May 2017 Advocate: Negotiations Update


No agreement reached at fact-finding hearing; Fact Finder’s report due within 30 days

by Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Co-Vice President & Strategic Campaign Organizer

The fact-finding hearing was held all day on May 8th, from 9 a.m. until just after 7 p.m., but no agreement was reached.  The fact-finding panel included one representative for the union, one for the District and a “neutral” Fact Finder.  The Union’s rep was Zev Kvitky, our CFT Field Rep., who has worked closely with our Local throughout this campaign. Chief Negotiator Joaquin Rivera presented a strong and well-supported case for AFT’s proposals on salary and benefits as well as a number of other outstanding issues.

District did not deny that they have the money

It was clear from the presentations that the District has the ability to satisfy our economic proposals, and chooses not to. Joaquin’s presention included data on how the District consistently overestimates expenditures, underestimates revenue and annually has high ending balances that grew to over $32 million–23% of expenditures–in 2015-16. (Also see the article on page 3 of this issue which shows that the District’s Fund 1 has had a surplus of over $50 million over the last 4 years.)

Joaquin’s presentation also included salary rankings for the Bay 10 districts, including data that showed that when comparing total compensation, i.e. salary and benefits, SMCCCD full-time faculty rank between 4th and 8th (see tables here) and SMCCCD part-time faculty are ranked between 7th and 9th (see tables here.) He also presented data that showed that SMCCCD part-time faculty are ranked between 15th and 24th among California community colleges (see tables here).

The District nevertheless believes that their economic offer is fair and appropriate based on Bay 10 salary comparisons, even though the total compensation salary formula they have offered would provide a much lower increase than if we continued to use the formula agreed to under our current contract.

The Fact Finder will write his report within the next 30 days. Once the report is issued to the District and Union, the Board of Trustees will decide whether to accept or reject the fact-finding recommendations.

They will have the right to impose a contract on faculty, and faculty will have the right to strike.  The fact-finder encouraged both sides to continue negotiations if they are useful in the interim.

We will need your help in a few weeks as details become clearer.  We deeply appreciate your support for us during extremely difficult negotiations, and will keep you informed as we get more information.

Up to the fact-finding hearing, our negotiating team had been negotiating for well over a year, and our contract expired over 10 months ago. Our struggle to secure a fair contract has been remarkable for a number of reasons beyond just its duration and difficulty.   For the first time in my memory, the core issue that has united and activated faculty has not been simply compensation.

Workload committee established

The crying need for workload equity for nonteaching duties has rocked our world, putting RED AFT T-shirts on the backs of hundreds of faculty members every No Take Backs Tuesday and grabbing the attention of our Board of Trustees.  The compromise solution reached at the bargaining table is not the one we would have preferred; however, our negotiators fought to keep nonteaching workload on the table and the result is that a nine-person committee will study the workload issue and make a recommendation to the two negotiating teams by December 15, 2017.  The make-up of the committee is as follows: three representatives from AFT, three chosen from each of the college Academic Senates and three from administration.  The three AFT representatives will be Nina Floro (Skyline), Doniella Maher (Cañada) and Anne Stafford (CSM). Cañada Academic Senate has appointed Michael Hoffman, CSM Academic Senate selected Rosemary Nurre and the Skyline Academic Senate appointee is Leigh Anne Shaw. The committee will not meet during the summer, but that it will meet once before the summer in order to identify what data is needed so they can ask the District to gather the data over the summer. Talk to your representatives about what you think is a fair way to handle our crazy-making over-workload.


Another bizarre turn of events were the Numbersgate emails that came from the District in late March and mid-April.  It started with the Chancellor’s email to all faculty just before spring break, where he cited inaccurate salary figures to bolster his announcement that SMCCD faculty is being paid at higher levels than the union has reported.  AFT responded by showing the errors he’d made — he inflated our salaries by adding in much higher raises than have ever been presented at the negotiating table, let alone agreed upon!  If only it were true. Next came an apology sent to all faculty by Kathy Blackwood, District CBO and Associate Chancellor, in which she took responsibility for the salary figures in the Chancellor’s email, and then went on to post a series of salary tables that were not just inaccurate but inconsistent and confusing.  What’s going on at the District Office?

Again, thank you for your support during this long and arduous struggle.  We will continue to send you messages through our Action Network emails — the ones with the red T-shirt graphic — throughout the rest of the semester and possibly into the summer.  Don’t put those red AFT T-shirts away! The battle isn’t over.