November 20, 2018

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. ”

 

Tentative Agreement on Contract

To all FT Faculty:

The negotiating team reached a Tentative Agreement on Friday.  I have summarized the agreement and I have also attached the specific language changes, in bold, to our Contract.

Here is a summary of the changes:

 

Salary and Bonus:

A bonus of 2% for next fiscal year, 2012 – 2013, paid ½% December 30, 2011 and 1.5% bonus paid the last pay period in June 2012. The bonus will not be added to your base salary.

On the last day of the 2012-2013 academic year, there shall be a two percent (2%) general wage adjustment in our base salary.

EAP: Each faculty member will have up to $2,020, same as this year; the total benefits payable to all faculty, however, will grow by $25,000 to $284,522.

EAP for travel: Language was modified to clarify that it can be applied to any travel for professional development that is approved by your dean.

Extended Leave Without Pay: Language was modified to clarify that faculty members may apply for up to 2 consecutive semesters, and in exceptional circumstances up to 2 additional semesters beyond that may be granted.

The AAUP-Management Collaboration Committee: this existence and charge of this committee, which was formed earlier this year, was written into the contract.

In addition, two side letters were agreed to, forming committees to discuss two issues in the spring 2012. One of these will explore the possibility of allowing for payments to be made via stipends in some circumstances (instead of ESH or in addition to ESH), and the other will examine the impact of the part-time faculty contract on the workload of chairs and coordinators.

The AAUP executive committee will be scheduling meetings to discuss your concerns/issues related to this Tentative Agreement. There will be meetings on each campus on Monday and Tuesday the week of December 5th. AAUP members will then vote on whether or not to ratify the contract on Wednesday and Thursday the week of December 5th. Look for an e-mail from your campus vice president after Thanksgiving with the times and places.

I want to thank the negotiating team of Rose Sachs, Sharon Piper, Tammy Peery, and Rick Penn.
Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday,

Bill
AAUP Chief Negotiator
Accounting Coordinator
Professor of Accounting
Montgomery College, Humanities 258
240.567.5014

 

 

MONTGOMERY COLLEGE

and

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS,

MONTGOMERY COLLEGE CHAPTER

November 18, 2011

Article 6, Section 6.7

 

Section 6.7 – Extended Leave Without Pay.

A faculty member who has completed four or more years of service may be granted leave without pay for a period not to exceed of up to two (2) consecutive academic semesters for the purpose of educational travel, professional study or improvement, exchange or overseas teaching, political activities, family illness, child care, major religious holidays, emergency or special personal obligations which the faculty member is unable to fulfill without missing classroom or other responsibilities to Montgomery College, or such other purposes as may be deemed by Management to be in Montgomery College’s interest. A faculty member who is granted such leave shall, during the period of such leave, be responsible for paying all monies necessary to maintain the faculty member’s participation in the Montgomery College Group Insurance Package and any retirement plan in which the faculty member participates.  In exceptional circumstances, requests of up to two (2) additional consecutive academic semesters may be granted at the discretion of the vice president provost. 

 

Article 7, Section 7.9 – Collaboration Committee

 

To foster cooperative and collaborative labor relations by facilitating communication, promoting understanding, and resolving matters that affect full-time faculty, the AAUP and Management agree to establish the AAUP-Management Collaboration Committee.  This committee shall be comprised of up to five representatives from AAUP and up to five representatives from Management.  The parties agree that additional resource members may be invited by mutual agreement, or selected to serve on sub-committees established to resolve specific matters. 

This committee shall utilize an interest based approach to problem solving and shall be committed to successfully resolving issues of mutual concern.

This committee shall meet a minimum of eight times per fiscal year as follows:  September, October, November, January, February, March, April, and May.  The parties shall jointly establish meeting dates for the entire year no later than the conclusion of the September meeting.  The AAUP and Management shall exchange proposed agenda items at least one week in advance of each meeting unless both parties mutually agree to an exception.

At the conclusion of each fiscal year, the parties shall forward a report to the President outlining the matters discussed during the fiscal year, action taken as a result of those discussions, and the status of each issue.  The parties shall also include the status of the work of any sub-committee(s) in the annual report and an assessment of the effectiveness of the committee’s processes. 

Section 8.2—Fiscal Academic Years.

(A) General – Fiscal 2011

 

There shall be no salary or merit adjustments in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 except as follows:

 

There shall be a one-time payment equal to one half (1/2) percent of base salary paid to each bargaining unit member no later than December 30, 2011.  There shall be no adjustment to base salary.

 

There shall be a one-time payment equal to one and one-half (1.5%) percent of base salary paid to each bargaining unit member no later than June 30, 2012. There shall be no adjustment to base salary.

 

Notwithstanding any other provision of this agreement, in the event the financial situation changes, and the actual revenues received by the College for Fiscal Year 2013 require or permit additional adjustments to employee wages, or in the event of any cost of living, step, merit increases, or bonuses in excess of two percent (2%) lump sum payments (in total for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013), are negotiated and implemented for other employee groups at Montgomery College, Montgomery County Government, or Montgomery County Public Schools, the College shall notify the Union, and the Parties agree to promptly meet and negotiate in good faith in an effort to reach agreement on such changes, if any.

 

Effective the first day of the fiscal 2014 academic year, there shall be a two percent (2%) general wage adjustment.

 

Article 9, Section 9.4 Educational Assistance Program.

 

(A)  EAP – Payment of Tuition, Fees, Conferences

 

Montgomery College shall continue in effect its Educational Assistance Program on the following schedule:  the maximum benefit payable under this Section, 9.4 (A), in each of the fiscal 2012 and 2013 academic years shall be equal to $2,020 per faculty member per fiscal academic year; provided that the total benefits payable under this Section 9.4 (A) shall not exceed $259,522 in the fiscal 2012 academic year and $284,522 in the fiscal 2013 academic year.  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 six (6) graduate credits per academic year.  All benefits provided under this Section 9.4 (A) in any fiscal academic year shall be used only for payment of tuition, fees and required instructional materials for approved courses and as outlined in Montgomery College Policy & Procedure 35001.

 

(B)  EAP – Reimbursement of Certain Expenses Related to Travel for Professional Development

 

In order to foster faculty professional development opportunities, Montgomery College shall provide Educational Assistance Program reimbursement of expenses related to travel for approved professional development conferences in the faculty member’s discipline.   Such reimbursements shall be made on the following schedule:  the maximum benefit payable under the program in the fiscal 2012 & 2013 academic years shall be equal to up to $500 per faculty member for one approved conference requiring travel within two academic years provided that the total benefits payable under this Section 9.4(B) shall not exceed $75,000 in the fiscal 2012 academic year and $75,000 in the fiscal 2013 academic year.  Funds must be approved and encumbered prior to attendance at the conference.

 

(C)  These provisions, Section 9.4(A) and (B), shall not preclude the ability of management to approve additional professional development funds.

 

 

Article 11, Section 11.1 Duration

 

(B)       Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 11.4(A) of this Agreement, either Management or the Chapter may reopen this Agreement for the purpose of negotiating changes in the salary levels specified in Section 8.2(A) and Appendix I of this agreement.  During salary negotiations either Management or the Chapter may also reopen this Agreement for the purpose of negotiating regarding rolling term contracts, salary for scarce faculty, sick leave benefits, Educational Assistance Program benefits, overload pay, the rehired retiree program, alternate activity ESH, or other issues mutually agreed upon by the parties.  Notice of this intent to reopen this Agreement for negotiations regarding any matter specified above requires service of written notice on the other party not later than September 1 of the fiscal academic year 2013.

 

Side Letter:  In Fiscal Year 2012, the parties shall discuss issues related to stipends.  In the event the parties reach an agreement, nothing in this agreement shall prevent the parties from implementing such an agreement in fiscal academic year 2013.

 

Side Letter:  In Fiscal Year 2012, the parties shall discuss issues related to chair/coordinator workload related to the part-time faculty agreement.  In the event the parties reach an agreement, nothing in this agreement shall prevent the parties from implementing such an agreement in fiscal academic year 2013.