Update from LCCEA President Adrienne Mitchell

May 28, 2020

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team has initiated negotiations over safety for Phase 1 and will do so shortly regarding the recently announced Phase 2 guidelines as well as working conditions for Fall.

As you are likely aware, there are fiscal pressures to the College budget due to the impacts of the pandemic on operations as well as overspending this year prior to the pandemic (e.g. $800K+ over-budget in Fund IX and addition of 11 non-faculty contracted positions by October 2019 that had not been included in the budget, etc). While there remains considerable uncertainty about impacts to next year’s budget, the May 20 fiscal forecast from the state was better than anticipated. The HECC released a new update today estimating that, if the Governor were to make across the board cuts to public funding, the percentage would be roughly 4% instead of 8.5% — the HECC calculations indicate a reduction to funding for LCC that would be $2.4M instead of $5M. While a $2.4M reduction in state funding would be significant, it represents 2.6% of the $91M LCC general fund budget for FY21. At the same time, enrollment has the potential to increase due to high unemployment rates, and LCC’s performance relative to other mid- to large-sized community colleges in the state will likely result in an increased percentage of state funding for LCC. The extent to which there will be additional funding made available through state reserves such as the Rainy Day fund or additional federal funding to states is still uncertain, but these are both areas of substantial lobbying efforts by OEA and NEA. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to assume that there will be some budget impact to LCC next year.

At a meeting to discuss Phase 1 safety yesterday, the College made a proposal (link: COLLEGE PROPOSAL LCCEA Covid MOA 5.26 Salary Freeze) to freeze all faculty salaries and step advancements for 2020-2021 and “ongoing until such a time that this MOA is terminated by mutual agreement between the College and LCCEA.” This proposal would freeze all faculty compensation increases for both part-time and full-time faculty essentially indefinitely until a new agreement were reached at an undetermined point in the future. LCCEA did not accept this proposal.

As you are likely aware, the faculty contract is settled, including economic components, through 2022. The College may not unilaterally impose salary reductions. In addition, the contract requires a minimum number of faculty positions. Thus, even if there were programs cuts and layoffs, the college would save little due to the need to replace any eliminated positions. In discussions about the budget, the College has raised the specter or program cuts, which could not take place until Winter 2021 or later due to contractual deadlines that have passed, stating that positions eliminated would be replaced with new positions in “high demand” programs.

As noted at the LCCEA membership meeting, LCCEA leaders have been exploring proactive, creative options to generate revenue, tap external funding sources, and produce savings for next year. One manner in which numerous K-12 school districts and some universities within the state have addressed the anticipated budget shortfall is by pivoting quickly to take advantage of the WorkShare program, which seeks to preserve jobs but produce savings through limited furloughs. This program taps federal unemployment funding that is available and administered through a streamlined process by the state. The employer applies, and after the employer’s application is approved, employees fill out paperwork once to qualify for reimbursements. When incorporating the additional CARES Act unemployment funding that is available through July, it is possible to ensure that any reduction in compensation through furlough days is largely offset by reimbursements to individuals through the WorkShare program. While your LCCEA representatives have proactively discussed this option informally with the College since early May, College representatives did not indicate an interest in pursuing it in earnest at this time until yesterday afternoon. Given the limited time available this term and the additional CARES Act funding set to expire in July, there is a narrow window to consider a WorkShare plan that incorporates the substantial external funding that would offset impacts to individuals and make such a plan reasonable and possible.

As such, your LCCEA Team made a proposal today (link here: WorkShareMOADraft05262020 B), which, if accepted, would only take effect if ratified by the LCCEA membership and only if the College’s WorkShare application is approved. The proposal includes furlough days for contracted faculty only — two furlough days for this Spring (one each for each work week this June) and two days for the 2020-2021 year (one Fall inservice day and Spring Conference day). In addition, the proposal provides that there shall be no program cuts or contracted faculty layoffs for the 2020-2021 year, which would protect both contracted and part-time faculty in any programs identified for reduction. The net impact of the proposal to the College budget would be a savings of approximately $485K according to the college bargaining calculator. However, the additional federal funding would mitigate the impact to compensation for individual contracted faculty, and the salary reduction would be largely, though not entirely, recuperated by reimbursement to individuals through the streamlined WorkShare program. Thus, the proposal would protect faculty jobs, provide substantial savings to the college budget during a challenging time, and limit the impact on individual contracted faculty compensation with external funding.

We understand that there will likely be many questions, and as yet it is unclear if the College will be agile enough to pursue this option at such a late date. Should the proposal be accepted, we will provide more information as well as a ratification vote. In the meantime, for general information about the WorkShare program, please see the WorkShare Fact Sheet here: Workshare_FactSheet 2-6-17. Portland Public Schools, which is one of the many districts that has proactively implemented a similar plan, has a thorough FAQ on their website . The specific details for LCC would differ, of course, but it is a good resource for general information.

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team:

Kelly Collins
Adrienne Mitchell
Russell Shitabata
 

May 14, 2020

Fall term
Many faculty have asked about plans for Fall, and messages from deans differ by division. The College will likely be announcing definitive plans for Fall term next week. However, the likelihood of face-to-face classes on campus depends on which Re-Opening Phase Lane County is in at that time, as approved by the Governor, as well as HECC guidelines for each Phase. Currently, only Phase 1 guidelines are available. Once an official announcement is made, your LCCEA Covid-Response Bargaining Team (Kelly Collins, Russell Shitabata, and I) will negotiate over Fall working conditions, as we have done for Spring and Summer. Please continue to send questions / concerns you may have.


Workload Taskforce
The Joint Workload Taskforce met on Tuesday and finalized documentation of workload for the remaining instructional departments. The attached file represents the College-Association substantive agreements on current instructional workload parameters. As you may recall, this work resulted from an agreement that increased class sizes in many disciplines when the college had a $12+M budget deficit. The original MOA helped achieve a comprehensive contract agreement that bridged the budget gap, provided insurance for part-time faculty members’ families, among other gains, including the codification of workload parameters and protection of class size. Once finalized, this document will be placed in an MOA. A special thank you to current and former chairs of the committee, Jim Salt, Marge Helzer, and Chris Crosthwaite, as well as current and former committee members, Christina Howard, Julie Pfaff, Steve Selph, and Mel Stark, who have dedicated countless hours to this laborious and sometimes challenging process.

LCCEA Membership meeting: Monday, May 18 at 2:00 p.m.
All LCCEA members are cordially invited to attend. Agenda items will include LCCEA and OEA updates, closing of officer nominations, college budget information, and other general updates as well as a Q & A session. The Q & A time will be dedicated to general questions. Please do send any questions that you hope will be addressed at the meeting in advance to lccea@lanecc.edu. If you have individual questions, we ask that you contact an Association rep so that we may best support you.

If you plan to attend, please be sure to register. If you are not sure of your membership status or wish to join, please contact LCCEA Membership Chair, Wendy Simmons

Please register in advance for this webinar:
https://lanecc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_aIOMarAESL67bKDzzBX6BQ


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Looking forward to seeing you at the meeting!

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Lane Faculty, Staff and Students Participate in the 2019 Statewide Fund our Future — Fund our Colleges Rally

May 8, 2020

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

A brief update on three topics: the LCCEA membership meeting, an MOA for Summer, and a virtual May 8 day of action.

LCCEA Membership Meeting — Monday, May 18, 2:00 p.m. All LCCEA members are welcome to attend the virtual meeting. Please be sure to register at:

 https://lanecc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_aIOMarAESL67bKDzzBX6BQ 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.  If you are uncertain about your membership status, or if you wish to join, please contact LCCEA Membership Chair, Wendy Simmons.

Summer MOA

Your LCCEA Bargaining Team (Kelly Collins, Russell Shitabata, and I) reached an agreement yesterday regarding the impacts of changes to working conditions resulting from COVID-19 for summer term. The agreement includes the following provisions (with full details on attached MOA).* No loss of leave time for quarantines for any faculty member who exhausts leave time.* Any faculty member with a reasonable concern for their health may work via remote format for summer term.* Additional compensation in summer for part-time faculty teaching online or remote courses at the rate of 1.25 CD hours compensation for every one hour of regularly scheduled class time. Courses that a part-time faculty member has previously taught online or remotely are not eligible for additional compensation. Example: a course that normally meets 4 hours per week would receive 5 hours (4 x 1.25) at the CD rate per week.* Granting of faculty requests for reasonable access to campus within 24 hours, with no repercussions for faculty who access campus if no response is received by the end of the next business day, as long as the faculty member follows designated procedures in effect at the time of access. (e.g. contacting Public Safety upon arrival and departure)* Online delivery may continue to meet minimum standards to maintain base level continuity; faculty are not required to meet all standards of best practices for online teaching, but faculty should strive to meet basic standards.* Recognition that faculty are professionals committed to instructional excellence.

 


May 8 — Statewide Day of Action

A year ago today, the Statewide Day of Action for Education brought 25,000 teachers to the Portland waterfront and a sea of red to our own Bristow Square on LCC campus for our “Fund our Future — Fund our Colleges Rally.” These and many other concerted actions during the 2019 legislative session resulted in a 12+% increase to community college funding and a $2B increase for K-12 in Oregon. While the public sector nationwide is now facing reductions due to state budget losses from the pandemic, I hope these photos below bring a sense of hope and a reminder of the power of collective action. 

One of the most important actions you can take today is to send a message to your congressional representatives to advocate for federal funding to support state governments, specifically for education and community colleges. A simple way to do so is to sign NEA’s letter, which is automated and takes only a minute.

 

April 30, 2020

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

I hope this message finds you healthy and well during this challenging time. Thank you for your absolutely tremendous effort in moving face-to-face courses to remote instruction.

I’m writing with updates regarding: Spring Conference, summer, labor relations, continued insurance for part-time faculty, enrollment, state funding, college budget, job security, LCCEA membership meeting, LCCEA endorsements, LCC Bond, and reminders about emergency funds and support for faculty.

Spring Conference
Despite contradictory and confusing messages you may have received, Spring Conference, which was scheduled for tomorrow — is a paid, non-scheduled day for all faculty this year and is intendedtooffset a small portion of the substantial extra workload demands this term. Please note: this is not a matter of dispute, and the College agrees on this point. Faculty are not required to attend any meetings in order to be paid. This means all contracted faculty will be paid and should not be asked to attend meetings. Part-time faculty working this term are also paid for the day and should record eight hours on their timesheets (unless you have exhausted all in-service hours from Fall and already recorded the full 16 in-service hours provided for this Spring term.) You can find the MOA on the LCCEA website.

Summer term 
The LCCEA COVID-19 impacts Bargaining Team — Kelly Collins, Russell Shitabata, and I – have initiated negotiations with the College regarding impacts of remote instruction for Summer term. We have had one meeting with CHRO Shane Turner, which was productive; however, there remains a lack of clarity around College interests for summer instruction. Nonetheless, we are optimistic that negotiations will be resolved without much further delay. Thank you to all faculty members who have completed the most recent survey – your feedback about this term and input are invaluable to the team.
A Note on Labor Relations
In addition to the numerous challenges and changes resulting from remote operations, there has been a significant increase in the number of unrelated workload, grievance, and other labor relations and contractual issues this term. Thank you to all the faculty members who have been contacting LCCEA representatives with concerns and questions. Please continue to reach out so that LCCEA representatives can answer your questions and help support you and all faculty.

Continuation of insurance for displaced PT faculty
Due to the Governor’s Executive Order 20-03, Oregon Health Authority and OEBB (Oregon Educator Benefits Board) have adopted a temporary administrative rule to provide continued health insurance. As a result, part-time faculty who would otherwise lose coverage spring term due to loss of classes or due to not having enough credits to maintain insurance under Article 33.2 will continue to receive insurance. This will remain in effect April 14, 2020 – October 10, 2020.

Enrollment
Enrollment is down but less than many other large or mid-sized community colleges in the state. There are three figures used to track enrollment at LCC, and the most frequently reported is “enrollments” or “credit enrollments.” However, the reported “enrollments” figure does not correspond to either of the two primary sources of revenue (tuition and state funding), which are derived from “total credits” and “FTE” respectively.

“Total credits” for which students are registered when tuition is assessed at the beginning of week two drives tuition revenue. Total credits for Spring were down 6.4% at the beginning of week two. Estimated credit FTE was down 10.7% at the beginning of week 4 when FTE data is collected and used for the purpose of community college funding formula allocations from the state.

State Funding and College BudgetAny decrease in enrollment will reduce revenue for the college. However, because LCC has experienced considerably less decline than other community colleges, it is likely that the percentage allocation of state funding for LCC will increase. PCC, which is the largest in the state and therefore has substantial impact on the funding formula, reported a decline of 22%, and Chemeketa reported a decline of 16% this term. This bodes well for LCC.
At the same time, the state of Oregon is anticipating a substantial budget shortfall. More information will become available on May 20 when the next financial forecast is released, and the legislature will likely go into a special session after that date. Unless the federal government provides significant support to state governments, it is likely there will be across the board cuts to state funding. Initial estimates indicate a worst-case scenario of 8.5% cuts to community college state funding, which would amount to a reduction of $4.4M for next year for LCC (based on LCC’s current 8% allocation from CCSF). A $4.4M reduction to revenue equates to approximately 4.7% of the college $93M general fund budget for FY21. At this point, the earliest foreseeable date when we will have definitive information about a reduction in state funding is late May/ early June.

On a positive note, the CARES Act federal funding was finalized at $3M for LCC, with $1.5M reserved for students. This funding will mitigate budget challenges but will not likely cover all deficits. In addition, because enrollment largely tracks with unemployment, it is likely enrollment will increase in Fall and beyond.

The College Administration has reported to the Board of Education that the proposed budget for next year will remain the same as the budget presented earlier this year without any reductions to state funding because the Board of Education and its Budget Committee must follow timelines and guidelines in state law for formal budget adoption. If changes to the budget after adoption become necessary, those must also follow legal guidelines, which may require additional Board and/or Budget committee approval at a later date, depending on the scope of changes.

The College Budget office informed faculty and staff members serving on the Budget Development Subcommittee that minor changes to inter-fund transfers related to LCC-owned Titan Court apartment building debt would be the only changes to the budget approved by College Council and presented to the Board of Education in March. However, we learned today that it appears the Administration has made other changes, including removing some funded, but vacant faculty positions from the budget even though the budget remains based on regular state funding levels. It is unclear what other changes may have been made, and LCCEA has made a formal information request for full details. As a public institution, the College has a responsibility and obligation to present the budget publicly and transparently.

Job security
Given the potential that there will be a cut to community college funding, many faculty are wondering about job security. The contract requires the College to notify the Association by March 15 of any potential retrenchments to contracted faculty for Fall term. The College did not provide that notice, so there will be no contracted faculty retrenchments for Fall. It is possible that the College could provide notice of retrenchments for Winter term 2021 or later.

Generally, if the College were to propose reductions that would impact faculty, such reductions would be through program cuts, which would have to be approved by the Board of Education. However, the vast majority of programs produce substantial net revenue, without which the college could not operate, which reduces the likelihood of program cuts for financial reasons. In the event of any future notice of proposed reductions, LCCEA will, of course, seek solutions that preserve programs and both part- and full-time jobs.

During times of uncertainty, faculty may wish to seek additional job security through the following recommendations. Part-time faculty should consider seeking assignments in more than one department. Once a part-time faculty member has seniority in one accrual family, it takes less time to earn seniority in another. Contracted faculty should verify that their certifications on the annual RIF list are correct and should seek certification for all the courses and assignments for which they are qualified, including any courses outside their regular assignment and/or department.

LCCEA Membership Meeting
All LCCEA members are cordially invited to the Spring (virtual) Membership meeting on Monday, May 18 at 2 p.m. If you are not sure of your membership status or if you wish to join, please contact Membership Chair, Wendy Simmons. Details about the virtual meeting will be forthcoming.

Primary Election — LCCEA Endorsements
Stay home, stay safe, and please remember to mail in your ballot to cast your vote! Members of the LCCEA Executive Council and Legislative Action Committee endorse: Matt Keating for Eugene City Council Ward 2, Mike Eyster for Springfield Mayor, and the LCC Bond. (You can find OEA-PAC endorsements for other statewide and national races in the May 19 primary at: https://www.oregoned.org/standing-up-for-you/elections.)

LCC Bond
The pandemic has had many impacts, including challenges for the LCC bond campaign, which has shifted to digital operations. While the circumstances have changed for many in Lane County, the need for the bond has only increased, as it is likely that LCC will see more students in Fall and beyond due to high unemployment. 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 a substantial amount of deferred maintenance costs, which 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. Many other local and state unions such as Eugene Education Association, Oregon Nurses Association, and the Lane County Chapter of the AFL-CIO also support LCC and endorse the Bond. In addition, the LCC Board has approved the establishment of a community oversight committee to ensure bond funds are spent in accordance with plans. The Board has also approved a community benefits agreement, which will prioritize local contractors who provide living wage jobs to workers involved in bond construction projects. LCCEA endorses the bond and recommends a YES vote.

Reminders About Support for Faculty and Students
OEA Relief Fund for Part-time Faculty
Part-time faculty who are members of OEA/LCCEA and who have experienced loss of pay or class cancellation for Spring may apply for up to $1000. Faculty must have been LCCEA/OEA members as of March 2, 2020 and must submit documentation of expenses (e.g. housing payment, food, childcare, medical, etc.) and documentation of lost income (e.g. email from dean about class cancellation or statement by faculty member about class cancellation). Apply at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1OGmnyt_dBju21Qo5UhVTf3A1LdqhTfXfj0rKltN8XmQ/

LCCEA Emergency Fund for LCCEA Members
Any LCCEA member (part-time or full-time) with a financial need, which could be due a class cancellation, unanticipated medical expense, etc. may request up to $300 for emergency expenses. Please fill out the form at: https://forms.gle/7Exv618xDD9y9uU79 If you have questions about your membership status, please contact Membership Chair, Wendy Simmons at simmonsws@lanecc.edu

OEA Foundation funds – grants for students
Any LCCEA member may apply for a grant for their students through a quick request process at:  http://oeafoundation.oregoned.org/apply-for-a-grant These grants may be used directly for student expenses such as Chromebooks, textbooks, rent, utilities, or other basic needs.

Cards for Colleagues
 — Fill out a brief form at: https://forms.gle/bxgustZTbB17L5ZKA, and LCCEA will send a card to a faculty colleague, facilitated by LCCEA Membership Committee.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns.

My best,
Adrienne

 

Lane’s Participation in the Statewide Day of Action for Education 2019
Statewide Day of Action 2019 brought 25,000 supporters
Fund our Future — Fund our Colleges Rally 2019