September 8, 2010

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

September 8, 2010 at College of San Mateo

EC Members Present:  Eric Brenner, Alma Cervantes, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Dave Danielson, Sandi Raeber Dorsett, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Yaping Li, Monica Malamud, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Mike Noonan, Lucia Olson, Joaquin Rivera, Masao Suzuki, Elizabeth Terzakis

Other Members and Guests Present: Deb Garfinkle, John Kirk, Matt Leddy, Rebecca Webb

Facilitator: Dave Danielson

Time Keeper: Yaping Li

Meeting began at 2:15


1.       Welcome and Introductions

We introduced ourselves and welcomed everyone to the meeting.


2.       Statements from AFT (non EC) Members on Non-Agenda Items

There were no statements from non EC members. But Masao passed around copies of the September/October 2010 edition of Fight Back: News and Views from the People’s Struggle; and Dan announced that Skyline professor George Wright will be speaking in Richmond, CA, on September 25, 2010 at the CA Public Education and Public Workers Conference about the privatization of public education and public services. A flyer was circulated for those who wished to attend or publicize the event.


3.       Minutes of May 12, 2010 and August 20, 2010 AFT Meetings

The minutes for the May 12, 2010 and August 20, 2010 AFT meetings were approved unanimously with minor changes, which are reflected in the approved minutes housed on the AFT website.


4.       Negotiations Report

Good News:  At the most recent negotiations session, the district took off the table step freezes and previously proposed cuts to professional development funding. It also withdrew its proposals to require librarians and counselors to hold 37 ½ hour work weeks.

Bad News:  The District Shared Governance board policies are still in limbo. When the Board of Trustees heard about 7.21 Time, Place, and Manner, which addresses free speech on campuses, they were alarmed and scheduled a meeting item to discuss the concept of free speech on our campuses. Dan attended that meeting and will send out his notes from it to the EC. Although these board policies have been discussed at the negotiating table, the district insists it is not negotiating them and refuses to accept that they are negotiable items. The district insists the policies be approved through the district shared governance process.

Hoping to inspire some movement at the table (where we have been negotiating for 12 months now), the AFT negotiating team presented a comprehensive package proposal to the district, which means all of the items included in the package are taken or rejected more or less together. The district did not accept one single suggestion or make any movement of any significance whatsoever on any issue on the table. Instead, the district’s proposals are to maintain status quo or “take backs,” specifically:

a.       Pay part-time faculty for flex activities only if they are pre-approved activities and only at the special rate.

b.      No raise in compensation

c.       No binding arbitration

d.      Defer to “recency” in allowing faculty to move into new FSAs.

e.      No academic freedom in the contract

f.        No new language on resignations

g.       No money for a reconstituted Trust Committee


The ensuing discussion focused on strategy for going forward mixed with reflection and speculation about why the district is being so adamantly stubborn. We brainstormed possible changes in strategy, methods for eliciting support and suggestions from our membership. We reviewed past negotiations situations and discussed who might write articles about a variety of contract issues for future Advocate issues. We also acknowledged the negotiating team’s diligence and reaffirmed our appreciation and support.

Point of Order: At this point we were already running out of meeting time, so we made some adjustments to the agenda: we tabled the parcel tax discussion and the discussion about scheduling a special focus meeting and leadership training; we reduced grievances by five minutes; and we moved the Cargill discussion up so it could be addressed immediately following the negotiations report, which we had just concluded.

5.       Parcel Tax/District Budget Discussion—TABLED

9.    Cargill Plan to Fill in the Bay in Redwood City

Matt Leddy and John Kirk brought a proposal for a resolution before the EC. Cargill, which has a long anti-union history, including hiring scabs and strike breakers, wants to build a levy in the San Francisco Bay in order to build a new housing development. Among Matt and John’s concerns are

\      The levy is dangerous.

\      The development proposal includes plan to ship in the water that will be required by the development’s future residents (this leads to privatization of water, another issue of concern).

\      Union jobs may be at risk.

\      The Bay is the second largest estuary in the United States and its tidal salt marshes will be threatened by the development (only thirty percent of the salt ponds will be able to be restored to tidal marshes).

\      Traffic will become even heavier on San Mateo county roads and highways.

\      Wildlife will be threatened.

Matt and John requested that AFT 1493 pass a resolution (as has Menlo Park) voicing its opposition to this development. They are concerned that Cargill is pressuring the San Mateo Central Labor Council to approve the development, for Cargill has donated $11,500 to the SMCLC since 2006. Since AFT 1493 contributes dues to SMCLC, our members should know that our dues may be being spent in support of this development.

Dan chimed in to note that the SMCLC includes a large number of private sector labor unions, some of whom, such as those from the building trades, are facing 30% unemployment rates, a fact which might explain its support of the Cargill development project.

Motion (seconded): The EC should approve a resolution (to be written up in the traditional resolution format) voicing AFT 1493’s concern about the Cargill development project and our support of union jobs but not at an unacceptable environmental cost.

Vote: The motion carried.

Yes     No     Abstain
18        0          0

6.       Finalizing the Part-time Faculty Organizer Job Description; Developing the Application/Appointment Process

The Part-time Faculty Organizer position description needs to be finalized. We agreed to remove “committee” from the title, from now on referring to the position as the “Part-time Faculty Organizer” (PTFO). We agreed to delete the rationale for the position’s creation from the job announcement. We need to set a timeline and agree on a hiring process. Monica, Dan, Lisa, and Teeka agreed to serve on the hiring committee. Dan agreed to send out an email to Vicki and Sandi to see if either of them would be available to serve as well. We agreed that the hiring committee would edit the job description and bring it back to the next EC meeting.

7.       Schedule: a) Union Philosophy/Union Building Strategies  “Special Focus” Meeting; b) Leadership Training by CFT; and c) CFT Database Training—TABLED

8.       Union Handbook Subcommittee Report

The EC was asked to review the latest draft of the union handbook. We will discuss the draft at the next meeting.

10.   AFT/Academic Senate Statement on the Trust Committee

The Trust Committee statement that Monica and Nina worked on over the summer with the Academic Senate is now ready for circulation. Dan pointed out that in the past AFT 1493 has stated that we are absolutely against the points about SLOs in lines 111-113 of the draft. Teeka said she was concerned that the draft was too long to be read to the BOT, and felt the repetition needed to be edited out. Alma had concerns about the distance education section.

11.   Changes to the AFT Local 1493 Constitution

Monica brought forward some concerns about language in our AFT 1493 Constitution that may need to be revised, deleted, or added. Specifically, our Constitution makes no statements on the minimum threshold for winning an elected seat on the EC, nor does it include any process for the recall of a negligent officer. We also had previously raised questions about our current practice of shared positions and how it may impact the “balance of power” amongst the three campus constituency groups. Monica asked whether the one person, one vote model was the best option for the EC and pointed out that since our Constitution grants voting privileges to positions referred to in the singular (e.g. “the president,” “the chief negotiator”), our current voting process violates our stated procedures.

Discussion centered mostly on this last issue, voting. One possibility is to have co-officers and co-reps split their votes (½ vote each); another is to change our Constitution to clarify our practices. Lisa pointed out that the sharing of positions encourages more participation, but perhaps it would be wise to limit the sharing to two people per position. Others said that while in theory the one person, one vote method could become unfair, in practice all campuses currently (and have for some time) have co-chairs, the president and two vice-presidents each come from a different campus, and so on, resulting in a relatively well-balanced distribution of voting rights amongst the three campuses. Most of the EC wanted to keep the one person, one vote model for our EC decision making and agreed that we ought to clarify that point and a few others by revising the Constitution. A subcommittee was called for, and Monica and Lezlee will take on this revision task.

12.   Grievances

Our overturned arbitration case is now at PERB; no one knows how long it will languish there.

In our contract, we cannot grieve issues of disability accommodations nor workplace safety. Chip is working on a situation of this nature. Chip would like to have a disability statement in our contract.

Chip thinks we should discuss creating a bullying survey in order to gauge how widespread harassment is in our membership’s experience, either bullying by deans or other supervisors or by other faculty.


13.   Statements from EC Members on Non-Agenda Items

Lucia asked for clarification on the payment of part-time EC members for their meeting attendance. Time sheets are not necessary, was one clarified bit of information. Dan had assumed the payments would be once per semester. Someone suggested we explore more frequent payments.

The fact checking regarding our database has been completed. CFT can pull data from the district as we were told it could.

Items raised for future meetings:

–    Full-time faculty may be being hired based on grant money. Is this ok?

–    Union handbook subcommittee report

–    Best practices and feasibility for payments to part-time EC office holders


Meeting Adjourned: 5:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by
Teeka James, Acting Secretary