August 5, 2021

AAUP Update: Report on Negotiations for the AY 2021-22

Negotiations began 10-19-2020

Met for a total of 3-4 times with discussions by Zoom, and several consultations by phone with Santo Scrimenti, Darrell Van Dusen and our attorney David Kelly.

Members of the negotiation team:

  • Sharon Piper, Lead
  • Tito Baca
  • Robin Flanary
  • Ginger Robinson

Focus of negotiations:

Financials, which includes salary, EAP and overload. AAUP requested the following interests be discussed in addition to financials, which management did agree to discuss. Management did not introduce any side issues for discussion from their side.

Additional interests included:

  • Parking fees
  • Tech reimbursement
  • DL side letter reimbursement
  • Interest based bargaining

In discussing these interests one of our goals was to try to re-purpose the $197K pot of EAP travel money for this year into something we could benefit from.

Resolutions:

Parking fees cannot be waived due to the bond issue for capitol improvements which requires an identified revenue source. We offered to pay everyone’s parking out of our EAP funds. This proposal was turned down because

A revenue source had to be identified (our fees) and
They were not able to provide this benefit to other employees and students

Solution: If you have not done so already and you do not want to pay for parking you are not using this year, cancel your parking and re-enroll next fall when it is assumed we will return to campus.

Tech reimbursement: We provided data from an informal survey (42 respondents) on tech expenses that FT faculty incurred since we went remote in March 2020.  Management admitted to very mixed messages regarding the availability of tech resources and reimbursement for already purchased supplies/software/hardware. Because these processes were already in place and monies from CARES were available to provide support, the commitment was made for management (chairs/deans/HR/ IT) to better communicate the availability of resources for reimbursements and supplies. I am checking with Santo to see if there are any updates to that information for the spring semester and we will make that available on our AAUP-MC webpage so stay tuned.

DL Side Letter: Our argument was that the new use of Zoom and BB Collaborate for the SRT format (called online synchronous classroom in the side letter) and other online resources including OERS and other software constituted a change in online course management systems (item #5 on the e-learning remuneration section of the side letter, which provides for the ability to negotiate for additional compensation). Several options were provided by AAUP for additional compensation, including: increase in reimbursement for ESH for course development, a stipend to each faculty for transition to SRT and 7 week courses for this AY, and decrease in remote class sizes. Management disagreed that our transition to zoom could be considered a change in an online course management system and that as issue this did not relate to financials per se it was not a topic they wished to negotiate now.

The side letter will be re-negotiated in fall 2021, so these issues will all be re-introduced at that time during those negotiations.

IBB: After multiple meetings and some side bar discussions with Santo, Donna Schena and Krista Walker from HR, we have a commitment to discuss a joint IBB training for AAUP and management teams to be held either this spring or prior to the start of negotiations next fall. We are hopeful this occurs, and will keep you posted.

Resolution on the Travel EAP Monies: We reached an agreement and the $197K has been moved for this year to the general EAP monies bucket, so if you have not signed up for virtual conferences, professional organizations and grad school, there is an extra 197K in the pot, please use it this spring!  We will request whatever monies are left over at the end of this AY to be moved into the emergency fund for students to assist them with costs related to attending school virtually during covid. We did this last spring with our extra EAP money, and it was available to all students, regardless of status, which CARES money is not. 

Financials: We were not particularly hopeful going into the financials discussion because of the various things that could impact financial status of the college during an election year and a pandemic with uncertain levels of enrollment.

Our initial ask was the equivalent of a 1.5% increment and 1% GWA, for a 2.5% total increase for those below the top of the scale, 1% for those at the top with 2.5% increases for overload and EAP. These increases were reasonable given inflation expectations going forward. This was countered with no increases for this year, with all financials remaining at the 20-21 levels.

We countered with the equivalent of a 1% GWA to all FT faculty to be applied half in August and half in January, with no increases to EAP and overload rates. This was countered with no increases for this year with financials to remain at the 20-21 levels for next year. The reasons cited were: decreased funding to CCs across the state starting 7-1-2020, no anticipated increases from the state to the college’s budget for the next AY 21-22, an anticipated decline in enrollment of 8.5% and a 25% decline in enrollment for WDCE, with a predicted shortfall of $12 million for the next AY. There are a variety of possibilities to make up this shortfall, but that amount was their best-case scenario.

So, at this point for next year, we are hoping to avoid furloughs now. Written into the MOA is the option for a financials re-opener just in case things improve significantly and there is money for increases. This was added after Hogan gave all state employees a 2% increase across the board for next year.

We are asking you to ratify this contract and are hopeful that we can get through AY21-22 without furloughs, and that next year’s negotiations allow for a better outcome.

Submitted by Sharon Piper, Lead Negotiator, MC Chapter, AAUP

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