September 9, 2009

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of
General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

September 9, 2009, CSM

Present: Eric Brenner, Chip Chandler , Victoria Clinton, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Yaping Li, Monica Malamud, Karen Olesen, Sandi Raeber, Joaquin Rivera, Anne Stafford, Elizabeth Terzakis, Lezlee Ware

Guests: John Heinbockel, Yin Mei Lawrence, David Locke, Angela Orr, Erin Scholnick, Harriet Tucker, Rebecca Webb

Meeting began at 2:30

Facilitator: Lezlee Ware


Welcome and Introductions

Statements from AFT (non-EC) members on Non-Agenda Items

There were no statements by non-EC members.

Minutes of May 13 and June 20, 2009 AFT meetings

May 13, 2009: approved unanimously with corrections.

June 20, 2009: approved unanimously with corrections.


AFT Local 1493 Budget: 2009-10

Harriet presented members with copies of last year’s budget, which showed slightly greater revenues than had been expected. However, AFT paid out $114,901 more in legal expenses than predicted and $20,480 for stipends paid in lieu of release time that was not in the original budget. The net result was that AFT’s total expenditures were approximately $69,000 more than anticipated.

Harriet warned that the AFT’s predicted income for 2009/2010 may be lower than expected since there may be more faculty layoffs. Our current prediction of $636,504 is lower than what we actually got last year. The District currently has fewer faculty employees than in recent years, but union membership is slightly higher. AFT is projecting an increase in expenditures for the 2009/2010 academic year of $30,611 over our projected expenditures for the 2008/2009 academic year.

AFT had to use approximately $80,000 from its savings account to pay for two arbitrations. Dan is concerned about changes in the Defense Fund Grant guidelines from CFT and AFT for reimbursement of legal fees (especially for tenure-related grievances, which we are seeing more frequently); there is now a $4,000 cap for each case. Katharine suggested that we may need to appeal to members for contributions to a special legal fund if we continue to get more of these cases in the future. We might consider an Advocate article, to prepare faculty for this possibility.

Monica encouraged members to participate in developing our budget.

The 2009/2010 projected budget was approved unanimously.


Negotiations update (& Academic Calendar)

Negotiations: will begin Friday, September 11.

The colleges’ Professional Development Committees met and proposed language changes (in part to eliminate the 30% carry over limit), which Joaquin thinks strengthens the contract.


Academic calendar discussion: The District has already sent its proposal to Joaquin (which is essentially a rollover calendar from 2009/2010); he waited a bit to see if there was any movement on the compressed calendar. The EC will vote on the 2010/2011 academic calendar at our November meeting. On a more specific note, in the past, most faculty wanted Spring break after Easter; it is currently proposed for the first week of April (week 12 of the semester).


Flex days discussion

Teeka reminded us of the original intent of added, mid-semester flex days:

•  Give faculty time to work together to complete administrative tasks such as Program Review and SLO assessment.

•  Pay adjunct faculty, who are typically marginalized, to participate in these same activities.

Some faculty at CSM, primarily those teaching in the Sciences, feel constrained by the added flex days and are concerned about added pressures they are putting on some students. Some Science faculty have had to add up to 20 minutes to some labs. They are worried about the burden this places on students, and pointed out that while some labs now run until after 5:00 p.m., the Childcare Center closes at 5:00.


•  Can we schedule flex days on Mondays or Tuesdays? No, because we won’t be able to meet the minimum number of each required weekday.

•  Can we schedule the flex days between the last day of classes and final exams? Maybe, but that’s probably not the best time for faculty to work on the necessary tasks and projects.

•  Laura Demsetz expressed her concern that with the addition of so many flex days, we are getting dangerously close to the minimum number of days required by the state; we won’t have much wiggle room in the case of an emergency.

The EC and other AFT members present agreed to poll faculty regarding the impact additional mid-semester flex days are having on them and on their students. A subcommittee (Eric Brenner, Monica Malamud, David Locke and Yin Mei) will begin drafting questions for an E-poll.


COPE Treasurer replacement

Due to his retirement, Mike Bruisin is no longer eligible to serve as our COPE Treasurer. Karen Olesen volunteered to take over this role.


Advocate computer

AFT approved unanimously Eric Brenner’s request for a 50% reimbursement (a total of $750) for a new computer, which he uses to publish The Advocate .

On a related, but separate, note the EC voted unanimously to include a new Advocate policy statement in future issues.


District Shared Governance Committee: Rules and Regulations

Dan recently sent language for proposed changes to our attorney. Teeka asked members once more to give her feedback on the specific proposed changes before the next DSGC meeting; she agreed to resend the relevant language to all EC members.



Nina: One faculty member who was denied tenure in spring 2009, and whose grievance was denied by the Chancellor, chose not to pursue the grievance further.

Chip: Encouraged us to keep our eyes and ears open to any potential grievances, particularly in this time of budget crisis; there will likely be more layoffs of adjunct faculty and perhaps FT faculty. If FT faculty contact us, urge them not to sign any documents without AFT representation present. He also urged us to clearly delineate our roles as AFT representatives and colleagues when faculty come to us for advice. And he reiterated the need for AFT representatives to respect confidentiality in all cases.

Nina suggested we try to get a legal expert to meet with us to discuss how we can best balance the need to share necessary information among EC members with the need to keep faculty information confidential. Lezlee suggested that all EC members need clearly articulated “job descriptions,” something we will talk about in the future.


CSM P/Ter meeting

 A group of PT faculty at CSM has been meeting to discuss issues related specifically to PT faculty as well as to gather information about the negotiations process and other more general issues. In particular, they are interested in the following:

•  Securing 2-year contracts for adjunct faculty.

•  Greater equity for FT and adjunct faculty in health and retirement benefits, and greater consistency of such benefits within the California Community College system as a whole. (Dan pointed out that differences in adjunct faculty benefits tend to correlate strongly with the level of adjunct activism in each District.)

•  Stricter adherence to the PT seniority list by Deans.

Sandy Raeber and Erin Scholnick agreed to organize a meeting of adjunct faculty and PT reps on the negotiating team (Sandi and/or Victoria Clinton). To help with this effort, Dan will give Erin a list of all PT faculty in the District along with appropriate contract information.


Proposed change in Dan Kaplan’s SEP/IRA contract article – Closed session

Tabled until October.


Statements from EC members on Non-Agenda Items

•  Elizabeth : A faculty member at Skyline expressed concern about the fact that she and a number of students were frisked following a shooting at Skyline earlier this month.

•  Dan: AFT needs to appoint a new representative to the retirement benefits task force he has been serving on. The representative must be a current employee of the District. Dan has been told that because he is not teaching this semester, he can no longer serve on the task force. Kathy Blackwood has offered to train the new representative. Some members questioned the need for a replacement as Dan is still a faculty member employed with the District.


Open discussion/meeting critique

We did not have a discussion about this agenda item at the end of our meeting, but one member did suggest earlier in the meeting that we try to limit the number of agenda items. We continue having difficulty getting through the entire agenda, leaving us feeling the need to rush through some items or table them until the next meeting.


Meeting adjourned: 5:00