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2022.06.21 Juneteenth + Labor Notes Conference 2022 Debrief

ACE Members,

Happy Juneteenth! Labor Notes crafted a fantastic statement to accompany the 2022 conference:

The Juneteenth holiday celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. It marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when word reached Galveston, Texas, of President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, though many enslaved African American workers across the South had already been emancipating themselves in what W.E.B. DuBois characterized as a general strike that won the Civil War. Last year, after decades of struggle, Juneteenth became the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Day was established in 1983; many unions are fighting for their members to have the day off. Today Black workers are more likely to be union members than any other group, and have often pushed forward workplace militancy. The confluence of Juneteenth and the Labor Notes Conference offers us an opportunity to celebrate the Black liberation movement, explore its connection to labor struggles throughout our history, and make connections and plans together to expand the power of labor to win racial justice.

A picture containing books: "Labor Law for the Rank & Filer", "Secrets of a Successful Organizer", "Union Member's Guide", "Facilitating Group Learning", "Re-imagining Change", "Solidarity Unionism", and the conference program. Also shows sticker stating "Strong Unions Fight Racism" along with a "Bernie Sanders" speaking at the convention and Scott Olsen in attendance.

Recordings of the conference’s main sessions are linked to below among the list of all the workshops I attended. Combined they are a lengthy (~3 hours) playlist of YouTube videos, so I’ve also included separate links to four impactful speakers and two performances, which provide an overall feel for what the experience was like. I highly encourage watching them to get energized about being part of a global worker movement.

This event was the perfect opportunity to learn and engage with fellow unionists. I dedicated my attention toward gathering guidance for building a stronger democratic organization. My luggage is weighed down by books and the ACE laptop is packed with notes that I’ll be consolidating to share during upcoming meetings and messages. (I’m not going to bombard you with 4 days worth of information in one email.)

Sessions Attended

  • How to Be an Educator in Your Union
  • Building a Member Organizer Program
  • Building Worker Power through Peer Education
  • Developing the Leaders Your Union Needs
  • Building a Member-to-Member Leadership Network
  • Industrial Power in Higher Education: Organizing in Support Staff Unions
  • Higher Education Workers Meeting
  • Meet the Authors
  • Friday Main Session (YouTube)
    • Stacy Davis Gates, president-elect, Chicago Teachers Union
    • Nolan Tabb, John Deere striker, Auto Workers/Unite All Workers for Democracy
    • Dilson Hernandez, musician and hip hop artist
    • Sean O’Brien, president, Teamsters
    • Michelle Eisen, Starbucks Workers United
    • Chris Smalls, president, Amazon Labor Union
    • Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator
    • Chair: Alexandra Bradbury, Labor Notes
  • Saturday Main Session (YouTube – audio resumes at 25:15)
    • Union Funk by Lynn Marie Smith, The Motown Diva
    • Victor “The Mixer” Bouzi, IATSE Local 695
    • Marcia Howard, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers
    • Chair: Elise Bryant, Labor Heritage Foundation
  • Race and Labor
  • Engaging New Members
  • Sunday Main Session (YouTube)
    • Israel Cervantes, Casa Obrera del Bajio, General Motors, Mexico
    • Jessica Wender-Shubow, Brookline Educators Union president
    • Jon Schleuss, president, NewsGuild
    • Liliana Herrera, singer-songwriter
    • Chair: Barbara Madeloni, Labor Notes

Special Note: Chris Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union, issued a call to action during his Friday night speech to boost the number of participants watching the hearings which would force Amazon to recognize the ALU as an employee union. Actively watch or leave a device logged in – Zoom meetings begin at 7am PST each day for the foreseeable future (click on the link for details.)

One workshop included the following: “To achieve power, we need a core group of union members who take on the responsibility of carrying out the program of the union by communicating regularly with coworkers to keep us informed, learn about what interests motivate us, sign up new members, and activate our co-workers on an ongoing basis.” We can feel a lot of pride that we’re a member-operated union which fits that description.

In Solidarity,

Scott Olsen (he/him) | ACE President |
650-949-7789 | M-F 8:00am-5:00pm

*and for anyone who’s tuned into how dues are spent, this trip was funded by travel and conference funding negotiated in our contract (Article 14.7) and a reminder that member dues are forgiven for the June paystub. Everyone at the conference whom I told about dues forgiveness thought it was an awesome practice. It’s something we can provide because ACE is not part of a national labor organization.

2022.06.14 Update – June Dues Forgiveness, Annual Survey, Labor Notes

ACE Members,

Dues Forgiveness

ACE is an independent labor organization and non-profit. We only collect member dues needed to maintain our monthly operations, funds for pending legal actions, and strike fund. In August 2021 the Executive Board approved two months of dues forgiveness. As such, membership dues will not be deducted from June 30th (for full-time employees) and July 15th (for hourly employees) paychecks.

Currently I’m assembling documents for our annual independent audit. If you would like to take a look at the previous year’s report, it is available here:

Annual Survey

Our initial annual survey has closed, but additional surveys will follow as we analyze the issues and solutions the membership would like us to pursue. Our negotiations team will be meeting soon to  parse the data we’ve received. Thank you to all of those who’ve contributed feedback so far.

Patience and Understanding

To put it mildly, Human Resources is in a transition phase. I’ve introduced ACE to our newest Vice Chancellor and look forward to hearing the plans he has mentioned for improving operations. There are certainly vacancies that need to be filled before the department resumes to full capacity. The request for patience and understanding is reasonable at this time, but I recognize the delays are difficult to tolerate. Continue to reach out to ACE if there’s an urgent matter that you’ve not received an expected date for it to be addressed.

Summer Work Hours

The ACE summer work hours message you received on June 2nd was sent to administrators(AMA) and supervisors(Teamsters.) Please contact your steward or myself if you are given any direction that is counter to the guidance provided.

2022 Labor Notes Conference

Thursday, June 16th, through Sunday, June 19th, I will be attending this year’s Labor Notes Conference in Chicago, IL. I believe ACE will be a very popular organization when I describe it to those who are in attendance. We really are the true spirit of a union in action: member operated and solely focused on improving our own workplace under the direction of members. See more at

COLA Agreement Approved

Last night the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the joint COLA agreement but it was not without apprehension on their part due to declining enrollment and budget concerns surrounding the Student Centered Funding Formula(SCFF) if Hold Harmless goes away. Regardless of what may come in the future ACE understands the effects of the high cost of living the in bay area and the need to compensate workers fairly for the value of their labor. By approving this item, trustees also align with the effort to provide competitive compensation.

Messages of gratitude can be submitted to the Board of Trustees using the “send an email” link on this page:
I’ll be sending my own personal thanks – In my household we (the First Lady and I) depend on our regular paychecks to keep up with rising costs for necessities and unexpected expenses. The approved increase eases some financial stress when it comes to making ends meet month-to-month.

Take Care,

Scott Olsen (he/him) | ACE President |
650-949-7789 | M-F 8:00am-5:00pm

Summer Work Schedule 2022

ACE Membership,

Summer work hours for ACE employees officially begin the week of July 4th and go through August 26th. Your supervisor can’t ask you to delay it a week or two.

For the July 4th holiday ACE employees will be paid for the number of hours they would have worked (4-10-40, ten hours; 9-80, nine hours; 5-8-40, eight hours; etc.). 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 13.5 – Summer Work Schedule

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 work week shall select one of the following options to cover time not worked:

  1. Use of earned vacation (see Section 10.1 regarding the circumstances under which certain amounts of sick leave can be converted to vacation).
  2. Use of earned compensatory time.
  3. Leave without pay.
  4. A revised work schedule and/or location 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?

  1. Supervisors should work with employees regarding requests for alternate schedules to ensure which accommodate special considerations for childcare or other extenuating circumstances to find a solution that works for both the district and the employee.
  2. Supervisors 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.
  3. Supervisors and classified staff should be familiar with the provisions of the applicable bargaining unit agreements affecting employees on a 4-10 work schedule.

Bottom line?

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. If you need assistance, please contact your chief steward.

Take Care,

Scott Olsen (he/him) | ACE President |
650-949-7789 | M-F 8:00am-5:00pm