When I ran for this office I shared with you that I had two primary objectives:
- Strengthen our ACE Agreement and
- Strengthen the unity of our membership.
Both will always be works in progress, but I feel good about some of the things that ACE has accomplished in the past nine months. These include giving members first chance to apply for open positions before outside candidates, and permanently reducing member dues.
I don’t feel quite as good that members have been affected by a silence in our Agreement. Some feel unheard about challenging work environments. Some are bothered by the fact that managers–right or wrong– have the right of assignment and that ACE doesn’t have authority to affect a different outcome. So, I do the only thing I know how to do: Look for opportunities for change. To that end, below are some of the ideas and goals that ACE is pursuing–all with the goal of bringing about meaningful change to our workplace:
- Classification study. The last time that FHDA conducted a classification study, the price of gas was $1.06 a gallon, a loaf of bread cost $1.26, and many of our new members were in high school. As you can imagine, the roles and responsibilities of employees, required skill sets, and working conditions and environments have radically changed, thanks in part to technological and organizational advances since that last study in 1998. With this new study, our goal is to develop a clear, equitable, consistent and competitive classification and compensation structure that appeals to and fosters retention of qualified classified staff professionals while providing opportunities for growth and development throughout the district. Your approval for the use of ACE funds to pay for a portion of the survey, if necessary, ensures that we have joint authority with the district to determine how this study will be conducted and implemented. We’re still negotiating these terms, and having some financial leverage helps. To keep the process moving forward, we have jointly interviewed four classification consultants and are in the process of conducting reference checks. Once we finalize the terms of the study, we can choose a consultant. We will keep you informed as the process progresses.
- Strengthening classified positions. Along with the classification study, ACE will be reviewing the use of temporary and student employees to see if there are opportunities to create classified staff positions in their place. Earlier this year, we were successful in converting several classified hourly positions into four permanent positions–which now include guaranteed hours and affordable benefits–after a member alerted ACE to a high percentage of district-funded student employees doing the same work as classified staff professionals. While there are legitimate uses by the district for temporary and student workers, the sheer number of these temporary positions requires comprehensive review.
- Have honest conversations. We’ve heard the concerns from members regarding retributive and bullying supervisors, heavy workloads from staffing cuts made several years ago, and a lack of job mobility. To address the first issue, we’ve created a Mutual Respect Complaint form to help establish a record of conduct by supervisors when no violation of the Agreement has occurred and use them in our conversations with the district regarding this issue. We’ve addressed the last issue with our new voluntary transfer process, which gives internal applicants a chance to interview for a lateral position before it is opened to external candidates. It’s not a perfect process, and we’re committed to refining it, but it is a start. ACE has also been holding conversations with the district’s board of trustees, chancellor, and human resources managers regarding accountability for behavior and how it needs to be addressed at all levels, even if there is no direct violation of our Agreement. The more instances we can present in writing through our Mutual Respect Complaint form, the more difficult it becomes for the district to ignore them. Employee dissatisfaction and high turnover have a direct impact on student success, equity, and enrollment and in today’s climate FHDA can’t afford to lose ground in any of those areas.
You can help.
- Get involved. Officer elections are this month. We also have an opening for a negotiator from De Anza. Not your style? Attend a site meeting or send a representative. For DA, meetings are generally held the first Tuesday of the month at noon in Admin 109. For FH/CS, meetings are generally held the third Tuesday of the month at noon in the Toyon Room. We’ll be serving pizza.
- Vote. Throughout the year, ACE will send you surveys to get your feedback. It’s your feedback that guides your ACE team at the bargaining table.
- Give feedback, offer solutions. Other than myself, all of the ACE’s officers do this work in addition to their full-time FHDA jobs. None of us thinks that we have all the answers but we will work with you to find answers to your questions.
- Speak up. If you are constantly denied vacation because you’re the only one who does your work and your supervisor is concerned how the work will get done without you, tell us. We will work with you and your supervisor to come up with a solution but we can’t help you if we don’t know about it.
- Be patient. As my friend and FH Chief Steward Art Hand likes to remind me, everything will always take longer than you think.
As your ACE president, it’s my pleasure to speak with you about any of your concerns and answer any questions you have about your union and the Agreement. Call or e-mail me anytime.
Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office
ACE Officer Elections
Elections for the following ACE positions will take place in October.
- Vice President, Foothill
- Chief Steward, De Anza & Central Services
- Board Member, DA/Seat 2 & Central Services
Nomination/General Membership Mtg
Oct. 11, DA Admin 109
Oct. 18, FH/CS Toyon Rm. (2020)
For any contested positions, elections will be held online Oct. 31 – Nov. 4.
By Chris Dubeau, Chair of Negotiations
Thank you to everyone who responded to our negotiations survey. With a 30-percent response rate, you told us your top priorities included classification, holidays and vacations, and temporary work. We are working to address two of those issues outside of negotiations.
- Classification and reclassification through a comprehensive study to be conducted by a hired third-party agency within the academic year.
- Temporary work will most likely be addressed legally. ACE is now collecting the information we need to develop a clear process for such work.
With the COLA already negotiated (0.6 beginning July 1, 2016), and based on your survey feedback, we’re reviewing holidays and vacations, as well as some additional areas which could affect your pay, like equity for Professional Growth Awards (PGAs) and longevity awards.
Remember that ACE may only open two contract articles in this year’s negotiations cycle. This means that ACE members and leadership must make choices like those you have identified in the recent negotiations survey. Keep in mind the district operates from a you-have-to-give-something-to-get-something stance.
Health Benefits and the VEBA
Last year, ACE also negotiated no increase to health benefits for the 2017 plan year. For this year, through the Joint Labor Management Benefits Council (JLMBC), ACE will address a more equitable distribution of the Bridge to Medicare program in addition to employee health care benefit rates for the 2018 plan year. The Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA) is set to distribute funds to post-1997 Medicare-eligible retirees at a rate of $100 per month. The premium reimbursement is retroactive to January 1, 2016, and the district will notify those that are eligible. An application was agreed upon with minor adjustments and will be distributed as soon as modifications are completed and approved by the VEBA board of trustees.
Representing De Anza:
- You must be a permanent, full-dues-paying member.
- The time commitment is typically less than 2 hours every few weeks during active negotiations.
- Release time is available and we will work with you and your supervisor to get this arranged.
ACE Political Action Committee (PAC)
By Chris White, ACE President
What is the PAC?
Established in 2010, the Political Action Committee (PAC) is a subcommittee of the ACE Executive Board. Reliant solely on voluntary donations contributed by members, the PAC works to support political action which directly relates to FHDA, such as property tax proposals, FHDA Board of Trustee elections or statewide initiatives affecting community colleges.
When the PAC was established ACE–with member approval–loaned the PAC fund $10,000 to support FHDA’s parcel tax initiative with the hope of offsetting crippling budget cuts coming from the state. Approval to fund the PAC was heavily favored by the membership. However, the voluntary contributions to reimburse ACE for the loan have not been as robust. To date, the PAC fund still owes $3,000 to ACE.
Why is the ACE PAC important?
In this age of “political campaigns through the media,” the reputation of an organization is no longer enough to have meaningful, effective influence on legislative matters. The ACE PAC will strengthen our voice with FHDA Board ofTrustess, local and statewide elected officials. In the upcoming November election, there are three FHDA Trustee seats up for election and six candidates running for those seats; only one candidate is an incumbent. Those elected to our district’s board of trustees are responsible for budget and policy decisions which directly affect the classified staff of FHDA.
Why should you contribute to ACE PAC?
When you donate to ACE PAC, you’re sending a clear message to the FHDA Board of Trustees and local and state elected officials that classified staff issues are important to our profession, to the wider community college collective and to public interest sectors. That clear message? We will be heard on matters that affect our careers and our families.
How can I contribute?
You can make a one-time donation or a monthly, ongoing contribution for any amount that works for your budget. Complete the ACE PAC Deduction Form and return it to the ACE office (Room D140 which is located adjacent to Lot 1-D at the Foothill campus). You can also contribute your time and talent to political causes and campaigns that are important to you and your classified colleagues.
What ACE Can Do For You
By Anthony Booth, Labor Consultant
Law Office of Bradley G. Booth
ACE supports its members with issues based on the Agreement between ACE and Foothill – De Anza Community College District. No other document directly affects your role and paycheck in the district as much as the Agreement. You’ll find it online at acefhda.org. Bookmark it now, read it, ask ACE leaders questions if you need clarification on any of its content.
ACE represents its members in:
- Disciplinary action issues to assure that the agreed-upon process detailed in the Agreement has been followed properly. Often, these issues can be easily resolved with further examination of the contract; and
- Violations of the labor code or education code such as your supervisor assigning you to work overtime and then refusing to give you a choice between collecting overtime pay or accruing compensatory time for extra hours worked. In this example, the choice is yours–not your supervisor’s.
There is no formal mechanism to resolve non-contractual disputes, such as your supervisor behaving unreasonably. ACE is willing to consult and mediate these situations, but the district is under no obligation to do so.
If you believe that a violation of the Agreement has occurred or want answers to your questions, call or e-mail your volunteer ACE stewards.
Be aware, ACE does not represent its members in discrimination cases, workers’ compensation claims or disputes between FHDA classified staff employees.
- Discrimination cases: These are to be handled by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) [http://www.dfeh.ca.gov] and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) [https://www.eeoc.gov]
- Workers’ Compensation Claims: We recommend that ACE members consult, at their own expense, Kathleen Storm of the Mastagni Law Firm at (916) 446-4692; and
- Disputes Between Classified Staff: ACE maintains a responsibility to represent all ACE members. It is the responsibility of your supervisor and/or the district’s human resources office to address these disputes.