June 22nd Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud, Paul Bissember, Marianne Kaletzky;  SMCCD District:  Laura Schulkind, Mitch Bailey, Joe Morello, Charlene Frontiera, David Feune, Aaron McVean

This bargaining session was again devoted to negotiations over extending the current MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on the effects of the District’s response to COVID-19. At the end of the previous session, both AFT and the District agreed to arrive at today’s negotiations with the goal of settling an MOU. Unfortunately, substantial disagreements between the parties made this impossible.

Specifically, the AFT and the District continue to differ on key issues including:

  • Workload – The MOU for March – May of 2020 limited faculty work requirements to the essential duties outlined in Appendix D1 A for Instructors, D2 A for Counselors, and D3 A for Librarians. AFT maintains that the District must continue to offer workload reductions in response to the current context of distance education, which requires faculty to invest more time in helping students succeed.At the June 17th negotiations, District representatives promised to consult with campus administrators to determine which faculty duties were essential for the functioning of the Colleges through the pandemic. But at today’s negotiations, the District refused any reduction in faculty workloads and demanded that faculty return to all previously assigned duties for Summer and Fall, claiming that all faculty duties are necessary to allow the Colleges to continue to operate.
  • Class caps – As in previous negotiations, the District maintained that instructors who saw a need for a smaller class due to the challenges of distance learning should speak individually with their deans according to the guidelines developed by the District Academic Senate. In response to the AFT’s observation that an instructor would have no recourse if a dean rejected their request, the District offered the additional possibility of appealing to the Vice President of Instruction. The District also offered some compensation for faculty members whose courses exceed 45 students. However, the District continues to reject AFT’s contention that distance learning conditions necessitate more substantial reductions in class caps.
  • Counselors’ workload – The District rejected counselors’ proposal that a set percentage of their time be allocated to one-hour appointments, which would help them support students amidst the extraordinarily trying circumstances of the present moment. Instead, the District offered reduced overall time with students—a proposal which would reallocate appointment time to other professional tasks.
  • Requirements for Fall courses taught in distance modalities – With regard to Fall courses being delivered in distance modalities due to the pandemic, District negotiators insisted on requirements more rigid than the District Academic Senate guidance. Specifically, the District’s proposed language would prohibit instructors from scheduling synchronous meetings longer than 90 minutes. In addition, District negotiators insisted that faculty delivering instruction synchronously must also create materials for asynchronous learning, but could not clarify whether asynchronous lesson plans must be created prospectively for all courses or might be devised as needed on a case-by-case basis.

Next bargaining dates:

  • At the end of the session, District negotiators specified that they would not be available for the next negotiation session until the second or third week of July. AFT will announce the exact date to members when it is set. 
    : On Friday, June 26, District and AFT negotiators agreed on the following bargaining dates:

    • July 7, 2-5
    • July 10, 1-5
    • July 13, 1-5
    • July 16, 2-5



June 17th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud, Marianne Kaletzky;  SMCCD District: Laura Schulkind, Mitch Bailey, Joe Morello, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera, David Feune

In this bargaining session, AFT and the District continued negotiations over extending the current MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on the effects of the District’s response to COVID-19.

The District moved towards AFT’s position on a number of issues, including:

  • Evaluations – AFT proposed that instructors teaching remote or online classes this Fall due to COVID be evaluated only on the content of their courses, not on their use of remote-learning technologies and methodologies. The District accepted that faculty should not suffer negative professional consequences due to the temporary need for remote instruction. They suggested that evaluators offer feedback to faculty on matters including their use of technology, but that faculty teaching online for their first full semester could not be rated as Unsatisfactory. AFT countered that both Needs Improvement and Unsatisfactory ratings should be off the table under the current circumstances, since both have negative consequences for faculty members’ future employment.
  • Faculty training from other districts – the District agreed to accept training in online teaching methodologies from other districts, recognizing AFT’s argument that adjuncts who teach in multiple districts shouldn’t be required to complete the same training multiple times.
  • FLEX day compensation – the District agreed that faculty completing a training on distance modalities other than the District’s required training may count the training time as FLEX time.
  • Workload – in response to AFT’s proposal that faculty workload this Fall be limited to the essential duties outlined in D1, D2, and D3a of the past contract, the District said they would consult with campus administrators to determine which duties they saw as necessary for the functioning of the colleges this Fall.

However, the AFT and the District continue to differ on a number of issues, including:

  • Class caps – AFT proposed that every course have its enrollment limit reduced by 25% so that faculty can give students the additional attention they need to succeed amidst the challenges of distance learning. District chief negotiator Laura Schulkind flatly rejected the proposal, describing the class size reduction as functioning “arbitrarily” and declaring, “We think that’s a sledgehammer when you need a knitting needle.” The District maintains that faculty who see a need for a reduction in class size should consult individually with their deans.
  • Counselors’ workload – Schulkind claimed that District negotiators were struck by the May 20th testimony of counselors, who described working through evenings and weekends to offer students guidance amidst the extraordinary stresses of the pandemic. Yet the District rejected counselors’ proposal to have a set percentage of their contact hours allocated to hour-long appointments, which would give them the time they need to discuss student concerns in sufficient depth. Schulkind said counselors’ proposal “seems very contrary to anything I’ve ever seen counselors ask for in the past, to ask that a contract lock in the time of their appointments…Usually, I’ve seen counselors who want a lower workload wanting a limitation on hours spent with students.” The District proposed instead that counselors’ assigned time with students be reduced by two hours per week, with the two hours reallocated to other responsibilities.
  • Compensation for course conversion – AFT had proposed that faculty be compensated for 10 hours of time for each Spring and Fall course they worked to transition from in-person to online instruction. The District countered by offering five hours of compensation. AFT chief negotiator Joaquin Rivera replied, “We feel that five is not enough. We feel that ten is not enough.” In response, the District offered six hours of compensation.

AFT and the District agreed to devote this Monday’s (6/22) bargaining session, originally slated to discuss workload issues beyond COVID, to trying to come to an agreement on the MOU.

Next bargaining date:

Monday, June 22nd – 2-5pm – MOU


June 12th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present: AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud;
SMCCD District:  Laura Schulkind, Mitch Bailey, Joe Morello, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera, Aaron McVean

This bargaining session focused on extending the current MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) relating to the effects of COVID-19 measures.  While the District accepted many of the AFT’s proposals, there were several points of disagreements including:

  • Canceled / Suspended Classes – The district does not agree to compensating faculty for any for canceled/suspended classes as the District argued this does not apply anymore.
  • FLEX Day compensation for online training without pre-approval – The District will not agree to this citing it needs to be discussed with the Academic Senate.
  • Faculty Training from other Districts – Initially the District rejected accepting training of faculty from other districts, which particularly impacts Part Time faculty. After arguing that the District is requiring training for online instruction from faculty, and that this is a current practice, the District agreed to review and come back with language.
  • Compensation for Course Conversion – While the District acknowledged that transitioning classes online requires increased time and work from faculty, they claimed that paying faculty 10 hours at the special rate per course is cost prohibitive. They countered that faculty be paid at 5 hours at the special rate per course.
  • Distance Education / Online Instruction – AFT proposed maintaining this section, allowing faculty the discretion to decide the mode of online / distance education instruction. The District countered with language that they claimed is verbatim from the Academic Senate including requiring the use of Canvas as the primary point of access.
  • Workload – While the District had agreed to relieve faculty of certain workload duties in the Spring, they explained that this was temporary due to an emergency situation, and that faculty will need to resume all obligations in the Fall.
  • Counselors Workload – Following our last bargaining session which included presentations from counseling faculty from across the campuses, the District rejected and offered no counter to the counselors workload proposal to allow them more time to meet with students. They indicated that, “We think the current system is working well.  We do think that better consistency and communication across the colleges will be good.  I think there is an increased level of sharing of approaches across the colleges across the counseling deans.  We don’t see a need for a change…. we understand they have concerns, we read the language that has been proposed and what we are saying is we do not see a problem with relying on the current approach to local scheduling.”
  • Class Caps – The District rejected the AFT proposal to cap class sizes at 20 students per class arguing this is not feasible. They countered with language from the Academic Senate’s recommendations on class caps.  This involves individual faculty requesting from their deans a reduction in the class caps, includes criteria for deans to make determinations, but ultimately, leaves the decision with the deans.
  • Evaluations – The District countered that tenure-track faculty will undergo the regular evaluation process, which in the Fall will necessarily include their use of distance technology and online teaching methodology. They argued that “we are out of the emergency period, we are paying for 25 hours for robust training for anybody doing this work.  It seems inconsistent to us to pay for the training, but not be evaluated.”  The AFT countered that we are still currently in a crisis, and that faculty are being required to teach online, which, under regular circumstances, teaching online is voluntary.  The District agreed to re-evaluate their position.

Next bargaining dates:

  • Wednesday, June 17th – 1-4pm – MOU
  • Monday, June 22nd – 1-5pm – Workload/Compensation


May 29th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud, David Conway (Legal Counsel); SMCCD District: Laura Schulkind, Mitch Bailey, Joe Morello, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera, David Feune, Mwanaisha Sims

During this bargaining session, the AFT invited our lawyer David Conway to present our counter-proposals on Investigations, Discipline, and Complaints.  Overall, our bargaining teams are very close to coming to an agreement around these topics.  Our goal with this language is to make articles as clear as possible for everyone – faculty members, union grievance officers, and supervisors.

AFT counters combined Investigations and Complaints into a single article.  Another additional change was to incorporate an Appendix with an Employee Notification Packet, for faculty under investigation, that would include the AFT Members Benefits of Representation Letter, Acknowledgement of Rights Form, Employee Notification Form, and Summary of Interview Subject Matter.  On Discipline, the goal of this counter is not to create major substantive changes to the language, but to provide clarifications, some technical changes, and refer back to relevant Ed Code.

The District will prepare counters on Investigations and Discipline, and the AFT will work on preparing the Appendix language for the Notification Packet.

Regarding the Summer and Fall 2020 MOU on the Effects of District Actions due to COVID-19 Pandemic, the District’s bargaining team indicated that they are not in a position to provide a lot of definite plans for the union to identify definite effects to bargain over.  Our AFT bargaining team indicated that we can prepare specific issues relating to the MOU and send them to the District.

The bargaining teams identified the following dates for additional bargaining sessions:

  • Friday, June 12th – 10am-12pm – COVID-19 MOU for Summer/Fall 2020
  • Wednesday, June 17th – 1-4pm – Workload and Compensation


May 20th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember;  Counselors: Arielle Smith, Lavinia Zanassi, Jenna French, Sandra Mendez, Jacqueline Escobar, Kevin Sinarle;  SMCCD District: Laura Schulkind, Mitch Bailey, Joe Morello, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera, David Feune, Luis Escobar

The majority of this bargaining session focused on presentations from a variety of counselors from across the District on the counselors’ workload proposal.  The AFT then presented a counter on wages and compensation and concluded the session by reviewing the outstanding proposals.

Counselors’ Workload

Arielle Smith, Student Services Counselor and CSM Academic Senate President, opened up the counselors’ presentation by giving an overview of the workload issue and the steps that the AFT had taken to resolve the issue without success thus far.  Counselors provided context and shared their experiences arguing the need to allocate additional time for their appointments.  See below for some remarks from this presentation:

“We have had 30 minute appointments [resulting in] counselor burnout and lots of needs being unmet.  In student surveys, they say that they don’t have enough time…We also understand that there is a tension between providing sufficient access and providing sufficient time.  So, we thought the best way would be to have 45-minute appointments.”
 – Arielle Smith, Student Services Counselor at CSM

“I have heard from counselors at Cañada that 30 minutes are not enough.  There are certain points in the semester when everyone is slammed….We have to make the connection first with the students, and then we have to make notes.  It makes sense why the hour was helpful – 45 minutes with students and 15 minutes for notes – but we want to work with the district and settle for 45 minutes.”
Jenna French, Learning Disability Specialist/DRC Counselor at Cañada

“I saw the implementation of SARS and initially I liked it, but what happened was every counselor got boxed into 30 min appointments…The biggest complaint from students, which is out of counselors control, is not enough time with students.  We have to look at all the issues students are dealing with…Having more time would help a lot.”
Kevin Sinarle, Student Services Counselor at the Disability Resource Center at CSM

“The technical skills and knowledge to do this work, you can’t respond to one question in a 30-minute appointment…It’s our job to speak to the student to find out what else is happening…  We’re asking for 45 minutes, really, we should be asking for an hour and a half, but we will take 45 minutes.  The counselors that we are, we want to be there for our students, so I will work with them at night to make sure they get their needs fulfilled.  It’s recognition for the work that we are currently doing.  It’s not equitable for us, and it’s not right for our students.”
– Jacqueline Escobar, Student Services Counseling at Skyline

“The main issue we are all talking about is students first…if my student is sitting across from me and is trying to register for fall and they have issues with housing, we can’t say hold on, we are just doing the registration and not doing personal counseling.  We want to give them our best selves, they deserve it.  Even entering our virtual door is an issue, how do they log in, how do they connect to us?  We are the first point of contact whenever there is a crisis.  It’s multi-faceted and it’s important to consider.  45 minutes is way better than the 30 minutes we are getting now.”
– Sandra Mendez, Student Services Counseling at Cañada

I want to give them the time they need.  I may not need 45 minutes for everyone, but it allows us to develop the trust that we need to do our jobs.  We are only agents to help them do that.  They change their own lives.  We need to address students.  We want a relationship where students feel they are heard, they are part of the process.  I want to be empowering to them.  I’m imploring that this [proposal] be accepted, and not be rejected.”
– Lavinia Zanassi, Career Services Counseling at Skyline

Following the counselors presentation, the District’s Chief Negotiator, Laura Schulkind remarked, “I find this [presentation] very valuable. Thank you so much for taking the time to come … I would like us to have as a management team to go back and discuss what we’ve heard today … My job is to try to find common ground if possible.

Wages and Benefits

The AFT bargaining team presented the following proposal on Wages and Benefits:

Wage increases as follows:

– 2% effective with the beginning of the fall semester 2019
– If the assessed valuation of property, as determined by the San Mateo County Assessor’s Office Local Combined Roll prepared by the County Assessor’s Office, increases by more than 3% for 2019-20, 60% of the assessed valuation increase above 3% will be added to the 2.0% compensation increases stated above effective with the beginning of the fall semester 2019. For example, if the assessed valuation increases 8.0%, then 60% of the 5%, i.e. 3.0%, will be added to the 2%.

– Part-time faculty will be paid at 85% pro-rata.

Increase medical cap as follows effective 1/1/2020:

  • Single: $50.00 per month
  • 2-Party: $100.00 per month
  • Family: $150.00 per month
  • Increase part time faculty medical reimbursement $600 per semester effective January 1, 2020.

Outstanding proposals

Finally, the bargaining teams reviewed the outstanding proposals.

  • AFT will present counters on Discipline, Investigations, Complaints at the next session. AFT also owes a counter on Binding Arbitration.
  • The District owes counters on the FLC Allocation and Workload.

The next bargaining session is on Friday, May 29, 2020 2-4pm


May 13th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud;
SMCCD District:  Laura Schulkind, Mitch Bailey, Joe Morello, David Feune, Aaron McVean

At the previous bargaining session, the negotiations teams discussed the District’s counters on complaints and investigations.  At this bargaining session, we discussed workload and discipline.

District’s Counter-Proposal on Discipline

To start off the discussion, the District’s Chief Negotiator, Laura Schulkind, shared that previously, in another district, she had successfully reached an agreement on a discipline article in two sessions.  Schulkind then walked through their entire proposed article.  She expressed that “having standards and procedures in place helps everyone.”

Overall, the District’s counter-proposal represents an advancement in bargaining as it includes many of the aspects that the AFT had been advocating for: notice to faculty around discipline, due process rights to evidentiary hearing on charges, just cause, and progressive discipline.  In addition, their proposal defines and outlines formal and informal discipline.  The major issue that the AFT bargaining team brought up to the District is that their proposal leaves out part-time faculty.  The District’s team caucused, and came back to the table to explain that they would write up new language to include eligible part-time faculty “who have met the load assignment criteria set forth in Article 19.2.4” providing them with rights around dismissal. Review the District’s entire counter-proposal.


Following the discussion on discipline, the bargaining teams transitioned to talk about workload.  The AFT bargaining team reviewed the challenges around workload, and history and context, and explained the workload proposal.  Schulkind indicated that the idea of a professional responsibilities plan was an interesting idea but expressed concern that the AFT proposal lacks a mechanism that would allow Deans to hold faculty accountable to the plan.  Both teams agreed that there needs to be a collaborative process between faculty and deans when determining workload.

Extension of Coronavirus MOU and Upcoming Bargaining Dates

Following the workload discussion, the AFT’s bargaining team informed the District’s team that we need to discuss extending the MOU for the summer and fall and find additional bargaining dates.  We also agreed to have counselors come to the next bargaining session on May 20, 2020 to present on their workload proposal. 


May 1st Negotiations Session

The AFT and District bargaining teams met on Friday, May 1, for the first contract negotiations session following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had negotiated a successful MOU in two sessions, and now our bargaining teams are back at the table to focus on the contract negotiations, which have been going on now for 15 months. At Friday’s session, the district prepared counter-proposals on informal complaints and formal Investigations.

Overall, our AFT bargaining team found that the district’s counter-proposals covered our main priorities that we outlined in our previous proposals: it provides for notice to the union around investigations, rights to union representation in investigatory meetings, union rights to investigatory information, and it includes links to current and appropriate district policies. The new district negotiator, Laura Schulkind, indicated that the investigations language she created comes from another district, where she had negotiated the same language.

Schulkind explained that, “We considered [this contract language] positive for both the union and the district… Faculty have concerns that informal complaints, become invisible until it comes to discipline and that’s not fair. So, the union should receive notifications so they happen in a fair way. Once things rise to the level of formal investigation, I think faculty protections should be higher.”

Furthermore, Schulkind argued that with more formalized notification that is provided to faculty, there tends to be less grievances and disputes. “I see this as a useful tool for both sides, to have heightened notice to faculty. I do not see it interfering with investigations.”

In past negotiations sessions, the AFT argued that faculty should have their rights protected, treated with dignity, and that there should be mutual respect for a fair process. Schulkind agreed, stating that the District needs to “remind administrators that when we investigate faculty, they are presumed innocent.”

Finally, the district’s counter-proposal includes additional language around investigations of allegations posted to social media. This language also came from a case in another district, which Schulkind argued allows districts to outline policy and provide protections for faculty.

At our next session on May 13, we plan to discuss workload and compensation, including part-time pay parity. We were not yet able to have a discussion on a new COVID-19 MOU, but we will bring this up at the next session. At our May 20 session we will focus on the Counselor Workload issue.

Our upcoming bargaining dates are:
• Wednesday, May 13, 9-11am,
• Wednesday, May 20, 12-2pm 
• Friday, May 29, 2-4pm


April 6th: Highlights of MOU on Effects of District Emergency Actions  due to COVID-19 pandemic

We have reached a final agreement with the District on the MOU.
Below are highlights of all of the key relief measures.

  • The relief measures outlined in the MOU last until the end of the semester (May 30, 2020)
  • Faculty will maintain their salary and benefits throughout the Spring semester. Faculty will be fully compensated for cancelled or suspended classes.
  • Emergency Leaves –In addition to the leaves guaranteed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Faculty will be granted the following types of leaves:
    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) – Faculty who meet the FFCRA eligibility [1] to receive EPSL shall receive their regular rate of pay until the end of the semester. This leave is for faculty who are quarantined, advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.  This also includes any faculty who have had classes canceled this semester.
    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to care for family members – Faculty who meet the FFCRA eligibility criteria to receive EPSL at 2/3 pay [2], shall be paid their full rate of pay for 10 days. This leave is for faculty who are caring for a family member.
    • Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) – Faculty who meet the FFCRA eligibility [3] to take the EFML at 2/3 of their regular pay for up to 12 weeks may use accrued leave to bring faculty up to 100% pay for the full 12 weeks. This leave is for faculty with children who have had their schools closed due to COVID-19.
  • Workload Adjustment – For the rest of the semester, faculty shall be limited to only required duties and responsibilities outlined in Appendix D1 A for Instructors, D2 A for Counselors and D3 A for Librarians. Faculty with coordination duties will do their best to continue their coordination and will be provided flexibility to continue performing these duties to the best of their abilities.
  • Reimbursement – Faculty shall receive reimbursements for incurred expenses for conferences not attended or cancelled. In addition, the district will reimburse faculty for preapproved expenses incurred as a result of teaching online.  If members need additional equipment to work remotely, they shall inform their immediate supervisor, and the District will procure and provide the necessary equipment.
  • Flexibility around Online Instruction and Academic Freedom – Faculty will retain academic freedom and the mode of online instruction will be left up to the instructor.
  • Compensation for migrating classes online – All faculty will receive their regular pay as if March 12, 13 and 16 had been instructional days. All faculty shall receive up to ten (10) hours of additional compensation at the special rate, without prior approval, in recognition of transitioning to online instruction (and the procedure for claiming this additional compensation will be announced shortly). For adjunct faculty who did not benefit from the preparation days when the District canceled classes on March 12, 13, and 16, they will receive additional compensation in an amount equivalent to 100% of their regular pay received for each class taught on Tuesday March 10 and/or Wednesday March 11.
  • Evaluations –
  1. Tenure Track: evaluations proceed as scheduled, but faculty are not evaluated on their methodology or use of distance technology, and student surveys are limited to course content.  (Note:  tenure track evaluations are typically completed by now)

Tenured and Part-Time:  If the classroom observation has NOT been completed, evaluations are postponed.  If classroom observation has been completed, evaluee decides if evaluation continues or is postponed; if postponed, portions completed do not have to be repeated.


1.     a. Subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;

b. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;

c. Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;

2.  Is caring for an individual subject to an order described above, or is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

3.  An employee may take EFMLA leave only when they are unable to work because they must care for the employee’s child who is under the age of 18 years, if the child’s school or place of care has been closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to an emergency related to COVID-19


March 30th Negotiations Session on MOU on COVID-19 Measures

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud, Paul Bissember;
SMCCCD District:  Laura Schulkind, Mitch Bailey, David Feune

The AFT and District’s bargaining teams met on Monday afternoon to discuss an MOU around the COVID-19 measures.  This was the first meeting with the District’s new Chief Negotiator, Laura Schulkind.  We had a very productive meeting and we want to share that the District has accepted most of our proposals.  We will be meeting again on Weds. 4/1 to continue this discussion with the goal of finalizing the MOU

Next bargaining session: Wednesday, April 1, 1-2pm


February 25th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud:
SMCCCD District:  Mitch Bailey, Joe Morello, Aaron McVean, Max Hartman

At the start of negotiations, the District’s bargaining team indicated that they are finalizing their counter on Discipline and will bring it back to the next session.  On investigations, the AFT bargaining team asserted that ALL investigations should be covered by this language, not just issues of discrimination/harassment.  AFT will bring a counter to reflect this position at the next session.

The rest of this session focused on FLC Lab Rates, and Workload – including a discussion on the counselor’s workload proposal.

AFT Counter on FLC Lab Rates

AFT countered to increase the District’s proposal of 0.8 FLC for the Sciences, Art, Music and KAD labs to to 0.85.  This would allow for an increase to all of the proposed lab rates and have them be the same.  AFT also presented a counter on the Coach’s issue.  AFT agreed to the District’s proposal to make this change effective Spring 2021 and also agreed to appointing a committee to study further increases for the other lab classes.


While we are making some progress on the FLC Labs and Investigations/Discipline, the bargaining teams are still far from an agreement on Workload.  The District’s team argued, “We have been consistent that work is different from one division to another, and to put a hard box is impractical and unhelpful, it removes the flexibility from the deans and faculty from coming together…You want everything or nothing, and that is not reasonable.”

The AFT’s team responded, “We want a comprehensive proposal.  We’ve been dealing with this for years now, and we need to define what is a reasonable expectation for this extra amount of work.  It’s not just hiring or tenure committees, there’s a lot of other things that faculty do that take time.”

The District did update their previous proposal and explained they had made a mistake with their numbers.  Instead of a .05 FLC for serving on more than 3 Tenure-Track Review or Hiring Committees (the only non-instructional work that the District is proposing for some compensation) they meant 0.75 FLC.  They indicated that they would provide written language to reflect this change.

Counseling Workload

AFT provided feedback to the District from CSM Counselor Arielle Smith who reviewed the District’s proposal with the AFT bargaining team.  Here are three concrete needs coming from Counseling faculty:

  • Define how ‘coordination’ is being used – this has been used inconsistently across the District.
  • Include counselors working as part of grant-funded programs in the contract to ensure their rights are protected.
  • Clear and consistent workload expectations for counselors.

AFT would like to invite counselors to an upcoming negotiations session focused on this topic so they can voice their concerns directly about the district’s proposal.  The District’s team indicated an openness to this concept.


February 18th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud
SMCCD District:  Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Aaron McVean, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera, Mwanaisha Sims

At this bargaining session the District prepared a counter proposal on the counselor’s workload issue, FLC Lab Rates, and the AFT presented a counter on discipline.  Our bargaining teams also discussed investigations and binding arbitration.

Discussion on Investigations/Complaints

The District’s bargaining team has reaffirmed that they want to limit any policy on investigations to only harassment and discrimination.  The AFT’s team argued that the contract language should cover any and all types of incidences when faculty are being investigated.  The District indicated that there is current Board policy around HR Personnel investigations and confirmed that they will send this policy to the AFT team to review.

AFT Counter Proposal on Discipline

In the AFT’s counter to the District’s last proposal on discipline, we added language to outline informal discipline processes, and rejected the District’s language to exclude Part-Time Faculty from disciplinary procedures.  The District will review and submit a counter.

District Counter Proposal on Counselor’s Workload

In a shift from their previous position of outright rejecting the AFT’s proposal on counselor’s workload, the District presented a counter proposal which removed much of language of the initial AFT proposal.  Their proposal maintained language around ‘flexibility’ for peak times, and the limits to Drop-In scheduling, while rejecting 45-minute appointments.  In addition, they added language to the counselor to student ratio section: “the District shall maintain a ratio of at least one FTE counselor per 495 students.”  Finally, their proposal removed language on coordination.  The AFT explained that defining coordination was important as counselors are seeking clarity on how coordination is being used across the district.  AFT will bring this proposal to counselors and discuss next steps.

District Counter on FLC Lab Rates

The District had previously indicated that there was not enough money to increase the FLC Lab Rates, and have now presented a counter to increase the Art, Music, and KAD lab rates from 0.7 to 0.8, and that other lab rates would remain the same.  In addition, they would still like to form a committee to study further increases for other labs and to examine the FLC proposal for the Coaches as well.  The proposed increases would be effective starting in Spring 2021 as the District indicated that they are currently preparing schedules.

Binding Arbitration and Workload

The District rejected the AFT’s last proposals on Workload and Binding Arbitration and countered that they are maintaining their previous position on this issue.  Read the February 5th Bargaining Report for details on Binding Arbitration.  On Workload, here is the ‘enforcement’ part of the District’s proposal and you can find more details on their most recent proposal which they are maintaining here.

Next bargaining session: Tuesday February 25 1-3pm. 


February 10th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud;
SMCCD District:  Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Aaron McVean, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera

The District prepared responses on the following issues: Discipline, compensation and adjunct parity, counseling workload and grievance, and FLC Lab Rates.  The AFT brought back to the table counter proposals on Investigations, Binding Arbitration, and Workload.


AFT Response on Workload

At the last negotiations session, the District requested a formal response on workload.  The AFT formally responded that, “AFT rejects the District’s proposal on workload.  We propose the implementation of our point system for a trial period of 3 years.”  There was no further discussion on this issue.


District Counter on Discipline

The District took AFT’s proposal, reviewed, took out Ed Code language, defined some items that AFT had outlined including Just Cause, informal discipline, and disciplinary steps.

The AFT immediately noted that the district’s proposal excludes part time faculty and would not be subject to the grievance process.  The District’s team responded that they “don’t see these two groups (Full-Time and Part-Time faculty) going through the same disciplinary procedures.”  Regarding grievances, their rationale for carving this out from the grievance process is that current Ed. Code relating to discipline would bring disputes to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and our grievance process brings disputes to an arbitrator which could provide two contradictory rulings.   AFT argued that it is important to establish a disciplinary process for ALL faculty and that the grievance process would allow us to settle issues at the lowest possible levels, and resolve them informally without necessarily going to an outside arbitrator or ALJ.  The District encouraged AFT to include these questions/responses in a counter.


AFT Response Binding Arbitration

AFT agreed to part of the District’s proposal that would qualify Part-Time Faculty for arbitration cases who have received two (2) consecutive satisfactory evaluations or have accumulated 8.  In the AFT’s counter, we rejected the exclusion of article 19.2 (Assignment and Retention), and the 9 FLCs minimum requirement for adjuncts to be included or that the 8 semesters to qualify have to be consecutive.


AFT Response on Investigations

The major difference between the investigations proposals centers on the question of whether the District needs to provide specific (AFT) or general (District) information on the complaint.  Additionally, the District’s proposed that the information provided to the union around investigations be limited to discrimination or harassment issues.  The District responded that these investigations are very prescriptive and have different processes than HR investigations.  AFT argued that there needs to be a policy in the contract on ALL faculty investigations, regardless of the content.  AFT expressed a willingness to change the language to include “sufficient and relevant” information which would be in alignment with a recent California Public Employees Relation Board (PERB) ruling.


District response on compensation and part time pay parity

On the Total Compensation Formula, the AFT had countered that 100% of new money, instead of 80% which the district maintains, be allocated to employee groups.  The current Total Comp. formula shrinks the total funding that employee groups receive over time.  In addition, AFT proposed defining Part-Time Pay parity in the contract at 85% and mirroring the Full-Time Faculty salary schedule.

The District proposed maintaining the Total Comp. Formula as is.  The District rejected defining Part-Time Pay Parity in the contract.  However, in their proposal, the district proposed matching up to 1.5% of the Total Comp. allocation that goes to Part-Time Faculty for this year (2019-2020) which would be incorporated into the salary schedule going forward.  So if 1% of the Total Comp allocation goes to Part-Time Faculty, the district would match an additional 1% (1.5% the District would match 1.5%, 2%, the District would give 1.5% etc.)


FLC Lab Rates

The District understands that the AFT was clear that we need movement on this issue to move forward.  They indicated a willingness to look at the FLC lab rates and will come back with a specific proposal to discuss.


Counselor Workload

While we had a lengthy discussion on the Counselor Workload issue, the District expressed that their answer to the AFT proposal on Counselors’ Workload was still NO.  AFT expressed a frustration with the District over how this issue has been handled.  First, back in March 2019, HR had indicated that it would make sense to recalculate the load and update the language through negotiations.  When AFT brought the Counselors’ proposal to the bargaining table back in September 2019, the District’s bargaining team rejected the AFT proposal and offered NO counter proposal.  Finally, the AFT filed a grievance in December 2019 and the District dismissed the grievance, and suggested that it go back to the bargaining table.  At this session, the District’s team suggested waiting ONE YEAR after implementation of the new CRM system to open up the workload item through the negotiations process.  At this point, why should we take the District’s word that they would negotiate on this issue then, when this is the way things have been handled?  At the end of the session, the District agreed to bring a written proposal at the next bargaining session.

At the next bargaining sessions the District will bring to the table a counterproposal on the Counselors’ Workload issue and the FLC Lab Rates.  AFT will come back with a counter on Discipline.

Next bargaining sessions: February 19, 10-12pm and February 25, 1-3pm



February 5th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud;
SMCCD District: Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Aaron McVean, Mwanaisha Sims, Max Hartman

At this bargaining session, the District presented counter proposals on investigations and binding arbitration.  Additionally, we had a discussion on Progressive Discipline. AFT presented counter proposals on the Distance Ed MOU and the FLC lab allocation.

AFT Counter to MOU on Distance Education

At the last bargaining session, the district proposed a ‘technical’ change to the MOU eliminating the $1,500 stipend for faculty participating in Distance Ed trainings, and instead paying faculty at the special rate.  The problem is that this would result in a decreased amount for many faculty participating in these trainings.  AFT argued that if this is simply a ‘technical’ change, we should ensure their proposal doesn’t decrease the current agreed upon amount of $1,500.  Therefore, the AFT proposed $60 per hour or the special rate, whichever is higher – this way faculty would receive at least $1,500 for Distance Ed trainings.  The District will look into this and get back to the AFT.

District Counter Proposal to Complaints Against Members and Investigations

We had a good discussion on the topic of investigations, and we are getting closer to an agreement here.  The District is conceding to AFT language on the mutual respect for a fair investigative process.  They still want to limit the information provided to the AFT to ‘general’ instead of ‘specific’ complaints.  The AFT argued that according to a recent Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) ruling, the district should provide specific relevant information.    The District disagrees with this PERB interpretation, but will review and get back to the AFT.  AFT also requests that a new notice about the complaints be issued if the District has new information prior to the investigatory interview.  AFT will return to the table with a counter proposal.

AFT Counter Proposal on Faculty Load Credit (FLC) Lab Allocation

In response to the District’s counter proposal on FLC Lab Allocation, which would not change anything and refer the issue to be studied by a committee, AFT proposed an increase in the FLC for Sciences, Art, Music to 0.9 (the initial proposal was 1.0).  The AFT proposal also included an increase for the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Sports of 0.8FTE (12FLC) and 0.75FTE (9FLC) respectively.  In addition, AFT would agree to the district’s proposal to appoint a committee to study further increases to these allocations as well as other lab classes.

The District said that it did not have enough information to change any FLC allocations for labs right now and that AFT’s request to increase lab FLCs may not be fair to faculty.  AFT reminded the District that AFT’s initial proposal came from discipline faculty, and that faculty representatives took the time to come to negotiations to present on this issue.  The District responded that they require more time to study this issue.  AFT said that we could dedicate more bargaining sessions to this issue, and spend more time looking at the specifics.  The District said they could be open to this, but rejected the AFT proposal.

District Counter Proposal on Binding Arbitration

The previous AFT proposal for an MOU on Binding Arbitration was to include Part-Time faculty.  The District agreed to include Part-Time faculty, but with two stipulations:  (a) the MOU would apply only to Part-Time faculty who have received two (2) consecutive satisfactory evaluations and have been given an assignment of at least nine (9) FLCs per semester for eight (8) consecutive, and (b) the following topics would be excluded and not eligible for binding arbitration: assignment and retention.  AFT argued this is a very high threshold to meet and would exclude the vast majority of Part-Time faculty and issues.  AFT will prepare a counter proposal.

Next Bargaining Session: Monday, Feb. 10th

We will be meeting next Monday for our next bargaining session from 1:30-3:30pm.  The AFT asked the District to respond to our Part-Time Pay Parity proposal and about the Counselor’s workload grievance.  The District agreed and will prepare a response for Monday.


January 16, 2020 Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present: AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud, Paul Bissember;  SMCCCD District:  Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Charlene Frontiera, Aaron McVean

Today we held our first bargaining session of the Spring 2020 semester.  AFT presented a counter to the district’s last proposal on Binding Arbitration, and we also gave a presentation on our Part Time Pay Parity proposal and how it would move the district in the right direction around the 50% law.  The district proposed a technical change to the Distance Education MOU stipend.

Distance Ed MOU

The district proposed changing the existing contract language around the Distance Ed MOU which grants faculty a $1,500 stipend for participation in distance education trainings.  Their proposal would change payment of a flat stipend for a 25-hour course to paying faculty at the hourly special rate for online education trainings that could go beyond the 25 hours.  Our bargaining team confirmed that we would review this proposal and follow up with them.

Binding Arbitration Pilot

AFT presented a counter to the district’s recent proposed Binding Arbitration 3-year Pilot.  The district’s proposal left out binding arbitration rights for Part-Time faculty, so the AFT’s counter added the following language to include adjunct seniority rights:

“issues under Article 19 will be eligible for binding arbitration for part-time faculty members that have received two (2) consecutive satisfactory evaluations or has been given an assignment for six (6) semesters with no negative evaluations.”

Part Time Pay Parity and the 50% Law

AFT presented updated information we received from the district relating to Part-Time Pay Parity and the 50% law (requiring that no less than 50% of district’s general expenditures go to classroom instruction).  Firstly, we reminded the district that it has been in violation of the 50% law for the past 5 years (in the 2018/19 academic year SMCCD was at 42.24%).  In addition, the district has never defined Part-Time Pay parity.  As reported in The Advocate October 2012 issue, the state of California had asked all community college districts to “define, through the local collective bargaining process, a parity goal…the goal would be the percentage towards which negotiators try to move in future negotiations.”  In order to move us closer to compliance with the 50% law, and fulfill the mandate from the state to define parity in our contract, AFT urged the district to support our Part-Time Pay Parity proposal which would establish parity at 85%.   Here are the numbers we received from the district:

  • Increasing part-time from 60% to 85%, at a cost of approximately $10.6 million, would increase the District’s compliance by approximately 6.8%
  • Increasing part-time from 65% to 85%, at a cost of approximately $7.9 million, would increase the District’s compliance by approximately 5%
  • Increasing part-time from 70% to 85%, at a cost of approximately $5.5 million, would increase the District’s compliance by approximately 3.5%


We discussed compensation at this session as well.  The district wants to maintain the current Total Compensation Formula with 80%, while the AFT countered 100%.  AFT explained that the current formula would continue the downward trend with regards to the 50% law, and that we need to see if the district agrees to Part Time Pay Parity before our union can agree to the Total Compensation Formula proposal.

Upcoming Bargaining Sessions

Our teams agreed to discuss at our next bargaining session Investigations, Workload – which includes FLC Lab Rates, and Discipline.  See below for the upcoming scheduled sessions:

  • Wednesday, January 29th from 10am-12pm
  • Wednesday, February 5th from 10am-12pm
  • Monday, February 10th from 1:30pm-3:30pm


Summary of Negotiations: August – December

At each negotiation session, different issues are slated for discussion. Here’s an update by issue as to where we are now.


The District’s latest proposal on workload failed at meeting the most basic recommendations outlined in the Workload Committee’s report. For full time faculty, the District proposed that division deans and full-time faculty should assign faculty to committees and other professional responsibilities, thereby bypassing the role of the Academic Senate. They also propose a new and onerous requirement: faculty must submit an annual workload report for review by their dean to determine if their work has met (still unspecified) expectations.

The District is willing to allow that faculty who serve on a third tenure-track hiring committee or tenure review committee can earn miniscule credit totaling 0.05 FLC.

The District has agreed to put in writing that they will compensate part-timers for work they are directed to complete by their supervisor.

Status: AFT has rejected this proposal


Based on feedback from Music, Art, Physical Education and Science faculty and the need to establish parity around load calculation, AFT proposed increasing the FLC for these labs up to 1.0 over the life of the contract. On October 30 the District proposed to set aside AFT’s proposal in order to study the issue for one year. AFT pointed out that the District had made the same offer regarding Workload, and no positive progress had resulted.

Status: AFT has rejected this proposal


After hearing from counseling faculty about inconsistencies in how the Special Rate is used, AFT proposed eliminating the use of the current Special Rate and using the current Lecture Rate for any activity involving student contact and the current Lab Rate for those not involving student contact. The Counselors made their case to the District during September negotiations around this issue and counselor workload.  The District rejected this proposal.

Status: Although the District initially said they would work with AFT to come to a resolution, they rejected the counselor’s proposal completely and offered no counterproposal. AFT has filed a grievance over the counselors’ workload issue on Dec. 5 and will continue to work with counselors to improve working conditions.


AFT requested that the District grant one month of paid maternity and/or child bonding leave to members.

Status: The District rejected AFT’s proposal.


AFT proposed that part-time faculty be paid at 85% of full-time salaries, considering the same number of steps and columns in the salary schedule. We demonstrated that over the past 10 years, the District has overestimated expenditures while underestimating revenues. (For example, last year $11 million set aside for academic compensation was not spent on faculty). The District has ample resources to allocate to faculty compensation.

Status: We are waiting for the District to cost out AFT’s proposal.


During November, in a productive discussion on faculty investigations, AFT and the District moved towards an understanding that the AFT needs to be notified of investigations with sufficient time and information to represent faculty meaningfully.

Status: We’ll continue working with the District to ensure that language guaranteeing this be included our contract.

Also in November, AFT continued to explain the need for clear language and policy around just cause and progressive discipline that would apply to any discipline measures faced by faculty. Status: The District will review AFT’s counter to discuss at the next bargaining session.


The District proposed a limited binding arbitration on terms that would exclude part-timers and almost all categories likely to be arbitrated.  AFT countered that we would only exclude tenure review decisions from binding arbitration.

Status: District rejected most recent AFT proposal on Binding Arbitration.


District rejected Academic Senate/AFT Proposal on Professional Development to increase PD funds, broaden faculty eligibility for PD, and establish clear guidelines on how these funds should be used, in order to put limits on PD funding being used for District/college initiatives.  They instead proposed changing the composition to PD committees to include more administrators.

Status: AFT has rejected this proposal

We have reached Tentative Agreements on the following items:

  • List of unit employees and job information.
  • Academic year begins on the first day of instruction or flex day
  • Part time faculty will be paid for their attendance on flex days.


November 26th Negotiations Session

The November 26 bargaining session focused on workload, progressive discipline, investigations, part-time pay parity, and we also presented information about the district budget.

Investigations, just cause and progressive discipline

AFT presented a counter proposal on investigations, focusing the need for the union to be notified about any complaint about a faculty member with specific information about the complaint.  Next, we explained the need to have clear language and policy around just cause and progressive discipline that would apply to any discipline a faculty member may face.  The district’s bargaining team expressed general agreement with this sentiment and will review our counter to discuss at the next session.


On workload, the district has agreed to put in writing that part-time faculty will be compensated for work they are directed to complete by their supervisor.
On the workload issue for full-time faculty, the district has proposed that division deans and faculty assign faculty to committees and other professional responsibilities — thereby ignoring the role of the Academic Senate. The district’s most recent proposal also requires faculty to submit a workload report each year, which the dean will review in order to determine if each faculty member’s work has met (still unspecified) expectations. Faculty who serve on a third tenure-track hiring committee or a third tenure review committee, “above and beyond what is expected of a reasonable workload”, will earn a 0.05 FLC.

The district’s workload proposal fails to define a “reasonable workload” or what “meeting expectations” means, while maintaining punitive measures for faculty who do not submit a newly-proposed report or do not fulfill an unspecified workload. It only offers a meager fraction of FLC for working on a third tenure-track hiring committee or a third tenure review committee within the same year, while providing no mechanism to address any other workload issues.


Our discussion then focused on compensation by reviewing an analysis of the district budget.  Through our presentation, we demonstrated that over the past 10 years, the District has been overestimating expenditures, while underestimating revenues.  From 2011 to 2018 the revenues have increased 83% and the expenditures have increased only 58%. Last year alone, the difference between overestimated expenditures and underestimated revenues was around $32 million. In particular, in 2018-2019 the district estimated academic salary expenditures at $72,668,634, but only spent $61,572,227, resulting in over $11 million that was actually set aside for academic compensation but not spent on faculty.

Part-time pay parity

Finally, on part-time faculty pay parity, our analysis indicates that, depending on where an instructional adjunct faculty is on the salary scale, they are paid anywhere from 54.87% to 71.71% of a full-time faculty members’ salary.  We have proposed that part-time faculty be paid at 85% of full-time salaries, considering the same number of steps and columns in the salary schedule. We are still waiting for the district to cost out this proposal. We know that our proposal will have a cost, but we have also shown that the district has ample resources that can be allocated to faculty compensation.


November 5th Negotiations Session

At this week’s bargaining session, we discussed Investigations and Progressive Discipline. 

We had a very productive discussion on faculty investigations as we moved towards an understanding that the AFT needs to be notified of investigations with sufficient time and enough information to provide meaningful representation for faculty.

Regarding progressive discipline, however, the district rejected our proposal citing existing Ed Code language. We countered that Ed Code only applies to dismissal, and does not include any language on progressive discipline.

October 30th Negotiations Session

At the October 30 session, the District’s bargaining team emphasized the need to take items off the table so we can focus on the major issues – the first item they proposed to go was the FLC Lab rate proposal. They proposed forming a committee to study the issue for a year and coming back with a recommendation. Our AFT team reminded the district that this is what had happened with our workload proposal from the last round of bargaining and here we are continuing to fight for workload equity!

After having discussions around workload and part time pay parity, the district agreed, for the first time, that adjunct faculty should be paid for required work. In addition, their team had previously expressed a difficulty in calculating parity pay and said it has to be cost-neutral. Following our discussion, they agreed to come back to the table with a proposal and would work on costing out this proposal. We asked that they put it in writing for next week’s (Tuesday, Nov. 5) bargaining session!


October 8th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present: AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud (by phone), Sue Pak (CFT), Paul Bissember; SMCCCD District:  Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera

At this bargaining session, we received responses regarding the Counselor caseload proposal, and on reassigned time for AFT business.  In addition, we had discussions on Part Time parity, and Faculty complaints and investigations.  Finally, we presented a counter proposal on Binding Arbitration.

Counselors’ Caseload Proposal

At our last bargaining session, counselors presented their proposal to update contract language to reflect current duties and responsibilities, while setting a clear limit on counselors’ caseloads.  The district’s bargaining team indicated that they would work with the AFT to come to some resolution on this issue.  Unfortunately, the district’s team outright rejected the counselors’ proposal and offered no counter.  The district’s team explained that, “the counseling deans do not feel comfortable making changes because they feel like we need more information.  There are a lot of new initiatives like guided pathways and CRM and if we commit to language about specific counseling appointment times…we could be doing ourselves a disservice.”  Furthermore, they claimed that things are working well now between counselors and deans and they need more data before making any changes to the contract. 

Our AFT bargaining team expressed our frustration at the district’s response to the counselors’ proposal.  Regarding the fact that there are new initiatives, our AFT bargaining team stated, “Things are constantly changing in education, but if we take this approach, for things to settle to put things in the contract, we may never get there.  Right now it’s the CRM, but in 2 years it could be another program.”  We also asked the district’s bargaining team what kind of timeline they expect to gather more data and resolve the issue.  They couldn’t give us any sort of timeline, but alluded to changes that could take years.

We reminded them that this proposal originated from a current and ongoing violation of the contract relating to counselors appointment times and that we had brought this issue to HR leading to a commitment to resolve this through contract negotiations.  One member of the district’s bargaining team stated that the current practice is not violating the contract.

The district’s chief negotiator concluded, “If we had to make a decision today, we would be able to live with the current contract.”  They may be able to live with the current contract, but counselors have made it clear that changes need to be made.  We informed the district’s team that we would bring this back to counselors and work with them to develop next steps.

Faculty Complaints and Investigations

While we had a good back and forth discussion about contract language relating to Faculty complaints and investigations, the district’s team explained that whatever we decide on, they would want it to exempt it from the grievance process.  Our team argued that if this language is not subject to a grievance process, it would be useless as there would be no way to enforce any negotiated procedures.

Reassigned time for AFT

Our last proposal for reassigned time for AFT organizational activities, we proposed to increase to 16 FLCs, the district responded 14, and they indicated that they could settle at 15.

Binding Arbitration

We submitted a counter proposal on binding arbitration that would change the proposed pilot period from 2 to 3 years upon ratification.  And instead of excluding almost all of the contract, as the district originally proposed, we countered that we would only exclude tenure review decisions from binding arbitration and set a cap of the number of arbitration cases to 3 per year.

Compensation – Part Time Parity

The remainder of the meeting focused on discussing our compensation proposal to set Part Time pay parity at 85%.  The district responded that it is too difficult of a task to cost this out as they would have to place every Part Time member on the salary scale (based on years of experience and level of education etc.).  They indicated that they would not want to guess on a number and that in order to agree to this they would want it to be cost neutral.  The district’s team asked why 85% and our AFT Chief Negotiator explained that he actually calculated the instructional work of Part Time faculty is around 87%, but we are bargaining 85% to make progress towards parity.  This discussion led to an important conversation about workload.  The district’s team expressed skepticism that part time faculty do 87% of full time faculty work, to which we replied that full time faculty are overworked and that we need to set a limit.  We asked them what percentage they believe Full Time faculty should dedicate to non-instructional work and they were unable to provide an answer.

Next bargaining sessions:

  • Wednesday, October 30, 1-4pm
  • Tuesday, November 5, 1-4pm


September 11th Negotiations Session

Negotiators/representatives present:AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud (by phone), Paul Bissember, Arielle Smith (CSM), Jacqueline Escobar (Skyline), Martin Bednarek (CSM), Lavinia Zanassi (Skyline), Nick Martin (Cañada), Daryan Chan (Cañada);
SMCCCD District: Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Max Hartman, Luis Escobar, Krystal Duncan

At today’s bargaining session, we invited counselors from across the district to give a presentation on a proposal to update contract language relating to counselors’ duties and responsibilities and caseloads. In addition, the district’s bargaining team invited counseling deans from across the district to attend this session. Counselor Arielle Smith from CSM led the presentation, with her colleagues sharing their experiences, providing feedback, and answering questions from the district’s bargaining team.

Context and Goals

Before getting into the contract proposal, Arielle provided an overview of the process leading up to today’s bargaining session which included meetings with David Feune and Harry Joel from HR alerting them of contractual issues relating to counselors’ workload across the district, meetings with counselors across the district to discuss the issues, surveys to gather feedback on possible solutions, and meetings and communications with counselors and deans, to develop the proposed contract language. The goal of this proposal is to update the current contract language to reflect the actual work that counselors are doing, while setting a clear limit on counselors’ caseloads.  

Counselors’ Contract Proposal

The three main sections of the contract which the counselors’ proposal addresses are: 1) 7.6 – Workweek for Full-Time Counseling Faculty, 2) Appendix D2 – Duties and Responsibilities of Counselors, and 3) Appendix F – Faculty Load Credit (FLC) Allocation.  (Click here to read the counselors’ proposals for these three sections.)

The proposed workweek section does not include changes to hours, but rather, seeks to clarify the current practice of allocating 1 hour of ‘professional time’ for every 5 hours of counseling for both part-time and full-time counselors: “Hours are prorated on a 5-1 ratio for regular or part-time counselors…meaning that for every 5 hours of scheduled professional duties, the counselor is given 1 additional hour for other professional duties time at the same pay rate.” CSM Dean of Counseling Krystal Duncan indicated that they began offering this ‘Prof Time’ this year at CSM to the part-time counselors, a practice that is also being done at Cañada College, but not at Skyline.

Arielle explained that the current contract language is very formulaic around the FLC allocation in Appendix F. The counselors discussed how to come up with a load calculation that is appropriate for the work that counselor do. They decided to provide a simple FLC conversion in Appendix F and have Appendix D2 explain what the load is by outlining the duties and responsibilities; “Counselor load to FLC conversion: Every 6 hours of counselor load time per week equals 3 FLC. Every 2 hours of counselor load time per week equals 1FLC.”

Finally, Arielle presented on proposed changes to Appendix D2 – Duties and Responsibilities of Counselors. She indicated that the majority of this comes directly from the current contract, with some changes to clean up and clarify the language, while adding duties that are not currently listed. In order to resolve the issues relating to caseloads and student appointment times, the counselors proposed the following language: “Counselor load will be calculated using a standard of 45-minute appointments during the 25 hours of scheduled counselor duties. 85% of appointments will be 45 minutes of longer. The remaining time can be assigned flexibly with either 45-minute appointments and/or 30-minute appointments by mutual agreement between the counselor and the dean. Outside of peak times, no more than 10% of total counseling faculty will have drop-in as their primary assignment.”

This section of the proposal seeks to get at the root of the caseload issue by allocating more time (45 minutes instead of the current practice of 30 minutes) for counselors to see students. The counselors explained that currently they see anywhere from 45 to 50 students a week, and that with this proposal they would see 33 to 38 students per week. In order to better understand this proposal, the following are a sample of quotes from the counselors themselves sharing their stories and experiences from this meeting:

“How do we set some parameters that are appropriate for counselors in doing our jobs that are ethically and pedagogically sound, while also not creating a quota system. Having percentages and hours on the grid is the best work around on this.” – Arielle Smith, CSM

“The question I ask, and my fear with short appointment times, is ‘Am I ever going to see this student again? This is not an efficient way to retain our students. Figuring out this appointment issue is really important to holding onto our students.” – Nick Martin, Cañada

“I’ve been at Skyline since ’94. With all the complexities of the work we do, I’m amazed at what we can do in the 30 minutes, but I still need more time. As a senior counselor, I’m pretty efficient, but it’s still not enough time.” – Jacqueline Escobar, Skyline

“I can’t ethically let a student mention something that I need to address as a counselor just because there is a 30-minute appointment limit and just focus on paperwork. That’s what keeps our students here; someone helping them with their goals and classes but also listening.” – Martin Bednarek, CSM

“Our work is about the relationship you develop, the connection you make. All those hours, all that time we spend, the student feels like they can share intimate details…Things are very different now for students. 45 minutes is not asking that much. Our students now take in so much information and can’t assess it all. There is an engagement, a relationship, that we need to have transformative interactions with students.” – Lavinia Zanassi, Skyline

Following the counselors presentation, the district’s bargaining team indicated that they may have more questions, and that they would work with the AFT to come to some agreement on this issue. The next bargaining session is set for October 8th from 1-4pm.

August 28th
Negotiations Session

Negotiators present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud (by phone), Paul Bissember;
SMCCCD District:  Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera

During this bargaining session the AFT bargaining team received the district’s proposal on binding arbitration, and we discussed study abroad faculty benefits, new faculty orientations, discipline, district communications with members around contract bargaining, and large class size.  We asked about the status of our AFT part time pay parity proposal, set at 85% of full time faculty’s salary.  They informed us that they would cost this out and get back to us.

District’s Binding Arbitration Proposal

The district presented a 2-year pilot program for a limited form of binding arbitration.  Their proposal would only extend to full time permanent faculty, excluding part-time and non-tenured faculty, and would exclude the following areas from binding arbitration:

  • Tenure review process
  • Faculty evaluations
  • Layoffs
  • Transfers and reassignments
  • Any matters pertaining to non-permanent employees including pay, benefits and hours.

While the district’s team emphasized that anything we get on binding arbitration is a win for our union, our AFT team indicated that this proposal excludes 2/3 of our membership and seems to exclude more than it includes.

Close to Agreements

We discussed several items in Article 2: Organizational Rights where our bargaining teams are close to reaching agreements.  Additionally, we are ready to agree to language around study abroad health benefits as the district confirmed that faculty members participating in these programs would be covered by the international insurance that students receive.  We are also close to an agreement on new faculty orientations.  The district’s team expressed a commitment to helping new part-time faculty become involved and engaged in the campus community and to share resources with them.  Our AFT bargaining team proposed language that would help ensure new part-time faculty receive orientations, if they are made available by the district, and that they be paid at the special rate for participation in orientations.

Counselors Caseload Presentation up next

We reminded the district that our next session, on September 11, would focus on the counselor caseload proposal.  Our bargaining teams agreed to dedicate the first hour of the next session to this proposal and that we would have 3-6 counselors, from across the campuses, present on this topic.  The district’s team indicated that they would invite other Counseling deans to this session.  After hearing from counselors who expressed interest in sitting in on this session, our AFT bargaining team asked if we could invite counselors to attend – the district bargaining team denied this request.

August 21st
Negotiations Session

Negotiators present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud (by phone), Paul Bissember
SMCCCD: Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Max Hartman, Joe Morello

Our bargaining session began with a greeting from  SMCCCD Acting Chancellor Mike Claire who indicated that while he is not involved with bargaining, he wanted to stop by and wish us well in our contract negotiations.  Next, we heard from the district’s bargaining team that they had a counter to our proposal on Progressive Discipline.  Our AFT bargaining team reminded the district that we are still waiting for their written counter to our binding arbitration proposal.  They indicated that they will have that prepared for the next session.  Additionally, our AFT bargaining team asked clarifying questions about the district’s counter to our proposal on investigations/complaints and presented new language to ensure that the AFT receives a copy of faculty complaints.

Progressive Discipline

The district’s team presented their counter to our proposal on Progressive Discipline, indicating that they tried to keep most of our original language, but made some changes to keep in line with Ed Code.  Read the complete language of the district’s counter here.  Additionally, they said that they want to ensure that the contract language is clear and transparent, so that faculty know what the process is.  The district’s proposal defines progressive discipline by creating 3 main categories of discipline with varying disciplinary measures:

  • Informal Discipline – verbal or written warnings which would not end up in faculty’s personnel file.
  • Improvement Plan – also known as PIP (Performance Improvement Plan), which gives faculty 90 days to “correct deficiencies related to unprofessional conduct and/or unsatisfactory performance.” This would be placed in faculty’s personnel file, but could be temporary. The faculty member would have an opportunity to write a written response to the improvement plan.
  • Formal Discipline – “issued for ‘just cause’…and includes written reprimand, suspension without pay, or dismissal, the documentation of which shall be placed in the faculty member’s official personnel file.”

The faculty member would have the right to respond in writing within 10 days of being disciplined.  The district’s language also outlines grounds for discipline, which was taken from Ed. Code, ‘just cause,’ and grievability.  There were 2 key issues that our AFT bargaining team found with the district’s proposal:
1) it excludes Part-Time faculty, and
2) the entire section is not subject to grievance procedures.
Regarding the Part-Time faculty exclusion, we were told that this is because Adjunct faculty are ‘at-will’ employees, to which our AFT team countered that they should still have rights and due process.  The district’s team did not have a clear reason for the grievance issue but said they will look into it and get back to us.

Finally, we informed the district that we plan to invite CSM Counselor Arielle Smith to present on the counselor caseload language proposal at the Sept. 11 bargaining session.  Additionally, we outlined our goals to work towards finalizing the following issues at the next bargaining session on Wednesday, Aug. 28: investigations and progressive discipline, binding arbitration, Part-Time salary schedule and new faculty orientations, and Study Abroad health benefits.

July 24th
Negotiations Session

Negotiators present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud (by phone), Paul Bissember;
SMCCCD: Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera, Joe Morello

At today’s bargaining session, the bargaining teams had discussions on proposals relating to investigations, binding arbitration, and workload.  Our AFT negotiations team expected to receive a response from the district on our progressive discipline proposal, but the district’s team did not yet have this prepared for today’s session.


The district’s team acknowledged the importance of this topic for our union, and indicated that they have been working over the past year to remedy the problems relating to how the district had handled investigations in the past few years.  They presented a counter proposal that can be viewed here.  Their counter maintained much of the same language from AFT’s initial proposal, and included proposed edits to incorporate language relating to state regulations (i.e. Ed code, and PERB).  Significantly, the district’s counter would remove language requiring notification of investigations be given to the AFT.  The AFT bargaining team expressed the challenges of representation if our union were not to be notified of faculty complaints, and indicated that this lack of notification may go against a recent PERB (Public Employment Relations Board) ruling pertaining to this issue.  More detailed information regarding this case (Contra Costa Community College District PERB Decision No. 2652E) can be found here.

Binding Arbitration

The district’s bargaining team indicated that the Board of Trustees would entertain a proposal relating to binding arbitration that would 1) sunset in 2 years, 2) only pertain to full time Tenured Faculty (excluding part time, non-tenured, and full-time temporary faculty), 3) apply to a limited set of contract articles, and 4) put a cap on the number of cases that could be brought to arbitration.  We asked the district’s bargaining team to provide us with a counter proposal in writing relating to this topic.


The district’s bargaining team informed us that their position has not changed since the last session, even though they had told us that they were open to writing new language to make their proposal less punitive.  They affirmed their position that their goal is to balance workload.  Our bargaining team restated that the district’s proposal fails to meet the recommendations put forward in the workload committee report by not establishing a reasonable workload, not setting a workload limit, and by not offering compensation for adjunct faculty for non-teaching activities nor full time faculty who work beyond what is defined as ‘reasonable.’

Upcoming Bargaining Dates

Our teams have agreed to meet to continue negotiations on the following dates after the start of the school year: Wednesday, 8/21; Wednesday, 8/28; Wednesday, 9/11.

June 24th
Negotiations Session

Negotiators present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud (by phone)
SMCCCD: David Feune, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera, Mitch Bailey, Joe Morello

This negotiation session focused on two key issues: the Lab FLCs and Workload.  Regarding the Lab FLCs, the district indicated that in order to phase in the lab FLC increases that the AFT proposed, “we have to first agree that we are there, which we are not.”  The district’s bargaining team maintained their position to form a study session to look into the issue.

The bargaining teams then discussed the workload issue for the remainder of the negotiation session.  The AFT team argued that the district’s proposal failed to set a reasonable expectation of workload, it puts all of the power in the hands of the deans, it offers no compensation for faculty who are working beyond reasonable expectations, and it establishes punitive measures, including withholding professional development funding, release time, and overload for faculty who do not comply with the district’s proposed requirements.  Furthermore, the district proposal fails to address how adjuncts would be paid for work that falls outside of their teaching and related duties, which was an important recommendation of the SMCCCD Workload Committee Report (see report).

One of the key points that the district continued to bring up is that there is a need to ‘balance’ the workload among all of the faculty.  However, their proposal fails to establish a concrete expectation of a reasonable workload which, therefore, would make it impossible to balance workload across the faculty.  In addition, the district’s team questioned the “arbitrary assignment” of values for the AFT’s proposed point system, without offering any counterproposal to determine values for the duties that faculty take on outside of their classroom work.  This represents another clear recommendation from the Workload Committee Report that the district’s proposal fails to address.  Here is the language from the report relating to these recommendations,

“There was a recognition by the committee that there is a need to define a reasonable workload…In order to work toward establishing a reasonable workload, there should be a value placed on specific duties and responsibilities, and a maximum expected value for full-time faculty to engage in each semester.”     

Another main point that the district focused on, is the need for deans to have more of an active role in working with faculty in a collaborative manner to address the workload issue.  One section of their proposal states,

“At the end of each academic year, each dean…will hold a mandatory division meeting with full-time faculty, provide a list of professional activities requiring faculty participation…in the coming academic year; the dean and the division faculty will work together to assign faculty as needed for those duties that have been identified.

However, there is nothing in the contract that would limit a dean from doing this now at a division meeting (without the need of mandating an additional division meeting).  While the AFT bargaining team’s proposal meets the recommendations put forth in the workload committee report, the district’s proposal would instead implement punitive measures on faculty while failing to address the report’s recommendations.  Following the discussion, the district did acknowledge that, “We did not want our proposal to be seen as punitive and we’re open to the idea of coming up with new language to make it less punitive.”

The bargaining teams have agreed on additional negotiations sessions planned for July 18, 24 and 25.

June 18th Negotiations Session

Negotiators present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud (by phone), Arielle Smith (Counseling, CSM);  SMCCCD: David Feune, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera, Mitch Bailey

At this round of negotiations, our AFT bargaining team invited Counselor Arielle Smith from CSM to present on how the union’s proposal to change the pay rate structure would impact counselors. The AFT proposed eliminating the current ‘special rate’ and utilizing instead the current lecture rate for activities involving student contact and the current lab rate for activities not involving student contact.

Smith explained that, “Counselors have felt like a second class faculty for a long time.  Many times counselors aren’t included when we talk about faculty.  Counselors and librarians are the only ones in the contract who are paid at a lower rate.  The only reason that’s been given is because we don’t teach in a classroom.  However, just because the setting where we interact with students is different, doesn’t make the work we do any less valuable.  Given the assignment and structure of how these institutions operate, it is necessary for counselors to work outside of the regular semester.  We are working as long as the campuses are open.  We need coverage for winter and summer.  We acknowledge that our role is different than instructional faculty, but it is not less valuable.  Counselors have felt that since we get paid less, we are seen as less valuable.  Changing this pay would say yes, we as a district recognize that we value your work and that it plays an important role for our students.”

The district’s bargaining team responded that “If you’re just looking at the bottom line, what our adjunct counselors get paid is pretty reasonable, especially compared to other districts.  I think right now our counselors are benefiting from the current rate.  While symbols matter, the dollars and cents matter too.”

AFT Counter-Proposals on Workload & Lab FLCs;
Salary Comparisons of Bay 10 Districts

Following the discussion around the pay rate proposal, the AFT’s bargaining team offered counter proposals  to workload (see workload counter proposal here), the lab FLC (see lab FLC counter proposal here) and shared an analysis of salary comparisons of the Bay 10 community college districts (see Bay 10 salary comparisons Excel file).  In response to the district’s rejection of AFT’s proposal to reduce faculty teaching load from 15 to 12 units, the AFT proposed a ‘point system’ where faculty would be expected to do 4 or 5 points and they would be compensated if they exceed those points (see workload proposal here).

Regarding the lab FLC proposal, the AFT disagreed with the district’s response to set up a committee to study this issue.  Acknowledging that since there is a cost to the initial proposal, we countered that lab FLC increases be phased in over the life of the contract, increasing the rates by 0.1 the first year, and bringing the final lab FLCs to 1.0 after 3 years.

After the union presentation, the district offered responses to AFT proposals relating to travel health insurance for faculty participating in study abroad programs, maternity/child bonding leave, large class size, and class assignment cancellations.  The district was not prepared to discuss the outstanding issues of binding arbitration and investigations.

Regarding the travel health insurance, the district reported that faculty should already be included in this benefit, and if they weren’t, the district would be able to ensure that faculty be covered.  For the large class size proposal, the district rejected reducing the limit of what is defined as a large class from 70 to 40, but would decrease the increments for additional compensation above 70 students down from 25 to 15 students (i.e. instead of receiving 3 hours of additional compensation for teaching 70-94 students, this would change to 70-84 students for 3 hours).   For class cancellations, the district indicated that this is currently covered by Board policy (BP 6.04) and therefore, does not need to be included in the contract.

Finally, it is the district’s position that the current federal/state laws and district benefits around Maternity/Child Bonding Leave is sufficient and has rejected the AFT proposal to grant one month of 100% paid leave.  As a reminder, per the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the district would pay 50% of the faculty’s salary after sick leave is exhausted for the first 30 days of leave.  Following 30 days, the faculty member would go on ‘disability leave’ and would be paid at 2/3 their salary for up to 6 or 8 weeks.  The district explained that based on numbers from the past 2 years, there is an average of 13 faculty members who have taken maternity/child bonding leave per year.  They calculated that the AFT proposal for one month of paid leave would cost $126,000.

The next bargaining session has been set for June 24th.

June 12th
Negotiations Session

Negotiators present:  AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Paul Bissember, Monica Malamud (by phone)
SMCCCD District: David Feune, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera, Mitch Bailey, Joe Morello

During this round of negotiations, the district’s bargaining team responded to the AFT proposals around Full Time Temporary Faculty Hires, Faculty Load Credit (FLC) rates for labs, and Workload, as described below.

For the Full Time Temporary Faculty Hires, the district proposed to use the current evaluation process for tenure-track faculty.

Regarding AFT’s proposal to increase the FLC for lab rates, the district’s bargaining team responded that they would like to do a study of the issue in order to find the best solution.  They indicated that they would form a group comprised of faculty and district appointed members to develop a recommendation.

District Counter-Proposal on Workload

Finally, in response to AFT’s workload reduction proposal, the district presented a proposal asserting that “the issue of workload is not one of reduction…but one of balance and distribution of professional responsibilities.”  Click here to see AFT’s original workload reduction proposal and the district’s full counter-proposal. Here are some key points to the district’s proposal:

  • Mandatory division meetings for Full Time faculty for deans and faculty to assign professional activities.
  • Yearly Workload Reports to be submitted by all Full Time Faculty members.
  • Progressive Discipline for Full Time faculty who fail to submit workload reports, or who do not participate in assigned professional activities.
  • Professional development funding, overload or reassigned time could be taken away from faculty who do not fulfill this workload requirement.

While the district’s workload proposal does take aim at trying to balance the distribution of workload among faculty, it would institute punitive mechanisms that penalize faculty, increase workload by adding additional meetings and reports, all the while failing to determine what is a reasonable workload for faculty and excluding any compensation mechanisms for faculty who go beyond what is reasonable.


May 30th Negotiations Session

Our AFT bargaining team had been preparing for a full day of bargaining which had been scheduled for Thursday, May 30th, but the district’s bargaining team canceled this session citing the need to fully cost out the union’s proposals.

Our bargaining team is waiting for the district to respond, or provide counter proposals, to a number of our initial proposals including (the following list includes abbreviated forms of the initial proposals.  The complete proposals can be found here):

  • Compensation
    • Salary and medical benefits for full-time faculty, and medical stipends for part-time faculty to increase at the same percentage as increase in property taxes
    • Pay part-time faculty on a salary schedule that mirrors the salary schedule for full-time faculty, with parity set at 85%
  • Article 9: Health and Welfare Benefits – The District will provide travel insurance for faculty teaching in the District Study Abroad Program.
  • Article 11: Leaves of Absence – One month of paid maternity and/or child bonding leave.
  • Article 6: Workload – Reduce Full Time faculty’s teaching load from 15 units to 12 units, with 3 units to be dedicated towards professional activities.
  • Article 8.14: Large Class Pay – A large class for the purpose of additional compensation…is defined as having 40 or more students (currently set at 70).
  • Article 17: Grievance Procedure – Add binding arbitration as the last step of the grievance procedure
  • Appendix G: Evaluations – Determine how are full time temporary faculty evaluated.
  • Class Cancellation – Scheduled classes shall be cancelled only after written notification by the appropriate administrator/designee is sent to the instructor.
  • Complaints Against a Unit Member – If a student or other person files a complaint about a unit member, the District shall notify the unit member and AFT in writing within five (5) working days of its receipt of the complaint.
  • Investigations of Unit Members – Mutual respect for a fair investigative process.
  • Just Cause and Progressive Discipline – A faculty member shall not be reprimanded, suspended, or dismissed without just cause.

There are several other issues still being discussed, with the district and AFT considering counter proposals.  Our next bargaining sessions are set for 6/12, 6/18, and 6/24.

May 23rd
Negotiations Session

Negotiators present:  AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud (by phone), Paul Bissember
SMCCCD District:  Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Max Hartman

At this bargaining session, the AFT negotiations team received a few counter proposals from the district, a response to our workload proposal from the May 22nd bargaining session, and a discussion around outstanding issues.  Most of the discussion focused on proposals relating to new faculty orientations, pay and allowances, professional development (PD), and workload.  While there was movement at the table around providing new Part Time Faculty with orientation opportunities, the district rejected outright our PD and pay and allowances proposals.  Towards the conclusion of the meeting, after the AFT’s bargaining team asked when we could expect counters to the various outstanding proposals, the district’s bargaining team indicated that they have to cost out many proposals and estimated that they should have this completed by June 12th.

Here are some highlights from this bargaining session:

What’s with the special rate?  After hearing from faculty about the lack of clarity, and potential discrepancies on how the special rate is used for non-instructional activities, the AFT proposed eliminating the current special rate and use the current lecture rate for any activity that involves student contact, and the current lab rate for activities not involving student contact.  The district found “no compelling reason to change the status-quo and does not agree to this edit.”

District Rejects Academic Senate/AFT Proposal on Professional Development.  The district rejected an AS/AFT collaborative proposal to increase PD funds, broaden faculty eligibility for PD, and establish clear guidelines on how these funds should be used, in order to put limits on PD funding being used for district/college initiatives.  The AFT argued that if these initiatives are priorities for the district, they should allocate district funds and not use the faculty’s PD funds.  In addition, our team argued that there hasn’t been enough money at the colleges to pay for sabbaticals, to which a district bargaining team member responded, “I understand there’s not enough money, and there will never be enough money.  It’s a question of priorities.”

District Surprised by Workload Proposal – The district’s bargaining team responded that it was surprised by the AFT proposal to reduce a Full-Time Faculty’s teaching load from 15 units to 12 units, with 3 units to be dedicated towards professional activities.  The AFT argued that we are trying to get at the root of the workload issue by reducing the teaching load, and establishing clear expectations and compensation for the many indirect instructional activities that faculty do to make the colleges function.  The district has yet to offer any counter proposal or alternative to address the ongoing workload issue.

Upcoming Bargaining Sessions: We have several upcoming bargaining sessions scheduled for May 30th, June 12th, June 18th, and June 24th.


May 16th Negotiations Session

Negotiators present:  AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud (by phone), Paul Bissember
SMCCCD District:  Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera

Faculty Presenters on Faculty Load Credit (FLC) Allocation and Athletics Coaches’ Proposal: Amir Esfahani (Art), Rebecca Alex (Art), Michelle Hawkins (Music), David Meckler (Music), Tim Tulloch (Athletics), Doug Hirzel (Science)

In this bargaining session, the AFT and the District bargaining teams signed Tentative Agreements (TA) on a few proposals, and our AFT team presented several counter proposals to outstanding issues.  The majority of the session, however, was dedicated to faculty presentations on the FLC allocation proposal.

Here are some highlights from this bargaining session:

Reminder to the district: Pay Part Time faculty for their work! AFT Chief Negotiator Joaquin Rivera shared a copy of a Jan. 29th 2018 email from the Vice Chancellor, Human Resources and General Counsel reminding deans that adjuncts “cannot volunteer to do work that they would normally be paid to do.  If you have adjuncts in your Division that are doing work at your direction, let’s make sure that they are all being paid accordingly.”   

Tentative Agreements (TAs) reached on several articles including Article 2 Organizational rights, Article 7.2 Definition of Academic Year, Article 8.5.1 Pay and Allowances, and Article 14 Layoffs.  In a preliminary victory for Part Time faculty rights, the district agreed to pay Part Time faculty for participation in flex activities, regardless of whether or not they would normally be scheduled to teach on the day of the week on which the flex day falls.  You can review the specific language on these proposals on our AFT website.

AFT Counter Proposals – Our AFT bargaining team continues to prepare counter proposals while we wait for responses and counters from the district.  In this session, we focused on two main topics: workload, and salary and benefits.  Regarding workload, we proposed a reduction in the FT teaching workload proposing that a FT faculty workload consists of a) 12 teaching units and b) 3 units of indirect instructional activity like curriculum development, program review etc.  Regarding salary and benefits we proposed that 1) salary, medical cap, and Part Time medical benefits be increased by the same percent increase as the property taxes in the district.  Additionally, we proposed that Part Time faculty be paid by FLC, including the same steps and columns that are used in the Full Time salary schedule, instead of by an hourly basis.

Faculty presentations on FLC allocation and Athletics Coachs’ Proposal – We had several faculty representatives from Art, Music, Athletics and Science present for the majority of the meeting on the proposal to increase FLC labs to 1.0 and a proposal from the Athletics coaches.  The faculty had around 15-20 minutes to present and make the argument for the lab FLC increase.  The presenters emphasized the need for parity among disciplines, and explained how the current load calculation is outdated and does not take into account new teaching and learning methods.  Additionally, they articulated the need for an increased FLC to reflect the increased workload over the years.  Many presenters also made the case for how an increase in load would not negatively impact Part Time faculty (with many adjuncts signing onto the proposals coming from Art and Music in particular).  The District’s bargaining team went back and forth asking questions, and focused in on how if the load were to increase, the Deans may have to cancel classes.

The next round of bargaining is scheduled for Thursday, May 23 from 10:00am to 1:00pm in the District Office.

May 1st Negotiations Session

Negotiators present: AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud (by phone), Paul Bissember

SMCCD District:  Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Max Hartman

In this bargaining session, the AFT bargaining team received responses from the district on several of our initial proposals including leaves, Faculty Load Credit (FLC) allocations, and class size.  The session included a discussion on these issues, as well as a presentation of AFT counter proposals.

Article 11 – Maternity/Child Bonding Leave

The first topic we discussed focused on faculty leaves.  In particular, the district responded to our initial proposal of 1 month paid Maternity/Child Bonding leave.  First, the district reviewed the current maternity leave policies based on FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act).  They gave a hypothetical example of a faculty member, early in her career who has not yet accrued much sick leave.  For the first 30 days of the leave, the faculty member needs to exhaust all of their sick leave.  So, if a faculty member has accrued 5 sick days, she would use up those sick days, and then the district would pay 1/2 of her salary for 25 days (per FMLA).  After 30 days, she would go on ‘disability’ and receive 2/3 pay for 6 to 8 weeks.

We acknowledged this current practice, but expressed the need to have paid maternity leave.  Our team responded that “we’re one of the few industrialized countries in the world that do not have maternity leave” and that our proposal of one month paid leave is minimal compared to other countries and would help faculty who are planning to start a family.  In addition, we urged the district to consider this proposal and explained that they could be a leader among the community college districts by providing this benefit for faculty.  The district’s team indicated that solving a national issue is outside the scope of these negotiations and that they currently have a very generous set of benefits and are not inclined to give one month paid maternity/child bonding leave.

Appendix G – Faculty Load Credit (FLC)

Based on the feedback from faculty from Music, Art, Physical Edu, and Science and the need to push for parity around load calculation, AFT proposed increasing the FLC for these labs up to 1.0.  The district responded that they could consider an incremental change, depending on the class, but moving the FLC up to 1.0 would be a big jump that would increase their costs substantially.  They also made the argument that increasing the FLC would only hurt part timers as deans would have to reduce class offerings for those who went above 67%, and that their pay would not increase.  Our team responded that these allocations have not changed in 30 years, even as the amount of work has increased significantly.  We also pointed out that if Part Time faculty were compensated based on FLC, and not by hour, then an increase in FLC for the lab schedule would value their work higher than it currently is.  Additionally, in our counter we proposed a change to coaches’ load based on a document that they put together.  Finally, we proposed bringing faculty from these disciplines to the May 16th bargaining session to speak to this issue and the district agreed.

Article 8 – Class Size

There was a brief discussion on our class size reduction proposal.  The district asked why 40 students per class is the magic number for a class size, which we responded why is the current limit of 70 the magic number?  The district indicated that they cannot concede to 40 but that they are looking into this to see if there is room to negotiate a different cap.

District Communications with Members and Investigations

The district indicated that they completely disagree with the union on the issue of district communications around bargaining with bargaining unit members.  They said they would follow the law, but that the district has the right of free speech as do employees.  Regarding the investigations, the district has not yet come up with a counter to our proposal.  However, they acknowledged that this issue is a priority for our union and will work on having a response by May 16th.

Article 8 – Part Time Pay for Non-Instructional Work + Pay and Allowances

Our bargaining team informed the district that they haven’t yet responded to our proposal for Part Time Faculty to be paid for participation in division meetings and other non-instructional work.  We reminded them that one of the findings from the Workload Committee Report was that Part Time Faculty should be paid for all the work they do.  The district responded that they would look into this.  They did indicate that they would like to clean up the contract language relating to Part Time pay, Article 8.8, to remove all language relating to Full Time Faculty.

As part of the AFT counter proposal, we proposed a big change relating to Article 8 – Pay and Allowances.  We’ve heard from Faculty that the ‘special rate’ has been used inconsistently and that there isn’t a clear definition of when this should be utilized.  So, we proposed that we have only two types of pay rate used for Part Time Faculty and Full Time Faculty overload: (1) Faculty who work on any activity that involves student contact be paid at the current lecture rate, and (2) and the current lab rate would be used for activities not involving student contact.  This would eliminate the current ‘special rate.’

Article 13 – Professional Development (PD)

Following the district’s rejection of our proposal to increase PD from 1% to 2%, we put together a counter proposal with collaboration from leaders in the Academic Senate.  We proposed allocating 1% towards short and long-term projects, and another 1% that would go specifically towards extended leave and sabbaticals.  Additionally, we are proposing that all faculty be eligible for PD funds.  Moreover, given the pressures that faculty have been facing to utilize PD funds for district/statewide initiatives and software/data management trainings, we outlined unacceptable uses of PD funds.  The colleges should be providing funding for these activities outside of PD funds.  Some examples include trainings around: Guided Pathways, Dual Enrollment, Basic Skills, Canvas, Sales Force, and TracDat.  Finally, during our last discussion on PD, the district indicated that all of the campuses had PD money left over so they didn’t see a need to increase PD.  However, in this session, our Chief Negotiator submitted evidence that both CSM and Cañada have run out of PD money.

Upcoming Bargaining Dates

We had initially planned our next bargaining date on May 7th, but the district canceled this session.  Here are our upcoming bargaining dates:

  • May 16th, 9am-12pm
  • May 23, 10am-5pm
  • June 12, 1pm-5pm
  • June 18, 10am-5pm
  • June 24, 10am-5pm


April 11th Negotiations Session

Negotiators present: AFT: Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud, Paul Bissember;
: Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Charlene Frontiera, Max Hartman (by phone)

Scheduling upcoming bargaining dates

During this round of bargaining, we began by establishing upcoming bargaining dates.  We agreed on the following dates for our next negotiations sessions:

  • May 1, 1:00pm-5:00pm
  • May 7, 12:00pm-2:00pm
  • May 16, 9:00am-5:00pm

District responds to AFT proposals

For the rest of the session, the District’s bargaining team presented a document responding to our initial bargaining proposals.  Firstly, the District requires more time to respond to several of our initial proposals.  They indicated that they should be able to offer counter-proposals to the following items by May 3:

  • 7: Communication with members
  • 8: Part-Time Salary Schedule
  • 14: Large Class Pay
  • 9: Maternity/Child Bonding Leave
  • 17: Grievance Procedure
  • 18: Summer Session Employment
  • Appendix G: Evaluations
  • Class Assignment – Class Cancellations (new language)
  • Complaints against a unit member (new language)
  • Just Cause and Progressive Discipline (new language)

District accepts some AFT proposals

Next, there were some proposals which the union proposed clarifying edits, or updated language due to changes in state/federal law that the District found acceptable.  Click here to review these proposals.  These proposals include:

  • 4: List of unit employees and job information
  • 2: Definition of Academic year
  • 5.1: Pay and Allowances – Two years of service at Step 23 are required for advancement to Step 25
  • 14: FMLA and CA Family rights act (CFRA) Benefits
  • 1: Layoffs

In addition, there was a positive response from the District regarding our proposal around Article which would grant part-time faculty pay, at the special rate, for attending flex day activities that fall on days that a part-time faculty member is not scheduled to teach.

District rejects numerous AFT proposals

There were a number of AFT proposals that the District rejected altogether and offered no counter-proposals at this time.  See below for those articles relating to the AFT proposals, along with brief notes to provide context, which the District rejected:

  • 5: Workweek for Full-time Instructional faculty – AFT proposed removing the hourly requirement for faculty to be present on campus. Currently, full-time faculty are required to be on campus for 25 hours per week.
  • 9: Health and Welfare Benefits – The union proposed language for faculty teaching in the District Study Abroad Program to receive medical insurance that goes beyond emergency care. In the discussion on this issue, the District made it clear that this was not a question of money, as there are not many faculty who teach in this program. They argued that teaching a study abroad course is a choice that faculty make, not a requirement, and, therefore, the District should not have to provide this additional medical coverage for faculty.
  • 6: Public Service Leave – The District rejected this proposal indicating that it represents a limited scope (only 2 members affected) and that the District receives no direct benefit from and has no interest in this “personal, elective employee activity.”
  • 19: Part-Time Employment – In an effort to strengthen part-time faculty seniority and load rights, and to follow recent California state law (AB 1690/SB 1379), the union proposed edits in Article 19 to base part-time faculty’s class assignments on the highest load ever assigned to them. The District rejected this proposal.
  • Appendix F: Faculty Load Credit (FLC) Allocation – Our union has heard from many members from the Sciences, Art, Music and Physical Education/Athletics to prioritize increasing the FLC for these classes. While the District disagreed with the AFT proposal, citing that “it is not consistent with the Carnegie Unit allocation for such assignments,” AFT bargaining team members responded that the Carnegie unit is not relevant to this issue; it’s a question of parity and compensation.  Additionally, there are several other community college districts that already have language like this in place.
  • XX: Additional Faculty Rights – Evaluation of Administrators – The District responded to our proposal that it “finds no compelling rationale for including additional language relating to this matter as it does not relate to traditionally-bargained issues such as employee wages, benefits, hours, or working conditions.”

District counter-proposals

Next, there were additional AFT proposals that the District disagreed with, but provided counter-proposals.  See below for these counters along with a brief explanation:

  • 8: Employee orientation – The District proposed the following additional language to our proposal – “the union will participate in these new employee orientations in a structure, time and manner agreed to by the District and the Union prior to such orientation.” We discussed the need to review current practices around new faculty orientations. Additionally, we discussed ways to involve new part-time faculty employees (i.e. through flex days, online orientation, etc.) who do not currently participate in District orientations.
  • Compensation – The District proposed to maintain the current total compensation formula for one year – if we do not reach an agreement by the expiration of the contract. We have sent out a survey to get feedback from members on how our union should allocate compensation (i.e. salary, benefits, part-time parity, etc.)
  • Article 13: Professional Development Funding – The District rejected our proposal to increase funding from 1% to 2%. In addition, they proposed language to change the composition of the Professional Development committees to 3 members appointed by the Academic Senate and 3 members appointed by the administration.  This change would increase the number of administrators on these committees and decrease the number of faculty members.

March 7th Meeting

In the round of bargaining held on March 7th, faculty and administration members from the District Workload Committee–Anne Stafford, Doniella Maher, and Aaron McVean–provided a presentation on their workload report and answered questions from the bargaining teams. The Committee members shared the history and formation of the Workload Committee and described the two major challenges of how to determine what is a reasonable workload and how to compensate faculty who exceed a reasonable workload. Following the hour-long discussion with Workload Committee members, the District’s bargaining team proposed ending the meeting citing the need to work with their team to work on the union’s proposals.

Highlights from the Workload Committee presentation:

• Workload committee received a high response rate after surveying the faculty indicating a strong interest in this issue.
• The committee operated in a consensus model. Due to diverging perspectives within the committee, the workload report’s recommendations were not as specific as committee members would have liked them to be.
• Many faculty have reached a breaking point due to workload with many feeling demoralized, discouraged, and others talking about moving and retiring early.
• AFT and Academic Senate members are working together to try to identify specific recommendations of how to resolve issues relating to workload.
• The District currently does not have any proposals on how to remedy workload issues.

Key priorities/suggestions from the faculty members on the Workload Committee:

• Faculty need more time to do their work. Suggestion that compensation for excessive work can be made through release time and/or banking time.
• Contract expectations are vague which have led to new tasks being included as part of a faculty’s workload. Need to clarify faculty responsibilities.
• Suggestion to increase in FT faculty hires to help redistribute workload, especially tasks coming from state mandates. (District rejected this suggesting citing low enrollment).
• Use Dean’s assessment of non-teaching responsibilities to document issues of faculty who do not participate in division work. Faculty evaluations are related to teaching and the Dean’s assessment is about other duties. However, faculty not participating is not a major issue. We were informed that Kathy Blackwood from the District acknowledged that this is a small problem.

While there are many important issues to resolve through these negotiations, there is limited time until our current contract expires (June 30, 2019). We have been actively working to schedule as many bargaining sessions as possible between now and then. Please stay tuned and reach out to us to learn more and get involved! We’ll need your voices, feedback, and active support to win a contract that can make improvements to these many challenging issues.

February 28th Meeting

The bargaining teams met again on February 28th. During our second bargaining session, the District began by addressing workload. Firstly, they recognized that workload is a big, ongoing issue for faculty. Mitch Bailey indicated that they would like to invite members of the Workload Committee, both faculty and administrators, to the following bargaining session to answer questions around workload and share ideas on how to resolve this issue.

The rest of the bargaining session included some preliminary responses to AFT’s proposals. For the most part where contract language needed to be updated to follow new state laws (i.e. new employee orientation, elimination of agency fees etc.) or clarified to incorporate current practices, the District made general indications that they could agree with our proposals. These include proposed language changes in the following articles:

• 2.4 List of Unit Employees and Job Information
• 2.7 Agency Shop
• 7.2 Definition of Academic Year
• 8.5.1 Pay and Allowances
• 9 Health and Welfare Benefits
• 14.1 Union will be notified of potential layoffs

There were other AFT proposals that the District indicated a willingness to consider but wanted to continue to discuss and/or do more research. These included demands around reassigned time for union business, flex day pay for part time faculty, tuition reimbursement, extended sick leave, maternity/child bonding leave, professional development funding, full time temporary faculty evaluations, and complaints/investigations.

Finally, there were several AFT proposals that the District either expressed concerns about or did not want to consider at this point (although AFT negotiators will continue to raise these proposals in upcoming bargaining sessions.) These included proposals around:

• 1.7 District Communication with Members
• 7.5 Workweek for Full-time Instructional Faculty
• 8.14 Large Class Pay
• 11.16 Public Service Leave
• Article 17 Binding Arbitration
• Appendix F – Faculty Load Credit (FLC) Allocation
• Academic Freedom

Our bargaining team expressed a willingness to engage in discussion and review any counter proposals around any and all of these issues to work towards a resolution. During that negotiations session, the District had not prepared any contract language in response to our initial proposals.


February 7th Meeting:

On February 7th, AFT 1493’s negotiations team–Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud, and Paul Bissember–had their first bargaining session with District negotiators–Mitch Bailey (District Office), David Feune (HR) Charlene Frontiera (CSM), Joe Morello (Skyline), Max Hartman (Cañada)–on a new three-year contract (July 2019 to June 2022.)  The meeting consisted in AFT Chief Negotiator, Joaquin Rivera, presenting the union’s initial proposals point by point while engaging in questions and answers from the District around specific proposals.  Our bargaining team emphasized our union’s goals of addressing issues around workload, part time equity, salary and benefits, class size, leaves of absence, professional development, grievance procedures, faculty load credit allocation, evaluations, class assignments, academic freedom, investigations, and disciplinary procedures.

Following our bargaining team’s presentation, the District’s Chief Negotiator, Mitch Bailey, then presented their initial proposal.  While they offered nothing specific, they indicated that they are willing to hear and discuss our proposals and priorities, and importantly, they did not propose any takeaways from the current contract.  Bailey stated, “We value faculty.  We want to have a collegial relationship.  We have limited resources.  We want to follow our student-centered mission.”

January 2019

In preparing to begin faculty contract negotiations, the union conducted a survey of District faculty on areas that could be improved or added to our contract and what should be priorities in negotiations. In total, 187 faculty members completed the survey and the survey responses were used to help develop AFT’s initial contract proposals for the new round of negotiations. See a summary of faculty responses to the Negotiations Survey.

The bargaining team used the survey responses, along with outstanding issues from previous negotiations, and new issues that had arisen since the previous negotiations, to develop AFT’s initial contract proposals for the new round of negotiations.

See our Spring 2019 Opening Day flyer summarizing AFT’s negotiations priorities.