President’s Message

See You Next Wednesday

“I don’t think there’s one word that can describe a man’s life” – Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane.

Foothill Chief StewArt Hand, 1965 Alma Fire Stationard and Library Technician Senior Art Hand is no exception. Retired, prior to joining Foothill, one might have described Art’s successful career as phone company workman, firefighter, store manager, and recruiter. Or, one might have talked about his unwavering support as husband, father,  and friend. All of it would be true. In recent years, along with Art’s work at Foothill, one would also add the pride and joy he has for his new role as Pops,  a.k.a. grandfather.

Art has spent a few years at Foothill. 31.68  years to be exact (thank you CalPERS).  For twenty-five of those years, he has served as chief steward. My time working with Art has been relatively short, just shy of five years, but if I were to choose a few words to describe him I would use:

Art Hand, 2018, Union StrongNot too long into his tenure at Foothill, Art needed, and received, help from his union representative.  Looking to give back, he attended the next site meeting to see how he could get involved. At the time, classified staff at Foothill-De Anza were represented by CSEA and as Art describes it, “in a compromise with CSEA officers who wanted to make me chapter chair, I agreed to serve as chief steward”.  And serve he did.  For a quarter of a century and for no other reason than to help his fellow workers. Always by listening, sometimes by taking action, never for the recognition, the number of staff Art has helped over the years are too numerous to count.

Every Wednesday, Art hosts the Foothill ACE officers to coffee and conversation. Lucky for us, it will continue into his retirement.  During these meetings the conversation covers issues pertinent to ACE but often turn to books, movies, current events and life in general. As tangential as the conversation may seem from collective bargaining and representation issues, it helps build trust, communication, collaboration and understanding among the ACE officers. As a result, we’ve learned we can count on each other during challenging times, we make better decisions as a group, and if you need a book or movie recommendation, Art has an ever expanding list of suggestions.  Most of them are pretty good.

Art Hand Foothill College library renovation 1992A Mensch is many things and one simple thing.  A mensch does what is right because it is right towards family, towards colleagues, towards friends, towards strangers, at home and in public.  When people behave with honesty, integrity, consideration and respect they themselves prosper as does society at large. By spreading mensch-like behavior we can make our society happier, healthier and more successful. If you’ve been fortunate to meet Art, you’d know you’re in the presence of a mensch.

During his tenure as chief steward, Art never ventured from the three concepts he outlined below in his candidate statement during his first election: know our rights, maintain good communication, and foster a spirit of cooperation.

Art Hand candidate statement for chief steward, December 1992.

Art officially retires on March 30th.  There aren’t enough words to thank him for his service to the staff at Foothill.  His wit, wisdom, experience, and sense of humor have made ACE and the working conditions at FHDA better for all of us. If you’re so inclined, send him your thanks  –

To keep him grounded, and remind him that his work isn’t done yet, let me close by saying “Art, see you next Wednesday”.

In gratitude,

Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office

Dues Forgiveness March 2018

ACE will forgive dues in your March paycheck (March 31).  For Classified Hourly employees, this will be reflected in your April 15 paycheck.

Why does ACE forgive dues? ACE works really hard to be as fiscally prudent with dues collected from members. When we spend less than we’ve budgeted for the year, we forgive dues. This year, because the classification study has taken longer than anticipated and re-classifications are on hold until it is completed, funds budgeted to cover costs associated with classification issues  – ACE pays half the cost for appeals – we’re on track to spend less than budgeted.

What does ACE spend dues money on? Access to representation was the main reason we chose to be an independent union and it is the largest expense in our annual budget.  Several months a year, our legal representation itemizes their bill, and the work they do on our behalf often exceeds the flat monthly fee we pay them.  Other expenses include potential legal costs such as: arbitration (ACE pays half), court filing fees and expert testimonies; accountants, insurance, financial audits and taxes; office supplies, web hosting and routine state fees for running a small business; and training for officers and stewards, food for site meetings and elective stipends for ACE officers.  We also have monies set aside for a strike fund and a 5% budget reserve.

Does ACE spend money collected from dues on political activities?  No.  ACE has separate Political Action Committee (PAC) to address political activities and it is funded solely by voluntary member contributions.

Negotiations Update

Cathleen Monsell, Chair of Negotiations

ACE has delayed going into negotiations until we have a better understanding of the District’s budget crisis. In the meantime, the District offered a proposal for all five collective bargaining units to consider jointly negotiating the 2017-2018 salary adjustment as a means to be more efficient and collaborative.  As each unit has interests and priorities unique to its members, this proposal was rejected.

We will be returning to the table to continue negotiations with the District sometime in the next week or so.

New ACE Stewards – Foothill and De Anza

ACE is pleased to announce the appointment of three new stewards.  For Foothill, Josh Pelletier will serve as chief steward, replacing retiring chief steward, Art Hand, and Catalina Rodriguez will serve as a steward.  For De Anza, Matt Trosper will join chief steward, Erika Flores as a steward.  The main difference between chief steward and steward, in addition to stewarding duties, chief stewards serve as a member of the ACE Executive Board.

Every steward for ACE has the responsibility, and authority, to enforce our Agreement, represent members in grievance and disciplinary proceedings, and work to build relationships with our members and management. Stewards are your first point of contact should you have an issue or a question regarding our Agreement.

Chief Steward – Josh Pelletier

The son of a teacher, Josh understands the important role unions, and their stewards, have in the workplace.  In 2011, after receiving his MA in English and MFA in Fiction Writing from San Francisco State University, Josh published a novel and a collection of short stories, and served as an adjunct faculty member for several institutions, including Foothill.  He permanently joined Foothill as an instructional support coordinator in the Teaching and Learning Center in 2016, and like his predecessor, plans to stay here until he retires. Josh’s term runs until December 31, 2019.

Steward – Catalina Rodriguez

Catalina joined Foothill in 2016 as an enrollment services specialist in Admissions and Records.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and holds a master’s in business administration. Prior to coming to Foothill, Catalina spent 15 years as a financial advisor. Her current role, along with her combined education and work experience, have helped Catalina realize her love for listening and helping people find solutions to problems. Key attributes which will serve her well as a steward. Catalina is appointed to her new role until she resigns or is removed by action of the ACE Executive Board.

De Anza
Steward – Matt Trosper

From 2012-2017, Matt served as ACE Vice President at De Anza and has a solid understanding of our Agreement and the issues our members’ face.  Matt is appointed to his new role until he resigns or is removed by an action of the ACE Executive Board.

Retirement Planning Workshop flyer - CalPERS, Social Security and FHDA retirement benefits

Pre-Retirement Reduction in Contract

The Pre-Retirement Reduction in Contract allows classified staff who are eligible for service retirement too phase into actual retirement through a contract reduction (not less than 50% of their full-time contract) while maintaining full retirement credit and other benefits for a maximum of five years. Under any other type of reduction in contract, the portion the District pays a pro-rated to the percentage of the full-time contract you work. In other words, you pay more out of your pocket to maintain the same benefits and earn less service credit.

Pre-retirement reductions in contract are entirely voluntary, and while generally encouraged by the District, they are not an entitlement. To ensure the needs of a department are met, any reduction in contract is at the discretion of the department manager. The best place to start?  Have a conversation with your supervisor. Don’t wait! The deadline to submit your request is May 1.

ACE Article 17B: The Details

17B.1 Eligibility

Each full-time 12-month, 11-month, 10-month, or academic-day classified worker who meets the requirements of this article may reduce his/her contract from full-time to part-time while maintaining his/her retirement benefits pursuant to Education Code Section 88038 and Government Code Section 20905.

To be eligible for a pre-retirement reduction in contract the worker must:

17B.1.1  Have reached the age of 55 prior to the reduction in contract;

17B.1.2  Have been employed full-time for at least ten years in a classified position requiring membership in an appropriate California state retirement system; and

17B.1.3  Have served full-time without a break in service during the preceding five years.

This article shall be applicable only to classified workers who request a reduction in contract, who meet the criteria established in this section.

17B.2 Period of Reduced Contract

The maximum period during which a classified worker’s contract may be reduced under this article shall be five years. At the conclusion of the period during which a classified worker’s contract is reduced under this article, the worker shall retire.

17B.3  Rights and Benefits

A classified worker whose contract has been reduced under this article shall retain all paid benefits afforded full-time classified workers and shall receive the pro rata share of the salary he/she would have earned had he/she continued full-time. In addition, the worker shall retain on a pro rata basis, all other rights and benefits of permanent classified workers.

17B.4  Duties

A classified worker whose contract has been reduced under this article shall fulfill the appropriate pro rata share of the hours and classified duties that would have been required had the worker continued as a full-time worker.

17B.5  Contributions to the Retirement System

In compliance with Education Code Section 88038 and Government Code Section 20905, a classified worker whose contract has been reduced under this article shall contribute to the appropriate retirement system by payroll deduction the amount he/she would have contributed had he/she continued full-time. The District shall contribute to the appropriate retirement system the amount required by law.

17B.6  Request for Reduction in Contract

To implement the provisions of this article, a classified worker shall file a written request for a reduced contract specifying:

17B.6.1  That the request is pursuant to this article;

17B.6.2  The reduced contract the worker desires under this article, provided it is not less than one -half of a full contract; and

17B.6.3  The number of years during which the classified worker wishes his/her contract to be reduced under this article, provided the number of years does not exceed five.

The request shall be filed no later than May 1 preceding the college year during which the worker wishes the reduced contract to become effective. College year means July 1 to June 30. The request shall be filed with the appropriate supervisor with a copy to the Director of Human Resources. If the worker’s request is granted, it shall take effect at the beginning of the next college year and, unless during the first year of reduction in contract under this article the worker submits a written request to return to full-time employment at the beginning of the next college year, may be revoked only with the mutual consent of the worker and the District.

17B.7  Other Reductions in Contract

Nothing in this article shall prohibit a classified worker from requesting a reduction in contract outside of the provisions of this article nor shall it prohibit the District from granting such a request.