Table Talk Sept 5, 2018

Here is a PDF of the Sept. 5, 2018 issue of Table Talk TableTalkSEPT2018-FINAL.

So that articles may be found by our website’s search engine, the full-text of the issue (without photos or formatting), is reprinted below.

Table Talk

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

September 5, 2018

News at a Glance

•  Lead Story: UF Takes Steps to Minimize Threat Posed by
Anti-Union US Supreme Court Decision
•  Negotiations Update: Formula Yields Fall Pay Increase for
Part-Time-Faculty Lecture, Lab 1, and English Comp. Assignments;
UF Begins Planning for Spring Negotiations
•  Hot Topics: Nominations Open for UF Elections in October;
New Student-Evaluation Software Coming for Online Classes
•  Full-Time Issues: Compensating Dept. Chairs for Summer Work
•  Part-Time Issues: Membership Drive Will Strengthen PT Voice
•  Legislative Report: Faculty Advocacy Yields $100 Million for More
FT Positions and PT Office Hours; 4CD Board Elections in November
•  President’s Message: Pulling Together for Better Teaching and
Learning Conditions: Safety, Academic Freedom, Calendar; FT Hires

Minimizing Threat Posed by Anti-Union Court Ruling

In its “Janus v. AFSCME” decision on June 27, 2018, the US Supreme Court changed the law to prohibit public-sector unions from collecting “fair-share” or “agency” fees from non-members. This means that although “exclusive bargaining agents,” like the UF, still have a legal obligation to fairly represent both members and non-members (not only in collective bargaining but also in grievances and disciplinary hearings, as well as by providing training and information, etc.), non-members can no longer be compelled to pay their fair share in supporting the union.

As this will inevitably decrease revenues while increasing the resources unions must devote to recruiting and tracking members, the decision threatens to make it more difficult for unions to represent employees in matters of pay and working conditions. In fact, many see the Janus case as connected to a national effort to weaken workers’ rights. For example, Margaret Hanlon-Gradie of the Contra Costa AFL-CIO Labor Council calls the political effort that brought the case to the Supreme Court: “part of a campaign to distract and divide us while basic workplace protections . . . are undermined.”

Fortunately, a local remedy is in faculty hands. So long as we stick together, we should be able to minimize the financial impact on the UF while continuing to provide a strong faculty voice at the bargaining table, throughout the district, and statewide. Nearly 100% of full-time faculty in 4CD are UF members, and at the new-hire orientation this fall, 100% of new faculty who attended joined the Union. Of the part-time faculty, about 60% are members, and the UF will launch a membership drive this fall to recruit as many of the non-members as possible. Based on the numbers, we anticipate a loss in ongoing revenue of about 10%. This is significant, of course, but our healthy UF reserves will give us time to address the shortfall through budgeting and bargaining. For the present, the UF has no plans to cut services, reduce representation or raise dues. Our hope is that with continued support from faculty, we may be able to convince the District to increase its financial contribution to UF activities. 4CD already provides some support in the form of release time (two FTEF) for UF leaders. This is helpful, but as we have noted for years, it is less support than many other districts provide. (For example, Foothill/De Anza gets four FTEF in release time to run their faculty union.) Even a small change in this area could make a big difference to the UF, so this is an issue we will raise in collective bargaining this spring.

If you are a UF member, we thank you for your support. The Janus decision changes nothing for you personally at this time, and there is nothing you need to do. If you are not a UF member, the decision means that a fair-share fee will no longer be collected from your paycheck. The UF will continue to represent you in negotiations and other contractual matters, exactly as before, but unless you join the Union, we will no longer have the support of your fees (and of course, non-members cannot vote on contracts and in other UF elections). To keep contributing to the UF, all you need to do is join. Call the UF Office at 925-680-1771 or send an email to Our Office Administrator, Terri Adame, will send you a member form to complete.

The UF is proud of our history of success in representing all faculty in 4CD, and we are proud too that ours are some of the lowest faculty-union dues in all of California. Our organization is lean, efficient and effective; and in this unsettling historical moment, as threats to public education, to our students, our values and freedoms (not to mention our benefits, pay, and our pensions) continue to mount, it seems particularly crucial that all faculty join and support the Union. We may not always agree on every point and priority, but UF membership helps us defend and promote our own personal interests as well as the collective interests of our faculty colleagues and our students.

Negotiations Update

Fall Raise for Part-Time Faculty Plus Coming Issues

The UF and District Compensation Committee met on August 22, 2018, to discuss available funding for part-time pay parity (load adjustment factor) increases in 2018-2019, as required by our most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement. Based on our initial review, we have agreed that our negotiated formula yields funds that will be applied as follows: an additional 3% load adjustment factor for English Composition assignments (from 20% to 23%); and an additional 1% load adjustment factor for Lecture and Laboratory Type 1 assignments (from 19.1% to 20.1%). These increases will be effective from the start of the fall semester, 2018, and will be reflected starting in September 2018 paychecks. The load adjustment factors apply to C-contract assignments in fall and spring only and exclude full-time overload (AC assignments) and summer or intersession assignments.

We also agreed that there may still be budget data and related variables that could change for 2018-2019, so the Compensation Committee will review revenues and spending again before the start of the spring semester in 2019 and again at the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year. If there are more available funds in excess of $100,000 based on our existing formula, load adjustment factors will be increased again up to the maximum specified in the 2017-2018 Agreement. In agreeing how funds allocated to “parity” will be distributed (in other words, in determining which load adjustment factors will be increased and by how much), the UF and District are seeking to meet the shared interest of achieving load and pay equity for all assignments types.

In the spring, we expect to discuss a long-term plan to finally achieve pay parity for part-time faculty and a possible shift to paying part-timers based on load (as full-timers are paid) rather than using hourly salary schedules and confusing load adjustment factors.

Other key negotiating goals this year will be increasing pay for summer assignments (for both full-timers and part-timers), as well as for summer work done by department chairs. Our top priority, of course, will be an across-the-board salary increase, since faculty still have much catching up to do just to keep up with the cost-of-living. If there are issues you would like to see the UF raise at the bargaining table this year, please send an email to UF President Donna Wapner: or lead negotiator Jeff Michels:

Hot Topics

Nominations Open for UF Elections in October

The UF is now accepting nominations for open positions, which include: full-time and part-time Executive Board representatives from CCC; DVC/SRC; and LMC/Brentwood; and President. UF E-Board and leadership terms last for two years, and there are no term-limits. This fall, we are pleased to announce that several faculty members have stepped forward to fill previously vacant positions, so with those faculty who have agreed to return this year, we have a full E-Board. Also, UF President Donna Wapner has informed the Board of her readiness to remain in her position for another term. But since some terms are expiring, and we only “appoint” volunteers until the next regular election in case there are others interested in serving, anyone who wants to join the UF leadership team is encouraged to complete a nomination form (printed on the back of this issue of Table Talk) and return it to the UF Office before the deadline of Sept. 20, 2018 at 12noon. To qualify as a candidate, one must be a UF member and have collected and submitted the signatures of 10 fellow UF members.

If we receive multiple nominations for any available position, we will hold public forums and an election in October, following the time line in our UF Elections Handbook, available for review online at the UF website: E-Board members attend meetings every other week, on Thursdays, from 2:45-5:30pm at DVC (all faculty are welcome). Potential candidates are encouraged to attend an E-Board meeting and to check-in with current E-Board members about responsibilities and expectations. For more information about E-Board positions or the President position, candidates may also contact UF Executive Director Jeff Michels at 925-330-2125 or

New Student Evaluation Software for On-Line Classes

After some review and discussion with the UF, the District has purchased new software that should streamline the evaluation process for faculty who teach online and significantly improve response rates from online students. The software, called “EvaluationKIT,” may eventually be used for face-to-face student evaluations as well, allowing students to complete evaluations of faculty on their smart-phones, tablets or computers by logging into Canvas and finding an evaluation link. But we are not there yet.

In the short run, we are hoping to test the software this semester for evaluating faculty in on-line classes, where not much will change if we switch to EvaluationKIT. Rather than using a home-made form or Survey Monkey for online evaluations, as the colleges have been doing, staff will simply activate EvaluationKit in deisgnated online classes. When students in those classes sign in through Canvas, they will be invited to participate in the online survey (our same evaluation form remade with the new software). Students will receive pop-up notifications when they sign in until they have completed the evaluation or until the evaluation period ends. Students will not be prevented from accessing courses if they choose to dismiss the pop-up without completing the evaluation. A good many California community college districts are using this software, and apparently the pop-up reminders on Canvas make a big difference in student response rates.

We need to do some internal testing before we make the switch. For now, nobody should delay an evaluation or change any part of the time line waiting for the new software. We want to be sure to proceed carefully and thoughtfully to work out any kinks in the system before making changes. In the long run, perhaps in time for a trial next semester, we are planning to try EvaluationKIT for face-to-face classes as well. The system we have been discussing so far would include paper (Scantron) backups, so that no student or faculty member would be required to complete an electronic evaluation. We would simply make an on-line version of the evaluation form available through Canvas, so students could use their phones or computers during the in-person evaluation, while those who can’t get on-line could still use Scantrons. The data (including comments) would then have to be merged into one report, which is something we are still working on. Since transcribing student comments is time consuming for staff and in that sense expensive, the colleges have been looking for a non-paper option, but the UF wants to be sure we don’t add work for faculty or make the student evaluation process less reliable or more frustrating. So again, we are going slowly, working with staff and management as well as with colleagues in the academic senates and distance education committees.  Look for more information on this subject as we make progress.


Full-Time Faculty Issues

Compensating Department Chairs for Summer Work

Our contract already allows faculty who participate in summer (or winter-break) hiring to get paid for their time, but Department Chairs are increasingly called upon to do other summer work, for which no compensation is offered. While we don’t want to expand the Chair position to require summer work, we think 4CD should recognize that many Chairs put in substantial summer time (meeting, scheduling, trouble-shooting, helping with book orders and syllabi, orienting new faculty, resolving disputes… and often at the request of management). They should be paid for the work they are doing. Maybe there should be a time-card system in the summer so Chairs and Program Leads can submit their hours and be paid. Are you a Department Chair or Program Lead who worked this past summer?  Let us know what you did. We will be raising this issue at the bargaining table this spring.

Part-Time Faculty Issues

Membership Drive Will Strengthen Part-Time Voice

The pay increase this fall, for part-time lecture, lab-1 and English Comp, is good news, and the increased UF and 4CD commitment to parity going forward is good news, but part-time faculty have a long way to go in this broken system. To be effective fighting for job security, fair pay and benefits, more full-time opportunities, and full office hours, part-time faculty need to be a force in the Union. Influence begins with membership. Call the UF Office today [925-680-1771], and ask for your membership card. Sign up. The few dollars it costs are a crucial investment in our own financial futures. When we step up and raise our voices together, we have the power to make changes.

Legislative Report

Despite some disappointing setbacks in last year’s budget battles over the new on-line college and funding formula, faculty advocates are celebrating the designation of $100 million this year for top faculty priorities: $50 million ongoing to add new full-time faculty positions; and $50 million one-time to expand paid office hours for part-time faculty. Working with our partners in the California Community College Independents (CCCI) and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC), we have already started pressing for the State to expand those investments next year. And we’re seeking new mandates to increase to 75% full-time faculty and once we reach that goal, also eliminate the 67% cap on part-time teaching.

Locally, two spots on the 4CD Governing Board will be open in November: Ward 3 (Martinez; Concord; Pleasant Hill); and Ward 4 (Danville; San Ramon; Clayton; Byron; Discovery Bay). Four candidates are running in Ward 3: Joe Muñoz; Michael Menesini; Rebecca Barrett; and Murray Bishop. In Ward 4, there are two candidates: Andy Li and Abram Wilson. The UF has invited all of the candidates to meet with our E-Board, and we are hoping to host a candidate’s forum in October. Expect more on this subject soon.

President’s Message

Last week, our three Academic Senate presidents (from CCC, DVC and LMC), all three UF vice presidents and I went out to dinner to discuss faculty goals for this semester. We talked about recent wins and what these might mean for us this year: $50 million in new money for full-time hires statewide means about $1.1 million for our district, which could be worth 20-25 new full-time positions over and above replacing retirees. An additional $50 million in “one-time” part-time office-hour money (also $1.1 million for 4CD), may help us move the District closer to pay-per-load and fully prorated office hours for part-timers, especially if we can get the State to make the allocation on-going next year. And with the 16-week calendar, we have confirmed that our next calendar proposal can include a “finals week,” like we have done in the past. There was much confusion on this issue at the State and in our district that we helped to clarify.

We also talked about recent “losses,” and the challenges they pose: the looming problems a new funding formula could cause, for example.  And we talked about changes where a lot will depend on how well faculty work together: new student-evaluation software; guided pathways; distance-education policies, and of course, campus safety and academic freedom. We face so many challenges, it is nice to know how dedicated and passionate our faculty leaders are. This year, two academic senate presidents will be serving on the UF E-Board, and this should strengthen our partnerships even further going forward. We face big fights to protect and improve faculty working conditions, but I am optimistic.

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