Week four of this shelter in place (SIP). For some this transition has been seamless. They love it. For many others, it’s a little tougher. Some are missing students, colleagues, access to good internet or critical files you can’t get too, or simple everyday human interaction. Be kind to yourself and take time when you need it.
“Some days, doing ‘the best we can’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect on any front-and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.” Mr. Rogers
The District has been very good about working with the bargaining units on developing policies and providing resources around remote work, adjusting agreed-upon negotiation deadlines so our members aren’t negatively affected, and overall giving everyone a little grace during this difficult time.
During this time ACE continues to work on negotiations, the classification study, and represent members as needed. If you need anything or have suggestions, please drop me a line.
Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office”The fight is never about lettuce or grapes. It is always about people”. – César Chávez
Chair of Negotiations, Cathleen Monsell
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), negotiations have been suspended while the District attends to operational issues so all employees can work remotely with the shelter in place (SIP) mandated by state and county health departments. As such, classifications agreed to by the original deadline of March 20 for retroactive payment to July 1, 2019 have been extended to two weeks after the date negotiations resume. We haven’t set a date to meet.
Prior to the SIP, negotiations had been moving forward in a positive manner and we don’t expect anything different once we are able to meet again at the negotiations table.
ACE has worked collaboratively with the District and other bargaining units to develop guidelines to help you navigate this new work reality. Some of the most common questions I receive revolve around financial support for using personal cell phones/internet charges or internet is too slow/bad connection, what can I do? Additional resources are available to address these and other concerns.
If you don’t want to use your personal cell phone, you can have ETS install the Jabber application on your desktop and send/receive calls from your computer. To find out how to go here: http://ets.fhda.edu/getting-help/phones/index.html#Jabber
Financial assistance to establish or upgrade your home internet equipment: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/00e5d83ca855407e99178dbc5a54c79f
Access to Campus
Per email from Vice-Chancellor of Business Services, Susan Cheu, effective 04/02/2020 employees will not be allowed to come on campus unless they have been designated as part of a critical group. Understanding that many employees were not prepared for the shelter-in-place to extend past April 7th, employees with critical needs will be allowed access to their offices and/or classrooms on Wednesday, April 8th, between 8 AM to 12 PM, provided they obtain prior approval. Employees should contact their dean/manager who will then receive approval from their respective Foothill College – Vice President, Finance and Administrative Services (VP), at De Anza College – Vice President, Administrative Services or a Vice-Chancellor if you are a Central Services staff member to come on the campus. The VP/VC will notify the Police Department of the approved visit including the employee’s name, visit location, arrival time and anticipated length on campus. After this date, non-critical employees will not be allowed on campus for any reason
As part of your negotiated benefits, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) program is offered at no charge and provides a valuable resource for support and information during difficult times, as well as consultation on day-to-day concerns. EAP is an assessment, short-term counseling, and referral service designed to provide you and your family with assistance in managing everyday concerns.
April 6-10: Foothill College https://foothillcollege.instructure.com/courses/13146; and
De Anza College http://www.deanza.edu/online-spring/training
Ongoing: Foothill https://foothill.edu/staff-development/
Work project ideas: http://hr.fhda.edu/_downloads/FHDA_Assignment%20Ideas_COVID19.pdf
Our classified senates are also working hard to make sure we have the support we need. The Central Services Classified Senate has collected resources for training and supporting you here: Ideas for Supporting for Classified Employees during Shelter in Place.xlsx. Please feel free to add your own best practices and tips for staying connected and productive in your new work environment. Share it with your colleagues.
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 active participation from all our members.
Dan Pitchford, bookstore courseware coordinator, Bookstore
Martin Solorio, library technician senior, Library
Saul Torres, assessment specialist, Assessment
The recent six percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) with retroactive pay to July 1, 2019 which finally hit our paycheck (yay!) bu the codes have left a few questions. Namely, what do they mean?
- COLA w/R = COLA with retirement (the 3.5% that is pensionable income);
- OSSP- np = off-salary schedule-pay, not pensionable (this is the 2.5% that isn’t considered ongoing by CalPERS)There are two, one for the current month and one for the retroactive payment; and
- Retro NR – Retroactive no retirement (for overtime pay which is not pensionable income).
As a reminder, with pension reform in 2013 CalPERS will only accept ongoing salary increases as pensionable. Of our six percent COLA, currently, only 3.5 percent is ongoing, the additional 2.5 percent is allocated as one-time for this year and next year, 2020-21. With the successful passing of the bond, we are able to reopen negotiations on compensation and potentially turn that 2.% percent into ongoing. There are no guarantees and until we do, CalPERS only recognizes 3.5 percent as pensionable. Obviously with the shelter-in-place, getting to the negotiating table is stalled.
Progressional Growth Award (PGA) applications are due to committee members on the 10th of each month. If you were going to turn in an application this month, or any time while we are working remotely, please continue to turn in your application by the 10th.
The PGA committee recognizes, in the rush to get everyone off-campus, you may not have all of your supporting documents for your PGA application. And you may not be able to get it until we return to campus. While the committee will not be able to verify your application meets PGA criteria during this shelter in place (SIP), they also do not want to penalize members who get their applications on in time. As such, the implementation and anniversary date of the award will be the month the application was submitted but the actual money for the award, including any retroactive pay for months during the SIP, would not show up in your paycheck until we are able to return to campus, verify the application and then submit it for Board of Trustee approval. If upon return, the committee is unable to verify the activities to meet PGA guidelines, the implementation and anniversary date would not be retroactive.
If you have questions about your application, please review it with a PGA committee member before you submit it.
Did you know each year, Census data informs federal funding for more than 100 programs, including school lunches, highway construction, and education? It will determine congressional representation and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade.
It takes 10 minutes to fill out online: https://my2020census.gov/
In March 2019, ACE filed a lawsuit against CalPERS regarding the temporary five-percent salary adjustment for the 2019-20 fiscal year and their denial that it would qualify as pensionable income for all members. A court date for February 2020 was set to determine if we should be in front of a hearing officer at CalPERS or if we are properly before the court. In January, we were assigned a trial date but our attorney exercised our right to ask for a different judge. This is one of the nuances which could impact the outcome and we are lucky to have a labor attorney with 30 plus years experience. All information was submitted to the court in early March but non-essential trials have been put on hold until the shelter-in-place is lifted. Our case is not deemed non-essential.
When the courts reconvene and they make a ruling on our standing, we can then have a hearing on the merits, either before an administrative law judge at CalPERS or in court in front of a judge. As a reminder, the decision, will impact employees from all bargaining units including administrators.
email sent to all members 04/02/2020
Good morning ACE Members
I hope this finds you well and navigating these crazy times as best you can. A tweet came through my feed yesterday that was so on target, I thought I’d share it with you:
“You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work. I’ve heard this twice today. I think it’s an important distinction worth emphasizing”
It is undeniable that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted the way we work and do business. As such, the ACE Executive Board recognizes it has the potential to negatively affect our members financially. FHDA permanent workers are still being paid in full. Full stop. However, many private businesses have closed and/or laid-off workers. From our 2019 member negotiations survey, we know 42 percent of respondents indicated they had, or have had, a second job to keep up with the high cost of living in our area. For those members or members who share financial responsibilities with a partner who works outside of FHDA, that supplemental income most likely has been affected negatively by COVID-19.
To help alleviate any financial stress COVID-19 may have brought to you, ACE will be forgiving dues for April, May, and June 2020.
How can we do this? Through prudent financial action from this, and previous boards, we have a savings account to address crises like this. The Board unanimously voted that this is the appropriate time to use some of it. Even as we take this action, we still have a $500,000 strike fund, five percent of operating reserves and additional funds to cover our pending lawsuit against CalPERS. In other words, we’re going to be ok.
On behalf of the ACE Executive Board,
For members affected by CalPERS’ decision to only include section one of the Professional Growth Award (PGA) application towards pensionable income.
- If you would like to review your previous award(s) information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your CWID.
- This request is for a copy of your completed application(s) and the tally sheet(s) used by the PGA committee. No backup material will be provided. This should help you determine how many hours you have under section one, whether they were used for an 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).
- 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.