Fundamentals of AFA/District Negotiations
by Warren Ruud, Regular Faculty Member in the Mathematics Department and AFA Chief Negotiator
AFA is committed to protecting and expanding the rights of SRJC faculty members in the areas of salary, working conditions and benefits. These faculty rights are codified in the AFA Contract. The primary task of the AFA Negotiating Team is to work with the District Negotiating team to maintain and amend the Contract in the mutual best interests of both the faculty and the District.
The AFA Negotiating team is made up of six faculty members—the Chief Negotiator, the AFA President, and four at-large negotiators. At least two negotiators must be adjunct faculty. All are elected to these positions by the AFA Executive Council, and the team's actions in negotiations are directed by the Council. (For the current AFA team, see http://www.santarosa.edu/afa/nego_team.shtml.)
The AFA Contract comprises thirty-two articles, each addressing a specific scope of faculty rights (salary, evaluations, retirement, etc.). The term of the contract is three years, after which a new contract is negotiated. During each contract term, articles in the Contract may be amended by Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). Once an MOU is negotiated and signed by AFA and the District, it is enacted with the same effect as contract language. The MOUs signed during the academic year, along with other negotiated items, become part of the Tentative Agreement (TA), which is put before AFA members for approval by majority vote; the balloting typically occurs in May of each year. The MOUs and other negotiated items then actually become part of the current contract if that TA is approved by the membership.
State and federal collective bargaining laws determine the process by which AFA and the District negotiate. Before AFA and the District may start substantive negotiation on any matter, the relevant contract article must be reopened for the term of the present contract. To be reopened, the article must be presented formally to the Board of Trustees, who then make the proposal available for public inspection and schedule a public hearing at a Board meeting. During the term of the current contract, AFA and the District each are allowed to reopen up to four articles unilaterally and any number of other articles by mutual agreement. In addition, eight specific articles are reopened automatically for the term of each new contract. (You may review the current reopened articles at
For more information about the negotiation process, or for updates on current articles under negotiation, contact the AFA office.