December 2011 Advocate

NEGOTIATIONS

AFT presents revised proposal; District refuses to negotiate; case now goes to fact-finding

The AFT Negotiating Team returned to the bargaining table to resume negotiations with a state-appointed mediator on Wednesday, Nov. 16th.

Our goal was to achieve equity for all faculty, full and part-time, in the District.  As we have pointed out before, the salaries of nearly two thirds our full-time faculty members (those in the higher steps of the salary schedule) rank between 5th and 9th in the 10 Bay Area districts.  Our part-time faculty salaries rank between 5th and 7th in the Bay Area.

Increase salaries to top 3 or 4 in Bay Area

We analyzed the salary rankings and determined how much it would take to get all faculty to the top four in the Bay Area.  As you may remember, that was the justification the District used to grant salary increases to the managers and administrators.  In order to achieve the Board’s and District’s goal that faculty salaries rank within the top three or four in the Bay 10 districts, as well as their commitment to equity for all bargaining groups, our negotiating team made the following proposal to the District:

a. Increase by 5% the AFT Part-Time Faculty salary schedule effective January 2012.

b. Increase by 3% the following cells of the AFT Full-Time Faculty salary schedule, where faculty are below the 4th ranking in the Bay Ten, effective January 1, 2012:

Grade 1, Steps 18-23
Grade 2, Steps 18-23
Grade 3, Steps 14-23
Grade 4, Steps 11-23
Grade 5, Steps 11-23

c. Increase by 1% all other cells of the full-time salary schedule effective January 1, 2012.

We also proposed that the District offer a retirement incentive and we brought back our binding arbitration proposal.

Given that faculty has not received a salary increase for four years, the cost of health benefits has doubled for many faculty members, and our standard of living continues to fall, we felt this was a modest proposal.  The total annual cost is about $1.6 million.   The District is in a financial position to allow salary improvements to be granted.  SMCCCD’s beginning balance is currently at 20%, more than $20 million of the general fund budget of $107 million.

District answer: NO

Unfortunately, even though the District has repeatedly found money to grant salary increases to managers and administrators, they refused to negotiate with AFT and did not even give us a counterproposal.  Their only answer was NO.  They even tried to convince the mediator, using the same faulty analysis of their salary comparisons, that our salaries are in “the aggregate” among the top four in the Bay Area, rather than taking into account the actual numbers of faculty in each step and column to give a real picture of our rankings.  We found it very frustrating to learn that after we pointed out in several communications to the faculty how wrong the Chancellor’s data is, it is still being used by the District’s negotiating team to justify their position.  The District also claimed that faculty overreacted to the recent salary increases to one group of managers.

Next step: fact-finding

Since the District refused to negotiate, the mediator did not see any point in continuing this process, so he terminated mediation and decided to send our case to fact-finding.  In fact-finding, an impartial three-person panel will review the arguments and proposals from both sides and issue a set of non-binding recommendations to reach a settlement.  Management and the union each appoint one member to the fact-finding panel. Then they mutually agree on a neutral, independent fact-finding panel chairperson.  Prior to issuing this recommendation, the panel may again seek to mediate the dispute between the parties to reach a resolution.

The panel will hold private hearings where both sides will present their last, best offers. The District and the union prepare extensive binders of comparative data and arguments to defend their positions.  The panel members meet in private to evaluate the positions and the data. Within 30 days the panel is required to issue a report that contains findings of fact and its non-binding recommendations.  Before the report is made public, the parties have one more chance to meet in closed session to reach a tentative agreement.  If they do not, then the District and union accept or reject the fact-finder’s report.  By statute, this process can take no longer than ten days from the time the report is made public.

Because of budget cuts at the state level, it may take a while to schedule the fact finding hearing.  We will keep you posted.  Meanwhile, we are counting on your support through this long and arduous process to make the District keep its word and achieve true equity for all SMCCCD faculty members.

AFT 1493 Negotiating Team: Joaquin Rivera, Katharine Harer, Victoria Clinton, Sandi Raeber Dorsett

 

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

How to protect yourself if you have a problem with your Dean

by Chip Chandler, Grievance Officer & Skyline Chapter Co-Chair

If you ever have a problem dealing with your Dean or another administrator regarding your working conditions, it is important to know your rights and follow some simple steps to be sure you protect yourself and to have the best chance for a positive resolution.

All faculty members would be best served to discuss any working condition issues with your AFT Chapter Chair(s) or Grievance Officer before attempting to advocate for yourself. We can help you see the bigger picture and may have a better understanding of administrative concerns. It is more difficult to get the resolution you desire after you have tried and not succeeded. Your Chapter Chair(s) and Grievance Officer are members of your team. Be a team player rather than a free agent.

Adjuncts’ rights

Adjuncts, in particular, should call your Chapter Chair or Grievance Officer regarding all working issues. Since you may not be as familiar with the political climate or why scheduling, textbook selection or mandatory staff meetings, etc. may be different at SMCCCD colleges, we can help you navigate these differences, keep you from going afoul of unique divisional expectations and assure you of your contractual rights.

Deans are obligated to mentor all of their faculty members on the expectations of the division, evaluation procedures and, in general, guide and educate in all matters relevant to success within the division. Chapter Chairs and Grievance Officers supplement this and attempt to fill in when education and training are absent. Usually evaluation training is offered by AFT, Academic Senate and Administration jointly at the beginning of each academic year, and more often, if needed.

Seniority lists

Start by requesting your Seniority position on the divisional Seniority list. This list should be posted in every division mailroom by the dean and updated every semester. This is not a confidential list. Please note that this is by department/division and by specific courses taught. Be sure to request in writing to your dean (or to whomever he/she designates this task) at the very beginning of every semester or earlier the same course load or changes you want for the following semester. You must do this every semester to maintain a written record of your course/load requests. This is true for all adjuncts as well as for full-time overload requests. (Note: AFT discourages full-timers from taking on excessive overload.)

Communications with administrators

Keep all communication regarding working conditions (especially that with your dean) in a file folder (in your e-mail, and back it up). Write up any meetings/discussions you have with your dean, evaluators, etc., and send your notes to all concerned parties. This is for transparency and protection of your rights. If you, your dean or other parties disagree with any written statement, reply with your rebuttal in writing for documentation purposes. These accountings can be ordered for legal representation when your rights are being violated and are generally accepted as factual provided all recordings of meetings and rebuttals are received within 10 business days of each new e-mail exchange. This is very important to maintain your legal rights and is too often neglected as unnecessary. You can bet administration keeps records of all communications.

It is recommended that you cc your Chapter Chair/Grievance Officer on all communication that may affect your working conditions. The AFT officer is then kept apprised of what issues are cropping up. The officer(s) will not acknowledge receipt unless necessary to intervene on your behalf. The officer will not interfere with your communications or take over your self-advocacy unless warranted by your inadequate knowledge of your contractual rights. Even then the officer will contact you and ask if you want representation.

Grievance procedure

The most common reason to talk with your Chapter Chair or Grievance Officer is to clarify or to get advice regarding any working condition. Most issues are not grievable unless listed as a specific Article of your AFT contract. When you call, say: “I have a complaint regarding…” and state your issue. The Grievance Officer will work with you to resolve the complaint. Only when the issue is a violation of an Article in the AFT contract and cannot be resolved informally will the Officer file a Formal Grievance.

The Formal Grievance process follows informal attempts at resolution of contract violations. The process is in three steps: Level I meeting with the College President, Level II meeting with the Chancellor and Level III Arbitration (special hearing). It is rare that a contract violation not resolved prior to the Formal Grievance process is resolved at Level I with the College President or at Level II with the Chancellor. Since we do not have binding arbitration, Level III has limitations. If AFT wins a contract violation decision for a faculty member at Level III, we can and have been overturned by the SMCCCD Board of Trustees.

Your AFT contract is on the AFT 1493 website at aft1493.org. Do yourself a favor and read it!

 

AFT 1493 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Meet Doug Sherman, new Skyline College Part-Timer Rep.

Doug Sherman, Skyline College adjunct English instructor, was appointed to be the new Skyline College AFT Part-Timer Representative at the November AFT Executive Committee meeting.

dougsherman-webDoug was born in Boston and lived mostly in the Boston area until moving to Pacifica at the beginning of 1993. After graduating high school, he almost immediately dropped out of college and supported himself in a variety of unskilled jobs (dishwasher, busboy, construction laborer, landscape laborer, warehouse worker, furniture mover…) for more than five years. During that time, he lived in New York City for a year and hitchhiked around this country and parts of Canada and Mexico for a year. He spent the summer of 1966 in the Bay Area (mostly the Haight). That was the summer before the Summer of Love, and it was an interesting time and place.

In 1970, Doug returned to school at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, where he was active in antiwar and community organizing and eventually graduated summa cum laude in English. As an undergraduate, he worked as a peer tutor, and after graduation continued as a tutor on the Academic Support Services staff. He was then hired as a full-time professional staff member, training and supervising tutors and teaching credit-bearing developmental reading/writing courses. Along the way, he earned a Masters from the Harvard School of Education. Eventually, he made the grave mistake of leaving teaching to enter a PhD program at Harvard in cognitive psychology.

Eventually, that work became so dissatisfying and, to him, sterile and pointless that he left the program and returned to teaching. He taught Developmental Writing and English Comp at Massachusetts Bay Community College outside Boston and also worked at Framingham State College. While at Mass Bay, he became the Adjunct Grievance Officer for the college and got considerable satisfaction (and some frustration) from defending and organizing part-time faculty.

In 1992, Doug was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease and spent almost nine years in dialysis. During that time, he moved to California for family reasons and has taught generally two courses a semester and summers at Skyline College since then. In December, 2010, he finally received a kidney transplant, which has been a kind of rebirth.

Doug and his wife, the amazing Susan Andrien (former Skyline College Learning Center Coordinator), have been together for 38 years and have two thoroughly grown sons who have children of their own, their beloved grandchildren.

Doug looks forward to representing part-time faculty at Skyline. He hopes that part-timers will look more to the union for support and improvement of their condition and that they will get involved to further the work on their behalf.

 

 

 

 

RETIREES

Next DART meeting: Feb. 23, 2012

DART (the District Association of Retired Teachers) plans a February 2012 social meeting that will include a discussion regarding restructuring the organization from a traditional officer format (president, treasurer, secretary) to a committee based system, relying on, say, four volunteers, with a rotating chairperson. The goal is to more efficiently handle both the day-to-day affairs, as well as to plan events, as in the past.

For 2012, we hope to add some cultural events to our calendar and we would enjoy some feedback in this respect (contact John Searle at Searle@my.smccd.edu; please make note of new email address!)

The tentative date for the meeting is Thursday, February 23, at 3:00pm (as usual) in the College Vista Clubhouse, adjacent to the District Office, 3403 CSM Drive. We promise food and real beverages (including wine) and hope for a good turnout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Board & Bond election results

On November 8, the citizens of San Mateo County voted to return for another four-year term the three incumbents now serving on the San Mateo Community College District Board of Trustees. Dave Mandelkern received 40,314 votes, or 26.08% of the vote, Karen Schwarz received 36,144 votes, or 23.39% of the vote, and Patricia Miljanich received 31,465 votes, or 20.36% of the vote.

Joe Ross, the only candidate that AFT Local 1493 endorsed, received 24,648 votes, or 15.95% of the vote. This means that Joe Ross failed to be elected to the Board of Trustees by only 6,818 votes, or 4.41% of the vote! Not a bad showing for someone attempting his first run for elected office.

Two other candidates, Michael G. Stogner and Jaime Diaz, received 13,524 votes (8.75%) and 8,455 votes (5.47%), respectively.

The other issue on the November 8 ballot that was of special interest to our faculty was the San Mateo County Community College District Bond, Measure H. The bond measure required a 55% approval by the electorate. It failed to achieve this threshold, receiving 37,737 YES votes, or 52.75% of those voting. Measure H received 33,808 NO votes, which was 47.25% of those voting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revisions to AFT 1493’s Constitution being proposed; faculty to vote on amendments

by Monica Malamud, AFT 1493 President

Last year, the Executive Committee (EC) undertook a thorough revision of the AFT 1493 Constitution.  The Constitution was originally written in 1988, when our organization became the collective bargaining agent of the SMCCCD faculty and was chartered as local 1493 of the AFT, its parent organization at the national level.  The most recent revision of the AFT 1493 Constitution was adopted in 2005, and it established our membership dues at 1.2% of gross income for all faculty. [1]

The changes that are being proposed now are needed so that our Constitution

  • reflects current practices, as opposed to old ones that have been discontinued or are no longer valid, and
  • provides more clarity, by resolving ambiguities or explicitly addressing areas where our current Constitution is silent.

The most significant amendments, which have already been approved by the Executive Committee, are summarized below:

Article

Current version

Proposed change

All

Faculty are sometimes referred to as “certificated staff” and “teachers”.

Change to “faculty”.  Leave “teachers” in the name of the local.

III. Membership

Membership includes retired faculty, and may include classified employees.

Members are “faculty”, which includes both full-time /part-time faculty, teaching/non-teaching faculty, and it may include faculty who are retired and classified staff (as long as they are currently employed as faculty)

IV. Officers, EC, Chapters

(Silent)

Only union members may run for elected office or be appointed to an EC position.  Faculty who serve on district/union committees as AFT reps must be union members.

 

President of the SMCCCD Association of Retired Teachers is a member of the EC.

(Remove)

 

(Silent)

An elected position may be held by two faculty members; if so, they must run together as “co’s” (for example, we currently have co-Vice-Presidents and the chapter chair positions at all three colleges are shared by co’s)

 

N/A

Add the position of Part-time Faculty Organizer (appointed by the EC)

 

Duties of officers:  need to be updated

Refer to Union Handbook

V. Elections

Run-off election if a candidate does not receive majority of votes.

Highest vote-getter with at least 15% of votes cast wins.

 

Elected officers take office May 15th

Elected officers take office at May meeting

VI.  Meetings

N/A

For the purpose of determining quorum and voting at an EC meeting, each position (not each faculty member) counts as one.  In positions with co’s, if both are present, they count as “one” towards quorum, and they must cast only one vote.

According to article IX of our Constitution, once approved by the Executive Committee, amendments to our Constitution must be ratified by a two-thirds majority vote of the membership.  Faculty will receive voting instructions via e-news shortly.  In the meantime, please go to our website, aft1493.org, to read the proposed changes in their entirety, and contact any Executive Committee member if you have questions.

—————

[1] Prior to the adoption of the new dues structure, membership dues for full-time faculty were capped, which resulted in higher-earning faculty actually paying a lower percentage of their gross salary in union dues.

 

 

Union scholarships for AFT members and dependents

The CFT offers scholarships to high school seniors and college students who are children or dependents of CFT members in good standing. Students enrolled in four-year courses of study are eligible for $3000 scholarships; those enrolled in two-year courses of study are eligible for $1000.

Award selection is based on academic achievement, special talents and skills, participation in extracurricular activities, community service, financial need, and a 500-word essay on a social issue of the applicant’s choice. Scholarships are awarded for any one year of higher education. Students who received scholarships as seniors are not eligible for another scholarship during college.

  • Deadline for high school seniors to submit applications: January 10
  • Deadline for continuing college students to submit applications: July 1

For more information or to get a hard copy of an application mailed to you, contact Dan Kaplan at the AFT office at 650-574-6491.

Scholarships from the AFT and the AFL-CIO

More scholarships and professional grants are available to members and their dependents through the AFT and the AFL-CIO.

Robert G. Porter Scholarship Program

The AFT awards four $8000 scholarships to high school seniors who are dependents of AFT members, as well as 20 continuing education grants of $1000 to AFT members. Application deadline: March 31. To learn more, phone (800) 238-1133, extension 4457, or go to the Scholarships section of the AFT website at: http://aft.org/benefits/scholarships.cfm

Union Plus Scholarship Program

The AFL-CIO offers scholarships ranging from $500 to $4000 to union members, their spouses, and their dependents who are enrolled at an accredited institution of higher education. Scholarships are also available to graduate students. Application deadline: January 31. For more information, see: http://unionplus.org/scholarships

New options! National Labor College Scholarship Program

The AFL-CIO awards scholarships to eligible members or union staffers wanting to complete a degree in Labor Studies through the National Labor College. Scholarships are now available for three new online degree programs. For more information, see: http://unionplus.org/scholarships

 

 

 

 

 

The Occupy movement comes to CSM

Why Occupy CSM? An organizer provides an explanation

by Brandon Snyder, CSM student organizer

According to the Project on Student Debt, my future isn’t so bright. As a student at College of San Mateo who plans to transfer to a university, I’ll soon be facing a sizeable debt and the uncertainty of being able to pay it off once I graduate. Two thirds of students graduated with debt in 2010, the average amount being $25,250. Moreover, unemployment for those with degrees is the highest it’s ever been at 9.1%, which is probably one of the reasons the U.S. Department of Education is showing an increase in student loan defaults. Obviously, a college degree is significant today and my chances of getting a good job will be much better with a degree than without one. My education is much more important for me than it was for my aunt. She has been able to get jobs that paid enough to raise me on her own without her ever completing college. For me, it seems that I don’t have a chance without one. Education has become essential for my generation, but much more expensive. Is it right that students should be obligated to trade debt for a diploma in the wealthiest country in the world?

Not only is school more expensive, but we are also getting less for more due to our failed economy’s attack on education. The people at the bottom, in the form of budget cuts, are expected to pay for the mistakes of those at the top who made this economic occupycsm-grouppic-webmess. We have empty classrooms, unemployed teachers, and massive cuts to support programs–if they still haven’t been done away with yet.

For these reasons and more, students and teachers know all too well the experience of the 99%. The Occupy movement that started with Occupy Wall Street is spreading, giving a voice to those of us at the bottom fed up with the way we fit into this system that seems to be designed by and for those at the top.

Photo above: Some of the Occupy CSM activists making their presence known are (from left to right) Hiba Fakhri, Brandon Snyder, Grace Noland, Charles Blanco and Oscar Farnoso  [Photo by Dan Kaplan]

This is why we should Occupy College of San Mateo. Students and workers could only suffer from these issues if they stand by and let things happen. By coming together and opposing these attacks on the 99%, whether they come from federal, state, or local governments or from huge corporations, we could realize the power that we have and find ways to use it to create a more fair system for all of us. We may not know it yet, but by coming together we could discover all the concerns of others on campus and how our stories are similar, giving us all the opportunity to connect and pursue solutions to our problems within our collective power. By reclaiming space on our campus, we reaffirm for ourselves our collective ownership over it. After all, doesn’t CSM exist for the students? Occupy has been able to provide a forum for political discussion of all kinds that hasn’t been so accepted by this many people in a long time.

A group of students has already started organizing Occupy CSM, aiming to address a wide range of concerns from disagreements with our SMCCCD Board of Trustees to the federal government. We could use the support of teachers and more students who want to offer help. You could email occupycsm@gmail.com, go to the Facebook page at facebook.com/occupycsm, or follow the Twitter account at twitter.com/occupycsm, but the best thing to do is stop and talk to us if you see us set up out on campus. We are in the process of figuring out how to have a presence on campus as frequently as we can.