February 10, 2010

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of
General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

February 10, 2010,  at Skyline

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

Other Members Present: Kathleen Feinblum, Eileen O’Brien, Masao Suzuki

Meeting began at 2:35.

Facilitator: Teeka James

1. Welcome and Introductions

2. Statements from AFT (non-EC) Members on Non-Agenda Items

On behalf of George Wright, Dan Kaplan requested that the EC endorse the March 20 California Public Workers in San Francisco; the EC voted unanimously to endorse.

3. Minutes of January 20, 2010 AFT Meeting

Unanimously approved.

 4. Negotiations Discussion

The last negotiating session was held on February 8 – the first since December. Because the District’s negotiating team was better prepared, the discussion was more specific. Still, there was not much progress.

In terms of offering retirement incentives, the District is still proposing to replicate past incentives and doesn’t actually want to encourage too many retirements, perhaps no more than 9. Because of the Faculty Obligation Number – a required minimum number of full-time faculty (which the District is fined for not meeting) – if too many faculty retire, the District will find itself in the position of having to hire new full-time faculty, who are not necessarily less expensive.

Personal days: There has been no movement on this item.

FSA’s: Monica says we must consult with the Senate on this item; the Senate has recommended against the inclusion of any language requiring or favoring “recency,” even though such language may be legal.

Salary: We recognized the need for future discussion should the District Administration and Board of Trustees agree to cut administrative salaries; would we then consider either an across-the-board pay cut, or step freezes?

In a straw vote, 9 EC members identified binding arbitration as a “must have.” One member reiterated her belief that we must also demand the right to strike. Dan clarified that essentially all contracts have language stating that faculty cannot strike during the life of the contract. We may, however, want to work to eliminate language prohibiting “concerted action.”

On a separate note, the District’s attorney recently contacted our attorney, indicating that it might withdraw all of the proposed new Rules and Regulations named in our demand to negotiate.

5. Organizing for March Events       

Faculty from each college reported on the February 3 & 4 teach-ins. The consensus is that events on all three campuses were successful; faculty and students are hoping to build on the momentum that has begun. Each college will hold its own events during the day on March 4, leading up to the early evening rally and march in San Francisco to protest cuts to education and other public services. While the efforts and actions at the three colleges are not being directly coordinated, many faculty are encouraging students across the District to work together and continue organizing for the March 22 “March in March.” Some members expressed interest in marching together on March 4 and carrying an AFT banner.

AFT ordered and distributed 500 “Support Public Education” and now plans to order 1,000 more.

6. Advocate Policy

Because a draft of The Advocate policy was not included in the packet, few members had read it recently. After reading and discussing it briefly at today’s meeting, we agreed that Lezlee would revise further and we would to discuss it again at our March meeting.

7. Standing Committee Decision

Tabled until March 2010 meeting.

8. When Personal Issues Affect Work

One or more administrators at Cañada has asked whether AFT would consider developing some procedures or policies to help them help faculty who are struggling with personal problems serious enough to impede their ability to meet their job responsibilities. They are hoping for some mechanism that would allow them to intervene and to address problems before they arise during the evaluation process and before they necessitate the involvement of Human Resources. While such policies or procedures are likely well-intentioned, and while we want to help faculty in difficult times, the EC feels that dealing with these kinds of personnel issues is ultimately the responsibility of the Deans and/or other appropriate administrators.

Despite our decision not to pursue official policies or procedures, we did discuss other ways we might help faculty who are struggling with personal and/or work-related problems. In particular, we talked about instituting some kind of mentoring system, intended primarily for new faculty, both part-time and full-time. One member suggested having a permanent counselor dedicated and available to faculty. Elizabeth will draft a more formal proposal for mentoring or “buddy” system and will present it at a future meeting. Lezlee suggested that this could be combined with the Union Handbook being developed, a document that will articulate the roles and responsibilities of AFT 1493 officers.

Monica will report back to the Deans at Cañada that the EC feels it would be inappropriate for the AFT to be involved in any official capacity in guiding or shaping the way in which Deans address personal problems or interpersonal conflicts at work which prevent faculty from fulfilling their job responsibilities.

9. EC Elections: Preliminary Discussion

Requests for nominations will go out in early April; voting will take place in May.

We talked about the need to recruit and reach out to other faculty who may be interested in getting involved, or more involved, with the union.

Dan informed us that PT faculty who are not currently teaching may not run for office, which leads to the question, “what happens if a PT faculty member who is elected to office does not have classes in a future semester?”

We briefly discussed the possibility of changing the AFT Constitution to stipulate that any PT faculty elected as officers to the EC be paid a stipend. We even talked about the possibility of paying PT faculty a stipend to attend regular AFT membership meetings.

Monica suggested adding two other items to the election ballot in May:

  • Adding a vote to determine who the AFT 1493 P/T representative will be on the CFT  P/Ter Committee
  • SB 381 – an opportunity for P/T faculty to vote to participate as a group in the State Disability Insurance program

10. Grievances

There are currently no active grievances. Chip praised Monica for addressing numerous queries from faculty, likely having helped prevent faculty concerns and complaints from rising to the level of official grievances.

11. Proposed Changes in Dan Kaplan’s SEP IRA Contract Article: Closed Session

As a reminder, in recent years a change in the law allowed our local to increase the contribution it makes to our Executive Secretary’s – Dan Kaplan’s – SEP IRA. Last year the EC voted to increase the AFT 1493 contribution amount from 15% of his salary to 20 % of his salary. Dan requested an increase of 1% this year, with subsequent yearly increases of 1% until the total contribution reaches 25%.  In closed session, without Dan present, we briefly reviewed AFT 1493’s budget and the total compensation AFT 1493 pays toward the Executive Secretary’s wages and benefits. After brief discussion of how the Executive Secretary’s benefits compare with those of full-time faculty in the District (the District contributes 8.25% to ours and we contribute 8%; ours is a defined benefit plan rather than a defined contribution plan) and what some other Community College Districts do, we voted not to increase the contribution to Executive Secretary’s SEP IRA at this time.

Yes (to keep the contribution at its current 20%):    8        
No (do not keep it at 20%; raise it to 21%):    4

We agreed to revisit this issue for the next year.

12. Statements from EC members on Non-Agenda Items 


Meeting adjourned:   5:05