The First 3-Year Contract process — how did it go?

107 “part-time” faculty received the first group of 3-Year Contracts (3YCs). A list  of recipients was sent out via MyPCC email by Federation president, Frank Goulard. These are renewable 3-year contracts, September 2016 – August 2019.
The average length of PCC teaching experience was 11.2 years.
There will be two additional groups of 100 three-year contracts awarded, to be offered in each of the next two springs.
Now that the first 3-year contracts have been awarded, we are interested in hearing  about your experience applying for them. Please come to the TLC to:
  • talk about the experience, and
  • discuss research on workplace demoralization.
Administrators will receive a summary document but will not be invited, so we can speak freely.

All meetings will take place in the TLCs.

SE: Tuesday May 312-3pm, and Wednesday June 12-3pm
SY: Tuesday May 31 11:30-12:30pm, and Thursday June 23:30-4:30pm
CA: Wednesday June 82-3pm, and Thursday June 94-5pm
RC: Wednesday June 811-12Noon, and Thursday June 910-11am

If you are unable to attend, but would like your comments to be included in the summary document, please email Shirlee Geiger at shirlee.geiger@pccffap.org

 

3 year contracts?

During finals week of Winter Quarter 2016, your federation held Q&A sessions at all four PCC campuses to talk about Multi-Year Contracts (MYCs). Below are the questions that came up repeatedly–and some answers. We have posted them here to support PT faculty in considering this new option for job security. But we are also available for more Qs & As. Please contact: PT grievance officer Shirlee Geiger (shirlee.geiger@pccffap.org) or PCCFFAP President Frank Goulard (frank.goulard@pccffap.org) with further questions.

 

Federation FAQs for MYCs

Q: I have assignment rights, but now I am told they are being suspended for the 2015-19 contract. Why did the Federation agree to suspend assignment rights?

A: Assignment Rights are still in effect across the district, with just a few caveats. Assignment rights can only be ended by a majority of our membership voting to ratify a contract that ends them.

Assignment rights date back to 1990, and have been the only kind of job security part-time faculty have had until this contract. They were a great innovation in 1990, but we are moving toward a time when even the minimal kind of guarantee they offer — to be assigned one class each term — will be undermined. Out of the approximately 1100 part-time faculty teaching in 2015-16, over 500 have earned assignment rights. In some departments most or nearly all part-time instructors have earned assignment rights. In a time of declining enrollment, not all assignment rights holders could get as many classes as they had previously, and honoring just the one class minimum was having the unintended effect of making everyone ineligible for health insurance coverage.

The 3-year MYCs guarantee employment at least at the same level as the minimum to become eligible for health insurance– 1.5 fte annually. (The same as 6 four-credit hour lecture classes in 12 months, fall through summer.) In those departments that get 3-year contracts, assignment rights will still guarantee an assignment of at least one class. But the “priority consideration” for assignments in addition will go to the 3-year contract holders. In departments where no 3-year contracts are created, assignment rights will remain in effect, unchanged.

***

Q: Can I apply for assignment Rights now?

A: No new assignment rights will be granted during this pilot. And the agreement was that in the next contract (in 2019), we will decide on one or the other form of job security — a return to assignment rights OR maintaining (and perhaps expanding) 3-year contracts. But administration has made clear that only one system of job security for part-time faculty is acceptable to them.

***

Q: I have really good relations with the other adjuncts who teach in my department. I don’t like the way we will have to compete against each other for the 3-year-contracts. Why jeopardize our good work relationships this way?

A: Good working relations among part-time colleagues is one of the things part-time instructors consistently report as a bright spot of their jobs. There are a couple of considerations that suggest the 3-year contracts disruption should be minimal. First, the 3-year contracts can’t go to anyone outside PCC — they can only go to instructors who have been here at least one year and have had an assessment.  They are most likely to go to the most experienced part-time faculty. Looking at the numbers, 684 instructors were offered health insurance in 2015-2106, and the average annual teaching load for those people was 2.24 fte. This means that a guarantee of 1.5 fte to 100 of those instructors should not take classes away from other instructors in those disciplines.

Additionally, the deans of instruction built in another kind of safeguard against wrenching relationships. They decided on the distribution of the first 100 3-year contracts across the district by looking at high-enrollment departments, with a high ratio of part-time to full-time faculty. But they also looked for where they could create a 3-year contract without displacing part-time faculty who do not get one of the new contracts in this round.

***

Q: I understand that I can apply for 3-year-contracts at multiple campuses. But even though there are several jobs open in my discipline, each campus wants something different. Why can’t there be one uniform application process?

A: During negotiations, Deans of Instruction and Division Deans (who are ultimately responsible for hiring) argued that PCC is a really big district, with different needs in different places. In order to get support, they had to safeguard flexibility in the hiring process. A careful match between instructor skills and class needs is also a way of being able to guarantee employment into the future.

***

Q: If someone gets a 3-year contract, and it guarantees employment for (at least) the 1.5 FTE level, what happens if one of the assigned classes doesn’t have adequate enrollment? Will the 3-year-contract instructor have to bump another PT instructor?

A: The current plan is to front-load the class assignments into Fall and Winter terms, so that if a class is cancelled there, it can be made up in Spring or Summer terms. Additionally, there is an agreement to count non-instructional work toward health insurance eligibility, as an additional safeguard. As an absolute last resort, if neither of these options work, the 1.5 minimum fte could be made by bumping another part-time instructor. But the understanding is that department chairs and deans will work to avoid this.

***

Q: I have assignment rights at two campuses. If I accept an MYC at one campus, does that mean I have to give up teaching (and assignment rights) at the other campus?

A:  If someone takes a 3-year contract at one campus, they can still teach at another campus, as long as they stay under the maximum PT Faculty workload limit. If enrollment drops at the 3-year contract campus, the obligation is to first meet Full-time workloads, and then second to meet 3-year contract obligations. Next in line for assignments are Part-time instructors with Assignment Rights (to get one class). Last to be considered would be Part-time instructors without Assignment Rights.

***

Q: You are granted a 3-year contract, and you teach for three years. Then what? Do you have to reapply? Is it like full-time temporary jobs and department chairs who want to share them around?

A: The contracts are designed to be renewed, absent performance issues. The only other reason a 3-year contract would not be renewed is a dramatic shift in enrollment. While these are not the same as tenure/continuous appointment positions, they offer a reason for instructors to stay at PCC, make connections, learn how to navigate the college’s many sub-systems, and continue to learn and grow as professionals. The ultimate beneficiaries of this new kind of administrative respect for and commitment to PCC educators will be our students.

How can we help PCC students achieve their dreams?

Today the American association of Colleges and Universities unveiled a new report compiling discoveries by the institutions who have succeeded with the Achieving the Dream initiative. Not surprisingly, they note that high performing institutions have faculty and staff who understand and are engaged with the component programs of the initiative.

 Tucked into the report as an obstacle to effectiveness is this gem:

The majority of faculty members are in part-time adjunct positions. This often means they have multiple jobs at different colleges and are faced with competing priorities, low pay and workplace support, and no guarantee that they will be hired at the same college the next semester. These conditions not only result in detachment from the college’s vision and priorities, they also prevent those who are eager to get involved from doing so.

Perhaps with the new contract’s $300,000 to pay for “part-time” faculty involvement with college initiatives, along with the new form of job security provided by multi-year contracts, instructors eager to become involved in collaboration around student success at PCC will have fewer blocks to doing so..

The History of our Mixed Local

PCCFFAP is composed of three classes of employees — Academic Professionals, Full-Time (or job-secure) Instructors, and “Part-Time” (or job-insecure) Instructors.

How did people in all three job categories come to be in the same bargaining unit? An interesting story can be told…. To find out, go to: Best Practices for Assuring the Rights of Part-Time Faculty Within Unions.

Project ACCEPT proposal passes in the Educational Advisory Council (EAC)

A hugely important step has just been taken by the EAC — an advisory committee made up of faculty, APs, and administrators from around the college. This is the main avenue for faculty members to participate in the governance process.

By a large margin, the members of the EAC voted on 12/9 to adopt the recommendations of the Task force on work place climate for “part-time” instructors. The vote at the EAC meeting was 27 in favor, 3 opposed, 2 abstentions. (Some members are administrators, and they were among the nay and abstain votes.)

The vote was put on hold at the insistence of the administration (and their lawyer) while we were in negotiations for a new contract. But the heroic chair — Sylvia Gray, long-time PT instructor in history before finally getting a FT slot — put the recommendations on the agenda of the EAC, month after month, symbolically letting the college administration know that the concerns were not going away. The report and recommendations are both of exceptionally high quality — well researched, clearly stated, and deeply thoughtful. The process took a long time, and many of the individuals who worked long and hard on the project are no longer with PCC.

The recommendations now go to Sylvia Kelley as interim District President. In a meeting at Cascade, she said she did not think that important initiatives at the college — like moving on the Completion Investment Council — would have to wait until there is a new District President. (1) We can hope that she will see these recommendations as among the important college initiatives.

If you haven’t looked the report, we recommend it as holiday reading. There are three “best practice” examples described there, and they are helping to guide the vision of our Federation bargaining team.

A basic principle of social justice is that as soon as enough people understand that the oppressive conditions that structure their lives are NOT inevitable — that a  better world is possible — the status quo becomes intolerable. Looking at how other, comparable institutions have created ways to overcome the faculty caste system — impeding both the joy in teaching AND fully effective student learning — makes it clear that we do not have to simply adapt to the workplace structures at PCC. We can do better!

(1) as heard by Shirlee Geiger in the CA TLC 12/7/2015

AFT Local 2121 takes a strike vote

AFT Local 2121, where members are faculty and other employees of the City College of San Francisco, has set up a strike hardship fund and is in the process of voting on whether to strike for one day.

CCSF has a structure a lot like our union, PCCFFAP — representing both part-time and full-time instructors as well as those in professional job categories supporting student learning.

The agency responsible for accrediting CCSF dismissed the elected Board and appointed replacements. This new board has directed the negotiators to propose such provisions as faculty lay-offs, increased class size for the instructors who remain, and new pay guidelines based on “productivity” (the size of a class.) Union leaders point out that these proposals are not in the interests of students, as they will not lead to increased educational quality, and will likely reduce the supports needed for student success. Indeed, the accrediting agency responsible for setting in motion the process leading to these dire circumstances could itself be ousted based on a recent vote by the community college Board of Governors.

The accrediting agency responsible for the PCC’s status  (NWCCU) has issued us “recommendations” (on assessment of student learning, among other things), but so far the relationship has been more cordial than that between CCSF and ACCJC. Still, this is an interesting case study — a power struggle between a sister AFT-union, an activist accrediting agency, and a  beleaguered administration, all in the context of declining enrollments and increased costs of living for instructors and APs living in a “hip” and densely populated urban setting…..

A constellation of circumstances which sounds disconcertingly familiar.

We will keep you updated as this drama unfolds.

Part-time PCC Instructors: Have you taken the survey on multi-year contracts?

Your federation negotiating team is asking part time instructors to give guidance as they work to craft a response to the latest counter proposal from the administration on multi-year contracts. The request for guidance from members comes in the form of a short survey which was sent out by email during in-service week. (If you did
not receive a link to the survey, please email: minoo.marashi@pccffap.org.)

The idea of a new form of job security for PT instructors has generated lots of conversation. Below please find a table of pros and cons that have emerged from those conversations, organized around the most controversial aspects of the offer. This is offered to help think through the complex issues and formulate your own response. (t is a summary only, and not a complete guide!)

Background: The administration counter-proposal is a far distance from the original vision put on the table. That original proposal was formulated by our negotiating team after extensive campus conversations with part time faculty in winter 2015. (Thank you to everyone who gave of your time to come to one of those meetings!)

But while this latest offer from the administration is far from our original federation plan, it has come closer than the earlier responses from the administration. It is close enough to make it HARD to tell exactly what is best to do. Different PT faculty looking it over have come to different conclusions about it. Is this close enough to meeting our member demands, or is it still too far from what we proposed?

Please remember that whatever our bargaining team decides, the ultimate power is in the hands of our membership. We need to vote to ratify (or to reject) any tentative agreement. But our bargainers need to find (if possible) the general trend in member thinking at this point, to decide what response to make as the negotiations wind down.

Also important: only active members will be able to vote on the contract. (If you are not sure if you are a member OR pay fair-share dues only, please dash off an email to: shirlee.geiger@pccffap.org. I will get right back to you about how your status is listed in PCC’s database.)

ISSUE ONE: How many?

Original Federation Proposal Federation Rationale Latest Administration Counter-proposal
  • 500 multi-year contracts
  • each contract for 3 years
  • guaranteeing annual 1.5 FTE
  • This guarantees health insurance coverage
  • Approximately 500 PT faculty have been assigned at least 1.5 FTE over the past 3 years
  • OUT OF approximately 1100 total PT instructors
  • Making them eligible for health insurance
  • 300 mult-year contracts
  • Each for 3 years
  • A pilot program

Pros:

  • Additional job security for 300 teachers is better than nothing…
  • This is significant movement from the first Administration response (a refusal to discuss it!!)

Cons:

  • 300 is not enough, given the number of PT faculty…
  • As a pilot, what guarantees do we have for PT faculty if we find (disastrous) unexpected consequences? There are no protections written in as this experiment unfolds.

ISSUE TWO: who is eligible to apply?

Original Federation Proposal Federation Rationale Latest Administration Counter-proposal
Contracts open to:

  • PT instructors
  • based on seniority
  • as determined by years teaching or assignment rights or….
Research is clear that instructors  are more effective when:

  • familiar with their college
  • known by their colleagues
  • experienced teaching to a particular student population
  • Only existing PT faculty eligible
  • After one year of  PCC employment
  • This assumes at least one evaluation

Pros:

  • This proposal does a bit to recognize and reward the added value of experience and seniority at the outset
  • Over time, those who initially get the contracts (if not already senior) will develop the experience and relationships that matter to student success

Cons:

  • Long-time instructors are more expensive than new faculty, so departments may have an incentive to hire newer faculty; lack of transparency in hiring decisions makes this risky business…..
  • The hiring process will be like that for temporary Full Time (article 3.64 of the contract) — is that transparent enough, or will administrators use this process to hire friends and favorites?

ISSUE THREE: In addition to or instead of assignment rights?

Original Federation Proposal Federation Rationale Latest Administration Counter-proposal
  • Maintain current assignment rights (ARs)
  • ARs guarantee one class per term
  • About 400 to 450 faculty have been approved for ARs
  • Assignment rights are less valuable—especially in times of declining enrollment.
  • Assignment rights are not sustainable — the enrollment won’t guarantee everyone one class in many departments
  • Assignment rights predate negotiated health insurance (and don’t guarantee access to it)
  • Assignment rights ended for depts with multi-year contracts
  • They remain in departments with no MYCs
  • Proposed: No loss of classes for performance issues (without a performance improvement plan)

Pros:

  • Since Assignment Rights offer a small and diminishing form of job security, it makes sense to “trade them away” for a system with more security
  • It makes sense to tie job security to health insurance benefits

Cons:

  • There is no guarantee that the instructors with assignment rights will be the ones with multi-year contracts
  • Given the lack of transparency in hiring and scheduling, why give away more discretion to hire and fire in the short term — even if it might result in more job security (for some) in the long term?

WILL MULTI-YEAR CONTRACTS INCREASE THE JOB INSECURITY OF THOSE PART-TIMERS WHO DON’T GET THEM?

Part of what is alarming is that no one can predict what exactly will happen in the roll out of a new program. However, the federation’s labor relations specialist has the run the numbers, and his opinion is that (apart from the lost sections due to decreased enrollment), new multi-year contracts will not likely cause additional displacement. The average teaching load of the approximately 500 PT teachers eligible for insurance has been over 2.20 fte — much higher than the guarantee of 1.5 annually for the new contracts. But having said that, this will play out differently in different departments and SACs. Have questions? Call or email Michael C in our federation office. (michael.cannarella@pccffap.org or 971-722-4178)

Other considerations:

  • If a pilot for multi-year contracts are included in the contract this year, and it is ratified by the membership, the federation negotiating team intends to work to increase the number offered over time. Of course, there are no guarantees a proposal to increase the number would be accepted, and no way to guarantee that seniority would be considered in awarding those contracts.
  • The federation has also proposed additional funding for professional development, with expanded eligibility for PT faculty, and more money to compensate PTers for service to the college not directly tied to classroom instruction — such as Program Review, SAC assessment projects, and college committee work.  If combined with a multi-year contract, this could make it possible for some “freeway fliers” to stay on a PCC campus, increasing their availability to students and allowing them to build professional relations with colleagues.
  • A separate bargaining item is a number of new FT positions to be added. Historically at PCC, FT positions are filled more often than not by PT instructors, so this is a separate route to job security for current PTers.

Help with an important new study on adjunct faculty and professional development

Adjunct faculty are the majority of teachers in higher education now. With the new emphasis on free community college, along with talk of outcomes-based funding from the state, the question must be asked:

Are U.S. colleges and universities ready for these challenges?

You can help answer that question by participating in a new survey on adjunct professional development opportunities. Follow this link for an article giving some background, along with a link to the survey. (The survey is directed toward those in charge of faculty development, but you can take it from your point of view, as an adjunct instructor.)

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/08/27/non-tenure-track-faculty-members-say-they-want-more-professional-development?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=d18648f5d8-DNU20150827&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-d18648f5d8-197583321

PSU Adjunct get Art-y

Many of PCC adjuncts also teach at PSU. Here is some news from PSU shared with us by one of PCC’s instructors, Davida Jordan. It is an email from the PSU Adjunct Union President Kelly Cowan about a creative action at PSU:

When you are back on campus for the Fall check out the exhibition organized by adjuncts in PSU’s School of Art+Design and sponsored by PSUFA.

[Con]temporary Faculty

An exhibition of artwork by all 75+ adjuncts in PSU’s School of Art + Design

September 2nd – 30th, 2015

Closing reception: September 30th, 5-8pm

Littman Gallery

Smith Memorial Student Union

Portland State University

1825 SW Broadway

Portland, OR 97201

[Con]temporary Faculty visualizes the numerous and dynamic adjunct faculty members who help to keep PSU’s School of Art & Design running. Many of us don’t know each other, and our creative and scholarly pursuits are diverse, but we walk the same paths to the copy machine, faculty mailboxes, and office printer on a frequent basis. Considering this, we invited our fellow adjuncts to utilize our common medium and contribute an 11 x 17in. black-and-white, Xerox copy, print, or paper construction for the show. 

      Beyond showcasing the work of the talented artists, art hisorians, and graphic designers who work in the school, the exhibition creates a visual structure through which we can begin to recognize all 75+ of our colleagues (even those who weren’t able to contribute), and open discussions about our varied experiences as members of a growing workforce of part-time professors. 

Response to Survey on Our Top PT Bargaining Issue: Job Security

The Federation’s’ major request in bargaining this year for “part-time” instructors is that the work of these faculty members be normalized: those instructors who have been teaching enough to qualify for health insurance in the past three years should be offered a multi-year contract. Their supervisors have found their service to PCC students to be of a high quality, as demonstrated by their assignment to teach year upon year, so this service should not come with such constant and extreme financial anxiety.

The administration bargaining team came back with a counter-proposal, which was summarized earlier on this blog. The PT members of the negotiating team (Minoo Marashi and Corrinne Crawford) needed input from their PT colleagues to know how to proceed. So we sent out a survey– late in summer term. We were uncertain of how much interest or energy it would receive because of this bad timing. But we were delighted and surprised by the responses – 209 PT instructors took the time to give detailed feedback, sharing their experiences at PCC and spelling out their concerns with the counter-proposal.

(The federation represents all FT and PT instructors, along with Academic Professionals. PT faculty make up approximately 55% of the employees represented, but it is the group with the smallest percentage of active membership. So the 209 people who responded comprise approximately 1/3 of the active PT members — a response rate to be envied!!)

Here is some of what was said:

76% said they favored the multi-year contract idea, 15%  were unsure (and as careful academics, most wanted more information), and 9% expressed opposition.

Just under 50% expressed concern with the idea that the contracts could go to candidates not currently teaching at PCC.

An additional 20% listed their top concern as the administration refusal to consider seniority as any part of a formula for determining who gets the position. Put together, that is 70% who are expressing support for the aspect of the original proposal that got lost in the administration counter — that the multi-year contracts be used as a way of normalizing the work lives of people who have been serving PCC students year upon year, but always with the threat over their heads that the employment could just dry up — not because their work was inadequate or sub-standard, but for a host of mysterious, non-transparent, and suspicious reasons.

12% listed their top concern that the multi-year contracts were offered as a replacement for assignment rights. Not surprisingly, several people who listed this as their top concern mentioned the huge amount of energy and running-around they had dedicated to the goal of getting assignment rights. So they were loath to have them just disappear.

Here is a selection of comments from the survey:

  • I feel that with PT there should be seniority the same as FT and that we should be grandfathered into the multi-year contracts and not have to “apply” as many of us have been teaching for several years. I also feel that it should be all of us not a chosen few.
  • I need a clear path to a job secure position. I can’t stay a temp worker forever.
  • [What matters to me is] if my classes do not get enough students. The setting of class sizes at 20 puts a lot of pressure on PT faculty to promote, distribute fliers and contact former students to get people to take your class. The amount of money we gave the former president to leave could fund over 100 empty classes.
  • Although the federation’s initial goal was to provide security to part-time faculty, this counter proposal would in fact weaken my job security. I have taught for PCC for nearly seven years and I went through rigorous review to receive my assignment rights. This needs to be taken into account as they consider multi-year contracts, or else it is simply asking me to start the process all over again.
  • [What matters to me is the] lack of transparency by my administrators about decisions for classes.
  • It seems to me that the administration should have ample evidence what with assessments and student evaluations who on the faculty has proved themselves competent and deserving of a multi-year contract. Their position makes no sense as it would be much more expensive to interview all those potential part timers than to use the people who already teach there and know the students. It appears a very insulting suggestion. Personally, I probably won’t even be eligible for a multi-year contract because I don’t teach enough, but in solidarity I still want them to happen.
  • I’ve been here fifteen years. My seniority should count. I can provide history and experience to my colleagues, and continuity for my students. I’ve grown with them and for them over the years. I don’t want to lose my job to newcomers who look good on paper. I’ve been in the trenches, and I know my students and what’s going on here, on my campus, in my department, in my city.
  • Does a multi-year contract protect me or retain my health insurance if a class does not fill or some other condition that drops me below the FTE?

Minoo shared many of these comments with the full bargaining team, who have crafted a counter-proposal. The next bargaining session is 9/2. It is open, so if you would like to attend, contact Michael C by Monday 9/1 at 8:30 AM at : michael.cannarella@pccffap.org

And, finally, there were a lot of comments like the following:

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you are always doing to help our PT faculty.

We say: thanks for the thanks!!

A personal note from Shirlee:
We all know that PT faculty are treated with an incredible amount of disrespect. Our work is often invisible, we are left out of major initiatives, and most of us can recite a long list of insulting or demeaning comments we have overheard or had delivered to our faces. Minoo and Corrinne not only have to deal with their own, personal bad treatment, but they also hear the tales of distress from many, many PT colleagues. This is appropriate, as they need to know what is happening around the district in order to adequately represent PT interests. Still, I am amazed at their ability to stay positive and focused on the achievable, but small ways to make it possible for PT faculty to be more effective, in the face of the mountain of horror stories of bad treatment. I think all PT faculty at PCC owe a huge debt to those who have bargained over the years. As bad as it can be here, it is even harder to be an effective teacher in a “PT” role in many other institutions. 

It was lovely for me to see how many colleagues took the time to express gratitude to Minoo and Corrinne on this survey.