March 17, 2010

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of
General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

March 17, 2010 at CSM

EC Members Present: Alma Cervantes, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Dave Danielson, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Yaping Li, Monica Malamud, Karen Olesen, Joaquin Rivera, Anne Stafford, Elizabeth Terzakis, Lezlee Ware

Other Members Present: Lisa Melnick, Lucia Olsen, Masao Suzuki

Meeting began at 2:25.

Facilitator: Dan Kaplan

1. Welcome and Introductions

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

Masao Suzuki will now be serving as the AFT representative on the District Budget and Finance Committee, replacing Jackie Gamelin – he attended his first meeting yesterday, March 16. The Committee is currently discussing the allocation model, which is being revised, given that the District does not want to grow at this time.

Masao distributed copies of a newspaper he has been writing for: Fight Back: News and Views from the People’s Struggle.

 3. Minutes of February 10, 2010 AFT Meeting

Approved unanimously with corrections.

SMCCD Parcel Tax Discussion

A San Mateo consulting firm believes that the county will receive 67-69% support for a parcel tax of $34 per unit per year, for four years, generating $4-6 million. One AFT member expressed concern that the poll is no longer accurate. EC members were divided in their support and opposition. Some feel a parcel tax is an inequitable, even regressive, method of raising revenue, and one that can give an unfair advantage to students attending public schools in wealthy communities (where parcel taxes are more likely to be supported by voters); others, while they understand, and may even support, the arguments against a parcel tax, feel it is necessary given the current budget situation in California and the dysfunction in Sacramento.

Our District Senate President, Patty Dilko, is asking faculty to work actively to help pass the parcel tax. The District is hiring a campaign manager to get the parcel tax on the ballot and to pass it, and has requested monetary support and endorsement from AFT. We voted to endorse but did not take any action on whether to provide monetary support.

Vote to endorse:

Yes  8                                      
No:   6                                          
Abstain:   0

Chip and Katherine agreed to contribute to an Advocate article examining both sides of the parcel tax debate.

5. Discussion of Dave Mandelkern’s Campaign for San Mateo County Tax Collector/Treasurer               

Dan reported to Dave Mandelkern that although the EC had not taken an official vote on whether to endorse him in his campaign for San Mateo County Tax Collector/Treasurer, an email discussion indicated that we are inclined not to do so. Dave was surprised and disappointed, and asked to come speak at our next meeting. Some EC members responded to Dan’s initial email about Dave’s campaign as if it were an actual vote, which it was not. Joaquin stressed that he does not want the EC to vote and discuss issues such as this one over email. Other members expressed regret that even a straw vote had occurred over email without sufficient information and discussion. After some discussion at today’s meeting, a few members were still inclined not to endorse, but the majority decided they would like more information. Because our meeting agendas have been so full, rather than invite Dave to attend our next meeting as he has requested, Dan will ask him to supply campaign information, as well as information about his record as a Trustee. Dan will also work on his own to compile information about Dave’s record as a Trustee.

6. Discussion of Stipends for P/T EC Members, and AFT Membership for P/T Instructors Without Class Assignments 

A number of issues/questions were raised:

  • Should we consider paying P/T’s to attend EC meetings?
  • Should we consider paying one P/T representative to head up a reconstituted P/T Committee? The EC decided that the best use of AFT Local 1493 money is to pay a PT Committee organizer. We will continue trying to recruit P/Ts interested in becoming more involved in AFT. If more than one P/T is interested in becoming the P/T Committee organizer, the EC would choose from among the candidates.
  • Should AFT Local 1493 pay the $1 per month dues for P/T’s who do not get classes? We decided AFT could not afford to extend the offer as doing so could cost as much as $3,000. Monica will send an E-news later in the semester to this effect.
  • Can a P/T without classes run for elected office? It is up to each Local to decide, but our Constitution is silent on this issue.

7. Discussion of the Simple Majority Vote and The California Democracy Act Ballot Initiatives

There are two different, but similar, initiatives potentially headed for the ballot: the California Democracy Act (CDA), which would change the current 2/3 majority vote requirement in the state Legislature for passing a budget and raising taxes to a simple majority, and a second initiative that would change the requirement from the current 2/3 majority to a simple majority for passing a budget only. Though current polls show strong support for the CDA, most people believe it is not likely to get enough petition signatures to make it onto the ballot. The CFT has endorsed the Simple Majority Vote, but not the CDA. The EC voted to endorse the CDA, and AFT 1493 delegates will argue at the CFT Convention later in March in support of the CDA.


8. Online Privacy/Security

The District is putting sensitive employee information online, such as tax information and Social Security numbers; many people are concerned that the passwords – six numbers – are too easy to crack. Dan will check with our attorney regarding the security of faculty information and whether it is legal to post this sort of information without employees’ explicit permission.

9. Advocate Policy

Table until April meeting – one EC member sent editing/revision suggestions, but Lezlee did not receive them.

10. Standing Committee Decision

As an alternative to holding more frequent meetings, the EC decided to experiment for the next year with a “standing committee” that will make decisions and address issues that arise between meetings and cannot wait for the next AFT meeting. The committee will be composed of the President, Vice President, and a grievance officer. When there are Co-Presidents or Co-Vice Presidents, both with participate. When the committee membership does not represent all three colleges, another EC member (or two) will be added. 

Vote to form standing committee:

Yes  11                                      
No:   0                                          
Abstain:   0 

11. AFT Employee Policy

Some EC members felt that the vote taken at the February meeting not to increase Dan’s SEP IRA contribution was mishandled. The discussion was rushed because the item was the last on an overly full agenda, and we didn’t have all of the relevant information. In light of concerns about the way in which the EC reached this important decision about our employees’ benefits, Teeka and Lezlee suggested the EC consider developing a policy regarding AFT employee pay and benefits. To get the discussion started, they drafted both a philosophy and a policy statement. Some members feel that such a policy would be unworkable and that decisions about employee pay and benefits are necessarily dependent upon the individuals in those positions while others believe it is important to articulate a philosophy and make pay and benefit decisions that are consistent with that philosophy.

Teeka and Lezlee agreed to draft more specific language for the April meeting.

12. EC Elections: Second Discussion

Tabled until April meeting.

13. Grievances

No grievances to report at this time.

14. Union Handbook

Tabled until April meeting

Statements from EC Members on Non-Agenda Items


Meeting adjourned:             5:00