LCCEA President’s Update, 02/03/2020

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

I hope your winter term is going well thus far. I’m writing with many updates including: (not yet) required workshops, IT blocking of websites on LCC computers and wifi, reorganization and faculty chairs, college budget, LCCEA news, grievances, LCC Bond and other endorsements, as well as upcoming events.

Contracts
The Association is working with HR on finalizing the full contract file, which will be posted electronically once it is complete, and then copies will be printed for faculty and managers.

Contracted faculty retirement survey
A reminder — in order to ensure sufficient faculty staffing for next year, please complete this two-minute survey if you are considering retirement within the next year.  Your response is not binding, and you may choose to keep your name and department confidential; however, sharing your name or discipline may increase the likelihood of filling your position post-retirement.

Workshops / Online trainings
The College and Association are working on an agreement regarding a number of online workshops/ trainings for faculty that the College would like to require. The agreement will likely include a timeline that allows faculty through summer to complete the workshops. In the meantime, there is no requirement to complete the cybersecurity or SafeColleges online trainings that you may have received emails about.

Website blocking
The Association is currently conducting an investigation pertaining to blocking of websites based on their content through an IT application and potential IT monitoring of faculty web use. The IT software appears to block several categories of websites and blocks them not only on LCC computers but also on personal computers using LCC wifi and tracks attempts to access blocked websites. The software also appears to miscategorize some websites, resulting in additional blocking of web content. 
Blocking websites based on their content is, in effect, a new policy which – like the recent consideration of a restrictive email distribution list policy — did not pass through the governance system.

The LCCEA is investigating the extent to which the blocking of web content interferes with faculty work, the teaching and learning environment, the quintessential function of an institution of higher education, as well as the extent to which it abrogates faculty contractual rights pertaining to academic freedom, professional freedom, and privacy, among others. If you have experienced blocked access to websites on LCC wifi or an LCC computer, please fill out this anonymous form

Reorganization / Faculty Chairs
You have likely heard that several divisions on campus will be joined, each under a single dean: LLC and Arts; Science and Math; BCIT/Culinary/Hospitality and Advanced Tech as the college moves to eliminate interim dean positions and establish faculty chairs. Faculty chairs are not entirely new to LCC; many faculty members have served sporadically as chairs and/or program leads in their departments or disciplines. Faculty Council will be leading a work group focused on the faculty chair model.

The College and LCCEA will handle any negotiations that become necessary to systematically implement faculty chairs. The contract does already provide for these types of positions, which are called FASAs (Faculty Administrative Support Assignments) and are governed by Article 38, which faculty are encouraged to review

In addition, the College and Association will conduct a review of reassignment time campus-wide in an effort to develop an equitable formula. We have not yet begun this review as we await fulfillment of an information request from the College.

LCCEA News
LCCEA Executive Council welcomes Paula Thonney, who has kindly agreed to serve as interim Secretary for the remainder of this year. Welcome, Paula!

As we transition from an intensive bargaining campaign last Fall (and a twelve-year period that contained very few breaks from negotiations!), the LCCEA Exec Council members and emerging LCCEA leaders are working with OEA’s Powerful Locals program to focus on strategic planning, organizing and member support structures with the goal of maintaining and building a strong union into the future. More to come…

College budget
Some questions have been raised regarding the impact of faculty compensation increases on the college budget. The College budget has a significant gap for this year, with an estimate of $3.7M presented to the Board of Education in December and a newer, reduced estimate of $2.8M presented to the Budget Development Subcommittee last week – a reduction achieved by shifting some of the deficit from this year to next year but which results in a projected deficit next year of $5.9M.

Please note that this is qualitatively different from many of the budget deficits that LCC has faced because there is a significant deficit in the current year. As you likely recall, the College had balanced the budget last spring and then received an additional state allocation of approximately $2.25M more than had been included in the balanced budget. For LCC to have a $2.8M deficit this year after receiving an additional $2.25M means that the difference between what the College had planned to spend in the budget and what the College estimates spending this year is roughly $5M.

At the December 18 Board meeting, the college reported that the primary part of the budget that is not on target for this year is personnel (salaries and OPE) largely because the budget for this year had slated savings to be achieved by not filling some vacancies. However, that savings was not fully realized due to the filling of more vacancies and creation of new (non-faculty) positions that had not been included in the balanced budget for this year. In addition, the Board directed and the administration included $0 for employee compensation increases in this year’s budget.

Importantly, please also note that the increases in faculty compensation for this year represent an amount that is consistent with the historical average for faculty compensation and, at approximately $1M by the College’s own calculation methods, falls well within the $2.25M additional funding provided by the state for this year. Thus, faculty compensation increases have not caused the budget deficit.

Grievances
Faculty have experienced a slight uptick in grievances (contract violations) in recent months; however, all have been resolved at the informal level thus far. Examples of recent grievances resolved favorably include: restoration of excess salary deductions for unpaid leave, retroactive compensation for 10 part-time faculty members paid at an insufficient rate, and remedying two highly unusual managerial decisions: reversal of significant disciplinary action against a faculty member for holding class over for a few minutes and reversal of refusal to grant leave to a faculty member to attend a healthcare appointment. If you have contract questions or questions about potential grievances, please contact Grievance Chair, Russell Shitabata, at lcceagrievance@lanecc.edu.

Weingarten Rights – A reminder
The Association recently handled a grievance following a situation in which a manager discouraged a faculty member from bringing a union rep to a meeting, at which the faculty member was informed of serious disciplinary action the college would take.

Please remember that 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 all LCC faculty and to any type of meeting that may be investigatory in nature. In addition, our contract provides in 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.

The Association strongly encourages all faculty members to attend any meeting that may be investigatory or disciplinary with a union rep.

Endorsements
LCCEA Executive Council and Legislative Action Committee endorse Matt Keating for Eugene City Council, Ward 2. Matt continues to serve on LCC Board of Education and has consistently voted in support of progressive policies and labor.

LCC Bond
LCCEA Executive Council and Legislative Action Chair have endorsed the LCC Bond. The bond will provide $121 Million in much-needed funding to campus infrastructure. In addition to classroom, seismic, ADA, and sustainability upgrades, the bond funding will pay more than 50% of deferred maintenance costs. Lane has had roughly $90 Million accumulating in maintenance projects that place significant pressure on the college budget each year. Utilizing bond funds for such expenses will mitigate pressure on the college general fund budget and ensure that more funds are dedicated directly to instruction and student services. Other local unions such as Eugene Education Association and the Lane County Chapter of the AFL-CIO also support LCC and endorse the Bond. LCCEA endorses the bond and recommends a YES vote.

Faculty Accomplishments
LCCEA and FPD will partner to publish the second annual “Faculty Accomplishments” newsletter again this spring. Please submit your accomplishments or those of your colleagues and view last year’s publication for inspiration. 

Save the Dates
“Intersectionality and the Intergenerational Labor Movement,” April Sims will explore the concept of intersectionality through the lens of personal narrative, intergenerational reflections on working-class experiences that shaped her political consciousness as a woman and as a black person, and the ways in which those anecdotes directly informed her life as a unionist and leader in the labor movement. Feb. 20, 3-5 p.m. at Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center at UO. Refreshments provided by UO Labor Education Research Center (LERC) 3:00-3:30, talk begins at 3:30 and qualifies for CCPD. Read the flyer here. Following the talk, LCC faculty are cordially invited to an ad hoc LCCEA Social Hour, location TBD.

OEA: Student Assessment and Meaningful feedback workshop*2/18 in Eugene Register here.
OEA White-Allyship Symposium* will focus on what it means to be a white ally or a person of color engaged in collaborative racial equity work. 9-4, March 14, Clackamas, OR  Read more here.

OEA Representative Assembly* April 17-18, Portland – Please keep your eyes peeled for an announcement from Paula Thonney in February, calling for delegate nominees to represent LCCEA.

LCCEA Anniversary – Lane Community College Education Association was formed on April 11, 1975. Stay tuned for details on commemorating the 45-year anniversary of LCCEA!

OEA Summer Conference*, 7/28-7/30, Bend, 
*Free to members
Best regards,Adrienne

About LCCEA

The Lane Community College Education Association
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