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2022.09.27 Update – Mask Survey, Policy & Bargaining, Parking Tags, 403(b) 457(b) Vendors

ACE Members,

Covid-19 Safety & Mask Survey
We want to know your opinion. We’re asking the same set of questions as we have in the past along with a couple new ones, to determine the policy change outcome we should negotiate for.

Complete the survey if you have not done so already❗

Policy & Bargaining Process
ACE has submitted a demand to bargain the change in working conditions and grievance due to our exclusion from policy development. Our procedure is to always bring our collective voice to the negotiating table. (See survey above☝️) The action we’ve taken should cause Chancellor’s Cabinet to hit pause on their unilateral decision while feedback is collected. We’ll be prepared to navigate this discussion per our agreement as we should have done originally. I hope to hear a response from the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor of HR soon and have this resolved in advance of the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, October 3rd.

This confusion would have all been avoided with a conversation, per Article 1, section 2 (LINK):

…the adoption or modification of rules, regulations, policies, and practices is discretionary with the District; provided, however, the District shall notify ACE prior to any implementation, and shall afford sufficient time to negotiate over the effects of such a change, or to meet and confer.

No notice was shared with ACE prior to this decision being made on Friday night, which is a contract violation.

Parking Tags
If you have a pre-pandemic FHDA sticker on your car, you may have noticed the expiration date is fast approaching. Initial word from the district is that physical parking tags are no longer being made by our previous vendor. In the future the district may have to adopt a high-tech license plate reader system for parking enforcement. More information to come.

403(b) and 457(b) Vendors
On district opening day a few members approached me with 403(b) and 457(b) questions. ACE has brought in 403bwise.org in the past to provide objective training on these voluntary employee benefits and we will do so again. In the meantime, their website has a wealth of self-paced education (LINK) and a rating system for vendors (LINK). Fidelity and Vanguard are their top rated “Green +” 403(b) vendors. CalSTRS Pension2 is rated “Green”  and would be our top 457(b) provider per their independent rankings. Participant data for those plans shows that the majority of people elect for one of those and contribute the greatest dollar amount per participant.

Would you like Fidelity as a 457(b) option? Send me an email expressing your interest. Business Services asks for an arbitrary number of interested employees before making a change to the plan, lets see if we can get there.

Reminder: None of the vendors are vetted or endorsed by the district. If you choose to engage with anyone, ask if they are a Certified Financial Planner(CFP) and insist they abide by the fiduciary standard – putting your financial interests above their own. For more details check out this page on working with a financial professional (LINK). Any salesperson can call themselves a financial advisor, but the standards for a CFP or fiduciary are higher.

In Solidarity,
Scott Olsen (he/him) | ACE President
https://acefhda.org | olsenscott@fhda.edu
650-949-7789| M-F 8:00am-5:00pm

2022.09.19 Update – President’s Soapbox, COLA Retro, Elections, Dues Committee, COVID-19

ACE Members,

President’s Soapbox
During the summer I had the chance to interact with union leaders from around the globe at Labor Notes 2022, from Higher Education Labor United(HELU), and from the Public Higher Education Workers(PHEW) network. Initially I came to each looking for advice, but then quickly came to understand that ACE is already built to win. We are a model member-driven labor organization that others are looking to emulate. Recently we’ve been able to bargain for the classification study, the process to substitute professional growth award hours, the remote work stipend, and the 5.07% plus 5.56% salary schedule increases (that’s 10.91% over two years) with retroactive pay. Consistently we are able obtain the workplace improvements we collectively want. In addition to negotiated items we keep all parties accountable to our agreement, labor law, and ed code. We defend our members against unfounded unilateral salary adjustments, overpayment claims, and disciplinary actions. I’m thankful to every member who contributes to making ACE a strong organization that we can all take pride in.

COLA Update
At last Monday night’s board of trustees meeting, on behalf of ACE, I thanked ETS, HR, and Payroll for their work in processing retro pay for the negotiated FY21-22 COLA increase, which is planned to appear in September 30th paychecks. Susan Cheu from business services claimed there are plans to increase staffing to support this work in the future, but here is where we are now in the process:   

✅ FY21-22 5.07% Ongoing (Completed – June 30th)
✅ FY21-22 Retro (Completed – September 30th)
❓ FY22-23 5.56% Ongoing (Pending)
❓ FY22-23 Retro (Pending)

As soon as I receive updates with specific timelines, I will pass that information on to all members. The impact of inflation in an already high cost of living area has put many member’s households in a difficult financial position. Paying out salary increases demonstrates a sense of respect for our work and shows that we are a priority for the district. ACE will continue to advocate for full staffing in district departments to build capacity to support the basic needs of employees.

ACE Elections Upcoming
Do you want to become more involved with our union? Start preparing your candidate statement for one of the following positions:

  • Chief Steward – De Anza Campus
  • Board Member – De Anza Seat 2
  • Vice President – Foothill Campus
  • Chief Steward – Central Services
  • Board Member – Central Services
  • Recorder
  • Treasurer

See details on each here (LINK) and in our constitution (LINK). Officers serve an important role in maintaining the organization and fulfilling its purpose. Specific election announcements will be in upcoming messages.

Dues & Membership Rate Committee
As part of our approved 22-23 budget the board agreed to establish a committee to investigate our dues structure. Although currently 91%(336/370) of eligible employees are members, there’s been an enrollment decline amongst new hires. Of those hired since 2020, 15 are listed as “undecided” as they have not responded when asked to become a member. I believe some of this can be attributed to a lack of getting one-on-one time to explain the benefits of ACE. To ensure outreach we are pushing to receive accurate employee information from human resources, make sure we are a part of the onboarding process, and continuing to advertise the benefits of membership.

If you forward this message to someone who didn’t receive it directly they may not be contributing toward our cause. If enough people choose not to become members we lose our ability to make advancements in the workplace.

Returning to the topic of the committee, we need representatives from the membership to take a closer look at how this trend may affect us in the future. Are we charging an appropriate amount to fund our organization today? If trends continue, how well will we be able to fund our organization in the future? Currently we have two members from Central Services and one member from Foothill on the committee: Logan Murray, Thomas Marks, and Anthony Caceres. We’d like to get member representation from De Anza and about 6 or 7 members in total.

Please email olsenscott@fhda.edu if you would like to join. The committee will receive support from Kathy Nguyen, our treasurer, our attorneys, and myself. I served on a similar committee in 2016 and it was a great way to learn how ACE makes financial choices.

COVID-19 Safety & Procedures
The district’s covid-19 safety guidelines remain posted here (LINK) and the form for self-reporting an employee exposure or positive test is available through the De Anza website (LINK). Per Judy Miner’s message on 8/16, “we reached consensus to continue to require face coverings in all indoor classes and public-facing offices and to recommend masks in all other areas,” as a means of reducing the spread of the virus. Work with your supervisor to request any personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, HEPA filters, gloves, etc..

ACE has also negotiated a separate MOU regarding covid exposure and teleworking (LINK) to support members which has been described in previous messages and at site meetings.

In Solidarity,

Scott Olsen (he/him) | ACE President
https://acefhda.org | olsenscott@fhda.edu
650-949-7789| M-F 8:00am-5:00pm

2022.08.03 Update – Demand to Bargain, New MOU, Koff Appeals due Aug 31

ACE Members,

Reminder: Koff Classification Appeals are due by August 31st (!)

Has your work changed significantly since the original classification study? Does your job description not align with your permanent ongoing duties? Have you not already submitted an appeal by completing a position description questionnaire? If you answered “yes” to all three questions see the July 14th ACE Update email for a form to complete by 8/31/22 and guidance.

Contact me with questions, but understand that you are the expert when it comes to the work you are regularly assigned. If the bulk of that work is done by a higher classification, filling out this form is your best opportunity to be fairly compensated for that work.

Copy me on final submissions and I will forward them to the appropriate person in human resources. Interviews may occur months after the deadline (date to be determined.)

Return to In Person Work MOU

At yesterday’s DA/CS site meeting we reviewed what a “demand to bargain” is and how members play a role in working conditions changes. As an example, when the Foothill College President issued their “In Person Office Hours and Services” message on April 14th, ACE responded with a demand to bargain health and safety consequences of that. Negotiations with human resources resulted in an MOU which you can read the entirety of here (LINK), along with all of our MOUs here (LINK), to understand how teleworking and covid exposure guidelines have changed:

Teleworking 💻

Article 13.2.6 provisions have not changed:

At the request of a worker, and if the needs of the department can be met, the worker may be permitted to work out of his or her home via computer terminal. The request and the subsequent permission, if granted, shall be in writing.

The latest MOU adds:
(1) a denial from your supervisor/manager must be provided in writing and it must include their reasoning.
(2) an appeal process to a next level supervisor/manager and a review by Human Resources and ACE for a final decision.
(3) a minimum 10 working days notice in writing prior to the end of a teleworking agreement.

  • This applies to existing agreements.
  • Ending an agreement would also constitute a denial (see #1) and could be appealed (see #2).

(4) clarity that you not required to use your personal cell phone for work purposes.
(5) that supervisors are not allowed to visit an employee’s home (per the Alternate Work Location Guidelines posted 2020.06.12)

Covid Exposure Guidelines 🦠

Article 10.8 and Article 19 have not changed:

The latest MOU adds:
(1) Exposure notification requirements for any employee who was in close contact or a shared space with someone who has tested positive and protocols have been agreed upon.
(2) If you are awaiting a covid test result or test positive, and are able to work you may make arrangements with your supervisor to work remotely (with supervisor approval.)
(3) If your child tests positive for covid, you may use your sick leave or request to work from home (with supervisor approval) until the end of a quarantine/isolation period.
(4) If you are required to quarantine by the district, a teleworking arrangement will be made or you will be placed on administrative leave until the end of the quarantine period.

Q: What does a teleworking request look like?
A: “Dear ACE Members, I would like to establish a schedule where I work one day per week remotely. My duties include drafting communications, updating web pages, responding to emails, and reviewing policy documents. All require long periods of focus which are more common in the remote environment and therefore I can more effectively meet the needs of the organization. For urgent requests I would be available to contact via email and phone. Please respond if you approve or deny this schedule, in writing.”

As a reminder, working from home was in response to the pandemic and we do have to meet the business needs of the district/college if they require us to be onsite. ACE remains committed to safety and bargaining the impact of workplace changes. The opportunity to continue teleworking will depend on your job duties and the ability to perform those duties in an equal or better fashion while not onsite. While we now have an appeal process, much of establishing a hybrid schedule falls within your ability to communicate to your direct report that the quality and quantity of your work will not diminish and the needs of the department will continue to be met.

ACE will continue to refine this process during 2022-23 negotiations sessions – stay tuned 📺

Q: Does my supervisor/manager already know about this MOU?   
A: We’re not sure – to be safe we’ll contact representatives among management and supervisors to make this widely known. You can also send a message to your supervisor/manager saying, “did you see this new thing?”

Q: My supervisor/manager disagrees with this MOU and does not want to follow it. What do I do?
A: Contact an ACE steward – @Anthony Caceres(FH), @Erika Flores(DA), @Adriana Garcia(DA), @Scott Olsen(ACE)

TEAs 🫖

Temporary employee assignment practices are an issue ACE is paying close attention to. The recent HR Report (LINK) included a large quantity of class T3 short-term employees, but the project/notes failed to specify how many were performing one-time, seasonal service not needed on a continuing basis, or assisting with a special project. ACE has challenged for that additional information and to be sure district policies and procedures(LINK) are being properly followed. If the work is ongoing and could be accomplished by an ACE classification, a regular benefitted position should be established.

In Solidarity,

Scott Olsen (he/him) | ACE President
https://acefhda.org | olsenscott@fhda.edu
650-949-7789 | M-F 8:00am-5:00pm