraculous since most other school districts have closer to $0.00 in their retirement benefits trust funds. However, although the District’s contributions to this fund are obligatory, the Board of Trustees decides how much money to actually deposit into the trust fund each year. Currently, SMCCD has $25 million dollars on its books that belong to the Trust, but which have not been deposited yet. When Bruce asked Kathy Blackwood when the $25 million would be moved to the Trust, she responded “we fully intend and are committed to depositing it.” She explained that the investment plan for the Trust Fund was new and she wanted to understand it better before putting the rest of the money into it. Bruce inferred that the District wants to use the $25 million for internal loans during this financial crisis.

Bruce requested that AFT 1493 pay close attention to our contract language requiring the District to fund the post-retirement health benefits. The economic principle “what can’t continue, won’t continue” leads Bruce to have some concern that the District’s post-retirement health benefits obligations may become untenable as those employees of the Baby Boomer generation retire. If we have a $150 million obligation, it will have to be paid at some time, and currently we don’t have sufficient funds to cover the potential future costs, which means future employees (who do not enjoy the same level of post-retirement health benefits) will have to pay for the retirement health benefits of those who came before them. This seems fundamentally unfair. 

If you’d like copies of the handouts Bruce distributed, please contact Dan Kaplan.


4.       Minutes of September 8, 2010

The minutes were approved with minor changes.


5.       Negotiations Survey Results and Guidance to the Negotiating Team

We reviewed the results from our October 11, 2010 faculty survey regarding negotiations and our future priorities. There were no surprises in the results. We focused much of the discussion on the fourth survey question: “Your AFT bargaining team has temporarily cancelled future negotiations sessions until we hear from you. Below are some options for our next steps. Please check any actions you would like us to seriously consider.”


–  Non-Agenda Item Slipped into the Discussion: 2011-2012 Academic Calendar

Joaquin reminded us that we had to negotiate the 2011-2012 Academic Calendar. Please share it around with faculty, especially with science faculty at CSM, who were vocally disappointed in last year’s calendar.


Suddenly someone realized that the calendar discussion was not on the agenda. Once again, we were almost 95 minutes into our meeting, had completed 55 minutes’ worth of agenda items, and had 90 minutes of scheduled business remaining on the agenda with only 41 minutes left in the meeting. So we slashed the rest of the agenda, tabling items 6 (originally 5) and 11, and cutting ten-minute discussions to one and two minutes each.


6.       Discussion of Possible Dates for a) the union philosophy/union-building strategies “special focus meeting; b) the Leadership training by CFT meeting; and c) the CFT database meeting

This discussion was tabled.


7.       District Shared Governance Council (DSGC) Report

Teeka reported that on October 4, 2010, Barbara Christensen and Harry Joel presented DSGC with 40 or so board policies that needed to be updated for accreditation purposes, including the seven board policies that AFT 1493 had demanded to negotiate:

2.13 Dissemination of Employee Information

2.19 Non Discrimination

2.25 Prohibition of Harassment

2.28 Safety

2.60 Resignations

6.32 Intellectual Property

7.21 Speech: Time, Place and Manner 

Harry claimed that Joaquin had said in negotiations that he was “OK” with the policies, and they could go back to DSGC. We unanimously decided to have our attorney contact the District’s counsel. Teeka will prepare diligently for the upcoming DSGC meeting (11/1/10) in case the policies indeed appear before the Council despite our legal action.


8.       Approval of the P/T Faculty Organizer Job Description—4:37 P.M.

Lisa said she was disappointed that the meeting was almost over and we were just getting to this agenda item. Both Vicki and Sandi, the two other part-time faculty members attending this EC/General Membership meeting, had already left the meeting (presumably to teach), and Lisa pointed out that our meeting’s structure was limiting part-time faculty participation in union work. It is hard to build and maintain momentum with part-time faculty.

The Part-time Faculty Organizer (PTFO) subcommittee had not been able to meet, but had further edited the job announcement over email. Lisa explained that it was important to let faculty interested in the position to know why the EC was interested in creating this position, so she wanted to include the rationale, even though at the previous EC/General Membership meeting we had thought it better to not include it. 

We voted to approve the PTFO.

YES      NO      ABSTAIN
10           0               1

Lisa, Monica, Teeka, and Dan (the subcommittee) will finish the editing. We will post the position as soon as possible.


9.       Approval of Union Handbook

We voted to approve the union handbook.

YES            NO            ABSTAIN
10                 0                     1


10.   Resolution in Opposition to the FBI Raids and Grad Jury Subpoenas of Anti-war Activists

Masao presented the EC with a resolution demanding that the FBI cease harassment of antiwar activists in the United States. The resolution passed, with small revisions. Masao will input the changes and send the resolution out to the EC.

YES – 9
NO – 0


11.   Hiring of F/T Faculty on Grant Money

This discussion was tabled.


12.   Grievances

None. Chip has been invited to meetings to clarify contract issues. He is pleased that faculty are interested in learning more about their union contract.


13.   Statements from EC Members on Non-Agenda Items

\      We unanimously passed a resolution in support of Oscar Grant.

YES – 9
NO – 0

\      Lezlee will be on maternity leave starting November 9, 2010. She’ll see us at an EC meeting again in fall 2011.

\      Teeka lamented that once again, our meeting seemed dysfunctional and disorganized. She found it extraordinarily frustrating and stressful. Lezlee chimed in, noting that we’ve once again demonstrated that we need to meet either more often or dramatically reduce our expectations for the EC meetings. Someone pointed out that we started late—at 2:30—as well. Teeka responded that those who are scheduled to teach until 2:00 cannot realistically arrive at meetings not on their own campus by 2:15.


Meeting Adjourned: 5:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by
Teeka James, Acting Secretary

September 8, 2010

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

September 8, 2010 at College of San Mateo

EC Members Present:  Eric Brenner, Alma Cervantes, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Dave Danielson, Sandi Raeber Dorsett, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Yaping Li, Monica Malamud, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Mike Noonan, Lucia Olson, Joaquin Rivera, Masao Suzuki, Elizabeth Terzakis

Other Members and Guests Present: Deb Garfinkle, John Kirk, Matt Leddy, Rebecca Webb

Facilitator: Dave Danielson

Time Keeper: Yaping Li

Meeting began at 2:15


1.       Welcome and Introductions

We introduced ourselves and welcomed everyone to the meeting.


2.       Statements from AFT (non EC) Members on Non-Agenda Items

There were no statements from non EC members. But Masao passed around copies of the September/October 2010 edition of Fight Back: News and Views from the People’s Struggle; and Dan announced that Skyline professor George Wright will be speaking in Richmond, CA, on September 25, 2010 at the CA Public Education and Public Workers Conference about the privatization of public education and public services. A flyer was circulated for those who wished to attend or publicize the event.


3.       Minutes of May 12, 2010 and August 20, 2010 AFT Meetings

The minutes for the May 12, 2010 and August 20, 2010 AFT meetings were approved unanimously with minor changes, which are reflected in the approved minutes housed on the AFT website.


4.       Negotiations Report

Good News:  At the most recent negotiations session, the district took off the table step freezes and previously proposed cuts to professional development funding. It also withdrew its proposals to require librarians and counselors to hold 37 ½ hour work weeks.

Bad News:  The District Shared Governance board policies are still in limbo. When the Board of Trustees heard about 7.21 Time, Place, and Manner, which addresses free speech on campuses, they were alarmed and scheduled a meeting item to discuss the concept of free speech on our campuses. Dan attended that meeting and will send out his notes from it to the EC. Although these board policies have been discussed at the negotiating table, the district insists it is not negotiating them and refuses to accept that they are negotiable items. The district insists the policies be approved through the district shared governance process.

Hoping to inspire some movement at the table (where we have been negotiating for 12 months now), the AFT negotiating team presented a comprehensive package proposal to the district, which means all of the items included in the package are taken or rejected more or less together. The district did not accept one single suggestion or make any movement of any significance whatsoever on any issue on the table. Instead, the district’s proposals are to maintain status quo or “take backs,” specifically:

a.       Pay part-time faculty for flex activities only if they are pre-approved activities and only at the special rate.

b.      No raise in compensation

c.       No binding arbitration

d.      Defer to “recency” in allowing faculty to move into new FSAs.

e.      No academic freedom in the contract

f.        No new language on resignations

g.       No money for a reconstituted Trust Committee


The ensuing discussion focused on strategy for going forward mixed with reflection and speculation about why the district is being so adamantly stubborn. We brainstormed possible changes in strategy, methods for eliciting support and suggestions from our membership. We reviewed past negotiations situations and discussed who might write articles about a variety of contract issues for future Advocate issues. We also acknowledged the negotiating team’s diligence and reaffirmed our appreciation and support.

Point of Order: At this point we were already running out of meeting time, so we made some adjustments to the agenda: we tabled the parcel tax discussion and the discussion about scheduling a special focus meeting and leadership training; we reduced grievances by five minutes; and we moved the Cargill discussion up so it could be addressed immediately following the negotiations report, which we had just concluded.

5.       Parcel Tax/District Budget Discussion—TABLED

9.    Cargill Plan to Fill in the Bay in Redwood City

Matt Leddy and John Kirk brought a proposal for a resolution before the EC. Cargill, which has a long anti-union history, including hiring scabs and strike breakers, wants to build a levy in the San Francisco Bay in order to build a new housing development. Among Matt and John’s concerns are

\      The levy is dangerous.

\      The development proposal includes plan to ship in the water that will be required by the development’s future residents (this leads to privatization of water, another issue of concern).

\      Union jobs may be at risk.

\      The Bay is the second largest estuary in the United States and its tidal salt marshes will be threatened by the development (only thirty percent of the salt ponds will be able to be restored to tidal marshes).

\      Traffic will become even heavier on San Mateo county roads and highways.

\      Wildlife will be threatened.

Matt and John requested that AFT 1493 pass a resolution (as has Menlo Park) voicing its opposition to this development. They are concerned that Cargill is pressuring the San Mateo Central Labor Council to approve the development, for Cargill has donated $11,500 to the SMCLC since 2006. Since AFT 1493 contributes dues to SMCLC, our members should know that our dues may be being spent in support of this development.

Dan chimed in to note that the SMCLC includes a large number of private sector labor unions, some of whom, such as those from the building trades, are facing 30% unemployment rates, a fact which might explain its support of the Cargill development project.

Motion (seconded): The EC should approve a resolution (to be written up in the traditional resolution format) voicing AFT 1493’s concern about the Cargill development project and our support of union jobs but not at an unacceptable environmental cost.

Vote: The motion carried.

Yes     No     Abstain
18        0          0

6.       Finalizing the Part-time Faculty Organizer Job Description; Developing the Application/Appointment Process

The Part-time Faculty Organizer position description needs to be finalized. We agreed to remove “committee” from the title, from now on referring to the position as the “Part-time Faculty Organizer” (PTFO). We agreed to delete the rationale for the position’s creation from the job announcement. We need to set a timeline and agree on a hiring process. Monica, Dan, Lisa, and Teeka agreed to serve on the hiring committee. Dan agreed to send out an email to Vicki and Sandi to see if either of them would be available to serve as well. We agreed that the hiring committee would edit the job description and bring it back to the next EC meeting.

7.       Schedule: a) Union Philosophy/Union Building Strategies  “Special Focus” Meeting; b) Leadership Training by CFT; and c) CFT Database Training—TABLED

8.       Union Handbook Subcommittee Report

The EC was asked to review the latest draft of the union handbook. We will discuss the draft at the next meeting.

10.   AFT/Academic Senate Statement on the Trust Committee

The Trust Committee statement that Monica and Nina worked on over the summer with the Academic Senate is now ready for circulation. Dan pointed out that in the past AFT 1493 has stated that we are absolutely against the points about SLOs in lines 111-113 of the draft. Teeka said she was concerned that the draft was too long to be read to the BOT, and felt the repetition needed to be edited out. Alma had concerns about the distance education section.

11.   Changes to the AFT Local 1493 Constitution

Monica brought forward some concerns about language in our AFT 1493 Constitution that may need to be revised, deleted, or added. Specifically, our Constitution makes no statements on the minimum threshold for winning an elected seat on the EC, nor does it include any process for the recall of a negligent officer. We also had previously raised questions about our current practice of shared positions and how it may impact the “balance of power” amongst the three campus constituency groups. Monica asked whether the one person, one vote model was the best option for the EC and pointed out that since our Constitution grants voting privileges to positions referred to in the singular (e.g. “the president,” “the chief negotiator”), our current voting process violates our stated procedures.

Discussion centered mostly on this last issue, voting. One possibility is to have co-officers and co-reps split their votes (½ vote each); another is to change our Constitution to clarify our practices. Lisa pointed out that the sharing of positions encourages more participation, but perhaps it would be wise to limit the sharing to two people per position. Others said that while in theory the one person, one vote method could become unfair, in practice all campuses currently (and have for some time) have co-chairs, the president and two vice-presidents each come from a different campus, and so on, resulting in a relatively well-balanced distribution of voting rights amongst the three campuses. Most of the EC wanted to keep the one person, one vote model for our EC decision making and agreed that we ought to clarify that point and a few others by revising the Constitution. A subcommittee was called for, and Monica and Lezlee will take on this revision task.

12.   Grievances

Our overturned arbitration case is now at PERB; no one knows how long it will languish there.

In our contract, we cannot grieve issues of disability accommodations nor workplace safety. Chip is working on a situation of this nature. Chip would like to have a disability statement in our contract.

Chip thinks we should discuss creating a bullying survey in order to gauge how widespread harassment is in our membership’s experience, either bullying by deans or other supervisors or by other faculty.


13.   Statements from EC Members on Non-Agenda Items

Lucia asked for clarification on the payment of part-time EC members for their meeting attendance. Time sheets are not necessary, was one clarified bit of information. Dan had assumed the payments would be once per semester. Someone suggested we explore more frequent payments.

The fact checking regarding our database has been completed. CFT can pull data from the district as we were told it could.

Items raised for future meetings:

–    Full-time faculty may be being hired based on grant money. Is this ok?

–    Union handbook subcommittee report

–    Best practices and feasibility for payments to part-time EC office holders


Meeting Adjourned: 5:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by
Teeka James, Acting Secretary