Instructors' Association

Newsletter

Newsletter by and for the faculty of the Santa Barbara Community College District

 

Vol. 15 No. 3

May 2005

Progress on All Fronts!

Peter Naylor, President

Another academic year is drawing to a close, surely one that will stand out in our memory. Nine distinguished faculty are retiring, but their contributions to SBCC will not be forgotten. With the help of our new faculty, we will build on the legacy of Art Albanese, Val Del Vecchio, Gerry Clouser, Bob Ehrmann, Karl Halbach, Bea Hamlin, Mace Perona, Lana Rose, and Manuel Unzueta. As you read those names, think about the diverse skills that each has shared with us through the years. And of course, other important, non-teaching contributors are also leaving SBCC. Without the assistance of Brian Beach, Nancy Thomas, Ella Markham, Lucio Torres, and Bill Hamre, we fortunate teaching and counseling faculty simply could not have done our jobs.

Naturally, the AFT challenge is one of the lasting memories of 2004-2005. A benign result is a resurgence of faculty interest in effective shared governance and instructors association representation. The elections for the IA Executive Board are sure to include three AFT supporters who have chosen to devote their energies to strengthening your Association. In this newsletter, we initiate a discussion of Binding Arbitration with a note from one of our attorneys. This is a serious, complex issue, which needs to be understood thoroughly. We need a consensus of faculty, before we proceed. Other important issues are being addressed by the Faculty Senate, including faculty job descriptions, training, and evaluations. When those tasks are completed in a manner satisfactory to faculty and administration, we will take up the equally important and awkward issue of part-time faculty re-hire rights. Practicing the listening and critical thinking skills which we teach will be necessary as we consider these topics and design the best solutions for the individuals affected and the college as a whole.

In that regard, we are pleased that your Instructors Association was able to negotiate a satisfactory outcome to an error in part-time English and English Skills compensation. The error occurred three years ago, but was only noticed by the faculty affected this past fall. It was brought to the attention of the IA leadership only in late January. The matter was resolved with full restitution of all back pay, for all faculty affected.

Complicating this matter was the manner in which the compensation of faculty teaching these courses had been originated many years ago (1988 or 1989). It is unlikely that any of the faculty now teaching these courses participated in the initial agreements. They naturally assumed that for teaching courses requiring five hours of instruction each week, they would be paid for five hours.

Apparently, what happened was an informal agreement between the department leadership and their dean that courses, which had been organized and compensated at 3 hour lecture and 2 hours lab, would be converted to five hours lecture. Regular faculty would receive 4.5 TLUs, but adjuncts would get 5 hours per week at their hourly rate. The IA and the HR dept of the college were not consulted and no memorandum documenting this understanding was recorded. Around 1999 a new payroll system was adopted, and pay for these courses was entered 4.5 hours as well as 4.5 TLUs. So, the part-time instructors were shorted 1/2 hour of pay for each week.

The IA was not informed until a month after the AFT/IA election. Laws regarding timely notification of payroll errors, lack of documentation of the agreement, conflicting precedents, and frankly the hysteria of some of those involved, made our task of negotiating a fair solution (full restitution) difficult. Nevertheless, on April 22nd we executed a Memorandum of Understanding that commits the District to full retroactive compensation of all affected faculty.

This incident should alert us to the dangers of ad hoc groups, however laudable their intentions, taking into their own hands the negotiation of working conditions and compensation which are reserved by law to your exclusive bargaining agent, the Instructors Association. Only in that way, can we assure that that agreement is valid and enforceable, that the terms are fair to all faculty, and that the agreement is properly recorded for future reference.

This particular deal existed outside the contract. The parties involved have moved on, and memories are vague. The faculty harmed were acting in good faith and deserved everything for which they were asking, but alert faculty will recognize that this deal permits the part-time faculty teaching these courses to receive 10 hour pay for 9 TLUs, when other part-time faculty are limited to a total of 9 hours teaching and pay. Of the over fifty faculty affected, 90% were calm, patient and professional while we worked out the solution. Their Dept Chair, Gail Tennen, was very helpful in collecting information and keeping open communication, while we resolved the issue. To those faculty, and especially to Gail, we extend our thanks. However, there were a few who nearly sabotaged our success by their angry behavior. One even chose to address the Trustees, a week after the matter had been resolved, in order to attack the administration and our system of governance. This grandstanding can only strengthen those who tend to view faculty as children.

If you are aware of unusual work and compensation arrangements, please bring them to our attention, so that they can be documented and so that we can protect you in the future, when a similar mistake or misunderstanding occurs. In an organization as complex at SBCC, mistakes will be made. They can be resolved fairly in an atmosphere of trust. Insults and hysteria are not productive. In that regard, isn't it time for those few remaining "AFT works for me" stickers on doors and posters in windows to be removed? Everyone has a right to express themselves, but what do those signs say? How do they contribute to building unity among us?

You have been very patient, while we struggle through prolonged contract negotiations. We opened with an aggressive proposal to correct all the accumulated deficiencies and inequities of our existing contract. Legal requirements to "sunshine" our proposals and the District's initial offer, the AFT challenge election, and state budget uncertainties, delayed the opening of serious negotiations until January, after our existing contract expired. During January and February, negotiations moved slowly, as both sides explained the reasoning behind their proposals, presented cost estimates and discussed anticipated revenues and expenses for the District.

In fact, we were both waiting for the Governor's budget and the first installment of state funding (P1). The distances between us narrowed as we appreciated better the issues from both points of view. Our trip to Sacramento to talk to FACCC and Sen. Tom McClintock's aide, John Stoos, as well as our CCCI colleagues, helped. With state revenues running $2.4 billion above initial estimates, we are confident of good news in the May Revise. The second installment of equalization is virtually certain, and the new League proposals for revision of community college funding are in discussion at the State Senate.

With your advice and consent, your negotiators have taken the position that all COLA and Equalization funding should go "on schedule", that is for a general raise in pay and benefits. Lower classes and steps will receive more, but all will benefit. In addition, we have identified some General Fund revenue, which is paid to SBCC for credit instruction but has been diverted to subsidize other activities. We demand that these funds be reallocated to improve equity for those who have been asked to sacrifice the most in the past, {part-time faculty, laboratory instructors, vocational and junior faculty}. Time will tell the extent to which these reallocations can be made and thus the progress that can be achieved in those areas. We believe that the District understands our reasoning and is trying to accommodate us, as they should.

Once again, thank you for your support and patience. The overwhelming support for equity adjustments from all segments of the faculty is very encouraging. We will remain firm even as we adjust to the realities of a difficult budget environment.

Unfortunately, the generous increases required across the board must wait until we have a better funding mechanism for community colleges, {more equality across CCs, more equality across the segments of California higher education, and more reliable budgeting}. In that regard, we encourage you to contact Assemblyman Pedro Nava, Senator Tom McClintock, and Governor Schwarzeneggar. They are our friends and understand the need and justification, but they may need a friendly nudge. We ask that you politely urge them to support the credit and non-credit equalization, and equipment and facilities maintenance proposals of the Board of Governors. If you need addresses or further information on state issues, good places to begin are the FACCC and CCCI web-sites, {www.faccc.org and www.CCCIndependents.org}.

We look forward to concluding a satisfactory contract, so we can turn our attention to assisting your Faculty Senate in implementing the right changes in the organization of the college through the Consultative Planning Process (CPP). This will be needed to pay for the contract enhancements without harming other college services and activities in the short run. We will also be able to give attention to changing the funding formulas for CCs, so that we can obtain the full package of equity, salaries, benefits, and working conditions, which we have so long deserved and so long been denied. In an opening gambit, initiated by the Trustees, Des O'Neill, John Romo, Peter Haslund, and I signed a joint public letter drawing attention to the unequal funding problem and its implications for SBCC.

So, I hope you'll agree that we are moving forward in every way, and with teamwork, our results will get better and better.

Negotiations Updates From Our Colleagues Around the State:

California Community College Independents

 

by Tom Garey

Concepts that have become familiar to observers of faculty negotiations found new resonance at the recent semi-annual meeting of the California Community College Independents (CCCI) in Sacramento. For two days, April 15 & 16, your Association President Peter Naylor, Vice-President Ed Inks, and CCCI Liaison Tom Garey conferred with thirty-five representatives of independent faculty associations representing faculty from eleven community college districts statewide. From many of our brother and sister organizations came reports of "structural deficits," "take-backs," benefit caps, "assaults on faculty," and news of bargaining reaching impasse, mediation, fact-finding, and contract imposition. To be sure, much of the grim news results from statewide declines in enrollment as well as funding and administrations at a number of these other colleges facing the future with a certain level of paranoia. As observed by Rich Hansen, CCCI Newsletter editor and outgoing President of FACCC, "Many districts continue to act as if they were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. . . Business officers see financial disaster lurking around every local budgetary decision."

Among those facing the dark side of negotiations:

 

Faculty at the West Valley/Mission district in Santa Clara have had no raise, not even COLA in four years. In contentious negotiations, the district is demanding salary rollbacks, benefit reductions, and the imposition of an administration created faculty code of conduct. Meanwhile, the West Valley/Mission Association of College Educators (ACE) has been busy marshaling their colleagues for a legal battle over the 50% law.

 

Faculty at Santa Monica College have been fighting draconian cuts to the district's vocational programs this against the backdrop of ongoing contentiousness between faculty and college president Piedad Robertson and district Trustees. Last year, the district reportedly reduced its class offerings by 20%, yet ended the year with a $ 6 million surplus. On a positive note, President Robertson resigned and the Faculty Association successfully mounted a $ 50,000 campaign to unseat two of three Trustees deemed hostile to faculty interests. Although negotiations are still at loggerheads, faculty are optimistic.

 

Last summer, administrators at our neighbor Allan Hancock College are reported to have received 12% salary increases. Faculty were offered 1%. They finally settled for 2.5% + the "privilege" of paying for 50% of any increases in Benefits costs. The Hancock Faculty Association is experiencing significant organizational challenges. CCCI is exploring tangible ways in which we as a collective can assist them.

 

Aside from a bargaining impasse, faculty from Grossmont - Cuyamaca report a virtual state of war between the faculty and the top Administration and Board. Following a 62 2 vote of "no confidence" in the District Chancellor by the Grossmont Academic Senate last March, the two sides are openly hostile toward each other. Despite consistent ending balances in excess of the mandated 5% reserve, the District has offered a 1.6% raise, with the balance of COLA going to benefits, and step and column increases.

 

By far, the darkest news is from Contra Costa where negotiations have been going on for over a year. The District claims a "structural deficit" of between $ 7 and 10 million, and had been demanding a 7% pay cut and a cap on benefits with faculty picking up 15% of the premium cost. Following the departure of the District Chancellor last summer, normally antagonistic relations between faculty and district Trustees became rancorous with Trustees asserting that faculty "have too much . . .to much power, too much money, and too many benefits." Impasse, followed by mediation and fact-finding became inevitable, with the district rejecting the fact-finding report and recommendations. Following threats that the district would impose a contract, the two sides "negotiated" a settlement that includes a 8.63% salary cut, 6% faculty contribution to health benefit premiums, and reductions in retirement benefits for new faculty. On the plus side, there were some gains in flex scheduling, sabbatical commitments, and adjunct hiring rights. However reluctantly, the faculty have ratified the settlement, choosing . . ."to accept burdensome reductions in salary and benefits in order to ensure their students an orderly completion of this semester and to avoid the possibility of irreversible damage to this district."

On the more positive side:

 

Despite deficit projections ($ 8 million) similar to those at Contra Costa, Foothil-DeAnza representatives report a successful cooperative effort between faculty and administration lining up manageable budget adjustments agreeable to both sides. As things have played out, the planned reductions became unnecessary and all employee groups are to receive the full COLA.

 

Faculty at Santa Rosa Junior College successfully completed a protracted negotiation with a 3.02% increase. In addition, the district agreed to improvements in provisions for adjunct evaluation, security of employment and reassignment privileges. The faculty also succeeded in getting agreement to form a joint faculty/administration steering committee to manage enollment.

College of the Redwoods faculty successfully negotiated a three year contract withg provision for COLA + 1% the first year and the addition of three steps across their salary matrix.

 

Finally, faculty at Rancho Santiago will be receiving a 4% increase as of this summer.

Of course, your representatives reported on the status of our negotiations, though representatives present were primarily interested in the organizational outcome of the AFT/CFT decertification effort, and specifically how we were working to normalize relations in our unit following the vote. Peter Naylor shared the substance of his earlier IA Newsletter article, co-authored with Homer Arrington, highlighting the need for all faculty to come together and to let the challenge of last year lead to a stronger union.

Members noted that there seems to be an aggressive effort by AFT/CTA to decertify Independent Faculty Associations statewide and that CCCI needs to stay abreast of such efforts. Special Guest Cy Gulassa, retired of Foothill-de Anza and one of the founders of CCCI, asked "Why is an organization that claims to represent faculty, spending that faculty's money attacking other faculty organizations trying to represent their own faculty?"

 

Jonathan Lightman, Executive Director of FACCC, presented extensive detail on the state of 2005-06 budget negotiations in Sacramento, but short of the "May Revise" making much sense of it is a frustrating endeavor. Jonathan is optimistic, however that the Chancellor's office, FACCC, and various faculty representatives (including CCCI) have made a good case for the CC's and have some friendly ears in the legislature.

Jonathan also made special note of the various proposals floating around Sacramento that represent clear attacks on community college faculty. These include:

 

AB 1425 A bill to exempt vocational faculty from the full-time faculty provisions of AB 1725. FACCC contends that this will create a new, and likely disadvantaged class of faculty for vocational instructors.

 

Governor's proposal to change state retirement programs (including STRS) from "Defined Benefit" to "Defined Contribution."

 

SB 845 (Scott) to change Minimum Qualifications for vocational instructors.

SB 5 (Morrow), The "Student Bill of Rights" being promoted by conservative writer David Horowitz, and viewed by many as an attack on Academic Freedom.

FACCC is launching a fundraising effort through FACCC PAC to oppose the proposals to modify STRS. Jonathan noted that all community college faculty need to monitor what is going on in Sacramento and to use FACCC's "point and click" advocacy to express their opinions to legislators. See -

http://www.faccc.org/

 

Clearly there is much going on statewide and your Association is paying close attention. A number of the district Associations with whom we conferred had good ideas in areas that are important to us adjunct benefits, rehire rights, benefit solutions, etc. Your representatives will be reviewing this information and working to formulate best strategies toward making progress in these and many other areas.

CCCI's next regular meeting will be held in October, 2005 in San Diego.

From the Negotiating Table: An Adjunct Perspective

 

At first, the process of contract negotiation seems to move at a glacial pace: long meetings about the budget, balance sheets and balance transfers, general funds and designated funds, COLA, growth and equalization. The weary negotiator collects reams of paper, columns of figures (color-coded to please the eye.) Eventually this chaos of numbers resolves into a general sense of how much money is available. Each team will then make their required speeches: the uncertain economic future, the deserving faculty etc.

Eventually we start to "negotiate". Resources are limited and choices will have to be made. We knew this from the beginning. A contract proposal is like an "ideal" - a vision of what ought to be in the fairest of all worlds. It is important to hold up these goals and to remind ourselves where we are headed. However, true negotiation requires compromise on both sides. This is the part of the process I find most interesting. It is clear at this point in the process that we will make significant gains for our adjunct faculty. Health insurance buy-in rights will be available to qualified adjuncts and gains will be made in equity issues. However important choices must be made. How shall we guide our choices to create the greatest good for the greatest number? There are several proposals that directly affect the adjunct salary scale:

1. The re-calibration of the general salary schedule will result in higher raises for the newer faculty, those in the first few steps of the schedule. The junior faculty, both contract and adjunct, have slipped behind over the years since the simple percentage raises have always favored the senior faculty.

2. On the other hand, the expansion of the salary schedule by adding additional steps will favor the long-term faculty, those who have been stalled at the highest step in their class. This is especially true for adjuncts who are confined to the first 8 steps of Class II. Expansion of the adjunct schedule by adding additional classes would favor those adjuncts who have substantial education beyond the required M.A.

3. An increase in the pro-rata percentage would benefit all adjunct faculty. Adjunct salaries are currently calculated at 62.4% of Class II contract salaries. Each increase in 1% of the pro-rata percentage would result in an additional 1.5% increase in adjunct salaries.

How to prioritize these proposals, how to allot available funds among the competing interests --this is the process of negotiation. It is both an idealistic and a pragmatic process. It requires the wisdom of Solomon and the hide of a rhinoceros.

- Lynne Elisabeth Stark / IA Representative for Adjunct Faculty

 

 

 

 

Spring Election Results

 

The IA Executive Board is Now Expanded to Nine Members

Congratulations to the re-elected, continuing members of the Instructors Association Executive Board: Cornelia Alsheimer, Tom Garey, Ed Inks, and Peter Naylor. And congratulations to the newly elected members of the IA Board: Jan Ford and Gail Tennen.

Executive Board members are elected for two year terms. The terms of members are staggered.

I. A. Executive Board

Summer/Fall 2005

Peter Naylor ('05-'07)   Voice: Ext. 2350
President/Budget Analyst  E-mail: 
naylor@sbcc.edu

Ed Inks ('05-'07)   Voice: Ext. 2411
Vice President    E-mail: 
inks@sbcc.edu

Tom Garey ('05-'07) Voice: Ext. 2218
CCCI RepresentativeE-mail: 
garey@sbcc.edu

Bob Cummings ('04-'06)   Voice: Ext. 2515
Secretary/ Newsletter Editor E-mail: 
cummings@sbcc.edu

Homer Arrington ('04-'06)    Voice: Ext. 3061
CCCI Representative    E-mail:
arringto@sbcc.edu

Gail Tennen ('05-'07)   Voice: Ext. 2414
Board MemberE-mail: 
tennen@sbcc.edu

Cornelia Alsheimer ('05-'07)
Adjunct Rep.   E-mail:
alsheime@sbcc.edu

Jan Ford ('05-'07)   Voice: Ext. 2228
Adjunct Rep. .    E-mail:
fordj@sbcc.edu

Lynne Stark (05-07)
E-mail: 
stark@sbcc.edu