SFCC-AAUP August 2018 Updates

From: Santa Fe Community College AAUP
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2018 5:15 PM
Subject: AAUP Update: August 20

 

Dear Colleagues,

This message is being sent to a newly updated distribution list and should include all full-time faculty, no matter your status as probationary, temporary, or core. As we work to ensure that every faculty member who would like to receive updates is able to receive them, we realize that, in the process of updating, we may inadvertently have included some of you who would rather not. Please let us know if you experience any issues with this and please note that you can remove yourself from the distribution list at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the communication. Thanks for your patience!

Here is your SFCC-AAUP update for the week of August 20th, 2018. In this week’s update:

·         New: Summary of August 13th Faculty Union Meeting

·         New: Fall Semester Meeting/Event Schedule

·         New: Summary of August 10th Labor Board Meeting

___________________________________________________________________________

New: Summary of August 13th Faculty Union Meeting

Last Friday, August 13th, at least 35 faculty members gathered for a “welcome back” lunch and for our first SFCC-AAUP meeting of the semester. The meeting began with a reminder about upcoming elections (and, again, we encourage everyone to submit nominations for Vice President and Secretary by September 10th). Marci then introduced our new Contract Action Team as well as our Information Analysis Team and briefly explained the roles of these faculty-led groups, inviting additional participation from union members. She also summarized this summer’s happenings for those faculty members who may not be familiar with all of the events of the last few months, ending with the news of the administration’s Labor Board Representative recusing himself after the union’s mounting pressure encouraging him to do so. The Negotiations Team followed with an update, focusing on where we are in the bargaining process and emphasizing the care taken with contract language—the fact that the language that we’re proposing in our articles is always reviewed by our legal counsel and is based on language in many other institutions’ ratified contracts. The team noted that while negotiations are indeed slow, part of negotiations involves each side learning the other’s particular approach and values—a process that takes time. The team noted that the careful pace also shows that SFCC-AAUP is holding out for the strongest contract possible, is not willing to agree to a contract that encroaches on bargaining member’s rights, and recognizes that such a contract would not be ratified even if it went before members for a vote. Updates were followed by a question and answer session, most of which focused on clarifying the process of negotiations, impasse, mediation, and arbitration.

It was wonderful to have such a large, dynamic group of faculty gathered together at the beginning of the semester, and we hope to see as many of you as possible at our other meetings. While we have reached a major milestone with the submission of all contract articles to administration, it’s clear that we still have a lot of work to do. Please join us in making the vision of real shared governance and real respect for the teaching profession a reality. As we have seen through several “victories” this summer, when we raise our voices together, we can institute real change.

New: Fall Semester Meeting/Events Schedule

After our meeting we, were also able to establish a schedule for the rest of the fall semester, including a potential visit from Dr. Joerg Tiede. Dr. Tiede is a member of the staff of the national AAUP office, working in the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, and will be making a speaking tour in October, focusing on academic freedom in the Trump era. After hearing that Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and SFCC-AAUP members would be interested in his talk (while also noting that our new library director is an expert in the field as well), we have invited Dr. Tiede to visit us. When we know more details, we will let you know. In the meantime, here is a schedule of our other upcoming meetings:

“Fall Regular Meeting,” Friday, September 21st at 12:30

Joerge Tiede, “Academic Freedom in the Era of Trump,” Wednesday, October 3rd, Time TBA

Friday, October 12th at 11:30

Friday, November 16th at 12:30

New: Summary of August 10th Labor Board Meeting

On Friday, August 10th, the Local Labor Board convened for its monthly meeting. The meeting began with public comments, which were made by two faculty members: Stephen DeGiulio and Peter Taussig. Stephen spoke about why we need a faculty union, emphasizing how a union can simplify the work of both administration and faculty by clearly delineating roles and processes. Peter expressed concern that contract language was not being shared openly with faculty members and also expressed concern over the treatment of non-members by union members.

The administration’s new representative, Dr. Tom Gonzales, was introduced. Dr. Gonzales takes the place of Vincent Yermal who recused himself on August 3rd, as explained in our previous communication.

SFCC-AAUP and the administration then presented negotiation updates. Marci began by expressing the union’s appreciation for the board’s work—as well as noting our appreciation for the work that Representative Yermal did before his recusal.

Jerry continued the update, emphasizing SFCC-AAUP’s persistent frustration with the administration’s pace (still unchanged since June, only four articles have currently been “TA’d”) and seeming reluctance to adopt language proposed by the union. While recognizing that there is often good dialogue at the table, Jerry noted that the language subsequently proposed by the administration doesn’t match the discussion. In fact, the proposed language is at times punitive and demeaning, inappropriate for the faculty’s level of professionalism.

Keith Mier, the administration’s attorney and chief negotiator, disagreed with this characterization, explaining that the language proposed “fits management rights” and suggested, instead, that the slower pace might be due to the two parties using different contract templates.

After the updates were complete, Marlene Schwalje, the board neutral, posed a series of questions, resulting in an informal resolution by both parties to attempt to craft more language at the table and to agree together on a common contract template.

Addressing faculty member Peter Taussig’s concerns about open communication, both Keith and Jerry emphasized to Ms. Schwalje their shared position regarding restriction in language-sharing to the negotiations table. Jerry noted that the union continues to communicate regularly with faculty, providing both general updates as well as summaries of negotiations.

Finally, although Agent Kennedy is still formally present as the Board’s legal counsel, the Board did introduce Ami Jaeger as “alternate” counsel, able to replace Kennedy at the Board’s request.

As the parties have agreed to settle the filed PPCs, there was no hearing at this meeting. The next Labor Board meeting is scheduled for Friday, September 14th.

As always, feel free to contact us with any of your ideas, your questions, or your concerns. Wishing you a wonderful start to the new semester!

Sincerely,

SFCC-AAUP Executive Committee

**********

From: Santa Fe Community College AAUP
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2018 11:03 PM
Subject: AAUP Special Update: August 7

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

This is a very special update. SFCC-AAUP is pleased to announce the successful resolution of two of our most recent concerns: the changed language in our upcoming employment contracts and the conflict of interest in the makeup of our Local Labor Board. Please read on for more information regarding these issues:

·         Update: Fall Faculty Contracts Revised and Ready to Sign!

·         Update: SFCC-AAUP and College Working on a Joint Motion to Cancel PPC Hearing, Parties to Discuss Parameters of a Settlement

 

Update: Fall Faculty Contracts Revised and Ready to Sign!

HR has just informed faculty that our contracts are ready to sign. After pointing out to SFCC’s administration where changes to contract language had been made and notifying them that altering contracts goes against the requirement to maintain status quo working conditions, we are pleased to announce that the college has revised our contracts—and also respectfully requested our review before releasing them. We have been able to verify that the new language does, indeed, reflect status quo (beyond the necessary inclusion of the addendum regarding faculty salaries and collective bargaining), and have communicated this with the administration. The administration assured the union that the changes to status quo were a simple oversight. Their willingness to adjust the language seems to indicate that the administration is adjusting to working in concert with the union, and we encourage everyone to sign contracts at their earliest convenience.

 

Update: SFCC-AAUP and College Working on a Joint Motion to Cancel PPC Hearing, Parties to Discuss Parameters of a Settlement

Early this week, SFCC-AAUP was notified that Vincent Yermal formally recused himself from the Labor Board. This is a major step toward fairly reconstituting the Labor Board, addressing the union’s formally filed legal argument that Mr. Yermal’s position on the Labor Board created a clear possibility of bias, thus compromising the fundamental rights of union members guaranteed to them by both the New Mexico State and United States Constitutions, and supported by “a mountain” of case law.

In addition, the college’s administration has replaced Mr. Yermal with Dr. Tom Gonzales, allowing the Labor Board to meet the requirement of a quorum at its regularly scheduled meeting this Friday at 9:00.  While we are waiting for the Labor Board to announce its agenda, our current understanding is that the meeting will include a bargaining update, as usual. However, Mr. Yermal’s recusal has set into motion a new plan of action regarding the filed PPCs. As of Tuesday, August 7th, SFCC’s administration and SFCC-AAUP are working toward a joint motion to cancel the PPC hearing portion of the meeting, discussing parameters of a settlement, instead. We will be sure to keep you updated on the progress of this situation, as much of it is still fluid.

 

Both of these updates are real accomplishments for our union—not only because their outcomes are so essentially important to fair practice and process in general, but also because they are clear indications that we, as a strong union of faculty, can demand and create change.

 

Looking forward to seeing all of you back on campus later this week!

Sincerely,

SFCC-AAUP Executive Committee

**********

From: Santa Fe Community College AAUP
Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2018 10:11 PM
Subject: AAUP Summer Update: August 5

 

Dear Colleagues,

Here is your SFCC-AAUP summer update for the week of August 5th, 2018. In this week’s update:

·         New: Convocation Week Meeting on Monday, August 13th, 1-2:30 (Room TBA)

·         Update: Fall Faculty Contracts

·         Reminder: Labor Board Meeting and PPC Hearing on Friday, August 10th at 9:00 in Governing Board Room

·         Reminder: Regular Fall Meeting on Friday, September 21st (Time and Room TBA)

New: Convocation Week Meeting on Monday, August 13th, 1-2:30 (Room TBA)

It’s hard to believe that the new year is upon us already! Ease into the semester by sharing a pizza lunch (and some important information and discussion) with your fellow faculty members during Convocation Week. We will meet on Monday, August 13th, from 1:00-2:30 (after the regularly scheduled Faculty Senate meeting). Our agenda will include the following:

·         Fall Officer Elections Information

·         Negotiations Update

·         Introduction of our new Contract Action Team and our Information/Data Review Team

·         Brainstorming/Discussion on Big-picture Planning for the Year

·         Questions and Answer Session

This is going to be a big year for SFCC-AAUP, and as our leadership continues to expand, we hope that as many of you as possible will join us to find out more about what has been happening over the summer and to help plan what we’ll create together during the upcoming year!

Update: Fall Faculty Contracts

As stated in the last communication, although the administration assured us that this year’s faculty contract would be identical to last year’s, the new contract does contain some changes, and we are working to make sure that we understand the new language before the semester begins (for your convenience, please find a list of these changes listed below). As promised, we have asked the administration for clarification regarding the purpose of the new language and have been told by the college’s legal counsel that there is a “simple solution” to our concerns. We have also been told that the administration will be communicating with us within the next few days. In the meantime, we still suggest that faculty wait until we receive a complete and satisfactory response from the administration before signing contracts for the new academic year.

Contract changes:

1. The college added end dates to the contracts, making the contract good for one year. Last year’s only noted a new start date.

2. For 9-month contracts, the compensation section in the ’17-’18 contract included three options for payment. This year’s contract eliminates the second option all together. That option previously stated “Receive installments through June 22, 2018, and a final payout on June 22, 2018. The payout on June 22, 2018 will include the last two (2) remaining payments of the contract and deductions for insurance premiums, if any, through July 20, 2018.”

3. The compensation section in this year’s contract includes a sentence that reads as follows: “The annual salary state above is subject to modification as the result of any increase of decrease in salary and wage scale, approved by the governing board of the College throughout the term of this contract.” Here, the only addition is the italicized end phrase; the rest of the statement has appeared in years past.

4. There is a new approval signature included on this year’s contract. The new approval includes a line for “Budget.”

5. There is an addendum added to this year’s contract that reads as follows: “Any adjustment to faculty members’ compensation from collective bargaining negotiations will be applied once an entire Collective Bargaining Agreement is finalized, ratified, and signed by both the SFCC-AAUP and Santa Fe Community College.”

As explained in the July 20th Negotiation Update, at the July 3rd bargaining session, our team made 3% increases legally possible by placing an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on the table. If agreed upon, this would have enabled the administration to move forward with faculty raises even though we are engaged in the negotiations process. Unfortunately, the administration did not agree to this MOU and has chosen, instead, to exclude bargaining-unit members from pay increases. This being said, there are still many ways to rectify this exclusion, and our Negotiations Team will continue to work at the table toward a fair resolution.

We welcome any comments or questions regarding the changes the college has made. Feel free to share your thoughts by replying to this email.

Reminder: Labor Board Meeting and PPC Hearing on Friday, August 10th at 9:00 in Governing Board Room

The monthly meeting of the Local Labor Board will be held on Friday, August 10th at 9:00, immediately followed by a hearing scheduled to address the PPCs filed by the administration and by SFCC-AAUP. SFCC-AAUP has made several public statements—through our members and through our attorney—protesting the imbalanced make-up of the labor board and its subsequent inability to be impartial during the upcoming hearing. However, since no action was taken by the Governing Board or the Labor Board to rectify this situation, SFCC-AAUP’s attorney has filed a formal “Motion to Recuse,” insisting that the inappropriately placed board member and legal counsel be removed. An answer to this motion is due from the Governing Board by Monday, August 6th. We continue to believe that the Governing Board and the Labor Board will act honorably to remedy this problem. But, if the board is not changed, SFCC-AAUP believes that it will be very difficult for our union to receive a fair hearing. We will keep you all updated with any information regarding the boards’ responses.

Reminder: Regular Fall Meeting, Friday, September 21st

Please mark your calendars now for SFCC-AAUP’s regular fall meeting! The time and venue will be announced shortly. In the meantime, please consider nominating yourself or someone else for the two officer positions that will be elected for two-year terms ending in October, 2020: Secretary and Vice President. During the fall meeting, nominees will have the opportunity to briefly address the members. Each nominee must be a member in good standing of SFCC-AAUP, and nominations are due no later than September 10th. Nominations must be made by an eligible member in good standing of SFCC-AAUP and should be submitted to aaupsfcc@gmail.com. A list of candidates will be distributed to the members no later than one week prior to the election. Any member in good standing shall be eligible to vote. If there is only one nominee for a given office, that person shall be elected by acclamation. Voting shall be by secret ballot and ballots will be counted immediately following the voting. Please consider joining our leadership team!

As always, please feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns by replying to this email.

Sincerely,

SFCC-AAUP Executive Committee