President’s Message

Next Chapter

Budget challenges, declining enrollment, delays by the District with classification study combined with reorganizations and, come June 30,  52 of our classified colleagues retiring, have left nerves a little raw.  Suffice it to say, it has been a challenging year.  Before we move on to the next chapter, it is important to take stock of where we are.

With a $17 million dollar budget reduction which needed to be in place effective July 1, and nearly two years of projected doom by the District, far fewer filled positions were impacted than anticipated.  How? Hard work by the colleges who set out to minimize layoffs. De Anza worked through budget reductions with the specific goal to not impact any filled positions.  With no authority over what the colleges cut, ACE did make it clear to the District that temporary and student workers would not be used to supplant vacated positions.  Over the past three years, on average the District has spent $1.9 million on district-funded student and temporary workers. How can we afford this if there is no money and we’d have to lay people off? There is still more work in this area to be done but those numbers have been reduced.

In terms of budget cuts, this meant a significant number of positions were moved over to categorical funding sources and 45 vacant positions were eliminated. Why this wasn’t done initially to reduce the angst for staff is a question only the District can answer. Of the 17 filled positions originally identified to be eliminated, primarily at Foothill: four were rescinded, three took advantage of the supplemental retirement plan, six are being reassigned to new positions, two with no bumping rights were able to take advantage of the internal hiring process and secured new positions with the District, one had their position reduced by 50%, and one was laid off.  In ACE’s view, that is a reduction of one and half too many but far better than where we started.

Moving forward, with continued enrollment decline, the budget is still tenuous but for the first time the FHDA tentative budget for 2019-2020 accounts for additional decline by 1000 FTES. This is primarily attributed to the impact of AB 705, the state mandate requiring that a student enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and math within a one year time frame, ultimately reducing the number of courses a student needs to take.  The governor’s May revise budget kept the cost of living adjustment (COLA) relatively the same – from the January draft budget proposal of 3.46% to 3.26% – and still includes funding to offset the District’s CalSTRS liability (think cost savings), which may also extend to CalPERS when the budget is finalized in the next couple of weeks, as well as additional funding for the college promise program which could help enrollment.  The new student funding formula remains as uncertain as ever but with our decline in enrollment, FHDA remains in hold harmless where we get the same funding as if we hadn’t declined for the next two years. Options for a bond or parcel tax aren’t off the table, and if you read Chancellor Miners email, the FHDA Board of Trustees voted 4-1 to permanently close the Flint Center and look into developing a new space which benefits students and the community. Any such project is going to need funding  and as I stated at the FHDA June 10 board meeting, ACE has no official position on what should be done with the site but we do request that no general funds be used for this purpose.

Reorganization and Changing Staff
52 classified staff will be retiring June 30.  When I think about the amount of institutional knowledge walking out the door, it is daunting. Each and every one of those 52 have had an impact on the success at Foothill-De Anza whether they offer front-facing student services or not and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.  Thank you and best of luck on your next adventure.

Add in the elimination of 45 vacant positions and I can guarantee you how we do things will look different moving forward. Current employees are taking advantage of the internal hiring process and moving to new roles. New staff are being hired. All of which brings a new perspective and enthusiasm to jobs that may have needed to change but there is still a gap between the number of staff doing the work before budget reductions and after. Usually, it means more workload for staff.  Article 11 of our Agreement is pretty clear on the rules surrounding the work and the elimination of positions (even vacant ones). “No one outside the unit can do the work after the position is eliminated.This includes temporary workers, students, faculty, administrator or outside contractors”. But management does their very best to try and skirt those rules rather than address the consequences from the cuts they chose to make. ACE is doing our best to address issues when they arise but if we don’t know about it, how can we respond?

ACE Business
As some of our board members retire or move on and new ones join us, I am reminded how fortunate we are to have colleagues who have been willing to serve and make a difference for all classified staff. Thank you seems so inadequate.  The next few months will continue to bring challenge but I feel confident all our board members are up to the task.  We have an unfair labor practice (ULP) against the District, a lawsuit against CalPERS, and at some point the District is going to have to meet with us to open negotiations (see below).  Meanwhile, we still represent members in issues with management (we keep personnel issues private) and manage a host of everyday tasks associated with running a small business.  Out of all the work ACE board members, stewards and negotiators do, I hope it is clear that we all do this work because we believe in the concept that together we are stronger with the goal to improve the working conditions for all staff. This doesn’t mean we always get it right or that the path to change isn’t excruciatingly slow but whatever we do always comes from a desire to help others.  Sometimes that last point gets lost when outcomes don’t match desired expectations.

Of service,

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

“The fight is never about lettuce or grapes.  It is always about people”. – César Chávez

ACE Role on Hiring Committees

Hiring. With retirements and resignations, we are, and will be, doing a lot of it over the next few months.  As the exclusive bargaining agent for classified staff unit one members, ACE’s role is to focus on collective bargaining issues such as wages and benefits and issues pertaining to working conditions which include the hiring process. The Foothill- De Anza Board of Trustees Administrative Policy, AP 4130, establishes that classified search committees must have three members: the chair, a representative from the bargaining unit in which the position resides and an Equal Opportunity Representative. Everyone else is appointed by the hiring manager.

What does it mean to serve as the ACE representative on a hiring committee?

  • Independent: Assigned by the ACE vice president at the location of the position, the ACE rep is independent of the hiring manager. They are a safeguard against the hiring manager stacking the committee with members who feel pressured to go along with their decision, especially when that decision may violate hiring procedures or ignore bargained minimum qualifications and classification descriptions.
  • Guardian: As the ACE representative, it is your responsibility to review the bargained classification description (full-time and hourly) to make certain the screening criteria and interview questions reflect work which is, or could, be done within the classification. Job duty priorities may change from the employee who left the position but they should still fall within the classification.  By protecting the duties bargained in classifications, you help guard against the lowering of classifications when management seeks to reclassify them.
  • Advocate: Like all committee members, the ACE representatives responsibility is to help ensure the most qualified candidate is offered the position but it is important to give due diligence to internal candidates, advocate for those who have worked out of class in the position or those within the department or college who may have transferable skills.  This is not about whether you personally like someone, it is about whether they have demonstrated they can do the work or are capable of learning how to do the work if the position allows room for training.

While the hiring manager has the final say in who they select, a good hiring manager has been clear from the outset what the positions priorities will be and what skill sets are absolutely necessary to get the job done from day one (this is where your guardianship of the classification is vitally important). If the hiring manager chooses not to take the committees recommendation, they should be able to clearly explain why they have come to their decision.  If they can’t, that tells you something about the hiring manager.

New ACE Board Members

ACE is please to announce the appointment of the following new board members.

Anthony Caceres
Central Services Chief Steward

Anthony was appointed as Central Services Chief Steward effective May 8, 2019. Prior to this position, he had served as Interim Vice President at De Anza from October 2018 through March 2019. In addition to pursing his Masters in Urban and Public Affairs, Anthony has written articles for ACE covering the story of unions to help better inform al of us why we still need unions today. He currently works as the Special Projects Coordinator in Central Services.

Vins Chacko
De Anza Vice President.

Vins joined the ACE board as Vice President for De Anza effective May 20. In addition to appointing ACE representatives on hiring committees at De Anza, he will also serve on the College Council and Instructional Planning and Budget Team for ACE. He currently works as a Senior Academic Services Technician in the Scheduling Office at De Anza.

Sushini Chand
De Anza Board Member, seat 2

Sushini currently works as the Starfish Early Alert/Retention Student Success Specialist in the Counseling and Student Success Division at De Anza. In addition to serving on the ACE board, Sushini will be representing ACE on the Administrative Planning and Budget Team all while finishing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. She is replacing retiring board member Cynthia Smith and begins her new role with ACE on July 1.

Scott Olsen
Central Services Board Member

Scott rejoins the ACE board as the Central Services Board Member having previously served in this role from 2016 – 2018. He brings a strong commitment to serving ACE members and maintain the organization’s fiscal health. Scott currently works as a Workstation and Systems Support Technician II for ETS on the De Anza campus. He is replacing retiring board member, Annette Perez, and will begin his new role with ACE on June 20.


This month we say good-bye to a few board members, two to retirement and one to pursue their dream to coach water polo plus an honorable mention.  There are no words to express the gratitude we have for these women who served on all of our behalf.

Annette Perez has served on the ACE board since we were incorporated in 2009. For the first ten years, serving as treasurer and most recently as the board member for central services.  In all of her time with ACE, Annette has made certain we are fiscally responsible to our members and we would not be as fiscally strong as we are today without her guidance. We wish her much joy and adventure in her retirement.

Over the years, Cynthia Smith as served with ACE in a variety of capacities. Most recently, since February 2017, as the board member for seat 2 for De Anza  and for the better part of five years on the Professional Growth Awards committee representing ACE. Previously, she also served on the Classification Committee from its inception until it was eliminated in October 2015. Cynthia’s commitment to ACE, and more importantly, to the members she represents is greatly appreciated and will be missed.  Cynthia, enjoy your retirement, you’ve earned it.

Precious Gerardo joined ACE in December of 2017 as Vice President at De Anza.  During her short tenure, Precious represented ACE with aplomb during challenging budget times and made certain our voice was at the table.  She is moving on to her dream job to coach women’s water polo for Laney College.  We wish her success in her new endeavor.

Technically not an ACE board member but without the assistance of Mary Kay Englen from the Office of Professional Development at De Anza, ACE would not have been able to offer one quarter of the trainings for professional growth awards, staff development leave or retirement workshops that we do.  Mary Kay made the difference between just negotiating benefits for members and making certain those benefits were easy for staff to utilize.  Her dedication to the growth of classified staff is unparalleled and her expertise in all things professional development will be missed.

Know Your Agreement:  Vacation

Vacation, a great benefit that isn’t afforded to everyone but it is no good if you don’t, or can’t, use it.  Fortunately, our recent survey showed nearly 85 percent of staff are able to use their vacation leave when they want or need too but there are still too many who lose vacation because they don’t take it.

Basics – Article 9.2

  • You must complete six months of employment before you can use vacation.
  • Vacation accrual rate:
    • Years one – three you earn 6.66 hours each calendar month (10 days annually);
    • Years four – seven you earn 10 hours of vacation per month (15 days annually);
    • Years eight – thirteen you earn 13.33 hours per month (20 days annually); and
    • Beginning the fourteenth year you accrue 16 hours per month (24 days annually).
    • Classified hourly accrual rate based on twice the length of time required for full-time workers.
    • Part-time workers (20-35 hours week) are entitled to that proportion of vacation granted to full-time workers that is equal to a full time contract.
  • Vacation must be used in increments of one (1) hour or more.
  • Workers may accumulate a maximum of two years of accrued vacation. For example, if you have two years with the District and are earning vacation at 6.66 hours each month, for a 12-month employee, the balance can’t be more than 159.84 hours.  The maximum adjusts with the rate your accrue vacation.
  • When you restire/resign from Foothill-De Anza, you are paid out for any unused vacation.
  • When the balance exceeds the limits, a worker ceases to earn vacation until the balance is below the maximum earnable. There is no other recourse and you will lose it.
  • Workers who reduce their contract (partial unpaid leave, extended sick leave) have vacation accrual prorated by the percent of the contract reduced.
  • You will be notified via your paystub (yellow highlight) that you are within two pay periods of reaching your maximum accrual.  It is easy to miss.
Approaching Limit

Exceeds Limit

Scheduling Vacation

  • Generally each worker should be given a choice of time for vacation but the District reserves the right to schedule leave at its convenience provided that every attempt is made to schedule vacation leave so that workers who choose to do so have at least five consecutive days off and such scheduling is not done in an arbitrary and capricious manner.  In other words, don’t buy a plane ticket and then ask for the time off.  Your supervisor does not have to approve it.
  • If two workers in the same group wish to take vacation at the same time, first choice goes to the person with the longest service in the District.
  • A worker can change their scheduled vacation time but only if it does not require any other worker to change their scheduled vacation.
  • If a worker becomes seriously ill or injured during a scheduled vacation, they may submit a signed statement from a physician that they worker was unable to continue vacation and have the time deducted from earned sick leave.

If you are having difficulty scheduling vacation or have questions, please contact your steward.

Negotiations Update

Cathleen Monsell, Chair of Negotiations

We are still waiting for the District to inform us of the items they want to open for negotiations. Last week, I was informed the District will send the articles they want to open at the the July 8 FHDA Board of Trustees meeting. We can’t start the negotiating process if we don’t know what we’re bargaining. ACE sent our notice to the District on April 18.  In the meantime the ACE negotiating team has met and started to develop proposals for the articles we requested to open with the District.

Does this mean the temporary five-percent salary adjustment we negotiated for 2018-19 is going away?  Yes.  It ends June 30.  To roll it over for another year or coming up with some other compensation package we have to get to the bargaining table and, based on the District’s response, it doesn’t look like it will happen until sometime in July.

Women and The Story of Unions

by Anthony Caceres 

It is the year 1843 and Sarah Bagley is leading a group of female textile workers in Massachusetts to form the Female Labor Reform Association. Their mission is to bring attention to workplace dangers such as health risks and inadequate safety standards. Sound familiar? Perhaps. Yet, the historical perspective we are given is often void of the major contributions women have made to unions and the larger labor movement. A closer examination of history reveals that the labor struggle has not solely rested on the shoulders of brave and burly men but was influenced and impacted by the actions of women. One such woman is Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, a prominent labor leader and “fearless fighter for worker’s rights”. During the late 1800s Mother Jones took on nearly every major industry through effective organizing and strategic striking. In 1897 she aided more than 9,000 Mine Workers in conducting a nationwide strike. Additionally, Mother Jones fought tooth and nail for the abolishment of child labor and was central to bringing attention to the issue. Her contributions to the American labor movement can still be felt today.

Dolores Huerta, Jane Addams, Josephine Lowell, Lucy Parsons, Leonora O’ Reilly, Rosina Tucker, Maida Springer-Kemp, Mary Kay Henry, Shirley Ware, Linda Chavez-Thompson. These are a few names that changed the course of labor history in America. There are thousands of more women who contributed big and small to the advancement of worker’s rights and the establishing of unions. The impact of women transcended race and socio-economic status. Women from all walks of life gave valiantly to the cause and because of their contributions we have the safety net of organized labor today.

The narrative of unions often takes the path of exalting men and depriving women of well deserved credit. It is important to note that women make up more than 45% of union members in the United States. Women are projected to become the majority of membership by 2023. As of 2015, “Women are also working toward better representation within union leadership. Women are 18.2 percent (10 out of 55) of the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO, 25.7 percent (9 of 35) of the International Vice Presidents of AFSCME, 38.1 percent (8 of 21) of the Executive Board of the CWA, 42.9 percent (18 of 42) of the AFT Vice Presidents, 50.0 percent (4 of 8) of the leadership of SEIU, and 60.0 percent (3 of 5) of the General Officers of UNITE”. In other words, women hold positions of power in every single union and labor organization in the country. Included is our very own independent union, headed by a fearless and passionate leader. This is not of little significance and is not a new phenomenon. Women have been an intricate part of unions since the inception of organized labor. We must shift the current narrative of unions to include and highlight the equally important work women have done for all workers. America owes our powerful women a place in history, a history they fought to write. Herstory must be told, the truth must be revealed and the role of women will be known for generations to come.

Visit the SEIU website for a descriptive timeline: