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Negotiations Update August 4, 2022

Negotiations Update August 4, 2022
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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:

If you wish to look at the board meeting agenda you can find it here: 

I know you are probably wondering where we are in negotiations.

Negotiations Update:

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.

In Unity,


Ty Gardner

President/Chief Negotiator AFT 1828




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Negotiations Update - August 27, 2022

Negotiations Update - August 27, 2022
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Hello VCCCD colleagues,


I hope everyone has had a safe and happy return to school. Although I am enjoying being back in the classroom and interacting in-person with students, I recognize this is a stressful time for all of us. I am working on my department’s schedule and trying to staff classes for Spring while also returning to teaching Human Anatomy in-person for the first time since Spring 2020. Faculty across our campuses are engaging in campus shared-governance committees, running tenure committees, revitalizing student clubs, and engaging in the many other jobs we do outside of our normal assignments. If you are like me, you also carry unresolved frustrations with the district or campus with you. Hang in there. Together, we will make things better.

Negotiations Update


Since our last update, AFT met with the District on August 9th and August 22nd. I’ll begin with where we stand today. I’ll then address what you, as a faculty member, can do at this time. Finally, for those who are still curious about what we are attempting to achieve, I’ll provide more information on our recent meetings and specific articles at the end of this update.

While negotiations have been productive on many issues, the district has not responded to proposals, or portions of proposals, with financial implications. Negotiations always require great patience, but this delay is a key reason why this seems like a slow process.

We have not yet received a counter to our proposal on Article 3 (Salary) that was presented to the District on April 28th. We cannot yet say what the district will offer us, but they have suggested we will likely see a counter at our September 16th negotiations meeting which follows the September 13th Board of Trustees meeting. (See more on Article 3 after the update)

·We are close to an agreement on Article 4 (Health and Welfare Benefits). There are no significant changes to health benefits – we are still with CalPERS; however,  there is still some language yet to be resolved.

We received a counter from the District on Article 5 (Workload and Assignment) on July 26th. Our counter to their initial proposal of April 7th was delivered on April 19th. Their counter did not address lab pay – the key financial aspect of Article 5. This article also relates to distance education classes, remote work, and non-contract assignments. (See more on Article 5 after the update).

We have not received a counter on our Article 7 (Safety) proposal which we presented on March 15. While our proposal contains minor changes, we do have a proposal regarding COVID-19 and/or similar contagious illnesses. In our view, we have developed a reasonable plan that allows us to adjust to changing conditions in the event we experience another COVID-like event in the future. Give the removal of the vaccine mandate, and a return to “normal” without any plan for dealing with future concerns, we feel it would be in both parties’ best interests to continue discussion on this article.

We have made significant progress on Article 12 (Evaluation) and have addressed some of the concerns regarding the evaluation of online classes. We are currently waiting to hear back on some of the other articles (e.g. Article 3) before we provide another counter on Article 12 since there are financial implications in this article as well.

Article 23 (Distance Education) is largely on hold since it has financial implications (DE trainings that are currently paid that the District does not wish to continue to compensate faculty for) and has items that should be moved to Articles 5 and 12. The District no longer considers DE a separate thing we do as it has become the norm.

We are essentially done with Articles 6 (Class Size), 9 (Calendar), 11 (Tenure), and 13 (Department Chairs/Facilitators).

We are close to agreements on Articles 8 (Leaves) and 17 (Federation Rights and Activities) and are working towards a plan outside the contract that will protect Intellectual Property Rights (Proposed in our new Article 25).

What can you do?

The District team will be seeking guidance from the board on financial matters during the closed session at the September 13th Board of Trustees meeting. Watch for the invite and consider making a public comment (written, zoom, or in-person) during the comment period prior to the closed session. The board must be reminded of the high cost of housing in our area as well as the recent inflation that has placed additional burden on our members. We all need to provide personal insights about how this has impacted us.

The board knows that the state has provided a COLA of 6.56% this year, in addition to significant funds targeted for specific purposes. They may be less aware that this COLA does not always make its way to employees or that some districts automatically pass this COLA down to their employees, lessening the tension associated with bargaining and raising employee morale. We’ve repeatedly informed the District of the problems with lab pay, but does the board know how inequitable pay for labs has impacted your or the ability to hire and retain faculty in your area? We are sure you have other things you may wish to inform the board of, but this is a good time to address the fiscal issues. The District has money and our salaries and lab pay are uncompetitive with surrounding districts.

Please note that there is also a special Board of Trustees Meeting scheduled for August 29th. Negotiations are not on the agenda, but a study session on the budget is. You can find documentation of the budget, including the COLA we will be receiving this year and are anticipating in the years to come as well as documentation that district expenditures on personnel (81.5%) are well below generally recommended levels (85-90%). Public comments at this meeting should be focused on budget issues such as utilizing some of this revenue to provide competitive faculty salaries.

In Unity, Ty Gardner AFT 1828 President/Chief Negotiator


More Information


August 9th Meeting– Budget meeting with David El Fattal and James Zavas.

We had a brief meeting with Vice Chancellor El Fattal and Budget Director Zavas at the District Office to discuss the estimation of costs associated with our proposals.

Director Zavas presented some spreadsheets that can be used to calculate the cost of faculty raises and changes to lab loads. Director Zavas led us through the spreadsheets and some of the assumptions used in their creation. Additionally, we discussed the need to receive a proposal from the District on these financial matters. We learned that our previous calculation of the cost of our proposed changes to the FT faculty salary schedule matched those of the district. It is important to note that neither the Vice Chancellor nor the Budget Director are on the District negotiations team, but like your local campus leaders they are consulted by the team on a regular basis and have the role of determining fiscal policy.

Later that week Director Zavas sent our team the cost-estimate spreadsheets so we could confirm the calculations and investigate costs associated with different proposals. It should be noted that non-contract salary estimates are more difficult to make. We will investigate these salary calculations in more detail and apply them to future counterproposals as needed.

Investigation of the lab pay estimates led to us uncovering what looks like a significant error in the District’s calculations that results in the overestimation of costs. We also identified a concnrn about the underlying assumptions of the lab pay model that also suggests cost overestimation. Based on what we see in the assumption (increase in load taught by FT faculty members results in increased contract salary costs rather than non-contract/extra-hourly cost) I suggest we may be better off calculating a cost estimate with a high and low values based on the proportion of additional load picked up as a non-contract assignment, understanding that the actual outcome is likely to fall on the low end of the estimated range.

August 22nd Meeting – Short negotiations meeting on Zoom.

We had a brief meeting with the District negotiations team on Zoom. We discussed the progress made thus far in negotiations and the status of outstanding articles such as those discussed above. AFT presented the idea of addressing Intellectual Property (IP) rights through an MOU that would result in a cooperative effort to develop a draft Administrative Policy on IP rights to fulfil the promise of Board Policy 3715 on IP rights. This draft policy could then be evaluated through the shared-governance process. The district presented a counter on Article 17 (Federation Rights) that addressed our need to provide compensation through reassigned time for negotiations team members from each campus. The district also delivered a counter on Article 8 (Leaves). We are evaluating some language that relates to the sick leave pool to ensure it clarifies the process but believe we are close to an agreement on this article.

More on Article 3:

Both AFT and the District know that the state is providing a large COLA and lots of additional money. We have proposed raises over the three years of the CBA in recognition of the District’s positive financial status and the simple fact that our salaries are remarkably low relative to other districts.

We also recognize that our salaries are not currently equitable and have proposed that we address this immediately. Currently, if you are on the low end of the full-time salary schedule (left side) you are not only paid significantly less in actual dollars (you know, the ones that pay your housing and fuel costs) but you are also paid less than those on the high end (right side) as compared to faculty with your qualifications/experience in surrounding districts. For example, VCCCD pay for a contract faculty member with a masters and no experience ranks 69th out of 72 community college districts in the state while pay for a faculty member with an MA + 60 units and 20 years of service would rank 51st of 72 districts. This inequity is a result of the natural drift of applying across-the-board raises to different salaries over time. We have proposed a shift in the salary structure to address this inequity. The District recognizes that such a shift, or a similar mechanism of decreasing the gaps between the salary classes, would help address the low starting salaries that make it difficult for the colleges to hire and retain new faculty. Additionally, a shift in the contract faculty salary schedules will cost less than the COLA for this year.

We also recognize there is a fundamental inequity in non-contract salaries and as a potential step towards a solution, we have sought to tie the non-contract salary schedules to the contract salary schedule so that we can continue to make progress on pro-rata pay for part-time faculty and extra-hourly assignments.

We have also proposed ways to remove some of the tension from future salary negotiations, either of which would represent a positive step in labor relations for the district and help ensure that VCCCD faculty receive fair pay, both now and in the future.

1) automatic COLA passthrough

2) contractual salary comparison/equalization relative to surrounding/competing districts.

We understand that people may have more questions about salaries. We encourage you to send your questions to us so that we may address them in future communications.

More on Article 5:

Unfair lab pay is an issue that threatens the successful hiring and retention of FT and PT faculty on all our campuses, particularly in the sciences and health-related fields, and that may ultimately limit the opportunities students in our communities have to receive training linked to high-demand, high-paying jobs in these fields. Our local campus leaders all know this, but we have not seen the District’s plan to address it.

Our initial proposal is to raise all lab pay to match lecture pay, which was the first recommendation of the Lab Value Task Force Report of 2019. As a part of their work, the Lab Value Task Force studied how other CA Community Colleges treat lab loads. Cuesta College performed a similar study in 2021. Some districts, such as  Santa Clarita, pay all labs equal to lectures. Others have designated those labs which have significant prep and grading as “enhanced” or “teaching” labs, which they pay the same as lectures. Other courses, designated as  “activity” or “skills” courses, are paid at a lower rate. The rate varies, but the .67 paid by the VCCCD is lower than many. The Lab Value Task Force proposed such a mechanism as a fallback full equalization of  pay be too expensive.

We are currently trying to ensure that we have an accurate cost estimate of our initial proposal while we await any counter by the District.



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