General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting
November 12, 2008, at Skyline College
Present: Eric Brenner, Ron Brown, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Alma Cervantes, Nina Floro, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Yaping Li, Monica Malamud, Karen Olesen, Anne Stafford, Elizabeth Terzakis
Guests: A. J. Bates, Rick Hough, Jamie Marron, Masao Suzuki, Lezlee Ware, Sita Motipara
Meeting began at 2:25
Facilitator: Monica Malamud
Welcome and Introductions
Minutes of the October 8, 2008 EC meeting
Statements from AFT members on Non-Agenda Items:
A. Dan passed around a Board of Trustee meeting schedule for the remainder of the 2008/2009 academic year so that members could sign up to attend specific meetings.
B. Dan announced the next AFT National Higher Education Issues Conference in Miami Beach, Florida, March 6-8.
C. Dan pointed out that the Part-Timer newsletter features two part-timers from our District.
D. Dan asked the Executive Committee to place a statement in the minutes of this EC meeting defining our SEP-IRA Plan Year as extending from June 1st through May 31st.
With respect to our SEP-IRA, our Auditor, John Pooley, and our Plan Administrator, Ed Elkin, both recommend that we obtain written confirmation, via Executive Committee Minutes, that our SEP-IRA Plan Year extends from June 1st through May 31st. Our SEP-IRA Plan was initially established in 1998 to coincide with Dan’s Contract year, which extends from June 1st to May 31st. Contributions to the Plan began as of June 1, 1998, with annual rate increases on June 1st of each succeeding year until we had reached the then current maximum of 15%. Our new rate of 20%, recently approved by the EC, will be retroactive to June 1, 2008.
E. Masao requested that we move up agenda item #13 because he could not stay for the entire meeting but wanted to participate in the discussion of the Political Activity disagreement.
F. Monica announced that Harry Joel had contacted her, Katharine, and Joaquin to schedule a meeting to discuss early retirement incentives for faculty. EC members suggested that we talk to the most senior faculty at the three colleges to find out what might actually motivate them to take early retirement.
G. Monica pointed out that some of the P/T seniority lists are not accurate (some have serious errors). Dan asked Chapter Chairs to check as many as possible on their campuses.
H. Teeka reported on an email exchange with the Chancellor regarding the impact of the current budget on faculty salaries; she distributed copies at the meeting.
I. Monica reminded us about the new limits to faculty members’ 403b investment options. Some members wondered whether the District could actually be offering more choices. Apparently, some of the financial institutions charge large annual fees. Monica will raise the issue at the District Budget Committee meeting on November 18.
A. Chip announced that two days of arbitration remain for the faculty member denied Contract 3 status in the tenure process.
B. The EC voted unanimously to move forward with a grievance filed by a 4th –year probationary faculty member who was denied tenure, but only if the grievance officers are confident that the faculty member has been forthcoming with all information relevant to the case. Voting to move forward doesn’t mean the case will necessarily go to arbitration; we will try to settle before it goes that far.
Communication with Board/District
At our October 8 meeting, we talked about having a small group of EC members meet with the Chancellor, as suggested by some of the Board members, but later decided not to request such a meeting without a specific purpose. We voted (4 no’s, 3 yes’s, 2 abstain’s) not to respond to Richard Holober’s email regarding the Board’s decision not to participate in future summit meetings.
District Shared Governance Council
A. Revision of Rules and Regulations: 2.09:
District Shared Governance Council will no longer be using a consensus model; instead, it will use democratic voting. Rather than the old voting options (A – E), DSGC will move to a model using A = yes, without reservations, B = yes, I can support with reservations, C = I can’t support, and requiring a 60% majority.
B. Budget information:
Teeka reported that Kathy Blackwood gave a presentation about the current state of the District’s budget at DSGC. As a result of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the District has lost $21 million of invested bond money and $4 million from the general operating budget. Unless the District is able to sue the County Treasurer (and win), that money is simply gone. Through various means, she has a set aside $3.7 million, which leaves us with a $300,000 shortfall, in addition to any other mid-year cuts that may be generated at the state level. She believes we are looking at having to cut 3-10% from our general operating budget. She said that just about all strategies for cutting spending are “on the table.” She did specify that we will consider managed hiring, and that we won’t cancel summer session, cancel mass numbers of classes as we have in the past, or lay off large numbers of P/T faculty as we have in the past.
At DSGC Teeka brought up the issue of holding off on the Administrative salary increases. Dan reminded us that he and Ernie had been told by one Board member, at the time the Board approved the salary increases, that we could “revisit” these if the budget tanks.
Large Class size MOU discussion
We think this will become even more of an issue with the current state budget. Kathy Blackwood has said that the District won’t ask faculty to add students beyond the stated class size limits, but encouraged us to work to keep the ones we have.
Dan pointed out that at CSM, some class sizes in the Social Science Division have been increased unilaterally.
We agreed to defer further discussion of the Large Class Size MOU to our December meeting so that Joaquin and Katharine can be present. One member suggested that we not extend the MOU if Joaquin cannot be at the December meeting.
Class size resolution revisited
Dan suggested taking the current language of the resolution to the Senates for their approval, so that we can send it jointly to the Board.
There was some discussion of the 4th “Whereas”: “Whereas under the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA), class size is a mandatory subject for collective bargaining (Section 3543.2), which means that the administration cannot unilaterally change class size, and that class size cannot be negotiated by individual faculty members (Section 3543.3).
There was also some discussion of the 6th Resolved clause, and agreement to leave the language as is.
Trust Committee release time update
Teeka learned in her most recent conversation with Harry Joel that the Chancellor does not support providing reassigned time for faculty to work on the Trust Committee. Harry, in fact, suggested to Teeka that he could do the majority of the work and the Trust Committee could then give input and revise; this proposal is not acceptable to AFT. The EC agreed that a small group (Dan, Anne, Teeka, Nina, and Monica) will try to schedule a meeting with Ron to discuss this issue – AFT’s position is that we will not participate in reconstituting the Trust Committee without reassigned time for faculty involved.
The Academic Senate shares our view about the necessity of reassigned time and support whatever decisions AFT makes about how to proceed.
Alternative Calendar Task Force
The Task Force has met and started its work, without official AFT representation. Monica is serving on the Task Force as a faculty member, and not in her role as AFT President or as Secretary of Cañada’s Academic Senate.
Union and Senate roles discussion
Tabled until our December meeting.
SLO’s: What should the local (and CFT) do?
Tabled until our December meeting.
Political Activity disagreement
Background: The week before the November election, Barbara Christensen sent an email to District employees, stating that the posting of signs, stickers, etc. endorsing candidates or specific ballot initiatives violates both the California Education Code and our District Board’s Rules and Regulations. A number of faculty were unhappy with her email and questioned its accuracy. A few days later the EC received a letter from our attorney, Bob Bezemek, casting doubt on the District’s interpretation of the Ed. Code.
Barbara Christensen is working with the County Counsel to determine what sorts of political signs, posters, stickers, etc, faculty and staff are allowed to post in or around their offices. The County Counsel’s interpretation of California Ed. Code and the Board’s Rules and Regulations is narrower than past interpretations. Dan had hoped to get our attorney and the attorney assigned in the County Counsel’s office to work with the Community College District together for discussion, but that hasn’t happened.
It seems that the original email sent to CSM employees by Barbara Christensen resulted from an incident at Skyline, in which a student complained about a political sign posted in a faculty member’s office window. The faculty member declined to remove the sign and was supported in his refusal by his immediate supervisor. There was a subsequent threat to cancel a previously planned forum at Skyline on marriage equality if a “Yes on Prop. 8” speaker was not included.
Dan was also told by Barbara Christensen that he could not distribute copies of The Advocate in faculty mailboxes if it includes political endorsements.
The EC decided to continue discussion with our attorney about what faculty’s rights of political expression are. No decision was made about additional next steps.
Appointment of Cañada Chapter Co-Chairs for Spring 2009-Spring 2010
Katie Schertle cannot continue to serve as Cañada’s Chapter Chair after this current semester. The EC unanimously approved the appointment of Elizabeth Terzakis and Lezlee Ware as Chapter Co-Chairs.
Open discussion/meeting critique
We agree to put on a future agenda the question of whether to hold more meetings – we are finding it extremely difficult to get through the entire agenda at most meetings, and some issues really can’t wait the whole month between meetings.
Meeting adjourned: 4:50
December 10 facilitator: Teeka