SPRING 2022 MOU NEGOTIATIONS REPORT

Report on Negotiations on MOU regarding Spring 2022 Working Conditions

November 15 and 17, 2021

Negotiators: AFT:  Joaquin Rivera, Monica Malamud, Marianne Kaletzky;
SMCCD District: Marie Billie, Mitch Bailey, David Feune, Aaron McVean, Joe Morello, Charlene Frontiera, Max Hartman

Monday, November 15

On November 15, AFT and the District began negotiations for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing working conditions in Spring 2022, when the District has planned a full return to on-campus instruction and student services. In addition to being our first negotiating session for the Spring 2022 MOU, Monday was also AFT’s first time negotiating with the District’s Interim Chief Human Resources Officer Marie Billie.

In advance of Monday’s negotiations, AFT had submitted a full proposal for the Spring 2022 MOU that contained provisions including those below. The District responded to some provisions by the end of today’s session and indicated that, for other provisions, they would have a response ready by our next negotiation session on Wednesday.

AFT’s opening proposal included:

  • Leaves:
    • Faculty will have access to the same family leave options that they had during Spring and Fall 2020.
    • Faculty who are scheduled to work on campus and have Covid symptoms, need to quarantine, need to care for a household member who contracts Covid, or need to care for a child who cannot attend school due to Covid-related reasons may either pivot to online delivery or take sick leave, at their discretion. Under AFT’s proposal, faculty who elect to take sick leave in these situations would not draw from their accrued sick days.
    • Faculty scheduled to teach online who contract Covid may take sick leave without drawing from accrued sick days.
    • Faculty who need to care for a household member who contracts Covid or a child who cannot attend school due to Covid-related reasons may draw from their sick days, as AFT’s multi-year contract already allows. If faculty in these situations do not have sufficient sick leave to cover the days they are absent, they may draw on a pool of sick days donated by other faculty.
  • Counseling:
    • Counselors may be required to work a maximum of 25% of their hours in person. No full-time counselor shall be required to work in person more than 2 days per week and no part-time counselor shall be required to work in person more than 1 day per week.
  • Instructional provisions:
    • Class size maximums adjusted during the pandemic will continue for Spring 2022.
    • All classes, whether online or in-person, will not be canceled so long as they achieve an enrollment of 10 students.
    • Part-time faculty who are assigned a course and then have it canceled will be compensated 15 hours at the special rate per course for time spent preparing.
  • Professional duties:
    • Full-time faculty will not be expected to perform more than 2 high-volume/high-demand professional duties.
    • Professional duties may be performed in-person or remotely, at the faculty member’s discretion.
    • The backlog of evaluations for tenured faculty and continuing adjuncts will be handled as follows: faculty who were scheduled to be evaluated in Spring 2020, and were not evaluated that semester, will be evaluated in Spring 2022. Faculty scheduled to be evaluated in Spring 2021 will be evaluated in Spring 2023, and so on.
  • Health and safety:
    • The District will continue universal masking in all indoor spaces until both of the following conditions are met:
      • 1) San Mateo County achieves a rate of transmission in the “Moderate” tier and remains there for at least 8 weeks and
      • 2) San Mateo County reaches a vaccination rate of 90% of the total population.
    • Faculty who are not vaccinated must participate in weekly Covid testing. The District must make testing available for free on each campus at days and times faculty are performing duties or provide testing kits to faculty for free.
    • Classroom capacity will be lowered by 35% for every classroom to avoid overcrowding.
    • HEPA filters will be provided to faculty who work in spaces where ventilation and air filtration are not adequate.
    • The District will make readily accessible online a detailed exposures list of dates, times, buildings, and rooms where a person who tested positive for Covid-19 was present, without providing identifying information of the individual who tested positive.
    • If a faculty member has an adverse reaction to a Covid vaccination and requires medical treatment not covered by insurance, the District will cover the expenses.

Wednesday, November 17

The District offered responses to some of AFT’s proposals during our negotiation session on Monday, and followed on Tuesday evening with an email response to the rest of the proposals. AFT then offered a counter-proposal to the District’s response during Wednesday’s session, with the District promising their next response by the beginning of our upcoming negotiation session on Tuesday, December 7th.

AFT and the District have come to agreement on the following protections for faculty:

  • All classes, whether online or in-person, will not be canceled so long as they achieve a minimum enrollment of 10 students.
  • Full-time faculty will not be expected to perform more than 2 high-volume/high-demand professional duties. The District added the provision that faculty evaluations will be excluded from the 2 high-volume/high-demand duties, which AFT has accepted.
  • Non-primary professional duties (ex. committee work) may be performed remotely. The District added the provision that this applies only where such duties are allowable to be performed remotely, which AFT has accepted.
  • Faculty teaching classes that exceed 45 students on Census Day or 40 students on the last day to withdraw will continue to receive the same supplemental pay as in previous Covid MOUs.
  • The backlog of evaluations for tenured faculty and continuing adjuncts will be handled as follows: faculty who were scheduled to be evaluated in Spring 2020, and were not evaluated that semester, will be evaluated in Spring 2022. Faculty scheduled to be evaluated in Spring 2021 will be evaluated in Spring 2023, and so on.
  • Faculty who are not vaccinated against Covid must participate in weekly Covid testing. The District must make testing available for free on each campus and provide testing kits to faculty for free.

Unfortunately, we were unable to win the continuation of FFCRA-style leave (which expired under Federal law at the end of 2020) or the reduction of each classroom’s capacity by 35%. The District also indicated they were unwilling to consider paying adjuncts for time spent preparing to teach classes that are subsequently canceled, as our current contract does not provide for prep pay. We hope to take this issue up in bargaining for our next multiyear contract.

The following issues remain under discussion:

  • On-campus hours for non-instructional faculty. AFT originally proposed that full-time counselors be required to be on-campus a maximum of 2 days per week, and that both full-time and part-time counselors have a maximum of 25% of student counseling appointments in person. The District countered with a proposal that all full-time non-instructional faculty be required to work on campus a minimum of 3 days per week (with the faculty member able to work the other 2 days remotely if they choose) and that part-time non-instructional faculty be required to work a minimum of 50% of their hours on campus, with the remainder remote if allowed by their dean. In response, AFT counter-proposed that full-timers be required to work on campus at most 3 days per week or 50% of their hours, while accepting the District’s proposal for part-time non-instructional faculty.
  • Class caps. AFT advocated for keeping language from previous MOUs allowing for the reduction of class caps through the process defined by District Academic Senate. The District indicated that they do not want to continue allowing reductions through this process. AFT has accepted that class caps will no longer be subject to reduction through the DAS process; however, where classes have already had their caps lowered during the pandemic, AFT is proposing maintaining the lowered caps in Spring.
  • Arrangements for faculty who need to quarantine or care for a household member who has to stay home. AFT had proposed that all faculty (instructional or non-instructional) who work in person and need to quarantine, or to care for a household member who needs to quarantine or a child who cannot attend school due to Covid-related reasons, may either pivot to online delivery or have the District appoint a substitute, without using accrued sick days. The District indicated that they are willing to allow these options in a narrower set of circumstances. AFT is advocating to have these arrangements available for all faculty who need them.
  • Pool for donating sick days. The District struck AFT’s language establishing a pool into which faculty can donate sick days for use by faculty members who need to care for a child or family member and do not have sufficient sick time. AFT is once again proposing to establish the pool, as it could give vital help to some faculty at no cost to the District.
  • Universal mask mandate. AFT proposed continuing universal indoor masking until San Mateo County meets the set of benchmarks we have specified (remaining in the Moderate transmission tier for 8 weeks and reaching a vaccination rate of 90% of the total population). The District has indicated that they want to follow the less stringent standards set forth by the County itself as minimums for considering repeal of county-wide indoor mask mandates. As AFT has argued, continuing universal indoor masking not only makes our campuses safer, but also provides more equitable treatment for students exempt from the vaccination requirement, who will have to continue wearing masks even if the county mask mandate is repealed.
  • HEPA filters. AFT proposed that the District provide portable air purifiers with HEPA filters for all faculty working in spaces without adequate ventilation or air circulation. The District’s counter-proposal specified only that faculty concerned about the safety of their worksite may request an inspection. AFT wants to ensure that faculty will have access to an air purifier if ventilation or air circulation are found to be inadequate.
  • Covid exposures list. AFT and the District are discussing the kinds of information that will be included on the Covid exposures list accessible online.
  • Medical expenses for reactions to vaccination. AFT and the District are discussing whether the District will cover medical expenses incurred by faculty who have an adverse reaction to a Covid vaccination, provided that those expenses are not covered by insurance.

Upcoming bargaining dates:

  • Tuesday, 12/7: 1-3 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 12/8: 9 a.m.-noon