October 2017 Advocate: New contract approved
New contract approved after an arduous faculty-empowered campaign
by Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Co-Vice President & Strategic Campaign Organizer
After more than a year of bargaining, our negotiating team reached a tentative agreement with the District on August 9, and a new contract agreement was overwhelmingly approved by faculty on September 7. More faculty members participated in the contract vote than in past years: a total of 299, approximately one-third of total faculty currently working in the District. Of that number, 290 voted YES and 9 voted NO.
This last round of negotiations was grueling and often frustrating, but it was also incredibly exciting and energizing. The excitement and energy came from the active involvement of faculty who stood up for issues that matter to all of us. For seven months, hundreds of us wore our bright red AFT T-Shirts on No Take Back Tuesdays. On Tuesdays we showed up in our shirts, many of us every single Tuesday, even when it meant doing laundry on Monday night. We taught our classes, went to meetings, and held office hours wearing our AFT T-Shirts. We hung bright red signs on our office doors and wore stickers on our shirts that said: “Faculty Deserve A Fair Contract.” And when the union asked faculty to show up at a Board of Trustees meeting to show support for Workload Equity and for the AFT Negotiating Team, we were there. The union didn’t win everything in this round, but it’s not because faculty didn’t show up.
District refuses binding arbitration
We were particularly disappointed that the District refused to agree to Binding Arbitration and that we couldn’t get any agreement on Workload Equity language. We also should have received a larger salary increase in order to keep up with rising costs in the most expensive area of the nation. The District clearly could have afforded it.
However, many of us are grateful to have those two new steps: one at the top of the FT salary scale and the other at the top of the PT salary scale. Too many people have been stuck on those top rungs for years and years. The one time 1% feels good while you’re savoring it, but like a chocolate cupcake the goodness won’t last because the 1% isn’t on the salary scale.
On medical benefits, full-timers’ monthly medical benefit caps will go up for 2017 (retroactively) and then again in 2018. The adjunct faculty medical benefit stipend will increase from $1000 to $1505 per semester, effective Fall 2017.
Your September paychecks should be based on the new 2017-18 salary schedules and steps; and should also include retroactive pay for August 2017–both full time and part time, including regular pay (pay code: “Retro-CY”) and office hours (pay code: “RTOPRet”)–and medical cap refund for contributions from the beginning of 2017 (refund amount located under medical plan deduction code). In your October paychecks, you should receive retroactive pay for the Fall 2016, Spring 2017 and Summer 2017, including regular pay (pay code: “Retro-PY”) and office hours (pay code: “Retro-PM”), plus 1% extra pay based on the total payment from Fall 2016, Spring 2017 and Summer 2017 (pay code: “IncentvP”).
Workload Equity Committee established
The District’s refusal to agree to Binding Arbitration, even after the Fact Finder recommended it, is difficult to grasp. We are one of the only community college districts in the Bay Ten that doesn’t have BA, and it creates an inequity, an uneven playing field, that can seriously impinge on our ability to defend faculty. Workload Equity went to a committee made up of three AFT reps (Nina Floro, Doniella Maher and Anne Stafford), three Academic Senate reps (Rosemary Nurre, Michael Hoffman, and Leigh Anne Shaw) and three administration representatives. The committee is having its first meeting in late September. We trust that our representatives will work toward reasonable and fair standards around the enormous amount of work conducted outside of teaching. The union’s goal is that the Workload Committee produce new contract language. Workload Equity is one of the “re-openers” in the next set of negotiations (for 2017-2018).
Here’s a summary of what faculty approved in this new contract:
- All faculty will receive a 3.25% increase on their salary schedules retroactive to the Fall 2016 semester, plus an additional 1% off-schedule payment.
- All faculty will receive a 1.75% increase on their salary schedules effective in the Fall 2017 semester.
- A cost-of-living increase for 2018-19 will be calculated based on county-assessed property value increases released at the end of June 2018.
- Effective Fall semester 2016, additional steps will be added at the top of both full-time and part-time salary schedules (where our District’s salaries compared least favorably to other Bay 10 districts). Steps 24 (same as step 23) and 25 (3% above step 24) will be added to the Regular Faculty Salary Schedule (full time faculty) and step 11 (3% above step 10) will be added to the Adjunct Faculty Salary Schedules.
Effective January 1, 2017, full-timers’ monthly medical benefit cap will be:
- Single: $789.00 (no change, but fully covers Kaiser payments),
- Two-Party: $1319.97 (increase of $107.97)
- Family: $1703.41 (increase of $134.41)
Effective Fall semester 2017, the adjunct faculty medical benefit stipend will increase from $1000 to $1505 per semester.
Effective January 1, 2018, full-timers’ monthly medical benefit cap will be:
- Single: $825.00 (increase of $36.00, fully covers Kaiser payments)
- Two-Party: $1394.97 (increase of $75.00)
- Family: $1828.41 (increase of $125.00)
Two flex days with required on-campus attendance, four will remain flexible. For 2017-18, there will be one required day in Spring 2018 (January 12, 2018). For 2018-19, there will be one required day in Fall and one required day in Spring. Those days will be set with the approval of the academic calendar for that year (which AFT negotiates).
The No-Strike clause was removed.
Three non-economic re-openers per side, including workload, will be negotiated for 2017-18, and three more items will be negotiated for 2018-19.