Monthly Archives: October 2014

September 10, 2014

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at CSM

EC Members Present: Lin Bowie, Eric Brenner, Victoria Clinton, Salumeh Eslamieh, Stephen Fredricks, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Michelle Kern, Doniella Maher, Sandi Raeber Dorsett, Joaquin Rivera, Paul Rueckhaus, Janice Sapigao, Anne Stafford, Elizabeth Terzakis, Lezlee Ware, Shaye Zahedi

Guests: Zev Kvitky, Wendy Whyte

Meeting started: 2:35

Facilitator: Katharine Harer

CLOSED SESSION: Discussion of Grievances/Complaints

Dan updated the EC on a number of recent faculty complaints.

Welcome and Introductions

Agreed to move this item before CLOSED SESSION

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

Agreed to move this item before CLOSED SESSION

  • A faculty member expressed concerns about a Dean violating seniority rights when scheduling classes: Dan proposed meeting with the faculty member and the appropriate dean.
  • Zev reminded us of the importance of the upcoming race for Superintendent of Public Instruction – Katharine urged EC members to distribute fliers supporting Tom Torlakson for Superintendent.

Skyline PT EC Co-Reps Issue

Both of the current co-PT EC reps at Skyline are no longer part-time: one was recently hired for a tenure-track position (Hellen Zhang) and the other is serving in a temporary full-time coordinator position (Paul Rueckhaus). We discussed the possibility of allowing both faculty to continue as co-PT reps since they were PT when they were elected.

Because there is another PT faculty member at Skyline interested in getting more involved with the union and serving on the EC, we agreed that Hellen Zhang and Stephen Fredricks would share the position of EC Rep at Skyline, and                                                 and Paul Rueckhuas would share the position of PT Rep at Skyline.

* Minutes of May 14, 2014 AFT Meeting

Approved unanimously with one abstention.

Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizing Project Update

Katharine and Michelle attended a two-day (CFT?) training last weekend focused on how best to use our Strategic Campaign funding. They are currently working to create a welcome packet for new faculty. Katharine is reaching out to new FT faculty while Michelle is doing the same for PT faculty.

They are also working to include photos and quotes from all EC members to include on the AFT1493 website. They want to include more photos of non-EC members to emphasize that the union is not just the EC.

AFT 1493 2014 Budget

For 2014, AFT 1493’s income decreased by approximately $65,000 at the same that our expenses went up. While we do have reserves to cover this year’s deficit, we cannot continue to operate in the red. We discussed briefly the possibility of raising dues. Faculty currently contribute 1.2% for their AFT dues, which is relatively low compared with other locals. Increasing dues to 1.5% would raise over $130,000 for AFT 1493.

One faculty member suggested raising the dues only for FT faculty.

Academic Calendar, Negotiations, Faculty Survey on the AFT’s Contract Reopener


            We examined the two possible academic calendars for 2015/16.

  • The District is asking for a two-year calendar.
  • Administration has asked for 6 Flex days in response to the Flex Coordinators’ requests.

            Contract negotiations reopeners

  • Employee contributions to health insurance premiums will be going up in January 2015 for every plan except Kaiser. Teeka suggested that in the next round of negotiations, we advocate for an increase in the stipend PT’s receive for health insurance.
  • We need to develop contract language that addresses issues of how Deans schedule classes – there is currently nothing.
  • We still want to strengthen contract language related to seniority.

An MOU for Administrators Teaching in SMCCD?

Monica raised important issues and questions at our May meeting about how to handle requests from administrators who want to teach classes (Who will pay the administrator/faculty union dues? How do we ensure that no PT’s are “bumped” in the process? Who will evaluate Deans’ classroom teaching? Which administrators can teach? How will any student complaints be handled?)

We agreed that individual administrators should pay their own union dues, that they should be evaluated by a faculty member from another campus within the District, that only former faculty may teach, and that an administrator must not “bump” a PT faculty member.

Should PT Faculty Automatically Be Interviewed for FT Jobs?

There will be an article by Barbara Christensen the next issue of The Advocate including statistics about the percentage of FT hires in the district who were previously PT faculty.

Granting interviews to all internal candidates could become an unreasonable burden for some departments.

While we recognize the importance of confidentiality, we agreed that hiring committees should be able to tell PT’s who weren’t interviewed why they weren’t.

Grievance Committee Training


Dean’s Survey: Next Steps


Statements from EC Members on Non-Agenda Items

  • One EC member expressed concern over an apparent increase in the number of faculty and classified staff being fired and stated that that some faculty are feeling vulnerable in their positions and are afraid to speak out.
  • A number of adjuncts are falling through the cracks – between Employer-provided health care and eligibility for the Health Care Reform subsidy.


Meeting adjourned:             5:00


* Action Item

Nov. 2014 Advocate – Union recommendations for Nov. 4th ballot

CFT and other unions make ballot recommendations for November 4th election

The following are summaries of ballot recommendations from the California Federation of Teachers, the California Labor Federation, the San Mateo County Labor Council and other unions for key races in the November 4th general election.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Tom Torlakson

Tom-Torlakson    Tom Torlakson is a former high school and community college teacher who has been a staunch advocate for quality public education for all students. Melinda Dart, President of the Jefferson Federation of Teachers, pointed out that Torlakson, a CSM alumni, “was a student in Daly City schools, and later, a teacher. He has consistently supported teachers in our quest for a quality public education for all children, a full education—which includes music, art, sports and all the enrichment that make school a vibrant and fulfilling experience.” Torlakson’s opponent, Marshall Tuck, is a former Wall Street banker and a corporate charter school CEO who has no degree in education and no classroom experience, with huge support from very wealthy donors. While Torlakson has opposed the Vergara decision, which undermines teacher tenure, Tuck supports the decision. This is an extremely important and very close race.
Torlakson is endorsed for re-election by the California Labor Federation, the California Federation of Teachers, and the California Teachers Association.

Statewide Ballot Propositions

Proposition 1: $7.5 Billion Bond for California’s Water System

This measure would cost California taxpayers $14 billion in total new debt in 40 yearly payments of $360 million. The biggest expenditure would facilitate water transfer at no cost from the Sacramento River Delta to the western San Joaquin Valley agribusiness, not to small farmers, infrastructure repair or conservation. These public funds go in part to private water companies. This is a gift to big business and water privatizers that have been twice previously stopped at the ballot.
CFT has taken a YES position on this Proposition. AFSCME Council 57 and a host of environmental organizations have urged a No vote.

Proposition 2: Budget Stabilization Account

The key part of this complex proposed amendment to the State constitution is that it requires spending from $800 million to $2 billion annually from general fund revenues to repay existing State debts. It also changes how school reserves are funded with the result that, in lean fiscal times, schools will have more difficulty balancing their budgets.
CFT and the California Labor Federation have taken a Neutral position on this Proposition.

Proposition 45: Healthcare Insurance Rate Changes

This measure would mandate that any rate changes to health insurance premiums in California must be approved by the elected insurance commissioner. It would also prohibit health, auto, and homeowners insurers from determining policy eligibility or rates based on lack of prior coverage or credit history. Health insurance companies and the Chamber of Commerce are funding a fear-mongering ad campaign against 45. The CFT, the California Nurses’ Association, and many consumer rights organizations have taken a YES position on this Proposition.

Proposition 46: Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors, Medical Negligence Lawsuits

This measure would increase the limit on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, require doctors to check a statewide patient database prior to prescribing narcotics, and require doctors to undergo drug and alcohol testing. Raising the much-too-low limits on medical malpractice awards is a good idea, but this Proposition has a blame-the-victim approach to drug abuse, while letting the mega-wealthy pharmaceutical industry off the hook, and it violates the privacy rights of doctors and patients.
CFT and the California Labor Federation have taken a Neutral position on this Proposition.

Proposition 47: Criminal Sentences, Misdemeanor Penalties

This measure would reclassify nonviolent drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, and mandate that saved funds go toward school drop-out prevention programs and other public, mental health and drug rehab services. By prioritizing treatment and eliminating mandatory minimums, legacies of the racist “war on drugs”, this measure will reduce barbaric overcrowding in prisons. It saves the State hundreds of millions of dollars.
CFT and the California Labor Federation have taken a YES position on this Proposition.

San Mateo County Ballot Measure

Measure H: San Mateo County Community College District Bond

Measure H is a $388 million bond to modernize math and science classrooms and labs, upgrade technology and job training facilities, upgrade access for disabled students, ensure facilities meet disaster preparedness requirements, and replace aging infrastructure with energy efficient systems. The bond will be subject to annual audits and monitoring by a Citizen’s Oversight Committee, and construction work will be done under a Project Labor Agreement with the San Mateo Building Trades Council.
The San Mateo County Central Labor Council has taken a YES position on this Measure.



Nov. 2014 Advocate – Adjunct’s views on applying for full-time positions

A response to District’s views on procedures for adjuncts applying for full-time positions

The following is a counter-response by a Skyline adjunct faculty member (who wishes to remain anonymous) to an article in the September Advocate by Barbara Christensen, SMCCCD Director of Community/Government Relations, which responded to an initial article in the May issue by the same adjunct instructor.  

I would like to address some arguments put forth by Barbara Christensen.
    First of all, Ms. Christensen seems to be under the impression that this is an isolated single person issue.  The truth of the matter is that the article was written by a single person speaking up on behalf of a large number of part-timers with the support of a large number of full-timers.  Indeed, giving priority consideration to in-house employees is a policy widely supported by the vast majority of part-timers and full-timers.  
    Secondly, although the hiring process for faculty is faculty driven, employers still have a duty under the Equal Opportunity Act to ensure that the workplace is free of discrimination and harassment.  The employer may be held vicariously liable for acts that are carried out by employees or persons acting under their supervision unless it can be demonstrated that all reasonable steps have and are being taken to prevent the prohibited conduct.
    Third, Section 53021 of Title 5 of the Education Code simply states that “in-house or promotional only” recruitment should not be used to fill any new opening for a faculty position.  Title 5 says nothing against giving preferential status to applicants already working at the college for a certain number of years.
    Fourth, the District’s track record in hiring adjuncts is not a reason to refuse to deal with problems when they do arise.  Barbara Christensen claims that, in 2013-14, 70% of faculty hires came from adjunct faculty within our District.  Well, that means 30% of hires came from outside the District and current District adjuncts were not hired for almost a third of our District’s openings.
    Fifth, why is the District fighting this very modest proposal of giving preferential status in the hiring process for those who have already been working there a certain number of years?  It would cost the District nothing.  The vast majority of faculty want it and certainly public sentiment would also be supportive.  So what is the District gaining by coming out against this proposal especially when other districts such as CCSF, Peralta, and College of Marin, have such proposals in their contracts?