Archive for April, 2013

Says CCCI President, Rich Hansen, “CCCI dues are still ridiculously low at only a couple of thousand dollars per year, depending on the number of faculty in your district. The distinction is only between small and large districts . . . .”

Cuesta College Federation of Teachers’ midyear 2012-13 budget report states that all of our affiliate dues–AFT, CFT, AFL-CIO, and Tri-County Labor Council–add up to $103,107.71 annually which is coming from your pockets.  WWL has always believed that faculty should pay for services.  But, that means that services must be provided.  Services have not been provided to faculty in the last few years–not by our local and not by our affiliates.  I understand that one of CFT’s field reps is now on the CCFT bargaining team–to what end?  How has that helped your lives?  What benefits have we received?  Since 2008, we have paid more than a quarter of a million dollars in reassigned time to our local union, CCFT, in district money, dues, and agency fees.  To what end?  To no end.  You’re working way too hard for way too little.

Since we’ve started to talk going independent, more and more faculty have weighed in, some here on our blog, but most in the hallways, virtual and otherwise.  What do you think?

Maybe it’s time to lower our dues and raise our services.  Maybe it’s time to lower our affiliate dues by $100,000 a year.

[Maybe it’s time to check out California Community College Independents (CCCI)  http://www.cccindependents.org/members.htm.  Maybe it’s time to be part of this association of independent bargaining agents for California community college faculty and join Santa Barbara, Foothill-De Anza, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, and Hancock, among others.  Maybe it’s time to pay about half (or less) the amount you pay in union dues and get results.  Maybe it’s time to bring back Richard Hansen (Math instructor at Foothill-De Anza), President of CCCI, to Cuesta to inspire and motivate faculty about what’s possible. Maybe it’s time for a real change.  Email the editor at mrossa@cuesta.edu with any comments or questions]

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Dead

Posted: April 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

The English Department received at its Division Meeting last Friday the following directive from the dean through its chair:  “Evaluations this semester are due April 26 for full time faculty and by May 10 for part time.”  This is curious–and wrong–for two reasons:

1.)  The contract specifies (and has always specified) that peer evaluations are due by the 13th week of the semester:

Management Evaluation Component
7.8 Management evaluations shall be conducted for regular faculty in the evaluation cycle for the academic year (semester for temporary faculty) and shall include the results of the peer review committee process when the results are submitted by the end of the 13th week of the semester.

The date that the Humanities dean gave English (and other divisions within her cluster), April 26–this Friday–is the end of the 14th, not the 13th, week.  I’m speculating she has been doing this for years.

2.)  Further, there is no contractual provision that delineates one date of completion for full-timers and one for part-timers: all peer evals must be completed by the 13th week.  The different due dates are a unilateral imposition made by management that is in violation of the CBA.

So, what does this mean?  It means that any peer evaluation not completed by the 13th week is in violation of the contract, and hence, due process, and may be grieved by the faculty member evaluated.

One might ask how this has been allowed to continue.  Oh, wait.  Dead.  The contract is dead.  So, apparently, wild, wild Cuesta can do anything it wishes–unless we and you stop it.

In the words of Rich Hansen, president of CCCI,

“The benefit of being independent is, well, being independent and being able to call your own shots. Everything we do is directed toward serving our local community college members and, at the state level, advocating for community college faculty interests.”

If you would like to hear more about going independent, send the editor an email at mrossa@cuesta.edu and just put “Yes, tell me more” in the subject line.

 

[Maybe it’s time to check out California Community College Independents (CCCI)  http://www.cccindependents.org/members.htm.  Maybe it’s time to be part of this association of independent bargaining agents for California community college faculty and join Santa Barbara, Foothill-De Anza, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, and Hancock, among others.  Maybe it’s time to pay about half (or less) the amount you pay in union dues and get results.  Maybe it’s time to bring back Richard Hansen (Math instructor at Foothill-De Anza), President of CCCI, to Cuesta to inspire and motivate faculty about what’s possible. Maybe it’s time for a real change.]   

The Contract is Dead

Posted: April 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Wild

~~Second in our series, “WILD, WILD QWESTA–a place where anything goes.”

We’ve been trying for a while now to come up with a catchy title for this second article in our series.  Then, it became clear.  Faculty don’t need “catchy.”  They need truth.  So, now you have it.  The contract is dead.

First tenet of Union 101: Management will attempt to circumvent the contract whenever possible–unless it serves their needs. That is wrong, yes, but is only to be expected.

Second tenet of Union 101:  It is the union’s responsibility to do all that is necessary to right the above wrong.

Seems pretty basic.  But, just the opposite is happening at Cuesta.  There are no checks and balances anymore.   There is one team only: management.

This has become painfully clear.  In this post, we relate one occurrence.

An adjunct faculty member was undergoing a “NI” evaluation in Fall 2012.  “He” was in the process of selecting his committee.  Two of the members of the committee had been agreed to.  The faculty member then made a choice of his third member and was denied by both his chair and his dean.  We then supplied the chair, the dean, and the union grievance officer the below agreement.  None of the three–NONE–responded to the faculty member.

images

     

Office of the Vice President, Instruction

MEMORANDUM

To:  Marilyn Rossa, CCFT President

From: Susan Dressler

Date:  February 10, 2003

Subject: Off-Cycle Evaluations of Faculty

There are two sections of the CCFT contract that provide contradictory information about the number of individuals assigned to the peer review team in an off-cycle evaluation (sections 7.12.2.2 and 7.12.3).  The purpose of this memo is to formally acknowledge the request of CCFT as conveyed in Jim West’s email message to me on February 10, 2003 that CCFT prefers to use Section 7.12.3 for off-cycle evaluations.  “For the peer review component, a three member peer review team will be created.  The first member will be selected by the Division Chair (designee).  The second will be selected by the faculty member who is being evaluated (Bolding added). The third member will be selected by mutual agreement of the Division Chair (designee) and the faculty member who is being evaluated.” The District agrees with this approach and will proceed to do off-cycle evaluations with teams of three peers.

Please acknowledge that this is what was discussed and agreed to by signing this memo and returning it to me.  Thank you.

I agree with this summary and approve the process for an off-cycle evaluation of faculty.

Marilyn Rossa, CCFT President                   Date

C: J. West

B. Workman

The above is a signed, contractual agreement between the district and the union in 2003 and codified in the contract in 7.12.3.  The point in question couldn’t be clearer.  When this was shown to the faculty member’s dean and the  HR Director at this faculty member’s grievance meeting, the HR Director said, “Who’s Susan Dressler?” We told him.  He refused to read the agreement.  We were informed that an email from the current president of CCFT stated that the faculty member DID NOT have a choice in the selection of his second evaluator.  When we told the district that the contract superseded an email from the union president, they said that this was the way they “chose” to interpret it.  The union also said that the faculty member did not have the right to have a witness of his choosing at a grievance meeting (of course, in violation of the contract).  Although there are many more details and injustices in this matter, as a result of this trumped-up committee and the apparent collusion between the union, the chair, the dean, and HR, the long-term faculty member was terminated.

The contract is dead.  Faculty have lost their jobs because of it.  It should break your heart as it does mine.

UPCOMING POSTS:  Why division chairs have become redundant and lots more–

It’s Coming

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

As a member of CCCI, dues would comprise a far lower percentage of our paychecks than do our affiliated dues, and they are more stable.

For example, association dues for Foothill-De Anza faculty are at the same level that they were in 2008:

FT:  0.60% of earnings

PT:  0.45% of earnings

This includes full union membership and services as well as membership in FACCC.

If you would like to hear more about going independent, send the editor an email at mrossa@cuesta.edu and just put “Yes, tell me more” in the subject line.

 

[Maybe it’s time to check out California Community College Independents (CCCI)  http://www.cccindependents.org/members.htm.  Maybe it’s time to be part of this association of independent bargaining agents for California community college faculty and join Santa Barbara, Foothill-De Anza, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, and Hancock, among others.  Maybe it’s time to pay about half (or less) the amount you pay in union dues and get results.  Maybe it’s time to bring back Richard Hansen (Math instructor at Foothill-De Anza), President of CCCI, to Cuesta to inspire and motivate faculty about what’s possible. Maybe it’s time for a real change.]   

This is the first article in our new series:

Wild

WILD, WILD QWESTA–a place where anything goes.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As reported to WWL, on March 13, 2013, John Murphy, from CalSTRS held an informational session on retirement planning. It was sponsored by Cuesta’s Human Resources Department.  Stephanie Vieira, the benefits specialist, was the coordinator of the event.  Approximately 25 teaching and service faculty attended the session.

According to Aaron Rodrigues, long-time political science professor, the session conveyed the basic pre-retirement information.  He says, “I learned the benefits of retiring before 25 years and after 25 years of service; the formula for determining an approximation of my retirement benefits; and, the importance of earning at least 80% of my pre-retirement income during my retired years.”

Each of the three faculty who spoke to WWL were stung with the news they heard at the meeting; apparently, others at the session were surprised as well.  Their STRS projections, made in prior good faith and planning (which would typically include an annual COLA–even a small one), were now, well, shot.  Rodrigues elaborates:

“Not having ANY type of salary raises these past five years has NEGATIVELY impacted the amount of my final retirement benefits because my retirement benefits are based on my highest annual salary during my years of service.  For example, I, like all other faculty, have been stuck at the same salary for these past five years.  Any amount of raises these past five years would have, obviously, boosted my income beyond the level I am at now and increased my “highest annual salary” year, thereby giving me a higher annual retirement income.  Getting no raises these past five years has seriously impacted my future retirement benefits package. I wanted to retire in three years in order to gain the benefits of 25 years of service, but based on no raises these past five years, I will have to work at least three extra years.”

Rodrigues was not alone. His colleagues, history prof, Anthony Koeninger, and counselor, Irene Nunez, had the same reaction.  Koeninger said that being stuck at the same annual salary these past five years has impacted his retirement plans, also.  He added, “I would hope we get effective union leadership that will aggressively fight for its constituency. We once had such leadership.”

Walking out of the session with Nunez, Rodrigues listened to her reaction.  But, he says, “she was more poignant when she voiced her observation.  She asked, ‘What has our union been doing for us these past five years?'”  Rodrigues echoed her:  “What did the “new approach” get me these past five years—NOTHING.”

Editor’s Note: You may recall that the prior union, on its way out, got faculty their last raise in Spring 2008–3%–even as the economy was beginning to crumble.  But, there was one year, 2008-09, in which the new union could have and should have gotten the faculty a decent raise; the budget allowed it.  That was an absolute loss to faculty that could have been avoided.  After that, negotiations should have brought small, incremental monetary gains in faculty compensation.  It didn’t.  The economy alone is no excuse.  The entire California Community College system faced serious budget cuts.  But, the faculty at the rest of the community colleges didn’t drop more than 35 (that’s right) 35 ranks in salary in some areas and between 25-30 in others in five years.  No, Cuesta faculty alone hold that distinction.

We recommend that if you and your STRS counselor began your retirement planning prior to 2008 and, as is typical, projected a small annual COLA (2% is not unusual) into your planning, you might want to set up another meeting with John Murphy and reassess where you are in your retirement projections.