Erroneous union information can cost part-time faculty their jobs

Posted: December 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

Part-Time Faculty: A Must Read

(especially if your job is in jeopardy.  
Well, that means all of you, then)


Once again, the union grievance officer, Victor Krulikowski, has given out erroneous information at yet another Council of Reps meeting.



The contract says the following:

5.12.5 When the District is unable to make an overload assignment of regular faculty or an initial assignment of temporary faculty in a subject or service area at a level equivalent to the 
highest percentage of assignment during the prior four semesters (e.g., 40%) at Level
 Two or Level Three as appropriate, the District will apply the criteria set forth in section 
5.12.6 in considering the assignment of eligible faculty and/or other candidates in the 
subject or service area.

5.12.6 The criteria to be applied where required by the provisions of section 5.12, inclusive, in 
order of consideration, are (a) educational preparation, specialization, and recency in discipline, (b) comparative quality of teaching or service performance as documented by evaluations, (c) recent and previous teaching experience in the subject area of the class 
or experience in the service area, (d) diversity, and (e) the cumulative number of
 semesters employed as faculty in the District. Criteria (d) and (e) are reversed in order of
 consideration in the assignment of temporary faculty pursuant to section 5.12.4.3.

5.12.6.1 It is understood and agreed by the District and the Federation that the District
 has the discretion to place differing values on the application of the elements 
within each of the criteria of section 5.12.6.14.



Krulikowski said the following (again) at the November 29, 2012 Council Meeting:



”Krulikowski reported that he has been receiving many inquiries into how seniority plays into reassignment of classes. He stated that the contract places very little emphasis on seniority; seniority places fifth (as cumulative number of semesters taught at Cuesta College, in section 5.12.6 of the contract) in a ranked list of reassignment criteria. When a part-time faculty member reaches Level II, they are subject to all the same criteria as other Level II faculty members. One Council member remembered that when the contract was being developed there was a value set on recent graduate work in the discipline, favoring new hires over long-time faculty members.  It was noted by many Council members that current practice does not always follow the contract.”

Whaaaat? This is an amazing reporting.  For those of you who don’t know–and maybe even for those of you who do–you need to hear the truth once again.  Reading this will take some time, but your job may depend on it.


Yours truly, as union president and faculty member of the first CCFT bargaining team in 1994 was one of the primary writers of the original contract (including 5.12 above).  After the first contract was signed and ratified, I became chief negotiator of all subsequent contracts until 2008.  I tell you this only to let you know you have been snookered.

Part-timers–how many of you will be losing your jobs because this union doesn’t understand the contract? The original bargaining team spent about 6 full months on Article 5.12.5-Article 5.12.6 alone.  Why? Because we wanted to protect our hard-working part-time faculty.  We honed this criteria into a comprehensive and highly reasonable document that both CCFT and management could agree to. So, why in the world, does this current union not understand this?  Or, why hasn’t it asked for help from past grievance officers who have been willing and able to assist?  Instead, this union played free and easy with your jobs.

HISTORY: The five criteria were a workable compromise between management and the union.  CCFT wanted the criteria ranked; we wanted to make seniority the top criteria.  What resulted was a well-crafted contract section that ends up with just about the same result–but using a different path.  The words “in order of consideration” was a concession to management who didn’t even want seniority in the contract! (Never forget how anti-labor this county is). But, the words are essentially meaningless; think about it.  Yes, the district needed to look at the criteria in that order but didn’t have to apply them in that order (5.12.6.1 above). THE CRITERIA WAS NEVER, EVER RANKED.  The current union has all the minutes, and we’ve passed on this information more than once. They have chosen to not hear it.

So, what does this all mean?  It means that back then we were trying to satisfy the long-time need to hire Cuesta part-timers into full-time tenure-track positions AND recruit more diverse faculty–both essential goals.  Look at the criteria closely–which the current union should have done.

You notice that it says, “Criteria (d) and (e) are reversed in order of consideration in the assignment of temporary faculty pursuant to section 5.12.4.3.”  You can read yourself that the reversal in Level 3 assignments allows current pt-ers to increase their entitlement before Cuesta hires new part-timers from the outside. Hella good policy.

Look again at 5.12.6 b-c (above): the language protects current part-timers, of course.  Intentional, folks.  You put criteria b, c, and d together and you have seniority.  Criteria “a” protects recency (because we weren’t a “feather-bedding” union) and criteria “e” protects diversity–because we were committed to it.

If you need further convincing that 5.12.5-6 is all about hiring from within, look, lastly, at 5.12.6.1:  “It is understood and agreed by the District and the Federation that the District 
has the discretion to place differing values on the application of the elements 
within each of the criteria of section 5.12.6.14.”

Wow, so what does that mean?  It means that the manager who makes that ultimate determination better well have a good reason for doing it or be prepared to be grieved.  I can remember like it was yesterday Ann Grant on management’s side of the table, saying, “Geez, that’s going to be really hard.”  And, I replied, “ that’s why you get paid those big bucks.” My reply was far from original, but we all got the message.  And, we signed the  agreement.

This current union has absolutely no understanding of this.  Your jobs could be in jeopardy because of this lack of understanding and their telling part-timers that the list is ranked and that seniority doesn’t matter.  Are you kidding?  What are unions about except seniority.  We finessed our way into a phenomenal contract which allowed management to save face.  Success all the way around.  This contract section, by the way, happened to serve as a statewide model.

And, how about the Council member’s comment above from the November 29, 2012 meeting?: “One Council member remembered that when the contract was being developed there was a value set on recent graduate work in the discipline, favoring new hires over long-time faculty members.”  This is a bizarre recollection.  Recency had a place, of course, but never over long-term part-timers.  Apparently, this person “forgot” that the list was never ranked but rather a pro-forma concession in bargaining–put it first to make it look like that means something.

And, a member of that original bargaining team is on the current Council.  I wonder why he didn’t explain the above.  Guess he forgot.

You must demand that your union is accountable to you and your jobs.  If the above criteria was misapplied, you may have lost your job for nothing.

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Comments
  1. Patrick Schwab says:

    Marilyn
    You are the only one, seriously, the only one who understands the faculty contract as it was written. From my standpoint, as a former administrator, I kept the faculty contract on the corner of my desk, I read it from cover to cover multiple times and referred to individual sections often and I still had to seek advice on interpretation. I quickly learned that HR was not the place to go for a clear, honest interpretation of the contract. I think I got pretty good listening to multiple voices to get a good reading on the language and the intent of the part-time rights. I do agree with Ann Grant, “Geez, that’s going to be really hard.” (Long time ago a talking Barbie doll whined, “Math is hard.” Mattel made that little gem go away.) Managers and faculty members alike should become students of the contact and look very carefully at the intent as bargained. Your piece in the We’re What’s Left blog, even though it does get down in the weeds a bit (Say, when are you going to take the bar?), it does an excellent job with the history and the intent.
    Patrick Schwab, EdD, sort of retired

  2. mimmsy123 says:

    Dear Pat, aka Dean and Director Schwab,

    WWL is so glad to hear from you. You were one of the good ones, that’s for sure. Thanks for not crossing over to the dark side.

    In answer to your question, 2014. And, Pat, you know that sometimes you need to get down in the weeds to find the snakes.

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