June 26, 2017

AAUP Update: Testimony to MC Board of Trustees

Testimony by Professor Harry N. Zarin
President, Montgomery College Chapter of the American
Association of University Professors (AAUP)
To the Montgomery College Board of Trustees

June 19, 2017

Members of the Board of Trustees:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with all of you this evening.  I am here at the unanimous request of the Montgomery College Full Time Faculty, who passed a motion at our May meeting requesting I speak to you about the failed process Management used to create the College’s FY’18 operating budget.

By now you have heard that the Full-Time Faculty have not signed any agreement regarding reductions in duly-negotiated wage increases for the coming fiscal year, and that the Chapter filed a grievance against the College. The Chapter filed the grievance, with the full support of the full-time faculty, after it became clear that the Administration failed to ask for sufficient monies from the County to fully fund the increases we previously negotiated, in good faith, and were incorporated as part of our collective bargaining agreement.  Our enabling legislation authorizes the College’s full-time bargaining unit faculty to select an exclusive negotiating representative, and it requires the College to bargain with said representative in good faith.  It also provides that if an agreement is reached, the College must request the funds necessary to implement the Agreement.  With regards to the FY’18 operating budget, this did not happen.  In essence, the College did not ask for funds sufficient to cover the increases that had been agreed upon and, when it heard the College might not get enough money to fund our increases, it invoked Section 8.5, the financial exigency provision in our Agreement.

It appears to us that Management’s attempt to appease the County during our period of declining enrollments has failed.  Earlier this year, Management publicly stated that it only requested enough funds to allow for salary increases in the coming fiscal year that would be equal to increases in the current fiscal year. That statement clearly demonstrates Management’s failure to request enough money to fund the raises previously agreed upon for the members of the AAUP Chapter.

We recognize that the County is under a significant financial strain and that some tough choices must be made, but we also know, from a memo written by a County administrator to County-funded agencies, that the County expected operating budget requests to, “not include staff furloughs or any other reductions of existing pay and benefit levels that are subject to collective bargaining.” The County Executive and the County Council expected operating budget requests to contain full funding for contracts, presumably so that the County could see and know the full fiscal operating picture before making decisions.  Process and procedures must be followed when working with a labor organization that represents a collective bargaining unit like the Chapter, and it is clear that the process the Management followed was part of the problem.

In the 17 years that I have been actively involved with the Chapter we have only testified in front of this Board on one other occasion, and I can count on one hand the number of grievances we have filed.  Recently we have noticed an increase in the instances where individuals in the Administration have failed to follow the terms and conditions of the Agreement.  Multiple grievances have been the result. Whether this is due to changes in personnel, or for other reasons, appropriate procedures required to follow the terms and conditions of our Agreement are not being followed.

Bargaining unit faculty members are required to follow the terms and conditions of our Agreement which was ratified in this room just two years ago.  We hold our office hours, teach our classes, take on leadership roles, serve on committees, advocate for the College when asked and participate in professional development programs on a regular basis. We expect Management to have the same respect for and obligations regarding the executed Agreement as we do.

Thank you.

 

 

AAUP Update: Board of Trustees Meeting

Colleagues:

At our year end meeting in May the members of our Executive Committee spoke with those in attendance about a variety of issues. One of the issues we spoke about related to the budget process and the proposed increase in salary that we have been asked to accept as a result of the budget process. The amount we have been asked to accept on your behalf is less than that which we previously negotiated with Management. After a lengthy discussion a motion was made and passed which requires me to speak to the Board of Trustees on behalf of the full-time faculty at the next Board of Trustees meeting.

I will be speaking to the Board at their next meeting on Monday June 19th at 8:00pm. I mentioned to the over 200 faculty in attendance at the end-of-year meeting that I will be pleased to do this but that it is important that members of the full-time faculty show their support for the Chapter by coming to the meeting. The public comment period is the first item on the agenda. The Executive Committee would appreciate it if you would put it on your calendar to be there as a sign of support. If the meeting starts on time you will be out of there by 8:30pm.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

President-AAUP

Montgomery College

20200 Observation Dr. SA239

Germantown, MD 20876

240-567-7767

240-567-1985 Fax

240-449-3452 VPN

Elections and more

Colleagues:

On-line voting for next year’s officers of the AAUP is now underway.  On-line voting is open from now until midnight on Sunday.  On-campus voting will occur on Wednesday May 17 just prior to the start of the closing meeting at the entrance to Globe Hall.  Voting is open to all dues paying member of the Chapter.  Department Chairs and those faculty paying the service fee are not allowed to vote.

As a reminder, the Chapter will be conducting another food drive to help fill the food pantries on each campus.  Please try to remember to bring a donation.  Large boxes will be set up at both entrances to Globe Hall on the first and second floors of the HT building.  Members of the Executive Committee will make sure that the collected donations are distributed to all three food pantries.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

 

AAUP Update: Testimony to Montgomery County Council

Harry N. Zarin, President
American Association of University Professors
Montgomery College Chapter
Operating Budget Testimony

April 5, 2017

Members of the County Council:

My name is Harry Zarin.  I am a Professor and Counselor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College.  I am here today in my role as the President of the Montgomery College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, AAUP.

This evening I am asking that you help us continue to help our students achieve their dream of receiving a college education.  I am asking that you fully support and fund the College’s proposed operating budget that includes funding for contractually negotiated raises for our faculty.

We are a very fine group of talented and experienced full-time faculty who diligently work to help our students learn a variety of developmental level and college level subjects.  These subjects include anthropology, accounting, biology, chemistry, criminal justice, various levels of math, psychology, sociology.  Our faculty counselors offer a wide range of student support services including career counseling, academic counseling, crisis intervention, brief personal counseling, and disability support services.

Our faculty spend endless hours creating up-to-date lectures and materials that are designed to help our student learn.  We are required to keep up with our respective fields of expertise, technology, and the latest trends in higher education.  Here are a few examples of this work. Our American English Language faculty completely redesigned the series of courses our second language students take prior to moving into a college level English classes.  The math faculty completely redesigned our developmental math program in order to help our students better succeed in learning the basic math skills needed to successfully pass our college level math classes. The English and reading faculty redesigned our developmental English and reading program so that in the fall a completely new set of integrated developmental English and reading classes will be offered for our neediest student.  The chemistry faculty in Germantown have spent considerable time converting the majority of sections of our first semester chemistry class into a flipped classroom format.  This new approach to teaching is offering our students a different way to approach teaching and learning.

Quality teaching requires up-to-date facilities.  It is very challenging, to teach in out-of-date labs.  One of our math professors says “We’re talking about using 21st century teaching methods in a space that’s designed for the needs of another century.”  Our buildings on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus are very old.  One is 38 years old and the other is 56 years old.  These buildings don’t meet the needs of either our students or our employees. You should try rolling a wheelchair around that campus or in those buildings.  We need that new math/science building on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.  Our students should be able to learn in facilities that are the same level of quality as in those of our local high schools.

What are we asking for?  We are asking that you continue to invest in the affordability and excellence being offered to our Montgomery College students. As a faculty, we are very grateful for the county’s steadfast commitment to Montgomery College. The only new funds Montgomery College has requested from the county are for contractually required increases in compensation and benefits for our dedicated faculty and staff. Our request recognizes the excellent work and contributions made to help our students succeed—so that our students can complete their education and become prepared to transfer to a 4-year university or move into the workforce of Montgomery County.

I heard someone recently say that community colleges are game changers that give people an opportunity to become self-sufficient.  This is who we are and what we are doing every day at Montgomery College.  We need your assistance in order to help us continue to change the lives of our diverse student population and to help them achieve their dreams.

Thank you.

 

AAUP-Call for Nominations for AY17-18

Colleagues:

Annually we elect new officers of the Chapter at the closing meeting in May.  Our elected offices are the following;

  • President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Vice President-Germantown
  • Vice President-Rockville
  • Vice President Takoma Park

If you are interested in running for one of these positions, you must be a dues paying member of the Chapter.  If you are interested in nominating a full-time faculty member for one of these positions, that full-time faculty member must be a dues paying member of the Chapter.  In either case, please send your nomination(s) via e-mail to Julie Levinson, Counseling Takoma Park/Silver Spring.  Full-time faculty members who are paying the service fee are not eligible to serve in any of these positions and they are not allowed to vote at any of our Chapter meeting.  If you are not sure whether you are a dues paying member of the Chapter, please send an e-mail to the Chapter Treasurer, Michael Gurevitz.

 

The nominations period is now open and the call for nominations will end at 5:00 pm on Wednesday May 3.  On-line voting before the closing meeting and on-site voting at the end of year meeting will be available to our dues paying members.  I will provide you with more information about the voting process in a future e-mail.

 

On behalf of the Chapter,

 

Harry Z.

 

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

President-AAUP

Montgomery College

20200 Observation Dr. SA239

Germantown, MD  20876

240-567-7767

240-567-1985 Fax

240-449-3452 VPN

AAUP Update: April 2017

Colleagues:

On March 30 the Executive Committee met with a group of spirited faculty members off campus to discuss the process surrounding next year’s budget and contractual concerns of the Executive Committee.  I am writing today in order to provide all of you with an update regarding what happened at the meeting and since and a few other issues.

At the meeting members of the Executive Committee and the Chapter’s attorney provided the membership with information on the budget process and our concern that the college administration did not request the funding necessary to meet the financial requirements of our collective bargaining agreement.  In February the college’s administration submitted a proposed operating budget to the County Executive.  In that request the college asked the county for 7.4 million dollars more than we received last year.  As was stated in a March 1 memorandum sent by Janet Wormack, Senior Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services, the 7.4 million dollars would enable the college to provide eligible employees with a 1% general wage adjustment and a 3.5% step increase.  Our negotiated increases for next year included a 2.75% general wage adjustment and a 3.5% step increase for all faculty below the maximum.  After considerable discussion at the meeting, a vote was taken and it was decided that the Executive Committee should file a grievance against the college due to its failure to request the funds necessary to meet the requirements of our collective bargaining agreement.  Said grievance was filed with the college on April 7. The Executive Committee is very aware of the budget situation in the county and the state; however, it is our position that regardless of the fiscal situation in the county and the state, it is incumbent for the college to make the “ask” and to do all it can to meet the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreement. At the appropriate time we will provide all of you with a follow up communication on the status of the grievance.

Parking and Transportation Committee Reconvening:

I recently received notification that the administration is interested in reconvening the Parking and Transportation Committee.  It is possible that they are considering increasing our parking and transportation fees.  I will keep you posted on recommendations made by this committee.  Michael Gurevitz and Sharon Piper have agreed to represent us on this committee which has not met yet.  Increases in our transportation and parking fees are subject to the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreement with the college, Section 9.8.

Negotiations:

We are presently in the 2nd year of our three-year contract and in the fall negotiations will begin again.  During these negotiations we will be working to come to an agreement on increases in our salaries, overload ESH, EAP benefits, and other issues.  Prior to negotiations, we will announce the members of the negotiating team and we will name the Chief Negotiator.

Year End Meeting:

Our year end meeting will be held on the Germantown Campus on May 17 right after the college-wide meeting, around 11:00 am in Globe Hall.  Please plan on attending this meeting so that we can hear from you and vote on important Chapter issues.  The meeting is open to all bargaining unit members.  At the year-end meeting we will be voting on our officers for next year.  This year, same as last, we will be offering members the ability to vote either on site the day of the meeting or electronically prior to the meeting.  A call for nominations will be sent to you later today.  More information about the elections process will be sent to you prior to the May 17 meeting.

Food Drive:

Last semester the Chapter ran a very successful food drive that enabled us to stock the food pantries on each campus.  This year we have decided to have the food drive at the end of year meeting.  Boxes will be placed near Globe Hall for your donations.  We will make sure to distribute the donated items to the food pantries on each campus.  Reminders about the food drive will be sent to all of you prior to the May 17 meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP
Montgomery College
20200 Observation Dr. SA239
Germantown, MD  20876
240-567-7767
240-567-1985 Fax
240-449-3452 VPN

AAUP Call To Action – March 30, 2017

In light of recent memos pertaining to the fiscal year 2018 operating budget from Dr. Pollard and Dr. Wormack, the Montgomery College Chapter of the AAUP will hold a special off-campus meeting next Thursday night, March 30 at 7:00pm. The AAUP Executive Committee has been informed that the budget request submitted by the College to the Montgomery County Council did not seek funding necessary to meet the full salary adjustment for the 2017 – 2018 academic year, as negotiated in section 8.2 of the 2015 full time faculty collective bargaining agreement. Given this breach of our negotiated contract, along with other on-going issues affecting the relationship between Full-Time Faculty and college Management, the Chapter membership must come together at this juncture to determine our next steps.  The AAUP Executive Committee feels that it is very important that Chapter members understand the complex situation we face, and that you are able to participate in decision-making regarding our collective response.  The Chapter’s attorney will be in attendance at the meeting in order to help answer questions from those in attendance.

The Executive Committee urges all full-time bargaining unit faculty members to attend this special AAUP- MC meeting. However, in this circumstance the Committee reminds everyone that as with other decisions the Chapter makes, only those full-time faculty who are members in good standing in the Chapter shall vote, if a vote is determined to be needed. But everyone who attends may participate in this special meeting by raising questions while the subject matter is open for discussion at the meeting.

AAUP Bargaining Unit Full-Time Faculty Members Only

Date: Thursday, March 30, 2017

Time: 7:00pm-8:30pm

Location: Rockville Senior Center
1150 Carnation Drive
Rockville, MD 20850

Please make the time to attend this important meeting.

Thank you,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Newsletter, December 2016

(download in PDF)

December 2016 Newsletter
Update from Harry N. Zarin, G Counseling, Chapter President

Presidential Perks Survey

On behalf of the Executive Committee I would like to thank all of you who took the time to respond to our recent Presidential Perks Survey. I hope all of you have taken the time to review the results.

As I stated before, the results of the survey were sent, unedited, to Dr. Pollard and they were posted on the open Chapter website. We understand that Dr. Pollard and others in the administration read the responses closely. As was made clear at the start, the survey results do not, in any way, reflect the opinion or position of the Chapter as a whole, of the Executive Committee as a whole, or of the individuals on the Executive Committee.

Following her receipt of the survey results several union and governance leaders, myself included, met with Dr. Pollard and several members of her staff. The meeting was very beneficial and Dr. Pollard and the other members of her team were able to clarify a number of issues raised in the NBC News I-Team report. What happens next is up to Dr. Pollard and her staff.

When I solicited responses to the survey I asked that the responses be thoughtful, professional, and concise. The vast majority of you took the time to do exactly that and this was appreciated by your Executive Committee. However, several of those who chose to respond deviated from the purpose for which the invitation was extended and a few submitters used the survey to make posts regarding matters which were not germane to the highly significant topic that prompted the survey. Moreover, one post went further and made ad hominem comments directed at specific individuals in the College community who were not identified in the NBC News I-Team report or the survey, and did so in an inappropriate tone. While we support full recognition of the protected free speech rights of all members of our Community, we are concerned that dressing-down people who were not involved in the I-Team report on our open website could undermine the serious consideration of the issues that prompted Dr. Pollard’s invitation and we deemed warranted the Chapter members’ attention. Hopefully this will not occur in the future.

Spring Opening Meeting

All faculty are expected to return to work on Tuesday January 17th. The College will hold the spring meeting on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus starting with a continental breakfast at 8:30am. The President’s opening meeting begins at 9:00am and our Chapter meeting will take place after the meeting ends in the same location. During the meeting the Executive Committee will field your questions, discuss some of the activities we have been involved in this semester, briefly talk about next year’s negotiations, and we will hear a treasurer’s report. We will also be holding a special election to fill the vacant Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus Vice President position. We hope to see you there.

In Closing

On behalf of the entire ExecAAUP Newsletter December 2016utive Committee I would like to wish all of you a happy and health holiday. Please be safe and get some much needed rest.

AAUP – Presidential Perks Story: FT Faculty Response to Survey

As all of you know by now, the News 4 I-Team ran a story on the travel expenses of Dr. Pollard.  Based on the e-mails and phone calls that members of the AAUP Executive Committee received we decided to conduct a survey in order to obtain your comments on the report.  The survey results were sent, unedited, to Dr. Pollard this past Saturday.  We felt it was important for her to have the results prior to the Board of Trustees meeting that was held last night.  At that meeting the Chairperson of the BOT read a prepared statement which voiced their full support of Dr. Pollard.  Dr. Pollard made no public comment at the meeting about the report.

The Presidents of the three unions; AAUP, SEIU, and AFSCME, and Rick Penn, representing the Faculty Council, have been asked to attend a meeting with Dr. Pollard regarding the recent media report.  The meeting will be held on Wednesday afternoon (December 14, 2016).

The members of the Executive Committee would like all of you to have an opportunity to review the results of the Presidential Perks Survey.  The survey prompts, the I-Team report, Dr. Pollard’s contract, Dr. Pollard’s response to the report, and the I-Team follow-up report, are posted in the Survey section of the Chapter website.

Read the unedited and anonymous results of the survey.
.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, Chapter President

AAUP Campus Meetings (Fall 2016)

Colleagues:

During the full faculty meeting in August members of the Executive Committee announced that we were planning on holding faculty meetings on each campus in order to meet with you and hear your concerns. Campus meetings will be held on the following dates, locations, and times.

Germantown Tuesday November 1 2:00-3:30 BE162
Rockville Wednesday November 2 2:00-3:30 SC125
Takoma Park/Silver Spring Tuesday November 15 2:00-3:15 ST301

We hope that as many of you as possible will drop by so that we get to know each other and so that we can have an open dialogue about issues that concern you.

Thank you ,

Harry Z.