Changing Guidelines, Contradictory Messages, and Bargaining: Fall Opening

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

A brief update as COVID conditions, public health guidelines, and campus plans for Fall, continue to change —

External data and changing guidelines:
Please see a brief list of recent information reviewed by LCCEA, LCCEF, and the Covid Advisory Team.

  1. CDC recommendation that all wear masks indoors, including fully vaccinated, in areas of substantial or high transmission (See: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html )
  2. Lane County high transmission rate (See:https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view )
  3. Data on highly contagious nature of Delta variant (See: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/delta-variant.html )
  4. Oregon data: one in five COVID cases in July were in vaccinated people; one in ten deaths in vaccinated people: https://www.opb.org/article/2021/08/07/covid-19-oregon-cases-delta-variant-vaccine-health-authority/ and OHA Breakthrough Report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FzqDmjrZhXvqC538QhlzTe-fdomLme9W/view?usp=sharing 
  5. Data on record number in ICU in Oregon as of yesterday: https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2021/08/oregons-coronavirus-icu-record-shattered-once-again-as-all-signs-point-to-out-of-control-5th-surge.html 

Evolving Plans, Contradictory Messages, and Bargaining:
As reported last week, LCCEA and LCCEF made a joint proposal based on shared interests for the campus community with additional provisions specific to the needs of each group. LCCEA and LCCEF representatives met together with the College yesterday to discuss the joint proposal. The College provided a counter proposal by email this morning (see below), and the three parties will meet again tomorrow. More information will be forthcoming from your LCCEA Bargaining Team. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of us: Kelly Collins, Nancy Wood, Cynthia Campos, or myself.

In the meantime, the Lane Weekly sent to all campus members today includes a link to an “Operational Framework” for Fall created by the Administration without input from stakeholder groups. 

Please note that the Administration’s Operational Framework does not align with current public health guidelines (e.g. social distancing for unvaccinated on college campuses, masks indoors for all).


Please also note that this “Operational Framework” does not align with the LCCEA/LCCEF joint proposal, nor does it align with the College’s own proposal sent earlier this morning. For instance, both the College and LCCEA-LCCEF joint proposal include a provision that ensures LCC will follow mask recommendations based on the most protective public health guidelines. In addition, the LCCEA-LCCEF joint proposal also includes a provision that social distancing be implemented in accordance with public health guidelines.

The COVID Infectious Disease Advisory Team (re-named Reopening Team) had its first meeting today shortly after the Administration’s “Operational Framework” was released. Without the opportunity to contribute to the “Operational Framework,” many committee members expressed confusion and concern that the purpose of the newly reconvened committee was to collaboratively develop the framework only to learn it had already been published.

The Committee approved a temporary suspension of non-essential, non-instructional meetings indoors and also agreed to a recommendation that all campus protocol align with public health guidelines, including masks indoors in Fall term consistent with CDC and OHA guidance. Ultimately, once the College and both unions reach agreement on an MOA for Fall, the provisions will be binding and will supersede any “operational framework” that is less protective. Your LCCEA representatives will provide updates as more information becomes available and as negotiations proceed.

Reminder — Flexible Workplace Arrangement Requests: Two Options
It is possible to request an ADA accommodation for remote work due to a faculty member’s own serious health condition, In addition, it is possible to request a flexible workplace arrangement due to concerns about household members, school/daycare issues, etc. Please see email from Sharon Daniel in HR to all LCC employees from May 11 at 5:24 p.m. (also below), which provides more details on the process and links to forms to make requests for remote work. 

My best,

Adrienne

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Update for Faculty: Fall Opening & Joint LCCEA-LCCEF Bargaining Proposal

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

As reported last week, LCCEA, your faculty union, and LCCEF, the classified union, are committed to working together in solidarity as we navigate the transition to a more substantial campus reopening and vaccine requirements for Fall. [See email correspondence from July 29 2021 and June 29 2021 at the end of this post for more information].

The Administration commitment (also reported last week) to include stakeholder groups in planning for campus COVID protocols for Fall has not yet come to fruition. 

In the meantime, the Administration notified LCCEA yesterday that class capacities would increase to “normal” class sizes or “approximately 75%” depending on the size of the room but has provided no response to questions about what social distancing measures would determine these changes to class capacities, nor which classes would be affected. In addition, this week some faculty members have reported seeing increases in class capacities for their Fall courses on the schedule as well as cancellation of sections affecting part-time faculty after the increased class capacities caused reductions in the number of sections.

LCCEA and LCCEF continue to advocate together and have requested joint bargaining with the College. Our shared interests are many, and primarily focus on health, safety, and working conditions that affect the entire campus with implications that extend to the public health of the broader community.  The College is required under the PECBA (Oregon’s Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act) to negotiate in good faith for this interim bargaining, resulting from proposed changes in working conditions, and to do so for at least 90 days before implementing any such changes.

Today we sent the joint proposal (below), which you will see includes one section of joint proposals affecting both groups (e.g. mask protocol, distancing, etc.) as well as separate sections for faculty and classified related to the unique needs and working conditions of each group.

The proposal includes provisions that link campus COVID safety protocols to the campus vaccination rate as well as to public health authority recommendations. In addition, a number of provisions in the faculty section address workload and compensation implications for instruction over this transitional period.

We look forward to continuing to build solidarity among faculty and classified as we await a response to our request for joint bargaining from the College.

More communications from your LCCEA Bargaining Team (Kelly Colllins, Nancy Wood, Cynthia Campos, and myself) will be forthcoming.

My best,
Adrienne

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Hyflex MOA Agreement Reached and Other Bargaining Updates

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team met with the College again yesterday and reached agreement on an MOA (below) regarding the impacts of hyflex instruction:

 The MOA provides:

  • The College will provide a fully functioning, up-to-date computer in classrooms for use during hyflex instruction, and if it is not functioning and cannot be remedied within five days or moved to another classroom, the faculty member has discretion to offer the class face-to-face or online.
  • The College will provide functioning wifi at reasonable speeds to facilitate streaming in faculty offices and instructional spaces or will provide alternative space if it takes more than five days to fix wifi issues.
  • Faculty teaching hyflex who attend workshops on the use of Dtens shall be compensated at regular rates.
  • If the College offers professional development workshops on hyflex instruction, part-time faculty who have exhausted in-service hours shall be compensated at regular rates.
  • Faculty who convert courses to hyflex modality shall be compensated for 70 hours at the Curriculum Development rate as part of regular ATC processes. These hours are in addition to any hours awarded previously for development of the online or hybrid course.
  • Classes in hyflex modality shall have the maximum class size reduced by 12.5%.
  • For courses that are team taught where class sizes cannot be reduced, faculty teaching in the hyflex modality shall be compensated an additional 0.67 hours (at regular rates below 1.0 FTE and at the overload rate above 1.0 FTE) for each hour of synchronous hyflex instruction.
  • Upon request, the College shall make all reasonable efforts to identify, hire, and train a student assistant who shall be provided and assigned to attend all synchronous hours of hyflex courses.
  • The College shall provide data including course success rates for in hyflex courses. Consistent with Art. 39.1.2 Faculty Council shall participate in developing campus-wide tools to assess the hyflex modality.
  • Individual faculty may refuse distance learning courses (including hyflex) consistent with the Distance Learning MOA.
  • All other provisions of the contract and MOAs remain in effect, and this MOA will expire at the time a new contract is completed (e.g. June 30, 2024 or thereafter).

On whole, we think this MOA protects workloads for faculty teaching in hyflex modality through the provision of student assistants and reduced class sizes while also providing compensation for time devoted to curriculum development, and ensures that other basic necessities are provided (e.g. functioning hardware and wifi) to set the stage for faculty to do their best work in serving students. (Please note: the attachment is the messy document used in bargaining. The properly formatted, signed MOA will be posted on the LCCEA website as soon as it is available.)

On an unrelated note, LCCEA has not yet received a response from the College regarding reassignment time for faculty participating on governance councils and looks forward to receipt of a response that demonstrates a renewed commitment to shared governance. (For details see update sent to all faculty on May 28).

In addition, while an MOA is in place for Summer term working conditions, the parties have not begun negotiations regarding Fall reopening. We anticipate more changes to health and safety guidelines soon within Oregon. Given the many changes that have already occured since the April survey of all faculty (e.g. CDC no longer requires masks for fully vaccinated individuals), your LCCEA Bargaining Team may initiate another survey during the summer, if needed, once anticipated updates to health guidelines are announced. 

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team

Kelly Collins

Adrienne Mitchell

Nancy Wood

Posted in General | Leave a comment

LCC Bargaining Update: Summer 2021

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team reached agreement with the College on an MOA for Summer (linked below):

In addition to provisions already agreed as of our last update (below), we are happy to report that the MOA meets the strong interest of faculty in requiring the College to notify faculty if they have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 on campus or at LCC activities, a practice that had not been in place unless the circumstances required contact tracing as determined by Lane County Public Health (e.g. close contact of less than 6’). See #22 on attached for details. The MOA also provides that social distancing and mask requirements shall continue for summer in accordance with whichever external guideline in effect is most protective (e.g. CDC, OHA, etc.)

Among other provisions on the MOA, LCC and LCCEA agreed as follows to:

  • Extend additional CD (curriculum development) funding for part-time faculty who are teaching classes that they have not taught before in an online or hybrid format at the rate of 1.25 hours of CD compensation for every hour of instruction delivered asynchronously that would otherwise be face-to-face class time;
  • Provide additional compensation for faculty members who teach extra hours to accommodate social distancing requirements at the rate of 1.25 times the hourly rate for every extra hour of instruction;
  • Maintain numerous safety provisions
 for Summer;
  • Require that managers make reasonable efforts to collaborate with faculty stakeholders in developing or amending department reopening plans
;
  • Protect faculty from loss of pay if all sick leave has been exhausted and the faculty member becomes ill with COVID-19; and
  • Ensure provision of hardware and software for online teaching to faculty who do not have the necessary equipment, among other provisions.

We appreciate the robust participation of faculty in the bargaining survey and your support in achieving this agreement. Please watch for more updates regarding negotiations over the impacts of the hyflex modality soon.

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team:

Kelly Collins

Adrienne Mitchell

Nancy Wood

Posted in General | Leave a comment

LCCEA President’s Update May 5, 2021

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

I’m writing with a number updates on behalf of LCCEA regarding: bargaining, College communications about campus COVID cases, shared governance redesign, an important grievance resolution, May election endorsements, OEA updates, legislative updates, and compensation increases for next year.

Thank you to the more than 300 faculty members who participated in the LCCEA All-Faculty survey in April! Your voice is critical to ensuring LCCEA best represents faculty interests in negotiations regarding both hyflex* instruction and reopening as the campus transitions to more in-person offerings.

Summer Reopening MOA

Given that the pandemic continues to impact our campus and larger community, your LCCEA Bargaining Team (Kelly Collins, Adrienne Mitchell, and Nancy Wood) has proposed an extension of the current COVID-Working Conditions MOA for Summer term in order to protect the safety of faculty and provide adequate compensation for faculty working in Summer. Please see the draft below and look for an update to all faculty once we have received a response from the College.

Bargaining regarding impacts of “hyflex” teaching

Negotiations over the impacts of “hyflex,” streaming instruction are scheduled to begin today (Monday, May 5). Your LCCEA Bargaining Team had an initial meeting with the College on April 23 in order to gather information about the plan for a proposed hyflex* pilot. *Hyflex teaching is a modality that is a distinct version of hybrid courses. Like hybrid courses, the hyflex modality offers some face-to-face instructional time with the remainder of the course online. However, for the face-to-face time in hyflex courses, instructors teach live in a classroom with some students physically present while simultaneously teaching some students who are off campus via Zoom for the “in-person” portion of the course. Students decide on a day-to-day basis whether to attend in person or via Zoom.

Fall Reopening

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team will also negotiate over impacts to working conditions for Fall in order to best protect faculty interests as more instruction and services re-open in-person. We anticipate these negotiations will begin after an agreement is finalized for Summer term and revised OHA and CDC guidelines are announced.

Please keep an eye out for updates from your LCCEA Bargaining Team on negotiations regarding: Summer, hyflex, and Fall reopening.

College Communications Regarding COVID cases

As many faculty members may be aware from recent announcements and forums, LCC is not providing notice to employees and students when they have been physically present at a campus activity with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 unless Lane County Public Health determines that there was “close contact,” currently defined as less than 6’ social distancing for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period. This means, for instance, that if a student attending in-person tests positive but only attended classes where there was at least 6’ distancing in place with masks, the faculty member(s) and other students will not receive any notice. In the LCCEA all-faculty survey, faculty expressed overwhelming support for requiring notice in such circumstances, and you will see in the Summer MOA proposal attached that your Bargaining Team has included a requirement for such notice, and your LCCEA representatives will advocate for more transparent communication that also protects individual health privacy. For reference, case counts among students and employees can be viewed on the LCC COVID  dashboard .

Shared Governance Redesign

The LCC shared governance system has been undergoing a redesign process for several years, and the College Council approved the Governance Implementation Team’s recommendations and work plan at the April meeting. Changes include: making Faculty Council a formal council of the governance system as well as implementing a notice and comment process for new and revised policies. In addition, you will see that one of the recommendations is to “Support adequate compensation/release time for governance participants,” which will also be the subject of negotiations on behalf of faculty. Overall, these changes should promote greater transparency and help elevate faculty voices through formal inclusion of Faculty Council, which retains academic and grading policies within its purview.

The extent to which faculty voices and Faculty Council decisions will be honored is unclear. For example, at the most recent meeting, Faculty Council formed a Taskforce, which includes faculty from both Academic Technology and instructional departments, to revise definitions for teaching modalities (e.g. online, hybrid, etc). However, while the Taskforce is still conducting its work, the Provost announced modality definitions in an email to all employees. (Some members of Faculty Council also expressed concerns about the announced definitions, including that they do not account for the option of proctored testing for online courses. The need for proctored testing was reflected in the LCCEA All-Faculty survey results as well.)

Shared governance will only have efficacy and meaning if the Administration honors and respects the value and voice of faculty.

Grievance Resolution

Your LCCEA Grievance Team recently reached an important resolution with the College. A group of part-time faculty had been hired to do instructional work beginning in Fall 2020 without being properly classified as faculty, resulting in: no consideration of education or experience in salary placement, insufficient compensation below contractual salary schedule rates, and lack of rights and benefits under the contract. The resolution provides that the affected faculty are now retroactively correctly classified as part-time faculty, receiving full retroactive compensation and contractual benefits to the date of hire, including the ability to qualify for healthcare and part-time seniority over time.

Oregon Education Association Updates

Congratulations to Enrique Farrera, who was elected to serve as Vice President of the OEA, our statewide union. Enrique is a community college member from Clackamas CC, who will help amplify the voice of the community college sector as a statewide leader.

The delegates to the statewide OEA Representative Assembly voted to approve a by-laws change to make dues for part-time faculty more affordable and equitable. OEA dues for PT faculty will be assessed based on salary rather than FTE beginning in Fall 2021. Many PT faculty will see a reduction in OEA dues deductions as a result of this change.

Legislative Advocacy

With the Oregon legislative session in full swing, your LCCEA and OEA representatives are engaged in advocacy around a number of goals in support of community college members.

These include: support for increased funding for the need-based Oregon Opportunity grant for students, advocacy for part-time faculty healthcare statewide, and increased funding for the CCSF (Community College Support Fund). Thank you to Welding faculty member, Doug Ford (pictured below), for testifying before the Joint Ways and Means Committee in support of $702M CCSF funding for the next biennium. Thank you also to Nursing Faculty member, Jeremy Kaufman, for additional testimony provided to the Ways and Means! You will find Doug’s testimonyJeremy’s testimony, and LCCEA testimony on the Oregon Legislature’s website for the hearing.

IMG_2197.jpg

May Elections and LCCEA Endorsements

LCCEA proudly endorses Austin Folnagy (Zone 4), Holli Johnson (Zone 1), and Steve Mital (Zone 5) for LCC Board of Education as well as Rose Wilde for Lane ESD Board for the upcoming election in May. Thank you to LCCEA Legislative Action Committee and Executive Council members for conducing the interviews and endorsement process.

In addition, LCCEA stands in solidarity with our colleagues in Eugene 4j in support of EEA-Endorsed candidates for the 4j school board: Tom Di Liberto, Laural O’Rourke, and Maya Rabasa and also supports Ashley Espinosa for Bethel Board. Ballots are due by May 18. 

Compensation Increases for 2021-2022

A reminder to all faculty – through the overwhelming organizing efforts and support of faculty in Fall 2019, salary schedule increases are coming for the 2021-2022 year as provided in our contract. Compensation will increase for all faculty as follows.

For part-time faculty:

Beginning in July, 1.5% COLA, plus 3% pay parity adjustment**, plus full steps (3.75%) as earned. For faculty at the top of the salary schedule, one half-step (1.875%) will be added, and the bottom step will be dropped. Total increases for step-eligible PT faculty: 8.25%. Total increases for PT faculty already at the top: 6.375%. **Pay parity adjustments make incremental change toward pay equity for part-time faculty; a long-term goal of the Association is to address the systemic inequity that affects part-time faculty at LCC and in community colleges nationwide.

For contracted (e.g. full-time) faculty:

First, in July, salaries for contracted faculty affected by furloughs this year will return to normal 2020-2021 levels. (2020-2021 salaries were reduced for ten months only to account for furlough days. Reductions were largely offset by tax-free reimbursements by Workshare through an agreement that moved six paid course preparation days to Summer 2020.)

Then, beginning in July for those working in Summer or September for those not working Summer: 1.5% COLA, plus full steps (3.75%). For faculty already at the top of the salary schedule, one half-step (1.875%) will be added, and the bottom step will be dropped. Total increases for step-eligible contracted faculty: 5.25% and for FT faculty already at the top: 3.375%. (Please note: the increase from current paychecks for faculty affected by furloughs will be 9.93% for step-eligible faculty and 7.92% for faculty already at the top.)

Coming up today, this month, and beyond:

* Today at 4:00 p.m, Know Your Contract Info Session: Calculating Instructional Workload, hosted by your LCCEA Grievance Team Register here. 

* May 7 and June 11: Contracted faculty furlough days; these are non-working, non-instructional days

* LCCEA Meeting, later this month, date TBD

* LCCEA Elections, the Treasurer and five Vice President positions will be up for election later this month

* June 10: last day of the Spring term work year

* September 21: first day of the contracted faculty work year for 21-22

* September 23: All campus in-service and All-Faculty LCCEA meeting

* September 27: first day of Fall term

My best,

Adrienne

Posted in General | Leave a comment