April 8, 2015

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

April 8, 2015 – Cañada

EC members present: Najla Abrao, Eric Brenner, Vicki Clinton, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan (Exec. Secr.), Michelle Kern, Doniella Maher, Monica Malamud, Sandi Raeber-Dorsett, Joaquin Rivera, Paul Rueckhaus, Janice Sapigao, Anne Stafford, Rob Williams.

AFT (non-EC) members: Leonor Cabrera (Accounting @ Cañada), Candice Nance (Business @ Cañada), Doug Hirzel (Biology @ Cañada)

Meeting began at 2:38 p.m.

Paul Rueckhaus

Closed session

Dan reported on a several ongoing issues.


  1. Welcome and Introductions



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

Candice Nance: a) She just completed her second year on tenure-track. She said that the contract lacks clear language regarding mid-year hires. In her case, because of vague language in the contract, by the time she is awarded tenure, she will have undergone 5.5 evaluations. b) She had two classes cancelled this semester and she was being pressured, just like other faculty have been, to make up low loads within a year, while the contract says that the full-time load is defined in terms of three-year periods.

Leonor Cabrera: professors have endured excessive pressure from administrators to do a large number of functions that are not among faculty duties, and to work outside of the 175 days specified in the Contract.


  1. Minutes of March 11, 2015 AFT meeting

Approved unanimously, as amended with minor changes submitted to Monica via email (correction in members present and change of wording in agenda item 9).


  1. Workload Reduction Campaign

Appendix D in the AFT contract lists duties and responsibilities of faculty. The list has not been revised in over 20 years. The whole contract will be open for negotiations soon, and changes can be proposed then.

How could PTs compensated for duties that are not really required of them? Perhaps there should be a District-wide pot of money available to compensate those PTs.

Membership/participation in committees at Cañada was reported by Doug Hirzel (Cañada Academic Senate President). He stated that there are 108 positions to be filled in committees, not counting hiring and evaluation committees; 80% of committees meet monthly or more frequently. We have 50 FT serving in committees, out of 75 FT at Cañada. Five PT are serving in committees.

Some ideas for quantifying service in committees:

  • Items listed under B could be separated into two groups: those which do not take too much time (such as attending commencement every other year) vs others which do (for example, curriculum review).
  • There should be a maximum cap on number of hours/committees/tasks/etc. Caution: when quantifying (hours spent by faculty, number of committees, etc) we should be careful that someone’s pay is not cut because they do not perform one of the duties listed.
  • We could have a “cafeteria” system for committees: participation in different committees could be assigned a point value, and faculty may be expected to add up to a certain number of points for committee work. This system could be extended to other non-teaching duties.

Next steps:

We could assemble a committee to deal with this outside of regular AFT meetings. Monica suggested that this work be a joint union/senate endeavor, and that all district faculty be invited to participate in meetings.

Paul, Anne, Teeka, Dan and Monica volunteered to get things rolling.


  1. Negotiations update – Joaquín Rivera

District proposal: PT faculty would have to sign up for CalPers Kaiser plan, and District will cover a % of the cost of single coverage equivalent to the % of FTE that the PT teaches.

Concern: the District wants to cap the total expense for PT health benefits. If only PT who teach 40% apply, then only 42 PT can be covered. If the cap is reached, then the District’s pool of money will be prorated among PT. Part-timers could then end up receiving a much smaller amount than they anticipated, and this information would not be known in advance.

The AFT will submit a counter-proposal to the District, asking for a more reasonable cap for the District’s total contribution towards PT health benefits.


  1. Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizing Project update – Michelle Kern

We got the grant for next year. We received several communications awards related to this project.

Najla reported on the presentation on PT Health Benefits to the Board of Trustees. Presentations were informative and compelling.


  1. Comments to the EC – Frank Young



  1. Issues related to online classes, email

Dan read an article about limitations on workers’ availability via email 24/7.

Eric mentioned that this issue could be folded into our general discussion about workload.

Doniella said that she includes her email policy in her syllabi; faculty who do not include it, cannot use their syllabus as protection.

We could negotiate “faculty are not expected to respond to emails after the workday is over”, or some kind of minimum expectation.

Now that faculty are teaching courses online, is it reasonable to have the “25 hours on campus” requirement in the contract?

The quantity of courses to be taught online has also been an issue: some faculty are told that they cannot teach more than X courses online, while others are under pressure to move face-to-face courses to hybrid or online format.

8.b. Hiring procedure for PTs

The procedure that is being proposed is in conflict with our contract, in that it requires PT faculty who are not hired from an adjunct pool to go through an application process again. Eric pointed out that if a PT is hired through a process that is not rigorous enough, and is not fit to teach in our District, then the evaluation process should take care of this.


  1. An activist union? — Katharine Harer



  1. AFT Local 1493 budget analysis

Tabled. This item will be at the top of the agenda in May.


  1. Statements from EC members on Non-Agenda Items

Dan urged EC members to respond to his email about Grievance Training.


Meeting adjourned at 5:07 p.m.