President’s Message

With the District and colleges making the decision to cease face-to-face classes while staff remain on campus it can feel like staff are left exposed and expendable. For the record, it is not just staff who will remain on campus. Some lab classes, applied arts, PE, and allied health programs will continue face-to-face instruction.  Chancellor Miner has communicated through numerous memos that the District is following recommendations provided by the State Chancellor’s Office and County of Santa Clara Department of Public Health. By moving students online, the goal is to reduce the the spread of the disease (social distancing) and lower the risk of exposure to FHDA employees. There is no one-size fits all response to this situation and any response requires flexibility, patience and communication.

Last Tuesday, March 11, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Dorene Novotny sent a very comprehensive email, in consultation with all of the bargaining units, detailing COVID-19 and employee expectations.  You can find the full text of the email here. but to highlight one section pertinent to where we are today:

Employee Work Expectations
Work areas may include your office, your classroom, your front desk service area, your lab, or the physical area you are assigned to maintain – essentially, the area(s) where you normally work and provide service to students or employees. During this time, there is a variety of scenarios that could affect your work area or program:

  1. Your work area remains open and continues to provide services to students and/or employees without change;
  2. Your work area is disrupted and there is an expectation that services continue but in a different way, such as through remote work location or electronic delivery of service; and
  3. Your work area is closed and no services continue.

Work Area Remains Open
If your work area continues to provide service without interruption, you are expected to continue work as normal, to the extent you are well and able to do so. If you are experiencing illness yourself, you are not expected to work and may need to use leave (see below). If you are well but have health concerns that may place you at higher risk, please discuss these with your supervisor to determine if alternate arrangements can be provided, or call the District Office of Human Resources to discuss accommodation for your unique needs.

Work Area is Disrupted but Work Continues in a Different Way
If your work area is disrupted you may be asked to continue work from an alternate work location, such as your home, another location at the district or college, or another work location off district or college property. Under these scenarios, you are expected to continue working to the extent that you are able. In this case, services may be provided in a different format, within different time periods, etc.

Work Area is Closed and No Services are Provided
If your work area is closed and services are not expected to continue in some way, you will not be expected to work. Employees identified as “essential personnel” may be required to work through any closure to the extent that they are able and it is safe to do so.

If you don’t feel comfortable working in your department area, interfacing with the public, or being on campus, talk to your supervisor to see what reasonable accommodations can be made.  This is where flexibility and communication are essential for success.  You also have leave options. Read the March 11 memo sent by Vice Chancellor Novotny, referenced above, which clearly explains the majority of leave options.  The short version:

  • If you’re sick, you would use your sick leave.
  • Care for an ill family member who is mandated by the CDC or county health department, you will receive full compensation for the duration of the quarantine.  Documentation by the health departrtment or CDC is required to be paid. (Article 10.8)
  • Care for a family member with no mandate to quarantine, you would use personal leave.  If you’re out of personal leave, you can use up to seven (7) days of your sick leave.  Anytime additional time needed would would be unpaid or covered by vacation.
  • If you’re not comfortable being on campus and do not want follow the accommodation your supervisor has offered, you can use unpaid or vacation leave.

If your work area is closed and you are not reassigned to an alternate work location or work assignment, the district will continue pay starting with the first day of a closure, and you would not be required to use leave during this time unless you were already out on vacation or sick leave when the closure occurred. You would need to account for that time off with the appropriate leave.

Ultimately, management has the right of assignment and while students may not be on campus, we are still open and services need to be provided. It is imperative that you work with your supervisor to find options that will work for you and your department. Information and decisions are changing rapidly as we address the impact of COVID-19 on daily operations. Please make sure you’re reading all communication from the District, college and supervisor. If you need assistance, contact your chief steward.


Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office”The fight is never about lettuce or grapes.  It is always about people”. – César Chávez

Negotiations Update

Chair of Negotiations , Cathleen Monsell

The ACE negotiations team continues to meet with the District on almost a weekly basis trying to negotiate the results of the classification study by Koff. ACE believes that we should using the data that was given to us by KOFF, but the District has performed an internal alignment that has changed some of the results. It seems to be a very slow and difficult process to come to terms, but we are moving forward.


Veteran’s Day Observation

On Jan. 6, we surveyed the membership for a possible change in the way FHDA observes Veteran’s Day. We poised the question, where previously FHDA has observed Veteran’s Day on the Monday or Friday closest to Nov. 11, regardless of which day of the week the holiday actually falls upon to observing the holiday on Nov. 11.  With a 39% response rate, 52% of respondents approved moving observation of Veteran’s Day to Nov. 11.

PGA and CalPERS – Request for Application Materials


For members affected by CalPERS’ decision to only include section one of the Professional Growth Award (PGA) application towards pensionable income.

  1. If you would like to review your previous award(s) information, please send an email to  Be sure to include your CWID.
  2. This request is for a copy of your completed application(s) and the tally sheet(s) used by the PGA committee. No back up material will be provided.  This should help you determine how many hours you have under section one, whether they were used for a award or carried forward, to estimate how many of your completed PGA’s are eligible as pensionable income per CalPERS. 200 hours of credit equals one award. For example, if you’ve completed eight awards but only have 1,000 hours in section one, CalPERS will credit five awards as pensionable (5 x 200 = 1,000 hours).
  3. Turn around time to receive the request for information is approximately two weeks.  To not overburden an already short-staffed human resources department.  Your patience is appreciated.

If you would like all of your PGA’s to qualify as special compensation under CalPERS’ rules, we have already negotiated additional funding ($20,000 per year for two years) for affected employees to take courses at no cost to replace hours on already earned PGAs which are not pensionable.  In addition, we are still working with the District on an MOU to hopefully include courses which were taken but not included on an application, waiving the requirement for a 100 new hours per award, and/or allowing courses taken on Staff Development Leave (SDL) which were paid with educational assistance.  ACE and the District are committed to helping staff have as many previously earned PGAs count towards pensionable income as possible.

As a reminder, awards are still worth $90 each.  It is only the activities under CalPERS rules for educational incentive special compensation which has changed.

2020-2021 COLA Implementation

The six percent 2020-2021 COLA is still on track to be implemented for your March 2020 paycheck, as we reported back at the end of October.  While the agreement has yet to go to the FHDA Board of Trustees for approval – the District is still working on some programming issues – Vice Chancellor Dorene Novoty has informed ACE that “all the planning, programming and testing is still in progress with expected implementation March payroll. No changes to that”.

Dues Forgiveness March 2020

ACE will forgive dues in your March paycheck (March 31).  For Classified Hourly employees, this will be reflected in your April15 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.

Welcome New Members

Please take a moment to welcome our newest members.  Invite them to a site meeting, answer their questions or point them to their steward if they need additional guidance.  Our association only works with the active participation from all our members.

De Anza
Ammalinh Chan, administrative assistant I, EOPS
Christian Lustre, instructional support cord, Student Success
Iman Seale, communications associate, Office of Communications

Know Your Agreement: Personal Leave vs. Sick Leave

Sick leave and personal days are a type of negotiated employment benefit in the form of paid time off for illness or to deal with a personal/private matter.  A sick day is fairly self-explanatory and can be used for an employees illness and/or their related medical appointments. Personal days can cover things like the illness of a child, family medical appointments, financial or legal appointments, military obligations, or religious holidays.  Not sure when to use which one?

At A Glance

  • Sick leave is accumulative, personal is not.
  • Personal leave scheduled in advance (whenever possible) and needs supervisor approval. Sick leave does not.

10.1 – Sick Leave
Sick leave provides continuation of pay to the District worker who cannot perform her/his duties because of physical or mental illness or injury.

  • Earn eight (8) hours per month. Classified hourly and part-time earn amount equal to the percent of a full-time contract.
  • No limit to the amount of sick leave which either full or partial contract workers may earn and accumulate from year to year.
  • Sick leave may be used in increments of one-quarter hour or longer.
  • A worker has available for use all of their earned sick leave plus the balance of their full potential entitlement for the current fiscal year. The number of sick leave hours earned, the number used during the current fiscal year, and the worker’s balance will appear on the check stub each month.
  • For employees only, sick leave may be used for medical appointments.  After all personal necessity leave has been exhausted, up to seven days can be used for care of an ill member of the worker’s immediate family (as defined in Section 10.15). Under certain circumstances approved by the Director of Human Resources, sick leave can also be used for other reasons of personal necessity.
  • 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.
  • During any fiscal year a worker may convert up to 60 hours of earned sick leave credit in excess of 240 hours to vacation leave credit at the rate of six hours of sick leave credit for four hours of vacation leave credit. The request to convert sick leave credit to vacation leave credit under this section must be made in writing to the Director of Human Resources and will be approved only if the vacation leave credit does not cause the vacation leave balance to exceed the maximum accrual allowed (2 years).

10.15 Personal Leave
For the purpose of this section “personal necessity” means obligations or unavoidable duties of an individual worker that must be performed during regularly scheduled working hours.

  • Full-time earn 40 hours each fiscal year.Part-time earn amount equal to the percent of a full-time contract.Classified hourly earn three days a year.
  • Eligibility for personal necessity leave begins on the first of the calendar month following six complete months of employment.
  • May not be used in lieu of vacation or sick leave (except after an illness of 10 working days or more and no full-pay sick leave is available, a worker may use personal necessity leave.)
  • Unless there are unavoidable and compelling reasons (i.e., medical appointments or illness after being on extended sick leave) personal necessity leave may not be taken in conjunction with any holiday, sick leave, vacation, or other leave of absence.
  • Personal necessity leave is not cumulative.
  • It must be scheduled in advance with the supervisor whenever possible. When advance scheduling is not possible because of an emergency situation, the worker is required to notify the supervisor as soon as possible that the worker is requesting personal leave. All personal leave must have the approval of the supervisor as evidenced by the supervisor’s signature on the time sheet.
  • Unless there are unavoidable and compelling reasons (i.e., medical appointments or illness after being on extended sick leave) personal necessity leave may not be taken in conjunction with any holiday, sick leave, vacation, or other leave of absence.
  • To ensure confidentiality, a worker may request Personal Necessity Leave by the subsection number without giving the exact nature of the request. The worker’s appropriate supervisor(s) may require a more exact explanation before granting Personal Necessity Leave, in which case the worker may respond orally and the response shall be considered confidential between the worker and his/her supervisor(s). In unique emergency situations additional hours of personal necessity leave may be granted by the Director of Human Resources.
  • Circumstances under which personal necessity leave is appropriate include, but are not limited to:
    • Emergencies or obligations related to the worker’s home or family members, including medical or dental appointments for the worker’s family members when the nature of the appointment requires the worker’s presence, or special family obligations such as attending a family member’s graduation or marriage ceremony;
    • Emergencies or obligations related to the worker, including appointments for the purpose of conducting personal legal affairs or financial transactions, receipt of a court order requiring absence from work, or observation of a major religious holiday of the worker’s faith.