Goodbye to all that OR Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

Posted: May 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

It’s my party, so I can say whatever I’d like, right?

Money

I’m sure we all enjoyed that little extra 1% and 1% retro money in our paychecks this week. But, you know what? The union needs to be honest about all this. The EB has stated in writing that the raises were as follows:

2015-2016  5% increase for the full academic year

2016-2017  +1% for the full academic year

2017-2018  +3% starting in January 2018

Okay, fine. But, the last line makes it sound better than it is. If you get a raise of 3% for half a year, that equates to a 1.5% raise for the year. Yes, it will be part of the salary schedule as 3%, but we got screwed out of 1.5% for this year. So, in essence, we had to wait 2 years (2016-2018) to get an increase of 2.5%. The retro is simply our money that the district held on to for two years. You need to have an understanding of district budgets to see how this works. The district did just what it wanted: finished the contract before the end of the fiscal year, requiring that they only have to cough up 1.5% out of the 2017-2018 budget and push the rest of it into the next fiscal year.

And, no, we didn’t get a 9% salary increase over the last three years as CCFT published. We got 7.5% over the last three years AND we got 5% of it in 2015-2016 because the union traded away the full-time faculty hires that year for the raise. So, the district lost nothing. And, the faculty lost a lot. And, since this union president has been in office for 5 years, we actually have received a total of a 9.5% increase over that entire span– an average of 1.9% a year. Sounds pretty sucky to me. Must really sound sucky to the part-time faculty.

Oh, and speaking of part-time faculty, as you all know, the CCFT president begged members to vote in favor of the ratification of the contract in Spring 2016, saying that the union would fight for parity in October 2016 when it went back to the table. It didn’t happen then, and it hasn’t happened since. Why lie? Why fail the part-timers over and over again.

I wish better days ahead for our hard-working part-time colleagues.

Janus

As you all know unless you’ve been living under a rock, a major Supreme Court ruling is expected in June that, if it finds in favor of the plaintiff, Mark Janus, and it is predicted that it will, it will change the face of public-sector unions in America. And, California will be hit the hardest.

From the Sacramento Bee: “Mark Janus, a public employee in Illinois, sued his home state and local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) chapter over the requirement that he pay what are known as “fair share” fees to the union. Those fees help cover the costs of collective bargaining and other union engagement with management, something all employees benefit from. “

And, more: “While Janus is suing the state of Illinois, California is the state that will feel the biggest impact from the court’s decision. Roughly 18 percent of the country’s 14.8 million union members reside in California. And the state has the most government employees of any in the nation. It’s not surprising then, that California’s public sector unions are particularly strong and politically active, including those representing teachers, prison guards and law enforcement. They not only shape the debate on labor issues but also channel millions of dollars in support of favored ballot measures and politicians.”

Fair share fees at Cuesta

When CCFT was first able to use the “fair share” or “agency” fees legislation in our union when I was president, the EB, naturally, was ecstatic. We would finally be able to charge bargaining unit members who were not union members to pay their fair share for grievance handling and collective bargaining, services which all faculty benefited from. It was only fair. Agency fee payers were not required to pay for the political activities of the union, which resulted in discounted fees for fair share payers.

Of course, I believe in the efficacy and justness of the fair share fee and hope the outcome in June is not the expected one. CCFT is worried about the impact on our local, as it should be. On a personal level, I do not believe that CCFT deserves a fair share fee. It has driven our statewide salary ranking into the dumps since 2008. Further, a record number of union members have chosen to not be represented by the union in grievances and signed waivers to that effect, often asking yours truly to voluntarily help them through the grievance process, which I have happily done for almost 10 years since being out of office. Why does CCFT deserve a fair share fee, then? Why should we encourage faculty to join the union with results like the above? I also strongly believe that the statewide and national affiliates should use the predicted outcome to get their houses in order. As I’ve said before, they are becoming “the Man” we have always fought against.

Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president, says repeatedly, “It’s not fair that we have to live paycheck to paycheck.” That might be easier for her to say than most since her annual salary, which puts her in the top 1%, is $472,197 plus hefty benefits and allowances, which brings her total annual compensation close to $600,000 or more.

Unions need to get back to their roots and out of their double-breasted suits. They also need to create policy that allows rank and file members a way to settle complaints against their local unions instead of only allowing internal grievances against the very Executive Board with whom members have a grievance.

Yes, if and when Janus becomes the new law, national, state, and local unions will be receiving a lot less money. Maybe then, they will be forced to do what’s necessary to make bargaining unit members want to join the union. Right now at Cuesta? I see very little incentive to do so.

People

I will miss so many people that I have worked with over the decades and am so happy for those who have become lifelong friends. The best of times. And, yes there were the worst of times, too. The worst of those began some years ago when retired Social Sciences instructor, Peter Dill, was Academic Senate president. Because he entered into unethical and unlawful private faculty salary discussions with then college president Marie Rosenwasser, we as the union informed the Senate about this, and to their credit, they as a body issued a formal censure against Dill and required that he publish a written apology to the faculty. This was unheard of at Cuesta—never happened prior or since.

It was then that the campaign against me started in earnest. He and some of his fellow misogynistic cronies—you know who they are—began their own version of fake news and lies, which as they often do, take hold and spread. And, then the union won a major arbitration for a faculty member which brought others, unhappy with that decision, out of the woodwork. I am not one of those people who believes that things happen for a reason—except maybe this time. 🙂 Being voted out of the union presidency allowed me to go to law school, something which I would never have been able to do had I still been in union leadership. So, I say this: Although I didn’t feel so at the time, I am forever thankful that things happened as they did so that I could then pursue my second career full-time with vigor. And, since people have been asking, the harassment and retaliation lawsuit against the district and a faculty member has been resolved.

Future

I have always paid for this WWL website and its domain out of my own pocket. It has had no formal connection to Cuesta College. So, I can say whatever I wish, within the law, of course. And, I just may continue to do so at least until my annual fee runs out. Or, not. You can still sign up to follow WWL if you wish to see anything that may happen to be published.

Why have I done this, taken on the role of watchdog for so long? Because someone had to. I truly hope that someone will take on this mantle and call out injustice whenever it arises. I hope that the culture of Cuesta will once again be comprised of fierce and passionate faculty leaders who will not be afraid to persistently stand against a college administration who treats faculty unfairly and disrespectfully. Perhaps your new college president will be different. I truly hope so. The campus climate always starts at the top.

So, I say goodbye. As editor of We’re What’s Left, I thank you for reading our newsletter in great numbers over the years. I thank you for your comments and your support and your interest. I wish my fellow retirees well in the next chapter of their lives. And, I deeply thank my division and my chair, Steve Leone, for the on-campus gathering as well as the off-campus party that was held for the English retirees. It was a pleasure to reconnect with so many whom I haven’t seen in some time.

Though I, as all do, have gone through some tough times here at Cuesta, they were very much in the minority. Most were wonderfully challenging, truly engaging, and character building.

It has been a privilege.

Marilyn

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Okay, second stab at a pithy comment. When I tried to post earlier, WordPress wanted my WordPress password. So now I have the password.

    I wanted to say that I really enjoyed our interaction when I was at Cuesta. You have always spoken truth to power. You have been an important voice of the hard working faculty. I have been gone six year for Cuesta and I still value your wisdom and passion.

    • mimmsy123 says:

      I’m glad you made that second stab at a comment. 🙂 Your words mean a great deal to me. And, I hope you know how many of us wished you never left. Have a super summer with your family. We’ll connect one day.

  2. Guest says:

    Thanks for all your hard work. Enjoy our second career!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s