The AFA Negotiating Team has been meeting with the District throughout the academic year, working on a number of articles in our continued effort to expand and clarify faculty rights. Our goal is to finalize the Tentative Agreement language by mid-May and hold our General Meeting for the Membership by Monday, May 16.
Here is an update on the work we’ve been doing.
AFA and the District have signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) on Article 16: Hourly Assignments. The first MOU better defines how performing ancillary activities is related to earning offer rights and calculating established load. This MOU also corrects an inconsistency in Article 16 pertaining to the “instructor of record” designation. Now it is clear that a faculty member need not be the instructor of record for the assignment to count toward offer rights and established load. The second Article 16 MOU returns the responsibility of sending the solicitation of interest letter to the department chairs, consistent with past practice. (See AFA Memoranda of Understanding 2015-16.)
We’ve completed a further revision of Article 18: Leaves, to expand faculty rights in this area. The revised article broadens definitions of family and parenting, thereby reflecting contemporary family life and the needs of children. Faculty may now also use sick leave for their own as well as family members’ medical appointments, or when they miss work due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking (consistent with new Labor Codes). The Article also expands the provisions for Personal Necessity Leaves.
The lion’s share of our efforts this year has been devoted to negotiating Article 23: Progressive Discipline and Due Process. We’ve been working on this article for more than four years and are optimistic that we will soon finalize it.
AFA and the District are also discussing the charge of DTREC—the District Tenure Review and Evaluation Committee—within the scope of negotiations on Article 30: Tenure Review. Of primary concern here is distinguishing among various tasks that DTREC has been involved with in the past and, most critically, aligning evaluations and tenure-review practices with other provisions of the Contract.
Regarding Article 10: Benefits, quotes from our insurance carriers look like they will be low enough this year that there will be no need to negotiate changes to the benefits provisions established last year (see Article 10.05).
This time of the spring semester is what we call “money season.” Each January, Sacramento provides the earliest indications about the State budget. Throughout the late winter and early spring, legislators and lobbyists go to work on the Governor’s proposed budget. About a month from now we’ll get the May Revise, which gives us a better sense of what the final budget might look like. At this point, the budget news is mixed: The proposed COLA is extremely low (less than half a percent), and yet funding for the community college system is healthy. The problem with much of the funding is that it’s in the form of categoricals—that is, districts must use the money for purposes defined by the legislature. The minuscule COLA combined with a dearth of flexible money means that negotiating salary this year will be challenging. AFA and the District have been engaged in preliminary salary discussions for the past month, and our goal is to settle by May 13 at the latest.
There are a few additional items that the two teams are working on. Additional articles that are open for negotiations include Articles 1: Agreement to the Contract; 21: Progressive Growth Increments; 22: Professional Development; 29: Substitutes and Reporting Faculty Absences; 31: Working Conditions; and 32: Workload. As we are in the second year of a three-year contract, any unfinished work will roll over to next year.