Goodbye and Thanks to Linda Blanchette

Linda Blanchette, former Director of Professional and Organizational Development (POD), is no longer employed by PCC. Her position was eliminated in a recent reorganization, and her last day at work was March 28th, 2018. Since this decision was not announced by administration, we thought you’d like to know and also take this opportunity to thank Linda for her many years of service to FFAP members.

Linda started her employment at PCC as an AP and was represented by our Federation. In 2007, she moved into a management position as Director of POD, where she oversaw training and development programs that greatly benefited so many FFAP members. She started the AP Institute, which is the first (and so far only) professional-development experience for all APs. She was a tireless advocate for the development of all employees at PCC, and we will miss her.

If you would like to write a short note of thanks to Linda, please do so below.

We, the members of PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals, thank Linda for her dedication, her hard work, and her service over many years at PCC.

Fair winds and following seas, Linda!

Know Your Rights! Discipline for Faculty and Academic Professionals

For the vast majority of employees at PCC, discipline is an issue that never comes up. But what if you suddenly find yourself under the microscope? What if your supervisor asks you to attend a meeting and you get the feeling you could be “in trouble”?

Disciplinary procedures are governed by Article 22 of our contract. There are three key provisions in Article 22:

  1. “Just cause” is the only reason for discipline to be imposed;
  2. Discipline must be progressive, meaning that (depending on the severity of the conduct) an employee gets a chance to correct behaviors before more severe sanctions are imposed;
  3. Discipline is limited to FOUR, and only four, sanctions upon the employee:
    1. Written warning;
    2. Disciplinary probation (doesn’t apply to PT faculty);
    3. Suspension without pay (doesn’t apply to PT faculty without assignment rights);
    4. Dismissal.

You have a right, under a provision in law known as Weingarten rights, to have a union representative present whenever any aspect of the discussion could lead to discipline. A standard reply you can give under Weingarten is:

“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer, or steward be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.”

The PCC administration maintains that a manager, in consultation with HR, can decide independently whether any action, such as an MOE, is disciplinary, and as long as that action is not specifically called out in Article 22, then you have no right to representation during any conversation about your employment or working conditions. We disagree!

Note that the scope of your Weingarten rights is broad: you have a right to have a union rep present if the conversation could in any way lead to discipline OR lead to a change in your working conditions.

What we’ve noticed over the years is that HR seems to be running a shadow disciplinary system which relies on the MOE. As long as it’s “just an MOE,” they are effectively saying, then “whatever we do is NOT disciplinary and the union has no right to be involved.” But if you’ve ever been subjected to the MOE process at PCC, you’ve probably felt it was pretty punitive. And if an MOE says that it could serve as the basis for future discipline, then that MOE, we contend, *is* disciplinary, in which case you have a right to union representation during any part of the process.

Here are some rules of thumb:

  • If you have a good relationship with your supervisor and you feel comfortable talking about your work, then you probably have nothing to worry about.
  • But if you are having a conversation with a supervisor and you feel the conversation is starting to stray into uncomfortable territory—especially about things you are doing that are unsatisfactory (or you are NOT doing what you’re supposed to be doing) and what might happen if you don’t correct your behavior—then you should stop the conversation and say you’ll resume the conversation once your union rep is present.
  • Your supervisor can always spell out expectations, but when things start to feel “formal,” consider invoking your Weingarten rights—especially if the magic words “Memorandum of Expectations” are communicated at any point.
  • You CANNOT be disciplined for invoking your Weingarten rights or any union rights. These rights are protected under the law, and the employer will get in serious trouble for stopping you from exercising them.

One reason we’re so concerned about the MOE “shadow disciplinary process” at PCC is that MOEs have been used in place of the disciplinary process that the PCC administration agreed to follow, and just because an employee was given an MOE, this did NOT stop the employee from being dismissed (fired). We have a case going to arbitration soon that will make this very point—that PCC administration did NOT follow the disciplinary process; they moved from an MOE directly to dismissal, without establishing just cause and without following progressive discipline.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact anyone on your Executive Council or give your Federation office a call at x4178 or x4180.

Bargaining continues: Admin team Presents Cost Estimates

President's Message

Dear Colleagues:

Peter Seaman, AP rep on the bargaining team, guest-writes this bargaining update.

Your FFAP/FCE bargaining team met with the administration team this week on Tuesday, June 13th, at the CLIMB Center. There were two big developments at this meeting:

  1. The administration team presented cost estimates.

  2. Federation members turned out in force to support the bargaining team!

You may recall from the last bargaining update that your FFAP/FCE bargaining team had put three main proposals on the bargaining table:

  1. A 4% cost-of-living allowance (COLA) for all employee classes;

  2. New top step for all employee classes and eliminate the bottom step;

  3. Increase the number of steps for PT faculty from 9 to 17, to match FT faculty.

At the June 13th bargaining session, the administration team presented their estimate of the cost of each of these proposals, along with cost estimates for a few other proposals we had put forward (health-care cap, PT health-care fund, and classified early retirement). The admin estimates seemed high, but after some questioning they offered to share all of their spreadsheets so we can examine the formulas and data.

The administration team also shared (actually re-shared) their picture of the 2017-19 budget. What they seem to be telling us is that there is no money to fund the proposals we have put forward, but we continue to believe that the money can be found. For example, the budget shows $1.5 million for the district president’s priorities (as yet undefined) and $2 million to maintain college buildings – *above* what has been spent in the past. We believe that your pay and benefits are at least as important as the priorities that are being put forth – especially in the booming Portland economy, where the cost of living continues to skyrocket.

The most wonderful thing about bargaining on June 13th – and that word “wonderful” doesn’t often appear in the same sentence as “bargaining” – was seeing over 30 FFAP and FCE members who turned out and sat behind our team during bargaining! I know it made an impression on the admin team, who couldn’t help but noticing our strength and our resolve. I can’t tell you how much stronger I felt during bargaining, just knowing that so many colleagues were literally backing me up.

Let’s continue to turn out and put pressure on the administration for a fair settlement!

We need even more members to turn out for the next bargaining session, which will be on June 30th at 9am at CLIMB. Here are three things you can do:

  1. Please Button up!

  2. Sign up to attend the next bargaining session!

  3. Spread the word to your colleagues!

Yours in solidarity,

Peter Seaman, on behalf of your bargaining team (Frank Goulard, Allison Gross, Peter Seaman, Michael Cannarella, Shirlee Geiger, Jeff Grider, Cherie Maas-Anderson, Elisabeth Davidson)