November 20, 2018

AAUP Update: November 2018

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

Colleagues:

Update to the Faculty-November 2018

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

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

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

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

An E-mail Controversy:

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

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

Monetary Concerns:

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

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

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

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

Our Court Case:

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

How much do you earn?

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

Login to MyMC

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

Negotiations:

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

Statement About Elections:

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

Responses to this Update:

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

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

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

Harry Z.

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

 

AAUP Update: Response to Ruling

Colleagues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Testimony to County Council (April 2018)

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

April 11, 2018

Members of the County Council:

My name is Harry Zarin.  I am a Professor and Counselor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College.  I am here today in my role as the President of the Montgomery College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors.  I am here to ask that you fully support and fund the College’s proposed operating budget, which includes funding for compensation increases for our valued full-time faculty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

AAUP Response to Feb. 21 College Memo

Colleagues:

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

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry Zarin, Counselor/President

AAUP

 


 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

AAUP Update: Contract Negotiations

Colleagues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP

AAUP Update: FA17 Opening Meeting

Colleagues:

I hope all of you have had a restful and productive summer and are ready to start the new academic year in a few weeks.

I wanted to take this time to remind all of you that we will have an opportunity to meet as a full-time faculty right after the opening meeting on Monday August 21.  This is a very important meeting and one that will allow all of us to exchange our thoughts and ideas regarding the Chapter’s activities for the coming year and the recent memos that we all received regarding a planned increase in our parking fee and negotiations.  I strongly encourage all of you to attend this meeting so that the members of the Executive Committee can share our thoughts and ideas about the future of our contract.

Additionally, coming to the meeting will give you another opportunity to bring a donation for the Rockville Food Pantry.  We starting doing a food drive on each campus last year and this has been a very successful activity for the Chapter which provides a direct benefit to our needy students.  Last spring’s food drive filled the pantry in Germantown.  This fall’s food drive will help fill the pantry in Rockville and our January food drive will benefit the food pantry in Takoma Park/Silver Spring.  Please be generous.

I look forward to seeing all of you at the opening meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP
Montgomery College
20200 Observation Dr. SA239
Germantown, MD  20876

 

AAUP Update: Testimony to MC Board of Trustees

Testimony by Professor Harry N. Zarin
President, Montgomery College Chapter of the American
Association of University Professors (AAUP)
To the Montgomery College Board of Trustees

June 19, 2017

Members of the Board of Trustees:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with all of you this evening.  I am here at the unanimous request of the Montgomery College Full Time Faculty, who passed a motion at our May meeting requesting I speak to you about the failed process Management used to create the College’s FY’18 operating budget.

By now you have heard that the Full-Time Faculty have not signed any agreement regarding reductions in duly-negotiated wage increases for the coming fiscal year, and that the Chapter filed a grievance against the College. The Chapter filed the grievance, with the full support of the full-time faculty, after it became clear that the Administration failed to ask for sufficient monies from the County to fully fund the increases we previously negotiated, in good faith, and were incorporated as part of our collective bargaining agreement.  Our enabling legislation authorizes the College’s full-time bargaining unit faculty to select an exclusive negotiating representative, and it requires the College to bargain with said representative in good faith.  It also provides that if an agreement is reached, the College must request the funds necessary to implement the Agreement.  With regards to the FY’18 operating budget, this did not happen.  In essence, the College did not ask for funds sufficient to cover the increases that had been agreed upon and, when it heard the College might not get enough money to fund our increases, it invoked Section 8.5, the financial exigency provision in our Agreement.

It appears to us that Management’s attempt to appease the County during our period of declining enrollments has failed.  Earlier this year, Management publicly stated that it only requested enough funds to allow for salary increases in the coming fiscal year that would be equal to increases in the current fiscal year. That statement clearly demonstrates Management’s failure to request enough money to fund the raises previously agreed upon for the members of the AAUP Chapter.

We recognize that the County is under a significant financial strain and that some tough choices must be made, but we also know, from a memo written by a County administrator to County-funded agencies, that the County expected operating budget requests to, “not include staff furloughs or any other reductions of existing pay and benefit levels that are subject to collective bargaining.” The County Executive and the County Council expected operating budget requests to contain full funding for contracts, presumably so that the County could see and know the full fiscal operating picture before making decisions.  Process and procedures must be followed when working with a labor organization that represents a collective bargaining unit like the Chapter, and it is clear that the process the Management followed was part of the problem.

In the 17 years that I have been actively involved with the Chapter we have only testified in front of this Board on one other occasion, and I can count on one hand the number of grievances we have filed.  Recently we have noticed an increase in the instances where individuals in the Administration have failed to follow the terms and conditions of the Agreement.  Multiple grievances have been the result. Whether this is due to changes in personnel, or for other reasons, appropriate procedures required to follow the terms and conditions of our Agreement are not being followed.

Bargaining unit faculty members are required to follow the terms and conditions of our Agreement which was ratified in this room just two years ago.  We hold our office hours, teach our classes, take on leadership roles, serve on committees, advocate for the College when asked and participate in professional development programs on a regular basis. We expect Management to have the same respect for and obligations regarding the executed Agreement as we do.

Thank you.

 

 

AAUP Update: Testimony to Montgomery County Council

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

April 5, 2017

Members of the County Council:

My name is Harry Zarin.  I am a Professor and Counselor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College.  I am here today in my role as the President of the Montgomery College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, AAUP.

This evening I am asking that you help us continue to help our students achieve their dream of receiving a college education.  I am asking that you fully support and fund the College’s proposed operating budget that includes funding for contractually negotiated raises for our faculty.

We are a very fine group of talented and experienced full-time faculty who diligently work to help our students learn a variety of developmental level and college level subjects.  These subjects include anthropology, accounting, biology, chemistry, criminal justice, various levels of math, psychology, sociology.  Our faculty counselors offer a wide range of student support services including career counseling, academic counseling, crisis intervention, brief personal counseling, and disability support services.

Our faculty spend endless hours creating up-to-date lectures and materials that are designed to help our student learn.  We are required to keep up with our respective fields of expertise, technology, and the latest trends in higher education.  Here are a few examples of this work. Our American English Language faculty completely redesigned the series of courses our second language students take prior to moving into a college level English classes.  The math faculty completely redesigned our developmental math program in order to help our students better succeed in learning the basic math skills needed to successfully pass our college level math classes. The English and reading faculty redesigned our developmental English and reading program so that in the fall a completely new set of integrated developmental English and reading classes will be offered for our neediest student.  The chemistry faculty in Germantown have spent considerable time converting the majority of sections of our first semester chemistry class into a flipped classroom format.  This new approach to teaching is offering our students a different way to approach teaching and learning.

Quality teaching requires up-to-date facilities.  It is very challenging, to teach in out-of-date labs.  One of our math professors says “We’re talking about using 21st century teaching methods in a space that’s designed for the needs of another century.”  Our buildings on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus are very old.  One is 38 years old and the other is 56 years old.  These buildings don’t meet the needs of either our students or our employees. You should try rolling a wheelchair around that campus or in those buildings.  We need that new math/science building on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.  Our students should be able to learn in facilities that are the same level of quality as in those of our local high schools.

What are we asking for?  We are asking that you continue to invest in the affordability and excellence being offered to our Montgomery College students. As a faculty, we are very grateful for the county’s steadfast commitment to Montgomery College. The only new funds Montgomery College has requested from the county are for contractually required increases in compensation and benefits for our dedicated faculty and staff. Our request recognizes the excellent work and contributions made to help our students succeed—so that our students can complete their education and become prepared to transfer to a 4-year university or move into the workforce of Montgomery County.

I heard someone recently say that community colleges are game changers that give people an opportunity to become self-sufficient.  This is who we are and what we are doing every day at Montgomery College.  We need your assistance in order to help us continue to change the lives of our diverse student population and to help them achieve their dreams.

Thank you.

 

AAUP Update: April 2017

Colleagues:

On March 30 the Executive Committee met with a group of spirited faculty members off campus to discuss the process surrounding next year’s budget and contractual concerns of the Executive Committee.  I am writing today in order to provide all of you with an update regarding what happened at the meeting and since and a few other issues.

At the meeting members of the Executive Committee and the Chapter’s attorney provided the membership with information on the budget process and our concern that the college administration did not request the funding necessary to meet the financial requirements of our collective bargaining agreement.  In February the college’s administration submitted a proposed operating budget to the County Executive.  In that request the college asked the county for 7.4 million dollars more than we received last year.  As was stated in a March 1 memorandum sent by Janet Wormack, Senior Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services, the 7.4 million dollars would enable the college to provide eligible employees with a 1% general wage adjustment and a 3.5% step increase.  Our negotiated increases for next year included a 2.75% general wage adjustment and a 3.5% step increase for all faculty below the maximum.  After considerable discussion at the meeting, a vote was taken and it was decided that the Executive Committee should file a grievance against the college due to its failure to request the funds necessary to meet the requirements of our collective bargaining agreement.  Said grievance was filed with the college on April 7. The Executive Committee is very aware of the budget situation in the county and the state; however, it is our position that regardless of the fiscal situation in the county and the state, it is incumbent for the college to make the “ask” and to do all it can to meet the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreement. At the appropriate time we will provide all of you with a follow up communication on the status of the grievance.

Parking and Transportation Committee Reconvening:

I recently received notification that the administration is interested in reconvening the Parking and Transportation Committee.  It is possible that they are considering increasing our parking and transportation fees.  I will keep you posted on recommendations made by this committee.  Michael Gurevitz and Sharon Piper have agreed to represent us on this committee which has not met yet.  Increases in our transportation and parking fees are subject to the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreement with the college, Section 9.8.

Negotiations:

We are presently in the 2nd year of our three-year contract and in the fall negotiations will begin again.  During these negotiations we will be working to come to an agreement on increases in our salaries, overload ESH, EAP benefits, and other issues.  Prior to negotiations, we will announce the members of the negotiating team and we will name the Chief Negotiator.

Year End Meeting:

Our year end meeting will be held on the Germantown Campus on May 17 right after the college-wide meeting, around 11:00 am in Globe Hall.  Please plan on attending this meeting so that we can hear from you and vote on important Chapter issues.  The meeting is open to all bargaining unit members.  At the year-end meeting we will be voting on our officers for next year.  This year, same as last, we will be offering members the ability to vote either on site the day of the meeting or electronically prior to the meeting.  A call for nominations will be sent to you later today.  More information about the elections process will be sent to you prior to the May 17 meeting.

Food Drive:

Last semester the Chapter ran a very successful food drive that enabled us to stock the food pantries on each campus.  This year we have decided to have the food drive at the end of year meeting.  Boxes will be placed near Globe Hall for your donations.  We will make sure to distribute the donated items to the food pantries on each campus.  Reminders about the food drive will be sent to all of you prior to the May 17 meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP
Montgomery College
20200 Observation Dr. SA239
Germantown, MD  20876
240-567-7767
240-567-1985 Fax
240-449-3452 VPN