Last week the Faculty Association approved the decision to work to contract as a response to unproductive COLA negotiations (see fwd. message below in italics.) The ACE Executive Board agrees with this action and encourages members to participate in kind by not volunteering your time when it is not required by your manager or job duties.
- Is work outside my schedule required? No. That’s overtime (which can be voluntary or mandatory.)
- Is participatory governance required? No. (If it is not assigned by your manager.)
- Is the chancellor’s office hour or weekly campus Q&A required? No.
Perform the normal and reasonable duties of your position, obey orders, and remain courteous toward others in the work setting. CSEA, Teamsters and POA leadership are encouraging their members to act in a similarly.
How does a 5.07% COLA from the state become a 0% raise or nothing ongoing for employees?
Our Chair of Negotiations, Chris White, has written a detailed synopsis below of where we are and how we got here, but we need you engaged in this conversation and these actions. We live in an expensive area where cost of living has increased drastically. For the district to continue to support students, we as workers need to be able to sustain ourselves.
Negotiations Update: COLA Wars (by Chris White)
This isn’t the 1992 battle on campus between Coke and Pepsi to decide who would “quench the thirst of students on campus”. But much like that battle, the current COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustment) war is about money. Namely, the 5.07 percent COLA allocated by the governor’s budget for 2021-22 and the proposed 5.33 percent COLA for 2022-2023.
Back in November, the District held a Budget Town Hall, https://business.fhda.edu/_downloads/2021-22%20Fiscal%20Year%20Update-Part%20II.pdf, and covered the basics regarding the District’s budget, funding sources, the unlikely move to community supported funding, and the impact of declining enrollment (both resident and non-resident) moving forward. There was also a Q & A, https://business.fhda.edu/_downloads/Questions%20and%20Answers-Basic%20Definitions.pdf. If you haven’t read these, I encourage you to do so.
Q: If the state provided a COLA, isn’t it automatically passed on to employees?
A: No. In fact, that is usually the last thing that happens, and it only happens because your bargaining unit fought for it.
The District operates from the standpoint that a COLA is used to cover increasing operational costs which doesn’t necessarily cover salary increases. For 2021-22, the District is asserting the 5.07 percent ($7.9 million increase for FHDA) is already spent through three major ongoing increases: 1) Converting the current 2.5 percent ($3.3 million) off-schedule portion of your salary for 2021-22 to a permanent, ongoing increase; 2) covering cost of implementing the classification/compensation study ($2.5 million); 3) increases to STRS/PERS liability ($1.7 million); and 4) rising benefit costs ($90K).
- Converting the 2.5 percent, currently off schedule, to a permanent, on-going increase. They already have the money through hold-harmless funding. Any concern regarding its permanency could be resolved in the future to a change in the statute regarding funding levels for community colleges. In fact, the January budget proposal includes such a change, and to date, there has been no major opposition to this proposal.
https://www.deanza.edu/gov/budget-task-force/documents/JointAnalysis_GovernorsBudget2022_23_Jan2022.pdf (see pg. 8)
- Implementation cost from classification/compensation study. This is problematic for numerous reasons:
- Not everyone received an increase. The goal of the study was to have people paid market rate for the work they do. That is separate from COLA.
- The districts calculations only cover costs for the ACE and Confidential studies. They left out the cost to implement the results of their own Administrator Management Association (AMA) study because they “wanted to keep costs lower and they’re still working on what the cost would be”.
- The most problematic?When asked how the District was going to cover the cost of the studies prior to knowing the 2021-22 COLA, the District cannot give a reasonable answer. Government code 3547.5 requires the District to certify they have the funding prior to reaching an agreement. We’ve asked to see that certification. In a District that can best be described as fiscally conservative and risk adverse, it would be illegal if they entered in an agreement that would cost the District $3.3 million in ongoing dollars without knowing how they were going to cover the cost. The study was approved by the board of trustees in April 2021. The COLA was approved by the legislature in June 2021. That can only mean there was another funding source – we’ve asked, they don’t know – or the District is more willing to take a risk on unrealized dollars, deflating their argument the District can’t spend funds that they do not know for certain will materialize.
- Pension liability. Over the past few years, the state has bought down employer pension liability costs which is helpful as one-time funding, but it doesn’t address the long-term ongoing increases. The January budget proposal had no buy down option. Unless the legislature comes back in the May revise with a proposed change, this would be a $1.7 million ongoing increase to the District.
- Ongoing increases in benefit costs. For FHDA, the Joint Labor Management Benefits Council (JMLBC) addresses this issue and we’ve been able to offset those rising costs through a combination of employee and employer contributions plus a pot of one-time funds to cover the difference. Beginning January 2022 , employees and the District increased their contribution rates by 5 percent to cover rising costs. The District needs to find a source other than the COLA to cover their 5 percent increase.
The Governor’s Budget May Revise will play a critical role in the COLA Wars. It is set to be released mid-May.
To move negotiations along, the bargaining units – ACE, CSEA, FA, POA and Teamsters – proposed and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the District to jointly bargain COLA for 2021-22 and 2022-23. To date, we have met twice and suffice to say, there is a significant gap between the bargaining unit’s proposal and the District’s. Our next meeting is this Thursday, 4/28.
Begin fwd. message:
Date: April 20, 2022 at 6:38:47 PM PDT
From: Tim Shively
Subject: Work to Contract Information
All District Faculty,
We write this letter to notify you that the Faculty Association’s Executive Council has formally approved a “Work to Contract” job action which will begin on Monday, April 25, unless there is significant, last minute movement by the District on the Union’s salary proposal. We ask your help in enacting the Work to Contract by withdrawing from all non-compensated activities and thereby emphasizing the extent to which faculty work is significant and necessary to the health of the District and its students.
Work to Contract–What it is
Work to Contract is a legally protected work action when a union authorizes its members to collectively refuse to engage in any non-contractually required labor. During a Work to Contract, faculty are asked to do less, not more. For instructional faculty, this means limiting yourself to teaching your classes, evaluating your students and holding your regular office hours, and disengaging from committee work and shared governance activities. For non-instructional faculty, such as Counselors, this means fulfilling your required number of hours, but not agreeing to any additional assignments or non-required meetings. Those who include committee work in their weekly schedule can continue to attend those committee meetings or instead spend the time performing the primary duties of counseling, librarianship, etc.
What you can stop doing
- o All committees, task forces, clubs, and other non-contractually mandated activities. Ideally, we want to reduce the number of participants in such groups below the “quorum” threshold, so the group cannot legitimately conduct business.
- o A more elaborate list of non-contractual “professional contributions” from which faculty can disengage can be found in article 10.7.1 of the Agreement:
Faculty ordinarily [my emphasis] contribute professionally to the District in one or more of the following areas, including but not limited to: research, creative activity (such as artistic performance, authorship, or the development of new learning materials), new curriculum development, special projects, division/department committees and task forces, institution-wide meetings and committees, hiring and tenure review committees, peer and student evaluation of other faculty employees, participatory governance, Faculty Association, Academic Senates, student activities, community outreach and relevant state, national or professional organizations.
- o All Administrative “Open Office Hours,” Townhalls and other such spaces where administrators solicit questions and provide responses while disseminating information.
- o Any department/division meetings beyond the required 10 per year. Should you be required to attend one or more, the degree of your active participation is still within your control (i.e. sign on and tune out).
- o SLO Activities. Part-time faculty who have not completed an SLO assessment this year and are asked to do so by their department are required to proctor that assessment.
- o Those compensated with stipends for additional work may choose to withdraw from such work for the duration of the work to contract, being clear that it could jeopardize at least part of your compensation. Best to check in with your supervisor about your intent to do so and your willingness to reengage in such activities at the end of Work to Contract. If your compensation for these activities is so low that you have already worked enough hours to earn your additional pay (think roughly a $50-$60 hourly rate), you can withdraw from these activities for the duration of the work to contract.
What’s not covered:
- o The Faculty Association (someone has to helm the work to contract!)
- o The Academic Senate is the only other standing committee which regularly meets which is exempt from Work to Contract proceedings. This is due to its crucial and legally established role in overseeing many areas of faculty interest. The Senate’s subcommittees, however, including Curriculum, are subject to work to contract actions.
- o Tenure Committee evaluations should continue according to schedule so that the tenure candidates’ schedules moving forward are not disrupted.
- o Hiring Committees for which interviews have already been scheduled should proceed. Otherwise, faculty should refuse to continue participating during the Work to Contract.
- o Any work for which you are compensated with release/reassigned time (e.g. Dept. Chair or scheduler). In effect, this makes such work part of your contractual duties.
While on Work to Contract, you are asked not to do any additional work around your classes, which might be extended to not meeting students outside of office hours/required meetings or not answering emails in the evenings or weekends. While each faculty member will have to follow the dictates of their personal conscience, it’s important to remember that it is through our collective action that we have power. Reach out to your students as soon as possible to explain your reasons for “withdrawing” from typical activities. We will be sending a separate letter for all faculty to provide to their students explaining the reasons for the Work to Contract and requesting the students’ support. Please post the attached letter for students to your Canvas page, email it to them and hang it on your classroom wall–we need as much help as possible.
We know that for many of us, these actions will not be easy to implement. And we recognize that some faculty, including probationary or part-time faculty without reemployment preference, may not be comfortable following all of these recommendations. But FA will vigorously defend all candidates against any adverse impact resulting from their participation in this job action. You deserve fair and equitable compensation and the District has the wherewithal to settle this now. The more quickly and widely we can implement Work to Contract conditions, the sooner we can pressure the District into granting our salary request, and return to “normal” operations. So do order your caps and gowns, and make plans for commencement activities. It will be much easier to withdraw from these if the District proves intransigent, than it will be to plan for them at the last minute. And please, let us know what additional ideas you might have, and if you’d like to be more involved in activities we are planning to accompany the Work to Contract action.
English Instructor, De Anza College
President, Foothill-De Anza Faculty Association