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April 16:  Bargaining Update on Classroom Safety “TA”

LCC Faculty Colleagues,
As noted late last evening, your Bargaining Team reached a Tentative Agreement (“TA”) on our proposal to enhance classroom safety.  You’ll find it attached.  It is not in final “contract form” and will need some additional copy editing, which the two teams have agreed to do in the coming days.

The agreement provides that the College will investigate and respond to faculty members’ reports about disruptive/threatening students, and requires the College to keep the faculty member fully informed about all developments regarding the matter.  Importantly, it also provides that faculty members have a contractual right to request that the Administration permanently remove such students from their class, and if the Administration disagrees it will move the request to a joint Association/College/ASLCC appointed committee, which may either approve the request or deny it, the latter of which would require that the College offer the faculty member an alternative instructional assignment and be released from teaching the course.

We believe this language significantly strengthens faculty members’ rights in such matters and will go a long way to ensuring that faculty members who raise serious concerns about threatening and disruptive students will be responded to and will have real options to protect their classrooms, students, and selves.  While such extreme situations are not everyday occurrences of course, they do happen regularly (five such requests so far this year, and that’s before this right has been acknowledged), and they can be devastating to learning conditions and faculty and student well-being, as faculty members have powerfully testified.  We also believe the agreement protects the rights of students, and by incorporating student representatives into the committee reviewing the issue if the Administration and faculty member disagree, the process will be a balanced and fair one, and will accepted as such by all parties.

Finally, we agreed to a second mediation date: next Wednesday, April 23, all day (and if yesterday was any indicator, perhaps well into the night as well).  The Classroom Safety TA resolves only one part of one of our non-economic issues, and we had almost no discussion of the equally challenging economic issues yesterday.  Optimistically, we can hope that this agreement provides some momentum for future progress and that it indicates that the Administration is interested in working on an agreement, a position they articulated yesterday.  Continued public support for your Bargaining Team will encourage further progress when we meet again next week.

Thank you greatly for the massive levels of support and appreciation you have demonstrated.  Please keep it up!

Your Faculty Bargaining Team
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

April 15:  Bargaining Update

LCC Faculty Colleagues,
We are just leaving the table after a very long day.  After an initial orientation from the mediator, we agreed to work on one non-economic issue in which it appeared an agreement was close.  Almost twelve hours later, we reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) agreement on that issue (i.e., classroom safety).  We will provide a report on the details of that agreement tomorrow.  We also agreed to a second mediation session, next Wednesday, 4/23/14.  We thank the many many active faculty for supporting our work.

More soon,
Your very tired Bargaining Team

April 15:  Facts, Equity, Inequity, and Moving Ahead

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

As we prepare for the Administration-requested mediation session scheduled for tomorrow, we encourage the faculty to consider some facts:

A.  The Administration’s public defense of their position is that on “economic issues” their proposal to the faculty is “equitable” compared with their agreements with the classified staff and managers. (They really have not even tried to make a public defense for their non-responsiveness on our non-economic proposals.)  However, the reality is quite different:

Historically, managers had a salary schedule similar to other work groups, with a certain number of steps, and upon reaching the top step managers were eligible only for COLA adjustments.  Managers then complained about being “topped out,” so the Administration replaced their step system with a “band system” in order to be able raise their salaries.  Soon enough, managers ran into the top of their bands and complained again about being “topped out,” so the Administration (quietly) replaced their “band system” with a new “step system,” except in this case there is no top step, so all managers get a COLA and a step, regardless of how long they have worked here.  In contrast, the Administration has refused to even consider the Association’s proposal that faculty who are “topped out” receive a mere “half-step” in order to partially restore the “less-than-COLA” COLAs we’ve received in recent years. (We are down about 6% compared to inflation.)  So, for example, this year the Administration is giving all managers 3.5% increases (COLA plus Steps) while proposing that faculty on the top steps receive only 1.75% COLAs. Similarly, next year all managers will receive 2.4% (COLA plus Steps), while under the Administration proposal faculty on the top step would receive only 1.0% COLAs.  The administration has tried to conflate this reality by proposing one-time “stipends” for contracted faculty on the top steps, but since contracted faculty already received that last year, another 1% “stipend” is necessary simply to maintain one’s income; it does not add to one’s salary as they are doing for managers.

Such management raises partially explain the fact that while faculty have seen lower real salaries (i.e. after controlling for inflation) in recent years, manager’s real salaries have increased. But data we received from the College last week shows that managers continue to see significant real increases, beyond this.  Among the reasons that management salaries have significantly exceeded faculty salaries is President Spilde’s unilateral raising of some manager’s salaries, beyond COLAs or Steps:

  • The Vice President’s salary has been raised to almost $143k this year from $124k a little over two years ago, despite no tenure in the position
  • Others have had their salaries raised by tens of thousands of dollars by simply citing potential competing offers
  • The President’s own salary is up 76% above the inflation rate since 1996, and other Executive Team positions have seen similarly huge increases
  • And while the contracted faculty top step has lost almost 3% to inflation in the last four years (since 2010), top managers’ salaries continue to exceed it significantly (e.g. the HR Director salary is up 12% above inflation in that same time)

As noted at the most recent Board of Education meeting, Lane Community College is increasingly being treated as a corporation, and this is simply another example: the highest paid employees who “manage the work” get even higher pay, while the people who actually do the work see their salaries and benefits cut, positions eliminated, jobs made “contingent,” and threatened with losing their jobs entirely if they resist such treatment and inequities.

Other inequities include:

  • The Administration’s allowing managers and classified staff to “sell unused vacation days” to add to their annual income (similar to the Board of Education’s apparent allowing of President Spilde to “sell a month of unused vacation days” the last two years at least), while refusing the Association proposal to allow faculty a similar right to cash in unused sick leave;
  • Providing classified staff (who otherwise have received salary and benefit cuts very similar to the faculty) a far greater employer contribution to their Section 125 accounts:  $450/$850/$1100 for those with Single/Employee +1/Full Family insurance plans respectively, vs. $150/$250/$300 for faculty members, a difference for faculty with family insurance that would translate into over 1% of annual salary for contracted faculty and over 3% for some part-time faculty; and
  • The Administration still only proposing half steps for part-time faculty for next year, which is not equitable when compared to any group (classified, managers, or even contracted faculty)

While we recognize and support the rights of classified staff to make up for “less-than-COLA” COLAs by selling unused vacation days and to offset the greater out-of-paycheck and out-of-pocket insurance costs that they, like we, have paid, we do not understand or accept as “equitable” the Administration refusing to similarly allow faculty members to sell unused sick leave, to receive matching Section 125 employer contributions, and to receive half-steps for contracted and part-time faculty at the top of their salaries.  The latter would only make a small contribution toward restoring the salary cuts we’ve experienced, and is vital given that most faculty retiring these days do so on the “Final Average Salary” formula, with the result that failing to restore the cuts to the top of the salary schedule means permanent, life-long reductions in retirement benefits for faculty.

While the above doesn’t address all of the cuts faculty have experienced in recent years, or even all of the inequities (anyone seen management positions “back filled” with part-time employees paid 70 cents on the dollar with far fewer benefits?), it does explain why your Bargaining Team does not accept that the Administrations’ proposals are “equitable” as they claim, and why we will not accept them.

B.  The above also says nothing about the Administration’s non-responsiveness to our non-economic proposals, a treatment that is, sadly, identical to the treatment of our classified staff colleagues.  On the issue of faculty and classroom safety, the number one ranked issue on the faculty bargaining survey last year, we still only have a counterproposal by the Administration to give us a “right to report” threats and to expect a response; they continue to reject our proposal to provide actual rights to employees to work in safe environments, just as they’ve refused to consider our proposal to simply codify all existing workload agreements into our contract, in order to fix the confusion and opportunity for inequity that comes with having only four of our many departments currently listed.

As we go into mediation tomorrow, we encourage the faculty to bear these facts in mind and to support steps called by our Action Team to demonstrate your support for our Bargaining Team and its expectation that the Administration will finally begin to negotiate in good faith a contract that truly is “equitable” and responds to the Faculty’s issues and our legal representatives at the table (i.e., not by trying to negotiate directly with represented employees, as President Spilde threatened in an email to faculty last week).

Jim Salt, Chair / Adrienne Mitchell, Vice-Chair
Your Bargaining Team

Summary of Bargaining since April, 2013

Hello All,
Attached is a concise summary of the bargaining over the past 14 months. It is easy to follow and clearly outlines offers put forward by both parties throughout the long bargaining process.

We hope that you find it helpful in fully understanding what the association is asking for, and the challenges we face at the bargaining table.

Let us know how we can better support you in this process of resolving a Fair and Reasonable Contract.

Thank you,
LCCEA Action Team
Lee Imonen – Chair, Jane Benjamin, Marisa Hastie, Christina Howard, Jay Frasier, Jim O’Brien, Tamara Pinkas, Michael Skupsky, Ken Zimmerman

LCCEA Bargaining Team Report: 4/4/14

LCC Faculty Colleagues,
Your Bargaining Team met with College representatives again today. The College was largely non-responsive to our most recent proposal. Once again they made no new economic proposals, had no response at all to our proposal to meet their proposed COLA for next year by adding one furlough date, and updated only one non-economic proposal regarding safety.  While they did propose a right for the Association to nominate faculty to be involved in the College’s Conduct and Complaint Team and other roles related to the processing of complaints filed by students, their new language does nothing to provide any additional rights or protection for faculty safety in the classroom.  We made it clear that clarified “rights to report” threats does nothing to address the fact that most faculty members feel the administration has been insufficiently responsive to such reports.  It seems we’re simply seeing the same old “we’re management, we have all of the authority, and we’re not willing to recognize any employee rights or faculty authority in such matters” (other than a “right to report,” of course).  Beyond that, negotiations made no progress.  We did agree to meet again next Friday, April 11 at 9 a.m. (location TBD/TBA)

Finally, the College has called for formal “mediation” from the state, and it is likely that we will start to work with a mediator beginning the week of April 14.  One might ask why the administration needs a mediator to simply respond substantively for the first time to our non-economic proposals, or respond to the many efforts your Bargaining Team has made to creatively meet both sides’ interests.  But they do have the legal right to request mediation, and so we will move on to that.

In the meantime, the LCCEA Action Team continues to coordinate organizing efforts. Look for an email announcement from the chair, Lee Imonen, and other Action Team members soon so that you may demonstrate your active support in the coming days and weeks.

Your Faculty Bargaining Team,
Dean Bergen, Adrienne Mitchell, Polina Kroik, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

LCCEA Action Team Report: 3/18/14

Hello Faculty Colleagues,
The LCCEA leadership recently appointed the Action Team to help support the efforts of the Association Bargaining Team towards resolving a fair and reasonable contract.
Given the compressed timeline at the end of the term, the team decided on a limited but focused first action, taking Faculty’s concerns directly to the Board of Education at last Wednesday’s Board meeting.

We apologize for not having been able to organize the entire Faculty in such a short period of time, but the event did get the attention of the Board and Administration.

Over 50 of your faculty colleagues were in attendance and a statement was read to the board, addressing the administration’s refusal to bargain substantively on both economic and non-economic issues.  We asked the board to support a successful conclusion to our current bargaining impasse, which has resulted in the faculty working for the past 8 months without a contract.  (Action Team Statement to Board 4-12-14.)

The Action Team has begun the work of getting our message out to the campus community and we will need your help in the upcoming weeks and months.

The contract issues that Faculty face are largely unknown, and we need your help in organizing a strong response and a strong union. So, start a conversation with your colleagues, your students and your neighbors.

There will be upcoming opportunities to participate in actions and information sharing campaigns.  We will continue to become more visible on campus and within the community in order to move our message of fairness and respect forward.

I encourage you to look for ways to get involved.

Keep your eyes open for notices over the break informing you of upcoming opportunities for involvement, Faculty gatherings and actions.

We are just getting started.

Thank you,
Members of the LCCEA Action Team
Lee Imonen-Action Team Chair

LCCEA Bargaining Update w/ Proposals: 2/25/14

LCC Faculty Colleagues,
Please find two documents attached:
1.  A pdf file with a summary of LCCEA and Administration economic proposals, and a list of our non-economic proposals.  The font is fairly small so you may need to “zoom in.”
2.  A Word file with a copy of our Main Agreement proposal incorporating our non-economic proposals.  The document is formatted with most text “hidden” to show only the language that we are proposing be changed.
Your Bargaining Team,
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

LCCEA Bargaining Update: 2/25/14

LCC Faculty Colleagues,
Your Bargaining Team met with the College again today.  Reflecting the unanimous opinion of the nearly 100 faculty at the LCCEA membership meeting last Friday, we formally rejected the College’s current proposal.  In addition, given that we have been trying for months to make progress toward an agreement using “supposals” (informal package offers) and other methods without significant substantive response from the College, we withdrew our current supposal, returning us to our November 5, 2013 proposal, which we reviewed along with the College’s.  We then asked the Administration to suggest processes for moving forward to an agreement since they have not been responsive to any of our efforts.  After a caucus, the College Team had no such suggestions, and instead proposed that we cancel next week’s bargaining session in order to focus on other “priorities.”  It appears clear that, despite recent statements to the contrary, the College has little intent of reaching an agreement at this time.

With little or no progress at the table in recent months, it’s clear that we need to broaden the communication beyond the bargaining table and beyond internal discussions within the faculty.  As such, the LCCEA has organized an Action Team, which will be communicating with faculty about ways that you can demonstrate your support for the Bargaining Team and communicate to our broader community the need for a fair contract.  Stay tuned for calls for action from the team.

Your Bargaining Team,
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

LCCEA Bargaining Update: 2/12/14

LCC Faculty Colleagues,
Your faculty Bargaining Team met with the College for several hours yesterday to receive and review their updated proposal.  However, there was very little of a substantive nature in their proposal or anything “new.”  On economic issues, the only “change” in their proposal is regarding part-time faculty step increases, with the College proposing that part-time faculty receive full steps this year as earned.  However, we believed this was their proposal all along, so we do not see it as an improvement on their previous proposal.

Relatedly, the College did not provide the data we requested on how part-time steps have been awarded since the beginning of our 2011-2013 Main Agreement; as a result we still can’t determine if they have implemented the agreement properly.  They indicated that they will provide the data in days/weeks to come — rest assured that your Association will pursue a grievance if the contract has not been followed correctly, to ensure that all part-time faculty members due steps since July 2011 receive them and any associated retroactive pay.

In addition to the “updated” economic offer, the College finally provided a “response” to our non-economic proposals that we gave them in April 2013; however, almost across the board their “response” was to simply reject the Association’s proposed language without any attempt to negotiate or find any middle ground.  One exception to that “blanket no” was they did propose language on part-time faculty members’ use of the 24 hours of in-service pay that is already included in the contract; in response to our previous proposal that would allow part-time faculty members the right to use the 24 current hours for activities beyond in-service meetings, the Administration proposed that part-time faculty could use such hours to participate in activities such as staff and division meetings, but the hours would be “subject to assignment and approval” by their department chair.  Thus, while under our proposal part-time faculty members would have the same rights as contracted faculty members to determine what “non-teaching work” makes most sense for them, under the Administration proposal part-time faculty members would only get to attend and be compensated for activities that the department manager would “assigned” and “approved.”

Regarding our proposals (below) to enhance faculty members’ capacity to protect the safety of their classrooms, students and selves, the Administration entirely rejected our proposals, and proposed instead (also below) language that, as you can see, does nothing to protect faculty and our students and classrooms.  For example, while we are proposing language that allows faculty members to remove threatening and disruptive students from our classrooms and only be returned after a successful appeal from a joint Administration / Faculty committee, the Administration, somewhat bizarrely, proposes to merely place college procedures in the contract that tell faculty who to report concerns to, commits the Administration to keep faculty informed of what their (unilaterally determined) procedure is, and (even more bizarrely) cites our labor relations principles that don’t actually address issues of safety (“We accept the responsibility to work together to promote changes that will improve the performance of the college in serving student learning, the interests of students and the well-being of college employees.”)  None of these proposals provide faculty members any greater rights or protection than we currently have, and do nothing to enhance faculty and classroom safety.

We remind the Administration every chance we get that safety was the NUMBER ONE issue cited by faculty members in our Bargaining survey, due to the fact that many faculty members have had serious issues regarding safety on our campus. That the Administration proposes to merely keep us informed about the procedure disregards faculty’s numerous and longstanding complaints about those procedures and how the administration has handled (or, often, not handled) threatening and disruptive students and is simply unacceptable.

Finally, given the lack of any substantive movement by the College on economic or non-economic matters, despite your team’s best efforts to find creative solutions to both, and given the Administration’s announced “unavailability” to bargain at our regularly scheduled time next week, an LCCEA Membership Meeting will be held, next Tuesday, February 18 at 3:00 p.m. (location TBA).  We will discuss bargaining, the college budget, the Administration’s threats of program cuts and layoffs, and other Association matters.  Please plan to attend this very important LCCEA Membership meeting (a membership form is attached for any non-members).

Association Proposals on Safety — new sub-articles:

25.12  Classroom Safety.  Faculty members have the right to permanently remove students from their class for disruptive, threatening or otherwise inappropriate behavior.  Faculty members exercising this authority shall notify their supervisor within 24 hours.  Students may be returned to the class by the College only upon a successful student appeal to the Joint College – Faculty Student Removal Appeal Committee.

25.13  Workplace Environmental Safety.  Faculty members, individually or collectively, may refuse office, classroom, laboratory, or other workspace assignments they deem significantly unsafe or unhealthy, and shall experience no harm (including but not limited to loss of assignment, income, benefits) for having done so.

25.14  Employee Safety.  Faculty members have a right to a workplace free from harassment, bullying, and intimidation from students and other employees. Faculty members who report such incidents to the College will be protected from retaliation, and their confidentiality will be guaranteed.

College “Response”

25.12  Faculty Learning Environment Safety. The College recognizes the right of faculty and students to be safe and protected from personal threats or physical harm in the course and scope of instruction. The commitment of the College and the Association to support a safe learning environment is reflected in the Labor Relations Principles; “We accept the responsibility to work together to promote changes that will improve the performance of the college in serving student learning, the interests of students and the well-being of college employees.”

25.13  Safe Learning Environment — Process.  Faculty who have concerns about personal safety or the safety of students, or the safety of the learning environment, may first raise such concerns in a timely manner with their instructional dean or responsible administrator. The College recognizes that timeliness is often crucial in processing matters of personal and learning environment safety. Therefore, faculty will be informed on an ongoing basis about College processes for raising concerns about personal safety and the safety of the learning environment. Faculty may always contact Public Safety or the Office of Academic & Student Affairs to report incidents or concerns. The College shall also maintain a threat assessment process and publicize the procedures for reporting concerns.

25.14  Faculty and the Student Code of Conduct Citations.  Faculty have the right to cite a student under the Student Code of Conduct, and remove the student from one class session, to prompt an assessment and decision process consistent with the Student Code of Conduct guidelines. All such decisions to cite a student under the Student Code of Conduct, and/or remove a student from one class session, shall be reported by the faculty member to their responsible instructional dean or administrator immediately after the class ends. If the responsible instructional dean/administrator is not available, the faculty member shall report Student Code of Conduct citations to the office of the Executive Dean for Student Affairs immediately after the class ends. [Association note: this “right” is simply copied from the College procedure; it provides NO new rights for faculty and no new expectations of the Administration, although it would put in the contract requirements of faculty members.]

Your Bargaining Team:
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

LCCEA Bargaining Update: 1/30/14

LCC Faculty Colleagues,
Your Bargaining Team met with the College Tuesday.  Last week we had provided a supposal demonstrating significant movement on both economic and non-economic items and came to the session expecting the College to at least accept key components of our supposal, or minimally show movement in kind in theirs.

Instead, while the College did alter their existing proposal, the differences from their last proposal of December 5, 2013 were minuscule.  They agreed to our year’s long standing proposal that retirees be allowed to retain college email accounts, but this has already been put into practice by IT (no help from HR) and will not increase College costs.  They also agreed to our proposal to implement the new insurance out-of-paycheck deductions on April 1 rather than March 1, a negligible difference.  Finally, they agreed to allow part-time faculty members to use the 24 paid hours that are already in our contract for attendance at fall in-service and spring conference to now be able to be used for other events such as department or curricular meetings but only when asked to attend by their dean or other manager, a far cry from our proposal to allow part-time faculty members to attend departmental and college events and workshops that are most relevant to their professional work.

Thus, while we had moved significantly toward the College with our last supposal, the College moved a mere piddling* amount in their new proposal.  Clearly, the College demonstrated no interest either in reaching an agreement or even in finding an avenue towards one.  As we noted at the table, we’ve tried numerous approaches to construct such a road, only to encounter more barriers.  For example, in our most recent supposal, we agreed to replace our former proposal to add a half-step at the top of all salary schedules (to partially make up for the less than COLA COLAs we’ve received in past years), replacing this with a stipend AT THE INVITATION to do so by the College, only to have them say they are unwilling to agree to any increase in their stipend proposal, and inexplicably denying their invitation to amend it.  As such, bargaining is taking on an increasingly bizarre quality, with the College not even responding to a single non-economic proposal in twelve months and asking for next week off so they can “study” proposals we gave them last April.

Finally, in a troubling development, we learned that the College likely misapplied our current agreement’s language on salary steps for part-time faculty, awarding only half of the step advancements our contract provides for, as far back as July 2011.  In our 2011-2013 agreement (see below), we have identical language outlining how steps were to be provided for both part-time and contracted faculty members; however, the College unwittingly divulged that they have awarded only the initial half-steps to part-time faculty, and not provided the second half of the earned step at the end of the year.  As such, we have requested that the College immediately provide details about how steps have been awarded to part-time faculty since 2010-2011.  If it is indeed true that part-time faculty have only received half steps for each step earned, this is a violation of our contract and will result in an Association grievance.  Your Association will work to ensure that any and all part-time faculty members harmed by this will have their steps adjusted and paid retroactively, dating back to its onset.

2011-2013 contract language on steps:

For part-time faculty:  For the 2011 – 2012 year, eligible part-time faculty will receive one-half step advancement on July 1, 2011, and one-half step advancement on June 30, 2012.  For the 2012 – 2013 year, eligible part-time faculty will receive one-half step advancement on July 1, 2012, and one-half step advancement on June 30, 2013.

For contracted faculty:  For the 2011 – 2012 year, eligible contracted faculty will receive one-half step advancement on July 1, 2011, and one-half step advancement on June 30, 2012.  For the 2012 – 2013 year, eligible contracted faculty will receive one-half step advancement on July 1, 2012, and one-half step advancement on June 30, 2013.

In conclusion, your Team will continue to demand that the College bargain in good faith, and respond to our proposals in earnest; we will continue to reject proposals that are not responsive to our needs and current conditions.  We appreciate your statements of support, and will identify additional ways that you may demonstrate that the College’s non-responsive bargaining tactics are unacceptable.

*Piddling: So trifling or trivial as to be beneath one’s consideration.

Your Bargaining Team,
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

LCCEA Bargaining Update / Part-time Seniority Update V

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

1.  Your Bargaining Team met with the Administration team last week.  We had submitted a “supposal” the previous week, and anticipated a counter-proposal (or “counter-supposal”) from the Administration in response.  As reported, given that the Administration still has not provided a single substantive response to any of our non-economic proposals, and that we are now more than half-way through the 2013-2014 year, two weeks ago we “supposed” a one year agreement and limited our non-economic proposals to eight of the sixteen items we had been proposing.  In “response,” last week, rather than provide a counter proposal (or supposal), the Administration once again simply said “No” and provided no revision of their previous (12/5/13) proposal at all.  They did strongly recommend we stick to negotiating a two-year (7/1/13 – 6/30/15) agreement.

In response, and once again trying to find a way to reach an agreement (and to get the College to respond to our non-economic proposals as agreed to in our initial sessions twelve months ago), we provided a new “supposal” that moved significantly toward their proposal for the 2014-2015 year while largely maintaining our supposal for the 2013-2014 year, and made clear to them that they need to demonstrate a similar willingness to move (and, in the case of non-economic proposals, to simply respond substantively at all).  We are scheduled to meet with them tomorrow, Tuesday 1/28/14, 1:30 – 4:00 p.m., in CEN 447. All sessions are open to the public and faculty members are encouraged to attend or drop in as you can.

2.  We reached an agreement that resolves an Association grievance on part-time faculty seniority, and that modifies elements of Article 34.  As previously noted, we discovered that department managers were interpreting Article 34’s language on part-time faculty seniority rights in conflicting ways; in addition, at the bargaining table the College proposed a number of changes to the Article, mainly oriented at clarifying the language.  We agreed to merge the grievance procedure and negotiations over the proposed changes, resulting in the agreement reached and signed Friday (1/24/14), attached. There are several key components to the agreement:

  • a. Because this was also a grievance resolution, we agreed that it would be implemented immediately, pending final confirmation via ratification of a 2013-201x agreement.
  • b.   A key area of negotiation was over the issue of part-time rights within a given term. The following provides a necessarily detailed and lengthy history of this issue.  Our previous language (Article, 2011-2013 Main Agreement) provided that faculty members with greater seniority unit accumulation have seniority rights “over the academic year” and also had a right to assignment “during each term” “up to .6 fte.”  The latter was to provide some rights within a term, while also providing a limit on the ability to claim a right to course assignments within any given term.  For example, in a department like Social Science where contracted faculty may teach 15 three-credit courses annually, and each course constitutes .2 fte, the current language provided a part-time faculty member with seniority a right to be assigned eight courses annually (given the “round up” language in Article and the ability to claim a right to teach up to three courses a term (although obviously one couldn’t do this each term, as nine courses a year (3 x 3) would move the faculty member onto the contracted salary schedule and benefits, given Articles 1.1.5, 1.1.6, and  The Association and College reached an oral agreement last spring that the “up to .6 fte” within a given term required that in a department where an even .6 FTE was not possible (e.g. where courses assigned constituted .333 fte) the assignment would be rounded up that term (assuming courses were available), consistent with the logic of the annual “round up” in Despite this agreement last spring over how to interpret, some departments were NOT following it, resulting in our grievance this fall.  After many months of negotiations, we reached the attached agreement, that allows a “seniority-based round up above .6 fte” within a given term, with language that more explicitly requires the College to provide more senior part-time faculty members with full annual assignments of .5 (or rounded up above .5, as provided for in, specifies the penalty if the college assigns less senior faculty members courses when more senior faculty members do not receive the full .5/rounded up assignment (the penalty provides that the more senior faculty member is paid for the course they should have been assigned), while allowing faculty members with greater seniority to “request” assignments above .6 in a given term and the department manager to honor the request in order to meet the right to an annual assignment of .5 (or .5 rounded up).  For example, a part-time faculty member with greater seniority who teaches in a department with 4 credit courses that constitute .333 fte each and with contracted faculty teaching twelve such courses per academic year, has a right to be assigned five such courses per academic year (fall, winter, spring), and a right to request that they teach two courses in any particular term.  The department manager would be required to assign them two courses in two of the terms (or three in one term and one in two terms), before less senior faculty are assigned courses.The Association considers this a significant improvement on the current language, balancing the rights of more senior part-time faculty members to be assigned courses prior to less senior faculty and to receive a full annual assignment, and a clear penalty if that right is not met, while providing departmental flexibility in course assignments.
  • c.  Another key component to the agreement is the requirement that departments post seniority accumulation records for all faculty to see, which will allow faculty to know their own accumulation (or challenge it if they believe it is in error), and those of other faculty members, essential since seniority rights are fundamentally a “relative right,” requiring one to know where one stands relative to others with seniority rights.  (Departments are all expected to have posted their current records on this by now; please contact the Association if your department has not).
  • d.  Finally, we also reached agreement that faculty members who were harmed by the College not following the agreement this year, shall be “made whole,” including having any loss of insurance this year restored, and additional courses provided to make up for classes that “should have” been assigned, but weren’t.

This language, and this agreement, are, no doubt, very complex.  Please see the attached Summary of Changes document for additional information, and keep an eye on your email for a Joint Association – College “Frequently Asked Questions” document.

In the meantime, we strongly recommend that part-time faculty members carefully read all of the sections of Article 34 on seniority rights, review your department’s posting of seniority unit accumulations, compare the latter with your own records and raise any questions or differences with your department, and contact the Association if you believe you were “harmed” this year by not receiving course assignments that you believe you had a seniority-based right to, so that we can explore the matter with you, and, if confirmed, assure you are “made whole” as agreed to with the College.

Thank you for your support.

Your Bargaining Team
Dean Bergen, Adrienne Mitchell, Polina Kroik, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

LCCEA Bargaining Update / Part-time Seniority Update IV


Your Bargaining Team met with College representatives today. We focused on two items:

1.  We reached a “near final” Tentative Agreement on Article 34, including an agreement resolving possible violations of the part-time faculty seniority language this year. We anticipate signing the agreement tomorrow, and if so will provide full details on the resolution and begin working with the College to immediately implement its clarifying language, and identifying any faculty members whose seniority rights have not been followed this year, and correcting any resulting harm.

2.  In an attempt to focus negotiations on items/issues we believe may be closer to reaching agreement, we provided the College with a “supposal” that provides for a one-year (2013-2014) agreement, and reduces the number of non-economic proposals. After a brief caucus the College promised a response at our next regularly scheduled negotiation session next Tuesday (1:15 – 4 pm, CEN 447; same time and place this term).

Thank you for your support.

Your Bargaining Team:
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

Bargaining Update: No agreement, contract set to expire June 30.


Your Bargaining Team met with the College again today. The College made a “supposal,” which they maintain must remain a secret. We rejected the College’s secret supposal and made an updated package proposal consistent with the Bargaining Allowance. (The secret supposal consisted of 1.7% COLA with only part of it for the full year; ½ steps and additional ½ steps in January, a temporary 1% stipend for faculty at the top step, and not a dime for insurance.) The College immediately rejected our proposal, stating that it was “unacceptable” and rejected any increase to College contributions for insurance for the next two years. We encouraged the College representatives, and believe it is their responsibility, to take our proposal to the Board to obtain authorization to come to an agreement based on the Bargaining Allowance agreed to by the College President.

Given what happened today, our contract will expire June 30, and we will be back at the table in Fall. We encourage you to consider the extent to which you have volunteered your time by accepting additional students, working evenings or weekends, attending meetings without compensation, etc., especially during the enrollment “surge,” and consider the extent to which you’re willing to continue (or not) volunteering.

Your Bargaining Team:
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

Bargaining Update: President Spilde Reneges


President Spilde has broken her agreement at the Budget and Finance Subcommittee, made after months of painstaking efforts by representatives of all employee groups and the student government on a budget proposal for next year. That consensus agreement provided a “Bargaining Allowance” of $3M for employee group COLAs, full steps, and insurance rate hikes (7.4%). That agreement assumed state funding for community colleges at $460M, with an explicit understanding that if funding were only $450M, the Bargaining Allowance and tuition rate hikes would remain fully intact. Even at $450M, that would be a significant increase over the current $396M funding level, and most observers believe the chances of getting close to $500M are quite good. 

Consistent with that understanding, as President Spilde reported yesterday, the College Budget Committee approved next year’s budget at the aforementioned $450M level. And yet today not only did the Administration representatives fail to make a proposal consistent with that agreed-upon Bargaining Allowance, but unfathomably withdrew Administration’s previous proposal and regressively offered its original proposal of only 0.5% COLA, half steps, and not a dime for insurance rate hikes. 

Your Bargaining Team relied upon, and will continue to insist upon, the agreement reached with all parties in the Budget and Finance Subcommittee. The administration admits that if they similarly walked away from the agreement by raising tuition rates, that student representatives would scream bloody murder. We should scream no less loudly. It is simply unacceptable that faculty and classified staff representatives (who are being treated identically) cannot rely upon the word of the College President. 

We call upon all faculty members to attend the College Board meeting on Wednesday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m., in the LCC Boardroom, and to demand that the College honor its agreements.  We should not, cannot, and will not accept anything less. 

Your Bargaining Team,
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

Bargaining Update: 5/28/13


Your Bargaining Team met with the College again today. The College previously indicated that they would make a proposal consistent with the agreement presented to the College budget committee. That budget – one that was unanimously supported by representatives from the College Administration, Managers Council, LCCEF, LCCEA, and students – was based upon a Bargaining Allowance with 1.7% COLA, full steps, and funding for insurance rate increases of 7.4%. Instead, the College proposed 1.0% COLA, half steps at the beginning of the year and half steps in January, and $0 increase in College contributions to faculty insurance, a far cry from the Bargaining Allowance that was agreed to.  They also made their proposal contingent not only on Community College State Funding levels and Board approval of the budget, but also upon enrollment levels for the first time ever. Furthermore, their package “supposal” is for a one-year economic agreement only, despite our previous agreement to negotiate two-year deal.

While we presented a complete package proposal including full steps, full COLA, partial COLA restoration and appropriate increases to college insurance contributions coupled with language on our non-economic issues (workload, professional issues, and safety), oddly, the College expressed surprise that we did what we had agreed to do by preparing a complete package proposal. See our proposals below:

LCCEA Proposal Table 052813

LCCEA – Workload Issues – 052803b

LCCEA – Professional Issues – 052803


Assignment Rights MOU – Spring 2013 version

Article 33 – LCCEA Proposal – 052813

Our next Bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in CEN 407.  Please join us for five minutes or fifty as your schedule allows.

In solidarity,
Your Bargaining Team:
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

Bargaining Update: 5/17/13


Your Bargaining Team met with the Administration representatives again today. We had a lengthy discussion on the positive outlook for community college funding allocation at the state level as well as the overwhelmingly positive budget recommendation that was unanimously approved by the College Council Finance and Budget Committee with representatives from LCCEF, LCCEA, management, administration, and students — a balanced budget that includes no reduction to the full bargaining allowance. That $3 million allowance provides funding for all employee groups with full COLA, full steps, and employer insurance contributions increasing at 7.4%, provided that community colleges are funded by the state at $450 million or more, a reasonable expectation given the recent increases in revenues at the state level.

While the Administration representatives acknowledged that the Finance and Budget committee came to such an agreement, they explained that their best proposal will include 0% increase to employer contributions to health insurance premiums, leaving 100% of all health insurance increases to come directly from our paychecks.

To make matters worse, the Administration provided a written memo to your bargaining team asserting that our agreement in 2008 to make a significant sacrifice and reduce the employer contribution from the first 15% to the first 10% of insurance increases is not our status quo language on insurance. Instead, they maintain that they have no obligation to pay any increase to insurance whatsoever and will continue to refuse to do so regardless of the college budget or state funding allocation. In addition, Administration representatives confirmed that there was never any discussion between the College and your Association in 2008 suggesting that the College pick-up of the first 10% would expire, yet they continue to insist that it is not our current insurance language. Clearly, this is bad faith bargaining, and your Bargaining Team resolutely rejected the College’s assertion.

Our next Bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, 2:00-5:00 p.m. in CEN 407. Please join us to show your solidarity and stay for as long as your schedule allows.

You can also show your solidarity by posting the attached sign on your door.

The math is simple. 10% does not equal 0%.

In solidarity,
Your Bargaining Team: Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, Dan Welton

Bargaining Update: 5/16/13


Your Bargaining Team met with the Administration representatives last week. The Administration made no new non-economic proposals, nor did they move on economic issues. The College representatives also reiterated their position that faculty should be responsible for 100% of all health insurance premium increases.

Your team proposed language on part-time issues in order to ensure that part-time faculty members receive notification about class assignments in a timely manner. The proposal also moves the first date of Fall term pay for part-time faculty to September 25 (instead of October 25) and provides compensation for up to eight (8) hours per year for part-time faculty participation in division/department/discipline meetings.

Furthermore, your team made an additional proposal on safety. The goal of the safety proposal is to provide faculty members explicit rights to: a) a safe working environment, b) a safe teaching environment assured by faculty authority to remove students from a class in order to maintain a safe, productive learning environment, and c) a workplace free from bullying, harassment or intimidation.

We did agree to meet again tomorrow (Friday, May 17), 10 a.m. – noon, in CEN 407. Please join us to show your solidarity — feel free to drop by for 10 minutes or 2 hours as your schedule permits.

Your Bargaining Team,
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, and Dan Welton

Bargaining Update: 4/30/13


Your Bargaining Team met with the Administration representatives yesterday.  A cordial bargaining session was held; however, the Administration made only minuscule improvements to their proposal, adding ½ of one percent to contracted faculty salaries at the top of the salary schedule, adding a $500 annual contribution to faculty members with at least one family member and enrolled in a Health Savings Account (as part of the Administration’s effort to provide an incentive for faculty to enroll in a much less expensive HSA account), and postponing by one year their proposal to eliminate Section 125 employer contributions.

Conversely, they provided further detail on their proposal to strip the governance system of reassignment time, proposing to replace the reassignment time that provides chairs of councils time to do their work, with a $1500 annual stipend that would compensate chairs for less than one hour of work per week (our survey of faculty chairs of councils this spring showed that they average over seven hours a week currently, and really need at least ten hours a week to complete their responsibilities properly).

The College made no movement toward any of our economic proposals, including our “me too” proposals to match the much higher salary adjustment President Spilde was provided this year (3.5% vs faculty’s 1.0%) and the President’s being paid an additional month’s salary this year and last for unused leave. Nor did the Administration amend their proposal to “cap” employer contributions to health insurance rate increases for two years, leaving all increases to be paid by faculty members.

On non-economic matters, the Administration provided a proposal to “facilitate the creation of new instructional programs,” albeit with many details to be defined or clarified.

Your Team responded by rejecting their economic proposals and asking clarifying questions about their proposal on “innovative programs.”  We also provided our initial (partial) proposal on safety, with language that provides faculty members the right to permanently remove threatening or disruptive students from their class, and the right to individually or collectively refuse without harm assignments in unsafe or unhealthy workspaces. (Contractually providing the right of an instructor to permanently remove threatening/disruptive students from a class, and increasing class safety in general, were ranked #1 and #2 by faculty in the non-economic bargaining goals in our pre-bargaining survey.)

We did agree to meet again, next Tuesday, 2 – 5 p.m., in CEN 407.

Finally, we are very happy to report that Adrienne Mitchell has joined your Bargaining Team.

Your Bargaining Team,
Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Adrienne Mitchell, Jim Salt, and Dan Welton

Bargaining Update: Administration Proposes Most Regressive Attack on Faculty in LCC History

April 23, 2013

Your Bargaining Team met with the Administration representatives today.  We exchanged economic proposals, and identified non-economic issues we each wish to negotiate.

On non-economics:  The Administration proposed to negotiate language on part-time seniority, new innovative programs, and safety; in addition we propose to negotiate workload and professional rights issues.

On economics:  As we said to the Administration when they presented it, their proposal is likely the worst, most regressive, assault on faculty compensation in the history of our college.  For the first time ever, the administration proposed to pick up none of the insurance rate hikes for the next two years, leaving the full rates to be picked up entirely by employees.  They also proposed to gut their contribution to Section 125 accounts.  For salaries, they proposed only a 0.5% COLA for this year and next, and only the ½ salary steps for each year that they are already obliged to pay based upon our 2011-2013 agreement.  They also proposed to eliminate eligibility for the Early Retirement program (which currently allows eligible faculty to retire and receive support for insurance costs until they become eligible for Medicare) for all new faculty hired after this year, and to significantly reduce support for faculty working on governance councils, gutting an agreement we signed just a few weeks ago.

In contrast, here you will find a summary of your LCCEA Proposal 042213.  As you’ll see, key proposals include:

a)   Proper COLAs matching the inflation rate of 1.59% last year and next year’s hike

b)  An additional President’s Contrat ‘Me-Too’ raise of 2.5% to reflect the difference between the 1.0% COLA faculty received this year compared with the 3.5% salary adjustment that President Spilde received, plus any additional differential adjustments over for the next two years (this agreement still won’t fully make up for the ‘less than COLA COLAs’ we’ve received in recent years, but if the College can afford to raise the salary of the most highly paid employee of the College by 3.5%, then it can and should do so for others not paid nearly as much)

c)   Full steps for all eligible faculty at the beginning of each year

d)   Adding a step at the top of all salary schedules (i.e., contracted, part-time, and flight tech part-time) and dropping the bottom step, and renumbering

e)   Keeping the current insurance language requiring the College to pick up the first 10 percentage points of insurance rate hikes, then splitting the rest until the cost neutrality or stop-loss language kicks in

f)   Raising the employer contribution for part-time faculty needing family insurance

g)   No change to the Section 125 employer contribution

h)   Allowing ‘Tier 3’ PERS members to cash out ½ the value of accumulated sick leave hours upon retirement (Tier 1 and 2 employees have a similar right; the law allows this for ‘Tier 3’ employees but it has to be bargained)

i)   Another President’s Contract “Me Too” provision that allows faculty members to cash in one month’s salary for accumulated sick leave balance each year (President Spilde ‘cashed in’ a month’s salary of vacation leave both last year and this year – effectively getting paid for 13 months last year and this; since faculty don’t receive any vacation days, this proposal calls for faculty to have the same right by using unused sick leave)

In short, we proposed a combination of items designed to protect faculty purchasing power from inflation, to ensure faculty are paid for steps they earned, to begin to reduce the deep sacrifices that faculty have made during this recession (given that state funding is returning, the college’s finances have a nearly $17 million carryover, and President Spilde recently publicly declared that the College is financially “very healthy”), and to ensure that the faculty are treated no worse than the most highly compensated employee of the college (details of President Spilde’s contract will be provided in a separate communication).

Conversely, President Spilde and the  Administration are proposing the greatest assault on faculty compensation in Lane’s history (and essentially identical cuts to classified staff as well).

As such, we can conceive of only one reasonable response:

a)   Your Team informed the Administration we will never agree to these proposals; and

b)   We all need to immediately begin demonstrating (along with classified union members) that we will never accept such unprecedented and truly outrageous attacks on our members.

Your Bargaining Team:  Dean Bergen, Polina Kroik, Jim Salt, and Dan Welton