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)

PCC Admin Proposes Pay Reductions, COLA Freeze

President's Message

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing with an update from the recent wage and benefits contract-reopener meeting. Last Friday, PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals (PCCFFAP), along with our counterparts in the Federation of Classified Employees (PCCFCE) presented three proposals, including:

  • A 4% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for all employee classes (FT Faculty, PT Faculty, AP and Classified) in each of the next two years (2017-18 and 2018-19) This would help members who are struggling with the skyrocketing cost of housing in our district, among other things.

  • Add a new top step for all employee classes, and delete the bottom step. Approximately 25% of our members are at the top step and are no longer eligible for annual step increases. A new top step would reward these members for their many years of service.

  • Increase the number of steps for PT Faculty from nine to 17. This would increase parity for PT faculty who perform the same instructional work but are paid far less than their FT faculty counterparts. Our proposal would increase the number of hours between steps (from 400 to 500) but it would also make it possible for PT faculty who have accumulated at least 8000 contact hours at the proposed top step 17, to earn $1,500 per lecture hour. The current pay scale tops out at $970 per lecture hour..

Administration came back with a proposal of their own:

  • No COLA for any employee class; instead a 1% salary reduction.

  • The normal annual step increases for those on steps.

  • Individuals at the top step, who do not move a step anymore, would therefore receive a 1% pay reduction.

Obviously, the two sides are far apart! This is why it’s more important than ever for YOU – our members – to get active! Button up! Attend an open bargaining session! Spread the word to your colleagues! We need you to show solidarity with the bargaining team who is on the front line fighting against these unreasonable salary reductions.

Lastly, I’d like to thank the members who came to observe the bargaining session last Friday. We appreciated your thoughtful input and your presence sends a strong message to administration that we demand nothing less than a fair and reasonable contract.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

In solidarity,

Frank Goulard, PCCFFAP President
frank.goulard@pccffap.org

PCC’s Recent Budget Update

President's MessageDear Colleagues:

As PCC faces challenges to balance its 2017-19 budget, you should know that your Federation bargaining team is fighting on your behalf to preserve – and improve – your existing workplace pay, benefits, and conditions. It’s worth noting that without a strong union, PCC administrators could impose budget restrictions however they chose.

As I said in my last message, we believe there are budgetary funds for a fair and reasonable settlement on pay and benefits. Please keep this position in mind if you choose to attend a budget forum.

The more active members we have, the stronger our position. So if you haven’t signed your membership card, please activate it now. And sign up to attend an open bargaining session so that you can have a front row seat to negotiations. The next bargaining session is this Friday, May 26 from 9am-noon at CLIMB. The tentative agenda is as follows:

  • Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)
  • Health Insurance
  • Top Step
  • PT Faculty Pay Equity

You can sign up here to attend. I hope to see some of you there.

Together we are stronger!

In solidarity,

Frank Goulard, PCCFFAP President
frank.goulard@pccffap.org

Bargaining Update

President's Message

Dear Colleagues:

Last Friday, your federation bargaining team met with administration for the second negotiating session of the contract reopener. We put forward several proposals, including:

  • Increasing stipends for PT faculty non-instructional work

  • Changes to the compensation formula for Faculty Department Chairs in counseling and CTE

  • Increasing the health insurance trust for PT faculty

It is early in the process, so no agreements have been reached on these issues, although we did agree to ground rules that safeguard the free speech rights of our members. Larger topics such as COLA will be discussed at future meetings. As a reminder, you can click here to sign up to observe a bargaining session! The next sessions are planned for:

  • May 26   9am-12pm

  • June 13 1pm-4pm

  • June 30 9am-3pm

  • July 6 9am-12pm

  • July 18 9am-12pm

  • July 27 9am-3pm

As always, please reach out with any questions.

In solidarity,

Frank Goulard, PCCFFAP President
frank.goulard@pccffap.org

Show your Support during Bargaining!

President's MessageDear Colleagues:

I am writing with a reminder that this Friday, at 9am, the Federation invites members to attend an open bargaining session at CLIMB. Our agenda includes issues pertinent to both FT and PT faculty, although APs are always welcome to observe as well. Please click here to sign up.

If you are not able to make it to the bargaining session, you can still show your support by buttoning up! Displaying supportive messages on your clothing, bag, or in your workspace will let the administration know that we will not settle for anything less than a fair and reasonable contract.

If you don’t have your buttons yet, stop by the Federation office or reply to this email.

Lastly, the PCCFFAP website has undergone a renovation, and we’ll be posting bargaining updates here as well as member testimonials. I encourage you to read PCC Reference Librarian and PCCFFAP Executive Council member Sara Robertson’s moving account about how union benefits protected her during a health crisis. It’s a good reminder to be grateful for the rights we have won, and to remain vigilant in the face of threats to our livelihoods.

Thank you for all you do. I hope to see you at a bargaining session.

Sincerely,

Frank Goulard, PCCFFAP President
frank.goulard@pccffap.org

Union Benefits Offer Security during Health Scare

A message from PCC union member, Sara Robertson

Sara Robertson and Sons
Sara Robertson and Sons

As we head into contract negotiations, I’d like to take a moment and share what being part of a union has meant to me.

I certainly didn’t predict I’d get sick, especially at 30 and having just had my second child with a basically optimal health record up until that point. I’ve since spent a decade navigating aspects of the healthcare system, and, depending on what organ or part of me is under scrutiny, there’s a different doctor and protocol, followed by a new vocabulary to learn. Many of us can relate to all the effort it takes to be a patient, which is layered onto the other important roles in life — primary for me have been: mother, educator, household provider, daughter, sister, and by circumstance have had to add medical advocate, disease translator, literature searcher, and so on.

Now for my introduction to the value of union membership. My first academic gig was in Idaho, a full time tenure track position, where I naively found myself in a “right to work” state. As a grad student I had full healthcare coverage as part of an assistantship, and therefore secure benefits as a union member. I admit that I was pretty oblivious to the fact that the security provided me and my family came from a shared contract, including full coverage for having my child in the university hospital and receiving care from my OBGYN literally on campus. I mean, I knew I was part of a union, but I didn’t really give it more thought than — wow, this is a solid job! The stark realization that I hadn’t considered union membership wasn’t until after arriving in Idaho, and noticing the low but constant murmur of various complaints from colleagues about healthcare, wages and workplace issues, with no collective means of advocating for different or better — for example, I was shocked to learn my preferred birth control wasn’t covered — which seriously made me question where had I landed.

So, fast forward a few years into my tenure at PCC, after navigating several rounds of the same health issue, but mostly over the summer without much work interference, but lots of life interruption. I had a pacemaker/defibrillator that had been malfunctioning repeatedly, and unexpectedly, and when the darn device broke for a third time in May of 2015, it shocked me unnecessarily, I was facing yet another surgery, and much more scared about what the future would look like. While I was in the middle of navigating it all — ensuring care for my children, recovering physically, managing job duties, fumbling through a wonky health care system as a sick person — I had a very sincere moment when I was brought to tears, filled with gratitude for my union. I knew that I would most likely be having some questions about job coverage, medical leave, and so on, and in that moment I realized I had a group of people to turn to that would help me get straight answers. I felt so cared for by the people who had worked diligently on my behalf to ensure I was going to be okay because of a strong and clear contract that would give me the time needed to heal. I knew I had job security, despite being sick. I knew I had health coverage, despite a long term condition. I knew as the sole provider for my family that I could allow myself to be a patient for a spell, get better, and return to work, and not carry a huge burden of worry with me into the hospital.

As I’ve learned more since, it’s clear to me that not all of us have access to the same benefits at the same rates, and I see our union working towards increased equity for all of members — academic professionals, part-time faculty and full-time faculty, in tandem. The more I talk to colleagues across those classifications, the better I understand how students at PCC are provided excellent education and mentorship, and I hope you can take us up on a few opportunities to share your voice:

  1. Take a colleague to coffee on us — get to know a colleague’s work, or renew a connection across departments — all it takes is talking to others.
  2. Attend an open bargaining session and share your thoughts/concerns with your federation representatives.

Support your Federation Bargaining Team by “Buttoning Up!”

ffap fce buttonsSupport your Federation bargaining team by “Buttoning Up!” on bargaining days! Buttons can be picked up at the Federation office, SY ST 01, or at any one of the upcoming Membership Meetings being held across PCC in the coming weeks. We can also send you a button via Campus Mail.
Wear your button to show solidarity and support for a fair contract on the following days:
  • Fri, 12. May, 9a-12p (CLIMB)
  • Fri, 26. May, 9a-12p (CLIMB)
  • Tues, 13. June, 1-4p (CLIMB)
  • Fri, 30. June, 9a-3p (CLIMB)
  • Thurs, 06. July, 9a-12p (CLIMB)
  • Tues, 18. July, 9a-12p (CLIMB)
  • Thurs, 27. July, 9a-3p (CLIMB)
  • Fri, 04. Aug, 9a-12p (CLIMB)
  • Fri, 11. Aug, 12-5p (CLIMB)  CANCELLED!!
  • Tues, 22. Aug, 9a-3p (CLIMB)
  • Thurs, 24. Aug, 9a-12p (CLIMB)
  • Monday, September 11 9am-2pm
  • Wednesday, September 13 9am-pm
In addition to “Buttoning Up!”, you can also show your support by attending any one of the above-named bargaining sessions. Please just let us know ahead of time by RSVP’ing here that you will be attending.

Bargaining Update

President's MessageDear Colleagues:

Last Friday, your Federation bargaining team, along with PCC administration, kicked off the 2017-19 Contract reopener. I am writing to update you about what was discussed, but first, for those of you who signed up to attend a bargaining session on April 14 or April 21, please note that those dates have been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. Here’s a google doc with newly agreed upon dates and times. Please, spread the word! Sign up to attend a session! Our presence at these meetings will ensure that the administration knows we are united in our pursuit of a fair and reasonable contract.

Last Friday’s opening bargaining session had only two items on the agenda: 1) Establishment of the ground rules, a document that both sides agree to prior to the substantive wage and benefits discussion, and 2)  An update on the PCC Budget presented by Vice President of Finance Jim Langstraat. It was a good discussion and we expect to come to a resolution on the ground rules prior to the next bargaining meeting on May 3.

Mr. Langstraat and President Mitsui will be taking the budget presentation to all of the PCC campuses in the coming months, and we encourage everyone to attend a session. But keep in mind that the administration frames the budget in a particular way. Here are some facts to keep in mind:

Many of our members are struggling

  • The cost of living in Portland is increasing at an alarming rate – According to the Bureau of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), housing costs in Portland increased by 21% in the last year alone.

  • Nationwide, 25% of part-time faculty members at colleges and universities are on some form of public assistance. Anecdotal data from our members reflects this.

The revenue forecast for PCC is positive

  • The State of Oregon is expected to fund community colleges at the same or slightly higher levels as the prior biennium (We will know for sure in June).

  • The PCC Board of Directors voted to raise tuition in each of the next two years, resulting in an additional $16 million in revenue for PCC.

  • A PCC Bond Measure is planned for 2017. If passed, this would fund deferred maintenance and building upgrades across the district.

The administration has priorities that do not reflect our members’ struggles

  • The administration wants to add $2 million to the college’s reserve fund (basically a “rainy day fund”), which currently stands at $20 million.

  • The administration wants to increase the amount of funding for administrator salary and benefits by 10% for the biennium (through a combination of salary increases for current administrators and new administrative positions).

Saving money is good; college administrators are important, but…

  • An across the board Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for everyone in our union is a high priority for our members.  For context, a 1% COLA for all faculty, AP, and classified employees would cost the college $3.3 million over two years.

  • By some estimates, we would need an 8.1% COLA to keep up with the cost of living in Portland!

  • Part time faculty teach 72% of classes at PCC, but they have only nine steps in their pay scale compared to 17 for full time faculty, APs, and classified, so it takes much longer for them to advance. They deserve an equitable advancement path that is consistent with their full time and AP colleagues.

If you agree with the Federation’s priorities and you want to support the efforts of the bargaining team, please click here! I hope to see you at a Contract Action Team (CAT) meeting or bargaining session in the near future.

In solidarity,

Frank Goulard, PCCFFAP President
frank.goulard@pccffap.org

2017 Contract Reopener: You’re Invited!

President's Message

Dear Colleagues:

Have you ever wondered what happens when your Federation bargaining team sits down with PCC administration to negotiate pay and benefits? Now is your chance to find out! This year, bargaining sessions will be open to any member who wishes to attend. Click here for dates and times, and to sign up to be an observer. You’ll also find information about joining the Contract Action Team (CAT), a committee of union members who are interested in learning more about bargaining and supporting the bargaining team. We’ll post agendas for bargaining meetings on this form as they become available – typically one week in advance.

As I’ve shared before, this year is a contract reopener, which means that only wages and benefits will be negotiated. Working conditions, including the three-year contracts for PT faculty, will be on the agenda in 2019 when we have full contract negotiations.

The bargaining team has identified a set of priorities for bargaining. Thanks to everyone who took the survey, we have a good sense of our members’ priorities. The top three issues are:

  1. Cost of living allowance (COLA) for all members
  2. Salary equity for PT faculty
  3. New top step on the salary schedule

You have probably been hearing a lot of doom and gloom scenarios from the administration regarding the PCC budget. While it is true that enrollment is down compared to recent years, enrollment is only one of many factors. Other considerations include:

  • State of Oregon revenue forecast (released in May)
  • Amount of funding allocated to the state’s Community College Support Fund (finalized in June)
  • The PCC Board of Directors approval of a $14 tuition increase over two years.

Assuming state funding remains stable, we are confident that your bargaining team will be able to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract that includes COLAs, pay equity for part-time Faculty, and other issues that are important to our members’ lives and livelihoods.

Stay tuned for more updates, and I hope to see some of you at negotiation sessions!

In Solidarity,

Frank Goulard, PCCFFAP President

frank.goulard@pccffap.org