Skip to main content

ACE News

2022.09.27 Update – Mask Survey, Policy & Bargaining, Parking Tags, 403(b) 457(b) Vendors

ACE Members,

Covid-19 Safety & Mask Survey
We want to know your opinion. We’re asking the same set of questions as we have in the past along with a couple new ones, to determine the policy change outcome we should negotiate for.

Complete the survey if you have not done so already❗

Policy & Bargaining Process
ACE has submitted a demand to bargain the change in working conditions and grievance due to our exclusion from policy development. Our procedure is to always bring our collective voice to the negotiating table. (See survey above☝️) The action we’ve taken should cause Chancellor’s Cabinet to hit pause on their unilateral decision while feedback is collected. We’ll be prepared to navigate this discussion per our agreement as we should have done originally. I hope to hear a response from the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor of HR soon and have this resolved in advance of the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, October 3rd.

This confusion would have all been avoided with a conversation, per Article 1, section 2 (LINK):

…the adoption or modification of rules, regulations, policies, and practices is discretionary with the District; provided, however, the District shall notify ACE prior to any implementation, and shall afford sufficient time to negotiate over the effects of such a change, or to meet and confer.

No notice was shared with ACE prior to this decision being made on Friday night, which is a contract violation.

Parking Tags
If you have a pre-pandemic FHDA sticker on your car, you may have noticed the expiration date is fast approaching. Initial word from the district is that physical parking tags are no longer being made by our previous vendor. In the future the district may have to adopt a high-tech license plate reader system for parking enforcement. More information to come.

403(b) and 457(b) Vendors
On district opening day a few members approached me with 403(b) and 457(b) questions. ACE has brought in in the past to provide objective training on these voluntary employee benefits and we will do so again. In the meantime, their website has a wealth of self-paced education (LINK) and a rating system for vendors (LINK). Fidelity and Vanguard are their top rated “Green +” 403(b) vendors. CalSTRS Pension2 is rated “Green”  and would be our top 457(b) provider per their independent rankings. Participant data for those plans shows that the majority of people elect for one of those and contribute the greatest dollar amount per participant.

Would you like Fidelity as a 457(b) option? Send me an email expressing your interest. Business Services asks for an arbitrary number of interested employees before making a change to the plan, lets see if we can get there.

Reminder: None of the vendors are vetted or endorsed by the district. If you choose to engage with anyone, ask if they are a Certified Financial Planner(CFP) and insist they abide by the fiduciary standard – putting your financial interests above their own. For more details check out this page on working with a financial professional (LINK). Any salesperson can call themselves a financial advisor, but the standards for a CFP or fiduciary are higher.

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

2022.09.19 Update – President’s Soapbox, COLA Retro, Elections, Dues Committee, COVID-19

ACE Members,

President’s Soapbox
During the summer I had the chance to interact with union leaders from around the globe at Labor Notes 2022, from Higher Education Labor United(HELU), and from the Public Higher Education Workers(PHEW) network. Initially I came to each looking for advice, but then quickly came to understand that ACE is already built to win. We are a model member-driven labor organization that others are looking to emulate. Recently we’ve been able to bargain for the classification study, the process to substitute professional growth award hours, the remote work stipend, and the 5.07% plus 5.56% salary schedule increases (that’s 10.91% over two years) with retroactive pay. Consistently we are able obtain the workplace improvements we collectively want. In addition to negotiated items we keep all parties accountable to our agreement, labor law, and ed code. We defend our members against unfounded unilateral salary adjustments, overpayment claims, and disciplinary actions. I’m thankful to every member who contributes to making ACE a strong organization that we can all take pride in.

COLA Update
At last Monday night’s board of trustees meeting, on behalf of ACE, I thanked ETS, HR, and Payroll for their work in processing retro pay for the negotiated FY21-22 COLA increase, which is planned to appear in September 30th paychecks. Susan Cheu from business services claimed there are plans to increase staffing to support this work in the future, but here is where we are now in the process:   

✅ FY21-22 5.07% Ongoing (Completed – June 30th)
✅ FY21-22 Retro (Completed – September 30th)
❓ FY22-23 5.56% Ongoing (Pending)
❓ FY22-23 Retro (Pending)

As soon as I receive updates with specific timelines, I will pass that information on to all members. The impact of inflation in an already high cost of living area has put many member’s households in a difficult financial position. Paying out salary increases demonstrates a sense of respect for our work and shows that we are a priority for the district. ACE will continue to advocate for full staffing in district departments to build capacity to support the basic needs of employees.

ACE Elections Upcoming
Do you want to become more involved with our union? Start preparing your candidate statement for one of the following positions:

  • Chief Steward – De Anza Campus
  • Board Member – De Anza Seat 2
  • Vice President – Foothill Campus
  • Chief Steward – Central Services
  • Board Member – Central Services
  • Recorder
  • Treasurer

See details on each here (LINK) and in our constitution (LINK). Officers serve an important role in maintaining the organization and fulfilling its purpose. Specific election announcements will be in upcoming messages.

Dues & Membership Rate Committee
As part of our approved 22-23 budget the board agreed to establish a committee to investigate our dues structure. Although currently 91%(336/370) of eligible employees are members, there’s been an enrollment decline amongst new hires. Of those hired since 2020, 15 are listed as “undecided” as they have not responded when asked to become a member. I believe some of this can be attributed to a lack of getting one-on-one time to explain the benefits of ACE. To ensure outreach we are pushing to receive accurate employee information from human resources, make sure we are a part of the onboarding process, and continuing to advertise the benefits of membership.

If you forward this message to someone who didn’t receive it directly they may not be contributing toward our cause. If enough people choose not to become members we lose our ability to make advancements in the workplace.

Returning to the topic of the committee, we need representatives from the membership to take a closer look at how this trend may affect us in the future. Are we charging an appropriate amount to fund our organization today? If trends continue, how well will we be able to fund our organization in the future? Currently we have two members from Central Services and one member from Foothill on the committee: Logan Murray, Thomas Marks, and Anthony Caceres. We’d like to get member representation from De Anza and about 6 or 7 members in total.

Please email if you would like to join. The committee will receive support from Kathy Nguyen, our treasurer, our attorneys, and myself. I served on a similar committee in 2016 and it was a great way to learn how ACE makes financial choices.

COVID-19 Safety & Procedures
The district’s covid-19 safety guidelines remain posted here (LINK) and the form for self-reporting an employee exposure or positive test is available through the De Anza website (LINK). Per Judy Miner’s message on 8/16, “we reached consensus to continue to require face coverings in all indoor classes and public-facing offices and to recommend masks in all other areas,” as a means of reducing the spread of the virus. Work with your supervisor to request any personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, HEPA filters, gloves, etc..

ACE has also negotiated a separate MOU regarding covid exposure and teleworking (LINK) to support members which has been described in previous messages and at site meetings.

In Solidarity,

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

Negotiations Update: Health Benefit Premiums Plan Year 2023; Negotiations 2022-2023

Health Benefit Rates Plan Year 2023

The Joint Labor-Management Benefits Committee (JLMBC) has reached an agreement regarding employee health benefits for the plan year 2023.  The JLMBC is comprised of members from all bargaining units (ACE, CSEA, FA, POA, and Teamsters).  

Health benefit premiums are funded through three sources: employee health benefit premiums, the District’s per employee per month (PEPM) contribution, and a rate stabilization fund (RSF) which offsets the difference between employee and District contributions and the actual premium cost. In a nutshell, here are the changes: 

  • Employee benefit health benefit premiums increase by seven percent.  See MOU for Plan Year 2023 employee contribution rates (LINK).
  • The District increases their PEPM from $1,062 to $1,132.   
  • The trial program for Bridge to Medicare allowing reimbursement for health plans outside of CalPERS plan ends December 31, 2022.  All other components of the Bridge to Medicare plan remain the same.
  • With funding from the state specific to part-time instructors for health benefits, the District increases the PEPM they pay from 40, 50 or 60 percent of the full cost of the premium to 50, 60 or 70 percent for eligible part-time instructors.  The percentage depends on the class load a part-time instructor teaches. 
  • Develop a formula-based approach to fund the RSF and employee benefits in the future. 

Plan Options

All plan options remain the same for the 2023 with an overall cost employee premium increase of seven percent. Blue Shield Access+ HMO and United Healthcare Alliance premiums will decrease by 65 percent to bring employee contribution rates in line with similarly priced plans. For retirees, a new Kaiser Senior Advantage Summit HMO has been added. 

It is important to remember that the bargaining units and the District negotiate who pays how much based on CalPERS’s plan options but neither has any say in what plans they offer, the cost of a plan including deductibles and co-pays, or what practitioners are included in those plans.

Rate Stabilization Fund

This year saw another large increase (eight percent) in heath benefit premiums from CalPERS .  We are projecting a $3 million drawdown to the RSF, leaving a little more than $3 million in the fund at the end of 2023.  To keep the fund viable, over the past six years the bargaining units have been able to negotiate an additional $2.8 million in one-time money to the RSF and increase the amount the District’s PEPM from $976 to $1,132. Employee premiums have gone up twice during that same time.  The RSF is the mechanism that keeps premium rates manageable. 

This year negotiating funds for the RSF has been more challenging.  There is money available.  The District’s tentative 2022-23 budget identifies nearly $19 million in discretionary funds from its projected $32 million stability fund balance.  The 2022-23 state budget has multiple one-time funding options and eliminates the fiscal cliff when hold harmless funding runs out in 2024-25. For example, the part-time health benefit funding from the state would actually save the District money. FHDA’s budget challenges – we’ve lost $10 million in ongoing funding with our decline in non-resident enrollment – and the District’s fiscally conservative/risk adverse nature leaves them unwilling to negotiate any funding to the RSF until they have a better understanding of the District’s 2021-2022 true ending balance once the cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) have been implemented and other liabilities have been fully realized.  They are also waiting on further details regarding 2022-23 state budget funding requirements and/or when funding from the state actually materializes, as is the case with part-time faculty health benefit funding.   

The good news, the District has acknowledged a shared interest in maintaining the RSF and, up against a deadline for rate submissions to our plan administrator for open enrollment in September, we have agreed to negotiate a formula-based approved to fund the RSF in October.  

2022-2023 – ACE Negotiations Update

In June your negotiations team sent a member survey to prioritize items to be bargained for the year 2022-2023.  As a reopener year, in addition to Article 8 (pay and allowances) and Article 18 (benefits), ACE and the District can each open two additional articles.  For 2022-23, we’ve already settled the COLA at 5.56 percent.  Benefits are negotiated jointly with the other bargaining units, and we will resume that process in October.  For articles pertinent to ACE, with a 35 percent response rate, the top three issues identified in the survey were:

  1. Vacation accrual
  2. Remote work options
  3. Eligibility for promotion

You’ll find a synopsis of the survey results here (LINK).  Your negotiating team is researching proposal options around these issues and will keep the membership posted on the next steps and, if necessary, requests for additional membership input.

In Solidarity,

Chris White, chair of negotiations

Sushini Chand
Chris Chavez
Joseph Gilmore
Keri Kirkpatrick
Andrea Santa Cruz
Scott Olsen