Monthly Archives: October 2015

Nov. 2015 Advocate: The Retirees’ Voice


When I like an author, I read all of their books

by John Kirk, CSM economics professor emeritus & member of DART (District Association of Retired Teachers)

I began teaching at CSM in the Fall of 1969 and ended 42 years later in the Spring of 2011. Since that time, we have been taking care of pets, tending our own garden, looking after our aging parents, doing crossword puzzles, learning how to use iPhones, iPods, iMacs, iPads and other electronic devices, going to a few Giants’ games, answering way too many robocalls on our land line, reading the daily New York Times, waiting for the mail delivery, going to the Farmers market, reading a number of magazines, supporting left-of-center political causes, attending some ACT and Berkeley Rep plays, visiting 6 Hands Winery in the delta, spending time hiking and fishing in the Sierra, reading many novels, and other things like that that retired people do.

On the issue of reading novels, I happened to notice a review of, at the time, a new book by the Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, entitled, 1Q84. It got my attention because I have always been interested in the genre of dystopian novels — Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984, Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and Player Piano, Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Zamyatin’s We — and 1Q84 is an obvious reference to 1984. So I put a hold on the book at the Redwood City Public Library.

The book fascinated me. It was so very different from any other book I had read. In college and graduate school, I took enough Literature classes to earn a minor in English primarily to offset the dryness of the courses in my major — Economics. I didn’t earn the highest grades in those literature classes because although I could identify how I felt about the particular novel we were studying I could not always delineate what techniques the author employed to make me feel that way.

When I like an author, I often make a point of reading every book he or she has written. I do this not because I think that each work is going to be as good as the last, but because I am compulsive. For example, I have read every book by Hermann Hesse, Kurt Vonnegut, Franz Kafka, E.M. Forster, and most of the books of Karen Joy Fowler (retired CSM Math teacher Mike Burke’s sister) and James Joyce (I have been slowly reading Ulysses for the last 45 years and am only on page 405 and haven’t got past page 2 of Finnegans Wake).

So too with Murakami. After 1Q84, I plowed through the following list of Murakami’s books (not in any particular order: Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Dance Dance Dance, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, South of the Border/West of the Sun, Norwegian Wood, A Wild Sheep Chase, Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore, After Dark, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage, The Strange Library, and his many collections of short stories: The Elephant Vanishes: Stories, Vintage Murakami, Blind Willow/Sleeping Woman, After the Quake.

I just put a hold on a recently published book of two short novels which he wrote early in his career entitled Hear the Wind Sing/ Pinball.

Why don’t you try one of his books? Let me know what you think.

November 2015 Advocate: Regular pay for flex days for part-timers


Regular pay for flex days: Defending part-time faculty rights

by Monica Malamud, AFT 1493 Negotiating Team Member

After extended communications between the AFT and District administrators– including a Demand Letter from the Union’s attorney to the District–the District finally agreed, on October 2, to restore paying part-time faculty who are eligible for flex pay according to our contract regular pay for flex activities. This will rectify the District’s unilateral decision to pay part-time faculty at the lower special rate, which was unilaterally announced by Eugene Whitlock (Vice Chancellor, Human Resources and General Counsel) in early August, but which contradicted the AFT contract.

On August 6, 2015, a week before Opening Day, which marks the beginning of the Academic Calendar, Vice Chancellor Whitlock sent an email to all adjunct faculty informing them that “the District has undertaken the task of clarifying how all part time faculty are compensated for participating in Opening Day and FlexDay activities.” 1  In the same email message, he wrote that “any part time faculty member can participate in flex activities and […] be compensated at the special rate. As it concerns ‘flexible flex’, the only thing to clarify is that the limit of flexible/alternative hours that can be claimed is capped at the total hours of flex activities that were offered on your campus.”1

It was already clear
The reality is there is nothing that needs clarification, since our Collective Bargaining Agreement, a.k.a. the AFT contract, already clearly states the rate of pay and the cap on the number of hours that part-time (PT) faculty members can claim for flex activities.

According to article 7.11.2 of our contract, “Part-time faculty members shall participate in flex activities as part of their basic assignments if the flex day falls on a scheduled workday.  For example, if a part-time faculty member normally holds a class on a Monday and that day is a scheduled flex day and thus his/her normally scheduled class(es) is/are not held, the part-time faculty member who participates in the College flex activities shall receive regular pay for the normal student contact hours that would have been worked that day.  Those part-time faculty members identified above can elect to participate in a college-approved flex activity on an alternative day other than the College-designated flex day, show written verification of the activity, and receive regular pay for up to the normal student contact hours that the part-time faculty member is scheduled to teach on that day of the week.”2

How does Mr. Whitlock’s “clarification” differ from the AFT Contract?
1.    Pay rate:
– According to the contract, it is regular pay, which means lecture or lab rate, depending on what each PT faculty member would normally teach on a day of the week that is designated as a flex day.
– According to Mr. Whitlock, the pay would be at special rate, which is exactly the opposite of regular pay, and a lower rate.
2.    The cap on the number of hours that can be claimed as flex:
– According to the contract, each semester, a PT faculty member may claim for flex up to the sum of hours that he or she is normally scheduled to teach on all the days that are designated as flex in that semester.
– According to Mr. Whitlock, the cap would be the number of hours that a campus schedules flex activities on a given flex day.
3.    Who qualifies for flex pay:
– According to the contract, part-time faculty who would normally be teaching on a given day of the week, but cannot teach because a day in the academic calendar has been designated as a flex day.
– According to Mr. Whitlock, any faculty who attends an activity on a flex day.
Regarding the third point while the union believes that all faculty should be paid for participating in these and many other worthwhile activities in our District, our current contract language does not include a provision for paying PT faculty for attending flex day activities if they do not otherwise qualify for flex pay as explained in (2) above.

A little history
The AFT contract has had language regarding pay to PT faculty for flex activities for over ten years.  Article 7.11 appears in every AFT contract since the 2004.  Over the years, the application of this contract language has remained the same, with the pay rate and the cap on the number of hours as explained above.

In the spring semester 2009, the first time that our Academic Calendar had a flex day in the middle of the semester, there were email exchanges between Harry Joel (then Vice Chancellor of Human Resources) and Monica Malamud (then AFT 1493 President), which resulted in explanations of article 7.11.2 that they crafted collaboratively, and which they sent to the three college presidents and to all faculty respectively.  These communications served as the basis for the current version of Article 7.11.2.

The current version of Article 7.11.2 of the AFT contract was negotiated as a District proposal to the AFT, which was signed into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on April 29, 2013 and, during subsequent negotiations was incorporated into the contract, which was ratified by faculty and approved by the Board of Trustees on October 9, 2013.

In summary, the contract language has been in effect for over a decade, and it was relatively recently (2013) rewritten to reflect even more clearly the established practice in our District with respect to pay to part-timers for flex activities.

District attempts to unilaterally change contract
Despite clear contract language, which has been unambiguously applied for over a decade, the email sent on August 6, 2015 by Eugene Whitlock re-interpreted article 7.11.2 in a new way, claiming that what article 7.11.2 actually says “makes no sense” and causes “confusion.” 3

AFT President Teeka James and Eugene Whitlock exchanged several emails in August.  When it became obvious that it would be better to deal with this issue in person, a meeting was arranged for August 31st.  Eugene Whitlock attended this meeting for the District, and AFT 1493 was represented by Teeka James (President), Joaquin Rivera (Chief Negotiator and co-Vice President), Monica Malamud (Negotiating Team Member, past President 2008-2012) and Dan Kaplan (Executive Secretary).  At the conclusion of the meeting, the two parties were still discussing the “interpretation” of the contract, although it was understood that the District would maintain the status quo and the parties could revisit the issue in future negotiations.

The day after this meeting, September 1st, a PT faculty member who had been paid for flex activities at the regular rate repeatedly over the years, brought to the union’s attention that in the time-sheets for flex days at the beginning of this semester, the rate listed was special rate instead.

This constituted a unilateral change imposed by the District, which is illegal.  If the District wants to change contractual language, this must be done in negotiations.  Negotiations had just concluded, and they did not include any changes to flex pay for PT faculty.

Interestingly, in an email just two days after the August 31st meeting, Mr. Whitlock referred to the position advocated by the union as the “ ‘old way’ of interpreting the contract”, which seems to constitute an acknowledgement of the fact that the District’s interpretation was “new”!4

AFT 1493 ready to file Unfair Labor Practice
On September 10, Kathy Blackwood (Executive Vice Chancellor) wrote:  “I spoke with the Board yesterday evening about the flex time issue.  The Board does not agree with your interpretation of the MOU language, but has directed us to negotiate it with you. As such, it seems like a good time to start negotiations for the next contract as well.” 5  Joaquin Rivera reminded District administrators that we are not ready to start negotiations on the full contract yet.  And actually, before the whole contract is open for negotiations, we are to negotiate 2016 medical caps for full-time faculty plus two union re-openers.

The AFT 1493 Executive Committee (EC) discussed the developments with the District regarding part-time pay for flex activities, the District’s insistence on changing the “interpretation” of contract language (when there is no room for interpretation), and the District’s unilateral change in the way it intended to pay part-timers for flex activities and decided to consult with our attorney, Bob Bezemek, about filing an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with PERB (Public Employment Relations Board).

Upon learning about the issue and collecting supporting documentation, Mr. Bezemek sent an 11-page Demand Letter to the District concerning its ULP, on behalf of the Union.  The letter summarized the evidence supporting the union’s position, the long-standing past practice, the unlawful nature of the unilateral change that the District was trying to impose, and the events and communications that took place in August and early September.  It stated that although much of the unilateral change would result in lost wages for PT faculty, the promise to pay any part-timer who attended flex activities would constitute a gain for some, and should be kept.  In its final paragraph, the letter asserted that AFT 1493 would file a ULP with PERB if the district did not restore the status quo with respect to wages, terms and conditions of flex for PT faculty.

Resolved: The Union prevails!
On October 2nd, Eugene Whitlock responded to the Union on behalf of the District, stating that: “The District will adjust the pay for those part time faculty members who have a class on the same day of the week as FlexDay, so that if they received compensation at the special rate for their participation in FlexDay activities, the adjustment will take them up [to] the regular rate.”5  By doing so, the District is following contractual language and established practice.  Adjuncts who are owed a difference will receive it with their October pay.

“For other adjuncts who participated in FlexDay activities, there will not be any change to the compensation that they have received.” 5  Here the District follows through in its promise to pay part-timers for their attendance on the August flex days, as communicated in [1].

“The District will adopt the practice advocated by the AFT” regarding flex pay for PT faculty. 5  The District has also stated that they disagree as to the meaning of the contract language.  This issue, as well as others, can be brought up in negotiations, but, as with anything else, any changes to the contract must be agreed to by both parties.

If any part-time faculty member has questions about how they have been compensated for participating in FlexDay activities, they should contact AFT 1493 Executive Secretary Dan Kaplan at or x6649.

1. Email with subject “FlexDay Compensation for Part Time Faculty” from Eugene Whitlock to Adjunct Faculty, August 6, 2015, 4:12 p.m.
2. Article 7.11.2, Agreement between the Board of Trustees of the San Mateo County Community College District and San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers Local 1493, AFT, AFL-CIO.
3. Email with subject “FlexDay Compensation for Part Time Faculty” from Eugene Whitlock to Teeka James and Diana Bennet, July 30, 2015, 2:46 p.m.
4. Email with subject “Part time Flex Day issues” from Eugene Whitlock to Joaquin Rivera, September 2, 2015, 1:10 p.m.
5. Email with subject “Demand Letter concerning District’s Unfair Labor Practice” from Eugene Whitlock to Alex Iova (Legal Assistant, Law Offices of Robert Bezemek), October 2, 2015, 8:52 a.m.

September 9, 2015

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

September 9, 2015 – CSM

EC members present:

Najla Abrao, Eric Brenner, Lin Bowie, Vicki Clinton, Sandi Dorsett, Dan Kaplan (Exec. Secr.), Michelle Kern, Teeka James, Doniella Maher, Monica Malamud, Joaquin Rivera, Paul Rukhaus, Janice Sapigao, Anne Stafford, Elizabeth Terzakis, Rob Williams, Shaye Zahedi

AFT (non-EC) members: Wendell Doman (Spanish @ CSM)

Meeting began at 2:31 p.m.

Facilitator: Rob Williams


Closed session

EC Members discussed faculty grievances and complaints.


  1. Welcome and Introductions



  1. Statements from AFT (non EC) members on Non-Agenda Items



  1. Minutes of May 13, 2015 AFT meeting

Minutes approved unanimously, with a few corrections sent by Dan.


  1. Workload Reduction Campaign – EC discussion

Our local has been talking about the increasing time that faculty have been required to spend on non-teaching tasks since Spring 2012, when a faculty survey was conducted. Since then, this issue has been on our AFT agenda several times, and we’ve had a meeting with Academic Senate leaders. Monica would like assistance from CFT to develop a strategy that will involve faculty at large, so that we may develop a proposal with good faculty buy-in and support that can be successfully negotiated.

Dan advocates for meetings where faculty can attend and share their concerns. Several EC members spoke about the need to stop going around in circles and getting to concrete actions. Monica has been reaching out to Zev to get guidance on how to make progress on this issue, but he was out on vacation. Zev told Dan that he will contact our local shortly to start working on this.


  1. Board of Trustees race – Joaquin Rivera

Subcommittee of EC members identified at our Retreat interviewed four candidates on the Friday right after the retreat: Maurice Goodman, Ramiro Maldonado, Karen Schwarz and Dave Mandelkern.

  • Ramiro is a former republican candidate for the CA senate, worked for the G.W. Bush in the White House for six months, actively worked in Meg Witman’s campaign. He has been endorsed by current trustees Tom Mohr and Karen Schwarz.
  • Maurice Goodman is a former Skyline student, former student body president, former student trustee in our district and comes from the northern part of the county. Committee was very impressed with Maurice. Current trustees Mandelkern and Holober have endorsed Maurice.
  • Karen Schwarz and Dave Mandelkern are incumbents, and they are likely to be re-elected.

Two important players in the San Mateo Central Labor Coucil, as well as the San Mateo Democratic Party have endorsed Mandelkern, Schwarz and Goodman.

The recommendation of the EC subcommittee is that our local endorse Mandelkern, Schwarz and Goodman.

  • EC approved endorsement of Goodman, Mandelkern and Schwarz, with two abstentions.


  1. Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizing Project update – Michelle Kern

On October 1st, Katharine and Michelle are meeting with other organizers of the March conference which our local will sponsor, together with Jefferson Elementary and Jefferson High School unions. Michelle has also been meeting with union leaders at Jefferson to collaborate with them and work on activism in the north county area.

Katharine and Michelle will promote the medical reimbursement stipend program among PT faculty, because it was evident from the survey that many PT faculty are not aware of this program.


  1. CCSF Full Accreditation resolution – Dan Kaplan

Dan brought a resolution for the consideration of the EC.

  • EC voted unanimously to approve resolution.

Dan will bring up a resolution to our Board of Trustees.


  1. AFT Local 1493 2015-2016 budget – Harriet Tucker

Harriet distributed a draft budget for 2015-2016 and a comparison of budget projections versus actual income and expenses for 2014-2015, and she went over both documents.

  • The EC unanimously approved the budget.


  1. Review and re(appoint) AFT Reps to Committees

CSM Professional Development Committee: Teeka nominates Chris Smith, Kathleen Steel and Rebecca Alex to this committee. In combination with the Academic Senate rep, the membership has a good mix of representatives from different areas.

  • Moved to approve Teeka’s recommendations. Unanimous

At Cañada and Skyline, the same reps will continue to serve on the Professional Development Committees.


  1. Advocate Survey questions

The EC agrees that if faculty are still reading the printed copy, then we should continue to publish hardcopies. Suggestion: call it a “Communications Survey”, instead of “Advocate Survey”, and include questions about the website, Facebook page and emails.

Doniella pointed out that if our union membership is quite passive (not engaged/activist), then it should not surprise us if the readership of the Advocate is not very high. There are differing opinions within the EC on whether our members read the Advocate or not.


  1. Flex Day Obligation issue – Teeka James

Eugene Whitlock sent an email on August 6 to all adjunct faculty regarding pay for flexdays. Although he claimed that “the District has undertaken the task of clarifying how all part time faculty are compensated for participating in Opening Day and FlexDay activities”, the email was an attempt to unilaterally change the terms of our contract, skirting the negotiation process. The current contract language for PT pay for flex activities was written as an MOU on 4-26-13, and incorporated into the contract when the 9-11-13 TA was ratified by the faculty. The contract language regarding pay for PT for flex days was proposed by the District, in order to more clearly reflect the practice that had been in effect for many years. There are also emails from former ViceChancellor of Human Resources Harry Joel to Monica (past AFT 1493 president) and to college presidents documenting that this was the practice in our District for many years. The main two differences between our contract and Eugene’s recent email are: – Pay rate:According to the contract, it’s regular pay, which means lecture or lab rate, depending on what a faculty member would normally teach on a day of the week that is designated as a flex day.But Eugene says it’s “special rate”, which is exactly the opposite of regular pay (and a lower rate). – The cap on the number of hours that can be claimed as flex, and for which days:According to the contract, each semester, a PT may claim for flex up to the sum of hours that a PT is normally scheduled to teach on all the days of the week that are designated as flex in that semester.But Eugene said that pay would be capped at the number of hours of flex activities scheduled on campus on a given flex day.

Next steps:

  • Teeka will send an email to faculty explaining what our current contract says about this.
  • Bob Bezemek will be contacted to discuss the filing an Unfair Labor Practise with PERB.


  1. Administration Survey update

Elizabeth and Doniella will work on this.


  1. TA ratification vote

A link to the ballot was sent out to each faculty member’s email. Teeka will send out a reminder, stating that the EC has endorsed this TA.


  1. Statements from EC members on Non-Agenda items:

EIR for the colleges is posted online.


Meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.




Come to a meeting on your campus to learn about Fact Finding and hear the latest bargaining updates from our AFT Negotiating Team.
  • CSM: Tuesday, October 18th, 3-4 pm, College Vista; RSVP:
  • Skyline: Wednesday, October 19th, 2-3 pm, Room 2306; RSVP:
  • Cañada: Thursday, October 20th, 3-4 pm, Cañada Vista; RSVP:
Stand up against the District’s proposed Take-Backs:

  • Raises reduced from 4.77% to 2%
  • Evaluations increased
  • Flexible flex eliminated
  • Workload Equity dropped