January 29, 2023

College Email Distribution Lists

Hi,

We heard from several folks that they might not be getting emails when sent messages are sent via campus or collegewide distribution lists, such as “Full Time Faculty” or by campus like “Full-Time Faculty GT.”

If you want to see if you are included on one or more of these lists, follow the directions below.

  1. Type Full Time Faculty or Full-Time Faculty TP, RV or GT in the “To” section of a new email.
  2. Press the small + sign in front of that email distribution list.
  3. Click ok to expand the list.
  4. Search for your name and make sure it is spelled correctly
  5. If your name is there, be sure to check any other distribution lists that you feel you should be included on as well.
  6. If your name is there but you are not getting messages, check Clutter and Junk folders.
  7. If your name is NOT there, contact the most Senior Administrative Aid in your Department and ask that your email be added / edited as needed. You may want to copy your Chair as well.

But please make sure it is not there before reaching out to these folks.

Hope this helps!

Tito

MC-AAUP Spring 2023 Opening Meeting

Hello Colleagues,

The much deserved and well-earned break is coming to an end, but I hope it was restful and all that you needed. If you were able to avoid the various ailments floating around, good for you!

We are back next week after the holiday on Monday. So, Tuesday the 17th, the Professional Week starts with the College-wide Opening Meeting. This will be held at 9 a.m. in the Cultural Arts Center on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus. We hope to see you there, but this will be live streamed as well.

At this meeting, Dr. Williams will share a presidential address and details regarding the MC Strategic Plan refresh. There will also be a student panel discussion along with other speakers who will briefly present on matters relevant to our return. For additional details about the Spring 2023 Professional Week and other scheduled meetings, please visit the Spring Opening Meeting website.

After the college-wide meeting has concluded, ALL full-time faculty are strongly encouraged to join us for our AAUP Opening Meeting. You may recall that this will be a very important meeting! At this meeting we will discuss in detail the Strategic Plan that we have been working on for the past year. This includes changes to our Bylaws and our organizational flowchart, which align with our main long-term goals of improving outreach and member engagement.

So, we really need / want your participation and feedback as we share critical information that will help guide us for years to come. We will also discuss many of the matters we have been addressing, on your behalf since we last met in August. It is an extensive list to be sure. Further, we want to recognize those who are retiring and have given so much to MC. So please join us online at:

MC-AAUP Spring 2023 Opening Meeting

Jan 17, 2023, 11:15 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID  935 0093 5904

Invite Link   https://montgomerycollege.zoom.us/j/93500935904

Lastly, we have VERY EXCITING news that you will NOT want to miss! When I say EXCITING, I mean it!

See you Tuesday!

Best,

Tito

Your MC-AAUP Renewed! Strategic Planning Forum (Online) on 12/7 at 4pm!

Hello Faculty Colleagues,

By now, you likely know that the Executive Committee has been working on a Strategic Plan for our Chapter over the past year! During that time we have held open forums and trainings to help us better understand how we are doing as your union representatives. Further, we have explored best practices related to labor group organization in higher education to help guide us moving forward. 

The culmination of all this work will be January 17th at our opening meeting (ONLINE). This is when we will hold a full member vote on some significant changes to our bylaws that will help to better position us moving forward.

However, we are required to provide advance notice of any proposed bylaw changes. Therefore, we  would like to invite you to one last open forum on this matter on December 7th. It will be at this time that we share our ideas and proposed changes, but also solicit your feedback. This will afford us one last opportunity to consider edits and changes before our draft is finalized and put forward for a vote. 

If you are not sure about what we do, much of which is behind the scenes and without a lot of fanfare, you were strongly encouraged to attend. We work on your behalf every day! So, this is not only an opportunity to find out more about the work we do, but also to have a say in how we do that work in the future.

Please join us as your time allows, even if just for part of this meeting. Your participation and support is critical to keeping you informed and to the effectiveness of the Chapter.

Topic: Strategic Planning Forum
Join Zoom Meeting
https://montgomerycollege.zoom.us/j/92443970281

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Meeting ID: 924 4397 0281
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+19292056099,,92443970281# US (New York)
+13017158592,,92443970281# US (Washington DC)

Hope to see you there!

On behalf of The Chapter,

Tito 

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

MC-AAUP Fall National Organizing Summit

Dear Colleagues,

Since 1980 the Montgomery College AAUP Chapter has been the ONLY organized labor group to represent full-time faculty at a Maryland institution in higher education. In fact, because of newly passed legislation in Annapolis last year, it is just this year that other community colleges in Maryland can now start to consider whether they want to have organized labor groups for their respective employee groups at their institution. This is still NOT the case for 4-year colleges and universities.

But even across the country, there are not as many organized Chapters with collective bargaining rights as you might think. Most Chapters are “advocacy groups” without a “contract” that would guide process and policy with legal leverage. As a matter of fact, it was at the National AAUP Conference this past summer that we discovered just how unique and fortunate we are to have an organized union with these rights. It was here that we took note of how many more colleges and universities want to get better organized, including large 4-year institutions like UMD – College Park. When I shared even just a little about our history and role here at MC, many representatives at various institutions wanted to know more and more about all that we do on behalf of our members and the “how.”

So a collaboration idea that we had, which started out as an intention to help advise and coordinate with other in-state institutions, blossomed into a national effort to connect online with Chapters across the country. Afterall there is strength in numbers and we all share common interests in higher education that connect us. In addition, the recent new affiliation between AAUP and AFT strengthens respective members and affords us new opportunities for growth.

It is for these reasons that we are proud to host a National Labor Organizing Summit this Friday (ONLINE) starting with an informal meet and greet at 8:45 AM. We have invited 2-year and 4-year state institutions and dozens of others from around the country to join us as we explore best practices in labor relations, organizing, and collective bargaining. You are welcome to join us as we discuss our role here at Montgomery College and share useful information to those considering how best to organize at their respective institutions. The agenda is attached here so you can see that we will have two panel discussions where you might find it useful to actively participate. We not only want to share our viewpoint as your Executive Committee, but that of our members who rely on our work as your representatives. This perspective will be quite useful to us and those who are hoping to organize.

Please note that some faculty at many institutions are divided on whether or not they even WANT to organize. They are fearful of retribution, an adversarial relationship with Management, and / or being part of a “trouble making group.” So, our goal is to provide accurate and helpful information for participants so that they can make informed decisions that guide them moving forward. We hope that they can see that having union representation does not mean there is constant disagreement and adversarial relationships, but instead should be constructive / collaborative with the end goal of making the institution better.

I hope you will consider joining us and representatives from AAUP and AFT for at least part of the day as it suits your schedule. We know you may have insights that could be particularly helpful and urge you to jump into the conversation as you see appropriate. We all have much to share with these groups, so thanks in advance for considering to participate/ attend.

AAUP / MC /AFT/ Fall Organizing Summit – 11/4 – ZOOM

On behalf of The Chapter,

Tito

AAUP Update: Nominations and Commencement

May 3, 2022

Colleagues:

I have decided that rather than sending all of you one very long update to send you two shorter updates, one this week and one next week.  This week’s update will focus on nominations for Chapter Officers for next year and Commencement.

This is a very busy time for all of us, the last week of classes, getting ready to give final exams next week and the massive and time-consuming grading of final assignments and final exams.  Adding to the stress we usually feel at this time of year is the fact that this has been a difficult period of time for all of us because of the COVID epidemic.  We are still adjusting to the return to campus, many of our families and our students’ families have been impacted in negatives ways by the COVID epidemic, and we are now having to adjust our work-life balance due to the increased emphasis on our return to campus plans.

Please make sure you take some time to take care of yourself and get away from your work.  

Nominations:

As was announced in an e-mail on Monday by our Treasurer Michael LeBlanc, nominations for all elected Executive Committee positions is now open and the nominating period ends on Friday May 6.  All positions are open because, according to our constitution, we each serve a one-year term of office.  The open positions include President, Secretary, Treasurer, VP-Germantown, VP-Rockville, VP-Takoma Park/Silver Spring.  If you are interested in knowing who is currently serving in each of these positions go to mcaaup.org and then click on the Executive Committee link towards the top of the page.  A brief description of the responsibilities of each Chapter officer is located in our Constitution and that document can be accessed by clicking on the Chapter Documents link on the Chapter webpage.

If you are interested in running for a particular office or if you are interested in nominating another faculty member for a particular office, please e-mail your communication to Julie Levinson, Counseling TP/SS.  Each Chapter officer must be a dues-paying member of the Chapter, and we will verify said membership before the faculty member is added to the ballot.

Our Executive Committee meetings typically occur twice a month on Wednesday afternoons from 3:30-5:00.  Some of the Officers receive ESH, and all Officers are expected to participate in various activities throughout the academic year.  The workload is usually spread out so that no one Officer feels overwhelmed. 

My involvement in the Chapter started in 2000 when I was drafted to be the Chapter’s Chief Negotiator.  I was sent to a summer training program that was organized by our National Office, and I had a full negotiating team to work with me throughout the negotiations process.  This was an enjoyable, while at times, frustrating experience.  I was then elected to my first term as the Chapter’s President.  Since that time, with the exception of a three-year period, I have either been the President or Past President of the Chapter.

I believe it is very important for the Chapter that others in the faculty ranks learn how to do this job and that now is the time for this change to take place.  I have informed the members of the Executive Committee that I am not going to run for office for next year.  I will still be involved with Chapter leadership and Chapter activities because I will still be a member of the Executive Committee but in a different role, the Immediate Past President.  I believe that due to the complexities of this role the person who replaces me should be one of the members of the current Executive Committee.  We definitely have several members of the Executive Committee who have the ability to take on this role and manage the Chapter’s affairs. 

Commencement:

This year’s commencement will occur on the Rockville Campus on Thursday and Friday May 19 and 20.  We have all seen the announcements and call for volunteers.  This is the time of year when we want to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and attending graduation is one way we can do this.  Several e-mails have been sent to the College community with a call for volunteers and notifications about commencement.  I encourage all of you to attend at least one day of graduation.  Whether you volunteer to assist with graduation or if you decide to march in your cap and gown, our collective participation will be appreciated by the students and their families. 

Closing Meeting:

On Wednesday, May 18, we will host our end of year meeting via Zoom.  A Zoom link will be sent to all of you as we approach that date.  Our meeting will start around 11:15, and we will open the Zoom room around 11:00.  We have worked with IT and can now host over 300 people in the meeting.  The Executive Committee appreciates all who attend and participate in these meetings, and we like hearing from the membership during these meetings.  As a faculty we only get together three times a year, so please plan on attending and participating in the meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Removal of the Student Vaccine Mandate

Colleagues:

On behalf of the three union Presidents, I am writing to inform you that Management has decided to remove the requirement that students be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus to attend classes at Montgomery College or any on-campus services.  The administration will encourage students to be vaccinated against the virus, and students will be told that they are expected to upload their vaccination information. However, no unvaccinated students will be dropped from classes and all unvaccinated students are now welcome to take classes at MC. Meanwhile, staff and faculty remain vaccine-mandated.

The three union heads, Harry Zarin, President AAUP (MC Full-Time Faculty Union), Victoria Baldassano, Director, MC Part-Time Faculty Union (SEIU Local 500), and Lori Ulrich, President AFSCME (MC Staff Union) met with the Senior Vice Presidents last week and were formally told of this decision.  We expressed our displeasure with the decision and also with the fact that we were not consulted in advance. The decision has not yet been communicated to the employees of Montgomery College.  

While it is true that over 90% of our Montgomery County community has been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, Senior Management has just opened the doors of MC to the unvaccinated community. They have made the decision to make our very safe environment less safe for all of us. During a time when other colleges and cities are bringing back their mask mandates, our senior leaders have decided to toss the student vaccine mandate out the window. 

As a result of this unwise decision to change a system that was working well to protect all of us, we sent the following message to the Dr. Williams and the Senior Vice Presidents this afternoon. 

The three unions heads, Harry Zarin, President AAUP (MC Full-Time Faculty Union),Victoria Baldassano, Director, MC Part-Time Faculty Union (SEIU Local 500) , Lori Ulrich, President AFSCME (MC Staff Union) respectfully request that the College immediately cease all communications and processes around the removal of the student COVID vaccine mandate and we request that you immediately reinstitute the student vaccine mandate.  

We are deeply concerned about the impact this decision could have on the health and safety of both our constituents and our college students.  We are also deeply concerned that the unions were not consulted about the decision to remove the student vaccine mandate in advance, despite the fact this this impacts our workplace safety and that a key legal role of the unions is to help promote a healthy workspace for our constituents.  Management clearly understands the safety implications of this decision, as they maintain a vaccine mandate for all employees.

By ceasing all processes around the removal of the student mandate and reinstituting the student vaccine mandate, we hope that adequate time might be granted for the unions to properly research the topic on behalf of our constituents, to speak with our constituents about the impact this will have on them, and to begin the conversation with the administration that should have been conducted before this decision was made.

In Solidarity,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP (MC Full-Time Faculty Union) 
Victoria Baldassano, Director, MC Part-Time Faculty Union (SEIU Local 500) 
Lori Ulrich, President AFSCME (MC Staff Union)

We will keep all of you informed if and when we receive a response to our request.

AAUP Update:  Ratification of our Tentative Agreements, Executive Committee Activities, Workday, and More.

February 2022

Welcome back:

I hope all of you had a restful and healthy holiday break and that you have had a smooth start to the spring 2022 semester.  It was very nice seeing so many of you at our opening meeting last month and we look forward to seeing many of you during the spring semester at additional Chapter related meetings. 

Tentative Agreements Ratified:

I am pleased to report that our membership overwhelmingly voted to ratify the tentative agreements we reached with Management during last semester’s negotiations.  Also, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to ratify the agreements at their January meeting.  The signed Memorandum of Agreement has been posted in the Chapter documents section of the AAUP Chapter website, mcaaup.org.   Lobbying by members of the College community will commence later this semester with visits to members of the County Council and testimony at the County’s operating budget hearings later in April.  A final vote by the County Council on our operating budget will occur later in May and that is when we will know whether we will actually receive the raise we negotiated.  If asked by our Governmental Relations Office, a member of the Executive Committee will testify at these hearings on behalf of our membership. 

Executive Committee Activities:

The end of last semester and the beginning of this semester was a very busy time for members of the Executive Committee.   We worked collaboratively with the other two union groups, SEIU which represents the part-time faculty and AFSCME which represents the bargaining unit staff, to communicate our concerns with the process that led to the selection of Dr. Williams as our next MC President and to voice our discontent with the return to face-to-face instruction during a period of time when the COVID variant was on the rise.

On December 21 Victoria Baldassano, Director SEIU, Lori Ulrich, President AFSEME, and I met with the BOT Chair Mike Knapp and Steve Cain, Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer, to discuss the process that led to the selection of Dr. Williams as our next President. 

On January 10 we sent a letter of concern to senior managers voicing our concern with the return to face-to-face instruction.  Subsequent to that communication we were invited to meet with the three Senior Vice Presidents to discuss our concerns about this issue. 

On January 14 we sent a letter to the Senior Vice Presidents after we met with them, and on January 21 we sent a memo to the College community outlining our position on the College’s return to campus plans.  Each of these communications have been posted on the Chapter webpage. Please take some time to review these communications so that you can fully understand the extent of our advocacy work on behalf of the membership.

Workday:

Recently I have had several conversations with faculty members and received e-mails from a number of faculty members regarding problems they are encountering trying to process their EAP requests, prepay requisitions, and reimbursements.  HRSTM the Office of Business Services (OBS) is offering a number of zoom sessions to help everyone better understand the new processes we need to follow since the implementation of Workday in early January.  I encourage all of you to take advantage of these training opportunities.  Please see the message below that we recently received in the Employees Matters newsletter.

HRSTM and OBS Host Virtual Office Sessions for Assistance with New EAP Process in Workday

As of January 3, 2022, employees have been  able to initiate the Educational Assistance Program (EAP) request process in Workday. To support employees with this new EAP process, the Offices of Human Resources and Strategic Talent Management (HRSTM) and Business Services (OBS) have been hosting virtual office sessions this month. The next upcoming sessions are listed below:

Register to receive the Zoom meeting invitation. Once you join the Zoom meeting, you will be placed in a waiting room and receive personal assistance on a first-come, first-served basis. Please have your prepay requisition and/or reimbursement documents (i.e., invoices, receipts) saved and ready for review and to be uploaded into Workday. As a reminder, all EAP Travel is reimbursement only and therefore not eligible for prepay. Please refer to the Workday training website for more information and resources.

Below is a link to an EAP Quick Reference Guide that you also may find helpful.

https://info.montgomerycollege.edu/_documents/offices/information-technology/workday/hrstm-and-payroll/educational-assistance-program-quick-reference-guide.pdf

AAUP Strategic Planning:

As an organization made up of a small group of mostly volunteers, we take our jobs very seriously and we recognize the importance of planning for the future of the Chapter. The pool of Chapter leaders is rather small because so few people volunteer to take a leadership role in the Chapter.  Succession planning is vital for our continued strength and success as a Chapter.  I have often said at our faculty meetings that I have been doing this job for a long time and I can’t continue in this role forever.  My continuing in this role isn’t good for the Chapter. Others on the Executive Committee have also served their role for many years.  Succession planning is something that we talk about in our Executive Committee meetings on a regular basis.

Tito Baca, Secretary for the Chapter, submitted a grant application to our National Office with the hope that they would provide us with some funding to help us as we create a strategic plan for the Chapter.  I am pleased to report that the National office accepted our application and agreed to provide us with a $20,000 grant which we will use to help cover the costs we incur as we develop a strategic plan. Training for future leaders of the Chapter, revisions to our Constitution, succession planning, and training in negotiation techniques are a few of the topics that will be covered in as we plan for the future of our Chapter.  The first Faculty Forum we will sponsor will occur on Tuesday February 22 from 5:00-6:00.  An e-mail was sent to all of you earlier this week by Carrie Fitzgerald.  Please see the information below and I hope to see many of you there.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://montgomerycollege.zoom.us/j/99973869445

As the semester progresses, I encourage you to watch for more information on how you can become a more involved member of the Chapter and become a future leader in the Chapter.  If you are interested, I am sure we can find a role for you in Chapter leadership or on one of our future committees.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP

AAUP November Chapter Update

AAUP Update-Return to Campus Plans, Vaccine Mandate, Negotiations, Organizing Group Update

November 2021

Return to Campus Plans:

On November 8 all administrators, staff, and faculty counselors were expected to return to their offices five days a week and each employee can request the ability to telework one day a week.  The regular telework policy of allowing employees to telework up to three days a week has been suspended until later in the spring semester.  Whether you agree with this plan or not, we are back. 

Those of us who work in student service areas are very concerned that we are being asked to come to the office at least 4 days a week and possibly meet with current students or visitors who may be unvaccinated. The fact that instructional faculty and counseling faculty are being treated differently is problematic. Instructional faculty have been told that they can do their office hours remotely while we counseling faculty members are expected to work from our offices at least four days a week.   Despite the fact that all of us are vaccinated, we all know that breakthrough cases of COVID are being reported on a regular basis in the county and at the college.  I believe the administration is counting on the fact that the number of people in the county who are vaccinated is very high and that reduces the likelihood that we will be exposed to unvaccinated people.  We shall see if this plan works or not. 

On behalf of the faculty in the student services area I asked that this plan be revisited and that we be allowed to work with our respective Chairs/Deans to create a 5-day a week presence while at the same time allowing us to limit our individual on-campus presence.  We believe the on-campus demands of the students don’t currently require all of us to be here 5-days a week and we have the data to prove this. Despite knowing this data, the administration did not relent on their decision and we are expected to be here 5-days a week with the understanding that we can telework one day a week.  So much for saying that we are a data driven institution.

Employee Vaccine mandate:

A very important part of the return to campus plans was the Administration’s announcement that all employees, including student employees, were supposed to submit proof of their COVID vaccination to the posted website by November 8.  Requests for religious or medical exceptions were granted on an individual basis and those requests should have been submitted by October 29. 

An integral part of this return to campus plan, included the development of the Employee COVID-19 Vaccination, Safety & Disciplinary Action Protocols document.  See the attached.

employee-covid19-vaccination-compliance-protocols.pdf

Within this document are the discipline and discharge protocols the College developed for all employees who do not provide evidence of receiving their vaccination or those who do not receive a medical or religious exemption.  Several of us on the Executive Committee met with members of HRSTM a few times to help with the development of this document. It is important to note that the discipline and discharge procedures in this document do not comply with the discipline and discharge procedures specified in our contract. The Administration tried to come up with a one size fits all document, remember there are three different unions at MC, and the Administration has asked representatives for each union to sign off on a memorandum of agreement. Last week I received notification from HRSTM that 100% of the full-time faculty were fully compliant in submitting their verification of receipt of the COVID vaccination.  Based on this information I have signed off on the memorandum of agreement and submitted it to HRSTM. 

Student Vaccine Mandate:

The student vaccine mandate goes into effect on January 8 and this mandate only applies to students registered for face-to-face classes.  There is an expectation that those students who are registered for distance learning and structured remote classes who need to come to campus for student services, will also comply with the mandate.  However, there is no mechanism in place to ensure that this happens. 

On behalf of the full-time faculty I submitted a written request to Kevin Long, Chair of the RTCAT, asking that they recommend the Administration reconsider the student vaccine mandate and require that all registered students be required to submit verification of their vaccination status unless they receive a religious or medical exemption. I did this because any student can come to campus and use the services in the learning centers, the library, counseling and advising, the Financial Aid Office, etc. and no mechanism is in place to stop them if they are not vaccinated.  This policy is creating an unsafe environment for all of us.

Kevin brought my request to the senior leadership and as of the writing of this update no change has been made in the student vaccine mandate. I will continue to request that this mandate be changed whenever I meet with members of the administration.

Negotiations Update From Sharon Piper, Chief Negotiator:

Negotiations between AAUP and MC management started on Tuesday October 12. This year we are negotiating for financials (salary, overload and EAP) for the 2022-23 academic year. Both management and AAUP have brought some additional issues to the table, and we are currently in the process of sorting out which of those issues both sides are willing to discuss. In addition to negotiations, we are discussing a possible plan for a return to IBB (Interest Based Bargaining) in future negotiation sessions. The timing for this is optimal with a new management team to work with as we go forward. 

At our first session, we shared with management the 300+ signatures and support statement for the negotiating team organized by the membership. That act was much appreciated by the team and the statement and signatures have been entered into the session notes as permanent documentation of faculty support. 

We are preparing for at least three more negotiation sessions (and possibly four if needed) before the end of the semester. We will make a final report to the membership once negotiations are completed, and the contract is ready for a vote on ratification. Please reach out to any NT member if you have any questions and as always, thank you for your support. 

One final note: the negotiating team is sad to say good-bye to a longtime member, Robin Flanary, who retired from MC this past summer, and happy to welcome a new member, Carrie Fitzgerald, who joins Tito Baca, Ginger Robinson, and myself. We wanted to thank Robin for all her hard work in representing the FT faculty and AAUP, and to thank Carrie for her future time and efforts as a new member of the team. 

Organizing Group Update From Michael LeBlanc:

In September, organizers made one final push to get 300 signatures on our Negotiating Team Support Letter, and we met our goal exactly by the end of the month.  This is a fantastic achievement, and the membership deserves a pat on the back for speaking with such a strong and supportive collective voice.  The organizing email list continues to be a robust forum for collegial conversation around faculty issues.  Faculty exchange information and stories, ask questions of union leadership, and develop opportunities and strategies around faculty issues, especially return to campus issues.  For the rest of this semester and into the spring, organizing leaders will turn their attention to membership outreach, strategic planning, and election forums.  Stay tuned if you’re interested in becoming involved in these initiatives. 

The administration has to make a strong request for funding to support a raise for the employees. We are the only county funded organization that didn’t receive a raise this year. It is time for the Administration to go to bat for the employees. Declining enrollment can’t be used as an excuse to not ask for raises for us. 

ESH Limits:

Prior to the start of our winter session and spring semester I wanted to remind everyone about the ESH limits stipulated in our contracts.  When planning your winter and spring classes please remember that you may work no more than 20 ESH in any one semester, winter ESH counts towards your spring ESH load, and you may work no more than 36 ESH in any given academic year.  Exceptions to these ESH limits are granted in very rare cases by the Chapter upon request from Management. 

Future Chapter Forums:

The Executive Committee is planning on offering more Contract 101 type forums to help involve the faculty in learning more about Chapter activities, what it is like to serve in a leadership position for the Chapter, and about various articles in our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Look for information about these forums in future Chapter updates.

Spring Opening Meeting:

In case anyone was wondering, our spring opening faculty meeting will be scheduled as a Zoom meeting.  A Zoom link will be sent out to all of you in early January.  The meeting is scheduled for the morning of Tuesday January 18 which is the day the faculty are due to return to work from the holiday break.

Meeting with Dr. Dukes:

Several weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Dukes, Steve Cain, and the Presidents of the other two unions that represent the bargaining staff and the part-time faculty, Chris Standing and Victoria Baldassano.  We talked about a variety of topics that were of interest to each of us. 

During this meeting I took the opportunity to speak about our current negotiations and the fact that we are the only county funded agency that did not receive a raise this year. I stressed that it is important for our administration to fight for us and to make a very strong ask of the County and State for sufficient funds so that each of us can receive a substantial raise next year. We took the hit this year and it is another groups turn to take the hit next year. Below are examples of the raises negotiated by some of the employee groups in Montgomery County, Maryland state employees, and employees in the University System of Maryland.

  • All Montgomery County employees (union and non-union) received a 1.5% GWA (General Wage Adjustment) effective June 20, 2021.  Employee groups also received a 3.5% service increment for FY21.
  • The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved FY22 increases for MCGEO (County Employees) 3.5% or 4.75% increment plus a $1,684 GWA, FOP (Fraternal Order of the Police) 6%, and IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) 5%, on April 27, 2021.
  • Maryland State Government Employees-2% GWA plus a step increase
  • University System of Maryland-2% COLA plus 1.9% increment
  • MCPS Step plus 2% in FY21 and Step plus 1.5% in FY22.

I don’t care if our enrollment is down. The amount of work we are all doing and have been doing during these crazy COVID times has not decreased due to the decline in enrollment.  In fact, just about everyone I have spoken with over the past two years has said they are working more now than ever before.  We don’t mind working hard but we deserve a raise and we need to be rewarded just like any other County funded agency. 

Thank you to the members of the Negotiating Team for fighting for us during these negotiations.

Personally, I hope that all of you and your families are staying healthy during these difficult times.  Please take some time to take care of yourself, get away from work, relax, read a good book, take a vacation, and just be good to yourself.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP

AAUP Update-RTCAT Responses and the Summer Professional Development Institute

Colleagues: 

After we held our full-time faculty meeting on July 21 the Executive Committee forwarded nine questions to the RTCAT Committee.  Below are the answers the Executive Committee received from the RTCAT to our questions.   If you were unable to attend the meeting and you would like to listen/watch the meeting, go to mcaaup.org, click on the July 14 update, scroll to the bottom of the page, and you will see a link to the recording of the meeting and the appropriate password. 

On behalf of the Chapter, I would like to extend our thanks to the members of the RTCAT who attended our July 21 meeting and to the entire team for providing us with a very timely response to our questions.

Faculty Questions Submitted to RTCAT with Responses

  1. Can we dismiss students who show signs of symptoms during class? What if the student refuses to leave the classroom?
    • Faculty who observes a student with clearly observable signs of illness that are uncharacteristic for that student or may be negatively impacting that student’s or other students’ performance should discretely speak with the student and advise the student to go home if they are ill. Remember to maintain confidentiality when speaking with others about a student’s health.\
    • Students who refuse to leave the classroom and appear to pose a disruption to class or a risk to the health and safety of other students should be reported through the appropriate channels for a possible Student Code of Conduct violation. If the student poses an immediate risk to the health and safety of others, please contact Public Safety.
    • The best guidance/advice to both students and employees is to stay home if you are sick and contact your primary care physician.
    • Everyone is required to take the Daily Health Assessment – anyone with visibly observable signs of the symptoms listed should stay home. Students should contact their instructor about any missed work, and instructors should be flexible regarding excused absences including providing students the ability to make-up missed work due to illness.
    • It is recommended that instructors link to the on-campus orientation training for students via their course Blackboard page to increase awareness and empower students to self-monitor their health.
    • Please keep in mind that a cough, sneezing, or other minor symptoms are not automatically indicators of Covid-19. A student could have allergies or another chronic condition.
    • There are existing guidelines from last year that are still valid and useful for these situations.
  2. Can a faculty member dismiss class if, during class, it is discovered that someone in the classroom has tested positive for Covid?
    • Should a student notify a faculty member, or an instructor become aware that a student in class has tested positive for Covid, the instructor should discretely have a conversation with the student. If confirmed, the instructor should announce that there has been a possible infection, dismiss class, immediately notify Public Safety, and use the course Blackboard site to announce any next steps or contingency plans.
    • The first priority is to maintain classroom safety.
    • There are existing guidelines from last year that are still valid for these situations.
    • Remember to always maintain confidentiality and not identify the individual who may have tested positive.
    • There may be cases where a student mentions they were with someone who tested positive. Do not panic. This does not automatically mean that student has been exposed. A general reminder to all students to take the Daily Health Assessment, monitor themselves for symptoms, and contact their health care provider if they have any concerns.
  3. Can faculty put up plexiglass in their office when meeting with students?
    • The RTCAT does not recommend that individual faculty install plexiglass themselves as it could pose a safety risk.
    • The use of plexiglass as a safety precaution will depend on the situation.
    • The use of plexiglass in a smaller, enclosed space may limit ventilation and air circulation.
    • The best defense is still wearing a mask. Faculty who chooses to do so may request and wear a face shield via their campus facilities office.
    • The RTCAT encourages faculty to use larger, more open spaces to meet with students should they feel uncomfortable.
  4. Are there any FT faculty members or members of the AAUP on the Return to Campus Advisory Team?
    • Since the AAUP is a bargaining unit, it is not a good Labor Relations practice to specifically include unions at this level of discussion.
    • Since the RTCAT was meeting and working regularly over the summer, there was no ESH budgeted and no expectation that faculty would be expected to work over the summer.
    • There are multiple avenues for faculty involvement, especially as we get closer to the start of the semester and the resumption of governance activities.
    • Faculty are welcome and invited to submit questions and topics for discussion to the RTCAT, invite members of the RTCAT to attend meetings, and form committees with RTCAT representatives, if so desired, to assist in creating and vetting classroom guidelines.
  5. Will MC require vaccinations at some point?
    • Yes, MC will require vaccinations once the FDA has given full approval. Currently, there is only one appellate court case that has upheld a vaccine mandate at an institution of higher education.
    • Upon FDA approval, students and employees will have 60 days from the date of approval to get vaccinated to be on campus.
    • Discussions are currently underway on how the College will monitor and track vaccination status, possibly using a third-party vendor.
    • It is anticipated that vaccinations will be required in the spring, pending FDA approval.
    • We are also monitoring actions at the county level, including negotiations with county collective bargaining units on mandatory vaccines.
  6. What should we do to maintain social distance in the classroom? What do we do if the classroom does not allow us to maintain an appropriate 6 feet of distance in the classroom?
    • Currently, the College has suspended social distancing guidelines pursuant to county, state, and CDC guidelines.
    • The current best protection against the spread of Covid are vaccinations and masks. The College has reinstituted its mask mandate effective August 2. Each campus has an allotment of 5,000 cloth masks that will be distributed and available in classroom scheduled for use this fall.
    • Most in-person classes were scheduled this past spring with a cap of 12-14 students.
    • In situations where social distancing is not possible, masks and sanitizing are still effective protections. Students and instructors should avoid, when possible, congregating in large groups.
  7. What sorts of signage will be provided to promote public safety?
    • There will be a large array of signage in all buildings on all campuses reminding people to wear a mask, get vaccinated, and follow basic hygiene protocols.
    • The focus is primarily on county metrics, since most of our students are in-county residents; however, we do consider proximity to other jurisdictions and that data in making decisions. Please note that our decision-making authority is somewhat limited by what is happening in the county and any restrictions or flexibility that the county may put into place.
    • The College and the RTCAT examine county and regional metrics daily for changes and concerns.
    • While we do look at global trends, the CDC has recommended localized decision-making and local data in making decisions.
  8. How might the college provide return to campus guidelines unique to the classroom setting?
    • A dedicated Faculty FAQ is currently being developed with input from faculty and RTCAT.
    • There is a faculty-led group developing classroom guidelines consistent with all collegewide guidance.
    • Additionally, standardized syllabi template language is also being developed by faculty with input from RTCAT.

Summer Professional Development Institute:

Many of us participated in the Summer Professional Development Institute.  If you participated in the Institute and want to receive the $1,850 stipend, you need to submit an Action Plan that is reflective of your learning by August 15, 2021.  Below is an e-mail follow-up that we all received from Paul Miller on August 4 regarding this requirement. 

Thank you for your active participation in the Summer Professional Development Institute. 

Just a friendly reminder, you are required to submit an online Action Plan reflective of your learning at the end of your chosen Learning Pathway to be eligible for the Summer Institute Stipend. The Action Plan can be found by clicking on this link. The Action Plan should take you up to one hour to complete and is due on or before August 15, 2021. 

If you have already submitted your Action Plan, please disregard this email. 

The Action Plan contains three sections. An outline of the Action Plan is below – please do not reply to this email with your action plan included in the table. Once you submit your Action Plan through the web, an email will be sent to you to confirm receipt. 

Section  Purpose Questions Asked Note 
Personal Information What is your M#?  Include the M at the beginning of your number. 
Learning Pathway Which Learning Pathway did you participate in?

 

 
You will select one of the three learning pathways – Dialogue Circle, Series, or Workshop.   If you select the Workshop Learning Pathway, you will be asked to identify the sessions that you did and did not attend.  

How would you rate your Learning Pathway learning experience? You can select up to 5 stars (1 being the worst) 
SMART Goal and Action Plan What is your goal? Create a goal and action plan to apply the summer learning into your professional context. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be: Specific (simple, sensible, significant). Measurable (meaningful, motivating). Achievable (agreed, attainable). Realistic and Timely. 
What do you need to do to achieve your goal? Be as specific as possible. Focus on the things you can control. 
How will you identify your success? Be as specific as possible. What data can be collected to provide you with feedback on your desired outcome? 
By when do you need to complete the tasks identified in question 5? Be as specific as possible. Remember, this action plan is self-monitored. You are accountable to YOURSELF. 
What or who can help you complete your tasks identified in question 5? Be as specific as possible. Remember, you have a professional network and systems of support (e.g., deans, department chairs, ELITE, etc.)
What additional PD will you engage in to support your goal (PD topics should be chosen from the connections made in your Learning Pathway). Be as specific as possible. ELITE will use this information to identify new PD topics for the upcoming year. ELITE will evaluate all responses and generalize them into new topics or existing opportunities. 
Would you like for ELITE to contact you about your goal progress throughout the Fall semester? If you select yes, a member of the ELITE team will contact you throughout the fall to discuss your progress.  
Do you have another goal you would like to work on? If you select no, you can submit your responses, and you are done with the Action Plan.   If you select yes, you can repeat Section 3, and set up to two more goals reflective of your summer learning.  

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Dr. Paul D. Miller
Professional Development Director 
Montgomery College
Office of E-Learning, Innovation & Teaching Excellence (ELITE)
Mannakee Building #325J
Rockville, MD 20850
Cell: (717) 602-3304

As our summer vacation/work comes to a close, we are all making plans for a partial return to campus to teach, counsel, and advise our students.  It is important that we all take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically, during this continued unusual period in our MC lives.  We also need to remember how stressful this period of time has been and will continue to be for our students. Many have lost jobs, income, family members, and friends, and they are trying to figure out how they are going to continue being a student and take classes, whether they are remote or f2f.  If there was ever a time for us to be flexible, compassionate, and understanding with our students and our colleagues, now is the time.  Please don’t hesitate to refer students to a counselor if you feel a student is in need of assistance or to seek assistance for yourself.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

President-AAUP