Table Talk 9-14-2016

Here is a PDF of the 9-14-2016 issue of Table Talk: TableTalkSEPT2016FINAL.  The full text of the issue is reprinted below so articles can be located by our website’s search engine.


Table Talk

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


September 14, 2016


News at a Glance

  •  Lead Stories: Negotiations Resume; Equity Program Brings Great

            New Training to 4CD and Increases Pay for Part-Timers

•  Hot Topics: Nomination Process Begins for UF Election in October;

            UF Board Approves New Elections Handbook

•  Full-Time Faculty Issues: Seeking Support for Program Leads

            and Department Chairs; Step 27 and Science Lab Load

•  Part-Time Faculty Issues: New “Equity Hour” Worth About $1200

            This Year to Every Part-Timer Who Participates

  •  Know Your Benefits:  New Long-Term Health Care Insurance

•  Political Action Report: Bills Reach Governor; Seeking Students

 President’s Message: Not Backing Down at the Bargaining Table


2016-2017 Negotiations Resume


Talks between the UF and 4CD leadership have been intense over the past several weeks, as our “Compensation Committee” has been working to finalize and agree upon salary formula calculations for 2016-2017. At stake, mainly, is the raise at Step 27 that was negotiated last year “contingent on available funding.” The UF would like Step 27 implemented now, retroactive to July 1 of this year, but the formula calculations are proving less cut and dry than we expected. We are making slow progress but still have not reached consensus with the District on the numbers.


Last year (2015-2016), following our negotiated two-year compensation agreement, salaries increased 5%, but any additional raise this year depended on new, unrestricted, ongoing revenues exceeding new ongoing expenses. Unfortunately, the District is projecting a structural deficit this year. With nearly half the state budget restricted for Career Technical programs; with no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in the budget; with 4CD, like many districts in Northern CA, failing to capture “growth dollars;” and with a significant increase in mandated employer contributions to faculty retirement (STRS), an automatic formula-produced raise for 2016-2017 (except for regular step and column increases) seems unlikely.


Still, our district has large reserves and the outlook for increased state funding in 2017-2018, so far, seems excellent, so we are not facing any sort of financial crisis. We should still be able to afford necessary changes and improvements to our contract (especially if we can increase enrollment and/or improve productivity ratios).


Negotiations this year will probably involve three parts. First, we need to resolve last year’s salary formula, which we hope to do in the next few weeks.  Second, we have set up a schedule for formal full-team negotiations in October to see if we can reach a fall agreement that would conclude talks on most of last year’s issues. These include increasing science lab load; compensating CTE program leads (perhaps with money from the new “strong workforce” fund, which will bring more than $3 million dollars to our district); the compressed calendar; safety and security; raising pay for non-credit courses now funded at the credit rate; requiring future retirees who remain on a district health care plan to select a Medicare coordinated plan; more equitable compensation for coaches; and a plan to require part-timers to hold office hours (a key step towards our long-term goal of expanding paid office hours for part-timers and paying for office hours as part of PT base salary).


All of these issues were discussed at length last year, without our having reached an agreement. Our hope is that in a few meetings this fall, we can reach a Tentative Agreement on most or all of these to ratify in November.


Then, as the third step this year, we would negotiate a new agreement in the spring, looking to raise salaries in 2017-2018 (as we still seek to recover from frozen pay during the last recession) and to tackle some new issues (as well as a few still held over from the past): benefits options and wellness; hiring policies and procedures (we have heard lots of good suggestions for improvement recently); more (non-science) load equity issues; increasing pay for 7th-semester evaluation-committee chairs; reducing/limiting required paperwork; improving due process during district investigations of alleged misconduct; and increasing release time for department chairs.


If there are other issues you would like to see on the UF’s agenda, please email UF President Donna Wapner ( or Executive Director Jeffrey Michels (, or speak to any UF E-Board member. The E-Board meets every other Thursday, from 2:15-5pm at DVC. All UF members are welcome.  For details, call the UF: 925-680-1771.


Hot Topics

Nominations Open for UF Election


14 spots on the UF Executive Board, including the position of UF President, are up for election this fall. Of these, 10 are filled by incumbents, all of whom intend to run for reelection. One part-time and two full-time E-Board positions from DVC and one full-time position from LMC are currently vacant.


Any UF member may run for Executive Board or UF President. There is a nomination form on the back of this issue of Table Talk. To become a candidate, one must submit a nomination form with signatures from 10 UF members before noon on September 28. If there are more candidates for any position than there are open spots, an election will be held in October.


The UF E-Board recently reviewed our election protocols and procedures, following a member survey on the subject, and the Board has approved a new Elections Handbook clarifying the process. This handbook is available on the UF website at


Three new UF members have been appointed this semester to fill vacant seats on the E-Board until the next election. These include a part-time representative from LMC, Susan Reno (Nursing); a part-time representative from DVC, Kamala Appel (Film); and a full-time representative from DVC/SRC, Rick Godinez (Fine Arts). In addition, the following E-Board members have said they are willing to continue serving: Glenn Appell (FT DVC); Vern Cromartie (FT CCC); Katrina Keating (FT DVC); Jason Mayfield (FT DVC); Aminta Mickles (FT CCC); Luis Morales (FT LMC); Michael Shannon (PT CCC); Donna Wapner (President).


For more information about the UF Executive Board or about our election process (or the duties and responsibilities associated with serving on the E-Board or as UF President), please call the UF Office at 925-680-1771 and consult the new elections handbook on our website.


Full-Time Faculty Issues


Program Leads and Department Chairs


In 2009, the last time the UF successfully negotiated a substantial raise for department chairs (including minimum compensation of 10% load for chairs of small departments and a substantial increase in overall funding for department-chair reassigned time), part of the “justification” from management’s perspective was that we revised and expanded the list of department-chair duties in the contract. We had argued that workload for chairs had increased. By listing some of those new duties, such as facilitating the assessment of student learning outcomes (which chairs were already doing), we justified the need for more reassigned time. We also amended the contract to stipulate that duties cannot be added to the list except by mutual agreement.


Still, department chairs are working harder than ever. For all the talk about streamlining procedures for Program Review, Title V updates, and SLO data collection, the workload still seems out of proportion to the reassigned time faculty receive. New SSSP and Equity funding requires new reporting measures. New common placement tools need to be “mapped.” It seems that every time the Legislature gets a bright idea, faculty have to do more paperwork. Our program leads are particularly exploited, as many receive no reassigned time at all to manage complex CTE programs. So we’re going after increased funding this year for leads and chairs. And again, we will be listing and reviewing faculty duties as part of that negotiation.


Also at the top of our priority list are Step 27 (a long-overdue longevity step for faculty) and increasing load for science labs. It’s time for the Load Task Force to move on to other areas where inequities need attention.


Part-Time Faculty Issues


Equity Hour Program Means More Money for Part-Timers


We faculty advocates often say that faculty working conditions are student learning conditions, and there may be no better example than part-time office hours. When part-time faculty are not paid to hold office hours in the same proportion to their assignments as full-timers, faculty lose and students lose. Students who meet regularly with faculty outside of class simply do better in their classes. Research shows that one of the most important elements in student success and persistence is that they develop individual relationships with faculty. Why should students who happen to take a class from a part-time faculty member have less access to their professor than students learning from a full-timer? The UF has for years been fighting to expand part-time office hours, and last year, in an unexpected way, we made some progress.

The plan was called the “Equity Hour” in negotiations. LMC has changed the name to Faculty Advising and Mentoring, and all three colleges, as negotiated, have added different professional development components, but the bottom line is this: $500,000 in our district this year alone (and more in future years if the program succeeds) for part-time faculty to work outside of class with students. We have allocated this money from the new “Equity” categorical fund, money aimed at improving outcomes for at-risk, under-served students. The idea is to offer training for all faculty (with part-timers paid to attend) in becoming better mentors and advisers, in improving relationships with students from diverse backgrounds, and for making the most of one-on-one time outside of class.


Part-timers who complete this training become eligible for an extra office hour every week (or an extra hour a week outside of class working with students) starting in the spring. This can mean an additional $1000/semester in pay, and a terrific advantage for your students as well! The time to sign up is NOW at CCC and LMC and soon at DVC.  Just call or email the UF office for details: 925-680-1771 or


Know Your Benefits


Evaluating the Long-Term Care Insurance Option


One outcome of work our UF team completed last year with Local 1 (the classified staff union) and management is that faculty have a chance this semester to enroll in a voluntary, employee-paid long-term care insurance plan offered by Transamerica Life Insurance through Marblestone Insurance Services. This plan offers unisex pricing and a simplified enrollment process (9 health questions) for most faculty. This fall will be the only opportunity current employees have to enroll. Please note that neither the District nor the UF is endorsing or recommending the plan. Long-term care insurance has become an increasingly popular product, so we wanted our faculty to have the option to consider, but as with any investment or insurance option, you should conduct your own research and comparisons, and consider your means and goals in deciding if this is right for you. For details about the plans available through Marblestone, call Karen at 800-269-2622 ext. 119.


Political Action Report


Faculty-Supported Bills Reach Governor’s Desk


Several faculty-supported bills have reached the Governor’s desk for signature or veto: SB 1379 (Mendoza) [which has replaced AB 1690, a bill for which many of our faculty had advocated] makes “good-faith collective bargaining” with faculty on part-time rehire rights and related issues a requirement for colleges receiving Student Success and Support Program funds.


FACCC-cosponsored AB 2393 (Campos), expands paid parental leave for community college faculty and staff. AB 1594 (McCarty) prohibits smoking on college campuses. FACCC-sponsored AB 2069 (Medina), requires college districts to post on their public “scorecard” the percentage of paid part-time faculty office hours accessible to students.


The exact impact of these bills on our district isn’t entirely clear (since we already have negotiated rehire rights and since we have excellent family leave rights in our contract too).  To learn more about these bills or to use FACCC’s terrific, quick “point-and-click” tool to ask the Governor to sign or voice your support, go to the Faculty Association website at


President’s Message


Not Backing Down at the Bargaining Table


Maybe the biggest learning curve for a UF President involves finding ways to be effective at the bargaining table. The E-Board members and I regularly hear from faculty about workplace issues that impede them from serving students to the best of their abilities. Those discussions often lead to ideas about how we could improve working conditions. It is our job then to translate these concerns into a cohesive and prioritized set of goals to work towards in negotiations.


We negotiate using “interest-based bargaining,” which encourages both teams to contribute and collaborate in finding solutions. During the “options” phase, we brainstorm together, but when it comes to evaluating those ideas, the President’s job, in part, is to judge what’s worth considering further and what isn’t. The same thing happens with compromises. A modification might be proposed that isn’t what faculty wanted but that’s better than nothing . . . maybe. Sometimes we need to reject easy compromises that are not always the best solutions to complex problems.


Often, when we seem to get stuck, someone will propose that we make something a “pilot program” or that we find a way to spend “one time money,” which can be easier for the District than committing to ongoing expenses. Often, we discuss various contingencies, where we somehow acknowledge an objection by saying, “OK, if that happens as you fear then we won’t continue down that road or we will reopen.” You’ve seen these sorts of agreements for years. But you would be amazed at how many times one party or the other still can’t get to “yes.”


The last couple years have been frustrating because we seem to keep negotiating over the same set of issues. But part of the picture faculty need to understand is that we are not backing down on our priorities just because results are not coming quickly. We have core interests that we expect to be met through our bargaining process.


There are two major buckets of faculty interests that need filling, and there are costs associated with each. The salary bucket, long underfed, has many faculty still experiencing significant financial strain despite a nice 5% raise last year. The second bucket is one of workplace, workload and fairness issues (i.e. lecture/lab load, CTE program lead and department chair support, coaching assignments, part-time pay equity and office hours).  These reflect the time needed to do our job tasks well, and the most effective ways we can help students succeed.


Fortunately, we have experienced voices on both sides, and we are working in good faith to find common ground. I think the District leadership understands that failing to make substantial progress this year will put our process and our partnership at risk. My expectations for the year are high. As 4CD turns the corner by hiring a new chancellor and a DVC president, we should certainly turn the corner at the bargaining table too.



Leave a Response