At AFT 1493’s virtual Town Hall on Thursday, March 26, we had a great turnout of members who heard a report from our negotiators and shared many of the issues faculty are facing in our new working environments. Thank you to everyone who was able to participate.

On Monday, March 30th, our bargaining team will meet with the District’s new Chief Negotiator and the District team to present a draft MOU reflecting faculty needs and demands related to the effects of COVID-19. AFT is bringing as many of your concerns as we can directly to the bargaining table. Your input gathered through our survey and during the Town Hall contributed to the proposed language for the MOU, making it even stronger. For those who haven’t completed the survey, please let us hear from you.

Below is a brief report from the Town Hall meeting:

AFT 1493 President and Chief Negotiator Joaquin Rivera gave a quick negotiations report:

  • The next bargaining session is Monday, 3/30. Regular negotiations are on hold. We have a new chief negotiator.
  • Briefly, here are six main topics we plan to discuss:
  1. Teaching flexibility to suit needs/skills
  2. Recognition/compensation for extra work
  3. Ability to take 14 days without using sick/vacation leave
  4. Full pay for any canceled classes
  5. Non-instructional work should not be required
  6. Evaluations not in progress should be postponed until next year

Members shared questions/concerns and provided answers when known:

Workload & Work Environment 

  • Getting labs online is tons of work – faculty must create an entirely new curriculum to replace lab curriculum prepared in advance
  • Working from home: faculty members are working at home for very long hours under extremely stressed conditions (often limited or no home office arrangements

Compensation and Benefits

  • Staff required to be on campus have not received hazard pay.
  • Compensation for migration of classes to online environment, AFT negotiators to survey members:
    • Should this be stipend/flat rate?
    • What are costs aside from hours worked? Setting up home office, migrating, interacting with students and purchasing/ acquiring/setting up equipment
    • Concern for part time faculty who aren’t paid a salary and have so much extra unpaid work now transitioning their classes to online, often for multiple districts with different platforms

Evaluations (by/for faculty)

  • Some members don’t want to continue evaluations in progress – don’t want to ask students to submit evaluations
  • Non-digital portfolios are in process but cannot be accessed by reviewer needing to complete evaluation (unless adapted digitally)

Distance Ed/Online Instruction & Equipment

    • Transitioning music classes online requires technology most faculty members don’t have at home.
    • Grades & Credit: 
      • Credit/no credit issue is complex with unknown ramifications for transfer students; being discussed in Senates, remains undecided
      • New exec order from State Chancellor says students can get “excused withdrawal” that won’t affect their standing; counselors will be conveying this to students.
  • Some classes simply don’t translate to an online environment, e.g.:
    • PE skills acquisition – faculty can’t observe each student demonstrating the skills over time or for final.
    • ECE student teaching – schools where students would be teaching are closed.

Additional Questions & Information Updates by Members

  • Online Ed: some students are simply not prepared for distance education and have quit. How many students will be left behind because of the obstacle of technology?
    • Some faculty members have have cramped conditions at home and/or kids to homeschool.
    • “It’s extremely challenging to do my work while homeschooling a 5 year old.”“I feel like I’m being punished for being a parent.”
  • There have been no District Communications about Childcare