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.