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Chaparral 2016-2017: 25.5 Guild News

Guild News (May 2017)

Guild News
Retrospective or Reflections of an Outgoing Guild President

Zohara G. Kaye
Guild President

I have now served as your Guild President for the last two years. During my two years, I learned more about how our institution is run, and got to meet more members, than I had the previous twenty years combined.

What I learned

Most of the job entails doing things that are not on your “to do” list for the day. Be prepared to put out fires!

Some things, if left alone, fix themselves.  Know how to tell the difference between real emergencies and “fake” ones.

The life of a Guild President is full of people, but it can also feel very isolating. There’s only one of you. Remember you are part of a team!

Our union is one for all academic faculty, including counselors, instructors, librarians, nurses, and specialists. Sometimes various interests are in conflict with one another, and the Guild President’s job is to keep the perspective of a healthy union in mind.  When one of us is hurt, we are all hurt.  Together, we stand stronger.

What I didn’t learn

I did not learn how to accomplish everything on my “to do” list without having my work life bleed into my personal time.  My husband pointed out the irony many times - a UNION president working late at nights and skipping family outings with the kids to catch up on work on the weekends. It is ironic since the union (the labor movement) brought you the standard 40 hour workweeks and 2 day weekends in this country.


So, as I reflect on all the hours spent on “Guild work” over the last two years, I look for evidence of what was accomplished to justify the extra effort, and I realize I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything if it wasn't for my team - Guild officers, negotiators, committee members, and dedicated faculty offering their expertise and institutional knowledge, and engaged membership that responds to calls for actions.  Together, we were able to accomplish:

  1. Member Drive
    With the help of CFT’s Building Power Campaign, we increased our membership from 66% to 93% - our current goal is to reach 95% membership by the end of Spring 2017.

  2. Membership Database
    As part of our move to a new database (KNACK), we updated and secured current member data by asking all current members to fill out our NEW BLUE membership form. We have now removed social security numbers from our data set and replaced it with Employee Identification numbers. So far, we have about 75% of our members who have submitted their NEW BLUE forms, with another 25% to go by the end of Spring 2017.
  3. Committees and Task Forces: MnM, PTETF
    Our Health and Welfare Committee selected Erin Calderone as the Wellness Coordinator, and for the first time we have a wellness program here at GCC.

    Our Professors for Quality Education Committee interviewed candidates and held a public forum for the April 2017 Board of Trustees elections. Our endorsed candidates, Armine Hacopian, Ann Ransford, and Yvette Vartanian Davis, were elected in their areas in GCC’s first ever by-area Board of Trustees elections.

    Newly formed Membership and Mobilization Task Force (MnM) was kept busy with reaching out to faculty who hadn’t yet signed up to become Guild members, and mobilizing members to show solidarity when salary negotiations got tough.

    Part Time Equity Task Force is another newly formed task force, met to discuss issues of parity for adjuncts.  Pay equity, better health care options, more office space were at the top of concerns expressed by our adjuncts.
  4. Negotiations
    Highlights from negotiations include the first substantive salary raise since the Great Recession of 4.5% for full-time and 5.5% for part-time faculty over a two year period 2015-17 plus a 1% and 2% bonus for full-time and part-time faculty (respectively) in 2016.

    Our part-time faculty, all part-time faculty, now have the opportunity to get paid for proportional office hours (proportional to a full-time load, based on number of units taught).  For the first time at GCC, our non-credit adjunct faculty will have paid office hours starting Fall 2017.

    We negotiated changes to our Reemployment Rights to become compliant with SB1379.  Our reemployment rights now include a method to place instructors with satisfactory evaluations on the list; those on reemployment rights will now have an offer of “no less than a previous assignment” and a method to reach up to 60 to 67% of a full time load as assignments become available.

    Salary negotiations for 2017-18 have commenced, and with the May revise providing a brighter outlook than expected, we look forward to more amicable negotiations this year.  Our negotiating team will continue to meet during the summer with the District’s negotiating team, an we will hopefully bridge the gap and come to an agreement without the help of a PERB assigned mediator this time.


Since I announced I would not run for another term, several of you have asked if I will miss being the President.  My response to you was “No, I don’t think so.”  Truth is, I will miss some parts of it.  I will miss being part of the solution we figure out for faculty having various difficulties with administration.  I will not miss obsessing over accuracy of membership data and numbers.  However, what I will carry with me, always, is the feeling of being part of a team and the sincere relationships I was able to form with many of you in my role as President, including faculty, classified staff, and administrators.

It has been a pleasure to serve you as your Guild President, and it has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life.  These accomplishment could not have been possible without an engaged membership and us working as a team. I look forward to continuing my service to you as Past President in 2017-18, and turning the helm over to our incoming Guild President, Roger Bowerman.

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