General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting
March 18, 2009, at CSM
Present: Ron Brown, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Yaping Li, Monica Malamud, Karen Olesen, Sandi Raeber, Joaquin Rivera, Anne Stafford, Elizabeth Terzakis, Lezlee Ware
Guests: Laura Demsetz, Jamie Marron, Barbara Uchida, George Wright
Meeting began at 2:28
Facilitator: Nina Floro
Time Keeper: Karen Olesen
Welcome and Introductions
Minutes of the February 11, 2009 EC meeting
Approved unanimously with corrections.
Statements from AFT (non-EC) members on Non-Agenda Items:
Representing the Math/Science Division at CSM, Barbara Uchida and Laura Demsetz asked whether the 2009/2010 academic calendar can be reconsidered. In working with their Dean to figure out the Fall 2009 schedule, Science faculty realized that the additional Flex days disproportionately reduce the time available for Monday and Thursday labs. However, the District has already said that it is not willing to renegotiate the calendar. Joaquin requested more information about the specific courses affected and the impact on students. A sub-group of the EC will meet soon with Math/Science faculty to discuss ways to avoid this problem in the future.
The EC agreed that even though a majority of faculty who responded to our Flex day survey indicated that they supported the addition of two days per semester, and even though a very small number of courses were negatively impacted by the addition of Flex days to the academic calendar, we need to work to ensure that in the future a majority decision doesn’t have a serious negative impact on a minority.
District budget priorities campaign: ideas for action
The EC discussed the seeming disconnect between recent Administrative salary increases and significant class cuts at CSM, especially in light of additional classified hiring. One member observed that classified positions typically get refilled, but faculty positions left open due to retirements often do not.
CSM’s situation, where all, or most, of the spring 2009 class cuts occurred, is in a somewhat unique situation. Our apportionment changed (decreased) recently, and the college spends all, or most, of its Hour-by-Arrangement money to operate labs and other services that directly benefit students.
One AFT member asked an EC Chapter Chair to point out that when the District talks about faculty salaries, it includes non-teaching faculty, thereby artificially inflating the percentage of the total budget designated to faculty salaries. She suggested that when these faculty members move out of teaching positions, they be removed from the calculation. The risk, however, of asking that the money that pays these salaries be moved from faculty to administration is that it never gets returned to faculty.
The EC agreed that some internal investigation is necessary before we advocate any action.
He is currently working on 2 cases.
Before winter break, she had started working on a case involving a P/T faculty member who had worked more than 60% for 3 semesters. Because the faculty member’s additional load was not in lecture courses, and was therefore considered non-teaching, AFT’s attorney recommended that we could not issue a demand letter, and recommended that AFT not pursue the case.
In March, AFT won an arbitration in the case of a probationary faculty member denied tenure, but the District chose to appeal the arbitrator’s ruling, which called for the District to reinstate the faculty member with back pay. In doing so, the District is relying on the advice of the attorney who lost the case in the arbitration process. The District has instituted new procedures for this case; there will be no further argumentation, and each side will submit a brief of no more than 10 pages. The Board will vote at its April 22 whether to abide by the arbitrator’s ruling.
The EC voted (13 “yes,” 1 “no,” 1 “abstain”) to authorize our attorney to request a settlement of a certain dollar amount; he is directed to consult with the EC if the District counters with less than a certain dollar amount.
He is currently working on 3 cases at Cañada, trying to resolve them before they get filed as actual grievances. The cases are mostly related to the faculty evaluation process.
We talked about the need for an Advocate article about the need for faculty to get to know their contract, to help them understand which actions are grievable and which are not.
Joaquin is currently working to develop a survey, which should be ready in a few weeks, asking faculty to identify the issues they are most interested in having AFT bring to the next round of contract negotiations. We will return to some of the non-economic issues that haven’t been addressed in the past. Some possible issues: complete equity for part-time and overload pay (currently full-timers teaching overloads don’t receive office hour pay – but they do get full health benefits, which are not available to part-timers), moving future Fall Flex days from November to October, and binding arbitration.
Dan reminded us that we’ve been asked by those who run the apprenticeship programs connected to our District (pipefitters, . . .) to negotiate a separate pay scale for their P/T faculty that doesn’t include office hour pay. We will discuss this at our next meeting.
Some people have suggested that AFT 1493 needs to be thinking of new ways to facilitate communication between the EC and our members, and between members. Is there a way for faculty to leave comments that will be confidential and secure? Whatever we create will have to be monitored, and perhaps facilitated, regularly. Teeka asked for an update on our redesigned Website. Dan said that AFT is considering hiring someone to finish the redesign; maybe we could pay a stipend for a P/T faculty member to work on it.
The committee hasn’t met since interviewing vendors over a month ago. There are two issues for the EC to discuss.
1) Investment strategy for the $30 million set aside to pay for retiree health benefits: The money has accrued since 1991. Though Dan has been following the EC’s direction in advocating a conservative investment strategy, he fears his may be the lone voice on the committee – which will make a recommendation to the Board – for such a strategy and anticipates a battle with the District. The outside GASB consultant, who is relatively new to this particular kind of work and appears to have a lot of influence over the committee, is advocating a more aggressive investment strategy. EC members pointed out that this money is for faculty, and that we want our representative to the committee to be heard.
2) Irrevocable trust:
The AFT representative to the District Budget Committee has expressed concern over suggestions from Kathy Blackwood that the District might not want to put the entire $30 million into revocable trust. She stressed that this money is for faculty and that all of it should go into the trust.
Hours by Arrangement
Class Size Survey
The AFT survey about large classes garnered about 20 responses, mostly from entire programs, departments, and divisions; the responses were extremely varied. AFT will compile and summarize the data and bring it to the EC for discussion.
Report back: California Public Workers Conference and Community College March
The United Public Workers for Action Conference took place Sunday, March 15. George Wright said that despite moderate attendance (about 45 people), the Conference was more successful than he had anticipated – it “felt like a major step.” The group is concerned about the impact on the public sector of a combination of economic, social, and political crises. Richmond’s Green Party mayor participated in a panel discussion, which was followed by 6 breakout sessions, addressing such issues as immigrants’ rights, housing, and labor concerns. The group is ultimately hoping to become a viable third party representing the poor.
Statements from EC members on Non-Agenda Items
A) Teeka gave a brief update on the status of the Trust Committee. Though Harry Joel has indicated that the District might be willing to provide release time for 4 faculty members (3 units each per semester), it may be too late to get the committee formed and started in Fall 2009 because it is too late for most faculty to change their schedules. Despite Harry’s offer to do a good deal of the initial work on the revision/update of faculty evaluation procedures and documents, members emphasized that the work of the Trust Committee is not simply clerical; it is substantive.
B) Lezlee Ware announced her interest in attending ULI in July.
C) The Senate has requested someone from AFT to work on language regarding intellectual property rights. The Senate is working with the District and the Board on article 6, but article 6.32 deals specifically with the rights of faculty to sell their work in bookstores. AFT currently has a demand letter in to the District to negotiate this issue.
Open discussion/meeting critique
Meeting adjourned: 5:15
Next facilitator: ?