November 20, 2018

AAUP Update: November 2018

Sent on behalf of Harry Zarin and on behalf of the chapter:

Colleagues:

Update to the Faculty-November 2018

I arrived at my class on Monday morning and, due to the events in Pittsburgh and Kentucky, I wondered how I would start my class.  Would I just begin with my planned lesson and say nothing, would the students bring up the tragedies from the weekend, would the students even know that something so tragic happened?  As a role model for our students and as a member of a minority group, I am Jewish, I felt compelled to say something.

I started the class with the usual welcome, “hope you had a nice weekend,” informed them of the day’s lesson and then made a very brief statement.

“The events from this past weekend were very tragic and scary.  I know there is little I can say to help you all understand how someone can have so much hate in their heart that they would search for and kill people just because they are Jewish or black.  I hope that once you are married and have kids or just decide to have kids that you will raise your children not to hate.  They don’t have to like everyone they meet but teach them not to hate. Teach them to respect themselves and the people around them.  I believe that the only way these types of senseless acts will stop happening is if we raise our children not to hate.”

I believe we all need to be a role model for our students and we need to ensure that they have a safe place to study, learn, and to express their views.  Be there for your students and do not hesitate to refer them to our counselors if they need someone to help them process these recent events and to deal with their feelings of anxiety or concern.

An E-mail Controversy:

Several members of the College community, myself included, recently received what some would call a rather controversial e-mail.  The e-mail was particularly critical of the Administration.  Within 24 hours of receiving this e-mail, it was deleted from my inbox.  At least one other recipient of the e-mail reported that the e-mail was removed from the personal folders section of her Outlook.  The concerns about this troubling situation are obvious.  Under what conditions can Management monitor our e-mail?  Under what conditions can Management remove e-mails from our inbox and personal folders?  Tim Kirkner and I attended our monthly meeting with Carolyn Terry, Sanjay Rai, and Donna Schena on Tuesday, and we asked them these questions.  Since IT is under the purview of the Senior Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services Donna said that she would research this issue and get back to us.  I hope to have an answer for all of you by the time I send out my next update in December.

Until then, my message to all of you is very simple.  If you don’t want Management to know the contents of what you are about to put in an e-mail, don’t use the College’s e-mail system.  Pick up the phone and call someone or send your e-mail from one private e-mail account to another.  You may also want to back up your email to a flash drive or separate server to maintain your existing records.

Monetary Concerns:

Included in the above-mentioned e-mail was information that we felt was very concerning.  Among other things, the e-mail contained information about substantial bonuses paid to several members of the Administration.  These bonuses were so substantial that one would wonder how an Administration, the BOT included, could express a concern about financial sustainability while at the same time approve additional payments to administrators who were just doing their jobs.  Even if they did more than they were supposed to, these bonuses make no sense.

How can you provide an administrator a bonus of $35,000, another administrator a bonus of $15,000 paid in two installments and another administrator a temporary 15 percent increase in salary for up to six months?  Did any administrator at MC deserve a $53,000 bonus in FY’17 and a $34,000 bonus in FY’18?  Are these bonuses appropriate during a time of declining enrollments when they are asking the community to do more with less?  Is this an appropriate action to take when the Administration breached our contract, and due to their failure to follow the terms and conditions of our negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement, we did not receive a raise in FY’18? I believe not.

It is interesting to note that the administrator who received the $15,000 bonus is the very administrator who approved the 15 percent temporary increase in salary for one of his subordinates.

Tim and I expressed our concern about these bonuses at our meeting with the Senior Vice Presidents.  We will pass on any response that we receive.

Our Court Case:

There has been no progress since I last provided you with an update regarding our on-going court case.  We are still waiting for the Clerk of Court in the Montgomery County Circuit Court to provide the Maryland Court of Special Appeals with some information.  Once that information is provided, the Court of Special Appeals will let our attorney know when his brief is due.  Our attorney has tried to contact the Clerk of Court several times and has never heard back from her.  I have given him the authority to personally go to the courthouse to visit the Clerk if that is what it takes.

How much do you earn?

For many years, all of the full-time faculty received a letter from HR with their stated annual base salary.  The letter arrived at the beginning of the fall semester and included information about any raises that were incorporated into our annual salary.  For some reason we stopped receiving this letter several years ago.  I contacted the Payroll Office recently and asked how the faculty can learn of their actual salary.  Below are the directions I received.  If you are interested in learning how much you earn, your base salary, follow these directions:

Login to MyMC

  1. Click on the Workday Icon
  2. Click on the Cloud in the upper right corner
  3. Click on your name in the upper right corner
  4. Click on Compensation in the drop down on the left side of the screen
  5. Click on Total Rewards in the top of the page

Negotiations:

Negotiations are ongoing. We have met twice in sessions with the Administration and have three more meetings scheduled during this semester. Under discussion are salary, EAP, and bereavement leave. The Distance Learning Side Letter is being negotiated separately. We will update everyone as soon as we arrive at any tentative agreements.

Statement About Elections:

Several faculty members have asked me who the Chapter is supporting in the mid-term elections.  A specific question was raised about the Circuit Court judges who are up for re-election.  My answer is simple: we are not a political organization and we can’t make recommendations.  I believe it is incumbent for each of you do your research, make an informed decision, and most importantly, vote.

Responses to this Update:

Generally, the Chapter receives several comments and/or questions after I send out an update.  These comments and questions are forwarded to me for a response.  Tomorrow I am heading out of the country for a week. I will not be returning to the office until Nov. 12.

I am letting all of you know this so that if you send a comment or question to this update to the Chapter’s website, you will not be surprised if you do not receive a response in a timely manner. Where am I heading?  Peru for a one-week habitat-type build about two or three hours south of Lima.

If you need Chapter assistance while I am out of the office you should contact your campus Vice President or any other officer on the Executive Committee.  The Chapter website, mcaaup.org has all of our names and contact information.

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP\Montgomery College
20200 Observation Dr. SA240B
Germantown, MD  20876
240-567-7767
240-567-1985 Fax
240-449-3452 VPN

 

AAUP Update: Memorandum of Agreement Ratification

Colleagues:

I wanted to provide all of you with a brief update on a key issue that we are dealing with.

I am pleased to report that the vast majority of faculty who voted on the Memorandum of Agreement voted in favor of ratification of the Agreement.  This Agreement focused on the negotiated raises for the current academic year.  On behalf of the Chapter I signed off on the Agreement and forwarded the signed Agreement to the Employee and Labor Relations Office.  The Agreement will now be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for their ratification at the September 27 meeting.  All increases will be retroactive to the start of our current contract period, August 20, 2018.

Next week I will provide you with some additional information regarding our court case against the College.

I hope that all of you are having a smooth start to the current academic year.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP
Montgomery College

AAUP Update: Response to Ruling

Colleagues:

Since my last communication, the Executive Committee had an opportunity to meet and have a discussion with the Chapter’s attorney on Wednesday, and it is our informed opinion that we shall appeal the judge’s ruling to Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals.

Although an unfavorable ruling last week was not totally unexpected at the Circuit Court level, it was disheartening. However, worse yet would be to stand by and watch as our union and our Collective Bargaining Agreement are ruined by a bad decision by one judge. We believe that Judge McGann’s opinion stemmed from a gross misreading of the law, and we believe that an appeals court will see this and side with us.

Before we proceed with the appeal, and before we offer you the details, please note that we are waiting on the full transcript of the opinion that Judge McGann read from the bench on June 19.  It will take about a week before our attorney will receive this document.

At this time, we can say we do not believe the narrow factually grounded procedure set forth in Section 8.5 of the Agreement is or was ever intended by the parties to provide a mechanism to resolve a dispute with the College over a failure to pay salary in accordance with the Agreement. When applicable, that Section provides for negotiation and fact-finding, the cost of which is substantial and is to be shared but does not result in anything more than an advisory opinion which the College could blithely ignore if it were contrary to the Administration’s desires.

Thus, Judge McGann’s grievous error results in there being no mechanism for the Chapter’s members to enforce the Agreement – a result directly contrary to the Legislature’s purpose in establishing collective bargaining for most College employees.

At the present time it is our informed belief, as we said above, that the best way we can protect our contract is to appeal the judge’s decision to Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals.

As far as this year upcoming is concerned, we have reached a tentative agreement for increases for FY’19 that would be effective in the fall.  The College’s attorney is currently drafting the terms of the tentative agreement.  Once the terms of the tentative agreement have been formally reviewed and accepted by the Executive Committee, the Chair of our Negotiating Team will issue a statement outlining the terms of the agreement.

We on the Executive Committee recognize the difficult position we are all in with regards to not receiving an increase in salary this year.  We appreciate your patience, your support, and your interest in communicating with us about the grievance, the court case, and how we are going to proceed.

We especially appreciate the number of you who have switched from paying the agency fees to paying the full membership fees in the past couple of months. We’re happy to report that we are close to 90% membership. We are an “opt-in” union. Although all Full-Time Faculty receive the protection of the union, no one is forced or coerced to join. Almost 90 percent of you have made the choice to join, and we sincerely appreciate this. We hope the rest of you will make the change soon.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Statement from the MC-AAUP Negotiating Team, May 10, 2018

Colleagues,

Please read the response below from the negotiating team to the memo sent by HR last week.

We will discuss this further at the chapter meeting next week.  In the meantime, thank you for your continued support.

Rick Penn

Professor of Mathematics,
Montgomery College, Rockville
Chief Negotiator, MCAAUP


May 10, 2018

Colleagues,

In recent weeks, many of you have attended the faculty meetings, received updates, and asked questions about the status of salary negotiations for our 2018 and 2019 contracts. There will be further opportunities to discuss these issues at the AAUP closing meeting during professional week, and we hope to see all of you there at Globe Hall May 16, 11 a.m.

However, the members of your negotiating team felt it important to respond in writing to the FT faculty following the memo we received from HR last week, written by Bob Roop. Because Mr. Roop’s memo contains unsubstantiated opinions (with which we disagree) as well as factual inaccuracies and omissions, his remaining statements are cast in a distorting light.

The fact that the memo was sent at all raises an important question. Under the rules of previous negotiations (going back to at least the year 2000) it would have been a violation to review details of what was said during a negotiation session, other than to share a tentative agreement once one was reached.

When the administration unilaterally did away with Interest Based Bargaining during negotiations in the fall of 2017, it also denied the need for any ground rules at all. As such, the memo is not in violation of the ground rules, as there aren’t any to violate.

The following points are important to this issue:

  • While on the surface the memo purports to be an attempt to objectively clarify why our paychecks still do not reflect negotiated raises (which is HR’s right to do) it appears to be an attempt to bypass the AAUP and convince the faculty directly of the merits of the administration’s position.
  • Should that be the administration’s intent, that would be a violation not of any ground rule but a violation of labor law, known as “direct dealing.”
  • “Direct dealing” is more difficult to prosecute in the public sector than it is in the private sector, though we would hope that the administration would seek to stay more clear of that line in the future.

The lack of resolution on FY18 salaries, as well as the pending court case and potential arbitration, has made it nearly impossible to come to agreement on FY19 salaries. Salaries for future years are negotiated as adjustments to the current salaries. Because there is a dispute on the level of the current salary, how exactly would a negotiated adjustment even be implemented?

  • As Mr. Roop wrote in his memo, the administration has offered a 3% increase for FY19. The Chapter’s response was more thorough, however, than the “cannot accept the FY19 offer without resolving FY18 first” that is cited in that memo.
    • One option offered by the chapter was to accept their offer of 3%, with the base to be determined by the pending arbitration. If the judge and ultimately the arbitrator rule that we were entitled to our contractual pay in FY18 all along, then that should be the base on which FY19 is calculated, and the pay should be adjusted retroactive to the beginning of FY18.
    • This means we should receive retroactive pay for FY2018, as well as a 3% increase on the adjusted 2018 salaries.
    • If, however, the arbitrator finds in favor of the administration, then the 3% for FY19 would be based on the arbitrator’s decision for what is owed us as an increase for 2018.
    • While the administration was willing to set the base moving forward from the time the cases are resolved, they rejected any attempt to make the base salary retroactive.
  • In the memo, Mr. Roop also references a 3% salary increase offered for FY18 (a 1% increase for those at the top) if the Chapter would drop its lawsuit. This is obviously an unacceptable option, as that offer was on the table when we filed the suit.
  • The administration has stated repeatedly, both at the table and in its public attempts to influence the negotiations, that it wishes the faculty would accept the offered raise as it cannot guarantee whether the money will be available after the end of the fiscal year.
    • We countered with this proposal:
      • the dispute for FY18 is currently between a low of 3%, which the administration is offering, and a high of 6.25%, which was negotiated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement,
      • AAUP would accept the 3% as payment toward any eventual settlement for FY18, while at the same time waiting on arbitration to determine what the final settlement would be.
      • The College has publicly and privately said that it wants to give faculty the 3%raise before that money is potentially lost at the end of the fiscal year, and this plan would allow them to retain that money and use it for salaries, with the idea that the number might be adjusted after arbitration.
    • The administration rejected this proposal.
      • Over the course of the year, the administration has violated our contract; they have acted in bad faith; they have challenged whether we are appropriately representing our constituents; and they have reminded the negotiating team that we are all “free” to simply leave the college.

The AAUP has not refused to continue meeting with management, despite all that has transpired, and contrary to what Mr. Roop suggests in his memo. Both management and AAUP have currently agreed to pause our meetings to reflect on whether any new approaches might be possible. We also said we would meet at any time if they saw any reason to believe a productive conversation could be had.
Management’s actions demonstrate an interest not in negotiating a mutually acceptable resolution to this dispute, but in getting the faculty to capitulate, to relinquish both the money that we are owed for FY18, and whatever power we may have by virtue of our union and our collectively bargained agreement.

Again, should their interests change, we are ready to meet with them. In the meantime, we are heartened by the responses we have seen from you, our colleagues, which so clearly demonstrate that their attempts to divide us are failing. The AAUP Negotiating Team appreciates your expressions of support, and will continue to fight on your behalf.

On behalf of the negotiating team,

Rick Penn, Alberto Baca, Michael Gurevitz, Tammy Peery, and Sharon Piper

Response to Mr. Roop’s Communication (Update on Negotiations with AAUP)

Colleagues:

As you might imagine, the members of the AAUP Executive Committee have been exchanging a few private e-mails since Mr. Roop sent out his communication to the college community.  Several faculty members have contacted us and have asked if they can reply individually and others have asked how they can help.  We appreciate the support that we have been shown and will have a thorough reply to Mr. Roop’s e-mail in due time.

For now, I will say that any faculty member can respectfully reply to any communication that is sent to the college community.  If you have something you would like to say, please feel free to do so.

On behalf of the Chapter, I will say the following in response to Mr. Roop’s e-mail.

Many of you have been following the updates I posted on the Chapter’s website and you have read my testimony to the BOT.  Many of you attended one of the two faculty meetings we held last week.  Those of you who have been doing these things understand that there are key differences between the position the Administration has taken concerning negotiations and their failure to pay us the increase in salary, which was negotiated and entered into in good faith, for the current academic year.  The Administration claims that this is an issue of financial exigency brought on by financial constraints primarily linked to a shortfall in the College’s anticipated funding from the county contribution, state aid, and tuition revenue.  In fact, the reason why we did not receive our negotiated increases was because the college executed a plan to breach our contract, whether they received sufficient funds or not.  In fact, they asked for and received sufficient funds to implement our negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement and they chose not to do so.  They instead, entered into other agreements and then asked us to renegotiate our contract in order to accommodate their plan.  They breached our contract and we did not agree to renegotiate our contract.

I hope I got your attention.  Our Executive Committee will be consulting with our legal counsel and we will share more with you at the closing meeting on May 16.  I encourage all of you to attend the closing meeting so that you can become an informed faculty member.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP

 

 


Update on Negotiations with American Association of University Professors

To: Montgomery College Community
From: Mr. Robert G. Roop, Chief Human Resources Officer
Subject: Update on Negotiations with American Association of University Professors
Date: May 3, 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. For reference, at this link is my previous message dated February 21, 2018.

All of our faculty and staff are vital to our mission, including those leading our critical student success efforts, so completing these negotiations and finding mutually acceptable solutions are among our highest priorities.

Since April 2017, the College and AAUP have worked to settle a disagreement regarding the contracted full-time faculty compensation increase for the current fiscal year, 2018. Because of 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, faculty, staff, student, and alumni representatives. As a result, the College was not able 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 could not meet this funding gap through tuition increases because of the severe impact it would have on students. Fiscal constraints will continue into FY19. As you may recall, in January, the county council directed the College to reduce spending by $4.4 million in addition to the $3.7 million in reductions made to balance the College’s proposed budget for FY19, which is now pending review and action by the county council.

The financial exigency provision in the AAUP collective bargaining agreement has a framework for resolving this situation; however, the College and AAUP negotiators were unable to agree on a solution. Until an agreement is reached, the College cannot implement any pay raise for AAUP faculty. The College has offered AAUP a 3.0 percent salary increase for FY18, and this offer remains available. To date, AAUP negotiators have declined to accept this offer without tying it to other demands.

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. On March 22, 2018, the College filed a motion to dismiss AAUP’s lawsuit, and the matter is now under court review. It is our goal, however, to continue to collaborate with AAUP to reach an agreement.

The College and AAUP have continued to negotiate in an effort to resolve the FY18 compensation dispute as well as to reach agreement on wages for FY19. To that end, the negotiating teams met on April 25, 2018; however, no agreement was reached regarding FY18 or FY19. At that session, the College offered AAUP a 3.0 percent salary increase for FY18 (retroactive to July 1, 2017), if AAUP would end the present litigation in order to bring closure to the matter. AAUP rejected this offer. For FY19, the College proposed a 3.0 percent salary increase, effective July 1, 2018. AAUP declined this 3.0 percent increase for FY19, taking the position that it cannot accept the FY19 offer without resolving FY18 first. Also at that April 25 negotiating session, the College requested a follow-up meeting with the AAUP negotiating team after the two membership meetings, but, at this time, no further negotiations are scheduled.

In the next three weeks, the county council will take action on the College’s FY19 budget. It’s critical to resolve the salary negotiations before the end of FY18 to ensure funds for associated pay increases are available.

For background and perspective, it’s worth noting that the terms of the AAUP contract were agreed to in 2015; the county’s fiscal outlook has changed significantly. While not dire, county resources are constrained and enrollment contractions continue to reduce tuition revenues. Also, for comparison, the Service Employees International (SEIU) part-time faculty have already received a salary increase for FY18 of 4.5 percent; bargaining and non-bargaining employees received a 3 percent increase for FY18.

The College remains committed to reaching an acceptable resolution that recognizes our fiscal constraints, protects affordability for students, and provides fair and reasonable 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 continued commitment to Montgomery College and our students.

 

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.

AAUP Update: Contract Negotiations

Colleagues:

Recently, you should have received an update from Bob Roop, Chief Human Resources Officer, regarding the status of contract negotiations with the AAUP.  I am writing this memo in response to that document in order to provide each of you the Chapter Executive Committee’s perspective on where we stand with regards to these negotiations and other important issues related to our contract.

Before I begin, let me say that this may appear to be a very complicated situation; especially given Bob Roop’s depiction of the origins of the current situation where Faculty are deprived of our salary increases previously agreed upon by the College, and his choice of words. In fact, I think it can be stated fairly simply- the College has violated the legally binding Agreement it has with the Chapter.

I am going to attempt to summarize the situation we are dealing with and encourage all of you to attend any full-time faculty meeting we hold in the near future.  We have held three full-time faculty meetings regarding the situation we are facing.  Last spring, we held an off-campus full-time faculty meeting, subsequent to that meeting we held our traditional full-time faculty meeting in May and provided those in attendance with additional information. In August, during Professional Week, we gave a very thorough update to the faculty in attendance at our opening meeting.  At that meeting a vote was taken on a motion made by one of our members to support the Executive Committee’s decision to take this issue to arbitration, if we deemed that necessary.

It is true, as Mr. Roop stated, that the College did begin discussions with Chapter leadership about its concerns related to the County’s financial projections for the upcoming fiscal year, FY’18. As President of the Chapter I attended a meeting with several of the Senior Vice Presidents where these concerns were expressed.   Basically, they provided me with information from the County which stated that they believed this was, in my words, going to be a difficult fiscal year and that there may be a need to reduce funding in the FY’18 operating budget.  The County also provided a document which gave the College guidelines to use when creating it’s FY18 budget.  One such guideline stood out to me and it reads as follows, “Do not include staff furloughs or any other reductions to existing pay and benefit levels that are subject to collective bargaining.”  Consistent with the governing State law and prior experience, the County, in essence, said tell us what you really need based on your collective bargaining agreements. It is very important to note that at the time the College created and submitted its FY18 budget to the County Executive and the County Council, the AAUP Collective Bargaining Agreement, [“CBA”-a legally binding document] was the only one in place at the College that committed the College to specific salary increases for covered members for the current Academic Year.  AFSCME and SEIU were in negotiations with Management at the time the budget was submitted.  The only pertinent legal obligation the College had with its unions at that time was an obligation to request and obtain funding from the College [and potentially other sources], to meet the fiscal requirements necessary to pay the salary increases as provided for in our CBA and to then pay us according to our CBA if sufficient funding was received.

We all received a copy of the February 6, 2017, memorandum from Dr. Pollard to the County Executive and the President of the County Council.  In that memorandum, she stated that the College was requesting $7.4 million more than we had previously received in order to fund compensation and benefit increases.  The AAUP Executive Committee’s determination, at this point, is that the College had asked for sufficient money to fully fund our CBA at least with respect to the agreed-upon increases for the current Academic Year.  As you will likely recall, the College had previously negotiated and entered into the binding CBA with the Chapter which provides that we would receive a 2.75% general wage adjustment and a 3.5% increment.

Subsequently, on March 1, 2017, we all received a memorandum from Dr. Janet Wormack, Senior VP for Administrative and Fiscal Services regarding the FY 18 budget.  In that memorandum she stated, “In fact, our only request to the county for increases this year is for College employee compensation and benefits, totaling $7.4 million. Consistent with last year’s decisions by the county, this is a 4.5% salary increase for every eligible employee: one percent cost of living allowance (general wage adjustment) and 3.5 percent in merit increase (increment)…”  Upon reading this memo it became obvious to the AAUP Executive Committee that the College had no intention to honor the terms and conditions of our CBA.

On March 15, 2017, Dr. Pollard notified the College community of the initial recommendation from the County Executive to only provide the College with $2 million in additional County funding.  Shortly after that memo was sent we were notified by one of the College’s attorneys that the College was invoking Section 8.5 of our CBA.  This is the Section that deals with what should be done if the College doesn’t receive sufficient money to fully fund its projection of what is required for it to comply with our CBA and meet its financial obligations to you as a Faculty member.

Thereafter, on May 18, 2017, we received notification from Dr. Pollard that the Montgomery County Council voted to provide the College with $5.2 million in new money for the FY18.  The College continued to insist that they didn’t have sufficient money to fully fund the raises it is required to pay as required by our CBA and subsequently offered us a 1% general wage adjustment and a 2% increment.

This necessarily raises the question and you all may be wondering “how much money did the College need in order to fully fund the raises that were previously negotiated and agreed upon in our CBA?”.  The answer is $2.73 million.  If the College received $5.2 million and they only needed $2.73 million, why can’t they fund our previously agreed upon raises?  Remember, the only CBA in place at the time the budget request was submitted to the County Council and the County Executive was the AAUP CBA.  At the time the County Council voted to provide the College with $5.2 million our CBA, with its agreed-upon salary increases, was the only CBA in place and to which the College was legally bound with regard to salary increases for the current Academic Year.  As I noted above, the College was still in negotiations with AFSCME and SEIU.

We initially filed a grievance against the College because it appeared that the Administration did not ask for enough money to fund our contract.  We learned that they did request sufficient revenue from the County and we have rescinded that grievance.  Several weeks ago we subsequently filed a grievance against the College because it failed to pay us according to the terms and conditions as stated in our previously negotiated and agreed-upon CBA.  To put it simply, they asked for enough money and received enough money but intentionally decided not to do use it to pay our salaries as provided for in the CBA.  We believe they invoked Section 8.5 improperly.

The steps both Management and the Chapter must follow when a grievance is filed are stated in the CBA.  I encourage each of you to please read this document which can be found in the Chapter Documents sections of the Chapter’s webpage, mcaaup.org.

Until such time as this grievance is resolved no wage adjustments will be made to the full-time faculty but it is our understanding and expectation that all other aspects of the Agreement will remain in place.  I will provide you with additional updates in the near future.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP

AAUP Update: Newsletter, April 2015

(download in PDF)

April 2015 Newsletter

Update from Harry N. Zarin, G Counseling, Chapter President

Contract/Negotiations:

At our spring meeting in January, we updated those in attendance on the progress we were making in negotiations. Shortly after that meeting, we posted a summary of the tentative agreements that were reached in the Chapter Documents section of the Chapter website, and on February 13th, we conducted our first ever electronic vote on the agreements. By an overwhelming majority, the agreement was ratified by the membership. I am pleased to report that on the evening of March 23rd the Board of Trustees voted to ratify the agreement. We are very thankful to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Pollard, the members of Management’s Negotiating Team, Dr. Janet Wormack, and Dr. Sanjay Rai for their support and efforts towards bring this year’s negotiations to a successful conclusion.

We believe we made some very important progress with these agreements that will benefit our membership. We successfully negotiated a 9-year contract, which included increases in salary for the next three years, increases in EAP for the next three years, and additional pay for days worked over 195 in any academic year. Additional protection was negotiated with the inclusion of final and binding arbitration for grievances, which also includes discipline and discharge situations.

Please refer to the Executive Summary of the tentative agreements in the Chapter Documents for additional information on these and other important agreements that were reached. Also, for your reading pleasure, the entire new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been posted in the above-mentioned section of the Chapter website.

We all owe our Negotiating Team and Executive Committee a tremendous debt of thanks for the numerous hours spent both in committee meetings and at the negotiating table. Also, Rose Sachs, our past President and retired counselor, deserves and big thank you for her time and efforts spent in many meetings as our hired consultant. David Kelly, the Chapter’s attorney, also deserves our thanks for his superb guidance and support throughout this entire process.

Budgetary Issues and Testimony:

The Board of Trustees annually submits a proposed operating budget to the County Executive, and the County Executive then makes a budget recommendation to the full Council and the College. This year, the BOT proposed an operating budget that was approximately $15 million higher than last year’s budget. This included $11.8 million to cover negotiated increases in the costs of employee compensation and benefits and additional funds to cover the costs of several important student success initiatives. The County Executive recommended an increase of only $3 million over last year’s budget, and in his proposal, he asked that the College make up the difference, by among other things, severely increasing our tuition rates. The College is now lobbying members of the County Council and asking them to restore as much as they can to our operating budget so that our negotiated increases in salary and student success programs can be funded.

As the President of our Chapter, I have been asked to represent the faculty at the County Council hearings on Wednesday, April 15th, at 7:00pm in the 3rd floor hearing room at the County Council building. It is very important that as many faculty and employees as possible attend these hearing. We want to pack the house as a way of demonstrating our sincere interest in the college and showing the County Council that we support the mission of the college and the success of our students. Your AAUP Executive Committee would appreciate it if you would mark your calendar and plan on taking some time out of your day to attend these hearings.

In order to assist me in writing my testimony, I am soliciting your assistance. I would like to highlight the accomplishments of some of our faculty and students in my 3-minute testimony. Yes, I said 3-minute testimony; this is all the time each of us are given when we testify in front of the full Council. I would appreciate it if you would send me bulleted highlights of some of your accomplishments from this year and success stories of some of your students. If you wrote a book, published an article, received an award, have been elected to hold office in a professional association, or have been selected to serve on a special committee, please send me a brief e-mail. At the same time I would ask you to send me some student success stories. The Council always enjoys hearing about our students.

Contractual Obligations:

In our December newsletter, I mentioned a few very important contractual obligations that all of you need to be aware of. One of these obligations relates to the amount of ESH you are required to work in an academic year and the amount of ESH you may earn in a given semester or a given academic year. Each faculty member is required to work at least 30 ESH each academic year, may not work more than 20 ESH in any given semester, and may not work more than 36 ESH in any given academic year. It is very important that all of you know that winter session ESH is part of your spring load. Exceptions to these limitations are given in very rare and exceptional circumstances and must be requested in advance of a given semester. It is the responsibility of both management and the individual faculty member to know these contractual limits. During the current academic year, mistakes were made by both management and faculty, which resulted in several violations of the established ESH limits. In order to reduce the negative impact on students, the Chapter agreed to allow the overages to occur. Next year, the Chapter will be taking a very hard line towards granting exceptions to the ESH limits stated in the contract. Please plan accordingly and make sure you communicate with your Chair with regards to both your teaching and non-teaching ESH and remember winter session ESH is part of your spring ESH load.

Obligation to Join the Chapter or Pay a Service Fee:

This is a reminder to all full-time bargaining unit faculty members who are completing their first semester of employment at the College. Each of you has an important decision to make. Based on Article 7.7 Modified Agency Shop:

“…any faculty member hired into a bargaining unit position shall, by the conclusion of his or her initial semester of employment, be required to have dues deducted pursuant to Section 7.2 (A) or pay a service fee established by the Chapter as compensation for the representational services rendered.”

If you are a newly-hired faculty member and have not already joined the Chapter or submitted an application to the Chapter indicating that you are agreeing to pay a service fee, you must complete an authorization for dues/service fee deduction form and submit the form to Bill Talbot, (R) Accounting and Chapter Treasurer. You may access this form from the Chapter’s website at www.mcaaup.org by simply clicking the “Join the Chapter” tab. If you have any questions about this requirement, please do not hesitate to contact any other member of the Executive Committee or me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this brief message and please plan on attending the County Council budget hearings on Wednesday, April 15th, at 7:00.

AAUP Update: February 2015

Colleagues:

In years past all AAUP voting on contractual and other related issues occurred via in-person voting.  This year the Executive Committee explored the option of offering voting via an on line format.  Advances in technology have allowed this more convenient way of voting to be available to us.  We feel that this method will help to encourage a larger number of members to vote.  Thanks to Julie Levinson, counselor TP/SS, yesterday’s test vote was successful and we are now ready to proceed with an actual vote on the ratification of the tentative agreements that we reached with management.

Later this morning eligible dues paying members of the bargaining unit will receive an e-mail inviting them to vote on the ratification of the tentative agreements we reached with management.  This invite is not a test, it is the real deal.  Voting will remain open until 3:00pm on Friday, February 13.  Chairs, although they still hold faculty rank, are not part of the bargaining unit and therefore are not allowed to vote.  Service fee payees are not allowed to vote therefore you will not receive an invite to do so.  All votes from yesterday’s test vote have been deleted, so if you voted yesterday you will need to vote again today.

Yesterday we posted an executive summary of the agreements to the Chapter documents section of our website, www.mcaaup.org, for you review.  We encourage you to review this document prior to voting on the agreements.

The Executive Committee would appreciate it if you would take a moment to vote on this important agreement.  We would also like to extend our thanks to the members of our negotiating team, Bill Talbot, Michael Gurevitz, Sharon Piper, Rick Penn, Kathryn Woodhouse, and Tammy Peery.  A special thanks also is extended to our consultant and former MC employee Rose Sachs and the Chapter’s attorney, David Kelly.  We would also like to thank the members of the management team for their dedication in helping the process of negotiations move forward and come to a successful conclusion.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, Counselor and Chapter President

Faculty Focus Groups

We are finalizing the contract negotiation faculty focus groups; we should be completed by Friday, 9/5/13.  Thank you for responding with such enthusiasm to our request for volunteers– we are thankful that so many of you are willing to work with, and for, your fellow faculty members. We had such a tremendous number of volunteers who responded to the sign-up email that not all volunteers were assigned to a group, and not all volunteers were given their first choice of groups.

Once we finalize the focus groups, a member of the executive committee (who will also be your group leader) will contact you to set up meeting dates, times, and places. S/he will also instruct your group on how to research contractual issues. We apologize if you were not assigned to a group, and we hope you are able to understand our numbers cap on focus group members. We truly hope you will consider volunteering your time with AAUP in the near future.