After more than a year at the bargaining table, with the entire contract open for negotiations, our deliberations have hit a wall. Your AFT team has tried to create opportunities for agreement with the District in many areas where we initially disagreed. We’ve offered compromises and creative alternatives, and we’ve stepped back from some of our proposals, but to no avail. With the exception of a few items, there is no agreement and, in fact, the District is proposing “take backs” in two important areas: the definition and implementation of FSAs and payment to part-time faculty for participating in flex days.
District proposal undermines faculty FSA rights
The District has proposed re-writing Article 20, which deals with FSAs, to say that a faculty member’s “competence” to teach a course in which they have an FSA will be based on new definitions of “currency and recency” in teaching the course. The current language simply states that competence is defined as meeting minimum qualifications. Additionally, the District wants to add language stating that the decision to grant a faculty member a class in his/her FSA will be determined by “the responsible administrator and the academic senate”. These are dangerous modifications that take rights away from faculty who have earned FSAs and may need to use them if their classes are cancelled or their programs downsized or eliminated. In an environment of budget cuts and bottom line profits, we have already witnessed the death of entire programs and very real threats remain to others, negatively impacting students and faculty as well as the stature of the District as a whole. Faculty has had to scramble to make up their loads, and the right to use an FSA is a very real option that is written into our contract. The AFT suggested a compromise: if a faculty member teaches in an FSA in which he/she has not taught in recent years, a comprehensive evaluation would be required in the first year. However, the District team rejected this idea.
District wants to cut part-timers pay for flex duties
The District is also proposing changes to Article 7 – 7.11.2 – which currently states that part-time faculty who participate in flex activities during a time when their classes are normally held “shall receive regular pay for the normal student contact hours that would have been held that day.” The District has proposed reducing the pay rate to the non-instructional special rate. This is just another way to make our part-time colleagues into second-class citizens. Full time faculty don’t take a financial hit for attending flex days and neither should part-time instructors.
District drops some proposed takeaways
In a few areas, the District has offered to alter or remove proposals, which amounts, in fact, to a return to the status quo. That is to say, nothing will be gained, but nothing will be lost either. They have withdrawn their proposals to freeze step increases, increase the loads of counselors and librarians, and reduce the amount of professional development funds to .5% from the current amount of 1% per year.
That might seem like good news, but it just means we’re holding the line in these areas. The really bad news is that the District has refused to budge in areas that are of the utmost importance to faculty. They have rejected AFT’s proposal for Binding Arbitration even after we suggested a compromise of a three-year experimental period to try it out and assess whether it creates any serious problems for the District. Their response was something to the effect of “Hell no!” Binding arbitration is standard contract language in the overwhelming majority of California community college districts that are represented by AFT. Our neighboring districts, Foothill-DeAnza, San Francisco, Marin, Peralta, Chabot-Las Positas, San Jose-Evergreen and Contra Costa, all have binding arbitration.
District rejects AFT’s proposal to provide more fairness in part timers’ assignments
Your AFT team proposed an important change in Article 19 that states that part-time faculty will be notified about their proposed assignments 20 working days prior to the beginning of the semester, rather than 10 days as the current language reads, to give instructors a week before the 15 day period during which they can’t claim seniority if one of their classes is canceled. The current language undermines the ability of part-time faculty to use their seniority rights to try to make up their loads, and in a time when hundreds of classes have been cut out of the schedule and many part-time faculty have lost part or all of their assignments, this is an essential right. However, this change was rejected by the District, which claimed that there were “no problems” with the current language.
AFT proposes 4% increase to match raises given to other units & administrators; District’s offer: 0
With no raises for faculty for the last three years and very serious increases looming in the out-of-pocket cost of full time faculty members’ benefits (see Masao Suzuki’s commentary on page 1), your AFT team proposed a reasonable compensation package as part of a comprehensive proposal (meaning you take the whole thing or leave it; no cherry-picking). Our proposal is for a 4% salary increase for one year — to match the 4% received by the two other employee units in 2008-09, as well as the administrators’ January 2008 raises– to start as of August 2010. It would not be retroactive and would include increases to the benefits cap paid by the District, so the 4% is inclusive. Additionally, we proposed a “me too” clause for faculty for the contract years 2009 through 2011. The other units have used their “me too” clauses to win increases based on AFT negotiated settlements; we’ve decided it’s time we have that same right. The District’s response: No compensation increase. Period.
We all know how bad the economy is. We also know how essential it is for the District to retain and attract excellent faculty. And we all know that we are working harder and being more “productive” while earning less and less. We also know that the District has new monies flowing in through Measure G, and even though these monies are earmarked for restoring lost classes, there is also language in the Measure that talks about retaining and hiring faculty. And even though it is “one-time money” for a duration of four years, parcel tax measures for K-12 districts are consistently renewed. The hardest step is to pass an original parcel tax measure; once they pass, they almost always get renewed. And you can also make the argument that the budget picture in California will surely change, as everything changes, in two, three, four years.
How important is it to the District and the Board to compensate faculty for their dedication? If large annual administrative increases can continue to be awarded–administrators have received pay increases of approximately 5% every year in addition to their January 2008 raise–why is it acceptable to refuse to provide any faculty raises year after year?
We want your input on our next step. You will be receiving an email survey in the next couple of weeks, and we ask you to please fill it out. It will be quick, we promise. Your AFT team needs to know what you are thinking and what you would like to direct us to do. We’ve cancelled upcoming negotiations sessions until we hear from you.
Rising insurance rates and no COLA create a double whammy
by Masao Suzuki, AFT 1493 Executive Committee Co-Rep., Skyline, Economics
For a second year in a row, full-time faculty who do not get a salary step increase will see less take home pay. With the faculty salary schedule frozen, and the District contribution to health insurance premiums also frozen, the full burden of higher health insurance premiums is being born by faculty.
I have been on the Kaiser family plan since late 2009, when my wife was laid-off and lost her employer health insurance. In 2009 my out of pocket cost for Kaiser was $137.84 a month. In 2010 this increased by $63.12, or almost 50%, to $200.92. Starting in January, 2011, my out of pocket cost will rise $94.71, or almost 50%, to $295.63 per month.
Some full-time faculty who are covering themselves only and have the Blue Shield NetValue, Kaiser, or Anthem Blue Cross PPO (PERS Choice 80/20 plan), will pay no out of pocket costs for health insurance in 2011. But if health insurance premiums continue to rise and there is no increase in the District contribution, even these groups will start to pay out of pocket costs in 2012.
Full-time faculty with other plans and/or with 2-Party or Family plans will pay more in out of pocket costs in 2011. Those faculty covered by Blue Shield Access + HMO will see the biggest increases in monthly out of pocket expenses: the single-party plan will go from $0 in 2010 to $71.51; the 2-party plan will rise from $253.32 to $449.68; and the Family plan will go from $317.32 to $572.59 each month!
While administrators will see the same increase in out of pocket health insurance costs, they have been getting higher salaries starting in the 2007-2008 school year. This was pointed out in the December 2009 Advocate article, “Administrators’ pay rose 11 – 16% in the last two years, faculty lag far behind.”
While administrators get a salary increase with each annual step increase, most full-time faculty are on “plateaus” where they move up a step each year, but do not receive a salary increase. In my case, it will be three years before my step up the salary schedule is combined with an actual increase in my salary. Unless and until the District grants a cost of living increase to the faculty, we will be looking at smaller and smaller paychecks each year.
Blue Shield members: Check out NetValue
New plan provides same coverage for less
Faculty who have selected the PERS Blue Shield HMO Access+ network in the past should seriously consider switching to Blue Shield’s lower-priced NetValue HMO plan. The NetValue plan, which first became available in San Francisco last year and has expanded throughout San Mateo County this year, offers the same benefits as those in the current HMO Access+ plan, but at a lower cost. You should just check to be sure that the physicians and hospitals you want to use are included in the plan. The NetValue plan is, unfortunately, not available in any East Bay counties at this time.
While the state budget remains dismal, AFT 1493 has new leaders and new initiatives
by Monica Malamud, AFT 1493 President
Last year on Opening Day, our Chancellor said that we were seeing the “dismantling of public higher education in the state of California”. Now, a year later, judging by the level of funding in the yet-to-be-passed state budget, public higher education in California is not faring any better.
Fortunately for us, San Mateo County voters approved Measure G in June. This will bring additional income to our district, and the AFT is encouraged to see that classes and instructors are being reinstated already. One of the stated purposes of Measure G is to “attract and retain instructors”. It is our hope that this goal be a very high priority of SMCCCD, both within and outside of the scope of Measure G, so that faculty can keep up with the cost of living in this area.
New AFT Executive Committee
At the end of spring semester we had elections in our AFT local. I was very happy to see so many faculty interested in being part of the union leadership. We had faculty running for office for the first time who were elected to a variety of positions at all three campuses, while some faculty members who had served on the Executive Committee before won re-election for another two-year term.
As a result of this election, we have a good mix of experienced and new Executive committee members. But whether you’re a union leader in our district or not, remember that the AFT is your union, and that our AFT local represents all faculty and is composed of all its members, and that there are many ways to be involved, participate and make a difference.
I want to thank the 2008-2010 outgoing Executive Committee members for their service and dedication to faculty and the union. In particular, I wish to recognize Karen Olesen, a member of the Executive Committee for 20 years (!) and my informal mentor when I first became involved in the union.
New mentor program to launch
Having a mentor definitely makes it easier for one to navigate and get adjusted to a new environment. So we have decided to roll out a new program this year: mentorship for first-year tenure-track faculty. A union mentor will act as a resource and support person for the new full-time faculty who participate in this program. We hope to extend this program to include new part-time faculty in the future.
AFT to hire a Part-time Faculty Coordinator
Given the part-time nature of their job, adjunct faculty find it more difficult than their full-time peers to connect with each other, participate in college life and advocate for their needs. In order to facilitate this, as well as to help educate part-time faculty of their rights and responsibilities, we have decided to create the position of Part-time Faculty Coordinator in our union. Details about this position and how to apply for it will be sent out shortly.
Part-timers to vote on Disability Insurance
Also, as a result of new legislation, part-time faculty will soon have the opportunity to vote on whether they want State Disability Insurance (SDI) coverage through their employment in our district. In coordination with District Human Resources, AFT 1493 is gathering information on this topic that will be distributed to part-time faculty very soon, so that a vote can take place this semester, and, if approved by part-time faculty, SDI coverage will be implemented in 2011.
Two-way communication is the only way
We have received very positive feedback on our thoroughly redesigned award-winning website. The redesign was undertaken after we read your comments on a Communications survey. As you can see, we take your comments very seriously and act on them. On the one hand, through the Advocate, our website, our occasional district-wide E-News, and the e-mails and publications from your campus chairs, the union leadership can inform you of what’s happening. On the other hand, by participating in AFT surveys, attending meetings, e-mailing or talking to the union leadership, we can get your opinion and innovative ideas. We’re all responsible for making sure we have two-way communication- let’s keep it up!
Lisa Melnick and Lucia Olson are AFT 1493’s newly-elected CSM Part-time faculty Representatives. Below we provide introductions to each of them and we hope you will get a chance to get to know them in person. – ed.
Lucia Thomas Olson
Lucia Thomas Olson was born in Milan, Italy while her father (who is English) was working for Marconi Systems. After spending six months in Tehran, she and her family came to the Bay Area when she was four years old. She lived on the Peninsula, graduating from Sacred Heart Preparatory in 1986.
Her family then moved to the Washington, DC area and she attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she got a BA cum laude in English literature. She then worked for the World Bank in Washington, DC for a year before entering a Doctoral program in English literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1991. She taught college writing and literature from 1991-1995 at the University of Illinois while completing the coursework for her PhD in English. In 1995, she returned to the Bay Area with her (then) husband, and completed her PhD dissertation in absentia in 1998. She taught English at Santa Clara University from 1996-2001, as well as completing a Master’s in Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara in 2005.
Lucia first came to the College of San Mateo as a Psychological Services MFT Intern in 2004, and completed the 3000 hours for MFT licensure in the state of California. In 2006, she began teaching as an English adjunct instructor at CSM. Lucia became interested in representing part-time faculty and working with the AFT when budget cuts created a climate of uncertainty amongst all faculty in the District. She became involved in the planning of the Campus Vigil in fall of 2009, as well as the fall and spring teach-ins, and enjoyed working with the AFT, Dan Kaplan, and other faculty members at Skyline, Cañada and other Bay Area educational institutions. For Lucia, the budget crisis emphasized the importance of education for all and working as a unified group to support this goal. Although Lucia has only been with the district since 2004, she treasures both the relationships she’s formed with other faculty and staff in the District as well the unique and special qualities of the community college environment.
While Lucia has not worked with the Union before, she is a district representative in her sons’ school district for parents of children with special needs. She has also done advocacy work for mothers with postpartum depression as part of PostPartum Support International.
Lucia teaches English at CSM, Cañada and Chabot Colleges. She has three children, ages 14, 12 and 10, and lives on the Peninsula.
Lisa Suguitan Melnick
Lisa Suguitan Melnick was born in Seaside, CA, at Ford Ord Army base (now the site of CSU Monterey Bay) where her father was enlisted during the Korean conflict. She has lived in the Bay Area for most of her life with the exception of doing time in southern California for seven years where she graduated midyear from Fountain Valley High School and entered San Francisco State University the very next weekend. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Studies / Humanities in 1978 and her M.A. in TESL/TEFL in 1981. In the summer of 1977, Lisa was one of five students chosen to travel to Japan in the Osaka Shiritsu Daigaku-San Francisco State University Sister Cities Exchange Program.
Lisa worked for the SFSU Educational Opportunity Program from 1978-1983, starting out as a tutor, later as an instructor in the English and Education departments, while also serving on the Admissions committee. Although she left EOP in 1983, she returned three summers as an instructor for the Summer Bridge Program, which served underrepresented population students, most of whom were the first in their families to attend college.
Lisa worked for five years in private industry for an export company, but continued teaching English to Japanese business people who were temporarily based in the U.S. She also taught with the San Mateo Adult School system in the evenings. During that period she realized how much she missed being in the classroom and came to College of San Mateo in 1989. This August, Lisa received recognition for completing 20 years of service at CSM.
Last year, the severe impact of the budget crisis on higher education brought about even more-than-the-usual uncertainty in the lives and livelihoods of faculty– particularly adjunct faculty. In such ongoing difficult times, it is often easier to seek some one, some group, some element to blame, while it is equally difficult to free oneself from the paralysis that comes from such a severely oppressed state. A precious handful of adjunct faculty worked tirelessly to educate the whole campus community through joint efforts with their full-time colleagues, creating a Candlelight Vigil, several Teach/Learn In events, as well as connection with Cañada and Skyline colleagues. Inspired by them to continue to take actions to benefit adjunct faculty and in turn benefit the whole higher learning community, Lisa decided that, after twenty years, it was time to add a new way to be of service at CSM. Thus, last May, in the spirit and hope of creating more equity and parity, she put forth her name as a Part-Time Representative. Says Lisa, “Like any one of us, I do not have all the answers, but I feel that with my longtime connection with the CSM community, I bring positive contribution to the table. As one of the PT Reps, I view my role as a conduit between the adjunct faculty community and the AFT.”
To encourage communication and solutions about part-time issues, the CSM Part-time Reps created a Yahoo Groups site and they invite adjunct faculty to join this CSM Adjunct Faculty Board at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CSM_AdjunctFacultyBoard/
Part-timers to decide on whether to join Disability Insurance plan
Before the end of the Fall semester, San Mateo Community College District part-time faculty members will vote on whether or not they want to join the State Disability Insurance (SDI) plan.
If the result is a YES, all part-timers will join the plan and have a deduction of 1.1% taken from each paycheck. Part-timers will not be able to opt out of the plan on an individual basis. If the result is a NO, individual part-timers cannot opt into the plan.
Why is this election now possible?
AB 381 became law this past January, allowing part-time faculty to decide if they want to participate in SDI. So far, there have been no districts that have officially elected into SDI since the statute is so new. That said, the districts that are considering an election are Peralta, Ventura, Foothill-DeAnza, and the Los Angeles CCD.
What is SDI?
California State Disability Insurance (SDI) is a partial wage-replacement insurance plan for California workers. Workers covered by SDI are covered by two programs: Disability Insurance and Paid Family Leave Insurance. The SDI programs are State-mandated, and funded through employee payroll deductions. SDI provides affordable, short-term benefits to eligible workers. However…
Current law only requires private sector employers to provide SDI coverage for their employees, while public agencies (the state, cities, counties, school districts, community college districts, and other local districts) are not required to provide SDI coverage for theirs.
AB 381, signed into law on October 11, 2009, allows part-time community college faculty within a wall-to-wall bargaining unit the ability, as a separate group, to vote to participate in the State Disability Insurance program if the community college district has reached agreement with the bargaining unit to do so. AB 381 took effect on January 1, 2010.
2010 CONTRIBUTION RATES
•The SDI Withholding Rate for 2010 is 1.1 percent.
•The SDI taxable wage limit is $93,316 per employee for calendar year 2010.
•The maximum withholding for each employee is $1,026.48.
SDI benefits can be paid only after the following requirements are met:
• You must be unable to do your regular or customary work for at least eight consecutive days.
• You must be employed or actively looking for work at the time you become disabled.
• You must have lost wages because of your disability or, if unemployed, have been actively looking for work.
• You must have earned at least $300 from which SDI deductions were withheld during a previous period.
• You must remain under the care and treatment of a licensed doctor or accredited religious practitioner to continue receiving benefits.
• You must complete and mail a claim form within 49 days of the date you became disabled or you may lose benefits.
Your doctor (or other licensed professional) must complete the medical certification of your disability.
Paid Family Leave
For California workers covered by State Disability Insurance, Paid Family Leave (PFL) insurance provides up to six weeks of benefits for individuals who must take time off to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, or registered domestic partner, or to bond with a new child.
More information to come
AFT 1493 will send out an E-News soon with more information on SDI. If you have questions regarding SDI, please send them to AFT 1493 Executive Secretary Dan Kaplan (email@example.com). Questions will be forwarded to a specialist at the Employment Development Department, who will provide answers. We will then send out the answers in another E-News.
Herman Bates, early AFT 1493 & DART activist
It is with much sadness that we report that long-time AFT Local 1493 leader, Herman Bates, passed away on May 13, 2010.
Herman Bates came originally from Indiana. He began working in the District in 1971, joining the faculty at Cañada College just a few years after the college first opened. Herman taught Psychology for some years at Cañada before moving to Skyline College. When Herman moved to Skyline he became a counselor, and spent the rest of his career in the District as a Skyline counselor.
Herman was involved in AFT Local 1493 from the early days of the union. As Pat Manning, one of the original AFT 1493 leaders, recalled in a recent email message: “Herman was active in the AFT during the first collective bargaining campaign in 1978. I remember him as a pleasant and dependable person.”
Later Herman was a member of the AFT Executive Committee from 1987 to 1993, when he retired. He then began working on a Post Retirement Contract from 1993-94 through the 1996-97 academic year. After retiring, Herman became very active in the District Association of Retired Teachers (DART). He was the President of DART from 1992 to 1997.
During the time that Herman served as the President of DART he continued to attend all AFT EC meetings as the representative of all District retirees, regularly bringing to the attention of AFT members issues of concern to retired faculty members. Herman followed all legislation affecting retired teachers very closely, and frequently wrote articles for The Advocate on retiree issues.
After stepping down from the DART leadership, Herman and his wife, Joyce, lived in La Conner, Washington and McMinnville, Oregon.
Letter to the Editor
U.S. Dept. of Education finds conflicts of interest at ACCJC
Ed. Note: The following letter to the Advocate refers to a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article which reported that the U.S. Department of Education found that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (the ACCJC, which accredits California community colleges) violated federal rules in choosing its commissioners and lacks sufficient controls against conflicts of interest. The ACCJC was found to be in violation of several federal regulations in the way it selects its commissioners. For example, public members of the group that selects the commissioners are not sufficiently independent from the community colleges they oversee and faculty, staff, and trustee representatives of the committee that selects commissioners are chosen using an informal process that “does not provide transparency to the selection process and, therefore, does not provide clear and effective controls against conflicts of interest”.
When I did my March 2009 article in the CFT’s Perspective on SLOs, I did some research on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), which is part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). I was amazed at how unqualified many of its members seemed to be for the task of making any decisions affecting education policy. There were a lot of nuts-and-bolts specialists, but not many who appeared to be “educated” in the broader sense of the word. I was also struck by the obscure selection process, which seemed to be like a corporate board picking its own successor directors while talking about “shareholder democracy.” The recent Josh Keller article in the August 26, 2010 Chronicle of Higher Education on conflict of interest in the Accreditation Commission zeros in on one of the main targets crying for reform, the Commission. Not unexpectedly, the Commission as presently constituted was/is open to political influence from those who do not espouse valid educational values and manipulation by the likes of Barbara Beno, President of the ACCJC. She spearheaded a punitive approach toward California community colleges that were reluctant to comply with the SLO accountability agenda, introduced by the Bush Administration and continued by Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. In my opinion, the Commission’s composition and selection process need to be fundamentally changed.
CSM, Political Science (retired)
AFT 1493 opposes Cargill’s huge development plans for Redwood City tidal marsh
Taking a stand to ensure a healthy San Francisco Bay
by John Kirk, former AFT 1493 Chief Grievance Officer
As the second largest estuary in North America, San Francisco Bay defines the character of the Bay Area. Likewise, how we treat the Bay defines the character of our society. We have not been good stewards: since the 1800’s, 85% of the Bay’s historic tidal marshes have been destroyed for development or diked for saltponds.
As we learn more about our Bay, the biological and social value of maintaining and restoring the health of this national treasure has become undisputable. Significant acres of marsh are needed in all regions of the Bay, and every restorable acre is critical to the future health of the Bay and the people living here.
In Redwood City there are 1,433 acres of salt ponds owned by Cargill, the largest private corporation in the U.S. Cargill is phasing out salt production at this site, but rather than selling these acres for restoration to the Bay, Cargill has teamed up with luxury home developer DMB and submitted a controversial “Saltworks” development plan to build a new city of up to 30,000 new residents on these restorable salt ponds.
The Saltworks plan would place new homes and schools behind levees in the face of rising sea level, and would expose residents to air contaminants associated with nearby heavy industries. The adjacent Port of Redwood City provides revenue to Redwood City and provides hundreds of union jobs. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association has voiced serious concerns about the project’s effects on the sustainability of the Port and port-related industries, industries critical to the building trades on the Peninsula.
Up to 80,000 daily auto trips could be generated by this development, causing gridlock on Peninsula freeways and local streets. Due to concerns about traffic and the health of the Bay, the nearby towns of Menlo Park, Belmont and Atherton already passed resolutions in opposition to Cargill’s plans.
There is no City water supply available for this project. To provide water, Cargill/DMB is proposing to sell “privatized water” to Redwood City, using agricultural water rights developer DMB purchased in Kern County Water District. Cargill, a corporation that has been fined for toxic spills into the San Francisco Bay, sued for releasing poultry waste into the watershed of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and admitted to illegally discharging hog waste into a tributary of the Missouri River, killing 53,000 fish along a five-mile stretch of the waterway, would now be linked to the drinking water of all Redwood City residents if the Saltworks project is built.
The argument will be made that this project can provide short-term union construction jobs, but there are other union jobs at the Port that would be threatened. Only agribusiness giant Cargill stands to gain if the construction unions and port unions divide and attack each other over this issue. We need union construction jobs, but at what cost to our environment and the community? Over the next 20 years, Redwood City’s new General Plan calls for building 9,103 new housing units at transit-oriented “smart growth” sites served by existing infrastructure, generating construction jobs that won’t harm the Bay.
Based on the above mentioned environmental, economic and social justice issues surrounding Cargill’s plan to fill in San Francisco Bay for profit, on September 8th, the AFT 1493 Executive Committee unanimously approved the adoption of a resolution expressing opposition to the Saltworks development proposal and support for restoration of historic Bay tidal marsh. In addition, our representatives will submit a request to the San Mateo Central Labor Council that they adopt a similar resolution.