I hope that your return to campus after the winter storm has gone smoothly for both you and your students. Many homes remain without power in Lane County, and some members of the LCC community continue to experience hardship.
Mini-Grants for Your Students
Please keep in mind, especially at this time, that your LCCEA/OEA membership also provides an important resource for students – the OEA Foundation provides grants of up to $100 to students for needs such as clothing, books, transit, eyeglasses, medical care, etc. Any LCCEA member may apply for a grant to benefit any LCC student. The guidelines and short online application are available at: https://www.oregoned.org/oea-foundation/apply-for-a-grant . Please do not hesitate to contact the Association with any questions or concerns that you may have.
Important Association Announcements
As we approach the end of Winter term, I’m writing with some brief updates regarding the following:
- an LCCEA membership meeting next week,
- faculty rights,
- part-time coaches,
- the college budget,
- funding for community colleges,
- part-time faculty spotlight,
- LCC Board of Education endorsement, and more.
LCCEA Membership Meeting: Thursday, March 14, 3:00-4:30 p.m. CEN 402
All LCCEA members are cordially invited to attend a meeting on Thursday, March 14, 3:00-4:30 in CEN 402. Topics will include bargaining and the college budget, among others.
Know Your Rights
Faculty members have a right to an Association representative at any meeting for which they have a reasonable belief that discipline may result. These rights, called Weingarten Rights, apply to any employee who is a member of a bargaining unit in the U.S. and to any type of meeting that may be investigatory in nature.
In addition, our contract provides in Article 25.10 that the College will provide notice about this right in any meeting that may lead to discipline. This provision also requires that the College will accommodate the Association and faculty member when scheduling such a meeting.
Through a formal information request, the Association has learned about some irregular meetings and contacts with faculty members, which would require notice of the right to representation. The Association and College have reached a resolution such that the College will communicate with managers about the requirement to provide notice to the faculty member about the right to have a representative present. Faculty members may invoke this right any time they have a reasonable belief that discipline may result or that they are asked to any type of investigatory meeting.
Part-time Coaches Grievance Resolution
The Association collaboratively resolved a grievance stemming from the posting of part-time faculty coaching positions in a newly created “extra duty/ non-credit” category that was not negotiated. The agreement reached with the College provides that some FTE will be attributed to part-time coaching work and remedies concerns that part-time faculty coaches were being excluded from the bargaining unit and denied benefits and protections associated with faculty status.
While the grievance resolution does not impact stipends for part-time coaches, which continue to be disproportionately low and paid at rates below the part-time faculty salary schedule, the Association intends to address compensation in bargaining.
Overall, the resolution represents significant progress in labor-relations, both in substance and process.
In order to comply with the contract and state statutes, the College must pay salary to faculty members according to the collective bargaining agreement. Beyond curriculum development work and modest FPD stipends, the official salary schedules for part-time faculty, part-time Flight Tech faculty, and full-time faculty are the rates that apply to faculty members. If you receive any compensation that does not align with the current salary schedules, please do not hesitate to contact the Association.
All faculty members will receive compensation as if they had worked their regular schedules during the college closure last week. This includes part-time Flight Tech faculty, for whom the Association reached a resolution about snow day compensation today.
The Joint Workload Taskforce continues to make progress codifying maximum assignable workloads for each department / program, albeit slowly. Changes in workload require mutual agreement of the College and Association. While an individual faculty member may decide to allow an additional student or two to register for a particular section, the college may not unilaterally increase workload for faculty members by any means, including by department decision or straw poll. Under state law, the employer and union must negotiate such changes.
The College Budget, Finance, and Planning office is projecting a $6.8M deficit for next year. There are many moving pieces that contribute to uncertainty about the budget including: the total state allocation for community colleges, the percentage LCC will receive of that allocation, property taxes, OPE rates, and more. While $6.8M does represent a significant percentage of the College’s general fund (Funds I and IX), which totals $88-90M, the total College budget in all funds is approximately $209M.
The College Council Budget Development Subcommittee (BDS) has been meeting weekly and working collaboratively to develop a consensus budget proposal that would balance the budget without involuntary layoffs. Committee representatives read a unanimous statement on behalf of the committee to the Board of Education at the meeting in February (attached).
On a positive note, LCC’s enrollment has been holding steady at 1.5% down from last year. At the same time other large community colleges in the state have seen much more significant enrollment decreases this year (4% or more). This will ultimately result in an increase in LCC’s percentage of the state allocation in the future. In addition, numerous vacant positions are built into the budget and comprise approximately $3.6M of the $6.8 M deficit. The projected deficit also includes increased emergency major maintenance funding carried over from this year into next year, which, once adjusted to regular levels, will mitigate the deficit.
Please attend the LCCEA membership meeting next week for more on the college budget.
Advocacy for Funding for Community Colleges
Advocating for community college funding is critical at this time. The legislature will be in session through June determining funding for the next two years. While Governor Kate Brown’s investment budget would provide a significant boost for community colleges with an allocation of $646.7M, the base budget proposal is only $543M, which represents a 4.7% decrease for community colleges. Increasing state revenue is crucial.
The LCC Board of Education is collaborating with the LCCEA and passed a resolution for increased revenue and increased community college funding by unanimous vote. This resolution (attached) is part of a coordinated statewide effort of the OEA to increase funding for education – numerous K-12 and community college boards are passing similar resolutions.
In addition, a good number of LCC faculty attended the March for Education along with 5,000 education supporters in the state capitol on President’s Day. LCC Administrators, President Marge Hamilton and Vice President Paul Jarrell along with Board members, Lisa Fragala, Matt Keating, and Rosie Pryor, joined part-time and full-time faculty, among others from Lane, in this historic event. Administrators, board members, and ASLCC leaders also joined faculty for afternoon meetings with Governor Kate Brown and state senators and representatives. (Photos attached — please note the administrators and board members joined faculty in wearing OEA #RedforEd t-shirts at the rally!)
We shared information (attached) about the need for increased funding for community colleges, highlighting the impacts on students, programs, and staff of potential budget cuts, and emphasizing the working conditions of part-time faculty in the state. We also provided copies of the LCC Board’s resolution.
Part-time Faculty Spotlight: Joe Bowles
Part-time Chemistry faculty member, Joe Bowles was OEA’s featured educator last month. Joe shared his story in order to help OEA advocate for community college funding and faculty interests. OEA staff featured Joe’s story (attached), sharing it with legislators at the Capitol. To share your own story in order to advocate for community college funding, please do so at: https://www.oregoned.org/action-center/featured-educator-project
Endorsement – Lisa Fragala for LCC Board of Education!
The LCCEA Legislative Action Committee and Executive Council members voted unanimously to endorse Lisa Fragala for LCC Board of Education. Lisa is a Eugene elementary school teacher, who is active in the Eugene Education Association and serves on the OEA Board. Lisa maintains a strong commitment to equity and the community college mission and is already advocating for community college funding with state legislators. For more information about her candidacy and impressive list of endorsements, please see: https://www.lisafragala.com/