Standing Against Racism
While long term action is needed, ACE will continue to stand beside and support our black colleagues, students, and the Black Lives Matter movement in the ongoing fight for justice. The events that have taken place in the last week demand that each of us stand up in opposition to the ongoing police brutality seen in so many communities of color throughout this country. More succinctly, black lives matter.
We need to listen, we need to learn, we need to act.
To be honest, I do not know what support looks like in terms of our Agreement but I am committed to listening to our black colleagues, being teachable, and acting when needed. What I do know is that the intersection of human rights, civil rights, and workers’ rights has always been a part of the struggle for independent power and we must continue to uplift those movements in an intersectional way to ensure we are able to make a difference for those we serve.
Chris White, ACE President
(650) 949-7789, office
“The fight is never about lettuce or grapes. It is always about people”. – César Chávez
July 4 Holiday
The July 4 holiday falls on a Saturday, therefore it will be observed on Friday, July 3.
If a supervisor assigns a schedule to an employee without their consent then that employee would be entitled to holiday pay for the hours normally worked, (i.e. 4-10-40 would get 10 hours holiday paid) (article 13.1). If you are assigned an alternate work schedule and Friday is your normal day off, you are entitled to observe the holiday on another workday designated by the District unless the day is mutually agreed upon by the employee and the supervisor (article 9.1).
If you choose to work an alternate work schedule, you will be paid for eight hours and must make up any difference. If the holiday falls on your normal day off, adjust your schedule accordingly to accommodate eight hours for the holiday. Always work with your supervisor regarding any changes to your schedule.
Welcome New Members
Please take a moment to welcome our newest members. Invite them to a site meeting, answer their questions, or point them to their steward if they need additional guidance. Our association only works with active participation from all our members.
Davon Cole, mobility driver, Disability Resource Center
Summer Work Hours
July 6 – August 28
As we continue to work remotely, we will adjust to summer work hours as if we were on campus. Translation? Ten-hour days are back beginning Monday, July 6 through Friday, Aug 28. It also means confusion for staff and supervisors as to how this modified schedule is interpreted and applied.
Article 13.1 – Summer Hours
13.1 -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.
13.4.3 – Workers who work fewer than 10 hours per day during the four-day summer workweek shall select one of the following options to cover time not worked:
- Use of earned vacation (see Section 10.1 regarding the circumstances under which certain amounts of sick leave can be converted to vacation);
- Use of earned compensatory time;
- Leave without pay;
- A revised work schedule and/or location in order 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?
- Supervisors should work with employees regarding requests for alternate schedules to ensure which accommodate special considerations for child care or other extenuating circumstances in an attempt to find a solution that works for both the District and the employee.
- 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.
- Supervisors and classified staff should be familiar with the provisions of the applicable bargaining unit agreements affecting employees on a 4-10 work schedule.
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. Your supervisor does have the final say on your work schedule.
Vacation Limits While Shelter-in-Place
As we continue to shelter in place (SIP), some employees may find they are getting close to reaching their vacation leave accrual maximum. When the balance exceeds the limits, a worker ceases to earn vacation until the balance is below the maximum earnable.
Some have expressed concern, with the SIP, they can’t go anywhere, some have far too much work and cannot get away, while others have mentioned the connection to work is their main source of interaction with others and the thought of being home alone is untenable. Is there an option to suspend the vacation accrual limit or pay us out for vacation earned above the maximum? We presented the District with a few suggestions regarding this issue and the following is the response we received from Myisha Washington, director of human resources:
“We agree that the shelter-in-place that we are under is creating some unusual circumstances for staff and we do not wish to create negative consequences. We are encouraging employees to take their vacation as we believe it is important even during this time period, and even if there is no place for them to go. I would hope that having time away from work can provide a needed break regardless of where a person spends that time.
We can and will work with the employee and supervisor/manager to work out an arrangement, but would consider the rare exception in an extenuating circumstance if the employee is considered essential and no other arrangement can be made.
Please have the employee work with their supervisor/manager to request time off or an exception”.
The District was unwilling to waiver from this stance.
Vacation Leave Basics – Article 9.2
- You must complete six months of employment before you may use vacation leave.
- Vacation accrual rate:
- Years one – three you earn 6.66 hours each calendar month (10 days annually);
- Years four – seven you earn 10 hours of vacation per month (15 days annually);
- Years eight – thirteen you earn 13.33 hours per month (20 days annually); and
- Beginning the fourteenth year you accrue 16 hours per month (24 days annually).
- Classified hourly accrual rate based on twice the length of time required for full-time workers.
- Part-time workers (20-35 hours week) are entitled to that proportion of vacation granted to full-time workers that are equal to a full-time contract.
- Vacation must be used in increments of one (1) hour or more.
- Workers may accumulate a maximum of two years of accrued vacation. For example, if you have two years with the District and are earning vacation at 6.66 hours each month, for a 12-month employee, the balance can’t be more than 159.84 hours. The maximum adjusts with the rate of your vacation accrual.
- When you retire/resign from Foothill-De Anza, you are paid out for any unused vacation.
- When the balance exceeds the limits, a worker ceases to earn vacation until the balance is below the maximum earnable. There is no other recourse and you will lose it.
- Workers who reduce their contract (partial unpaid leave, extended sick leave) have vacation accrual prorated by the percent of the contract reduced.
- You will be notified via your paystub (yellow highlight) that you are within two pay periods of reaching your maximum accrual. It is easy to miss.
- Generally, each worker should be given a choice of time for vacation but the District reserves the right to schedule leave at its convenience provided that every attempt is made to schedule vacation leave so that workers who choose to do so have at least five consecutive days off and such scheduling is not done in an arbitrary and capricious manner. In other words, don’t buy a plane ticket and then ask for the time off. Your supervisor does not have to approve it.
- If two workers in the same group wish to take a vacation at the same time, the first choice goes to the person with the longest service in the District.
- A worker can change their scheduled vacation time but only if it does not require any other worker to change their scheduled vacation.
- If a worker becomes seriously ill or injured during a scheduled vacation, they may submit a signed statement from a physician that the worker was unable to continue vacation and have the time deducted from earned sick leave.
If you are having difficulty scheduling a vacation or have questions, please contact your steward.
Negotiations & Budget Update
Negotiations: Late last week the District contacted ACE with the following: “We don’t have a specific suggestion to offer just yet but would like to discuss how we might conclude negotiations regarding the ACE Classification Study”. While we have given the District a couple of proposals with no response, the negotiating team is finalizing a proposal with the hopes to present it to the District by early next week.
The other outstanding item in negotiations is health care contribution rates effective January 1, 2021. We bargain health benefits collectively with the other units and are still waiting for CalPERS to release their 2021rates. CalPERS usually sets rates in late May and finalizes them in early June. They have indicated a delay due to COVID19 and have not made public when they expect to report new rates.
As part of our negotiations agreement for 2019-20, we extended the six percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) to June 30, 2021. Beginning July 1, 2021, it is reduced to 3.5 percent but becomes permanent. We had also negotiated language if the District were to pass the parcel tax or a bond, we could reopen salary but the fiscal challenges for FDHA and the state (see below) have erased any additional COLA for 2020-21.
Budget: Last month we talked about the upcoming District budget challenges and the myriad of uncertainties making it difficult to define what it means in terms of planning for 2020-21. Over the past month, the District has been able to get a slightly clearer picture from the Governor’s May budget revise – significantly impacted from COVID 19 and corresponding revenue losses – along with our own loss of revenue due to enrollment decline over the past decade. We’re still left with multiple scenarios on how this budget plays out including the hope for an infusion of funds from the federal government to the state to address COVID19 revenue losses, massive IOUs from the state to colleges for funding in future years, and uncertainty around non-resident revenue which makes up 15 percent of our budget. Ultimately, we are looking at a minimum of 10-15 million in reductions by June 30, 2021. While the impact from COVID19 has certainly made this more challenging, our own enrollment losses and living on borrowed time through hold-harmless funding meant these cuts were always coming.
The District and colleges are in preliminary discussions on how to best address this challenge. Chancellor Miner and Vice-Chancellor of Business Services, Susan Cheu have both emphasized we can’t address this reduction as we have historically done, which is through a percentage cut from each campus and the District. Instead they are suggesting an approach focusing on what we absolutely need to offer in order to support our core values and mission. This latter approach requires collaboration across the District we have been unable to produce in previous reductions. What is different this time? For the first time in my memory (this will be my fifth budget reduction in 20 years), senior management has publicly acknowledged support staff is already cut to the bone, consolidations may be necessary, and we simply won’t be able to do everything we’ve done. The focus is on who we want to be versus what we need to cut shifts the conversation. This is the part where you come in. When those participatory governance meetings are scheduled to discuss priorities, show up, and speak up!
To get a better grasp on funding availability for personnel, ACE has requested a list of vacant positions (this money is budgeted but not spent) along with financial costs and job assignments for temporary and district-funded student workers. While there are legitimate uses for temporary workers and we know student workers help off-set the loss of positions from previous reductions, they must be the first line of reduction before any permanent staff.
PGA, Section Five, and CalPERS Eligibility
Last fall, we were hit with the news that only hours earned in section one of the Professional Growth Award (PGA) would be accepted by CalPERS and be eligible as pensionable income. There is a little bit of good news on this front. After more review from CalPERS, some courses and certificates listed under section five may be counted.
As a reminder, for CalPERS under topic #2, Educational Pay, where PGA is categorized:
“Educational Incentive is defined as compensation to employees for completing educational courses, certificates, and degrees which enhance their ability to do their job. A program or system must be in place to evaluate and approve acceptable courses. The cost of education that is required for the employee’s current job classification is not included in this item of special compensation”. The regulation doesn’t say they need to be accredited or have units attached to them, they just need to enhance a worker’s ability to do their job. Many courses or certificates in section 5 meet this description. To be clear, not all do. For example, CalPERS and Social Security workshops or attending a work-related conference would not count. Software training, equity workshops, job-specific courses, and/or certificates, like those through the state’s Vision Resource Center (former Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning) would. You must be able to verify it is a formal course or certificate, complete with date of attendance, hours completed, and validation from whoever provided the training. Listening to a podcast or reading articles related to your work and having your supervisor sign that you’ve done the work, does not count.
CalPERS has been very clear they will not be reviewing what is submitted and has an expectation that the District will not submit anything as special compensation that does not meet their requirements. For people who have submitted paperwork to retire, human resources are reviewing and validating hours earned in sections one and five. For those not ready to retire, you can review your hours earned in section five and add them to hours earned in section one. That will tell you how many awards are pensionable. If you find yourself doing mental gymnastics and fancy flowcharts to justify how an activity falling under section five enhances your ability to do your job, it most likely does not. Please do not put the PGA committee or the District under the scrutiny of CalPERS. We do not want an audit.
Under section one, there is still no answer from CalPERS or the District on whether they will accept :
- courses not included in previous applications (including courses taken while WOC as an administrator);
- waiving the requirement for 100 new hours per award; or
- allow courses taken during Staff Development Leave but not included on an application because they were paid with educational assistance.
Why? CalPERS asks what agreement did we have regarding those circumstances and currently, use of those hours would be prohibited. It might not be possible to undo that language. Our memorandum of understanding (MOU) which allows workers to take a class, paid by the district through educational reimbursement, to replace hours that wouldn’t count towards pensionable income from previously earned awards doesn’t run contrary to our agreement.
PGA and CalPERS – Request for Previous Application Materials
For members affected by CalPERS’ decision to only include section one and certain types of training in section five of the Professional Growth Award (PGA) application towards pensionable income.
- If you would like to review your previous award(s) information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your CWID.
- This request is for a copy of your completed application(s) and the tally sheet(s) used by the PGA committee. No back up material will be provided. This should help you determine how many hours you have under section one, whether they were used for a award or carried forward, 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 two weeks. To not overburden an already short-staffed human resources department. Your patience is appreciated.
If you would like all of your PGA’s to qualify as special compensation under CalPERS’ rules, we have already negotiated additional funding ($20,000 per year for two years) for affected employees to take courses at no cost to replace hours on already earned PGAs which are not pensionable. In addition, we are still working with the District on an MOU to hopefully include courses which were taken but not included on an application, waiving the requirement for a 100 new hours per award, and/or allowing courses taken on Staff Development Leave (SDL) which were paid with educational assistance. ACE and the District are committed to helping staff have as many previously earned PGAs count towards pensionable income as possible.
As a reminder, awards are still worth $90 each. It is only the activities under CalPERS rules for educational incentive special compensation which has changed.