The Only Guarantee is Change
“Change is the only constant” the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said 500 years BC. Imminent budget reductions, the uncertain impact around the Governor’s proposed funding model, the classification study, and an attack on public unions underway in the Supreme Court all have one thing in common, the only guarantee in the end is change.
Funding. With over $17 million in reductions, the timeline to begin implementation remains June 30, 2019. Change comes as we begin to prioritize the work we do with fewer resources. Part of this change will be driven, if implemented, by the proposed changes to the funding model for all CA community colleges. The change moves funding from access only to a combination of access and student performance. I could offer you numerous “what if” scenarios as to how this change may affect FHDA funding and it would do nothing but add unnecessary worry to an already worrisome situation. Unlike previous years where the Governor’s May revise was a good indicator of the budget the legislature would approve, this doesn’t seem to be the case this year. The state chancellor’s office has mounted a large public relations campaign to persuade the public-at-large, and ultimately their representatives, that this new funding formula is a better use of their tax dollars. Representatives from a variety of higher education groups are pushing back just as hard on the negative impact performance-based funding has on student success. It is a fight for funding that we really haven’t seen since the recession in 2008. The only guarantee? How we are funded will change and our priorities (good or bad) will have to adapt. Until the legislature approves a budget, we’re just guessing. For the past eight years, the state has passed a budget on time (June 30). I don’t see this year as being any different.
Classification study. Nothing impacts your earning potential at FHDA more than your classification and here we are in the middle of a budget crisis asking you to potentially change your classification and the classification structure as a whole. Moving forward with this study does not change the Districts need to reduce its budget by $17 million dollars. We should reject the notion that we only focus on reductions and changes to improve how we operate, build better systems and processes, provide opportunity for growth and evaluate how we compensate workers must wait until this crisis is over. The goal for this study continues to be to align job descriptions with the current roles and responsibilities of classified employees, develop career ladders where appropriate, and conduct a market analysis of compensation in similar or like jobs in other districts. Our budget crisis is dictating we must change. We need the information collected through the study to help us better navigate and prioritize what that change turns out to be.
An attack on public unions: Over the past year, ACE has been working to educate you on the benefits of belonging to a union and what we’ve done throughout the years in support of members’ and the organization as a whole. The imminent decision in the Supreme Court case, Janus vs. AFSCME, may change our ability to collect dues from employees who choose not to be a member of the union but it won’t change one thing. Collectively, we do better. Don’t believe me? Without the union the District could unilaterally, without any input from you, make all decisions that relate to the terms and conditions of your employment. They could decide which health plans and benefit packages to provide to employees. They could decide how much, if anything, the District contributes toward those benefits. They could decide your classification, what work you can do in that classification, and how much they will pay you for that work. As part of a union, you have a say. The end result might not always be what you envisioned, and we don’t always get it right, but it is far better than having no say at all.
If given the choice, people mostly choose to stay within their comfort zones, which means doing things the way they always have. In a world in constant change, in our current environment, that isn’t going to work. Unlike non-union workplaces, you have opportunity to affect that change. With budget reductions by raising concerns and asking questions through the shared governance process. With the classification study, by providing feedback to the consultants and, ultimately, by voting to accept their recommendations or not. Finally, should the courts rule in favor of Janus, by making a commitment to stand with ACE.
Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office
“The fight is never about lettuce or grapes. It is always about people”. – César Chávez
Draft Classification Description Feedback
By now you should have received a draft of the recommended classification description for your position. Your input is critical. You have over two weeks to review the recommendation and ask questions. Please submit your feedback to Thuy Quach in human resources by Friday, June 15.
- In writing: Submit your draft classification description with notes/changes/comments for Koff to review. Instructions were sent in the letter from Koff which accompanied your draft classification description.
- By emailing the consultant directly: Our lead Koff consultant, Alyssa Thompson, has provided her email to answer questions. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After Koff has reviewed all input from this initial round of draft descriptions, you will be given another opportunity to review the recommended class description.
If you did not submit a position description questionnaire (PDQ), this becomes more challenging and we are working with Koff on the most effective way to address this issue.
- No one goes down in pay as a result of the consultants recommendations.
- The compensation study comes AFTER we agree on the descriptions.
- Classification and compensation recommendations – must be approved by a vote of the ACE general membership before any changes can be implemented by the District.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Am I expected to do everything listed in the classification description? No, classifications are meant to be general. In a classification plan, a position is assigned a group of duties and responsibilities performed by one person. A classification may contain only one position, or may consist of a number positions. When there are several positions assigned to one classification, it means the same title is appropriate for each position because the scope, level, duties, and responsibilities of each position assigned to the classification are sufficiently similar (but not necessarily identical); the same core knowledge, skills, and other requirements are appropriate for all positions; and the same salary range is equitable for all positions.
As part of this process, the Joint Labor Management Classification Committee (JLMCC) are working to develop a form to clarify which duties are a priority for each position. This will also help us identify which duties are eliminated during budget reductions and better identify when someone is working out of class. As a reminder, these priorities are set by your supervisor.
Hasn’t the District already told the consultants what the classifications should be and our feedback is irrelevant? No. These draft recommendations are a result of your PDQs and the interviews conducted by the consultants with you and your supervisor. After collecting all that information, the consultants, based on their expertise and without directive from the District or ACE, developed their recommendations and delivered them directly to the JLMCC. If you have questions or concerns regarding their initial draft recommendation, ask the consultants directly, we’ve given you that option. Otherwise, you are guaranteed to get a classification description dictated solely by someone else.
My level was reduced or missing, am I being demoted? No. In these instances, the consultants felt there was no difference in duties, responsibilities or autonomy between the levels. This may be due to the skill level and knowledge of current incumbents but if you feel it is inaccurate, ask the consultants. Again, no one goes down in pay as a result of this study even if your title changes.
I would ask you to consider something different. What if this is an opportunity to raise the base of a classification? In the future, as the roles and responsibilities of employees, required skill sets, and working conditions and environments change, thanks in part to technological and organizational advances, how do we build growth opportunities for a position already identified as senior? Career ladders are one option but they aren’t applicable to every classification. An efficient and effective organization needs logically constructed job families that link and build positions upon each other.
With looming budget cuts, what do these classifications changes mean in terms of seniority? The current recommendation reduces the number of classifications from 188 to 134. The consolidation of multiple classification titles addressing the same type and level of work promotes a more consistent and equitable treatment of employees. This means more people have options should their position be selected for layoff. As positions are consolidated, it should help reduce arbitrary and capricious position elimination as it requires management to focus on the work needed to address student success and enrollment growth as opposed to who they do or do not like. An updated assessment of the work being performed helps us negotiate where the work can go when a position is eliminated, and an updated classification structure will make it more difficult for management to create classifications with new titles which perform the same duties as eliminated classifications to avoid reinstating workers with reemployment rights.
If a classification is eliminated, any worker in the affected classification will carry all of their seniority from the eliminated classification to their newly assigned classification. Any worker who is placed in a new classification but their previous classification remains will begin to earn seniority in their new classification while continuing to earn seniority in their old classification. This is no different than what happens under our current classification structure when a worker moves to a new classification.
Summer Work Schedule
July 2 – August 24
To maximize human, financial and physical resources, FHDA observes modified hours of operation throughout the summer. Translation? Ten-hour days are back beginning Monday, July 2 through Friday, Aug 24. It also means confusion for staff and supervisors as to how this modified schedule is interpreted and applied. Last year, changes to our Agreement, which were approved by the general membership in July 2017, affect the start date for the summer work schedule and is different than other bargaining units. The changes are highlighted in red. The short version:
- Summer work hours for ACE employees officially begin the week of July 2 when the District changed the start date language from the “Monday after the Fourth of July” to the “first full week in July”. For the other bargaining units, their start date language did not change and their summer work hours officially begin July 9, although they have the option to begin July 2.
- For the July 4 holiday, ACE employees will be paid for the number of hours they would have worked. All other bargaining units receive up to eight hours holiday pay and if they’re on an alternate schedule (i.e. 4-10-40), they must make up the additional two hours.
Article 13.1 – Working Time
13.1 – If a supervisor assigns a schedule to an employee without their consent then that employee would be entitled to holiday pay for the hours normally worked, (i.e. 4-10-40 would get 10 hours holiday paid).
Article 13.15 – Summer Hours
13.5.1 -Workers assigned to programs and departments where scheduling allows mandated four-day work schedule will be offered a four-day work schedule during the summer for the period beginning the first full week in July and ending the Friday before the Labor Day holiday. Under the summer schedule, the normal workday shall consist of ten hours starting and ending at times appropriate to the needs of the department and agreed upon by the worker and his/her supervisor.
13.5.2 – Workers who work fewer than 10 hours per day during the four-day summer workweek shall select one of the following options to cover time not worked:
- Use of earned vacation (see Section 10.1 regarding the circumstances under which certain amounts of sick leave can be converted to vacation);
- Use of earned compensatory time;
- Leave without pay;
- A revised work schedule and/or location in order to accommodate the employee if they feel they are unable to work a 10-hour per day four-day work schedule.
Who sets the schedule?
Employees will establish, with supervisor approval, a work schedule of four days of ten hours of work plus a half hour meal break for each day (minimum 10.5 hours total). Meal breaks may be longer upon request, and with the approval of the supervisor. The standard 10.5 hours work schedule will occur between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to accommodate the meal break (7:00-5:30, 7:30-6:00, 7:15-5:45, etc.).
Can I stack my breaks to shorten the workday?
No. Employees may not stack break periods for later use or to combine with meal breaks and may not use breaks to account for late arrivals or early departures. It is a violation of labor law.
I am unable to work a 10-hour day may I set up an alternative schedule?
An employee, with supervisor approval may implement a modified schedule by requesting a different schedule or using accrued leave or leave without pay but cannot use Personal Necessity Leave.
What guidelines does a supervisor follow to determine if a request for an alternate schedule should be approved?
- Buildings should remain locked on Fridays, except where the department has been approved for an exception schedule and is officially open.
- Supervisors should work with employees regarding requests for alternate schedules to ensure that:
- Energy resources are not used inefficiently to operate buildings that are otherwise closed.
- Employees are not working alone where a safety concern might exist.
- Required resources and systems support needed to complete their work are actually available for employees to use.
- Special considerations for child care or other extenuating circumstances are taken into consideration with an attempt to find a solution that works for both the District and the employee.
- Supervisor must ensure adequate coverage and appropriate supervision for the official hours of operation. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to determine when an employee’s work schedule includes Friday that a level of supervision is adequately-addressed.
- Supervisors and classified staff should be familiar with the provisions of the applicable bargaining unit agreements affecting employees on a 4-10 work schedule.
A few more facts.
- FHDA has no policy regarding working from home as an option and there is nothing in our Agreement prohibiting it. Any agreement to do so is between the worker and their supervisor.
- Safety is a legitimate concern, but again, there is no FHDA policy or anything in our Agreement that states you cannot work alone.
- The definition for “appropriate supervision” is at your supervisor’s discretion.
Please keep in mind that the goal for this summer work schedule is to save resources. If you are unable to work a 10-hour day and you do not have accrued leave and cannot take time off without pay, be flexible in your request, be clear on what work you will get done and be accountable with it. Your supervisor does have the final say on your work schedule.