April 26, 2017

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.

Important Information on the Chair Position

As many of you may already know, during the process of the Academic Restructuring the administration has selected to alter its 30-year standing interpretation of our enabling legislation and our Contract language, specifically regarding the role of the department chair and the definition of the term “supervise.”

On May 8, the Executive Committee invited Dr. Pearl, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs (SVP-AA), to meet with us to discuss the legal guidance the administration has received on this matter, including any possible constraints on activities permitted the members of the faculty bargaining unit. Dr. Pearl was accompanied by Jacia Smith, Director of Employee and Labor Relations and Recruitment, we assume to present management’s current opinions and respond to questions of a legal nature. We were told by Dr. Pearl that the legal guidance had come from Rocky Sorrell and Darryll VanDeussen, attorneys who have been employed by the college for many years, each of whom has intimate knowledge of the legislation and our Contract. We question the impetus for these two to suddenly and radically alter their interpretations of both at this particular time during the last stages of the development of the Academic Restructuring plan. As we pointed out during the meeting, the legal concerns about supervisory responsibilities of the department chairs are directly addressed in our Contract. And this explicit and legally binding understanding between AAUP and management has been accepted as being consistent with the enabling legislation for some 30 years. Furthermore, this understanding is also reflected in the college’s Policies and Procedures (P&P), which have remained unchanged since 1992. Again, we question: what is different now?

During the meeting, Ms. Smith stated unequivocally that faculty cannot review curriculum materials, schedule classes/faculty, order equipment/supplies, participate in employee evaluations – in fact, when we pointed out that the role of the chair is to provide academic leadership and to construct meaningful recommendations, primarily to the deans, Ms. Smith responded, “Just because you don’t make the final decision, if you have any decision you are a supervisor.” These assertions were not refuted by Dr. Pearl. Moreover, the concerns, as conveyed by Dr. Pearl and Ms. Smith, appear not to be primarily with the role of the chair as it relates to full-time faculty but rather with the role of the chair as it relates to members of SEIU and ASCME. Ms. Smith stated, “No-one in a union should supervise any other union member of any union.” Again, this assertion was not refuted by Dr. Pearl. The crux of the matter lies in the interpretation of the term “supervise.”

It is our contention that chairs do not supervise:

• Department chairs do not hire full-time faculty or staff; they sit on, often chair, hiring committees and provide recommendations. The deans have generally respected the recommendations of these committees but have always had the authority to accept or reject these recommendations.
• Department chairs do not hire part-time faculty. They review the credentials/documents of, interview part-time faculty, and present information and recommendations to the dean. Part-time faculty are hired by deans. It is Ms. Smith’s claim that this practice is supervisory.
• Department chairs do not transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, or discharge any other employees.
• Department chairs do not assign employees. Under the guidance of their deans, they create schedules for classes and faculty, which are assigned by the dean, with or without modification. We were told by Ms. Smith that building schedules is supervisory.

According to the new interpretation of “supervise” that was presented to us by the administration via Ms. Smith, it seems that every department chair in every department, college-wide, who is following the definitions and directives that are stated in the college’s P&P is performing duties that, although prescribed by the administration, are now being deemed inappropriate or even illegal. If that is the case, then it would appear that the P&P has created and promoted unlawful conduct on the part of faculty chairs for 21 years. We do not believe this to be true; we believe that the P&P reflects the enabling legislation and our Contract.

It is certainly our strong preference that chairs remain faculty leaders who continue to serve under the guidance and direction of an appropriate dean to facilitate the provision of services that enhance the teaching effectiveness of faculty; to provide the critical leadership for instructional programs and students’ development; to plan, develop, administer and evaluate programs, services and personnel; to encourage innovation and promote excellence; and to develop and maintain a climate which fosters maximum student growth. We are being told, however, that these preferences are not consistent with the law. We believe they are. They are also consistent with the P&P; this wording is taken directly from the College’s existing Policies and Procedures.

Montgomery College’s Policies and Procedures 24102CP explicitly delineates the role of department chairs and explicitly states that department chairs are faculty. Included in this Procedure are the following responsibilities that we have now been informed the administration considers supervisory, and thus, inappropriate for faculty to perform:

Providing leadership for and assuring meaningful opportunities for faculty participation in:
1. Departmental planning, scheduling and budgeting
2. Recommending the selection of new full-time faculty
3. Full-time faculty evaluation processes
4. Selection and evaluation of part-time faculty
5. Hiring, supervision and evaluation of support staff

Further, it is now the contention of the administration that it is also inappropriate, contrary to the requirements of the P&P, for the chair to continue to advocate for faculty needs and oversee provision of department services in:
1. Day-to-day departmental operations
2. Departmental fiscal operations

Management is now interpreting as supervisory and, therefore, inappropriate, the aforementioned responsibilities, all of which are clearly stated as duties of the peer chair for the purpose of assuring that faculty efforts can be focused as much as possible on teaching and learning. This new interpretation does not appear to be open to further discussion with the faculty and seems to be the basis of the only two options being considered in the restructuring: either to remove the chairs from the bargaining unit, thus creating administrative chairs, or to strip the faculty chairs of compensation and all meaningful responsibilities. We believe that removing the chair position from the bargaining unit is dangerous on many levels. Faculty chairs are experts in their disciplines and the necessary bridge between faculty and administrators. Faculty chairs are able to provide the administration with a diverse perspective, specifically the student-faculty perspective in the institution’s decision-making process. Faculty chairs remain in touch with the needs of the students and understand the changing student demographics from the point of service because faculty chairs continue to teach, not merely the occasional class. In addition, even if an agreement can be reached to protect a faculty member’s faculty position after a term as an administrative chair, the union has no way of protecting a non-tenured faculty member while they are serving as an administrator. Unlike actual tenure, a tenure-like evaluation structure is only of value when the individual is a faculty member. The second option that has been considered by the administration, to remove compensation and all responsibility from the faculty chair, in our opinion, is simply punitive. We will discuss the ramifications of these options further at the AAUP meeting next week.

Based on the interpretation that was presented to us by Dr. Pearl and Ms. Smith, participating in performance evaluations for part-time faculty or staff; creating schedules for full-time and part-time faculty; signing leave slips for faculty and staff; reviewing course materials of full-time or part-time faculty; interviewing and recommending the hire of part-time faculty; directing the activities of departmental staff; and signing any form for the purpose of purchasing supplies or equipment for the department could, and most likely would, be deemed unlawful conduct. Of great import is that not only does this interpretation differ significantly from that of the union, but this interpretation entirely contradicts the P&P, a document constructed by the administration and one to which we have a unconditional obligation to adhere. And these conflicting interpretations not only present a dilemma for sitting chairs, coordinators and other faculty, but actually put them at risk regardless of the actions they take. Actions taken in defiance of the P&P or in defiance of an order from the SVP-AA could be considered insubordinate and subject to disciplinary action. Given the disconnect between the two – which are we to follow?

Compounding an already untenable situation, we have become aware that the recommendations from the Academic Restructuring Task Force include that the chair becomes a twelve-month, non-faculty position. The justification for taking the chair out of the bargaining unit is management’s assertion that department chairs are acting as supervisors for college employees in other bargaining units and that a supervisory role for AAUP members may be counter to the enabling legislation. The Chapter’s attorney refutes the characterization that such roles are counter to the law.

We have repeatedly requested the opportunity to discuss, formally and/or informally, the role of peer chairs and possible ways to modify, if necessary, the role that would preserve the position in terms of academic leadership and remain within any legal requirements. In fact, this was the stated purpose for which Dr. Pearl was invited to meet with the Executive Committee on May 8. The administration has refused to engage in such a discussion. We expect that management will implement the recommendation to pull the position of chair out of the bargaining unit. Should they choose to do so, the Chapter, on the advice of counsel, is prepared to take the matter to the State Commissioner of Labor and Industry.

The AAUP executive committee thanks you for the support that so many of you have offered us. The vocal and emailed words of support of our colleagues are always appreciated, but in these times they also serve the very important role of demonstrating to the administration that the Chapter is truly speaking on behalf of the full-time faculty.

Rick Penn
Stephanie Pepin
Bryant Davis
Sharon Piper
Bill Talbot
Jorinde van den Berg
Tim Kirkner
Rose Sachs
Dan Wilson
Robin Flanary

Negotiations – tentative agreement

As Bill Talbot recently e-mailed, the AAUP and the administration have come to a tentative agreement on compensation for the next two academic years. His memo is copied below. The text of the contractual terms can be found in the Chapter Documents section of this site.

These negotiations were quite contentious, but we did eventually reach an agreement everyone could get behind.  It does not have any additional money for this year as many of us had hoped for, but it does provide reasonable COLA’s for the next two years; real improvements for those at the top for the first time in many, many years; improvements for those at the very bottom of the scale; and for the first time a structure to make progression through the salary scale more predictable.  And, contrary to the way things appeared to be headed as of the last update, this agreement was reached without requiring fact finding.  My sincere thanks to Bill for all his efforts to make this happen, and to Sharon Piper, Tammy Peery and Rose Sachs for all of their contributions.

We will have the opportunity to discuss the terms of this tentative agreement at the AAUP meeting when we return in January, and the ratification vote will take place after that.

Happy holidays to everyone,

Rick Penn

 

 

Colleagues:
The College and the Union reached a tentative agreement for FY 13, present academic year, FY14, and FY15 which is subject to ratification by the faculty and approval by the Board of Trustees in January 2013:

FY13, present academic year, no change.

FY14, 3.5% increment compounded with a 2.25% COLA in your base pay starting with your first paycheck in Sept 2013. Minimum salary $53,838, maximum salary $100,947
Faculty members who currently fall below the new minimum of the range will have their salaries adjusted to the minimum of the new range prior to receiving the 3.5% increment compounded with a 2.25% COLA in your base pay.

FY15, 3.5% increment compounded with a 2.5% COLA in your base pay starting with your first paycheck in Sept 2014. Minimum salary $56,840, maximum salary $106,575.
The 3.5% annual increment will serve as a progression through the salary scale and is intended to be continued in future years, so that in subsequent negotiations only the COLA and possible adjustments to the scale will need to be negotiated.
Examples:
Present
Salary FY14 FY15
48,000* 56,976 60,445
56,000 59,264 62,872
64,000 67,730 71,853
72,000 76,197 80,835
80,000 84,663 89,817
88,000 93,129 98,799
95,850 100,947 106,575

*48,000 is below $53,838 so it is first adjusted to $53,838

Travel, will be available to faculty in both FY14 and FY15 equal to up to $1000 per faculty member for one approved conference in each FY, provided that the total College benefits payable shall not exceed $100,000 in the fiscal 2014 academic year and $100,000 in the fiscal 2015 academic year. Approve and encumber your funds prior to attendance at the conference to assure reimbursement.
This is an increase from the current $500 which was available only once over the last two years, FY12 and FY13.

EAP
EAP is increasing by $200 per faculty in the academic year starting Sept 2013 to $2220, The total benefits paid under this will be limited to $324,522.
EAP is increasing by $100 per faculty in the academic year starting Sept 2014 to $2320. The total benefits paid under this will be limited to $364,522.
Additionally, for faculty members who undertake graduate coursework beyond the Master’s Degree level, the maximum EAP benefit can exceed the specified dollar amount for that year such that total reimbursement would be equal to the University of Maryland College Park rate for in-state tuition and fees for graduate coursework up to a maximum of nine (9) graduate credits in FY14 and twelve (12) graduate credits in FY15 All benefits provided in any fiscal academic year shall be used only for payment of tuition, fees and required instructional materials for approved courses. This is not a change but will be continued in FY14 and FY15.

Overload Pay
Overload Pay – Fiscal Academic Year 2014
Consecutive years of service Salary per ESH
Less than 6 years $1,160
6 years or more $1,283
Overload Pay – Fiscal Academic Year 2015
Consecutive years of service Salary per ESH
Less than 6 years $1,231
6 years or more $1,361
For details, see attachment with specific contract language. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

I want to thank the negotiating team for their wisdom and their time in this especially difficult contract agreement, Rose Sachs, Sharon Piper, Tammy Peery and Rick Penn.

Bill
AAUP Chief Negotiator

Negotiations update

Colleagues,
In recent weeks many of you have come to members of the negotiating team with questions about the status of the reopener negotiations for our FY13 contract. I appreciate your patience and apologize that we have not been able to update you sooner. As you may guess, the fact that we have not yet been able to reach a satisfactory settlement on the current year’s reopener is not good news. In fact, we have recently declared an impasse and are scheduled to begin mediation later this week. Following that, if necessary, will be fact finding, a legal process in which both sides’ cases are made to a fact finder who acts as a non-binding arbitrator.

The reopener was triggered by the language in our ratified contract stating that should MCPS receive a raise this year, the administration and Chapter would “promptly meet and negotiate in good faith in an effort to reach agreement on such changes, if any.” We have asked the Chapter’s attorney to investigate whether the administration’s negotiations have in fact been in good faith.

Pending the results of the mediation, we will be sharing more with you in the near future about the impasse and how we got here. The Chapter’s negotiating team and executive committee are committed to seeing this process through and are doing everything in our power to bring you fair and appropriate salary enhancements.

Quick Updates

A quick update on some issues of concern to many of us:

First, yesterday we received an e-mail regarding the administration’s responses to date regarding the second occurrence of our social security numbers winding up on the web. I replied to Steve Cain and Cathy Jones sharing two concerns that many of you have brought to me but which were not addressed in this memo. For one, after the first such security breach two years ago we were assured that the administration was “working to review how and why this document was posted as well as establish protocol to identify and prevent future information security issues.” I have requested a report on what protocols were instituted, but to date have received no information on this. Also, in Dr. Pollard’s earlier email on this matter, she referred to “taking appropriate actions with respect to any persons that are accountable,” but plans for any such action were not mentioned this time.
I received a reply that the investigation is still ongoing, and they are discussing both of these concerns.

Finally, as you may have noticed in the papers over the past couple of days, MCPS teachers are getting ready to ratify a deal which includes a raise that averages approximately 3.4% in the base salary. According to the terms of our contract, the MC administration is required to formally notify the AAUP upon the implementation of MCPS’s deal (July 1), and “promptly meet to negotiate in good faith in an effort to reach agreement on such changes, if any” for us.
We will keep you posted of any updates to either of these matters.

AAUP Negotiations Update

Look for an email next week with information about a ratification vote, the week of May 1st, for the following modification to our negotiated agreement.

There shall be a one-time payment to each bargaining unit member in Fiscal Year 2012 no later than June 30, 2012.  The payment for each employee will be calculated as follows:  $2,000 minus the 0.5% (of base salary) paid to each bargaining unit member in December 2011.  There shall be no adjustment to base salary. Payment should be in the June 1st payroll.

This will be the only modification to our existing agreement, including the existing reopener language which stays in place.

This is an increase in the bonus that was previously negotiated for all FT faculty, $2000 vs. 2% of base salary total.

FOSA memo

Colleagues,
Thank you to the many of you who have contacted us about Dr. Pollard’s memo from last Friday concerning the Faculty Outstanding Service Awards. We have noted several inconsistencies between what was written and what we have contractually negotiated, and will be discussing these with the appropriate people in the administration as soon as possible.

Contract to reopen

MCGEO, the union representing many of the County employees, has reached a settlement in its contract negotiations.  The terms of that settlement include a $2000 lump sum payment for each full time employee, which averages out to about 3%, plus a 3% increase for those who have been with the County for at least 21 years (full details can be found on the MCGEO website).  These terms are sufficient to trigger a reopener in our own contract negotiations, based on Article 8.2 in our Agreement.  While the reopener is not officially triggered until this agreement is ratified and funded by the County Council, we are already in the process of scheduling a new round of negotiations with the Administration.  We are also keeping an eye on the progress of the negotiations by MCPS.  An article in yesterday’s Gazette indicates the details are still be worked out, but a raise is likely.  A quote from that article which I find particularly heartening: “The time has come for all county employees, including school workers, to regain some of the salary that they have given up in recent years, said Councilman Craig L. Rice, a member of the County Council’s Education Committee. ”