Negotiations Update Fall 2014

Part 2

by Warren Ruud, Regular Faculty Member in the Mathematics Department, AFA Chief Negotiator

AFA's primary job is to work for you in the areas of salaries, benefits, and working conditions. That job is pretty simple to describe. The AFA membership elects nineteen faculty members, both full-time and part-time, to the AFA Executive Council. The AFA Executive Council directs the AFA negotiations team in bargaining with the District, and the results of that bargaining are institutionalized in the provisions of the AFA Contract. If the District fails to comply with those provisions, then the Executive Council directs the AFA Conciliation/Grievance Officer (C/GO) to work with the District to bring them into compliance. Most conciliation/grievance actions are initiated after a faculty member contacts either the AFA office or the C/GO with a concern about that faculty member's contractual rights.

In the first Negotiations Update this year, we shared the current issues surrounding salary and benefits negotiations. The third component in AFA's scope of representation—working conditions—includes many aspects: job duties, safety, academic freedom, evaluation, due process, professional development, and so on. The primary aspect of working conditions, however, is workload. Simply put, it's the amount of work you as a faculty member are expected to do for the compensation you receive. Article 32 of the contract contains the provisions for faculty workload.

In this Update, you'll find a summary of the new faculty workload provisions implemented in the new contract. Please read this summary carefully, and if you have any concerns about how these new provisions may affect your particular faculty assignment, please contact the AFA office. Your call, email, or visit will always be treated confidentially.

Maximum Class Size

Before the new contract, the number of students allowed to enroll in a course section was determined by "past practice." In other words, for each section, the maximum class size (MCS) from the previous year determined the MCS for the current year. This system has caused a number of inconsistencies. For example, sections of the same course have different MSCs based on whether they are in Santa Rosa or Petaluma, or whether they are offered during the day or evening; an MCS for an online section might vary greatly from the MCS for a face-to-face section of the same course in the same semester.

The new contract provisions state that (a) all standard sections of a course, including online sections, will have the same MCS; (b) a course's MCS will be determined by pedagogical principles; and (c) a list of MCSs for all courses will be available to faculty (See §32.03.B.).

A Senate-District Task Force is working on recommendations for each course's MCS, and those recommendations will be passed along to the Curriculum Review Committee. Until those recommendations are complete, the District will be using its own MCS list based on its understanding of past practice. You can see a summary of that list at

Your supervising administrator has already reviewed your department's courses on the District's MCS list for accuracy. If you have any concerns about the District's list with respect to your department's courses, talk with your chair or contact the AFA office.

Coordinator Assignments

For the first time ever, job duties and compensation for faculty coordinator assignments are now defined in the Contract. Coordinator job duties come from two categories. Duties in the first category are those chair-type duties performed by the coordinator (§13.03.B). These duties are compensated by allocating a corresponding portion of the Chair reassigned time to the coordinator. A second category of duties covers the coordinator duties distinct from chair-type duties (§13.03.C), and these duties are compensated directly by the District.

No two coordinator assignments are identical, so how a particular coordinator assignment is compensated will depend on the workload for that assignment. The contract requires that (a) a coordinator assignment is "reasonably and fairly" compensated based on the workload for the academic year (AY), and (b) no more than half of a coordinator's reassigned time comes from the chair's reassigned time allocation (See §13.07.B.).

A coordinator's compensation should align with his/her workload. As a rule of thumb, each 1% of load allocated for the assignment provides compensation for roughly 20 minutes of required work per week.

Table 1 Coordinator Assignment Reassign Time

Table 1: Coordinator Assignment Reassigned Time

A coordinator's workload outside the academic year (Summer Session, Winter Intersession) should be compensated with additional hourly pay.

Credit Lab Assignments

Currently, compensation for a credit lab hour for all credit lab assignments is equivalent to two-thirds of a lecture hour. The 2014-17 Contract provides for increased compensation for some credit lab assignments based on their preparation and assessment workload requirements (Table 2).

Table 2 Credit Lab Assignment Type

Table 2: Credit Lab Assignment Type

These new assignment classifications were not implemented in 2014-15. Presently, a Senate-District Task Force is working with department chairs to assess the workload requirements for all credit lab courses. The task force plans to present its recommendations this academic year, and AFA is hopeful these new assignment classifications will be implemented soon thereafter. (The full provisions for implementing these new course designations are explained in §32.02.B.2.)

Online Instruction Assignments

The new contract includes two significant changes in online instruction assignments. First, the District has agreed to provide the accessibility compliance support for each online course. (See §32.05.A.) This task previously was the responsibility of the instructor. Second, an online section's MCS will be no greater than a face-to-face section's MCS of the same course.

AFA and the District have also agreed to continue discussing support and other workload issues for instructors with online assignments. As negotiations progress this academic year, you will be receiving more updates. Feel free to contact the AFA office or email me directly ( if you have comments or questions on any negotiation issues.

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