November 20, 2018

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

Colleagues,

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

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

Rick Penn

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


May 10, 2018

Colleagues,

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

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

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

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

The following points are important to this issue:

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

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

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

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

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

On behalf of the negotiating team,

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

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