August 5, 2021

AAUP Update: AAUP Update: Solidarity Statement, Nominations, Testimony and more.

April 21, 2021

Colleagues:

Each semester I generally teach a class called STSU122 – Principles of Academic Success.  Students who have not performed very well academically and need to learn how to become a better student typically populate this class.  In Chapter 6, Gaining Self-Awareness, we discuss the scripts that make up of our core beliefs.  Our core beliefs are described as unconscious judgements that dictate what we consistently think, feel, and do. They are that invisible part of a script that contains our view of other people, the world, and ourselves. Our core beliefs are made up of our emotional patterns, our behavioral patterns, and our thought patterns. 

One exercise I do with my students is to ask them to complete the following sentence stems according to their core beliefs.

            The world is______________.

            People are_______________.

            I am____________________.

I didn’t teach this semester, but I imagine if I had the responses I would have seen to these three sentence stems would have been different from those I have seen in previous classes.  Why, the reasons are obvious. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the world a very scary place, a place where just going to the store or meeting with friends could result is someone becoming very ill and possibly dying.  Our students have lost the safety they feel simply by coming to campus daily because their home life is very unsafe. I could go on.

In addition to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the violence we have seen in this country over the past year gives all of us cause to be concerned about our own safety.  Much of this violence has recently focused on members of the Asian American community. The Executive Committee and the entire Chapter stands in solidarity with the Pacific Islander and Asian American community after the recent violence in Georgia and the on-going harassment of that community.  These events emphasize the importance of having continuing discussions on racial violence and injustice and the impacts on all communities, and for union purposes, the impact on the faculty.

Last semester I announced that the Chapter planned on hosting a spring dialogue to discuss the importance of race from the perspective of our full-time faculty and to better understand how race affects their experiences at the College. The Chapter’s goal in hosting this dialogue is to facilitate a collaborative conversation that helps Chapter leadership understand how it can better support the faculty and that helps faculty understand how they can better support each other. This dialog, “Discussing Race and Labor in Academia,” will be held today from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. We hope you will join us in a conversation in the spirit of the World Cafe, which seeks to provide large groups with a comfortable space to build community knowledge through a series of small-group dialogues. The event is open to all members of the full-time faculty regardless of union affiliation. Members and nonmembers are welcome.  Register now.

Naliyah Kaya, Sociology, TP/SS, Michael LeBlanc, VP, TP/SS, Ginger Robinson, Negotiating Team, Katya Salmi, Sociology, Rockville, Jarvis Slacks, VP, Rockville 

As the semester progresses to a close in a month, please take some time to take care of yourself and your students.  Please recognize that many of your students may need some additional time to complete their assignments because they are having a very difficult time being a good student for a variety of reasons, including living the isolated COVID life, taking classes remotely, and dealing with a loss of income, increased stress, illness of self or family, etc.

Return to Campus Plans:

Numerous members of the faculty have contacted members of the Executive Committee and have asked us when we are going to return to campus, to our offices, to our classrooms, learning centers, etc. Several committees have been established to determine what the return to campus will look like and Dr. Pollard has spoken about this several times in her weekly messages.  Members of the Chapter serve on these committees and members of the Executive Committee have had regular meetings with members of the administration on this topic.  We represent you during these regular meetings when we discuss the plans that are being made to bring us back to campus in a safe manner.  The safety of our students and employees guides all of the plans that are being put in place to help us return to campus. 

Technology Requests:

Please don’t forget to submit your hardware requests if you need a laptop, a scanner, a Mac Book, or other technology in order to perform your job from home. 

Hardware Request Form

Nominations and the Closing Meeting:

Our closing meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 19th right after the end of the President’s closing meeting.  Our meeting should start around 11:15 a.m..  A zoom link will be sent to all of you with additional details about the meeting later in May.

At the closing meeting we will discuss the activities of the Chapter for the past year and our treasury report, we will vote on whether to increase our dues or not, we will listen to your concerns and questions, and we will announce the results of our election of Chapter officers for next year. 

An announcement about nominations for next year’s Chapter officers will be coming out in the next week or two and after the slate is announced we will hold our election electronically.  You must be a dues paying member of the Chapter in order to vote in our election of officers.  All Chapter officers serve a one-year term of office and nominations will be solicited for all positions.  The elected Chapter officers consist of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, and three Vice-Presidents, one from each campus.  One Vice-President, Michael LeBlanc-TP/SS, has indicated that he will step down from his position as the Vice-President for the TP/SS campus at the end of this year. Our previous Treasurer stepped down earlier this semester.  All other elected Chapter officers have indicated that they would like to return next year. Therefore, we need people to step up and join the Chapter leadership next year by running for office this May.  We hope that some of you will consider joining the small but active and dedicated group of faculty leaders. 

County Council Budget Hearing Testimony:

The County Council holds operating budget request hearings in April and typically, representatives from the College testify at these hearings. This year Jarvis Slacks English-R represented the Chapter by testifying on our behalf.  Below is the testimony he submitted to the County Council.

Jarvis Slacks, Vice President Rockville Campus
American Association of University Professors
Montgomery College Chapter
Operating Budget Testimony April 7, 2021

My name is Jarvis Slacks and I have been an English professor at the Rockville Campus of Montgomery College for 9 years. I am testifying today in my role as one of three Vice Presidents of the full-time faculty union, the AAUP.

I am sure that all of can agree that this past year has been anything but normal. Approximately a year ago, the entire faculty at Montgomery College had to start teaching their classes remotely and all students were expected to attend their classes remotely. This sudden shock presented us with an unparalleled task. We were expected to create remote versions of our face-to-face classes, including lab science, applied technology, studio art, physical education, etc. in one week. And to make matters more complicated, the majority of the faculty had no training on how to teach classes remotely and many didn’t have the technology at home that would enable them to do so.

Faculty counselors had to come up with a mechanism to provide remote counseling and advising services for our students.

While all of this was taking place, we had to deal with the stress of trying to protect ourselves and our families from a virus that we still didn’t understand and for which there is no cure.

Many of our students were experiencing similar stressors. Many of them didn’t own a computer at the start of the COVID crisis and had no internet access at home. Many were and still are living in some not so nice environments and had figure out how they were going to study in an environment where they had no place to study. Many of our students and members of their families contracted the virus and students still managed to attend and complete their classes.

Despite all of the negatives, our enrollments were up in the summer, we survived the fall semester, our enrollments were up in our winter session, and our spring enrollments are stable. Our students are being taught their classes by some very creative and competent faculty and they are being counseled and advised by some very dedicated faculty counselors.

We did it and how did we do it? Among other things;

  • The counselors made major modifications to our appointment system and created an on-line chat feature to help funnel students to appropriate counselors and to respond to their on-line questions in an efficient manner.
  • Our disability support service counselors modified our website and internal processes so that our students could be served remotely in a very effective manner.
  • Approximately 700 full and part-time faculty members registered for a specialized seven-week summer 2020 training program so that we would be better prepared to teach our student in a remote environment. This was an intense training program which many of us were required to participate in after the end of our regular workday.
  • We modified our spring 2021 schedule in order to better accommodate some of our students by offering 7-week classes in addition to our regular 15 and 13- week classes. This meant that a large number of faculty who were just trained to teach remotely and were still in the process of building their fall 2020 15 and 13 week classes, now had to modify those classes and make them 7-week classes.
  • Through the use of the CARES Act funding, fundraising by our Foundation, and other emergency funding, hundreds of students were provided laptops by the College so that they could attend their remote classes.
  • Hundreds of students were provided emergency funding to help them pay some of their bills and purchase food.
  • We modified our academic regulations in order to accommodate students who could not complete their classes due to COVID related reasons.

For the past year, we have continued to our part to adapt, serve, and educate our students. Now we need you to do your part and support our Administration’s FY 2022 operating budget request. We have educated many current county employees, the very ones who are going to get a raise next year. We are educating future county employees, police, fire fighters, health care workers, teachers, etc.

We have supported the College and the County over the last year and despite the increased workload, adapting courses, adapting services, as well as dealing with the personal stressors and sacrifices we experienced, we have agreed to no increase in salary for next year. Let me repeat, while other county employees negotiated an increase in salary for next year, we agreed to no increase in salary for next year. We hope that this sacrifice and degree of cooperation is recognized and appreciated by both our Administration and the County because we will be asking for and expect an increase salary for the full-time faculty for the 22-23 academic year.

Thank you

I hope all of you have a good rest of the semester.  Please look for future Chapter e-mails regarding our call for nominations and the closing meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.
Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP
Montgomery College

AAUP Update: DL/OER ESH Request Reminder and Contract 101 Thank You

Hi, everyone. I hope you’re all doing ok. I know this is a tough time for lots of folks, and many of you are tired and stretched thin.

I also know there have been questions surrounding course development and compensation, so I’m sending this message to remind you–or alert you–of an upcoming deadline. Per the e-learning side letter (often called the DL side letter), you can request ESH from ELITE to develop a DL course or a z-course. The process is outlined in the letter, and it includes submitting a form to ELITE for consideration. Deadlines for submission are firm, and if you’d like ESH to develop a course over the summer, the deadline to submit your request is March 15th.

You can access the form here: https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/_documents/offices/elite/deeshrequest.pdf

You’ll need signatures from your department chair and your dean, so I recommend starting this process ASAP.

Additional specifics are outlined in the letter, which I’ve attached. Since I’ve recently gone through the process, I’m also happy to chat if you have questions. 

We have an upcoming Contract 101 session on March 30th, and Tammy Peery will join us to discuss the e-learning side letter in detail. This should be a great event since she was a primary negotiator of the agreement. Because the summer deadline is quickly approaching, however, the negotiating team wanted to provide you with the information above ASAP.

We’d also like to thank everyone who hopped on to our Contract 101 session yesterday afternoon. We appreciate your engagement and your support of us as a team. It makes a tough job a little bit easier and a lot more rewarding. It really is an honor to serve you all.

Ginger R. Robinson, JD

Associate Professor, Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Coordinator, Rockville & TP/SS

Criminal Justice Program Advisor, Rockville & TP/SS

Montgomery College

AAUP Update: Contract 101, Survey and Overload Pay

Colleagues:

Contract 101 Session:

The following is a message that was previously sent to all of you by Sharon Piper our Chief Negotiator.  I am sending it to you again as a reminder of the informative session our Negotiating Team will be hosting this afternoon at 4:00pm.

“The Negotiating team for AAUP is planning two more sessions of Contract 101 for this academic year. This spring our sessions will cover the grievance process (Article 3) and the e-learning side letter.  Our first session will be held on Tuesday February 23, 2021 at 4 pm via zoom and will feature our grievance officer, Tim Kirkner discussing Article 3- Grievance Procedures of the full AAUP contract.

This is a come when you can, leave when you need to session and there will be a Q & A after Tim’s discussion if anyone has specific questions. We have appreciated the turnout and feedback on the Contract 101 sessions in the fall semester and hope to see many of you next week. Please contact me or the other members of the negotiating team if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. “

Below is the link for this afternoon’s Contract 101 session.

https://montgomerycollege.zoom.us/j/95877189043?pwd=K2xicHR3b1YxVkV6eDlnTldSM3dnQT09

Your Voice, Your MC Employee Experience and Culture Survey:

It was announced on February 10 that we are being asked to participate in a survey titled, “Your Voice, Your MC Employee Experience and Culture Survey.”  This one survey combines the three separate surveys we have been asked to complete in previous years. As your Chapter representative, I was one of several employees on a committee that helped to formulate the plans for this new survey. Modern Link is the vendor that is conducting the survey and the deadline to submit the survey is March 1.

As was announced in the e-mail we received on Feb. 10, “At the close of the survey, Modern Think will provide the College with a summary of the organizational competencies and relationships that most directly impact and influence our culture. In April through early May, Modern Think will host a series of feedback sessions with College stakeholder groups to share and validate their findings. Then, building on the data and findings from the survey, a proposed action plan will be developed over the course of the summer and shared with the College community in the fall.” 

The e-mail we received on February 10 also stated, “On February 15, 2021, full- and part-time faculty, staff, and administrators received an email directly from Modern Think (surveys@modernthink.net) inviting participation in the survey.  In that email you received: 

  • a web link to the survey, 
  • a unique username and password—issued by Modern Think, and separate from MyMC credentials—to access and complete the survey, 
  • the deadline to complete the survey, and
  • contact information for Modern Think, in case of any issues with the survey instrument.”

I encourage all of you to take the time to complete and submit the survey.  Completing the survey should only take you 20-25 minutes.  We have been strongly advised that the survey responses are completely anonymous so please be very honest when you complete the survey and let your voice be heard.

Overload Pay for Full-Time Faculty:

A number of faculty members have written to me asking about the spring 2021 overload payroll schedule.  The question arose this year because of the larger than usual number of second seven week classes that we are offering this semester.  The answer to this question was announced in the February 3 edition of the Employee Matters newsletter. 

“Due to the increase of second-half term courses for the spring 2021 semester, overload pay for full-time faculty will be processed differently this academic year. This year, faculty will receive overload pay based on their spring course start dates. Faculty should consult with their department’s administrative aide for information about their pay dates.” 

If you have any questions about when you will begin seeing overload pay in your paycheck, please contact your department’s administrative aide.  Your Department Chair and Dean should also have this information. 

I hope you all are safe and healthy and are having an enjoyable semester.  I think you all would agree that remote teaching, counseling, and advising isn’t an ideal way to teach, counsel, and advise our students.  It is also not an ideal way for our students to learn, but it is the best we can do under these trying circumstances.  Since March 2020, we have all done a remarkable job of adapting our courses and services to meet the needs of our students.  The Administration appreciates all we have done as do our students.  We should be proud of ourselves for all we have accomplished during these difficult times so that our students can continue their college education. 

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.
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: 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: Tentative Agreement and More

Colleagues:

I hope that all of you read the e-mail Sharon Piper, our Chief Negotiator, sent out last Friday.  In that e-mail she outlined the tentative agreements we negotiated with Management for the 2020-2021 academic year.  In order to answer your questions and provide you with some additional information, we have arranged to hold faculty forums on each campus this week.  Members of the Executive Committee and the Negotiating Team will be in attendance at each meeting.  I encourage you to come to one of these meetings so that you may ask your questions and hear our presentation about the items we negotiated. 

The ratification vote will take place next week, it will be an electronic vote, and only dues paying members of the Chapter will be allowed to vote on the ratification of the tentative agreement. 

The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Rockville forum-Tuesday February 18, 2-3:30 p.m. location SC462.
  • Germantown forum-Thursday February 20, 2:30-4 p.m. location BE 165
  • TP/SS forum-Friday February 21, 12-1:30 p.m. location SN 105

We look forward to seeing many of you at one of these meetings. 

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

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

May 2019

Colleagues:

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

Closing Meeting:

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

Nominations and Elections:

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

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

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

The Montgomery College Operating Budget:

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

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

From a Member of the County Council:

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

Dear Resident:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Hans Riemer

Councilmember, At-large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Susan Madden

How may this action affect the full-time faculty?

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

What can you do?

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

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

Salary Issues:

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

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

Initial Salary Placement:

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

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

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

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

The Court Case:

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

The Closing Meeting:

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

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: BoT & CBA

Hello Full-time Faculty!

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

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

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

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

The full schedule of hearings can be found here

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

Thank you!

Steve Thurston
MCAAUP VP for MC, Rockville campus

AAUP Update: Faculty Compensation Study Forums

Dear Colleagues-

By now, we hope you have read the email from Mr. Robert Roop, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer, dated 3/25/19 and sent via MC Communications to “All Employees,” regarding the full time faculty compensation study undertaken by the College through the services of Segal-Waters. If you have not taken the time to read the memo, please do so now, as it contains important information to which we as full-time faculty all need to pay attention.

The full-time faculty compensation study by Segal-Waters was completed sometime prior to our negotiations last fall. However, the results of the study were not shared with the negotiating team at any time during or since the completed bargaining process.  We, like you, await the results and have questions about the purpose, methods, and validity of the study.

We have significant concerns when Mr. Roop notes that “I will continue to keep you informed about the process,” when it has been almost a year since any information about this study has been presented to the College community.  The memo also says, “Thank you for your patience as we deploy the College’s new compensation design.” We, as your negotiating team, want to remind you that anything related to compensation, such as salary, EAP and overload, can only be implemented through the collective bargaining process, and not unilaterally “deployed” by Senior Management.  This will not change, regardless of any suggested plans for deployment. Again, nothing can be “deployed” without negotiating with the AAUP.

We strongly urge all of you to make time to attend one of the information sessions, pay careful attention to what is said, and ask questions. When potential changes to aspects of our employment are being discussed by management, we as faculty must demonstrate that we care about our union and our contract by showing up, making our voices heard, and by respectfully sharing our concerns.

As shared by Mr. Roop, the schedule for the compensation forums are as follows:

Date Time Location
Monday, April 1, 2019 1 pm – 2 pm & 4 pm – 5 pm Takoma Park/Silver Spring Commons (CM) 211
Tuesday, April 2, 2019 1 pm – 2 pm & 4 pm – 5 pm Germantown  Bioscience Ed Ctr (BE) 160
Thursday, April 4, 2019 1 pm – 2 pm & 4 pm – 5 pm Rockville Science West (SW) 302

There will be members of the Negotiating team and the AAUP Executive committee at each information session, and we hope to see you there. As always, we thank you for your support.

For the Chapter,

Sharon Piper, Lead Negotiator
AJ (Tito) Baca
Michael Gurevitz
Tammy Peery

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