President’s Message

In the past month, ACE has held officer elections, selected a consultant for our classification study and opened negotiations with the District (more on these below), but what stands out the most to me is the increased level of participation from you, our members, at meetings and online through feedback and voting on the work ACE has done on your behalf. Thank you.

With the exception of my position, ACE is a volunteer run organization and the elected officers serve in addition to their full-time FHDA job.   We serve with the belief that collectively we are stronger together on issues affecting our pay, our benefits, and our working conditions. Throughout the years this has meant COLA’s typically 1% or greater than what the State has offered, comprehensive and affordable health benefits in spite of rising costs, Professional Growth Awards adding to your earning potential, Staff Development Leaves at 85% of your pay, funds to cover travel and conference, educational assistance and more.  Often these benefits are born out of ideas and issues at a specific point in time, morphing and changing as budgets and circumstances allow, but our guiding principle has always been to act in the best interest of our members, even if at times our actions feel antiquated or unfair. It is my hope that you keep this in mind as we move forward.

As we begin this classification study, now more than ever, your participation is crucial in developing a classification system that works for all ACE members.  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.  Consistent and ongoing communication will be essential during this study, and we will do our best to keep you informed, but we need you to read, ask questions, attend meetings, and ultimately, vote if we are going to be successful.

Of Service,

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

Classification Study Consultant Selected

 By Chris White, President

After many hours of negotiations, interviewing and checking references, Koff & Associates have been selected to work with us on a classification study.   The contract begins Jan. 1, 2017 and runs through Dec. 31, 2017.   Barring delays, the study is expected to take between 6-9 months to complete.

After speaking with several labor representatives at other community colleges who were a part of classification studies administered by Koff & Associates, ACE, by way of the Joint Labor Management Classification Committee (JLMCC), selected this agency and is confident that they are the best consultant for our study.  The factors that informed this selection include:

  1. They prioritize a collaborative process with HR and the Union throughout the entire process;
  2. Their job descriptions were more detailed and more concise, making it easier to identify career ladders and when a classified staff employee is working out of class; and
  3. They have a strong background working with colleges of similar size in the public sector and higher education.

As part of an MOU that ACE signed with the District on Oct. 13, 2016, we agreed:

  1. At this time, the District will fund the full cost of the study. If additional funds are needed beyond the contracted agreement with Koff, we will renegotiate possible use of ACE funds that were approved by ACE members in September 2016;
  2. ACE and the District have joint authority over the study and implementation through the JLMCC;
  3. Regardless of the outcome, no District employee will have his or her salary reduced; and
  4. Effective Oct. 21, 2016, reclassifications currently under review will be completed but no new reclassifications will be allowed. Why?  Because ACE and HR require staff time and resources to prepare for the studies launch. Additionally, there isn’t enough time in the reclassification process, which includes appeals, to get a new one completed before the study is scheduled to begin.

Why are we conducting this study? The last time FHDA conducted a classification study was nearly 20 years ago.  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.

What is the purpose of the study? The goal is 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 members have the final say. It is important for Koff & Associates, the District, and ACE to work collaboratively on this study. If our members do not approve of the final recommendations, they will not be implemented.

New ACE Officers
Congratulations to your newly elected ACE Officers, who serve in addition to their 40-hour a week FHDA jobs. Their term runs Jan. 1, 2017 – Dec. 31, 2018.

Treasurer:                               Annette Perez
CS Chief Steward:                  Irma Rodarte
CS Board Member:                 Scott Olsen
DA Chief Steward:                  Paula Joseph
DA Board Member, Seat 2:    Selda Sigala-Aguilar
FH Vice President:  
                Denise Perez

Negotiations Update

By Chris Dubeau, Chair of Negotiations

For 2016-2017, pursuant to Article 20.5 of the ACE Agreement, ACE opened the following:

  • Article 8: Pay and Allowances
  • Article 9: Holidays and Vacation
  • Article 14: Worker Expenses and Materials
  • Article 18: Benefits

We are still waiting to see which two articles, if any, the District would like to open.

With the COLA already negotiated, under Article 8 we also hope to address some of the inequity in earning potential for ACE members our current Professional Growth Award (PGA) system has developed over the years.

Under Article 9, where two-thirds of our members agreed in our negotiations survey, we would like to move the Cesar Chavez holiday, currently observed in early September, to a date closer to the actual holiday on March 31. We would also like to address the number of holiday hours members are credited if they are required to work a 40-hour a week schedule other than the standard five-day, 8-hours a day workweek.

Under Article 14, ACE is looking to increase the amount that members can receive for educational reimbursement as well as travel and conference.  Currently, these amounts are set at $1000 and $1500 annually.

With no increase to employee health benefit contribution rates for the 2017 plan year already negotiated, under Article 18, ACE is reviewing opportunities to address the benefit amount of the Bridge to Medicare Program.  Currently, set at a reimbursement rate of 2.8% (5.6% for employee +1) on the salary schedule for our bargaining unit, the payout rate for administrators is nearly double that which ACE members would receive even though we all pay the same rates for our health care benefits.

The biggest question mark for most of these items is the budget for FHDA as well as the State’s.  FHDA estimates a $6 million deficit for this year due to declining enrollment. The state budget looks relatively stable but has the potential to be bolstered with the passing of Prop 55. We will have a better idea on what, if any, additional funding the State will offer in the governor’s initial budget proposal in late January.  Until then, we wait.

Overtime vs. Comp Time

By Anthony Booth, Labor Consultant
Law Office of Bradley G. Booth

Quick history review: In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) became law. It established the 40-hour work week by mandating that for any hours worked past 40, employers are legally required to pay time-and-a-half to employees who work these hours. The law further requires that employees are to receive their overtime pay in their next pay period. The goal of time-and-a-half pay is to give employers a financial incentive to hire more workers when they have more work and to ensure employees were given extra compensation for those hours worked beyond 40 in a week. California has also stated that any hours worked over 8 hours a day is compensable overtime at time and a half, except when you work an authorize alternative work schedule, then it’s those hours beyond your regular schedule.

The California Education Code authorizes compensatory time off for classified workers at community colleges. (See section 88027) It further states that when compensatory time off is authorized in lieu of cash such time off shall be granted within 12 calendar months following the month in which the overtime was worked. (Section 88028). These laws have been included in the ACE Agreement.

Article 13.2 of the ACE Agreement discusses overtime and comp time requirements including what determines overtime and payout rates.  Beyond those, it is important to note:

  • Any overtime, whether you get paid or take comp time, must be approved, preferably in writing, by your supervisor prior to the hours being worked;
  • The choice to receive pay or comp time is strictly up to the employee. You may choose, but cannot be forced to take comp time in place of overtime pay.  Comp time makes overtime work cheaper for the employer, so they will be more likely to schedule it, because the additional work gets done and takes away the primary incentive to hire more people; and
  • Comp time must be used within 12-calendar months following the month in which it was reported on the time report.  If it is not used within this period the worker will be paid for the comp hours accrued at the overtime rate that was effective for the worker when the overtime was worked

Any employee who has worked more than 8 hours in a day, unless on an alternative work schedule, or more than 40 hours in a week and their supervisor knows or should know they did the work, and hasn’t been paid for the overtime, should keep track of the hours worked and contact a Union representative.