November 2019 Advocate: Negotiations Report
At the last bargaining session on October 8, we received responses regarding the Counselor caseload proposal, and on reassigned time for AFT business. In addition, we had discussions on part-time parity, and faculty complaints and investigations. Finally, we presented a counter proposal on binding arbitration.
Counselors’ Caseload Proposal
At our last bargaining session, counselors presented their proposal to update contract language to reflect current duties and responsibilities, while setting a clear limit on counselors’ caseloads. The district’s bargaining team indicated that they would work with the AFT to come to some resolution on this issue. Unfortunately, the district’s team outright rejected the counselors’ proposal and offered no counter. The district’s team explained that, “the counseling deans do not feel comfortable making changes because they feel like we need more information. There are a lot of new initiatives like guided pathways and CRM and if we commit to language about specific counseling appointment times…we could be doing ourselves a disservice.” Furthermore, they claimed that things are working well now between counselors and deans and they need more data before making any changes to the contract.
Our AFT bargaining team expressed our frustration at the district’s response to the counselors’ proposal. Regarding the fact that there are new initiatives, our AFT bargaining team stated, “Things are constantly changing in education, but if we take this approach, for things to settle to put things in the contract, we may never get there. Right now it’s the CRM, but in 2 years it could be another program.” We also asked the district’s bargaining team what kind of timeline they expect to gather more data and resolve the issue. They couldn’t give us any sort of timeline, but alluded to changes that could take years.
We reminded them that this proposal originated from a current and ongoing violation of the contract relating to counselors appointment times and that we had brought this issue to HR leading to a commitment to resolve this through contract negotiations. One member of the district’s bargaining team stated that the current practice is not violating the contract.
The district’s chief negotiator concluded, “If we had to make a decision today, we would be able to live with the current contract.” They may be able to live with the current contract, but counselors have made it clear that changes need to be made. We informed the district’s team that we would bring this back to counselors and work with them to develop next steps.
Faculty Complaints and Investigations
While we had a good back and forth discussion about contract language relating to Faculty complaints and investigations, the district’s team explained that whatever we decide on, they would want it to exempt it from the grievance process. Our team argued that if this language is not subject to a grievance process, it would be useless as there would be no way to enforce any negotiated procedures.
Reassigned time for AFT
Our last proposal for reassigned time for AFT organizational activities, we proposed to increase to 16 FLCs, the district responded 14, and they indicated that they could settle at 15.
We submitted a counter proposal on binding arbitration that would change the proposed pilot period from 2 to 3 years upon ratification. And instead of excluding almost all of the contract, as the district originally proposed, we countered that we would only exclude tenure review decisions from binding arbitration and set a cap of the number of arbitration cases to 3 per year.
Compensation – Part Time Parity
The remainder of the meeting focused on discussing our compensation proposal to set Part Time pay parity at 85%. The district responded that it is too difficult of a task to cost this out as they would have to place every Part Time member on the salary scale (based on years of experience and level of education etc.). They indicated that they would not want to guess on a number and that in order to agree to this they would want it to be cost neutral. The district’s team asked why 85% and our AFT Chief Negotiator explained that he actually calculated the instructional work of Part Time faculty is around 87%, but we are bargaining 85% to make progress towards parity. This discussion led to an important conversation about workload. The district’s team expressed skepticism that part time faculty do 87% of full time faculty work, to which we replied that full time faculty are overworked and that we need to set a limit. We asked them what percentage they believe Full Time faculty should dedicate to non-instructional work and they were unable to provide an answer.
The AFT bargaining team at this session were Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud (by phone), Paul Bissember and Sue Pak (CFT Field Rep) and the District negotiators were Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Joe Morello, Max Hartman, Charlene Frontiera.
The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, October 30, 1-4 pm, and Tuesday, November 5, 1-4 pm.
To read all Negotiations Updates since the beginning of this round of contract negotiations, see our Negotiations Updates page.