Last December, the packet of tentative agreements (TA’s) put forward for faculty consideration was ratified by the smallest margin in the Guild’s recent history. At issue within the TA’s presented was the calendar for 2013-14, where the votes cast in favor of retaining the status quo (keeping a placeholder for Winter intersession and starting the Spring semester in late February) had a razor thin edge over the voice of individuals who expressed a preference for moving up the calendar and doing away with Winter. The divided opinion of the membership on this matter was echoed within the Guild leadership as well.
Since the ratification vote, I have heard from a significant number of faculty expressing displeasure with the outcome of the Guild vote. My response to them has been that the Guild is obligated to abide by the will of the majority, however slim this majority may have been. However, many have confessed to having voted one way or the other without full knowledge of the facts or ramifications associated with each scenario. Other voters state that they operated under the assumption that retaining a six-week long placeholder in the middle of the academic year would force the administration’s hand in offering a substantial amount of Winter courses in the near future.
Despite the calendar having been ratified by both the Guild membership and the Board of Trustees, the District has expressed interest in revisiting the issue and exploring solutions that could prove to be beneficial to students, faculty, and the District. The negotiating teams will have to explore whether to take up the matter once again or let the agreement stand as it is. The relevant question for me is whether there is a solution that could satisfy the supermajority of our membership, and unify us.
Although the 2013-14 calendar may well be a foregone conclusion at this juncture, there are other noteworthy items that could be potentially controversial. For example, the discussion on switching health care providers and modifying our current structure is ongoing, as is the matter of addressing the issue of full time instructional faculty’s pro-rata pay in short sessions. Each of these items is complex and requires an informed membership to weigh the pros and cons of each option. The next few weeks will be crucial: our job is to share the relevant information with you and explain, in the best way we are able, all the possibilities and drawbacks associated with each option. On the other hand, your job will be to ask questions and ensure that you fully understand the various scenarios. Guild Executive is happy to answer your questions and concerns: please contact any of us if you would like to chat.
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