September 2015 Advocate: Tentative Agreement ratified: What’s next?


Tentative Agreement ratified:  What’s next?

by Monica Malamud, AFT 1493 Negotiating Committee

Throughout the 2014-2015 school year, the AFT negotiating team worked hard with the goal of obtaining meaningful increases in medical benefits for both part-time and full-time faculty, as well as improvements to Article 19 (Part-time employment).  At the end of the spring 2015 semester, contract negotiations with the District were at an impasse.  Over the summer, the AFT and District teams continued to negotiate with the assistance of a mediator.

Agreement ratified by 98.7% of voters

Just before the beginning of this semester, a Tentative Agreement (TA) was reached.  Your union’s Executive Committee voted on August 21, 2015 to accept the Tentative Agreement and to submit it to the faculty for ratification.   The TA was ratified by an overwhelming 98.7% (294 yes, 6 no) of the three hundred faculty members who cast their electronic vote earlier this month.

By approving the TA, the following changes go into effect:

1.    The medical cap for full time faculty increases by $50 for single, $75 for two-party, and $100 for family coverage, effective January 1, 2015.  (Full-time faculty will see these changes reflected in their September paycheck, and in October they will receive the retroactive amounts corresponding to January through August 2015).

2.    The medical reimbursement for part-time faculty increases to up to $1000 (from the current $600) for Fall 2015, Spring 2016 and Fall 2016.  Additionally, in the TA, the District and the AFT agree to “jointly conduct a survey to better understand the needs of part time faculty as it concerns medical benefits.”

3.    Small changes to Article 19 (Part-time employment).

The complete text of the just-ratified TA can be found on here.

The 4.78% salary raise that all faculty are receiving this fall is the result of a formula that the District and the AFT negotiated in 2013.  This formula ties faculty wage increases to changes in assessed valuation of properties in San Mateo County.

Medical caps for 2016 still being negotiated

The current contract extends to June 30, 2016.  However, the agreement reached in 2013 still provides for a reopener on medical cap increases in fall 2015, to be effective January 2016.  The medical reimbursement for part-time faculty for 2016 has already been set at up to $1000 each for Spring and Fall 2016.  The AFT negotiating team will start negotiating soon for medical cap increases to the full-time health benefits.

On September 17, 2015, David Feune, Interim Director of Human Resources, sent charts with the 2015 and 2016 medical plan premiums and contribution amounts.  The 2015 charts reflect the actual medical plan premiums and contribution amounts, as just ratified in the TA.  Faculty should note, however, that the 2016 charts are based on 2015 medical caps, not on yet-to-be-negotiated 2016 medical caps for full-time faculty.

As the current contract expires on June 30, 2016, and the entire contract will be open for negotiations then, the AFT will be seeking faculty input starting this semester.  Faculty input, in conjunction with other factors, is carefully considered in order to develop the AFT’s initial proposal to the District.  Please think about any contract areas that you would like to see changed so that you can be ready to help us shape a proposal that reflects your opinion and improves the working conditions of all faculty.