Speak Now, Faculty
As many of you know, the Guild (your faculty labor union) has a tradition of concluding 3-year contracts with the representatives of the District. The last such contract expired about 8 months ago, and we started negotiating the successor contract nearly 12 months ago. While we continue to negotiate the successor, the provisions of the expired contract are still in force.
The extended time period is due, in part, to the intransigence of the District's negotiators. For example, we have sought a token amount of pay for faculty members who serve outside our negotiated work year on governance committees that don't normally meet then, or on hiring committees. The other side has not only completely ignored our arguments, but has even refused to offer a counter-proposal to address the obvious concern here.
Every other member of those committees receives their normal pay while serving, but they refuse to agree to our proposal for far less than normal pay, or for that matter to propose any compensation whatsoever. This is particularly outrageous since they also deny flex hour credit to those faculty who agree to go above and beyond in this way for the institution.
If they are going resist fair treatment on this, apparently over the tiny costs involved, then it is hard to see them agreeing readily to our reasonable goal of restoring the purchasing power of our salaries. The District's budget is back to where it was before the Great Recession, but our compensation sure isn't. The raises that have been agreed to in this round come nowhere close enough, and seriously lag those of surrounding districts.
With the strong push in recent years to improve outcomes for our students, we also have been pursuing more paid office hour work for our adjunct instructors, to provide greater opportunity for those one-on-one connections that help students thrive. As one of our Trustees said recently, "...instructor availability is key." The other negotiating team however continues to push for fewer adjunct office hours than would be proportional, and to pay a lower hourly rate for that work, adding insult to injury.
Thinking long-term, we also think a significant investment now in more programs aimed at improving the wellness of all employees at the college would reduce the insurance premium the District will have to pay in the near future. Research show that having those perceived as leaders on campus step up to lead by example in these programs is even more important than spending a lot of money, but money also matters. We have yet to get much of a reaction from them on this, so we will have to wait and see.
I don't want to sound too negative. Already twice in this negotiating round, we have ratified large collections of agreements struck at the table, through votes of the Board of Trustees and the Guild's membership. We have been making progress, and hopefully the third time will be the charm. But, the top leadership of the college needs to know how important that is to you.
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