January 27, 2016

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

January 27, 2016  – Cañada College

EC members present:

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

Guests: Zev Kvitky (CFT Field Rep), Laura Kurre (CFT Training Director), Paul Bissember (CFT Organizer), Kathy Blackwood (Executive Vice-Chancellor), Ron Galatolo (Chancellor), Eugene Whitlock (Vice-Chancellor for Human Resources and General Counsel), David Feune (Director of Human Resources)

Facilitator: Doniella Maher

Meeting began at 2:32 p.m.


  1. Welcome and Introductions



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



  1. Minutes of December 9, 2015 AFT meeting

Minutes approved with one abstention.


  1. Budget presentation – Kathy Blackwood

Kathy distributed a handout, and went over it. Handout is posted online together with minutes of this meeting. After the presentation, there was Q&A.

  1. Q) If property values continue to rise in our area, then it’s going to be increasingly difficult for faculty to live in the area. How is the District planning for that in the long-term?
  2. A) Our District is planning on building a third housing complex at Skyline. The District also offers starter loans. Rents have gone up in San Mateo County by 10%.
  1. Q) Has our District considered housing vouchers?
  2. A) This is a complex issue. It’s taxable income. Besides, what is fair? What if someone does not want a voucher? Would they get cash? Perhaps it makes more sense to put money into transportation vouchers or shuttles.
  1. Q) Any estimates on the increases of medical benefit costs?
  2. A) It sounds like they are in the double digits
  1. Q) Has our District considered setting up a group plan for PT medical benefits?
  2. A) No. Our commitment is to negotiate something such that they can get into CalSTRS Kaiser, with the District’s contribution prorated based on the %FTE. The District is targeting a start date of for Kaiser health coverage for part-time faculty in January 2017.


  1. Building Power organizing campaign

Zev gave an overview of the Friedrichs case. Arguments have already been heard at the Supreme Court. Decision will delivered by June, perhaps earlier. There may well be a decision that is negative to unions. If so, the entire public sector in the country will be “right to work”, i.e., members pay, others do not, but they get the union benefits. Unions would still be legally obligated to represent everyone in the unit. Experience has shown that once a state becomes a “right to work” state, there is a campaign to encourage workers to drop their membership from the union.

Individualized contact lists were given to every EC member. The task is to use the focus of our contract negotiations (workload equity), to engage all faculty, to have one-on-one conversations with them. There are about 15 names on each EC member’s list. The goal is to complete at least 10 contacts by the next AFT meeting (February 17).

EC members also received folders with materials to support this task:

  • The rap – a script for the conversation
  • Contact forms: EC members must bring contact forms filled out
  • Commitment cards: either EC member or faculty fills out the card
  • Flyers for the “Schools our Children Deserve” conference

Tips for the conversations:

  • Be yourself, be genuine and authentic
  • Listen
  • Asking for something: asking fee payer to join the union, ask members to fill the commitment card. Say that we want to know how faculty wants to be involved.
  • A good answer to “why should I join?” is bringing up the workload issue, since everyone is affected. Give examples of recent union gains: raises, increased medical benefit stipend for PT.

EC members were paired up, practiced the rap and then exchanged more tips.

By the next AFT meeting, bring all the materials (filled in contact forms, corrections to the contact lists, questions, challenges).


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

Michelle and Katharine went over some of the highlights of the conference. Regarding the logistics, Katharine passed a sign-up sheet for volunteers. Jeff Duncan-Andrade and Joshua Peschtalt are the keynote speakers.

Nina put together a teaching and learning symposium at Skyline and Najla, Katharine and Michelle tabled at the event.


  1. Negotiations – Joaquin

Both CSEA and ASCFME had agreed to an increase of $35/110/135 for FT medical benefits. We know how our Board thinks about every union getting the same. Joaquin recommends that we agree to this and move forward, and strive for better coordination with CSEA and ASCFME in the future.

Negotiations survey:

Over 300 people participated in the survey. Salary and benefits were the top priority, but other issues came very close too. We will bring up all of these issues in the negotiations proposal. In the comments, there was a lot regarding workload issues.

Joaquin asked that everyone go through the contract and look for areas that require clarification.


  • Have our rep in the District Budget committee look for money in the budget.
  • Revisit the formula (if one is going to be used)


  1. Drive toward efficiency: a vision statement?



  1. Party

It will be held on April 9th at Paul’s house in San Francisco.


  1. Statements from EC members on Non-Agenda Items



Meeting adjourned at 5:14 p.m.