Negotiations Update: It Takes Two to Bargain

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team met with the College on October 28 and again November 4 regarding the impacts of SB551, new legislation and funding for part-time faculty healthcare.

The new funding available to LCC will amount to approximately $500,000 – $700,000 per year, according to both LCCEA and College estimates. As you may be aware, savings resulting from this bill are reserved for labor relations under the law. The reason savings are reserved for negotiations under the law is because these funds were already bargained and included within our contract. In addition, every time that there have been savings resulting from changes to insurance at LCC, those savings have been returned to employees.

Since our last update to all faculty, the College and Association had one highly positive, collaborative bargaining session followed by one in which the College reiterated their position that they will not negotiate with faculty at this time.

On October 28, the College and LCCEA had an interest based discussion, which seemed highly productive and encouraging in which the College indicated that there would be potential for an agreement that: utilizes savings to expand PT faculty insurance eligibility; makes insurance more affordable for PT faculty electing insurance for family members; and dedicates remaining savings to invest in faculty for the benefit of students.

However, on November 4, the College began the bargaining session stating that they would be unwilling to negotiate until March 2022. 

Given that it would be unlawful under both the PECBA and SB 551 for the College to refuse to negotiate when the parties are required to do so, LCCEA presented a new proposal, which is entirely aligned with what the College requested just one week earlier. In addition, LCCEA reiterated our expectation that the College adhere to its obligation to bargain, which means that the College must not only attend meetings but must actually negotiate and make proposals. 

The LCCEA proposal (see below) will:

  • Increase College contributions for part-time faculty selecting employee plus spouse/partner or children and full-family insurance to 90% and 95% of medical costs respectively;
  • Modify eligibility language to ensure that PT faculty do not lose insurance only to qualify again during a subsequent term;
  • Add one compensated day to the contracted faculty work year, restoring one of the seven remaining furlough days that had become permanent after the 2009 recession;
  • Add sixteen hours of inservice/ meeting/workshop compensation for part-time faculty (eight for PT faculty working in Fall and eight for PT faculty working in Winter);
  • Provide $40,000 to a fund for course curriculum development focused on on diversity, equity, and inclusion to be administered by Faculty Professional Development; and
  • Dedicate any remaining savings to add compensated time for both contracted and part-time faculty.

In addition, in order to maximize the reimbursements to LCC, the College and Association must reach an agreement that will streamline the process for automatically designating LCC as the “home institution” for eligible part-time faculty (with an opt-out option for rare instances, if any, of part-time faculty electing a different public institution of higher education). 

Otherwise, we (collectively — both the college and faculty) stand to lose $500,000-$700,000 per year. The first deadline to submit paperwork to the state in order to receive the funds is right around the corner. 

Because this matter is time-sensitive and could result in a tremendous loss of state funding without an agreement, LCCEA has requested mediation to help facilitate productive negotiations. At this stage in bargaining, both parties must agree, and we await the College response as to whether they are willing to participate in mediation.

We continue to struggle to understand why the College changes its position every time that we meet and are disappointed in the College’s unwillingness to bargain in good faith. 

We do hope that the College will consider in earnest the request for mediation and recognize that collaborating with the faculty is of great benefit, particularly in this circumstance where additional funding is available and fully accessible only through an agreement.

Proposal

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team:

Kelly Collins

Joseph Colton

Adrienne Mitchell

Nancy Wood

About LCCEA

The Lane Community College Education Association
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