Table Talk 10-20-2016

Here is a PDF of the 10-20-2016 issue of Table Talk, our union’s newsletter: TableTalkOCT2016FINAL.

The full text of the issue is also reprinted below so that articles can be found by our web site’s search engine.


Table Talk

The Newsletter of the United Faculty of Contra Costa Community College District

October 20, 2016


News at a Glance

 Lead Story: Memorial Service Scheduled for 22-Year District Trustee

            John T. Nejedly

  •  Inside Negotiations: Fall Agreement May Be Close

•  Hot Topics: UF Nomination Period Ends with No Contested

            Elections; UF President Donna Wapner to Serve 2nd Term

•  Full-Time Faculty Issues: Seeking Equity for Head Coaches

•  Part-Time Faculty Issues: Equity-Hour Trainings;

            Hourly Pay versus Pay-Per-Load; Parity and Office Hours

  •  Political Action Report: Walk with UF Oct. 29 and Nov. 6

 President’s Message: Fighting for Change from ACCJC to Funding


Service Scheduled for John Nejedly


Funeral services for Contra Costa Community College District trustee John T. Nejedly have been scheduled for 11am on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 1315 Lomitas Ave. in Livermore. A reception will follow at the Ravenswood Historic Site, 2647 Arroyo Road.


Mr. Nejedly, who was 52, died unexpectedly on Oct. 7 in New Orleans, after having attended the annual convention of the Association of Community College Trustees with Chancellor Benjamin and others. The cause of death is still unknown.


John served 22 years on the 4CD Board (six consecutive terms), representing Ward Four, which includes Blackhawk, Byron, Danville, Diablo, Discovery Bay, San Ramon and parts of Alamo, Antioch, Brentwood, Clayton and Concord. His tenure included some contentious battles, but UF leaders will remember him as an ally, dedicated to students and to making our colleges the best they can be. He had a vision for the District that included upgraded facilities and a first-rate faculty and staff, and he often challenged the UF in a supportive way to bring plans to the Board. When we struggled to reach agreement with management in negotiations, John would needle us a little, telling us to work harder. He touched base with the UF at almost every Board meeting, sometimes sharing coffee from the Board’s back-room stash, and he often solicited UF input from the audience when an issue was being discussed that related to faculty. John cared about our district and was a champion for our colleges in the community. He was a genuinely nice guy, and we will all miss him.


Mr. Nejedly’s spot on the District Governing Board will be filled by appointment, with the Board accepting applications and interviewing candidates.


Inside Negotiations

Some Optimism, Some Frustration as Fall Talks Continue


Although the UF Compensation Committee team was frustrated and disappointed not to reach consensus to immediately implement the step 27 provision from last year’s collective bargaining agreement (which would have added steps to the top of our salary schedule including a 2% pay raise at step 27), we are pleased to report that the range of options on the table now appears to reflect a commitment to compromise on both sides.


Facing a projected 1.5 million dollar structural deficit, the District exercised its option to reopen negotiations over our salary formula, citing unanticipated financial developments. So the formula discussion is now over, and we will move in negotiations to a broader agreement for the fall. Since there is no new ongoing money on the table this year, new expenses will likely need to be offset by “savings” or by borrowing from anticipated funding increases in the future. Sometimes, for example, the District has “fronted” anticipated revenue by allocating one-time money from reserves. Another option is to delay implementation until new funding becomes available (or savings are realized). If we delay implementation of the step 27 pay raise, however, faculty who were planning to retire this year will be especially impacted. While all senior faculty who have been frozen at the top of the salary schedule for years without a step increase would have to wait for what they rightly expected to be a small increase this year, those who were counting on the raise as part of their retirement calculations for this year would be the worst off (since the delay would affect their pensions). So we have started discussing a possible retirement incentive.


A retirement incentive has other benefits, of course, since replacing senior faculty with new full-time hires reduces payroll costs. But it would also be a way of living up to the commitment we made to senior faculty in last year’s agreement, even if those not retiring would have to wait a bit longer. A retirement incentive uses one-time money, so it may be easier to negotiate this fall than a retroactive ongoing raise at step 27. And while there does not appear to be a legal way to simply implement the step 27 agreement only for faculty planning to retire, there should be a way to offer an incentive that would affect pensions in roughly the same way as a 2% raise would. Note that we are still at the most preliminary stages of talks on this subject, and no firm commitment has been made on either side. One important priority for the UF if we do wind up offering a retirement incentive is that we not exclude faculty who have already announced intentions to retire. If an incentive is offered, we will press to be sure it is available to everyone.


Other fall issues (carried over from last year) that seem close to agreement, as we reported in our “joint statement” with the District, include:

• the compressed calendar (starting fall 2018 at the soonest);

• some provisions related to safety and security;

• removing restrictions on non-credit classes that receive apportionment

at the credit rate;

• compensating CTE program leads (perhaps with a fund and formula

similar to how we compensate department chairs);

• restricting future retirees to Medicare coordinated programs, such as

Kaiser Senior Advantage and the Blue Cross equivalent, provided

that those plans are as good as or better than the plans active

employees now have (which we think they are);

•  increasing load for science labs.

This last issue has been a source of frustration for our team since it has been on the table for years now with no agreement, but we have been steadfast in insisting that some progress must be reflected in any agreement this fall, even if we have to compromise in some small way. We have been seeking, as the Load Task Force recommended, that all science labs simply pay at the lecture rate (as Lab 1). Now we are discussing phasing in implementation over more than one year, or perhaps loading science labs at 90% of lecture. Another option would be to offset costs a bit by paying less for overlapping science lecture sections (sometimes two small lecture classes linked to science labs are taught as a sort of “double,” which is a bit less work for faculty than having to teach both sections independently). Again, we have not yet agreed to any option, but with modest compromises on both sides, we think we may finally be able to reach agreement on these long-standing issues.


Another issue we have been discussing that might fit into a fall agreement is increased compensation for head coaches. This was a particular concern of Trustee Nejedly who frequently used to ask union leaders when he would see the agreement that raised pay for coaches to competitive levels. Not only are there some internal equity issues with coaching assignments, but 4CD head coaches simply do not get as much support (in pay or reassigned time) as at other districts, and this is something the UF wants to fix.


Salary and benefits for 2017-2018 will be negotiated next spring, as will part-time pay issues, including parity increases and expanding office hours. We think we may be in a position to shift from hourly pay to pay-per-load for part-time faculty, which would help us in negotiating a long-term plan to increase pay equity for part-timers and put office-hour pay on the salary schedule. But this would be a complex change that would take some time and some new ongoing money, as we hope there will be in next year’s budget.


The District has expressed an interest in reviewing and amending our hiring procedures, so this too will likely be part of negotiations this year. Another issue we may bring to the table involves “management called meetings” and what procedures should be when faculty have to miss meetings like division meetings or all-college assemblies. Do you have workplace issues you would like to see the UF address? Contact Donna ( or Jeff ( or any E-Board member!


Hot Topics

Donna Wapner to Serve Second Term as UF President


The nomination period for UF elections has ended, and we had no position that more than one faculty member expressed an interest in filling, so we have no contested elections this year. Donna Wapner will serve a second term as UF President, beginning January 1, 2017, and several new faculty members have joined the UF Executive Board.  These include new full-time representative from DVC: Rick Godinez (SRC Fine Arts); new part-time representatives from DVC: Kamala Appel (Film) and Debra Stevens (English); and new part-time representative from LMC: Susan Reno (Nursing). Jeffrey Michels (CCC) and Milton Clarke (LMC) have agreed to remain as vice presidents, but Marina Crouse (DVC) will be stepping down after this semester, and President Wapner has announced her intention to appoint current UF Treasurer Jason Mayfield (DVC Geology) to serve as Vice President for DVC starting January 1, 2017. Confirmation votes for the vice presidents and appointed E-Board members will be held in the spring.  At our last meeting, the UF E-Board confirmed that Katrina Keating (DVC Math) will become Treasurer in the spring, and Michael Shannon (CCC English) will become Secretary.


We still have open spots on the E-Board for two full-time representatives from DVC and one from LMC.  If you are interested in serving, please contact Terri Adame in the UF Office at 925-680-1771 or The UF Executive Board meets twice monthly on Thursdays at DVC from 2:15-5pm.


Full-Time Faculty Issues

Seeking Equity for Head Coaches


Head coaches at 4CD teach PE Activity classes that load at a reduced rate (lower than regular lab classes) because our contract assumes that PE instructors mostly demonstrate skills and supervise student performance without the time spent outside of class preparing or grading that other faculty must spend. But unlike most lecturers, coaches recruit students (by phone, in person, and by visiting high schools), hold regular staff meetings in addition to department meetings, engage in fundraising to support their teams, scout opponent’s games and meet with scouts who are recruiting our students, develop on-going training materials, and watch hundreds of hours of game tapes to provide insight and analysis for student athletes. Coaches meet with trainers, sometimes daily, when students are injured; they must keep track of how their students are doing in other classes, to ensure eligibility; they organize and coordinate post-season awards; they travel with their teams, usually driving the vans themselves; they fill out paperwork related to travel, complete safety checks, report game statistics; assist equipment staff with set-up and breakdown for home games.  The list of duties outside of class is massive! But there is no extra stipend for being a head coach at 4CD (as there is at many other nearby college districts). And the load associated with these assignments doesn’t begin to cover the time coaches actually put in. On the contrary, the load is based on the assumption that in-class time is essentially all coaches devote! As an equity issue, this one seems pretty cut and dry. Coaches may be a small group, but they deserve to be treated fairly. And our athletics programs certainly bring lots of positive attention to our colleges as well as helping us recruit students who might not otherwise come to college. It’s time to up our investment in coaches and recognize all the work that they do.


Part-Time Faculty Issues

Equity Hour is Just One Step Up a Long Hill


The “equity hour” programs at CCC, DVC and LMC got off to terrific starts with many part-time faculty participating and each college offering training workshops as part of their broader equity plans. As a result, about 400 part-timers are getting valuable professional development opportunities and will be be eligible for more compensated time working with students in the spring, which should be good for both students and faculty.


As happy as we are about this innovative program, we still think part-time time faculty should be paid to hold office hours in proportion to their assignment, just like full-timers. In the long run, the “equity hour” program should be something separate (and open to all faculty too), because all students need and deserve access to their faculty outside of class. And all faculty deserve to be paid for the time they spend working with students outside of class. Office hours should be part of every regular assignment, with pay not separate but folded into salary. And salaries should be paid at the same per-class, per-load rate for all faculty, based on experience and length of service. Yes, some full-time pay is for administrative work that part-timers don’t do. But factoring for that, teachers deserve equal pay for equal work. Some districts have made huge strides towards equitable pay; ours has not. We have taken some baby steps. But this year, we will aim again for a long-term plan.


PAC Report

Walk with the UF Oct. 29 and Nov. 6 to Get Out the Vote


In addition to having made a few campaign contributions, the UF PAC is teaming up with the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) to organize two walks before the November election, to help get out the vote and to raise awareness of local assembly and senate candidates who are pro-education (like Mae Cendaña Torlakson, Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Nancy Skinner) and ballot initiatives that would help our colleges (like Proposition 51, the school facilities bond proposal that would raise $2 billion for community colleges, and Proposition 55, which would extend some taxes from Prop 30 to avoid new cuts in college finding). All faculty are welcome and encouraged to come walk with us!


Saturday, October 29, 2016

We are walking with Mae Torlakson

Meet at 9:30am


4121 Alhambra Ave., Martinez




Sunday, November 6, 2016

We are walking with Cheryl Cook-Kallio

Meet at 10am

1838 Tice Valley Blvd, Walnut Creek

UF leaders attended the fall convention of the California Community Colleges Independents (CCCI) in San Diego last week, and we voted to divide lobbying efforts this year into three main categories: first, we will seek to advance legislation that would improve due-process rights for faculty during district investigations of alleged misconduct. Second, we will work to strengthen the law related to part-time pay equity. And third, we will work to ensure that districts are accurately reporting spending, particularly related to the law that requires at least 50% of funds to be spent on classroom instruction.


CCCI has also sent a letter to the California Supreme Court requesting that they review the recent case in Marin (Marin Association of Public Employees v. Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association) that seems to call into question the established “California Rule,” which protects faculty pensions. California courts have long recognized that vested benefits can only be changed if some fair exchange is made where “disadvantageous changes are offset by advantageous changes.” This rule has kept our STRS pensions safe from “reforms” that might seek to cut benefits to save money. In the Marin case, the court seemed to carve out an exception that might put our pensions at risk, so CCCI (and the UF as a member) are joining in the appeal to the Supreme Court, and if they decide to hear the case, we will file an Amicus brief as well arguing that the Marin decision violated the State Constitution.


Our main argument, of course, is that pensions are deferred compensation. We are paid less in salary because our “total compensation” includes a pension. Many faculty stay in their jobs longer to achieve pension goals. Those pensions should be firmly guaranteed.



President’s Message

Fighting for Change from ACCJC to Funding


At our California Community College Independents (CCCI) Conference in San Diego (the first one led by our own Jeff Michels as the new President of CCCI), we heard from Cindy Miles, the Chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca CCD. Miles is leading “Workgroup 2” on accreditation, the group tasked with finding a new accrediting agency to replace the ACCJC. After the CA Community College Board of Trustees voted last year to accept the Task Force Report on Accreditation from the State Chancellor’s Office, they established two work groups: one led by our 4CD Chancellor Helen Benjamin, “Workgroup 1,” which was charged with reforming the ACCJC and working with the agency to make improvements, and the other led by Miles to find an alternative. Helen’s group has completed the first part of their work. They made recommendations to the ACCJC, and not long after that, ACCJC President Barbara Beno announced that she will retire at the end of the academic year. Whether this will actually lead to positive changes is still unclear. But Miles told us at CCCI that her group still has a long way to go.


The CEOs (college presidents and chancellors) were perhaps late in acknowledging what faculty leaders have been saying for many years now: that the ACCJC is a disaster and that our whole accreditation process has become a massive distraction doing our colleges more harm than good. But the agency, in theory at least, works for the CEOs. So now that they are essentially in agreement that accreditation reform is needed, one might think change would come soon. But Miles seemed to say building consensus among so many CEOs was going to take time, and even if the CEOs agree in the end that moving from ACCJC to the Senior Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which accredits universities in California or some other agency, the process will be slow. WASC would need to agree to take on our system (which includes Hawaii and Guam), and then the US Department of Education would need to agree. And then once all the pieces are in place, the transfer still might take up to six years. (Workgroup 1 is looking more important all the time.)


One thing is clear, however: faculty advocates cannot back down. We must insist on a culture of support, not one of punishment.  Accountability is important, but it shouldn’t be a whole industry!  Our job is to teach students and support one another in our efforts. As usual, the CCCI Conference, where nine UF E-Board members gathered with more than 50 faculty leaders from 15 college districts was two parts energizing, one part appalling, and a terrific opportunity to learn. The appalling part is how many challenges we face, and how we all face many of the same challenges. The energizing part is how dedicated, smart and hardworking our members are. Everyone shares strategies and goals. Everyone shares frustrations too. Public education is a constant fight, but it’s a good fight.  Progress, we all agree, can be slow. But our job is to keep change moving in the right direction.

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