Hello VCCCD colleagues,
Fall semester is nearly upon us. I hope you had the relaxing or productive summer you were hoping for. I would like to welcome our new faculty to our family and thank those of you who have been with us throughout the pandemic for being there for your students and colleagues.
I understand that the nature of our return to campus is uncertain. Local COVID rates are currently high, but thankfully vaccines and anti-viral therapies, unavailable at the beginning of the pandemic, have reduced the number of severe cases and we are in a better place than even a year ago. The Board of Trustees will be discussing enrollment, equity, and the future of the vaccine mandate at their next meeting (August 9th, agenda item 13.01) if you wish to submit a public comment (due by 5pm Monday August 8th Public Comment Card).
AFT would like to have some data on faculty views on the vaccine mandate prior to the board meeting. We apologize for the the rush, but the following short survey will close at noon Monday, August 8th.
Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QC7RJHP
If you wish to look at the board meeting agenda you can find it here: http://go.boarddocs.com/ca/vcccd/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=CFUTX87977A4
I know you are probably wondering where we are in negotiations.
Since our last update, we met with the District on July 7th, July 26th, and August 2nd. This period was largely a time to discuss some budget matters and proposed costs and to receive some counter proposals from the District that we had been waiting on. We do have a budget discussion scheduled for August 9 that should allow the district to provide their first counter on Article 3 (Salary).
On July 7th, the District provided a counter on Article 8 (Leaves). Much of our discussion on this article has centered on the math of spreading of sabbatical opportunities amongst the campuses, but we have clarified some other aspects of this article. AFT countered on Article 8 on August 2nd and we believe we are close to an agreement.
On July 26th, the District presented counters on Articles 5 (Workload) and 12 (Evaluation), as well as the evaluations forms. We have many areas of agreement on Article 12 and the evaluation forms, but there are some concerns on our part that require some progress on Articles 3 and 5 before we can determine our way forward. While it was nice to finally receive a counter on Article 5, it was not what we’d hoped for. The District has provided a calculation of the cost of providing lab pay equity, but only for one of the proposals the Lab Value Task Force proposed. We hope to get more information in our August 9th meeting, but we have heard loud and clear from our PT and FT lab instructors that lab pay is a concern. There are a host of other concerns we have with the District’s proposal on Article 5, but we hope to address them in our counter proposal. One example would be the District’s desire to remove longevity from FT faculty when they retire and return as a PT instructor after their requisite semester off from service. As a faculty member who has always imagined maintaining a connection to students in the classroom after retirement, this is concerning to me and is an example of how some District actions show a lack of respect for faculty. If I wanted to let the board know that seeking to remove longevity at retirement isn’t a great way to show respect for faculty, I might tie my comment to agenda item 4.02 (Recognition of VCCCD Retirees), though I would provide my comments in written form to be delivered at the start of the open session so as not to disrupt the actual recognition of our hard-working colleagues. I might even choose to focus on the positive by speaking only of my dream of continuing to serve our community after my retirement. I understand that many of you may decide to make public comments regarding a safe return to campus, desire for COLA, or another issue of personal importance. AFT respects your choice to voice your concerns and encourages polite and to-the-point communication with the Chancellor and Board of Trustees.
On August 2nd, AFT presented counters on Article 4 (Health Benefits) and Article 8 (Leaves) as previously mentioned. The District and AFT were already in agreement on many items in Article 4 and that was reflected in our counter. The areas that are still being discussed include the potential for some form of support for new faculty seeking to move to our area and some questions surrounding the new money the state has provided for PT health benefits (see line 5 of attached budget summary that is listed in BOT agenda item 6.05 – you’ll also find the COLA referenced in this document). The District also provided a counter on Article 17 updating committee names and addressing some of the AFT requests that relate to our role in negotiations. AFT responded the same day with a counter on Article 17 (it’s a short one).
I hope that everyone has a great, and safe, start to the semester and invite you to come visit us on August 10th for our campus meet and greet sessions.
President/Chief NegotiatorAFT 1828