AFA

 

Negotiations Update 2013-14

 

by Warren Ruud, AFA Chief Negotiator and Regular Faculty Member in the Mathematics Department
There's no easy way to say this—2009–10 will be one of the worst budget years on record for SRJC, and we haven't seen the bottom of the crisis yet. The next three years will most likely be as bad if not worse than 2009–10. Until the governor and the state legislature solve the state’s structural fiscal problems, education will continue to suffer massive annual shortfalls in funding.
                                                                         —AFA
Update, August 2009

Those words written back in 2009 proved to be all too true. We all know what has happened since 2009—California community colleges slammed with devastating revenue cuts, our students locked out of needed classes, our programs slashed, and faculty around the state forced into salary and benefit concessions.

But there's good news this year! The state is beginning to restore funding and support to education. The significant factor in this turnaround was the passage of Proposition 30 last November. That statewide victory was in part due to the campaign waged in Sonoma County by a coalition of SRJC faculty, staff, students and management, which was led by AFA and SEIU.

Soon after the election last year, AFA went back to work at the negotiations table. AFA achieved a 5.3 percent overall increase in adjunct and contract faculty salaries for 2013–14. This raise is the largest for SRJC faculty in the last twelve years, and the largest for all 72 community college districts in the state for 2013–14. AFA also secured significant funding for potential cost increases in faculty medical benefits over the next two to three year period.

The work continues this year. What follows are progress reports on the current items on the negotiations table.

Salary and Benefits

While SRJC faculty made significant progress in returning to Rank Ten this year, we still have to finish the job. AFA's primary goals with respect to salary and benefits for 2014–15 are the implementation of Rank Ten salary schedules, which will benefit both contract and adjunct faculty, and the preservation of existing medical benefits with no additional costs to the faculty member. A large part of AFA's battle with the current Board of Trustees and administrators has been to remind them of the long–standing commitment by the District to provide competitive salaries, wages and benefits to its adjunct and contract faculty. In this decade's unprecedented level of faculty hiring at SRJC, not honoring this commitment places SRJC's "Legacy of Excellence" in jeopardy of becoming an empty slogan.

Compressed Calendar

In Fall 2008, AFA and the Academic Senate formed the Compressed Calendar Task Force. The task force began its work in Spring 2009 (The task force's mission statement may be viewed at www.santarosa.edu/afa/senate_home.shtml.) In Fall 2010, the District joined the task force, and in 2011, the task force entered its next phase as an AFA/District negotiations task force. This task force disbanded in 2012, and its final report from the task force co-chairs is pending. (This report will be posted on the AFA website after it is finalized.) In Spring 2012, the Academic Senate held an open forum to discuss "the unique opportunities and challenges that a compressed calendar poses for various departments on campus." Departments were invited to submit positions on whether the District should move to some form of a compressed calendar. The summary of these positions is given in Table 1 below.


Position For Art, Behavioral Sciences, Communication Studies, English
Position Against Chemistry, Health Sciences Life Sciences, Mathematics, Music
No Position Submitted Agriculture/Natural Resources, Applied Technology, Business Administration, Child Development, College Skills, Computer Studies, Consumer & Family Studies, Counseling, Culinary Arts, Earth & Space Scioence, English as a Second Language, Industrial & Trade Technology, Interdisciplinary Studies, Kinesiology Athletics & Dance, Learning Resources, Modern & Classical Languages, Public Safety, Social Science, Theatre Arts
Table 1: Department Positions on Compressed Calendar (data source: SRJC Academic Senate website

Whether AFA takes a proposal for a compressed calendar to the negotiations table depends upon a clear consensus of the faculty to do so. At this point, the Academic Senate has concluded its role in the college-wide discussion on whether a compressed calendar should be pursued as a goal. Based on that decision by the Senate, AFA is looking for input from faculty through their departments, particularly those departments that have not taken a position yet. It is AFA's intention to determine the compressed calendar issue this academic year.

Due Process

Since 2007, AFA has pushed for the protection of faculty rights through a Due Process contract article. Last year, the District agreed to open this article for negotiation, and AFA submitted a draft of the article in February, which the District is in the process of reviewing. We hope to hear their thoughts on the AFA draft soon. The following points are a summary of what this article draft would require of the District:

We hope to have this discussion concluded this academic year and have this contract article prepared for approval by the AFA membership in May.

Hourly Assignments

AFA's interests in this revision are (a) protecting current reassignment rights for hourly faculty, (b) making the department assignment process simpler and more transparent, and (c) providing more security to hourly faculty in times of drastic class schedule reductions. The revision will be completed in 2013–14.

Lab and Online Workload Issues

AFA has made significant progress with the District in addressing the workload inequities in instructional lab and online assignments this year through the AFA/District Workload Task Force. The task force completed workload surveys for SRJC lab and online faculty and studies of load allocation for lab and online assignments at the other California Community College districts. Final recommendations for addressing both lab and online workload issues is available on the AFA website.

Faculty Coordinator and Chair Job Duties and Compensation


In 2012–13, AFA and the District agreed to revise the job duties for both chairs and faculty coordinators and to place language into Article 13 of the contract on how reassigned time is determined for these positions. That work will be completed this year.

As negotiations progress this year, you will be receiving more updates. Feel free to contact the AFA office or email me directly (wruud@santarosa.edu) if you have comments or questions on negotiation issues.

 

 

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