Spring 2011 Salary and Benefits Survey
Soon, you should be receiving an email with your personal link to Zoomerang that will allow you to complete the annual AFA Membership Survey.
Following are brief explanations about the 14 questions that AFA is asking in the Spring 2011 Negotiations Survey in order to solicit faculty opinions on benefits, ongoing negotiation topics, and future retirement plans. Your responses will help AFA establish issues and priorities for negotiations in the next three to five years.
Please complete the survey by 12 noon, Monday, May 23. If you feel that you do not have an adequate understanding of an issue to answer a question with confidence, feel free to leave it blank. At the end of the questions, a place is provided for written comments.
Survey results will be posted on the AFA Web site shortly after the deadline. Thanks for participating!
Benefits (Survey Questions #5-7)
A. Medical. Over the last decade, the costs of SRJC medical benefit group plans have risen much faster than the increases in the District revenue. The matter has become even more problematic now that District revenue from the State is decreasing. A major topic of negotiations each year is how to cover that gap in medical benefit expenditures. Either the cost must be reduced by changes to the plans, or ongoing revenue must be redirected from other sources such as salary. More information about benefits can be found in Article 10 at http://www.santarosa.edu/afa/Contract/MOU/mou_10_benefits.pdf.
Negotiations and Budget (Survey Questions #8-10)
A. Contract faculty retirements. Coinciding with the current budget crisis is the prospect of an unprecedented number of contract faculty retirements. The District does not intend to fill all of these openings, but rather is planning to backfill some openings with hourly assignments. AFA believes the actual cost avoidance in this type of backfilling is approximately $60,000 per FTEF.
B. Management openings. The District anticipates openings in management positions as well, including dean-level positions such as the Dean of Student Services in Petaluma and the EOPS Director. Not filling these positions would avoid costs of roughly $150,000 per year per position.
C. Faculty "efficiency." One of the byproducts of the class schedule reduction is that the ratio of FTES/FTEF has increased from approximately 16 to approximately 19. In a typical lecture class, this increase translates to moving from 32 students to 38 students. The District refers to this change as an "efficiency increase." Obviously, this increase in FTES/FTEF causes faculty workloads to increase as well, and therefore "efficiency" is a topic of discussion when salaries are negotiated.
Retirement and Related (Survey Questions #11-14)
A. Retirement: Adjunct Faculty. Adjunct faculty currently have a choice of three retirement plans: the CalSTRS Defined Benefit Plan, the CalSTRS Cash Balance Plan, and a District-provided 403(b) plan administered by Fidelity Investments. (See Article 24: Retirement http://www.santarosa.edu/afa/Contract/Articles/art24.pdf for a description of the three plans.) The District is only compelled to offer one retirement plan as an alternative to the CalSTRS DB Plan, which the District must offer by law. In response to a change in federal law in 1990, and based on the results of a survey sent to adjunct faculty members soliciting their preferences for Social Security or an alternative retirement plan, AFA negotiated with the District to offer an alternative retirement plan provided by Fidelity Investments, effective January 1, 1992. Periodically since that time, adjunct faculty members have expressed interest in having Social Security as a retirement plan option with the District. As a result of the incorporation of Senate Bill 1466 into law, the State Education Code has been modified to allow employers who offer the CalSTRS CB Plan to negotiate Social Security as a retirement program in order to allow their CB participants to opt out of CB and elect Social Security coverage. AFA is again asking for input from adjunct faculty as to their interest in Social Security as a retirement plan option.
B. Disability Insurance: Adjunct Faculty. The State Disability Insurance Program (SDI) is a short-term (up to 52 weeks) disability insurance program that replaces a portion of income for employees who are unable to work and who meet certain eligibility requirements. SDI consists of two programs: Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave. SDI operates much like State Unemployment Insurance (UI), in that a weekly benefit is paid out based on the highest quarterly earnings established during a one-year base period; however, while UI is funded by employer-paid contributions, SDI is funded by contributions paid by the employee through payroll deduction.
In the past, the decision to elect coverage under the SDI program was contingent on the approval of a majority of all the members in a bargaining unit; however, recent State legislation (AB 381) has now made it possible for separate groups within bargaining units (e.g., part-time faculty) to opt as a group to elect SDI coverage. Adjunct faculty members presently do not have any disability insurance coverage and their only option is to use sick leave (subject to its earned availability) during the period in which they are unable to work. Since SDI is funded by employee-paid payroll deductions, AFA is asking for input regarding adjunct faculty interest in participating in the SDI program.