After more than five months of negotiating, the PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals (PCCFFAP) and PCC Federation of Classified Employees (PCCFCE) joint bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the PCC Administration team at 8pm on Friday, September 15th. This agreement is for the two-year reopener for wages and benefits from summer 2017 to summer 2019 for our collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The budgetary challenges were great. The state is funding community colleges at a meager 1.8% annual increase for the upcoming two years while PERS employer rates are increasing at double-digit amounts for the upcoming several biennia.
We didn’t get everything we wanted. Yet, with your support–we had over fifty members of the two unions observe negotiating sessions over the summer–and the hard work of our negotiating team, we made important gains towards equity of pay for employees–and towards greater stability for many of our most vulnerable members. And some of the provisions I detail below truly are stepping stones to accomplish more in the next negotiations in 2019.
The short story: we fought and won
- a COLA for all employees each year;
- new top steps for APs and PT Faculty;
- greater support for PT Faculty participation in the essential work of running the college;
- increased funding towards health insurance caps.
Again, it’s not everything we want–or everything we deserve. But given the conditions, we believe it’s a fair settlement.
Below, I’ve broken down each of the major changes. For now, I offer a huge thanks to our negotiating team. When you see them or if you wish to email them, please do extend your thanks for their dedicated and passionate work! The FFAP team included Allison Gross, Peter Seaman, Shirlee Geiger, and Frank Goulard. The FCE team included Jeff Grider, Cherie Maas Anderson, and Elisabeth Garcia Davidson. We also thank federation support staff Michael Cannarella, who will be retiring soon. On the administration team were Lisa Bledsoe, Cheryl Belt, Jim Langstraat, Eric Blumenthal, Jessica Howard, and Kurt Simonds.
And again, thank you to our more than fifty members who, for the first time, actively played a part in each session to make this new contract. Their support was truly transformational for our union.
COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment):
These adjustments are in addition to the regular step increases for all members who are on steps.
For FT Faculty, AP, and Classified:
- 1.25% first year (2017-18)
- 2% second year (2018-19)
For PT Faculty:
- 2% first year
- 2% second year
NOTE: With all of the above groups of our employees, along with all administration employees, there is a 1% rollback each year (2017-18, 2018-19) in our salary schedules, for a total of 2% rollback over the next two years.
Why? In PCC’s 2013 negotiations, in addition to our COLAs and steps, we had agreed to accept an additional 1% COLA to our salary schedules for each of the following four years (2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17) due to the Oregon Legislature passing into law PERS retiree cuts. Those retiree cuts increased available state dollars to community colleges. We also agreed at the time, that if this legislation was overturned by legal challenges, that we would take a reduction of 1% for the next full biennium. Soon thereafter, the Oregon Supreme Court did rule to overturn the legislation, thereby restoring retiree benefits. Therefore that triggered the aforementioned 1%/year rollback to our salary schedules, slated for the 2017-2019 biennium. So we are now rolling back that additional 1% that we had gained in 2013.
New Top Steps
For APs and Classified, a new top step (in addition to deleting Step 1). The new top step will be phased in over two years for APs in October 2017 (a half-step 1.75% increase) and October 2018 (the remaining half-step increase of another 1.75%)
For Classified in July 2017 (retroactive, a half-step 1.5% increase) and July 2018 (the remaining half-step increase of another 1.5%).
For PT faculty, two new top steps. This moves their existing 9-step salary schedule closer to the 17-step FT faculty salary schedule. This is one of the most monumental changes in our contract. Along with these two new steps is an agreement for a joint faculty and administration task force to begin work in Fall 2017 to thoroughly analyze PT faculty work and compensation with an eye towards equity with FT faculty. This will be done in advance of the next contract negotiations, which will start January 2019.
For now, a new step 10 will be in effect in October 2017. Those PT faculty who have taught 3200-3599 hours will be placed on step 10. Then in October 2018, those who have taught at least 3600 hours will be placed at step 11. These steps, like the FT faculty steps, are 3.5% apart.
Faculty Department Chairs in CTE and Counseling programs will receive additional points in their calculation to determine release and stipend. This should result in most chairs receiving additional release to meet the growing demands of their programs and students.
PT faculty pay for essential college meetings, including SAC inservice day and other SAC meetings, will double. They had been paid stipends of $25 for up to two hours, $50 for over 2 hours and up to 4 hours, and $100 for over 4 hours and up to 8 hours. This was roughly $12.50/hr, not even including the preparation or travel time for these meetings–and would soon fall short of Portland minimum wage.
We made the case for our professional PT faculty to be paid at a more professional wage. Now the stipends will be $50 for up to two hours, $100 for over 2 hours and up to 4 hours, and $200 for over 4 hours and up to 8 hours. As before, a PT faculty member must make sure with their dean, chair, TLC director, or SAC chair that a particular meeting is pre-approved for this pay.
The college cap contribution towards the health insurance premium for FT employees will increase about 3.5% each year, depending on the choice of self only, self plus spouse/partner, self plus child(ren), or family coverage. That is closely in line with the rise in PCC’s Kaiser and Moda group plan costs.
The college cap contribution towards the health insurance premium for PT faculty remains at 65% of the FT self-only cap. It will likely increase from $474.50/mo to almost $490/mo. But we were able to garner some extra financial assistance for PT faculty who select self plus spouse/partner (or children), or self plus family. For those two group selections, instead of a $490/mo cap, it will be about a $640 cap and $790 cap, respectively.
There will be an increase to the PCCFFAP Health Insurance Trust from $36,000/yr to $40,000/yr. This is the fund that helps PT faculty who do not qualify for PCC health insurance and pay their own full premiums on the marketplace. This pays out about $100/mo to those eligible PT faculty who apply.
Classified will now have a markedly better PCC early retirement program. The eligible ages will now match the FT faculty and AP ages of 58 to 65. Classified will have a choice between a stipend or support on health insurance premiums, for 4 years or until age 65, whichever comes first. This was a big step for Classified to finally begin to have a similar early retirement program as FT faculty and AP.
Because this is a wage re-opener and not the full contract negotiation, there is no vote by membership necessary. The PCC Board takes the next step of a ratification vote on the reopener this Thursday Sept 21, 7:30pm, at their monthly meeting at Rock Creek. After that approval, the reopener provisions will take effect October 1, 2017, with the CBA’s end date of June 30, 2019 for Classified and August 31, 2019 for Faculty and APs.
As many of you have heard me say before, you start negotiating your next contract the minute your last one is signed. Please, let me–and all of our Executive Council members–know what you think about this settlement. We are already gathering ideas for the next negotiation.
For now, I will see you at our annual Membership Lunch and Meeting on Monday from 11:15 to 12:45 at Sylvania ST 100 auditorium.
President, PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals