October 13, 2010

San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

October 13, 2010 at Cañada College

EC Members Present:  Eric Brenner, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Dave Danielson, Sandi Raeber Dorsett, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Monica Malamud, Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Joaquin Rivera, Masao Suzuki, Elizabeth Terzakis, Lezlee Ware

Other Members Present: Bruce Maule

Guests Present: Zev Kvitky (CFT), Jim Araby (CFT)

Facilitator: Monica Malamud

Meeting began at 2:30

1.       Welcome and Introductions

We introduced ourselves and welcomed everyone to the meeting.


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

Zev Kvitky and Jim Araby presented CFT’s positions on ballot measures in the upcoming state election. Zev and Jim asked for volunteers to help with CFT phone banking and other campaign efforts. CFT supports Jerry Brown in the gubernatorial race. All of CFT’s positions can be reviewed on its website.


3.       Retirement Issues Update—ORIGINALLY AGENDA ITEM 9

Bruce Maule teaches accounting at CSM and sits on the District Retirement Board of Authority for AFT. The District must pay for the retirement health benefits for all retired employees whose contracts give them that right. Bruce reported that the balance of the fund was $10,652,908.12, as of September 30, 2010. Bruce said this balance as nothing short of miraculous since most other school districts have closer to $0.00 in their retirement benefits trust funds. However, although the District’s contributions to this fund are obligatory, the Board of Trustees decides how much money to actually deposit into the trust fund each year. Currently, SMCCD has $25 million dollars on its books that belong to the Trust, but which have not been deposited yet. When Bruce asked Kathy Blackwood when the $25 million would be moved to the Trust, she responded “we fully intend and are committed to depositing it.” She explained that the investment plan for the Trust Fund was new and she wanted to understand it better before putting the rest of the money into it. Bruce inferred that the District wants to use the $25 million for internal loans during this financial crisis.

Bruce requested that AFT 1493 pay close attention to our contract language requiring the District to fund the post-retirement health benefits. The economic principle “what can’t continue, won’t continue” leads Bruce to have some concern that the District’s post-retirement health benefits obligations may become untenable as those employees of the Baby Boomer generation retire. If we have a $150 million obligation, it will have to be paid at some time, and currently we don’t have sufficient funds to cover the potential future costs, which means future employees (who do not enjoy the same level of post-retirement health benefits) will have to pay for the retirement health benefits of those who came before them. This seems fundamentally unfair. 

If you’d like copies of the handouts Bruce distributed, please contact Dan Kaplan.


4.       Minutes of September 8, 2010

The minutes were approved with minor changes.


5.       Negotiations Survey Results and Guidance to the Negotiating Team

We reviewed the results from our October 11, 2010 faculty survey regarding negotiations and our future priorities. There were no surprises in the results. We focused much of the discussion on the fourth survey question: “Your AFT bargaining team has temporarily cancelled future negotiations sessions until we hear from you. Below are some options for our next steps. Please check any actions you would like us to seriously consider.”


–  Non-Agenda Item Slipped into the Discussion: 2011-2012 Academic Calendar

Joaquin reminded us that we had to negotiate the 2011-2012 Academic Calendar. Please share it around with faculty, especially with science faculty at CSM, who were vocally disappointed in last year’s calendar.


Suddenly someone realized that the calendar discussion was not on the agenda. Once again, we were almost 95 minutes into our meeting, had completed 55 minutes’ worth of agenda items, and had 90 minutes of scheduled business remaining on the agenda with only 41 minutes left in the meeting. So we slashed the rest of the agenda, tabling items 6 (originally 5) and 11, and cutting ten-minute discussions to one and two minutes each.


6.       Discussion of Possible Dates for a) the union philosophy/union-building strategies “special focus meeting; b) the Leadership training by CFT meeting; and c) the CFT database meeting

This discussion was tabled.


7.       District Shared Governance Council (DSGC) Report

Teeka reported that on October 4, 2010, Barbara Christensen and Harry Joel presented DSGC with 40 or so board policies that needed to be updated for accreditation purposes, including the seven board policies that AFT 1493 had demanded to negotiate:

2.13 Dissemination of Employee Information

2.19 Non Discrimination

2.25 Prohibition of Harassment

2.28 Safety

2.60 Resignations

6.32 Intellectual Property

7.21 Speech: Time, Place and Manner 

Harry claimed that Joaquin had said in negotiations that he was “OK” with the policies, and they could go back to DSGC. We unanimously decided to have our attorney contact the District’s counsel. Teeka will prepare diligently for the upcoming DSGC meeting (11/1/10) in case the policies indeed appear before the Council despite our legal action.


8.       Approval of the P/T Faculty Organizer Job Description—4:37 P.M.

Lisa said she was disappointed that the meeting was almost over and we were just getting to this agenda item. Both Vicki and Sandi, the two other part-time faculty members attending this EC/General Membership meeting, had already left the meeting (presumably to teach), and Lisa pointed out that our meeting’s structure was limiting part-time faculty participation in union work. It is hard to build and maintain momentum with part-time faculty.

The Part-time Faculty Organizer (PTFO) subcommittee had not been able to meet, but had further edited the job announcement over email. Lisa explained that it was important to let faculty interested in the position to know why the EC was interested in creating this position, so she wanted to include the rationale, even though at the previous EC/General Membership meeting we had thought it better to not include it. 

We voted to approve the PTFO.

YES      NO      ABSTAIN
10           0               1

Lisa, Monica, Teeka, and Dan (the subcommittee) will finish the editing. We will post the position as soon as possible.


9.       Approval of Union Handbook

We voted to approve the union handbook.

YES            NO            ABSTAIN
10                 0                     1


10.   Resolution in Opposition to the FBI Raids and Grad Jury Subpoenas of Anti-war Activists

Masao presented the EC with a resolution demanding that the FBI cease harassment of antiwar activists in the United States. The resolution passed, with small revisions. Masao will input the changes and send the resolution out to the EC.

YES – 9
NO – 0


11.   Hiring of F/T Faculty on Grant Money

This discussion was tabled.


12.   Grievances

None. Chip has been invited to meetings to clarify contract issues. He is pleased that faculty are interested in learning more about their union contract.


13.   Statements from EC Members on Non-Agenda Items

\      We unanimously passed a resolution in support of Oscar Grant.

YES – 9
NO – 0

\      Lezlee will be on maternity leave starting November 9, 2010. She’ll see us at an EC meeting again in fall 2011.

\      Teeka lamented that once again, our meeting seemed dysfunctional and disorganized. She found it extraordinarily frustrating and stressful. Lezlee chimed in, noting that we’ve once again demonstrated that we need to meet either more often or dramatically reduce our expectations for the EC meetings. Someone pointed out that we started late—at 2:30—as well. Teeka responded that those who are scheduled to teach until 2:00 cannot realistically arrive at meetings not on their own campus by 2:15.


Meeting Adjourned: 5:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by
Teeka James, Acting Secretary