February 20, 2019

AAUP Update: Call for Nominations and More…

Colleagues:

Annually we elect officers of the Chapter at the closing meeting in May for each of the following elected positions:

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

A list of the faculty who currently hold these positions can be found on the Chapter website, mcaaup.org.  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 at julie.levinson@montgomerycollege.edu, 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 meetings. 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 at michael.gurevitz@montgomerycollege.edu.  I would suggest that you communicate with a faculty member prior to nominating them in order to ensure that they are willing to accept your nomination.

The nominations period is now open and the call for nominations will end at 5:00 pm on Friday, May 4th. On-line voting will begin before the closing meeting and on-site voting at the end of year meeting will also be available to our dues paying members. I will provide you with more information about the voting process in a future e-mail.

Last week we held two faculty meetings for our bargaining unit members and the meetings were well attended.  On behalf of the Chapter I would like to thank all of you were able to attend these spirited meetings.  Your interest in the Chapter’s well-being, our contractual concerns, and in learning what you can do to assist us as we deal with some serious contractual issues is appreciated.  The Executive Committee will be meeting later this week and shortly after that we will be sending out some additional information for those of you who are interested in taking some additional steps in advocating for our Chapter’s rights.  I’d ask that you be patient and wait until you receive this information before you make any advocacy phone calls or sending out any letters.  It is important that we all send the same consistent message with accurate facts.  A talking points document will be included in the information we send you.

Some of you have expressed an interest in reviewing the complaint we filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court and the motion to dismiss that was filed on behalf of the administration.  These documents are on the Chapter’s website.  Please note that we will be filing a response to the motion to dismiss the lawsuit in the next week or so.  In addition, we learned today that our court date has been postponed until 10:00am Tuesday June 15th.  The judge who will be hearing our case is Judge McGann.  I will provide you all with additional information about the hearing as the hearing date approaches.  As I mentioned in our meetings, you are welcomed to attend the hearing and be there to support the Chapter’s attorney as he pleads our case.

Our final meeting of the year will be held at the closing meeting on Wednesday, May 16th at approximately 11:00am.  Our full faculty meeting is generally held right after the College’s closing meeting in Globe Hall on the Germantown Campus.  I hope to see all of you at this important meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

 

AAUP Update: Testimony to County Council (April 2018)

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

April 11, 2018

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.  I am here to ask that you fully support and fund the College’s proposed operating budget, which includes funding for compensation increases for our valued full-time faculty.

Community colleges are the entry point to a higher education for a multitude of students who for a variety of reasons, are not able to or choose not to attend a 4-year university.  Our annual entering class includes a very diverse population of students:  minority students, students with disabilities, international students from over 150 countries, and students at all learning levels, whether they be developmental learners or honors students.

The full-time faculty at Montgomery College are privileged to help shape and change the lives of these students and this is a privilege that we take very seriously.  We are a creative and accomplished group of faculty members, a faculty who have earned advanced degrees, published papers, presented at national conferences, and some who have written books.  We must remain current in our field while at the same time must design new and innovative ways of teaching courses. We spend countless hours with individual students and groups of students outside of the classroom. We need to do this because every day we work with students with varying learning styles and some with learning difficulties. As you can imagine, we also have to grade a seemingly endless stack of papers, quizzes, and tests.

Faculty are also deeply involved outside of the classroom.  Among other initiatives, we are creating and expanding our dual enrollment partnerships with MCPS. We have increased the number of distance learning opportunities for our students, and are developing OER courses – courses that do not require students to purchase a textbook – in order to help reduce educational expenses for our students.  Faculty also redesigned our general education and general studies programs. We have worked with our Transfer Articulation Office to help create more transfer partnerships with our local 4-year universities.  These partnerships help to ensure that our students will be better able to transfer seamlessly upon completion of their studies at Montgomery College.

Faculty are constantly challenged to grow, to expand our programs to meet the needs of our students, to design and develop new and challenging programs and learning opportunities for ourselves and our students. We need your continued support to enable us to continue to prepare our students to move on in their education and their careers. We have earned and deserve the increases in compensation that we negotiated in good faith.  We need your support to enable the Administration to meet and honor its contractual obligations.

On behalf of the full-time faculty, I am asking the Council to continue their investment in excellence, affordability, and training in higher education by fully funding the College’s FY’19 budget request.

We thank you for your past support and your anticipated continued support.

Thank you.

AAUP Update: Upcoming Faculty Meetings (4/25 & 4/26)

Colleagues:

In my previous correspondence on April 5th I announced that the Executive Committee would be hosting two faculty meetings at off-campus locations.  I am writing to inform all of you that the meetings will take place at 6:00pm on Wednesday, April 25 in SW301 on the Rockville Campus and at 6:00pm on Thursday, April 26 in CM211 on the TP/SS Campus.  We had hoped to hold these meetings off-campus but we had a difficult time locating available off-campus venues on the announced dates.  At these meetings, those of us on the Executive Committee will provide you with an update on where we stand with regards to the grievance we filed against the college, the lawsuit we filed against the college, this year’s raises, and negotiations for next year’s raises.

We encourage you to try to attend one of these meetings and to come with a list of questions that you would like us to answer.  We are hopeful that the Chapter’s attorney will be able to attend the Wednesday evening meeting on the Rockville Campus.

I look forward to seeing you at one of these meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP

 

AAUP Update: Save the Date (4/25 or 4/26)

Colleagues:

The members of the AAUP Executive Committee are aware that many of you are interested in receiving an update on where we stand with regards to the grievance we filed against the college, the lawsuit we filed against the college, this year’s raises, and negotiations for next year’s raises.  Due to the amount of information we need to cover and the complexity of the issues with which we are dealing, we believe the best way to provide all of you with the update you need is through a meeting and not an e-mail.  We are planning to host two off-campus faculty meetings on Wednesday April 25 and Thursday April 26 at 6:00pm, and we are in the process of securing two different locations for these meetings.  One meeting will be held in the Rockville area and one will be held in the down county area.  The Executive Committee is asking you to plan on attending one of these important meetings.  This will be your opportunity to ask questions, voice your opinions, and hear about the progress we have made on these issues.  The Chapter’s attorney is planning on attending one of these meetings.  I will provide you with the specific location of each meeting once that information becomes available.

On Behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Faculty Council Update on Faculty Salary Study

As many of you are aware, the College recently reviewed and is making adjustments to some staff member salaries. However, many may not know that the College has now undertaken a review of full-time faculty compensation. Given the scarcity of information on this subject, the Faculty Council asked Mr.  Robert Roop, Chief HR Officer, and Ms. Heather Pratt, Director of Employee and Labor Relations, to attend a Faculty Council meeting and provide updates.

Council members and visiting constituents posed a number of questions regarding the details of the review, including but not limited to: what methodology will be used for the salary study, what the timeline is, what the communication plan is for informing faculty about the study, and what faculty can expect. While many answers did not provide specific detail, we were told the following in response to council and constituent questions.

  •  Mr. Roop and Ms. Pratt assured the Faculty Council that the Senior Administrative Leadership team has promised that no faculty salaries will be reduced;
  •  Mr. Roop and Ms. Pratt assured the Council that the Senior Administrative Leadership team has promised no faculty will lose their positions;
  • The intended outcome of the study is to adjust the minimum and maximum salaries in accordance with what is seen as market value;
  • It is neither a goal nor an expected outcome of the study that faculty will be paid on different scales depending on discipline;
  • The methodology is the same as was used in the staff study. The College also expects to conduct ongoing market analysis every 12-18 months;
  • The College is exploring the legality of implementing the salary range adjustments without renegotiating the contract;
  •  Mr. Roop estimated the cost of the staff study to be around 200-300K; he was less clear on the cost of the faculty study, but thought it to be lower;
  • The study is looking at colleges and universities nationwide and adjusting the results for the cost of living in this area. However, a faculty member pointed out that while the cost-of-living ‘bump’ in the College study is 13.5%, the Federal Government’s Office of Personnel Management uses 24% as its own regional benchmark;
  • Presentations to faculty were intended to be scheduled only after the study is complete because staff information sessions were initially poorly attended and because all information is not yet available. Council members strongly suggested that it would be advisable to provide information as it becomes available so as not to blindside the faculty
  • There are contractual/bargaining elements that will need to be considered and/or negotiated prior to implementation of any study findings
  • A request was made by Mr. Roop and Ms. Pratt for the Faculty Council to help with ideas for keeping faculty informed.

We encourage you to look for communication from Mr. Roop regarding this issue; the Council will be following up with him and will keep you updated as the situation progresses. Note: The Human Resources Compensation website appears to be directed at staff, not faculty. We are in touch with Mr.Roop regarding this and will provide information as soon as we receive it.

If you have questions regarding this issue, please email  Alan.Stover@montgomerycollege.edu, our Faculty Issues Committee Chair, so that the Council can follow up.

 

AAUP Update: Statement to the Board of Trustees

February 26, 2018

Statement to the Board of Trustees
Read by:   Harry Zarin, Counselor/President, AAUP

At the January 24 BOT meeting, our staff colleagues representing AFSCME made an eloquent statement expressing their concerns about the adversarial tactics currently espoused by management towards their collective bargaining unit and asserting their continued desire to work collaboratively with management as key stakeholders for institutional and student success.  AAUP wishes to express our support for AFSCME’s statement and note our shared experience and concern.

Like our AFSCME colleagues, AAUP is well aware of the looming fiscal crisis and the need to explore difficult solutions to ensure a sustainable workplace and a maintained focus on student success.  In the past, AAUP has been included as a part of the solution; the administration was transparent about possible concerns and solutions, and we have willingly renegotiated our contracts during difficult financial times to support the work of all members of the College.  However, in recent years, the administration has been less collaborative and collegial.  The administration’s unilateral decision to shift away from interest based bargaining to “traditional” bargaining, has created an “us vs them” environment instead of a “we are all working together in the interest of the college” discussion. Compensation studies are engaged without the knowledge or inclusion of the bargaining units, and when we ask for details, they are not provided or appear to contradict those provided in other settings.  In fact, at a recent public governance meeting, the Director of Employee and Labor Relations and Interim Chief Human Resources Officer indicated that the administration is “exploring the legality” of setting a new minimum and maximum for the faculty salary scale outside of the collective bargaining process. The Administration takes a presumptive attitude towards matters covered by our Agreement where decisions affecting our members are made, and the Chapter, the exclusive bargaining representative, is only subsequently informed.  This is inconsistent with our mutual obligation to bargain in good faith pursuant to the statute authorizing collective bargaining at the College.

Last year, the Administration intentionally planned to breach the Agreement and not pay us according to the terms of our negotiated Agreement, whether it received enough money to implement our Agreement or not. In fact, the College requested sufficient money to fund our negotiated increases in salary, then inappropriately invoked the financial exigency clause of our Agreement (Sec.8.5) well before the County Council voted on the funding for our operating budget.  In May the County Council voted on our operating budget and awarded the College sufficient money to fund our negotiated increases in salary.  After receipt of these funds, the Administration chose not honor our Agreement.  The Chapter was compelled to file a grievance against the College.  The grievance was not resolved and per the Agreement, the Chapter invoked arbitration.  Rather than follow the terms of the Agreement, the Administration has required us to go to court to compel the College to follow the terms and conditions of the Agreement and move the grievance to arbitration. Consequently, as I am sure you all are aware, we recently filed suit against the College in Montgomery County Circuit Court. At each step along the way the Administration has done everything in its power to drag the process out, demonstrating an interest in trying to wear down the faculty or to run up legal fees for both sides in an effort to force the faculty to cave rather than to have the dispute settled on its merits.

Collegiality.  Transparency.  Trust.  Respect.  When the administration dictates rather than collaborates, when it does not honor its commitments, when it is not transparent, even in the name of fiscal stewardship, it creates an environment that makes it all but impossible for faculty and staff to envision themselves as partners and collaborators in solving problems.  It creates an environment of profound disrespect and distrust that extends far beyond the executive committees that represent the collective bargaining units, to every bargaining faculty and staff member at the College.  This adversarial atmosphere negatively affects morale, recruitment, and retention, which, in turn, negatively affects the reputation and performance of the institution.  It is our hope that the Board will guide the administration to rethink its current adversarial strategies so that we can all work collaboratively to address fiscal and other challenges as One College and model an environment and interaction that truly promotes employee and student success.

MC-AAUP – Happy Hour!

Take a break before break! For a few hours, we’ll meet-up, chat, update and generally have a relaxing time. Then, that weekend, head off to a much-deserved spring break!

Where:

Denizens Brewing Company
1115 East-West Highway, Silver Spring.
(Walking distance from the Silver Spring metro and from TPSS.)

When:

Thursday March 8, after work, 4:30-7:30, or so.

______________________

  • Fun raffles! Everyone gets a ticket. Wear your AAUP bling (buttons, T-shirts?) for bonus tickets. Post your fun pix and get more tix! Come for happy hour, stay for dinner with friends. They have a full bar and a full menu.
  • MC FOOD PANTRY COLLECTION! Bring items to give to the food pantries on the campuses. Non-perishable dry goods, ie: granola bars, jerky, nuts, dried fruit, crackers etc. All of the pantries are running low.

AAUP Update: Negotiations and More….

On behalf of the Chapter, I hope you are having a good semester and that your classes, projects, programs, and various other aspects of your job are going well. There is much to say about a variety of very important topics.

  1. Negotiations/The Grievance/Arbitration-Those of you who have attended our most recent full faculty meetings are very aware of the difficult situation we are facing with regards to the FY2019 negotiations and the grievance we filed last fall against the College for its failure to give us our FY2018 negotiated raises. The faculty at these meetings voiced their collective concerns about the about the College’s choice not to implement our FY2018 salary increases and overwhelmingly supported the Executive Committees decision to file a grievance against the Administration and to invoke final and binding arbitration if the grievance was not satisfactorily resolved.

Last September I filed the grievance.  We completed steps one, two, and three of the grievance process, and since the grievance was not satisfactorily resolved, we invoked arbitration at the end of January.  This means that we are willing to take the grievance to final and binding arbitration, as prescribed in the Agreement. The Administration has dragged its feet throughout the process and now has failed to follow even the most basic steps; instead, we were informed by the College’s labor attorney that the Administration is refusing to participate in the arbitration process unless it is compelled to do so by the courts.  Hence, we filed suit against the Administration in Montgomery County Circuit Court.  We are now waiting for the court to set a date for our case to be heard.  Because the courts will be involved in determining whether we will be able to take our grievance to arbitration I need to be very careful about how much I say to all of you.  I don’t want to say anything that will unduly influence our case in the eyes of the court or eventually an arbitrator.

With that in mind, I wanted to make a brief comment about the update on negotiations that was sent to the College community by Mr. Robert Roop, Chief Human Resources Officer.  Our analysis of all known facts requires that we differ with Mr. Roop’s presentation of the basis for the College’s failure to implement our FY2018 salary increases as set forth in the Agreement. He stated, “Due to financial resource constraints, the College was unable to meet the original negotiated salary increase for FY18. These financial constraints are primarily linked to a shortfall in the College’s anticipated funding from the county contribution, state aid, and tuition revenue despite spirited advocacy by the College leadership and faculty representatives.”

What is most important for everyone to understand is that the County did provide the College with sufficient money to fully fund our negotiated raises.  I repeat, the County Council did provide the College with sufficient money to fully fund our negotiated raises.  The fact is, the Administration requested enough money to fully fund our negotiated raises and then after the money was awarded by the County, Management decided not to fully fund our raises.  This was a planned move on the part of the Administration.

With the assistance of the Chapter’s labor attorney, we are prepared to seek to have our Agreement enforced in the face of the Administration’s willful refusal to comply with its obligations. I will keep all of you posted on the progress of our case in court and on the eventual move of our grievance to arbitration.

  1. What can you do? First, all you need to be patient.  Management has been using a variety of tactics to delay the entire grievance process and now that they are compelling us to go to court more delays are inevitable.  Second, show your support of your Executive Committee.  We are your elected representatives in all things salary related. Several administrators have implied that we are a self-serving Executive Committee and that we really don’t represent you, the faculty.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  We are protecting your contract, our contract, and we need and look forward to your continued support. Third, see #3 below.  Fourth, we need you to support us by attending all of our faculty meetings. It’s at these meetings that you can let your own voice be heard.
  2. Board of Trustees Statement-I will be speaking tonight during the public comment period at the Board of Trustees meeting. The meeting will be held at 8:00pm in the room 108 of the Central Services building.  Please come to the meeting and show your support of the Chapter as I speak on your behalf.  Most importantly, be respectful, and please plan on staying for as much of the meeting as possible.
  3. Public Hearings-Councilman Craig Rice, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith, and Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard will host the first of five public education budget meetings. Listed below are the meeting dates and locations for the forums, which are scheduled to last from 6:30-8:30pm.
  • February 28 at Montgomery College, Rockville Campus (Theater Arts Building – 51 Mannakee Street in Rockville);
  • March 7 at John F. Kennedy High School (cafeteria – 1901 Randolph Road in Silver Spring);
  • March 14 at Robert Frost Middle School (cafeteria – 9201 Scott Drive in Rockville);
  • March 19 at White Oak Middle School (cafeteria – 12201 New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring).

Last year members of your AAUP Executive Committee attended several of these important hearings and we hope to do the same this year.  We encourage you to take some time out of your day to attend one of these meetings.  These meetings are very informal, each speaker will make a presentation, and members of the audience, including MC faculty, are able to ask questions during a large portion of the meetings.  If you want to hear about how budget decisions are made and the opportunities County residents will have to influence budget decisions, it would be beneficial for you to attend one of these meetings.

If you click on the link below you will be able to read the official press release about these meetings which was issued by Councilmember Craig Rice’s office.

https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgportalapps/Press_Detail.aspx?Item_ID=21858

 

 

AAUP Response to Feb. 21 College Memo

Colleagues:

By now all of you have had an opportunity to read today’s memo that was sent by Mr. Robert Roop, Chief Human Resources Officer, “updating” you on negotiations. If you have been attending the faculty meetings we hold at the beginning of each semester and last spring’s closing meeting, you are well aware that the Chapter’s perspective on the facts with regards to negotiations and the grievance are substantially different from that which Mr. Roop expressed in his memorandum (see below).  I wanted let all of you know that, on behalf of the Chapter, I will be sending you a detailed update with our perspective on negotiations, the status of the grievance, where we are with regards to moving the grievance to arbitration, and several other topics within the next few days.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry Zarin, Counselor/President

AAUP

 


 

To: Montgomery College Community
From: Mr. Robert G. Roop, Chief Human Resources Officer
Subject: Update on Negotiations with American Association of University Professors
Date: February 21, 2018

 

I wish to provide an update on the College’s negotiations with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which represents our full-time faculty, regarding FY18 compensation increases. All of our faculty and staff are vital to our student mission, so successfully completing these negotiations and finding mutually acceptable solutions are among our highest priorities.

The College and AAUP have worked collaboratively since April 2017 to resolve a disagreement regarding the contracted full-time faculty compensation increase for FY18. Due to financial resource constraints, the College was unable to meet the original negotiated salary increase for FY18. These financial constraints are primarily linked to a shortfall in the College’s anticipated funding from the county contribution, state aid, and tuition revenue despite spirited advocacy by the College leadership and faculty representatives.  As a result, the College cannot afford to provide a 6.25 percent increase (2.75 percent general wage adjustment and 3.5 percent increment) to full-time faculty for this academic year. The College is committed to keeping tuition affordable, and therefore it is unable to meet this funding gap through tuition increases because of the severe impact it would have on affordability.

Financial exigency provisions in the AAUP collective bargaining agreement provide a framework for resolving this situation; however, the College and AAUP negotiators have been unable to agree on a solution. Further, until an agreement is reached, the College cannot implement any pay raise for AAUP faculty.  The College offered AAUP a 3.0 percent salary increase for FY18, and this offer remains valid. To date, AAUP negotiators have declined to accept this offer.

On February 13, 2018, the AAUP filed a lawsuit against the College in Montgomery County Circuit Court asking the Court to tell the College to resolve this matter through arbitration. The College will respond to the lawsuit as per legal requirements; however, it is our goal to continue to collaborate with AAUP to reach an agreement.

The College remains steadfast in its commitment to reaching a mutually agreeable compromise that recognizes our fiscal constraints, protects affordability, and provides equitable compensation for our dedicated faculty. Please contact Heather Pratt, director of Employee and Labor Relations in HRSTM, at 240-567-3097 or me with any questions. Thank you for your commitment to Montgomery College and our students.

Education Budget Meetings

Colleagues:

Starting tonight (February 21, 2018) at Damascus High School, Councilman Craig Rice, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith, and Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard will host the first of five public education budget meetings.  The meeting dates and locations are listed below.  The forums are scheduled to last from 6:30-8:30pm.

  • February 21 at Damascus High School (25921 Ridge Road in Damascus);
  • February 28 at Montgomery College, Rockville Campus (Theater Arts Building – 51 Mannakee Street in Rockville);
  • March 7 at John F. Kennedy High School (cafeteria – 1901 Randolph Road in Silver Spring);
  • March 14 at Robert Frost Middle School (cafeteria – 9201 Scott Drive in Rockville); and
  • March 19 at White Oak Middle School (cafeteria – 12201 New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring).

Last year members of your AAUP Executive Committee attended several of these important hearings and we hope to do the same this year.  We encourage you to take some time out of your day to attend one of these meetings.  These meetings are very informal, each speaker will make a presentation, and members of the audience are able to ask questions during a large portion of the meetings.  If you want to hear about how budget decisions are made and the opportunities County residents will have to influence budget decisions, it would be beneficial for you to attend one of these meetings.

If you click on the link below you will be able to read the official press release about these meetings that was issued by Councilmember Craig Rice’s office.

https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgportalapps/Press_Detail.aspx?Item_ID=21858

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP