December 9, 2015

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

December 9, 2015  – College of San Mateo

EC members present:

Najla Abrao, Eric Brenner, Vicki Clinton, Katharine Harer, Dan Kaplan (Exec. Secr.), Michelle Kern, Teeka James, Doniella Maher, Monica Malamud, Sandi Raeber-Dorsett, Joaquin Rivera, Paul Rueckhaus, Elizabeth Terzakis, Rob Williams, Shaye Zahedi.

Guests: Laura Kurre (CFT Training Director), Paul Bissember (CFT Organizer)

Facilitator: Eric Brenner

Meeting began at 2:38 p.m.

  1. Welcome and Introductions


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


  1. Minutes of November 11, 2015 AFT meeting

Minutes approved with one abstention.

  1. Building Power organizing campaign

We finalized the text of the negotiations survey that will be sent out to all faculty later tonight.

EC members shared their experiences with the one-on-one conversations with faculty.

Dan distributed a “Faculty Contact List” to each EC member, listing the faculty that each EC member will be responsible for contacting starting in January in the union’s Listening Tour.

Laura distributed materials for the Listening Tour:

  • A script with the Listening Tour Rap, so that all EC members are all giving the same message to and collecting the same information from the faculty that EC members talk to
  • A commitment card To be filled out by each faculty that the EC members talk to
  • A Planning our Member Outreach form for EC members to write down the people/departments where they are most comfortable starting our union’s outreach effort in January.

Between this AFT meeting and the end of finals, each EC member needs to speak to two more faculty from the Contact Lists given by Dan, and ask them to fill out the negotiations survey.

  1. Drive toward efficiency

At Cañada, there have been drastic course cancellations in the last few semesters. The Academic Senate has discussed this issue to some extent. One suggestion has been to use load-balancing (i.e., allowing some classes to take more students so as to save sections that have lower enrollment). While this may be a way to help keep lower enrolled classes open, the concept of going over class maximums was questioned: Does this make sense pedagogically? Why have maximums if they may be exceeded?

CSM has been using the minimum of 20 students for several years, since the last budget crisis. Some exceptions to the 20 student minimum are made for courses in the higher levels of a sequence, which students may need in order to obtain a degree or transfer.

Next steps:

Come up with a policy in collaboration with the Academic Senate, and bring it up to the Board.

Doniella will look at Cañada’s AS proposed criteria and add other criteria to the list, and bring it back to the AFT meeting in January.

  1. Strategic Campaign Initiative Organizing Project update – Michelle Kern and Katharine Harer

Katharine met with 9 more FT at CSM and Cañada. Eight of them were very welcoming of the union message, one of them has left the district.

Michelle has talked to several PT faculty. She was very well received by faculty too.

Vera, a FT faculty member in Design, has offered to have one of her students work as an intern for the union; we’ll take them up on this offer.

Community Connections Survey:

Very few faculty filled it out, but we now have good information about some faculty who are active in community organizations.

As a result of the survey, Katharine connected with a representative from Urban Habitat; they will meet to explore a possible partnership with this organization, with the goal of helping teachers find affordable housing in San Mateo County.

  1. Negotiations – Joaquin

We had a negotiation session a week after the November AFT meeting.

The District is willing to increase contribution to health benefits premium by $35 for single, $85 for 2-party and $135 for family (700K cost). CSEA proposed increases of $100/150/200. AFT’s initial proposal was for increases of $100 for individual, $390.94 for 2-party and $506.82 for family medical premiums.

During negotiations, Joaquin referenced the Chancellor’s speech on Opening Day, in which Ron said that the District’s intention was to fully fund health benefits such that employees would not have out-of-pocket expenses for medical premiums for Kaiser. So the discussion for the contribution to medical benefits was then framed as “how many years it will take to reach the goal stated by Ron”.

CSEA has updated their proposal to $35/135/150.

Teeka shared that there is a tuition reimbursement pilot program for classified and supervisory employees to get an Associate Degree, a Bachelor’s or a Master’s. The District is paying up to $23K for employees to get a graduate degree. Faculty are not included in this program.

  1. Debriefing conversation – Katharine, Teeka, Monica

Katharine, Teeka, Dan, Steven and Monica met with Maurice and went over what was done in his campaign. We took notes so that we can replicate a successful campaign in the future.

As a board member, some of the issues that Maurice would like to work on are: district elections of trustees, prioritize PT salaries, fund medical benefits. Maurice believes that the union should have regular and stronger participation at board meetings.

  1. District Participatory Governance Council –Teeka James

There is not much new going on. There are usually only information items on the agenda.

Eugene reported on the EEO Committee. They want faculty to do annual trainings in order to serve on hiring committees.

  1. Search for the next State Chancellor – Dan Kaplan

Ron is on the committee that will be selecting the next State Chancellor.

  1. Statements from EC members on Non-Agenda items

Elizabeth asked if someone is following up with a PT who wanted to discuss several issues with the union. Dan responded “yes”.

There are issues with the evaluation forms. Anne, Joaquin, Elizabeth and Teeka are going to meet with Eugene to fix the problems that have been identified.

  1. Closed Session discussion of Faculty grievances and complaints – Dan Kaplan

The EC was informed of the status of several faculty complaints and issues.


Meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.