November 20, 2019

AAUP Update: Our Court Case and More

Colleagues:

I am writing to let all of you know that our case was heard today in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.  A three-judge panel listened to the oral arguments of both sides, asked questions of both the College’s attorney and our attorney, and as expected, rendered no opinion from the bench. I have been told that we now have to be patient while we wait for a ruling from the Court.  The waiting period can be as short as one day to three months or longer.  We are hopeful that the waiting period will not be too long and that The Court rules in our favor.

Thanks to all who attended our full faculty meeting last month.  We on the Executive Committee appreciated your attendance and your active participation in the meeting.  I mentioned in the meeting that the initial salary review which some of you requested is still in process.  A number of faculty members received an e-mail stating that a review of their initial salary has been completed and there will be no increase in salary.  If you received one of these e-mails and have questions, please contact Santo Scrimenti directly and request a meeting with him.  He assured me that he is willing to meet with each faculty member individually to review their individual request.  Please feel free to request that a member of the Executive Committee sit in with you when you have this meeting.  Others of you received an e-mail stating that you will receive an increase in your salary. This communication should include the specific dollar amount of your increase and the conditions under which the College is agreeing to award you this increase in salary.  Do not hesitate to contact a member of the Executive Committee if you have any questions about this communication.  You can also request a meeting with Santo Scrimenti so that he can provide you with additional information on how the College arrived at the decision they made to increase your salary.

Plans for the upcoming negotiations are underway.  We plan on negotiating for increases in salary, EAP, over load pay, and resolving a discrepancy in the short-term disability policy between faculty and the staff and administration.  All that occurs concerning negotiations at the table is generally confidential until both sides release a joint statement or until both sides agree that some information can be released.  With this in mind I will keep you all posted as best I can once negotiations begin. 

I hope that your beginning to the semester has been uneventful, that all of the students in your classes are delightful, and that they will do all that you ask in a respectful and timely manner.  We should all be so lucky.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Court Case, Faculty Compensation Forums, Fall Negotiations, Executive Committee Nominations, the Closing Meeting and more.

May 2019

Colleagues:

The year 2018-2019 academic year is rapidly coming to a close.  I hope that all of you have had a good semester and year inside and outside the classroom.  Please pardon the length of this update; however, it is important that I provide you with all of this valuable information.

Closing Meeting:

This year the closing meeting will be held on Wednesday morning May 15 in Globe Hall on the Germantown campus.  The AAUP Chapter meeting, which is a full-faculty meeting, will take place as soon as the college wide portion of the morning meeting ends.  Please plan on attending this meeting.  There are only three meetings per year where the full-time faculty in its entirety is able to meet and discuss issues that are important to us.  We on the Executive Committee need to hear from you, and you need to exercise your right to voice your opinion on issues that affect you and your colleagues. At the meeting we will announce the results of the election of officers for the Chapter, we will talk about the faculty compensation forums, our pending case with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the status of our treasury, and much more.  Your participation in these meetings is important.

Nominations and Elections:

Nominations are now being solicited for the following positions on the Executive Committee:

  • President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Vice President-Germantown
  • Vice President-Rockville
  • Vice President-Takoma Park/Silver Spring

As announced last week, the nomination period ends on Wednesday May 8, the slate will be announced on the May 9, electronic voting will begin on May 9 and will close on May 14.  The results of the voting will be announced at the closing meeting in Germantown on Wednesday May 15.  Only dues paying members of the Chapter may vote on Chapter related issues. 

The Montgomery College Operating Budget:

Each year the president of the college submits an operating budget request to the Montgomery County Executive and the Montgomery County Council.  Through very intensive lobbying and a very involved decision-making process, the members of the council determine the funding of the operating budgets for all county-funded agencies, including Montgomery College.

I participated in the lobbying efforts by testifying on behalf of the full-time faculty at the April county council budget hearings. My testimony is posted on the Chapter website. The county council’s vote on our operating budget tends to occur around the week of gradation. Shortly after that, at the June Board of Trustees meeting, the BOT will make their final decision on tuition increases, the funding of our contract and the overall operating budget for the College. Below is some information that relates to this process and how some recent County Council action may affect Montgomery College.

From a Member of the County Council:

Councilman Hans Riemer sends out periodic messages to those who subscribe to his on-line newsletter.  Below is the most recent message that he sent out to the public.  The message relates to the county’s operating budget for next year.

Dear Resident:

Today [April 30] the Council took an initial vote on next year’s compensation for County employees, as proposed in the County Executive’s budget.

As part of our annual budget process, the County Executive is responsible for negotiating labor contracts with the unions. The Council then has the final responsibility of making sure that compensation is affordable.

While I support a raise for our employees, the County Executive’s proposal includes a 9.4% increase for many County employees in the MCGEO bargaining unit. (Increases for Fire and Rescue and Police officers are about 5.9%; teachers and school support personnel are scheduled to get 4.5% increases, on average.)

MCGEO members are the workers you will see driving a bus for long hours, inspecting rental housing, or providing health services. Like other public employees, they keep this county humming, and they deserve a raise.

But, after careful consideration, I voted no on the 9.4% raise, as did my colleagues.

I cast that vote because I take my obligation seriously to look to the future as a steward of our tax dollars.

Under the County Executive’s agreements, total compensation would grow at nearly double the rate of county revenue. When compensation grows faster than revenue, it consumes more of the budget over time, leaving less for new initiatives.

I think you will agree that we must be careful to preserve funds for goals such as reducing MCPS class sizes, expanding pre-k and afterschool programs, improving transportation and fighting climate change, to name a few.

By comparison, Federal employees, who make up a large share of our taxpayers, are receiving increases this year that are less than half of that amount.

While there is no doubt that the Recession was tough on our employees, with pay freezes for several years, since then, they have received steady raises.

The County Executive’s proposed 9.4% raise is all the more difficult because it is plain now that our budget has a structural deficit. The only way the budget achieves balance is through an extraordinary measure — using revenues from last year identified for the retiree health benefit fund.

Like a large ship, the County’s budget changes direction slowly. I think this is an important moment to begin to “turn the ship” and express the Council’s strong desire to start taking steps to resolve our structural deficit.

The County Executive talked about our fiscal challenges on the campaign trail, as did Council candidates. The County Executive’s mantra was that as a leader trusted by the County unions, he could work with them to right-size County government — recognizing that it is more affordable to provide raises to a smaller workforce.

He’s right about that, and I hope he follows through. I am prepared to work with him.

The budget we received, however, adds 90 new positions, exacerbating the impact of compensation increases.

I share the County Executive’s stated desire to make County government more efficient, and I also strongly believe that we can do more to promote economic growth in the County. If we achieve major savings and our revenue growth accelerates from a hotter economy, then I absolutely believe that County employees should share in those gains.

But let’s not count the chickens before they hatch: we have to make the necessary changes before claiming savings.

I look forward to supporting a raise that we can fund over time — one that is more in line with the wage increases that other bargaining units and our taxpayers are experiencing.

Sincerely,

Hans Riemer

Councilmember, At-large

After receiving this message, I sent an e-mail to Susan Madden in our Governmental Relations Office.  I asked her how she feels this action may affect the amount of money the Council will allocate towards the College’s FY2020 operating budget.  Below is her response to my e-mail.

Yesterday [April 30], the Council took action to abrogate the contract with MCGEO and send them back to the negotiating table with the County Executive.  Councilmember Rice made the motion.  All nine members voted yes.  It remains to be seen what will be the result though the Council did signal some parameters.

The Council also took action across all contracts with county employees to change the cost sharing on benefits—suggesting a 75 percent/25 percent split—meaning county employees ought to pay more for benefits.

As I understand it, the County Executive has or will send a budget amendment to the Council for $5 million new dollars to be spent on MCPS.  These funds became available because of new state funds related to the operation of the 911 system. The balance of what MCPS needs will come from existing sources and or Kirwan funds from the state.

The combination of the reducing the county’s compensation costs and the $5 million now available for MCPS does give the council some greater flexibility to provide additional funds to other Council priorities like the College. The Council President made it clear the College is a priority at the conclusion of the hearings.

That said, nothing is said and done until the final vote. Students continue to meet with Council members. Dr. Pollard met with the Council President yesterday before she spoke at the Equity Summit.

The full Council work session for the College is May 13. As you may know, the Committee work session was quite a robust conversation and the Committee voted to put all $3.1 million on the reconciliation list—an important step forward in the Council’s budget deliberations.

Susan Madden

How may this action affect the full-time faculty?

The College receives a large portion of its operating budget from the county. The College asked that the County provide us with $3.1 million more for FY2020 than it received in FY2019.  The recent action of the Council appears to lead us to believe that the full Council may vote to provide us with all of the $3.1 million that the College administration requested.  If this occurs, the full-time faculty will receive a 2.5% general wage adjustment in academic year 2019-2020.  The full Council will hopefully vote on our operating budget at their full work session on May 13. 

What can you do?

Lobbying individual members of the County Council is encouraged and your message needs to be clear. We have a negotiated agreement. This signed agreement includes a very reasonable increase in salary for the full-time faculty for FY2020. The negotiated increase is below inflation, is below the federal increase that was given to Social Security recipients, and our work as a faculty benefits thousands of students on a daily basis.

Now is the time for you to make your phone calls, send e-mails, and meet with members of the Council, if their schedule permits.

Salary Issues:

Six faculty compensation forums were held around the College in April at all three campuses. On April 8 the power point presentation used during those presentations was posted on the Chapter webpage, mc.aaup.org.  Numerous faculty have contacted members of the Chapter’s Executive Committee and expressed their concerns about the results of the survey. Some faculty expressed a concern about how their salary compared to others at MC given that they have been working here for a longer period of time and their salaries are relatively the same. Others mentioned that they were hired during the recession, their salary did not improve during the recession years, and new faculty hired after the recession started at a higher salary than their current salary. A variety of other salary-related concerns have also been brought to the attention of member of the Executive Committee. The concerns of the so called “recession group” and others have been heard, and they have been discussed with members of the Labor Management Collaboration Committee and the senior vice presidents. 

It is important to remember that, with one exception that I will mention below, all matters related to salary are collective bargaining matters and are dealt with at the negotiating table. We are in the process of putting together our negotiating team for the fall and have had some very positive preliminary discussions with Management about these negotiations. The salary issues that have been discussed since the faculty compensation forums will be discussed in these negotiations. What we may and can do to address the issues has yet to be decided. We will provide you with as much information as we can about possible solutions to these issues, given that discussions that occur during negotiations are confidential until both sides come to an agreement and the agreement is announced.

Initial Salary Placement:

The one salary-related issue that can be addressed by individual faculty members relates to the initial salary placement which is based on the points they received when the faculty member was hired. 

Here is a quick review of how this works: All of us had our work experiences evaluated by our hiring dean, and the dean gave us points for all of these experiences. The total points we received determined our initial salary. We all signed the point sheet and the initial offer of a salary. Several faculty members have come to us and said that they do not feel they received enough points for their previous work experiences.

If you feel that you did not receive a fair initial salary based on an evaluation of your work experience, please get in touch with Elline Damirdjian, 7-5497, in MC’s Office of Employee and Labor Relations. This office has a process in place to review your resume, application, and the points you received.  Several faculty members have already been in touch with this office and their salary was adjusted based on this type of review.

If you would like a union representative to assist you with this process, please contact any member of the Executive Committee.

The Court Case:

On April 15, our attorney filed a brief on our behalf with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.  A copy of the brief has been posted in the court documents section of the Chapter webpage.  Management’s attorney had thirty days from April 15 to file a brief on behalf of management and our attorney will have an opportunity to file a rebuttal brief once the management brief has been filed. Our case is still scheduled to be heard some time in September.  We will let you know when additional information becomes available about our case.

The Closing Meeting:

Finally, I encourage all of you to attend the full-time faculty meeting on the morning of Wednesday May 13 in Globe Hall on the Germantown Campus.  We have much to discuss and we need to hear from you. 

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: BoT & CBA

Hello Full-time Faculty!

Tonight, the MC’s Board of Trustees takes up the MCAAUP collective bargaining agreement (the CBA or full-time faculty contract) at its monthly meeting. This is the agreement the faculty approved in a vote last month.

This contract is contingent upon the college receiving funds for compensation from the county. The county executive released a budget proposal and the county council is considering the funding this week in a series of public sessions. 

Although InsideMC mentioned that representatives from MC’s other unions will speak along with MC administrators at Tuesday night’s hearing, 

MCAAUP president Harry Zarin will also speak before the panel on Wednesday April 10 at 7 p.m., a fact the InsideMC story failed to mention. 

The full schedule of hearings can be found here

The meetings are held in the Council Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Please make time to join Harry and support the union.

Thank you!

Steve Thurston
MCAAUP VP for MC, Rockville campus

AAUP Update: Faculty Compensation Study Presentation Slides

Faculty Compensation Study Presentation Slides (PDF)

AAUP Update: Negotiations, Campus Meeting, Retirement Issue, and More

February 2019

Colleagues:

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I am writing to provide all of you with some important information about negotiations, our recent campus meetings, the recently approved Distance Learning Side Letter, our court case, a retirement contribution issue, faculty rank, and membership.

Campus Meetings:

Due to inclement weather the opening meeting scheduled to occur on Jan. 14 was cancelled and as a result, our scheduled full-time faculty meeting was cancelled. The Executive Committee felt that it was important that we come to the faculty on each campus and provide you all with information on negotiations, the on-going court case, and more. For that reason, we scheduled meetings on each campus on different days and times. We had hoped that the schedule we created would have enabled the majority of you to attend at least one of the meetings.

All of the meetings were relatively well attended and the discussions were lively. We appreciated seeing those who attended the meeting but wished that more had come to ask questions and express their opinions on the issues we discussed. We hope to see each of you at the closing meeting in May. Much of the information covered in the campus meetings is summarized in this update.

Negotiations:

The following is a statement from our Negotiating Team, which recently wrapped up a long and involved process that required many hours of thoughtful conversation and meetings. I encourage all of you to take a few minutes and read this important statement. We each owe them a debt of thanks for all they did for us this year. Please thank them the next time you see them.

Statement from the Negotiating Team- AAUP

We have completed negotiations with Montgomery College management for the full-time faculty contract for the AY2019-2020. The negotiating team met with the management team for six bargaining sessions over the fall 2018 semester. On the table were the following items: salary, EAP benefits, overload pay, and bereavement leave (a hold over item from last year). The tentative agreement to be brought for ratification next week covers only the next academic year, 2019-2020.

As a team, we do not believe that this “Last, Best, and Final” offer from management reflects the true value of the full-time faculty members at Montgomery College or the efforts that the full-time faculty put forth every day on behalf of our students. We believe that our colleagues deserve much better, and we made every effort possible, as your representatives, to negotiate a more beneficial contract. Regrettably, we have concluded that full-time faculty compensation is of low priority and concern to this administration. We put forth the tentative agreement to the full-time faculty with deep regret and disappointment. We, however, do believe that the tentative agreement we present for your consideration represents the best offer that we could get from management at this time. Our team was able to move negotiations from an offer of only 2% for those below the top of the salary scale, and no increase whatsoever to those at the top, to an offer of 2.5% for all faculty.

While the County’s fiscal situation is, as has been reported, very negative, the fiscal mismanagement of college resources and the prioritization of expensive, un-implemented and untested programs, as well as the practice of financially rewarding administrators, have placed the Administration in a position where it is unwilling to fairly compensate full-time faculty who have direct daily contact with students. The agreement does not even produce a pay raise to match projected inflation for the next academic year. Inflation projections for next year range from 2.8%-3%, so the Administration’s “Last, Best, and Final” offer of a General Wage Adjustment (GWA) of 2.5% essentially amounts to a pay cut. Its only benefit, and it is a good one, is that, as a GWA, it is for all full-time faculty, including those at the top of the scale. This moves the scale for everyone, and has prevented the red-lining of full-time faculty salaries, at least for the next academic year.

Despite our extreme disappointment about this particular tentative agreement, our regret that this administration does not appear to value the full-time faculty, and our concerns about negotiations going forward given the abandonment of our history of interest based bargaining, we have decided, as a team, to put forth this “Last, Best, and Final” offer from management for a faculty vote. The alternative option to voting on the contract is to declare impasse, a process that we have decided is too expensive and potentially unproductive relative to the current situation.

We ask each of our Union member colleagues to thoughtfully consider the tentative agreement and our statement prior to casting your vote. Electronic voting will occur during the week of Feb. 18. Only dues paying members of the Chapter are allowed to vote on the tentative agreement.

For the Negotiating Team and the Executive Committee,
Sharon Piper, Lead Negotiator
Tito Baca
Michael Gurevitz
Tammy Peery

Distance Learning Side Letter:
If you look in the “Chapter Documents” section of the chapter webpage (mcaaup.org), you will see the Distance Learning Side Letter. This side letter expires every three years and allows both Management and Labor to review and update it while taking into consideration the latest technologies and best practices. Tammy Peery and Sean Fay represented the chapter. Michael Mills and Sharon Fechter represented the administration. The four of them met several times last semester and revised the side letter. The newly revised Distance Learning Side Letter has been posted on the Chapter webpage.

There are several important content changes in the new Distance Learning Side Letter. These changes include remuneration for the development of OER courses and materials and a requirement that online course coordinators have completed or are exempted from the Montgomery College Online Teaching course prior to being appointed as coordinator. All changes in the document are related to one of these two topics or represent grammatical or terminology updates.

For example, a faculty member may request remuneration for redesign of an online course for which he/she has already been remunerated as an OER course or for the design of an OER textbook provided at that at least 2 years has elapsed since the development of the original online course. A team may now provide a development plan to request remuneration for more than the standard two semesters to complete the development of a common course or team-designed OER materials.

I encourage all full-time faculty who teach distance learning classes, those who want to teach distance learning classes, and those who want to develop distance learning classes to read this important document. Our goal as an Executive Committee is to make sure that you are being paid for the work that you do and this side letter is one way we can ensure that you are being compensated properly.

Retirement Issue:

As you probably recall, the MC Board of Trustees did not ratify the salary increase we negotiated for this year in time to be implemented when we returned in August. Instead, we received the first three paychecks at last year’s rate, then a paycheck with the raise included, and finally a paycheck, which included a lump sum back pay for the missed raise for the first three checks.

Following this, a colleague who is enrolled in the Optional Retirement Plan noticed that the contribution made to her TIAA-CREF account included the 7.25% on that pay period’s salary, but did not include the contribution on the lump sum back pay. As a quick reminder, we are all in one of two retirement plans – some chose a defined benefit pension, while others are in the ORP, a defined contribution plan, in which the College contributes 7.25% of our entire base pay towards our retirement account. This colleague contacted the AAUP Executive Committee, and Nancy McCathran, Payroll Manager, who passed the question to Heather Pratt, Director of Employee Relations and Chief Negotiator for the college.

A member of the AAUP Executive Committee filed a grievance, following which several discussions were held, both within Chapter leadership and between representatives of the Chapter and of management, on how to proceed. Eventually management, after consulting with its legal counsel, agreed with the Chapter that this was a mistake that needed to be corrected as soon as possible. We have been told that the employees should notice the correction in their February 15, 2019 paycheck.

Those in the pension system should expect to see an extra deduction corresponding to the missed deduction on the back pay received at the end of October. This is just the money that was supposed to have been taken out back then – not any kind of additional withholding. For those of you in the ORP, you will notice an additional amount of funds was contributed to your ORP in the Feb. 15 paycheck.

This is a prime example of how union representation can benefit you as an individual.

Court Case:

I mentioned in my November update that there had been no progress in moving our case through the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. I am happy to report that some progress has occurred. Last December our attorney heard from the Court. A brief from our attorney is due to be submitted to the court on March 6 and we have received a tentative schedule which indicates that our case will be heard by the Court during the month of September. I will let you all know once we hear more definitive information about the actual date our case will be heard by the Court.

Faculty Rank:

For a number of years members of the Labor Management Collaboration Committee have struggled with the issue of faculty rank. Faculty rank is a very important academic concept and, while at MC there is no monetary benefit to advancing in faculty rank, there could be if you chose to move to another college or university.

Faculty rank is covered in the P&P but the process of advancing in faculty rank has never been handled in a uniform way throughout the College. This has led to some faculty advancing in rank as scheduled and others advancing years after they were eligible or never advancing in rank.

I am pleased to announce that significant progress has been made on this issue. Through the leadership efforts of Elline Damirdjian in the Employee and Labor Relations Office, and others in our Records Department, an audit of the faculty rank of all full-time employees below the rank of full professor has been completed. This audit included gathering information on when each faculty member was hired, how many points they were assigned when hired, the points needed to advance in rank, and a timeline for rank advancement. A communication process has been initiated and the Chief Human Relations Officer will contact faculty members who are scheduled for an immediate advancement in rank the week of March 1. Deans and Provosts were already notified of those faculty members who are eligible for an immediate advancement in rank.

Going forward, the Records Department in HR will take on the responsibility of tracking faculty rank information and the Deans and Provosts will be responsible for initiating the process of moving a faculty member from through the advancement in rank process. Individual faculty members should take an active role in monitoring their eligibility for rank advancement.

The Chapter thanks all who were involved in completing the faculty rank audit and for helping to move this process forward.

Membership Benefits:

One of the subjects I often hear about when I attend collective bargaining related conferences is on membership recruitment. How do you recruit members to a voluntary organization that charges dues? What is the value of joining a union when you work in higher education?

In this issue I gave you four examples that demonstrate the value of having a union in higher education. We have negotiated an increase in salary for all full-time faculty and members will be able to vote on this issue next week. A member brought an issue to our attention that related to retirement contributions. Through the collective efforts of the chapter’s representatives and management, we were able to resolve this issue and correct the error. The longtime problem of moving through the faculty rank advancement process has finally been resolved through the efforts of those of us on the Labor Management Collaboration Committee and others working in HR. We recently completed a revision of the Distance Learning Side Letter which is designed to ensure that you are properly compensated for the work you do in creating distance learning classes and OER materials.

Membership Dues:
You have a choice, either do nothing and be a freeloader (getting something for nothing on the backs of your fellow colleagues), become a full, dues-paying member of the chapter, or support the chapter’s efforts by paying the voluntary collective bargaining service fee. If you are not currently paying the service fee or if you are not currently a member of the chapter, I ask you to consider doing one or the other. We need your financial contribution in order to continue our efforts to represent you.

Membership Action:

In addition, we need your time. Some of us have been representing you for many years and we need some new people to get involved. Michael LeBlanc, English TP/SS is leading the way by creating an Organizational Task Force. If you are interested in participating on some of our committees and becoming more involved in Chapter activities, please reach out to one of the members of the Executive Committee or contact Michael LeBlanc. Your participation will be greatly appreciated.

The Chapter has its own Facebook group. If you are interested in joining please: Log onto Facebook and search mcaaup. (You do have to be a member of Facebook to join.)

Also, full-time faculty, we need to contact you away from MC at times. Please go to this site and fill in the form: tinyurl.com/mcaaupsignup

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

AAUP Update: Up-coming Meetings

I had hoped to see many of you at the opening meeting on January 14th but some bad weather came along and the day’s activities at MC were cancelled.  In lieu of hosting one large meeting of the full-time faculty, the Executive Committee has decided that we will hold three meetings, one on each campus, so that we can provide you with updates on a variety of important issues.  At these meetings we will give you information on our on-going court case, negotiations for next year’s raises, and several other topics.  All of the meetings will be held next week and they are scheduled as follows:

Germantown Campus Meeting-                Monday               February 4          HT216   3:00-4:30pm

Takoma Park/Silver Spring Meeting-        Tuesday               February 5          CM211  5:00-7:00pm

Rockville Campus Meeting-                         Thursday             February 7           SW301  6:00-8:00pm

All bargaining unit members of the full-time faculty are invited to attend one of these meeting.  You do not have to be a member of the AAUP in in order to attend one of these meetings.  We look forward to seeing you at one of these very important meetings.

On behalf of the Executive Committee,

Harry Z.

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: Faculty Council Update on Faculty Salary Study

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

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

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

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

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

 

AAUP Update: Negotiations and More….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

AAUP Update: Fall 2017

Colleagues:

As the Thanksgiving Holiday rapidly approaches I wanted to give all of you an update on this years negotiations, the grievance we filed in September and several important reminders.

  1. The Employee Engagement Survey-For the past few weeks we have all received e-mails about the importance of completing the Employee Engagement Survey.  On behalf of the Executive Committee, I want to encourage all of you to complete the survey as soon as you can.  This is the time for each of us to provide the Administration with our opinion on a variety of topics covered in the survey.  Completing the survey only takes about 15 minutes, the results are confidential, and the results will be published in the form of a report in the coming months.  The Chapter has membership on the Employee Engagement Advisory Committee and we have a voice in helping to recommend actions the Administration can take based on the results of the survey.  Please take some time to complete the survey.
  2. The Food Pantries-This is the time of year when the food pantries on each campus need to be filled so that our most needy students can benefit from our collective generosity.  When you come into the office next week try to remember to bring a few items for the pantry on your campus.  I know our students will appreciate you efforts.
  3. Negotiations-The salary, EAP, and overload ESH provisions of our current contract  expire at the end of this academic year.  Negotiations for next year’s salary, EAP, and overload dollar amounts began this week.  These negotiations will continue on a regular basis until an agreement has been reached.  As with past negotiations, all discussions held at the table are confidential.  Once an agreement has been reached, a joint statement Labor/Management statement will be released.  I will try to keep you all posted on the progress our Negotiating Team is making without violating the confidentiality of the negotiations.  We all owe a debt of thanks to our Negotiating Team-Sharon Piper our Chief Negotiator, Tammy Peery, Rick Penn, Tito Baca, and Michael Gurevitz.
  4. The grievance-Last month I provided all of you with a detailed update on the status of our raises for this year and the grievance we filed against the College.  The steps in the grievance process are outlined in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. I filed the grievance in September and shortly after that step 1 of the grievance process was completed.  We are now in step 2 of the grievance process and I anticipate that we will be moving to step 3 in the process right after the Thanksgiving holidays.  I encourage each of you to review the steps in the grievance process.  As I mentioned in my previous update, until such time as the grievance is resolved, no wage adjustments will be made to salaries of the full-time faculty.  We believe the merits of this grievance are so important that the membership voted to continue the grievance through to arbitration and we on the Executive Committee are prepared to do follow the direction of our membership.  I will keep all of you posted on the progress of the grievance and the status of the arbitration, once that process starts.
  5. Counselors Sick Leave Issue-This is an issue that has been on-going for almost a year-and-a-half.  We have been working with members of the Administration to resolve a shortage of earned sick leave hours that should have been granted to counselors who worked over the summer months.  This shortage, for some counselors, dates back to 1999.  Through our cooperative efforts with members of the HRSTM staff, the issue was partially resolved for a number of counselors.  We are now working with the HRSTM staff to completely resolve this issue.  After the Thanksgiving break I will be sending an e-mail to all current and former full-time counselors asking them to provide me with some information.  I will collate that information and work with the HRSTM staff to resolve the issue over the summer months.

Thank you for taking the time to read this brief update.  On behalf of the entire AAUP Executive Committee I want to with all of you a pleasant Thanksgiving Holiday.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Counselor
President AAUP