March-April 2020 Advocate: Faculty input needed at Town Hall, 3/26, 1-2 pm


AFT & District to discuss agreement on measures during crisis; faculty input on working conditions needed at town hall and on online survey

by Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Vice President & Eric Brenner, Advocate Editor

We hope you are getting through this very difficult time as best you can. We’re all in this together, and your union is working as fast as we can to protect all our faculty members.

District hires new Chief Negotiator

First, a piece of important news:  Because of our members’ activism and unflagging support for a fair contract, the Board of Trustees and the District decided to change the composition of their bargaining team. They’ve brought in a new Chief Negotiator, and we hope that will change the dynamics of negotiations. It’s a new playing field that we achieved together — and just in time.

AFT, District to work out agreement on emergency measures

Putting aside our long-term contract negotiations for a moment, the Chancellor has agreed to the AFT’s request to bargain over the effects on faculty of the District’s COVID-19 measures.

Faculty input needed at Town Hall and on online survey

Our AFT Contract Action Team has planned a virtual Town Hall meeting in order to hear from you, our members for Thursday, March 26, from 1-2 PM.  Here’s a Zoom link for that meeting:  Our negotiating team will give a brief report-back followed by hearing from you about what you’re experiencing.

Also, in order to make our upcoming bargaining session around the COVID-19 effects as comprehensive as possible, we are asking you to list specific issues you are currently facing by completing this online survey.

AFT continuing to protect faculty working conditions

Our success in changing the District’s approach to bargaining was a critical win and even more so in these uncertain and difficult times. The union is the only legal body that can bargain for faculty working conditions and, because of our efforts, we are in a stronger position to continue to ensure your rights.

Negotiations on long-term contract to continue

Once we reach an agreement on COVID-19 measures that will provide adequate protections and flexibility for faculty, we still need a fair long-term contract (for the next three years.)

Unions’ action at Board of Trustees gets big turnout and good local media coverage

Here’s a brief update on where things stand, or stood, before the emergency restrictions hit:

After a successful action at the Board of Trustees on February 26th (read speeches to the BOT by Kolo Wamba and EJ Unisa), we were happy to receive very positive press coverage from the San Mateo Daily Journal and The Skyline View, the last of the student newspapers still in operation in the District. As students from our three campuses learn more about faculty contract issues – especially around workload and the lack of parity for our part-time faculty – they’re becoming enraged and engaged! They’ve become our allies in this contract fight.

Following the Board action, our union Contract Action Team (CAT) – a group of faculty from all three campuses, open to all instructors in the District – has been continuing to lay out plans to win a fair contract for faculty.

Petition for part-timer pay parity coming soon

In April we plan to circulate a petition, written by Tim Rottenberg, part-time history and government instructor at Skyline’s Middle College, calling for parity for our part-time faculty members and adherence to the 50% law, with which the District is severely out of compliance. (Read Tim’s article on part-time parity.) The 50% law states that 50% of all district revenues must be used for direct instruction; our district is at 42%. Clearly, if the District followed the 50% law, it would lead to more opportunities for part-time faculty members. Through the petition drive, we plan to reach out to our part-time colleagues. The petition drive can also be a great way to involve students, staff and community members in the struggle for fairness for part-time faculty in our district.

Take care of yourself and your families. We hope to see you at the virtual Town Hall this Thursday, March 26, from 1-2 PM. (Zoom info: