Skip to main content

2023.09.19 Update – Opening Day, 7.22% COLA Voting, Teleworking/COVID MOU, Open Enrollment, 403b+457 Plans, Bilingual Pay

ACE Members,

President’s Message Opening Day
The work we all do is a crucial in achieving our district/college mission and creating the best opportunity for the success of students. Year after year I continue to be impressed by the ingenuity of classified staff when accomplishing the ever-growing tasks before us. The ACE organization is a product of that same ingenuity. Thank you to members for supporting our continued success as we move into a new academic year.

Open Enrollment
CalPERS’ 2024 Health Benefit Summary is an informative document for comparing plans we have access to (LINK) but take the opportunity to connect with our Benefits department on opening day or schedule an appointment to discuss options. If you need assistance with health benefits enrollment, please email ; or call 650-949-6224.

See the Benefits website for more information (LINK.)

403b/457b Retirement Vendors
Vendors who show up on opening day are not vetted by the district nor ACE. You may also receive email messages from outside companies to manage your retirement. Be cautious – scrutinize these vendors.

The most popular companies with employees have consistently been Fidelity, Vanguard, and CalSTRS Pension2. For details on how to sign up, see the Payroll website (LINK.)

In the past we have worked with to provide member education. They have a podcast series “Learn by Being Burned” along with self-paced education topics on their website (LINK.) Their next Q&A “Office Hours” event is October 5th from 4-5pm PST (LINK.) While it is very K-12 focused, much of it is applicable to FHDA. They have their own vendor rating here (LINK) which aligns with our most popular vendors.

7.22% COLA Ratification Voting Begins @ 2pm Today
If you do not receive an email from ElectionRunner with voter information by 3:30pm, contact our recorder @Shawna Santiago with your CWID number. Voting closes 5pm on Thursday.

Results will be shared with the membership by the end of this Friday. Notice will be sent on Friday to the district in time for the item to appear on the board of trustees agenda.

Reminder – Teleworking/COVID Return to Work MOU
In late 2022 ACE signed a memorandum of understanding which established an appeal process for teleworking. (See full MOU here – LINK.)

  • If your written request to work remotely is denied you may appeal the decision to ACE and the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources for a final decision.
  • If your teleworking agreement schedule is ending, you should be provided a minimum of 10 working days’ notice in writing.

Unfortunately COVID has not completely gone away. Lately cases have been on the rise in Santa Clara County per wastewater monitoring (LINK) as we return to pre-pandemic habits. If you are sick, stay home – use your sick leave. If you are able to work, you may make arrangements with your supervisor to work remotely (although it is not guaranteed to be approved.) If your child tests positive for covid, you may use sick leave or potentially be allowed to work from home with approval from your supervisor until the end of an isolation period or while awaiting test results after exposure.

Appropriate teleworking arrangements will be made with any affected employees who must quarantine upon request by the district. If an employee cannot telework, then they shall be placed on paid administrative leave until the end of the quarantine period. This section shall also apply to employees awaiting covid test results after an exposure.

Contact a steward if you need help.

Bilingual Pay
Thank you to our negotiations team for their work reviewing classified employee agreements with the district and at neighboring districts. They are all available on the human resources web page (LINK.) Currently we have proposed the same language that exists within the FHDA-Police Officers Association (POA) for bilingual pay – see POA Agreement 6.6 (LINK.) It provides $100 per month for employees who are requested to use their bilingual skills along with a means for validation language fluency. To date the district has responded that they are not interested in parity between ACE and POA. At the moment, the district is declining to agree to pay ACE members for the same skill that they have negotiated with another bargaining unit.

Per our attorney, unless a language is specially called for in your classification, such as American Sign Language in the Sign Language Interpreter JD, you cannot be reprimanded or considered insubordinate for refusing to communicated in anything other than English. It is up to members to decide if refusing to exercise bilingual skills is worthwhile toward receiving equal compensation.

We will provide more negotiations updates throughout the process. The latest message has been posted on our homepage.

In Solidarity,

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

2023.09.12 Negotiations Update – MOUs for COLA, Benefits, and Agreement Articles 3, 7, 9, 10, 11

ACE Members,

ACE and the District have reached an agreement on Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2023-24 and benefit costs for plan year 2024. The memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for both items are attached to this message.

ACE Negotiations Update 20230912.pdf
MOU JLMBC Benefits Plan Year 2024 Final.pdf
MOU COLA 2023-2024 Signed 20230822.pdf


  • An ongoing 7.22% increase effective July 1, 2023. 
  • Implementation requires a couple of steps:
    • Ratification by ACE membership.  This will be completed by the end of September. 
    • Board of Trustees for approval (this is performative). This will most likely be their Oct. 2 meeting.
    • See the money? When asked for a timeline on implementation, the district was unwilling to give a definitive date, but it was agreed that sooner rather than later would be beneficial for all. We’ll keep you posted on this.

Benefits for Plan Year 2024 – See Attached MOU for Plan Rates

  • Employees will pay 15% of the medical premium for plan year 2024.
  • District will pay 85% of medical plan premium plus full dental and vision premium.  See attached MOU.
  • It is important to remember that the bargaining units and the district negotiate who pays how much based on CalPERS’s plan options but neither has any say in what plans they offer, the cost of a plan including deductibles and co-pays, or what practitioners are included in those plans.
  • New rates become effective January 1, 2024.
  • Open enrollment to select plans for 2024 runs Sept. 19 through Oct. 13, 2023.
    • An Open Enrollment Benefits Fair will be part of District Opening Day (09/20/23) in the Foothill College Dining Hall from noon to 2 pm.
      • The Benefits Fair for the 2024 plan year provides information about the CalPERS health care plans and other benefits available to employees and retirees such as life insurance and supplemental retirement planning. 
      • All insurance carriers and 403(b)/457(b) vendors have been invited to attend the event to answer employees’ questions in person.

Articles in the ACE Agreement
ACE and the District have reached tentative agreements (TAs) on several items open for negotiations. Member ratification of these TAs will occur when all open items are resolved.

Article 3 – Union Security

  • Removes fair share feepayers language because of the 2018 Janus Supreme Court Decision.  Adds language defining what unit information District is required to provide to ACE and when.

Article 7 – Employment Practices  

  • 7.5.1 – Selection for Promotion – Changes when internal candidates can apply for a position before external candidates.  Why?  Cal Code Regulation 53021(c) says “shall actively recruit from both within and outside the district work force to attract qualified applicants for all vacancies” There are a few exceptions where internal recruitment/promotion can happen:
    • a reorganization that does not result in a net increase in the number of employees;
    • one or more lateral transfers are made and there is no net increase in the number of employees;
    • a position which is currently occupied by an incumbent is upgraded, reclassified, or renamed without significantly altering the duties being performed by the individual.

Article 9 – Holidays and Vacation

  • 9.1 – Formerly adds Juneteenth to the list of holidays for a total of 18 paid holidays a year.
  • 9.3 – NEW – Floating Leave (formerly called Personal Necessity Leave)
    • Maintains 40 hours of paid leave. If unused, does not roll over to new year (July 1 -June 30). If you leave the district, you do not get paid out for any unused Floating Leave.
    • May be used for planned absences which other leaves (sick, personal) aren’t appropriate.  You are NOT required to inform your supervisor of the purpose of the request.
    • Must get signed approval in advance to take the leave.
    • The description of this type of leave was changed because the Ed Code has a very specific definition of “Personal Necessity Leave” (see Article 10.10). To comply with the Ed Code and maintain our current leave structure with the extra 40 hours, we needed a new name for it.

Article 10 – Leaves

  • 10.4 – Parental Leave – Amended language to meet changes to the law.  The maximum leave is 12 weeks within a 12-month calendar (new).  If you use sick//vacation leave to keep your full salary while on parental leave, the number of weeks you use is subtracted from the 12-week total that parental leave allows. If you choose, once you’ve used all your accrued sick/vacation leave, any remaining weeks left on your 12-week parental leave will be covered at 50 percent of your salary.
  • 10.10 – Personal Necessity Leave – 7 days per year, drawn from accrued sick leave.
    • For emergency purposes and/or qualified absence under ed code 88207. Supervisor can request a reason for leave.
    • Can be used immediately upon employment.

Article 11 – Layoff

  • 11.1 – Incorporates language for new layoff process found in California Ed Code sections 88014, 88015, 88017, 88117 and 88127, which requires notice by March 15 and allows the affected worker the right to a hearing to determine if there is cause for not reemploying then employee for the ensuing year.
  • 11.3 – Notice and Consultation with Union – To determine if other opportunities are available to affected workers.
  • 11.4 – Notice of Layoff & Procedures – March 15 notice.

Articles Still Under Negotiation
Article 8 – Pay and Allowances

  • 8.4 – Longevity – asked for an increase of $10 per award.  To date, no response from District.
  • 8.7.2 – Weekend Pay – asking for parity with other bargaining units and increase weekend stipend from $75 to $100 per month. To date, no response from District.
  • NEW – Bilingual Pay – asking for parity with other bargaining units and provide $100 per month stipend for workers who are requested to use their bilingual skills, including American Sign Language. To date, no response from District.

Article 9 – Holidays and Vacation

  • 9.2.1 – Full-time Workers – asking for parity with other bargaining units and provide 16 hours vacation accrual per month.  District rejected the proposal but has not provided a counter.

Article 13 – Hours and Overtime

  • 13.2.6 – Remote Work – offered a process to evaluate a position’s suitability for remote work. To date, no response from District.

Article 16 – Disciplinary Action

  • 16.5 – Time Limit – The District wants to align our agreement with Ed Code 88013 (d) which states they can’t initiate any disciplinary action for any cause alleged to have arisen more than two years prior to the worker becoming permanent nor for any cause alleged to have arisen.  For more than a decade our agreement has stated they can’t do this if it is more than one year.  To date, the district has provided no compelling argument to change it.
    • Unlike the change to internal recruitments that says we must have an open process; this law does not prohibit shortening the time limit it just says it can’t be longer than two years.

In Solidarity,

Chris White (she/her) | Archive Coordinator
Foothill-De Anza Archives | 650.949.7721
Hours: Mon – Thur 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Please note, the physical archive is currently closed for renovation. 
Foothill-De Anza Association of Classified Employees (ACE) | Chair of Negotiations

Negotiations Update: Health Benefit Premiums Plan Year 2023; Negotiations 2022-2023

Health Benefit Rates Plan Year 2023

The Joint Labor-Management Benefits Committee (JLMBC) has reached an agreement regarding employee health benefits for the plan year 2023.  The JLMBC is comprised of members from all bargaining units (ACE, CSEA, FA, POA, and Teamsters).  

Health benefit premiums are funded through three sources: employee health benefit premiums, the District’s per employee per month (PEPM) contribution, and a rate stabilization fund (RSF) which offsets the difference between employee and District contributions and the actual premium cost. In a nutshell, here are the changes: 

  • Employee benefit health benefit premiums increase by seven percent.  See MOU for Plan Year 2023 employee contribution rates (LINK).
  • The District increases their PEPM from $1,062 to $1,132.   
  • The trial program for Bridge to Medicare allowing reimbursement for health plans outside of CalPERS plan ends December 31, 2022.  All other components of the Bridge to Medicare plan remain the same.
  • With funding from the state specific to part-time instructors for health benefits, the District increases the PEPM they pay from 40, 50 or 60 percent of the full cost of the premium to 50, 60 or 70 percent for eligible part-time instructors.  The percentage depends on the class load a part-time instructor teaches. 
  • Develop a formula-based approach to fund the RSF and employee benefits in the future. 

Plan Options

All plan options remain the same for the 2023 with an overall cost employee premium increase of seven percent. Blue Shield Access+ HMO and United Healthcare Alliance premiums will decrease by 65 percent to bring employee contribution rates in line with similarly priced plans. For retirees, a new Kaiser Senior Advantage Summit HMO has been added. 

It is important to remember that the bargaining units and the District negotiate who pays how much based on CalPERS’s plan options but neither has any say in what plans they offer, the cost of a plan including deductibles and co-pays, or what practitioners are included in those plans.

Rate Stabilization Fund

This year saw another large increase (eight percent) in heath benefit premiums from CalPERS .  We are projecting a $3 million drawdown to the RSF, leaving a little more than $3 million in the fund at the end of 2023.  To keep the fund viable, over the past six years the bargaining units have been able to negotiate an additional $2.8 million in one-time money to the RSF and increase the amount the District’s PEPM from $976 to $1,132. Employee premiums have gone up twice during that same time.  The RSF is the mechanism that keeps premium rates manageable. 

This year negotiating funds for the RSF has been more challenging.  There is money available.  The District’s tentative 2022-23 budget identifies nearly $19 million in discretionary funds from its projected $32 million stability fund balance.  The 2022-23 state budget has multiple one-time funding options and eliminates the fiscal cliff when hold harmless funding runs out in 2024-25. For example, the part-time health benefit funding from the state would actually save the District money. FHDA’s budget challenges – we’ve lost $10 million in ongoing funding with our decline in non-resident enrollment – and the District’s fiscally conservative/risk adverse nature leaves them unwilling to negotiate any funding to the RSF until they have a better understanding of the District’s 2021-2022 true ending balance once the cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) have been implemented and other liabilities have been fully realized.  They are also waiting on further details regarding 2022-23 state budget funding requirements and/or when funding from the state actually materializes, as is the case with part-time faculty health benefit funding.   

The good news, the District has acknowledged a shared interest in maintaining the RSF and, up against a deadline for rate submissions to our plan administrator for open enrollment in September, we have agreed to negotiate a formula-based approved to fund the RSF in October.  

2022-2023 – ACE Negotiations Update

In June your negotiations team sent a member survey to prioritize items to be bargained for the year 2022-2023.  As a reopener year, in addition to Article 8 (pay and allowances) and Article 18 (benefits), ACE and the District can each open two additional articles.  For 2022-23, we’ve already settled the COLA at 5.56 percent.  Benefits are negotiated jointly with the other bargaining units, and we will resume that process in October.  For articles pertinent to ACE, with a 35 percent response rate, the top three issues identified in the survey were:

  1. Vacation accrual
  2. Remote work options
  3. Eligibility for promotion

You’ll find a synopsis of the survey results here (LINK).  Your negotiating team is researching proposal options around these issues and will keep the membership posted on the next steps and, if necessary, requests for additional membership input.

In Solidarity,

Chris White, chair of negotiations

Sushini Chand
Chris Chavez
Joseph Gilmore
Keri Kirkpatrick
Andrea Santa Cruz
Scott Olsen