January 29, 2023

AAUP October update – Critical information for ALL FT faculty!!

Hello,
At the end of each month we will try to update you on what we have been working on and the latest happenings as they relate to you and all FT faculty. There are some significant things going on that you should be aware of as a FT faculty member. Some of this is new regarding open enrollment and concerns ALL employees of the college. The process is different this year so please read below for this and other information we hope is helpful.

1. The “Required Trainings” for all employees can be found in MyMC at the HR web site. Please check these out soon and be aware of deadlines to complete them! Some of the required trainings were recently added and most of them are online! Please find them at https://info.montgomerycollege.edu/offices/human-resources/training.html

Required Training | Montgomery College, MarylandTitle & Duration Required For Recommended For Description Type/Availability Completion Date; Data Security @MC – Annual Review FY23 new window 30 Minutes: Administrators, Department Chairs, Full-time Faculty, Part-time Credit and WDCE Faculty, Staff, Temp w/ Benefits, Casual Temporary and Student Workersinfo.montgomerycollege.edu

2. The respective Labor leaders met with Dr. Williams in early October. We hope was the first of regular semester meetings in the future. We were able to discuss the Presidential Transition Advisory Committee (PTAC) Transition Plan and some of his new initiatives. We shared concerns about day long meetings that interfere with daily activities without faculty input on timing, changes to policies related to Covid that should wait until the end of the semester, and ongoing communication challenges across the college.

We also briefly discussed returning to the IBB model for negotiations with an intent to discuss further at our next meeting. This is something that has drug on too long and we will continue to pursue this as we feel this is in the best interest of faculty and the college.

3. Many at the top of the salary scale were due a “Longevity” step as part of their salary increase this year, if they had already been at the top of the scale for 5 full years. Despite an MOU and many years of agreement on this, plus memos from college counsel and administrators to this effect, the college took issue with the language and did not interpret it as they have in the past. In essence they felt as if no “step” was warranted, so the “step” was not included in the Work Day salary computations at the beginning of the semester. We consulted with counsel and then articulated our disappointment and frustration with what we felt was their misinterpretation of the language, which again had been used as a guide for many years.

Ultimately the college agreed to honor the MOU and employ the language as we have in the past, for the next two years until we can discuss next year during our open contract collective bargaining negotiation sessions. We are still waiting for those salary improvements to take effect for those who meet the criteria outlined in the MOU but have been assured that this will happen soon. Stay tuned.

4. Open enrollment has started and runs through November 18th. ALL employees at MC MUST use Work Day, whether they plan to make changes to their benefits, flex spending accounts, or withholdings…, or not! You can contact Human Resources for questions but watch for email announcements on open enrollment help sessions. Go to myalex.com/mc/2023
to get this done ASAP?!

5. The MC-AAUP Fall Labor Organization Summit is this Friday. We have invited representatives from institutions in higher education from all over the country to discuss issues that face us all in academia and best practices to best confront them. Please join us for as much of the day as your schedule permits and plan to share how our Chapter has benefited you, your discipline, and/ or department. You can join us for a brief meet and greet at 8:45 AM at AAUP / MC /AFT/ Fall Organizing Summit – 11/4 – ZOOM

6. Recently the college announced changes to COVID related policies for next semester. We were told about potential changes coming but did not have as much time as we would have liked to discuss these changes and the implications. Our understanding is that a premature announcement was sent out to the college community before everyone had time to weigh in and actual true “consultations” took place. But we have shared concerns about how these decisions were made without our input at that time and the quick turn-around for feedback that was requested from us before this was to be sent out. We also have had some preliminary discussions with MGMT about the implications for those faculty who may still need some flexibility with their schedule and inquired as to what if any right they might have to continue to require masks in their classroom.

The health pandemic is not over, it is just in a different phase. But we now have more information from which to base our professional and personal decisions, and data from new research should continue to guide us for years to come. However, as you likely know, there are lots of moving parts when it comes to developing policies on matters such as a health pandemic, and the college will never be able to come to a decision that suits everyone. Having said this, we will continue to advise management that the best way to help ensure that at least all voices are heard and as many are accommodated as possible would be to invite us into these conversations at the beginning so that we have the opportunity to share valuable information and perspectives that can better inform those decisions.

Stay tuned as we attempt to flush this out a bit more. 

7. A call for nominations for Full-time and Part-Time Faculty Awards, which are presented at the end of the academic year, was announced yesterday by Dr. Rai’s office. There are so many deserving faculty members who do amazing things here at MC, but the number of nominations for these awards often does not reflect this. Please consider nominating someone who continues to shine as a faculty member and deserves recognition for their contributions to the college.

8. The position of Ombudsman here at MC has been vacant for some time now but will be posted soon. Those who have served the college in this role have made significant role in resolving challenges and disagreements in the past. So we were happy to hear that this position will be advertised soon and the hope is that this position will be filled in the near future and again be another place where all employees of the college can go to help find resolutions to issues that arise.

9. We know that there are ongoing challenges with Work Day. Unfortunately HR has experienced significant turnover in recent months so there will be times when things move a bit slower than everyone would like. They are very much aware of these challenges but are working hard to fill in the gaps as best they can. We have asked for more frequent updates on significant matters and a heads up when contact information changes so we know who to contact for specific assistance and they have agreed to do so. We all need to do our part and read those updates, including the HR Employee Matters emails that are sent out regularly to update us so we know the “what, when, where, and how” on HR related information. New training and tutorial links can often be found here to guide you on Work Day tasks.

10. Last semester we conducted a survey related to Coordinators and their respective duties / compensation across the college. It was quite insightful and we are still working on how best to compile and present that information to Management in a way that will help guide Deans and Chairs alike in how duties are assigned. We obviously expect that the compensation for that work, whether it is done during the academic year or in the summer, to be consistent across the college. So please do not think we have forgotten about this or that the feedback we received hit a dead-end. We want to be thoughtful and deliberate about next steps.

I hope that this update is helpful and you stay well!

On behalf of The Chapter,
Tito

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