ACE Members,

ACE Celebrates 15 Years
Collectively as employees we chose to establish our own independent labor association in 2009. The rank-and-file “membership representing the membership” model continues to serve us very well throughout ups, downs, budget woes, and management transitions. As a District employee since 2007, I have always seen ACE on our side advocating with the best interests of the membership.

Thank you to the leaders who came before us who served in official positions and the those who led as members to establish what we are today. We are fortunate to have members continue to volunteer to serve in union positions. Nearly every employee who is eligible to join chooses to support our organization by becoming a member. ACE exists solely because of member support. Making the choice to become a member not only grants an individual access to representation but also maintains that representation for all of us so that we can collectively have a voice at our workplace.

If member would like to submit a paragraph (or two, or three) to share a union story, contact Scott Olsen for it to be included as part of a future update message.

Bilingual Pay MOU (LINK)
Effective July 1, 2024 ACE and the District have established a pilot program through an MOU which will provide $100 monthly compensation to ACE workers who are required to use oral/written bilingual skills in Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Cantonese. (Chosen languages are subject to change based on the needs of the District.) Immediate supervisors/managers will recommend/designate workers.

What if I’m providing bilingual services now?
You are doing so for no additional compensation. Start the conversation with your manager/supervisor about whether bilingual skills are going to be required.

How do I know if my position is designated?
You will be informed by your supervisor/manager. Document their response in writing (via email) to have a record that states the date compensation began and acknowledges that you are being required to provide this skill during the regular course of business.

Why wasn’t Russian, Hindi, Farsi, American Sign Language, etc. among the list of languages?
More evidence is needed to demonstrate that our service area demands languages other than the four currently listed. Keep a written log to record the number of times a student, community member, or parent, asks for services. Communicate the need with your manager.

ACE will also generate a digital Google Doc form to record the same data. We recognize this is tedious, but evidence the is necessary – in its absence we have no data to demonstrate the need for services.

This pilot program is a starting point. With more input and data to refine it, we can negotiate it to be included as a part of a future CBA section. This input and data come from you so that we can bring it to management.

Temporary Employee Usage Lawsuit (Attached)
Attached is the District’s opposition brief (response) to our lawsuit which challenges their opinion that the District has sole authority to hire temporary employees to perform work which falls under ACE classifications (job descriptions) so long as they work less than 75% of a college year. Which they say can go on indefinitely year after year:

The FAP and Petitioner’s opening brief allege that the District has violated Education Code § 88003(c) b ecause “[s]hort-term employees cannot perform work that is needed on a continuing basis and, as can be seen from the evidence provided, the District continuously hires short-term employees to perform the permanent work of ACE that is needed on a continuous basis.” (Pet. Brief, p. 6.) This assertion is also without merit and, if accepted, would result in absurdity.

… the District may employ classified employees or non-classified employees, the difference between which is whether the work is needed “on a continuing basis,” which is measured by the 75% threshold.

The alternative theory advanced by ACE would result in absurdity. The non-academic work at issue involves clerical tasks, helping students, assisting faculty, and generally supporting the District’s educational mission. Other non-academic work assigned to other bargaining units may include janitorial work, food-service, service as a sworn police officer, supervisory work, and all other duties that are not assigned to faculty. The language in Section 88003(c) regarding whether the work is needed “on a continuing basis” can only be interpreted in the context of each individual employee, and measured within the college year. Applying ACE’s rationale, the entire District’s need for janitorial services must end, and may not continue beyond the conclusion of any single employee’s temporary assignment, after which “the service required or similar services will not be extended or needed on a continuing basis.” Such an interpretation strains credulity, as most “service required or similar services” always exist – there is always some demand for clerical services, janitorial services, etc. However, there is not always sufficient demand for those services as to justify placing an employee in the classified service, e.g. in paid service for more than 195 days, at which point the employee may be “classified” and become part of a bargaining unit.

Using Rex Erickson and Josh Taylor’s (absurd) logic, what stands in the way of replacing all ACE positions with numerous unbenefited temporary positions that have indefinite sub-75% of a school year terms? While the District is not facing a budget cut, we are approaching a revenue plateau. We will hear this news during upcoming “town hall” meetings. FTES has not increased enough that we can grow ourselves through the Student Centered Funding Formula (SCFF), COLAs and property tax revenue have not closed the gap between Hold Harmless funding, and ERAF continues to widen the gap to becoming a Community Supported (formerly known as Basic Aid) district. While revenue is tight the District will be looking for ways to make ends meet. Defending ongoing work that is encompassed within our bargaining unit is a priority to preserve ACE positions.

Legal Update – Sick Leave Usage (Attached)
If you are asked to provide a doctor’s note following sick leave usage, contact Scott Olsen. We are clarifying existing language to determine whether it remains applicable following legal changes and reviewing how management is behaving.

Labor Code section 245.5 was amended to cover employees under a CBA, which grants protections under Labor Code 246.5:

  1. An employer shall not deny an employee the right to use accrued sick days, discharge, threaten to discharge, demote, suspend, or in any manner discriminate against an employee for using accrued sick days, attempting to exercise the right to use accrued sick days, filing a complaint with the department or alleging a violation of this article, cooperating in an investigation or prosecution of an alleged violation of this article, or opposing any policy or practice or act that is prohibited by this article.

The Booth Law Group, ACE, and the District are currently interpreting how this impacts Agreement language in Section 10.1 Sick Leave:

Whenever a worker is absent on sick leave for three or more working days or when a pattern of sick leave suggests a chronic illness, a medical report that outlines the nature of the problem and the probable date of full recovery may be required. If the information from the worker’s personal physician is insufficient, an examination by a physician of the District’s choosing may be required, at District expense.

Labor Notes 2024
This weekend I’m joined by Joseph Gilmore, Keri Kirkpatrick, Andre Meggerson, and Anothony Booth in attending a conference in Chicago focused on honing our union organizing skills and ability to support members. People who saw my message after I attended in 2022 noted that I returned back to California with a ton of union energy, so expect to have five times as much in 2024.

If you’d like to watch portions of the conference, they’ll be streaming live via YouTube (LINK) The conference workshop schedule is also available online.

The conference occurs every two years in Chicago. In odd years Labor Notes organizes regional “Troublemaker” Schools. In 2023 one took place in Oakland that Adriana Garcia and I attended.

Membership Application Form
The form on our homepage (LINK) can be completed online, but it can also be printed and handed to new employees who are eligible to join ACE. Sometimes a physical copy serves as a better reminder than an email. Messages may get lost in our inboxes. Paper on a desk may stand out a bit better.

Labor History Event Planning
Contact @Adriana Garcia to join in developing a union related event for labor awareness month. Currently the vision is open ended (endless opportunity) but may include inviting a guest speaker, hosting a panel of union members, showing a union related movie, or attending an International Worker’s Day (May Day) event.

In Solidarity,

Scott Olsen (he/him) | ACE President | 
650-949-7789 | M-F 8:00am-5:00pm