President’s Message

The start of a new academic year always ushers in feelings of excitement, opportunity, and for some, a bit of nervousness too. Based on the phone calls and emails I have received it also brings a sense of frustration around changing roles and reorganization, a byproduct of last year’s budget reductions, endless delay with the classification study, and uncertainty around enrollment.

To me, the new academic year is a fresh start. Many staff have been able to take advantage of our internal hiring practice and move into new positions. Newly hired staff are also filling critical roles. Combined these changes bring new perspectives, ideas and energy to an environment that has demanded change. With budget reductions behind us, outstanding legal issues against the District and CalPERS inching closer to a resolution, enrollment holding steady, and the state extending hold-harmless funding for a fourth year, it is refreshing to be able to focus on strengthening our association and the terms of our Agreement.

Changing Roles/Reorganization
ACE is working with management to address changes in positions and reorganization when we know of them but not every manager is forthright with their plans. That tells it’s own story. With forty-one positions eliminated June 30, this fall we will truly feel the impact of those decisions. We are watching to see if work has been reassigned to students, faculty and/or administrators. When a department is shorthanded, this is easy to justify by management and by staff. When this happens my only question to you, what is the incentive to hire additional staff? The work is getting done.

For all of our sanity, we need to give management a moment to reevaluate their choices as we roll through fall quarter. There is no one way to address this issue and we’re taking it case by case. ACE has already been successful in converting some positions filled by independent contractors and temporary workers into permanent positions. Ultimately, management has the right of assignment. They get to determine what work gets done and what doesn’t. Our role is to make certain the work belonging to our unit is assigned appropriately.

Classification Study
On May 23 ACE filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), charging the District with failing to act in good faith and violating their duty to bargain fairly.
ACE argues the District is in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because they are seeking to take unilateral action and impose conditions on their willingness to bargain. We are still waiting for the PERB to finish their investigation of the allegations and either dismiss the case, seek a settlement, or issue a formal complaint.

Frustrating? Yes but imagine what would happen without ACE. There is no legal action you could take on your own. The District would be able to arbitrarily decide your classification, what work you can do in that classification, and how much they will pay you for that work.

Thank You
I have said on more than one occasion, our association only works with the active participation of the membership. You have shown up in spades to make this work. Often after speaking with their colleagues, new employees join ACE. Our calls to action for officers or committee members are filled quickly. Attendance at site and board meetings continues to increase, and I am humbled by the ACE officers and negotiators who represent this organization with humility, grace, and a demonstrated willingness to always put the good of the members first. Simply put, thank you.

In Solidarity,

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

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

Bike Build Off – ACE Executive Board and negotiators come together to test our team building prowess while doing good. The bikes were donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clara County.

Bike Build Off – The winning team!

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
Lexi Amrhein, Academic Advisor, Counseling
Sasha Bostick, Administrative Assistant II, Bio Health & Env Sciences
Ray Cornell, Facilities Equipment Assistant, PE
Garrett Hoang, Division Admin Assistant, Language Arts
Elizabeth Jahn, Bookstore Courseware Cord., Bookstore
Angelie Lopez, Academic Advisor, Counseling
Millie Peréz Perea, Financial Aid Outreach Assistant, Financial Aid
Sarah Wallace, Facilities Equipment Assistant, PE

Manny Diaz-Alvares, School Relations Specialist, Admissions & Records
Alex Favela, School Relations Specialist, Outreach
Daffney Hillis, Sr. Library Technician, LIbrary
Konstantin Kalaitzidis, Instructional Support Cord., PSME
Rudy Leal, Instructional Facilities Cord., Environmental Horticulture & Vet Tech

Negotiations Update

Cathleen Monsell, Chair of Negotiations

The ACE negotiating team presented our proposals to the District on Sept. 9.  Included are items under Article 7 (employment practices), Article 8 (pay and allowances), Article 14 (worker expenses and material), Article 18 (benefits) and implementation of the classification study.  The proposals presented are intended to establish parity with administrator and faculty contracts, adding as much as possible to the salary schedule including a continuance of the one-time five percent COLA which expired June 30, 2019 and addressing the COLA set by the state for 2019-2020.   At this meeting, the District did not present any proposals.

We meet again with the District on October 3.

Bargaining Units Collectively Hire Financial Consultant
ACE, CSEA, FA, POA and Teamsters have collectively hired a financial consultant to further our duties of fair representation and in preparation of bargaining. We have hired the services of Robina Bennion of Robina Bennion Consulting to help us understand the complexities of the District’s budget and current financial situation.  The cost for this consultant will be shared equitably among the bargaining units based on full-time equivalent members in each respective unit. Collectively, the initial estimate for this project is between five and seven thousand dollars. For ACE, the executive board has authorized an allocation not to exceed ten-thousand for our portion of this project. We will keep you updated as we proceed with our findings.


Professional Growth Awards Committee
Mary Medrano, De Anza
Kit Perales, De Anza

Thank you Matt Trosper!

Matt, who has served as a vice president and most currently as a steward at De Anza, has moved on to take on a new role as Director of Athletic Academics at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.

Whether helping the student athletes, ACE as an organization, or members with stewarding issues, Matt has always done so with compassion and a keen sense of humor.  He will be missed and we wish him much success in his new endeavor.

Know Your Agreement:  Professional Growth Awards

The purpose of the Professional Growth Award (PGA) program is to provide incentives to classified professionals to enhance and update their performance through continuing education and through involvement in professional organizations and associations.  Negotiated by your union, for the better part of 30 years classified professionals haven been able to add PGA as part of their compensation.  Over the years, your negotiators have been able to increase the award amount from $42 to $70 to the $90 per month it is today.

Part of what makes PGA so attractive, other than the fact that the award is compounded and can add up fast when additional PGAs are earned, is it counts towards your pensionable income. Under CalPERS, PGA is defined as special compensation – educational assistance – with CalPERS setting very specific rules on what activities qualify.  You will find broad spectrum of activities and classes can be included in your PGA application but it is not unlimited.  These are public funds and their use must be defensible if the public or CalPERS asks.

You will find PGA under Article 8.5, the application in Appendix A, and guidelines for submitting your PGA in Appendix B. Applications are due the 10th of the month. Your current PGA committee members are:

  • Foothill: Denise Perez and Shawna Santiago
  • De Anza: Mary Medrano and Kit Perales
  • Central Services: Kris Lestini (Teamster)

If you have questions, please talk a committee member. They want to help you be successful. I would also ask you to be kind. They have volunteered to serve and  the job includes a lot of paperwork which does not always provide clear guidance on what is  or is not acceptable. They are doing their very best to ensure every activity included on your application counts toward your PGA.  If they question an activity ask yourself, how would the public interpret this use of these funds?

Officer Elections:  You Should Run For Office

Seriously, you should run for office.  Have you thought about it?  Have you spent time thinking over the issues that affect you at work and how you would fix them?

Let me ask you this: do you have good ideas about how to make our union better?  Do you say to yourself, “why doesn’t ACE do something about ______?  Do you want to make a difference?

Too often people wait for someone else to create the change they want. Stop waiting. Running for office is scary.  You’re not sure what to do, how you’re going to add one more responsibility to your plate, and you’re worried you will make mistakes.   It is understandable but holding an elected position can be one of the strongest ways to inspire others and create change within our organization.

As member of the executive board, you’re not alone.  Decisions are made collectively and approved by the membership. Training, release time and elective stipends are offered to officers to support the work they do for ACE. As an independent labor organization, ACE decides what issues are important to us, how we spend our money and, most importantly, how we represent our members. We might not always get it right and the path to change can, at times, be excruciatingly slow but the work we do always comes from a desire to help others. I’m not sure how that desire is ever a mistake, even when outcomes don’t match expectations.

Elective stipends are provided to officers for their work on behalf of ACE.  A member is eligible to be a candidate if they are a non-probationary, permanent, classified employee in the District and is a member of ACE for one (1) full year.  The following positions are up for election.

  • President
  • Vice President – Central Services and De Anza (one at each location)
  • Chief Steward – Foothill
  • Board Members – Central Services and De Anza Seat 1 (one at each location)

Terms are two years in length and run from January 1, 2020 through December 30, 2021.   All executive board members are required to:

  • Attend ACE board meetings held the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 1-2:30 p.m. They rotate between the two campuses.
  • Attend the site meeting for the campus they represent. At De Anza, these are held the 1st Tuesday of the month; At Foothill, these are held the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Both meetings are  from noon – 1 p.m.
  • A description of each officer’s role and responsibilities can be found here.

All positions require subordination of personal interests to those that represent the highest good of the members.  No officer shall have greater rights than any other member of ACE.

Nominations Accepted October 15 – 18
Elections held online October 28 – November 1

So, what office are you running for in the upcoming election.

2018-19 ACE Financial Audit

Every year, ACE hires an outside accounting agency to perform a financial audit of preceding year. The fundamental purpose of the audit is to provide independent assurance that the executive board has, in its financial statements, presented a “true and fair” view of our association’s financial performance and position.

Originally required to show service fee payers – non members required to pay dues but would have otherwise chosen not too – that 90% of our expenses were chargeable towards the cost of representation whether they were a full member or service fee payer.  Over the years, this fair share fee audit showed our chargeable expenses typically fell between 94 and 96% of our total budget, well above the 90% threshold.

In June of 2018, when the Supreme Court in Janus v. ASFCME ruled we could only collect dues from people who voluntarily chose to be a member we were no longer required to perform a fair share fee audit.  To be transparent with the membership, our executive board still felt it was important to have an outside certified public account conduct an audit to ensure we are utilizing solid accounting methods and that the money is where we say it is.  You can find a copy of our 2018-2019 Financial Audit with June 30, 2019 Year-End Financial declaration here.

The Story of Unions: Francis Perkins

When Frances Perkins was a little girl, she asked her parents why nice people could be poor. Her father told her not to worry about those things, and that poor people were poor because they were lazy and drank. Eventually, she went to Mount Holyoke College, and majored in physics. In her final semester, she took a class in American economic history and toured the mills along the Connecticut River to see working conditions. She was horrified. Eventually, instead of teaching until she married, she earned a masters degree in social work from Columbia University. In 1910, Perkins became Executive Secretary of the New York City Consumers League. She campaigned for sanitary regulations for bakeries, fire protection for factories, and legislation to limit the working hours for women and children in factories to 54 hours per week. She worked mainly in New York State’s capital, Albany. Here, she made friends with politicians, and learned how to lobby.

On March 25th, 1911, Frances was having tea with friends when they heard fire engines. They ran to see what was happening, and witnessed one of the worst workplace disasters in US history. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was devastating, killing 146 people, mostly young women and girls. Frances watched as fire escapes collapsed and fireman ladders couldn’t reach the women trapped by the flames. She watched 47 workers leap to their deaths from the 8th and 9th floors.

Poignantly, just a year before these same women and girls had fought for and won the 54 hour work week and other benefits that Frances had championed. These women weren’t just tragic victims, they were heroes of the labor force. Frances at that moment resolved to make sure their deaths meant something.

A committee to study reforms in safety in factories was formed, and Perkins became the secretary. The group took on not only fire safety, but all other health issues they could think of. Perkins, by that time a respected expert witness, helped draft the most comprehensive set of laws regarding workplace health and safety in the country. Other states started copying New York’s new laws to protect workers.

Perkins continued to work in New York for decades, until she was asked by President Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 to serve as Secretary of Labor. She told him only if he agreed with her goals: 40-hour work week, minimum wage, unemployment and worker’s compensation, abolition of child labor, federal aid to the states for unemployment, Social Security, a revitalized federal employment service, and universal health insurance. He agreed. Similar to what she had worked for in New York, her successes became the New Deal, and changed the country and its workers forever.

So while you may not know her name, you certainly know her legacy.