FACULTY TELL BOARD WHY WE DESERVE A FAIR CONTRACT

More than 60 faculty members submitted brief statements to the AFT on why they believe we deserve a fair contract.  At the November 9 Board of Trustees meeting, AFT Past President Teeka James and Skyline faculty member Amber Steele read some of the statements and then submitted all of the statements to the Board on individual cards.

Faculty statements on why we deserve a fair contract:

  1. Dear Board, We all want the same thing: continuing to provide our students with an excellent Thank you!
  2. Dear SMCCCD Board of Trustees, Faculty deserve a fair contract NOW because our district has been in a much better financial condition to keep the previous formula in salary A fair contract will benefit our district as whole through boosting faculty morale and building mutual trust and respect. It will lead to an even stronger district.
  3. Dear Trustees, Please ask SMCCD administration to negotiate a fair contract for the faculty, that includes increases in health care contributions by the district and a salary increase commensurate with the previous contract’s. Thank you.
  4. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . it has already been negotiated, and I feel something that was in place, is being taken I also feel that we, faculty, work very hard, show that we love our jobs, and strive for student success.
  5. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . “The single most important factor in determining [student] achievement is not the color of their skin or where they come from. It’s not who their parents are or how much money they It’s who their teacher is.” – President Barack Obama
  6. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . A fair contract will establish equal opportunities for everyone as stipulated in the staff handbook and, observe professionalism.
  7. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . Adjunct faculty deserve the same rate of pay as full-time faculty when it comes to teaching classes. They do the same job, don’t they? We also need more adjuncts to be made full-timers so they receive same benefits exactly.
  8. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . Adjuncts are the life blood of the college district. They should be compensated for their efforts.
  9. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . as a dedicated educator, having earned a master’s degree at an Ivy league university, I am 100% committed to giving everything I have to help my students succeed. I am in my mid-fifties, and have a difficult time making ends meet with paying well over 2k per month for a very basic and small 1 bedroom apartment. Do you know how difficult it is to do this work in this area on the wages we receive? Why are you holding onto the purse strings and not giving us a so much needed salary increase? Why? it doesn’t make any sense…
  10. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . Both full-time faculty and adjunct faculty want to support our students and support the mission of this district and our individual We care deeply about the work we do and our students. We deserve to be recognized and compensated for this work, evaluated fairly and consistently, and supported in fulfilling this important mission.
  11. Do the right thing for faculty, students, and our community.
  12. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . driving student success requires a community of faculty that is enabled to succeed through equitable workload practices.
  13. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . Duties that don’t relate to preparing classes, grading students, or actual teaching have increased dramatically since I arrived in 2001.
  14. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . educators work hard to provide the best for their students.
  15. Faculty deserve a fair contract now . . . so that they can keep up with the costs associated with living in the Greater Bay Area, including housing and health Faculty are “doing more with less” every single day. Every day we help to lay the foundation of our students’ success and deserve a contract that is fair and equitable.
  16. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . many, like me, regularly work 50-60 hour weeks during the school year and additional hours beyond their contract (during the summer) in order to serve students both in and out of the classroom to ensure their success.
  17. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . Faculty workload continues to increase, yet the District wants faculty to accept smaller pay increases while undergoing additional evaluation, and will not consider AFT 1493’s reasonable proposal for increasing workload All at a time when the District is in its strongest financial position in many years. Doesn’t sound fair to me!
  18. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . community college is a dream place for teachers to educate the next Every instructor has worked hard in his or her academic life to obtain this employment.
  19. I have been working at Skyline College as an Adjunct since 2008. I have built our Geography department from two classes taught by a history professor, to a thriving program with an AA-T I NEED an opportunity to get at least 50% medical coverage through the district. This is commonly offered to adjunct faculty in other districts, and is a hardship for our family. I am treated as second class, even though I attend meetings, am a SLOAC coach and TracDat coordinator, and have worked (for FREE) with the curriculum committee to improve my department. Adjuncts are doing the same job for less pay at multiple colleges. The least we could get is some help with medical. I shouldn’t have to worry about taking my toddler to the doctor! I shouldn’t have to pay most of my paycheck to medical insurance! We also should be paid for holidays. This is ridiculous. You need to be taking care of the people who make up the majority of your faculty. We are frustrated and angry. We ask for respect, we ask for fair treatment, and we ask for dignity.
  20. I’ve been a faculty member in this district for over 30 years and, although we’re working harder than ever and developing great new programs, in the last few years there’s been a greater feeling of distrust and lack of appreciation from top administration than I can The union is not asking for anything unreasonable– just: a fair share of District revenues for a reasonable salary increase and medical benefits in an incredibly expensive place to live; fair compensation (and acknowledgement!) for the many faculty working excessive hours on critical committees, projects and other initiatives that are constantly trying to improve the education of our students; and respect for evaluation procedures that were developed collaboratively by faculty and administrators over several years (rather than showing distrust in faculty and unawareness of the time involved in faculty observation and review by pushing new evaluation procedures that would require more administrators and faculty reviewing faculty more often.) Our District is in the fortunate financial position of being able to do the right thing for faculty (part-time and full-time). The Board needs to take the lead to ensure faculty are given a fair contract in order to show recognition and respect (rather than distrust and antipathy). Thank you.
  21. In support of a fair contract I support a fair negotiation process.
  22. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . it is important to keep our colleges competitive by not losing good faculty.
  23. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . It just does not make sense that management doesn’t want their employees to put in more effort and hours doing constructive things for the school (and ultimately, the students – our “clients”). No successful operation relies so much on volunteering for administrative I just don’t understand how the AFT’s proposal doesn’t satisfy our employers.
  24. No take-backs.
  25. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . of what we do in and out of the classroom to help our students succeed.
  26. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . our workload isn’t equitable.
  27. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . Outstanding work deserves fair contract!
  28. Please accede to the AFT’s reasonable requests to ensure a contract that is fair to Thank you!
  29. Please make us feel valued and respected! We deserve a Fair Contract!
  30. Please send your negotiating team back to the Faculty deserve a fair contract.
  31. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . SMCCD doesn’t offer me (an adjunct faculty member) job security, employment stability, or regular hours from semester to semester; affordable health insurance (the $1000.00 stipend is nice, but doesn’t cover my costs and I have to wait through the semester to get it); or anything useful in the way of other benefits.
  32. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . so much of what we do outside the classroom (curriculum, peer evaluations, student mentoring) directly impacts student success.
  33. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . we are breadwinners of our families.
  34. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . students depend on us, we work more than expected, and we’ll do anything to ensure our students enjoy success inside the classroom and outside the classroom.
  35. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . The District’s proposals regarding evaluations (especially having VPIs do evaluations) are simply not tenable.  The faculty deserve a reasonable and fair contract.
  36. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . the faculty are the main reason that students flock to the SMCCCD.
  37. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . they are the people who teach the students. Part-time faculty in particular are underpaid and overworked. Ask a student, ask the public who they think should be well-paid– the teachers!
  38. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . they work so hard.
  39. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . They work their asses off! Come on, administrators! It’s fair!
  40. We all agree that our faculty do vital work and deserve fair contract.  A fair contract ensures that all educators are not overworked and underpaid and students get the attention they need. That helps us recruit and retain talented individuals for our colleges. Students and their families have by far the greatest interest in the progress/outcome of these negotiations, especially in how they could affect students and the school year.
  41. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . we are DEVOTED to our students and our communities!
  42. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . we are where the rubber meets the road. We are the ones who are delivering the education our students want and need. The district needs to negotiate in good faith.
  43. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . We deserve a fair contract because we provide educational services to the students and we go through the process of evaluation every two years. We do the same work as what the regular employees does. Sometimes we exceeds expectations.
  44. We deserve a fair contract because the District should continuously show its appreciation for the hard and dedicated work that faculty do every day.
  45. We faculty deserve a fair contract because of the amount of dedication and hard work we do for our students and our colleges. This dedication is NOT being respected by the District’s current contract proposals which are focused on “take backs” — from the new unfair way of calculating compensation to the changes in evaluation procedures and loss of flex day flexibility. The piece that affects us the most is the District’s refusal to work with AFT negotiators on new contract language around faculty workload. I’m stunned that the Board is letting the Chief Negotiator for the District take us to this point without trying to work on more reasonable proposals. I know you believe in fairness. Please send the District team back to the table with a more reasonable and fair approach to these issues that affect all faculty.
  46. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . we give our heart and soul, our blood and guts, to our teaching and to our students – to our district and our community. BP 6.13 states that “curriculum is the lifeblood of the college” – but of course “curriculum” is just an abstract formula; it’s the faculty who are the lifeblood of our colleges.  And when we talk and talk and “do” regarding student success, the latter must be understood in relation to faculty success, support and respect; the two are vitally intertwined; you can’t have one without the other. We’re a college, we teach courses; you can’t invest in student success without equally investing in faculty. These particular rounds of negotiations are especially frustrating and disenchanting because they seem driven on the district’s side by reversing the promising spirit of the past few years, based on collaboration, support and respectful compensation. We are perplexed and dismayed that, given the relatively robust fiscal state of our community based district, the district negotiating team would push in such a bull-headed way (all or nothing, no bending) to take back previous (and fair) compensation gains, while adding highly questionable tasks to our already intensely overloaded workload. We’re beyond the tipping point; we’re inside the breaking point. And it’s a tragic disservice to our students. We students and faculty deserve better.
  47. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . we have worked tirelessly to support out students and this community. Part-time and full-time, we have served this district, doing our best to respond intelligently and responsibly to every new initiative that comes down the pike. Yet, the district’s proposals for contract changes indicate to us that you don’t trust us to do our jobs. That really hurts.
  48. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . We live in one of the most expensive places in the country. If we cannot pay our faculty a wage that allows them to put their roots down and stay here, we will not be able to retain a dedicated and talented I am young and committed and want to stay in the Bay Area, but it is very difficult.
  49. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . we need a compatible salary to offset the ever rising cost of living in the Bay Area.
  50. We want a fair contract!
  51. We work hard every day to serve our students.  We deserve a fair contract.
  52. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . We work in one of the richest and most expensive areas in the country. Faculty and staff should be paid fairly, which means that we should be paid such that we can live in the community in which we work. Our pay should also be commensurate with our ever-increasing workload, and the ever- increasing aspect of our workload needs to be addressed. The number of administrators and proportion of monies that go into paying them has ballooned in recent years, without any improvement to our campuses or working conditions that I can see. Administrative positions and salaries should be examined if the District needs to find a way to save money. Don’t take it out of our skins; we are already giving enough.
  53. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . While technology simplifies our work by making it easier for faculty to take care of their own needs, it also means that we rely less and less on classified staff, and take on more of the administrative duties that make our colleges great. While we may have sent out for copies before, now we spend dozens of hours updating our multiple websites. Program leads have to advertise on social media, apply for grants, and participate in multiple committees (far more than two; and many committees are far more work than others). We are newly required to assess, re-write our courses in order to assess, learn to use TracDat and Curricunet, to help those of our peers and adjuncts who can’t do so. The number of hours spent in class and in office hours used to be the largest part of our workday, but now is shrinking in comparison to the professional development, flex hours, technology / Canvas upgrades, SLO, PSLO, ISLO reporting, new annual program plans (for one-FTF programs, and for those huge programs who still have to share the work), on top of our previous requirements. The amount of work we do has changed, and we need to have a way to track and fairly compensate for it.
  54. Why is it so difficult for all of you to see how dedicated, passionate, and committed we are to our students? Please meet us halfway.
  55. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . working within “unspecified” rules and regulations is unfair to faculty.
  56. Faculty deserve a fair contract now because . . . living in the Bay Area is becoming increasingly difficult due to rising housing costs and overall cost of living; the strain is taking a heavy toll on teachers such that many of us are considering leaving in order to find a place where a balance between work and home life can be achieved.  (Many adjuncts are already gone; why stay if there’s no fair full-time contract to look forward to?) A diminishing pool of qualified and experienced teachers cannot be good for the SMCCCD. A fair contract will go a long way toward motivating teachers to stay here and tough it out!
  57. Please send your negotiating team back to the Faculty deserve a fair contract.
  58. Please support faculty getting a fair contract.
  59. To the SMCCCD Board of Trustees: I feel strongly that faculty deserve a fair Such a contract includes fair salary increases and addressing the enormous increase over the years in non-teaching duties. Thank you.
  60. Faculty deserve a fair contract because we are the educators in an educational institution – our students deserve a great education and we can provide it, but we have been asked to take on more and more duties over time, and we are not being compensated accordingly. The District’s over-reliance on part-time faculty, even when our courses and programs have demonstrated stability over the years to justify more full-time positions, results in full-time faculty who must do a myriad of tasks that were not part of their workload a decade ago, and part-time faculty who are underpaid and exploited.
    I was not able to attend the BOT meeting where five faculty representatives spoke about their ridiculously ever-growing workloads, because I teach on Wednesday evenings. But when I watched the videos later that night, I was in tears listening to my colleagues. I was shocked to hear that one of them in particular, Sarah, told you about her volunteering to help the only full-timer in her department because she realized that her colleague could not do it all. So Sarah helped with TracDat and the tedious and time-consuming task of documenting statistics and reflections on SLOs, curriculum updates, program promotion, etc. Sarah was also very involved in the last accreditation cycle for Cañada College: she attended numerous meetings and was the editor of the accreditation report. The day the accrediting team left was her wedding day—can you imagine that dedication to our college while planning her wedding? And just days after her wedding, her husband had a stroke. As an adjunct, she had no health coverage, even after many years of continuous service to our District. Her husband was in between jobs. They had to sign up for Covered California and self-pay so that her husband could have the medical care he needed after brain surgery. Needless to say, continuity of care in this situation was quite negatively impacted. A dedicated professor should not have to have this kind of experience. Still, Sarah continues to serve not only her students, but, in addition to everything else she has been doing for her department, currently represents faculty as Academic Senate Vice-president. I chose Sarah as an example of the kind of work that our part-time faculty perform for our district. Part-time faculty should not be treated as second-class citizens: they deserve parity pay and health benefits.

            We were told in negotiations that our Trustees could not act on this issue of workload equity, which is of utmost importance to faculty, because you “need data”. Data is available already available in the form of committee memberships, minutes, program reviews, program/unit plans, evaluations, curriculum that has been developed, materials that faculty prepare, SLOAC documentation, etc. Workload has been a pressing issue for faculty for many years now, and, since it is a negotiable subject, we respectfully waited until the entire contract was open for negotiations in order to address it. The time to tackle this issue is NOW. Faculty cannot wait any longer.

            Full-time faculty are stretched to the max, working well beyond a reasonable workload, part-timers are contributing with unpaid hours, faculty morale is at an all-time low, some full-time faculty are considering retiring much earlier than they ever thought they would, part-timers are not interested in applying for our full-time positions and are leaving for districts in areas with a lower cost of living and decent health benefits. As a community supported district, our District is receiving considerably greater and more predictable revenues than if it were state-funded. We understand that even in good economic times, resources are limited. It’s all a matter of priorities. And the message that faculty get is that we are not a priority for this District.

            We ask to be treated with respect and dignity. We feel that dedicated faculty (both full-time and part-time) deserve a salary that allows them to live in the area they serve, health benefits that will not prevent them from getting needed medical care, a reasonable workload, rights that are aligned with their responsibilities, and fair treatment on the job. We expect the district to negotiate in good faith, but when the District is unwilling to enter into an agreement even on the issues that the parties have agreed on, and every single negotiation proposal has to be submitted to mediation, then it signals to faculty that faculty and their concerns do not matter at all. We would like to move forward and make progress, but the District seems interested in just the opposite. I hope that you will reconsider the District’s position and that we can continue to work together for the benefit of our students.

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