A locally governed, independent association, incorporated in 2009 by classified professional staff in the Foothill-De Anza (FHDA) Community College District to represent themselves pursuant to the California Public Employees Relations Act of 1976. ACE and the District Board of Trustees collectively bargain decisions on salary, hours of work, hiring practices, classification, and other terms and conditions of employment at Foothill and De Anza colleges.
Staff Development Leave Article 10.13 of our agreement covers SDL in detail (LINK) but the due date for applications is quickly approaching. If you are planning a leave during 2023 you have until December 15th at 5 pm to submit your form (with or without required signatures.) Unsigned applications must have all required signatures collected by January 31st at 5 pm.
What is SDL? Leave from 1 to 10 months at 85% pay to pursue job-related education, upskilling, or retraining for a different career.
Who’s eligible? Those who’ve completed 7 years of service in the District before their leave is scheduled to begin or since their prior SDL.
Can I use Education Assistance? Yes. It can be used for courses taken during your leave, but those courses may not be used toward a Professional Growth Award.
What if I don’t use Education Assistance? Course hours from your leave (where you weren’t reimbursed) can be used toward PGA Section 1 hours.
Can I use Travel and Conference funds while on SDL? Yes.
You must agree in writing to render, upon return from your leave, a minimum of two months of service to the district for each month of staff development leave.
10 leaves are approved by the Board of Trustees at the February Board Meeting and announced by March 1st of every year.
SDL is a tremendous benefit that ACE has negotiated for and we highly encourage you to utilize it.
Application for Classified Staff Development Leave (LINK)
If your supervisor/manager refuses to sign the application, please contact your ACE Chief Steward.
California Community Colleges Vision Resource Center Have you logged onto the VRC lately? (LINK) You might be surprised to find you already have a balance of hours under the “Learner Home” section. Why not complete a few more trainings toward your next Professional Growth Award? Trainings are pensionable under section 1B. They do not have to be completed in a single sitting/session.
The VRC can also be found within MyPortal with Apps, titled as Employee Training.
Keep an eye out for future trainings offered by @Claudia Guzman from De Anza’s Office of Professional Development (LINK.)
Related Upcoming Workshops California Community Colleges Vision Resource Center Online: Thursday, December 8th, 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Professional Growth Award / Education Assistance Online: Thursday, December 1st, 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Professional Growth Award / Education Assistance Online: Wednesday, December 7th, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Staff Development Leave Application Support Online: Monday, December 5th, 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm
Dues Forgiveness – December 2022 ACE member dues will not be charged as part of our December 2022 paychecks. This has been confirmed with Payroll. Thank you to those who checked their November paystubs and sent messages when they saw forgiveness was not applied in November.
Always check you paystub! We continue to provide representation for members who’ve received notices regarding alleged overpayments. Contact payroll via email if you feel you’ve been overpaid. Get a response in writing or summarize the conversation to document the response for future reference.
The district can go back up to three years to recover “a gift of public funds.”
Our overall rate of .95% or .0095 is being reviewed by a committee with representation from each site. Thank you to @Anthony Caceres, @Erika Flores, @Thomas Marks, and @Logan Murray for serving as a group which will provide a post-pandemic rate recommendation that supports our organization going forward. The last time we took a close look at our dues rate was in 2018 following the Supreme Court’s Janus decision which eliminated fair share fee payers. During that time while looking at my own paystub I learned a few things:
PGA Awards are not subject to union dues.
Longevity Awards are not subject to union dues.
Overtime is not subject to union dues.
Dues forgiveness lowers our effective dues rate to .79% with two months of forgiveness (10 out of 12 months.)
As part of a survey in 2019, 75% of the membership voted to maintain a percentage rate based formula and a flat rate proposal was found to be unfavorable by 60% of the membership. (These were two separate questions.)
Holiday Gathering @ De Anza’s Fireside Room Please join us for hot chocolate, hot cider, oatmeal cookies and cake. Thursday, December 15th, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm More details will be provided in an upcoming calendar invite.
Read the following article if you have a minute: “Every Union Contract Right Now Should Be the Best Ever” (Labor Notes) (LINK)
We could have been included in it. The 5.07% and 5.56% COLA increases along with the classification & compensation study were tremendous achievements that contribute towards making ACE the best ever. We continue to uphold the agreement, defend the contract, negotiate benefits, and create safe working conditions. Thank you for the active participation from all members, stewards, negotiators, executive board members, and our attorneys.
As my last update as ACE President, I wanted to thank you once again for your support. It has been an honor to serve on your behalf. Below are some general information updates and with that, I’m passing over the baton to Scott.
I wish you a wonderful winter break. May you get to spend it with people like doing things you love.
Can you be required to return to campus? Yes. Work expectations and your options with the District are identified here. Depending on the exception, we may need to take these on a case-by-case basis, but ultimately, if you cannot work remotely and you are uncomfortable returning to campus you may be able use your paid leave (vacation or comp time) or unpaid leave to cover the time off.
I’d like to continue working remotely, don’t I have a say? Your supervisor gets to decide but if you want to work remotely, have a conversation with your supervisor. Address concerns, show how you will continue to remain accountable, ask for a trial basis and go from there. We have had the option to work remotely in our agreement for well over a decade. There is an opportunity to better define remote work options for employees – which should be addressed through a District board policy and administrative procedure – that may require some additional negotiations that would allow employees to appeal a supervisor’s decision. It looks like that discussion will pick up next year.
Who will enforce the mask mandates and social distancing requirements? Your supervisor. If they are the one’s not following protocol and you are not comfortable reaching out to their immediate supervisor, contact ACE. We will make sure it gets addressed.
The medical and exemption form says I may be responsible for any financial or academic burdens that may result from the above conditions, what does that mean? The District couldn’t specifically answer, and this language will now be struck from the form. For people with approved exemptions, the District will cover the cost of testing.
I’m working on getting vaccinated or an exemption and the Dec. 10 mandate to upload proof of vaccination has passed, what do I do? Keep your supervisor, HR and ACE informed while you work through the process. Received a first dose of the vaccine? Upload that with the date for your second round. DO NOT WAIT until Jan. 3 to address it. If HR hasn’t processed your exemption request before you are required to return to campus, contact ACE immediately.
I have an approved exemption and testing is required but no one has shared what I am supposed to do? ACE has asked HR several times for the protocol and as of Monday, Dec. 13 received notice from Pat Hyland that “protocol is being discussed as will be shared as soon as available. ACE has asked specifically:
What is the protocol for testing? Submission process?
How frequent does testing need to happen? Weekly? Bi-weekly? What if their work on campus is intermittent or split during the week?
Tests can have between a 24-72 wait period for results. Does someone need the results before they can be on campus or does simply taking the test meet the requirement? If it’s the former, what do they do while waiting for results?
What is the protocol when someone tests negative?
What is the protocol when someone tests positive? What happens when someone gets two positive tests in a row?
What happens if I need to quarantine because of a position test? Will I be able to work remotely? Per Pat Hyland “Depends on their health and the type of work they perform. This would need to be worked out between the employee and the supervisor”. If your position has moved back to solely on campus and can no longer be done remotely “the employee would need to utilize FFCRA – which has been extended through June 30, 2022 – and/or their sick leave. There is no guarantee that remote work will be an option for employees whose positions are on campus”. If it becomes an issue, reach out to ACE and we will help you find options.
Ratification vote: Thank you to everyone who attended our general membership meeting on Tuesday. Results from the ratification vote of holidays and a contract extension will be sent early next week. Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA): As noted at our recent meeting, the 2021-2022 state budget included a 5.07 percent COLA. A COLA that the District does not automatically pass through to employees. It needs to be negotiated and the initial stance the District has presented, which additional costs from the classification studies (ACE, Administrators and Confidentials), increases to their share of health benefits costs, and other rising costs, that 5.07 percent is already spent. Your newly elected bargaining team – Chris White, central services; Cathleen Monsell, De Anza; Chris Chavez, Foothill; and at-large, Joseph Gilmore, Keri Kirkpatrick, Andrea Santa Cruz – will take up this issue in the new year.
REMINDER: Supplemental PGA Deadline A reminder that applications for any amended PGA awards impacted by CalPERS changes must be done by June 30, 2022.
To have more hours count as pensionable, we have agreed to the following changes to the PGA application and guidelines:
Section one will be retitled as Certificate, Course, or Degree.
Section 1a will cover accredited courses and continuing education units (CEU). We have removed the minimum hours required to use this section.
Section 1b is new and will cover many job-related certificated skills training previously listed under section five.
There is no maximum for either of these activities and you are allowed to carry these hours forward to future awards.
Section five will be retitled as Job-Related Conference, Seminar, or Lecture. Participation in job-related special activities, such as seminars, conferences, conventions, institutes, and lectures offered by colleges, adult schools, professional associations, and community organizations.
For previously earned awards only:
We had already negotiated additional funding ($20,000 per year for two years) for affected employees to take courses at no cost to them to replace hours on already earned PGAs which are not pensionable. In addition, to help have more hours count we negotiated the following:
Suspended the limit of 200 hours while on Staff Development Leave. You may submit hours for courses taken during past staff development leaves that were not counted due to the 200 hours limit. Official transcripts are required.
Allow courses omitted from any previous PGA application. Submit hours for any course not submitted in previous professional growth award applications. Reminder, you must have been a district employee at the time the course was taken. Official transcripts are required.
Allow courses not counted due to receiving educational reimbursement from the District. You may submit hours for classes taken that were not counted due to receiving educational reimbursement from the district. Official transcripts are required.
Job-Related certificated training. You may submit hours for previously completed job-related activities/training where certification was provided. This refers to items previously reported in section five “Job Related Special Activities” in prior awards. Please provide copies of previous PGA applications with section five applicable items highlighted. The committee will review all items to make sure they are job-related/job skill-building sessions.
New Job-Related Certificated training. You may submit hours for new job-related activities/training where certification was provided. The committee will review all items to make sure they are job-related/job skill-building sessions. Certificates/transcripts are required.
Apply any carryover hours from section one. If you have carryover hours in section one, you may apply them to any previous award where replacement hours are needed.
For these previously earned awards, the review and application process is effective immediately and will continue through June 30, 2022. Current employees must submit the completed application, hours audit, and applicable documentation by the deadline in order to request a review of hours for the PGA substitution process. Applications submitted after June 30, 2022, will be deemed late and will not be processed.
This request is for a copy of your completed application(s) and the tally sheet(s) used by the PGA committee. No backup material will be provided. This should help you determine how many hours you have under section one and applicable hours under section five to estimate how many of your completed PGA’s are eligible as pensionable income per CalPERS. 200 hours of credit equals one award. For example, if you’ve completed eight awards but only have 1,000 hours in section one, CalPERS will credit five awards as pensionable (5 x 200 = 1,000 hours).
Turn around time to receive the request for information is approximately three weeks. To not overburden an already short-staffed human resources department. Your patience is appreciated.
Job-Related certificated training. These hours will now be listed under section 1b.
All rules under PGA guidelines apply to new awards. The suspension of rules for previously earned PGAs does not apply to new awards.
PGA is publicly funded. As public pensions and CalPERS continue to be scrutinized by the public it is imperative that the activities we submit as special compensation follow the rules set by CalPERS. The burden of verifying the eligibility is on the District before the income will be reported as pensionable. We do not want to provide cause for a CalPERS audit by reporting income as pensionable which does not meet their definition for educational pay.
The authority to accept or deny an activity, along with which section of the PGA application it is attributed, is at the discretion of the PGA Review Panel. These are your colleagues who are donating their time to administer this program and who have consistently demonstrated they will do all they can to have hours count towards an award. You may not always like their answer. Be kind.
PGA Review Panel: Kris Lestini, Mary Medrano, Kit Perales, Denise Perez, Shawna Santiago