November 18, 2009

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of
General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

November 18, 2009 at Skyline College

Present: Eric Brenner, Ron Brown, Alma Cervantes, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Dave Danielson, 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: Jim Bowsher, Tom Broxholm, Patty Dilko, Kathleen Feinblum, Barbara Lowell, Bruce Maule, Claire Muller-Moseley, Masao Suzuki, Linda Vogel

Meeting began at 2:25

Facilitator: Monica Malamud

Welcome and Introductions

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


      A)        Tom Broxholm expressed concerns about the potential for identity theft, now that District employees’ W-2’s and other personal information are available on line; he is not confident that our information is fully secure.

      B)        Bruce Maule reported that money intended to pay for faculty post-retirement health benefits is currently held in a way that doesn’t mandate it be used for that purpose. The money can be, and has been, used for other purposes. He is concerned that given the current budget situation, the money will be used for other things in the future. He asked whether AFT has the legal standing to demand that all of the money (approximately $30 million) go into the recently established irrevocable trust. According to Kathy Blackwood, we do not. Bruce believes the District is currently responsible for $100 million of unfunded post-retirement health benefits. Dan reported that two weeks ago, the Board of Trustees voted to put $5 million into the trust.

      Minutes of October 14, 2009 AFT meeting



        This item was tabled until the December 9 meeting.

        EC Communication and Between-Meeting Decision Making Processes



          Teeka suggested that now might be a good time for the EC to consider empowering a subcommittee to make decisions, recommendations, etc, when we need to act quickly. Too often, we need to take action, vote, or make a recommendation between meetings. Getting input from the entire EC over email is often time-consuming and cumbersome, and on a number of occasions, a small group of EC members have ended up communicating about a particular issue and even taking action without consultation from the entire group. Some members stated that they want to be informed and consulted on all issues, but currently that doesn’t always happen, and even when input is requested from the entire EC, often just a couple of people respond. Some people feel it is unrealistic and too burdensome to expect everybody to keep abreast of all ongoing issues.

          We agreed to bring ideas and suggestions to the December meeting. A couple of possibilities raised were meeting more often (either twice a month, or holding one extra meeting a semester), or establishing a standing subcommittee that meets occasionally.


            Negotiations Update

            The District has proposed what amounts to a number of take-backs and has essentially said “no” to our initial proposals, in particular our proposal for binding arbitration, and any economic items. When our negotiators have raised the issue of eliminating our “no strike” clause, the District has argued that the “no strike” clause is needed to maintain peace and continuity. The District has also claimed that it is illegal for AFT to use faculty mailboxes for union business.

            Three more negotiating sessions are scheduled before the end of December.

            Following is a list of some of the District’s proposals:

            1. Bring non-instructional faculty (counselors and librarians) back up to 37.5 hours.
            2. No COLA for two years (2009/10 & 2010/11).
            3. Step freezes for two years. Faculty already got step increases for 2009/10, so the freeze would be for 2010/11 & 2011/12.
            4. Cut Professional Development funding from 1% to .5%.
            5. The District wants “clarifying language” about Flex days for PT faculty (ensuring that they can get paid only for District-sponsored activities at the special rate).
            6. No September-June pay option for new hires.
            7. Faculty must notify the District by July if they are going to move columns on the pay scale.
            8. “Clean up” language regarding post-retirement contracts. There is currently a 3-year guarantee.
            9. Eliminate faculty’s two personal days, which can currently be used without faculty having to state a reason for the absence.
            10. Change FSA language. The District wants to make sure that faculty can really teach in their secondary FSA’s. It wants Deans, or somebody else, to assess faculty’s “recency” and ability to teach in a given discipline. Some EC members questioned whether this is legal.
            11. Include language about SLO’s in faculty evaluations (“Include active participation in development of SLO’s).

            Joaquin is emphasizing during negotiations that faculty have had no pay increase for the last two years.

            Flex Days Discussion &
            Academic Calendar



              Responses to the Flex days survey indicated that most faculty want 5 Flex days per year. Scheduling the 2 spring Flex days before the start of classes allows us to end the spring semester before June, which most faculty want. Some of us feel very strongly – and have heard from other faculty members – that we need additional days to complete the various administrative tasks we are responsible for. Joaquin reported that the additional Fall 2009 Flex days allowed very little room for flexibility in the event of emergencies such as Skyline’s shooting incident, which closed down the entire campus.

              One person asked about observing the Veteran’s Day holiday on Veteran’s Day (November 11), but most faculty seem to prefer to observe it on Friday to get a three-day weekend.


              Yes                  No                   Abstain

              6 Flex days for 2010/11                                     4                      10

              5 Flex days for 2010/11
              (as presented on mock calendar)                       10                    4                      1

              Accept the entire calendar as presented            10                    2                      1

              Budget Cuts Discussion





                Most EC members agreed that AFT needs to make a public statement about how the three colleges are handling the budget cuts. More than one faculty member feels that the District’s claims of a true shared governance process are a sham and that Administrators knew what cuts they were considering making long before they shared their ideas with their respective faculties.

                CSM is facing the loss of 1.25 FT faculty positions and countless PT jobs. Skyline is looking at the potential loss of 6 FT faculty positions. Cañada will be losing approximately 120 sections and about 50% of its PT faculty. Because of the possibility of more senior FT faculty bumping less senior FT faculty, nobody is quite sure what will happen. Even though the District may be following the contract, some of the FT faculty threatened with job loss feel abandoned by the District, and even AFT. Skyline is not only facing the largest loss of FT faculty, but some of those faculty also feel that they are being pressured to sign retirement papers.

                Some faculty at Cañada feel that the allocation model has been unfair to Cañada, and that CSM and Skyline have been allowed by the District to overspend.

                Some EC members (and other faculty) feel the AFT has not taken an active enough role in responding to the current budget situation while others feel that decisions about cuts to courses and programs are the purview of the Senate and believe we should be working more closely with the District Academic Senate and the three colleges’ Academic Senates. And while some faculty argue that faculty must simply refuse to participate in any decision-making about cuts to programs and courses and continue to demand that the Colleges make no further cuts, others argued that cuts are going to be made and that refusing to participate is irresponsible. One member stressed the importance of looking at programs and courses District-wide rather than college by college, and of the three colleges collaborating. Patty Dilko, District Academic Senate President, emphasized that the Senates are working honestly and diligently to make the best recommendations possible in order to maintain the integrity of the three colleges and the District. She agrees that the colleges’ historic competition with one another is not a workable approach to the current situation.


                The EC agreed to put out a written statement to all CSM employees, College and District administration, and the Board of Trustees. We voted on whether or not to include the following 6 individual statements. Elizabeth will write a draft and get feedback from Katharine, Anne, and Eric before sending it out to the entire EC for approval.

                Yes                  No                   Abstain

                1. Oppose cuts to programs,
                courses, or staff.                                            11                    2                      3

                2. Make deeper cuts to Administration
                at the District Office and the
                3 colleges.                                                     15

                3. Roll back to 2006 levels, increases
                to Administrative salaries.                            16

                4. Stop harassment of faculty
                regarding retirement and
                “bumping” rights.                                         16

                5. Run a deficit.                                            5                      8                      3

                6. Sponsor legislation at the state
                level to change the current
                tax structure.                                               16

                P/Ter Group Report



                  Tabled. But the EC voted to endorse and make a $100 financial contribution in support of the vigil at CSM on November 23.

                  District Shared Governance Council




                    Resolution for a National March








                        There are no active grievances at this time.

                        Statements from EC Members on Non-Agenda Items





                          Meeting adjourned:         5:35