September 28, 2022

AAUP Update: The highs, lows, and disappointments

Welcome back!

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I want to welcome all of you back for another interesting year of work at MC.  We hope that you and your family members had a safe and healthy summer.

The Highs:

I, for one, felt that we ended the spring semester and made it through the summer on a high note. Here are some positive actions and initiatives instituted by the Administration.

  • Moving to remote instruction, counseling and advising, and the provision of other services before Spring Break due to the COVID19 virus was a decision that protected all of us. This was a difficult decision to make but it was the correct decision.
  • Paying all student workers and casual temps through the end of the academic year.  This was an easy decision to make and it was the right one.
  • Creating the SRT training (whether you liked it or not, at least we had some training) and using the CARES Act funds to pay those of us who successfully completed the training.
  • Providing ESH for approximately 30 faculty mentors to assist those of us who participated in the SRT training.  Without them, many of us would not have successfully completed the training.
  • Sound fiscal management has enabled Management to honor this year’s negotiated increases in salary.
  • We have had no furloughs or layoffs due to the COVID-19 virus and its effects on the College.
  • Payroll processed over 650 vouchers and paid the faculty our stipends for successfully completing the SRT training by the August 28 paycheck.

In short, we came together as a community, supported each other, served our students, and did so because we care about what we do.  Most importantly, we care about our students. As a faculty, we should be proud of all we did last spring and throughout the summer.

The Lows:

I had hoped the high we ended on would continue into the fall semester.  Unfortunately, this didn’t happen.

A number of us learned at the Academic Affairs Retreat that there were several proposals on the table to modify the Spring 2021 schedule as a way of trying to help counter the expected drop in enrollment. Four proposals were presented at the retreat.  My hope and expectation was that these four proposals would be presented to the faculty at various Professional Week meetings.  It just made sense to me, and to most of us, that the Administration would want to hear our opinions and ideas before they made a final decision on possibly modifying the spring 2021 schedule.  If the Administration truly respected us why wouldn’t they want to hear our thoughts and ideas about how to help use scheduling to improve enrollment and student success.  The Administration and the faculty share responsibility for what happens in our classrooms, and by eliminating our voice in the decision making process, they eliminated/denied that shared responsibility.

Many of us were terribly hurt, frustrated, and concerned that the final decision to modify the Spring 2021 schedule was made without the benefit of consultation/discussion with the faculty.  I am starting my 28th year at Montgomery College and I could not imagine  any other administrators that I have ever worked with doing something like this. Don’t get me wrong, the Administration had the right to make this decision but most of us do not believe it was the right thing to do.

How will this decision impact the faulty?  We have to finish building our fall semester Blackboard sites (building a Blackboard site is a first for many of us) while at the same time making massive changes to these classes in order to accommodate an accelerated format for the majority of the spring offerings.  And we are doing this despite the fact that many of us do not believe this is best plan for our students.

How will this decision impact the students?  A few faculty members recently ran some numbers on the DFW rates for students in several Fall 2019 15-week versus 7-week courses. The results demonstrated that in:

  • ENGL102:15-week courses had a 27% DFW rate; 7-week courses had a 57.5% DFW rate.
  • CMAP120: 15-week courses had a 15% DFW rate; 7-week courses had a 38% DFW rate.
  • BSAD101: 15-week courses had a 10% DFW rate; 7-week courses had a 31% DFW rate.

If this is an indication of what’s to come when most of our courses will be offered in a 7-week format we are about to see an increase in our DFW rates.

No one will ever convince me that taking a developmental math class in 7 weeks is better for a student than taking it in 15 weeks. The same can be said for the majority of classes that we teach. I spent part of my day yesterday and today helping a student move from an accelerated class to a 15-week class.  He signed up for the accelerated class and realized after a very short time that this was the wrong thing to do, and this is a student who arrived here with over 25 AP credits. The reduction in 15-week classes in the spring will reduce this option for many of our students.

Others outside the college are also concerned about this change in our spring scheduling.  Below is a portion of an unsolicited e-mail that was sent to me from a Program Director at a local four-year university.  He has worked with many of our students who transfer into his program.

“I really feel for your faculty and for your students. There is so much diversity at MC that I do not want your students to suffer as a result of this decision. I sure hope they carefully researched this teaching format and are going to prepare your faculty well to make the teaching adjustments. I simply was floored when I heard that news and immediately I thought of the former MC students who transferred[to a local 4-year university] and then came to see me after less than a year saying the courses were too fast paced. That school has a history of teaching online so they may have been able to adjust somewhat easier, but MC has so many faculty who’ve taught for years and with the pandemic this March had to quickly move to online and now they all will have to adjust again and try to condense their teaching even more into a 7 week format. Hopefully there will not be any snow blizzards if the pandemic is cleared up, because this decision will be very tough on everyone.”

The Disappointment

During the opening meeting Counseling and Advising was the subject of a public dressing down by Dr. Pollard in her video message.  This dressing down was unnecessary, sad, and incredibly disrespectful.

The end of the Spring 2020 semester and the summer of 2020 was trying on all of us.  Counseling and Advising switched to e-mail, phone and zoom appointments very suddenly in March.  The counselors adapted and worked very hard to support our student’s academic and emotional needs.  Remember, they are not just advisors like they are at many other community colleges they are also counselors. Our students depend on them for emotional support during difficult times and believe me when I say these were and still are difficult times for our students and their families.

Counseling and advising added functionality to their online apparatus to support and answer students in as timely a way as possible, including a live chat function, phone/zoom appointments, and then finally walk-ins. Switching from appointments to remote walk-ins enabled them to serve a larger number of students in a trying and complicated time.

Many counselors worked overtime and thanklessly, while watching some administrators on the ‘academic side’ disparage or ignore their contributions.  Starfish was implemented so that students could make appointments to see counselors as opposed to sitting in endless lines. Starfish also helps us record notes regarding our meetings with students and store academic plans and other important documents.  This information helps ensure consistent communication among the counselors and other faculty who have access to Starfish. This communication helps us work together so that we can support our students.

When this investment in an advising tool is ignored, it communicates how much counselors and counseling is not valued, along with perpetuating confusion for the students.  This occurred because the Academic Affairs unit implemented their own advising system.

We as a faculty believe in the mission of MC.  We are here to educate our students, to do our part to help close the achievement gap, to help the students successfully reach their academic goals and to make a positive difference in the lives of the students we work with. To be ignored or publicly humiliated after one of the most difficult summers we all have ever experienced was at best, disrespectful and unnecessary.

The decision to make substantial changes to the Spring 2021 schedule without involving the faculty and publicly embarrassing Counseling and Advising speaks to a pattern of disrespect and a lack of collegiality towards the full-time faculty at Montgomery College. We hope the Administration will eventually recognize that as valued members of this college our opinions and ideas should be consistently sought after because we can help improve the services, programs, and academic offerings at MC.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z., Counselor/Professor
President AAUP

AAUP Update: An Update to my Update and Voting

Colleagues:

Have you ever written an e-mail, hit the send button, and then realized that you shouldn’t have hit send when you did.  After hearing from several faculty members and members of the Executive Committee, I realize that I should have modified some of what I wrote in last night’s update prior to hitting the send button. 

I understand that my last update caused a bit of confusion regarding the optional summer training program that is being offered by ELITE.  In my update, I provided information for those who are interested in teaching in summer session II and information related to those scheduled to teach in the fall.  I mentioned that those scheduled to teach in the fall must follow the information stated on the flowchart and participate in an appropriate training program over the summer.  The statement should have said; if you are scheduled to teach in the fall and are not currently trained to teach distance learning or hybrid courses, we encourage you to take advantage of the added monetary incentive to get the structured remote training, or other appropriate optional training, over the summer.  We don’t anticipate that this monetary incentive will be offered during the Fall semester.

We are keenly aware of the contract and how the current situation has impacted our scope of work and are discussing these issues with HRDE and will be communicating to the faculty as things progress. Dr. Pollard’s decision to start the fall semester with structured remote or distance learning teaching added a new wrinkle that was not official until we all received her memorandum this week.  We know that faculty are not required to work during the summer and have worked to ensure that those who can participate in the optional summer training program get some compensation for their time.  We have yet to discuss the plan the college has to ensure a full load in the fall for those faculty who elect not to participate in the optional summer training. We have reached out to Management to start such a discussion to ensure that our contract is honored and that any discussions related to our scope of work are negotiated.    

Also, the nomination period for officers of the Chapter for next year is now closed.  Later this evening all dues paying members of the Chapter will receive a ballot.  The voting ends on Tuesday evening and we will announce the elected officers during the closing meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

President-AAUP

Montgomery College

AAUP Update: Summer 2020-Related Issues

Colleagues:

This is the second in a number of updates that I planned to send out to all of you.  This update will focus on summer related issues.

Coordinator ESH Issue:

It has come to the attention of the Executive Committee that at least one Dean has made the decision to not provide summer Coordinator ESH to faculty within his unit.  This is the prerogative of the Dean.  We on the Executive Committee firmly believe that that faculty should not be asked to work for free.  If you are not being paid to work during the summer months then you need to refuse any attempt to make you participate in hiring committees, consultations with a Dean or a Chair on hiring of part-time faculty, or on scheduling issues.  If you are not being paid to work then let the Chair and Dean do the work over the summer months.  If you encounter any pressure to work for free during the summer and perform some of your Coordinator duties, please contact Tim Kirkner or myself.

Summer Training Concerns:

After the announcement about the summer training opportunities a flurry of e-mails were sent to members of the Executive Committee.  We received the message loud and clear that the differing messages faculty were receiving from various administrators and Chairs has caused quite a bit of confusion. I hope that the following provides you all with some clarity as it relates to summer training opportunities.

The Summer Professional Development Institute was created to help faculty obtain the training they need so that they are qualified to teach in a structured remote environment by the time classes start in summer session II.  In addition, more advanced optional offerings are provided for those faculty who are already qualified to teach in a distance learning environment but want to enhance their skill level.  If you click on the link below, you will be directed to the Summer Professional Development webpage.

https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/offices/elite/summer-institute.html

If you click on the Professional Development Opportunities link, you will see links to a summer schedule, an application form, a professional development flowchart, an infographic on structured remote teaching, and a syllabus for the structured remote teaching program. 

When you click on the application link, you will see that there are four different training programs being offered this summer.  Select the one that is appropriate for you and if you complete the program you will receive a stipend of $1,850.  These training programs are open to all full-time and part-time faculty members.  If you are not sure which program is best for you, click on the link to the flowchart and it will direct you to the program that is most appropriate for you.  The Structured Remote Teaching training is for faculty like me who have no Blackboard training or like many of you who have completed a portion of the part I training.   The advanced training options (Universal Design for Teaching, Outside the Box Assessment, and Emerging Technologies for the Classroom) are open to those of you who are already qualified to teach distance learning or hybrid classes. 

It is imperative that you complete the application and submit it to your Chair as soon as you can.  The Chair will review your application and forward it to your Dean for approval.  The application must get to the Dean by May 20. 

Please refer to the frequently asked questions link if you need additional information on any of the summer training offerings.

Please notify Tim Kirkner or myself if you are denied the right to participate in any of these training programs.

Technology Issues:

As you know, the Administration has decided that all summer session II classes will be taught in an on-line format or in a structured remote format.  We will start the fall semester teaching all classes in a similar manner.  With this in mind, I want you all to know that the Chapter has stressed to members of the Administration many of us do not have the technology in our homes that will enable us to do this.  In addition, many of us do not have the ergonomic furniture in our homes like we requested and received in our offices.  Members of the Administration are looking in the CARES Act funding to see how this funding could be used to help us meet the technology and non-technology requirements that would enable us to perform our jobs at home.

Professional Week

Next week is Professional Week and a series of guest speakers are schedule to present on relevant topics for many of us.  You must register if you want to “attend” any of these Zoom presentations through MC Learns.  Our own Dr. Collins Jones is scheduled to present on the topic of the COVID-19 virus on May 19 at 11:00am.  He is a terrific speaker and I encourage you to register for his presentation.

AAUP Closing Meeting

In my last update, I mentioned that we will be hosting a Chapter closing meeting for the faculty on Wednesday May 20 at 1:00pm.  Next week we will e-mail you a Zoom link invitation to this meeting.  Please look for this link in your e-mail and plan on attending if your schedule permits.

In closing, I hope you are all safe, and healthy, and that you are taking time to take care of yourself.  This is a very busy and stressful time for us and our students so please be good to yourself.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

President-AAUP

AAUP Update: Nominations, Voting, End-of-Year Meeting, April Testimony

Colleagues:

This is the first of several updates that I will be sending out as our very unusual semester comes to a close.  I decided to send out several updates rather than a very long update which many of you just don’t have the time to read. 

I hope that this update finds that all of you are healthy and are doing well under the current circumstances.  This has been quite a stressful semester for all of us, especially for our students.  We have all had to deal with so many different personal issues while at the same time fulfilling our responsibilities to our students and our committee assignments.  Tim Kirkner and I sit in on Sanjay Rai’s weekly Senior Leadership Team meetings and it has been mentioned many times that the Administration is very pleased with how we have worked to move to a remote teaching environment with such short notice.  Our efforts are very much appreciated. 

Please make sure that you take some time to take care of yourself and your family.

Nominations:

The Chapter’s Constitution requires that the membership vote on who will be the elected officers of the Executive Committee at our annual end-of-year meeting.  The elected members of the Executive Committee consists of a President, three Vice Presidents (one from each campus), a Secretary, and a Treasurer.  Members of the Executive Committee serve a one-year term and are elected by simple majority of the votes cast by dues paying members of the Chapter.  Faculty in the bargaining unit who are paying a voluntary collective bargaining service fee are not members of the Chapter and therefore, are not eligible to vote in this election. 

If you would like to nominate someone to serve in one of these positions, or if you are interested in serving in one of these positions, please send your nomination to Julie Levinson, Counselor Takoma Park/Silver Spring. The nominations period will close at the close of business on Wednesday May 15.

All current elected members of the Executive Committee have indicated that they are interested in continuing to serve in their current positions next year.  Please see the Chapter’s webpage, mcaaup.org. for a list of the current Executive Committee Members.

End of Year Meeting:

The Chapter’s Constitution also requires us to hold an annual meeting which we have typically done at the end of each academic year in May.  Due to the current situation, we have decided to hold a Zoom end-of- year meeting at our usual meeting time of 11:00am on Wednesday May 20.  A link to participate in this meeting will be sent to you at a later date. During that meeting we will announce the results of the election, hear a Treasurer’s report, discuss several important issues that we have been working on  this year, and respond to any of your questions.   We hope that many of you will join in and participate in this meeting.

My Testimony:

Annually the President of the College submits a proposed operating budget to the County Executive in mid-February.  Shortly after that, the County Executive makes a recommendation to the County Council to either fully fund our request or to reduce the County contribution to our operating budget.  Following this request, the College continues to lobby the full Council by meeting with individual County Council members and by having members of the College community testify at the County Council operating budget hearing.  This year we were allowed to submit video or written testimony.  On behalf of our membership, I submitted written testimony in support of our operating budget request. A copy of the testimony I submitted is below.


Harry N. Zarin, President

American Association of University Professors

Montgomery College Chapter

Operating Budget Testimony

April 16, 2020

My name is Harry Zarin, and I have been a counselor/professor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College for almost 27 years. I am submitting this testimony today in my role as the President of the full-time faculty union, the AAUP.

I want to start my testimony by stating that I would have preferred to be sitting in the County Council Building giving this testimony in person as I have done numerous times.  Considering the circumstances with the pandemic, I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to submit this testimony in writing. 

When the spring semester started, I looked forward to life as usual at Montgomery College where I have worked for almost 27 years.  Life as usual means seeing students individually or in groups on a regular basis, attending some important and not so important meetings, attending faculty meetings, attending the terrific nursing pinning ceremony, and finally attending graduation.  Unfortunately, a virus got in the way and life as we all know it changed for everyone.

Two days before the start of our spring break, an appropriate decision was made by the Administration to shut down the campuses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.  The faculty were told that all teaching would be done on a remote basis after our return from spring break.  We had two days to prepare, along with the time we were off for the break, and create all that was needed in order teach remotely.  This was a daunting task for the majority of the faculty who had never taught a distance learning class before. 

We quickly had to become experts in using a combination of technical options that would enable us to remotely  teach, counsel, and advise our students. Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, Google Voice, Face time, establishing VPN lines so that we could remote into our desktop computers, etc. became the order of the day. Imagine how difficult it was for our faculty to try to create an on-line chemistry, biology, or biotech lab with a few days notice.  How do you teach a studio art class or an auto tech class remotely?  These were just a few of the hurdles our faculty had to overcome in order to teach for the remainder of the semester. The efforts being made by the faculty to teach remotely this semester under stressful and ever changing circumstances has been tremendous. 

If you think this has been a stressful time for our staff and faculty, imagine how stressful this has been for our students. Many of our students have suffered academically, financially, and mentally during this difficult and unusual time.  Numerous students and their families have lost their jobs or had their hours at work severely reduced.  Finding the money to pay their bills and deal with having to learn remotely has caused tremendous increases in anxiety and mental health issues for many of our students and their families. How do you work, if you even have a job, if you have no day care options for your children? 

Imagine that you are a student who has never taken an on-line class and you are suddenly told that you have to learn remotely. How do you accomplish this task if you have no computer in your residence or access to the internet? How do you continue being a successful student with a disability when you can’t see or you are deaf? As a student with a learning disability how do you learn remotely if your learning disability is a hindrance to your ability to learn via a computer?  All of our students, especially those with disabilities, have had to adapt very quickly to this new learning environment and we have had to respond by modifying and adjusting our student support services everyday.

Our Administration and Foundation have done a wonderful job of providing for the needs of many of our students by providing them with additional financial recourses and/or vouchers so that they could receive a laptop computer.  However, there is no way we can meet the financial needs of all of our students and this is where we need the assistance of the County Council. 

Our hope and request is that you approve the College’s requested operating budget.  We want our students to return in the fall, with a budget that does not require us to increase tuition during this difficult time and so that they will have optimal resources in place to make their return successful.   We support our students and your continued support will help us help them achieve their hopes and dreams during these most difficult times.

Thank you.


In Closing:

Towards the end of next week, I will send out another update that will focus on a variety of topics. I will announce our slate of nominees for the Executive Committee and describe how voting will be done in this remote environment. I will describe some of the very important issues that we have been working on as we advocate for our contract and your rights, and will mention several other topics that I believe will be of interest to all of you.

Please take care of yourself and try to be as flexible as you can when working with your students who have struggled to get through this remote learning environment. 

AAUP Update: Elimination of the 4th Year Evaluation Requirement, Annual and Semester ESH Limits and More

I hope that all of you are healthy and that you are having a good semester. Now that the Nationals season is over we can all go back to getting some sleep by going to bed at an earlier hour.

Here are some updates that I would like you to be aware of as the semester progresses. 

The Court Case:

As I stated in my September update, our case was heard by a three-judge panel in the Maryland Court of Special appeals in September.  I need to inform you that, unfortunately, the decision of the Court of Special Appeals did not go our way. We on the Executive Committee have been in contact with the Chapter’s attorneys and another outside labor attorney, regarding the decision of the COSA and about our options for moving forward.  There are several options that we could pursue regarding our case.  One could make an argument for and against each option and this is what we are in discussion about with our attorneys.

By the time we meet at the January opening meeting we should be able to share with you the decision we have made on your behalf. I want as many full-time faculty as possible to attend the January opening meeting. At the meeting, we will lay out the reasons for our decision.

A copy of the Court’s decision is posted in the court documents section of the Chapter website for your review.

Below are some important reminders that you should keep in mind as the fall semester winds down and we move into our winter and spring semesters.

Elimination of the 4th Year Evaluation Requirement-Article 4 Section 4.2

The fall semester is a busy time for all of us, and it is an especially busy time for those who are scheduled to be evaluated this semester. For a number of years, all full-time faculty members were required to be evaluated during their first 5 years of employment at Montgomery College.  I wanted to remind all of you that as of the fall of 2015, the required 4th year of employment evaluation was eliminated.  All full-time faculty are required to be evaluated during years one, two, three, and five.  After that all full-time faculty are scheduled to be evaluated every 5 years.  More information regarding the evaluation cycle can be found in the Collective Bargaining Agreement-Article 4.

Semester and Annual ESH Requirements and Limits-Article 5:

Here are some important ESH reminders which are covered in Article 5 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

All full-time faculty members are required to work a minimum of thirty (30) ESH per academic year. 

No faculty member can be required to work in excess of thirty-two (32) ESH per academic year without consent of the faculty member, or eighteen (18) ESH per semester without consent of the faculty member.

Extended winter session and winter session ESH counts towards your spring ESH totals.

Full-time faculty may work up to twenty (20) ESH in any given semester.

No faculty member may work in excess of thirty-six (36) ESH per academic year.

Educational Assistance Program (EAP)-Article 9 Section 9.4 (A) and (B):

The FY2020 maximum individual benefit for tuition, fees, and conferences=$3,030.00

The FY 2020 maximum for travel related to professional development=$1,334.00

EAP may now be used to cover more than one professional membership.  This change in the Policies and Procedures at MC has been approved and the changes will be reflected in the on-line Policies and Procedures in the near future.  I have been informed that there is no limit to the number of professional memberships that may be covered by your individual EAP.  It is always best to see if multiple faculty in the same department would benefit more from an institutional membership paid out of the Department’s funds. If you plan to join/renew multiple professional memberships, doing so at one time helps with college-wide annual spending projections.

Encumber early – Once the funds are gone, they are gone.

Encumber accurately so MC can accurately project total funds that will be spent. This ensures as many requests as possible can be honored.

Let your Dean and HR know right away if you cannot travel as anticipated if funds were encumbered. This is an important action and your responsibility, as released unused encumbered funds can then be used by other full-time faculty for their professional development travel.

Bereavement Leave-Article 6 Section 6.4

The number of days you can take for bereavement leave was increased to a maximum of 5 days as of the start of the 2019-2020 academic year

Negotiations:

There is little I can say about negotiations other than they have begun.  We are working on negotiating increases in salary, overload pay, and EAP as well as an issue related to faculty short-term disability.  Once tentative agreements have been reached and both sides agree, we will issue a statement that outlines the terms and conditions of each tentative agreement.  We will also provide you with information on the voting process that will be needed to ratify the agreements. 

Membership Drive:

Michael LeBlanc- English TP/SS is leading a Chapter organizing group. One of the goals of the group is to help increase our membership.  Those of you who are not members of the Chapter or who are not paying the voluntary collective bargaining support fee will probably be receiving, or have received, a visit, phone call, or e-mail communication about the benefits of supporting out Chapter.  Those of us on the Executive Committee appreciate the efforts of this group of faculty and are hopeful that many of you will heed the advice of this group and either join the Chapter or support our efforts by deciding to pay the voluntary collective bargaining support fee.

Initial Salary Placement Review:

This is an on-going issue that is taking much longer than any of us anticipated.  We have been in contact with Santo Scrimenti in the Employee and Labor Relations Office and he has assured us that his intention is to communicate directly with the faculty who requested a review/reevaluation of their initial salary placement.  I have heard from some faculty who received an e-mail which stated that a review of their file resulted in no increase in salary. Many faculty who requested a review, as far back as May 2019, have heard nothing other than receiving an e-mail that the process is complex and we will be in touch. No faculty members who have been in touch with the Chapter have indicated that they were part of the review/reevaluation process. How do you conduct a review/reevaluation and not contact the individual faculty members?  I’m not sure but this is the process that those in the Employee and Labor Relations Office have decided to undertake. 

Several of us on the Executive Committee have spoken with several members of the Administration, including Donna Schena, about the length of this review process, that the individual faculty members are apparently not part of the review process, and the lack of communication with the individual faculty members. We will continue to pursue this issue and work towards an expeditious resolution of this seemingly endless process.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Again, I encourage all of you to attend the January opening meeting.  This is one of the few times each year when we as a group of full-time faulty can meet and discuss issues that are of interest to all of us.

I hope you have an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

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: Testimony to County Council (April 2019)

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

Wednesday April 10, 2019

Good evening. My name is Harry Zarin, and I have been a counselor/professor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College for almost 26 years. I am here today in my role as the President of the full-time faculty union, the AAUP.

If I were asked to pick one word to describe the importance of my work and the work of the faculty at Montgomery College, the word I would pick is impact. As a faculty, we have a very positive impact and help to change the lives of thousands of students on a daily basis. The impact occurs both inside and outside of the classroom. The outside impact occurs in our learning centers, our offices, in training sessions, and at meetings with groups of current and prospective students. We provide our students with endless hours of counseling and advising in order to assist them in dealing with issues in life that impact their ability learn. We help them chose a major, help them plan their classes, help them learn how to study and to manage their time. We guide them towards becoming independent, confident, and ambitious people. Inside the classroom we must be creative, keep up-to-date with technology, be aware of the latest pedagogy, and create courses that don’t require text books in order to keep the costs down for our students.

As a community, we made a positive impact and changed the lives of Patrice, Heather, Rhiley, and Joanna.

Patrice came to MC as a high school dropout as part of our Gateway Program, and she had few defined hopes and dreams. As a single mother, she needed additional counseling and advising to help her learn how to manage her student life and her life as a mother. Through the combined efforts of a caring faculty, Patrice received the support she needed to achieve her eventual goal of becoming a nurse. She graduated from our nursing program in December 2018, passed her nursing boards in February, and will begin the RN to BSN program at the University of Maryland at the USG campus. We surrounded her with support both inside and outside the classroom:

Heather  arrived at MC with some obvious physical challenges,  and we needed a team of people   to help ensure that MC was accessible both inside and outside the classroom. All of our learning centers, the  library, bookstore, cafeteria, our private offices, etc. had to  be accessible. We   taught Heather how to  be a confident  student who learned how to  advocate  for  herself. Thanks   to our dedicated faculty, and the Disability Support Services staff, Heather had a very positive experience at MC, graduated with her BSW from UMBC at  the  USG campus, and  subsequently graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore at the USG campus with her MSW. Heather has been employed at MC as a part-time faculty counselor for eight years. She is now part of the community at MC, and she is making a positive impact on the lives of our students on a daily basis.

Riley came to Montgomery College as a student in transition with the usual doubts and confidence issues that many of our new students have. Through his hard work and dedication and a group of faculty who have been supportive and encouraging, we challenged him to be his intellectual best.  Rhiley will soon achieve his goal of becoming a college graduate, and in the fall will begin working towards receiving his Bachelor’s Degree at the USG campus of UMBC.

It took a community of faculty and staff to help Joanna, who was home schooled, achieve her goal of becoming a teacher. Joanna is legally blind, and we spent many hours together trying to figure out what assistive technology she needed in order to help her become a successful college student. We had to find tools to make the relatively invisible, visible. Our Disability Support Services faculty and staff constantly communicated with her faculty, the learning center staff, and most importantly with Joanna so that we could provide her with whatever was needed to help her be successful. Joanna not only graduated from Montgomery College but also subsequently graduated from Towson at USG with an education degree, and she has been employed at Weller Road Elementary School for the last 4 years.

These students are where they are today partially because of the proper guidance, creative instruction, counseling, encouragement, and training they received from our faculty. All of these students have learned how to be a better student. They should be very proud of themselves.

Now we need your assistance to help Montgomery College continue to be in a position to recruit, retain, train, and re-train quality full-time faculty. We need the financial support of the County so that the College can meet its contractual obligation to fund our bare bones negotiated increase in salary. Recognizing that the county and state budgets are tight, we have agreed to a general wage increase that is below the federal standard, no increase in our overload pay, and no increment. We ask for your support of the budget request so that we can continue to hire and keep the faculty who are making such a positive impact on the lives of thousands of students on a daily basis.

I would like to add that each·of the students I mentioned this evening have written an impact statement, and their statements are attached to  my testimony.

Thank you

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: AAUP Chapter Membership/Voluntary Collective Bargaining Support Fee

Colleagues:

Later this week, I will be sending out an update with information on the court case, negotiations, voting on a tentative agreement, and more.  Only dues paying members of the Chapter will be able to vote on the tentative agreement, which relates to next year’s raises. 

If you were previously a Department Chair and stepped down, you are not a dues paying member of the Chapter unless you completed and submitted a membership application.  If you did not do so and you would like to become a member of the Chapter, please complete the membership application.

If you were paying the service fee and you are now interested in joining the Chapter so that you can, among other things, vote on Chapter related issues including the upcoming tentative agreement, please complete the membership application.

This next message is for those of you who used to support the Chapter by paying a service fee.  Last summer the Supreme Court ruled that bargaining unit members could not be forced to pay a service fee in lieu of becoming dues paying members of a union.  Therefore, the service fee stopped being deducted from your paycheck last fall. If you were paying the service fee and you would like to continue supporting the Chapter’s efforts to represent you by paying the voluntary collective bargaining support fee, please complete and submit the application.  When you pay the voluntary collective bargaining support fee, your contribution directly supports the Chapter’s efforts and helps cover our legal costs and release ESH for some members of the Executive Committee and the Negotiating Team.

If you are not sure whether you are a dues paying member of the Chapter or if you are currently paying the service fee, please look for information about this on your pay stub.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact any member of our Executive Committee.  The members are listed on the Chapter webpage.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.
President-AAUP

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