Bargaining Update #18

As mentioned in our previous update, official bargaining sessions are being put on hold so that a workgroup consisting of representatives from both PCC unions and administration can meet in a more informal setting to try to come up with  potential monetary scenarios for productively moving forward. This workgroup will meet three times before the next full bargaining session, which is tentatively scheduled for mid-November.

The brief update from Tuesday’s workgroup session is that the two teams agreed to work from a shared spreadsheet, so that we can establish some agreement about how much things cost, from which we can create potential scenarios. The two sides are often in disagreement when it comes to costing out the different proposals, with admin insisting things cost way more than the Federation’s estimates. So this commitment represents progress and a desire by both sides to make a deal to settle the contract.

Our next bargaining workgroup will happen next Tuesday. Look for another update toward the end of next week, and be in touch if you have questions or feedback in the meantime. Thank you once again for all your support and encouragement!

Bargaining Update #17

More than 60 of you have RSVP’d to our Union Day of Action this Thursday! Thanks to all of you who will picket, rally, and show up at the PCC Board of Directors meeting in support of a fair contract! If you haven’t RSVP’d, you can do so here. It is not required for participation but it does help us plan the logistics. 

The Joint Federation bargaining team (PCCFFAP along with FCE) met with PCC administration on Tuesday, and progress continues to be frustratingly slow. Both sides are required by law to engage in good faith negotiations, so we have reduced the overall cost of our proposal by around $3 million, without sacrificing any of the broader goals outlined in our September 23 update. Similarly, Administration has increased their offer by $2.5 million. But we remain $20 million apart, and at this rate we will be negotiating for many months to come—during which members would be working under an expired contract without cost of living raise. 

This is why yesterday both Federations and the PCC administration agreed to a short series of joint workgroup sessions outside of formal negotiations. Unlike formal bargaining sessions, these meetings will include a subset of the full bargaining teams and will be designed to brainstorm and game out different scenarios without the exchange of formal proposals. Nothing will be agreed to by either side—rather, different options will be developed and later presented to the entire bargaining team, along with observers. This is a common tactic used in bargaining and shows interest by both teams in moving things along. We plan on two workgroup sessions in the next week and a half, followed by a formal bargaining session in mid-November.

Rest assured that the Federation bargaining team is steadfastly committed to the bargaining platform and to securing a fair contract for all employees—one that makes up for years of stagnant wages. We view the workgroup as another opportunity to bring management closer to our point of view that meaningfully investing in employees is critical to the success of PCC and its students.  

We’ll be in touch over the next few weeks with updates and ways for you to make your voices heard, but it may be a few weeks before you see bargaining update #18. Thank you for all your supportive messages and for hanging in there through this important negotiations process. 

Union Day of Action Thursday Oct. 24

Colleagues:

If you read Frank’s latest bargaining update, you’ll understand why we need to do more to let the administration and the PCC Board know that quality education for our students isn’t free.

We’ve been telling them that for almost a year. We’ve had over 200 members show up at negotiations sessions and over 50 at the board meeting at September. But they are still not hearing the message.

We need you—whether you’ve been plugged in since we started negotiating in February or just tuned in now. Please join us, along with our Classified colleagues, for a UNION DAY OF ACTION this Thursday, October 24. When we stand together, we are strong.

Because the PCC Board ultimately holds budgetary powers, we are bringing our argument directly to them.

  • Informational picket at both entrances to the Sylvania campus from 3:00-5:00 so that the board sees us when they arrive for the Board meeting.
  • An information session and rally in the SY CC building (5:00-6:00) prior to the PCC board meeting
  • Board meeting starting at 6:00. They saw us coming in, they’ll see us in the board room, too.

If you can come for part or all, we need you to help get this contract done. It’s time.

If you like details, there’s more below the signatures. But we hope to see you Thursday,

RSVP HERE!

In solidarity,

Sara Robertson and Nick Hengen Fox, PCCFFAP Organizing Committee Co-Chairs


Details:

Picketing

Meet at the union office (ST 01) before 3pm or just join us at one of our two picket sites after 3pm.

Bring: a rain jacket and a smile. We’ll have signs and guidance for you.

Getting There

Some union groups will be riding shuttles from the other campuses–if you would be a shuttle coordinator for your campus, please let us know!

Shuttle departure times from each campus to Sylvania

Campus departure timesArrive at SylvaniaLink to scheduleCampus contact riding shuttle
Rock Creek @ 2:253:00Blue lineSara Robertson
Cascade @ 2:15 or @3:152:40 or 3:55Green lineTBD
Southeast @ 2:303:10Yellow lineTBD

Dinner

Our federations will have dinner available before the board meeting.

Board Meeting

No need to speak, but your presence is essential. We will bring our passion and enthusiasm and be seen and heard.

Wear blue–our union’s color–if you can.

Bargaining Update #16

Last Wednesday, your Federation bargaining team met with PCC’s administration team to continue negotiations. Their latest offer included:

  • A 2% Cost of Living Allowance this year and next (up from 1.5%/yr)
  • $125,000 for Faculty Department Chair pay adjustment (background here)
  • $850,000 for professional development
  • Codifying the part time faculty stipend rate in the contract (new)
  • Removing the employee match requirement for 2 weeks of parental leave (new)
  • Allowing APs and Classified employees to use the leave bank for up to 40 hours of caregiving for a family member (new)

Overall, the administration’s offer increased from $18.9 to $21.2 million of additional funding. And though we’re encouraged by the movement, it is still not enough to make up for the steady decline in PCC employee living standards over the last ten years—not even close. The two sides are still more than $20 million apart.

Across the country in recent years, educators have shown that direct action gets results in the face of austerity budgets. Since bargaining began, more than 200 FFAP and FCE members have attended bargaining sessions. A few weeks ago, 35 members showed up wearing union t-shirts at the PCC Board meeting. Your presence is making a difference! It’s time to turn up the pressure, to let administration know even more forcefully that quality education demands fair wages for ALL employees.

Please join your joint PCCFFAPPCCFCE bargaining team for a UNION DAY OF ACTION this Thursday, October 24. Details are still being ironed out, but here is a rough outline of the plan:

  • Informational picket at the Sylvania campus in the afternoon (we will also be organizing members from other campuses and centers to ride the shuttles to Sylvania) 
  • An information session and rally in the SY CC building prior to the PCC board meeting
  • Pack the room at the PCC Board meeting!

The Federation’s Organizing Committee will be reaching out with more details shortly, so stay tuned! 

Bargaining Update #15

At last Friday’s negotiation session, the PCC administration continued to insist that there were no resources available for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) above 1.5% per year over the next two years. They did, however, add $125,000 for Faculty Department Chairs and $850,000 in professional development funding to their offer. 

While we agree that professional development is a vitally important investment for the college to make, we do not believe it belongs in a bargaining proposal. It is the College’s job to provide professional development opportunities, and budget accordingly. We don’t bargain to keep the lights on, after all! 

Perhaps most disturbing was that the administration’s professional development offer included safety training for all college employees. Again, this is something the college should be providing as a matter of course. PCC administration seems to want us to decide: Do we want fair pay or to be safe in our jobs? 

Though there is some movement at the negotiations table, it is very slow. So we are planning to stir things up a bit, along with our Classified colleagues.* Stay tuned for more news and opportunities to get involved. In the meantime, we invite you to attend a bargaining session and mark you calendars for a week of action, October 21-25. We especially hope you’ll show up in blue for the next PCC Board Meeting: Thursday October 24 at 7:00 p.m. at PCC’s Sylvania campus.

More to come.

Bargaining Update #14

In our last update, we shared that the Federation and PCC Administration proposals were about $23 Million apart, at $40M and $17M respectively. The Federation bargaining team arrived at last Friday’s negotiation session hoping to close that gap a little more. Instead, we learned that management was counting as part of its proposal, $7.5M in Faculty and Academic Professional step increases that are already guaranteed in the contract, and $3M in Classified steps—both of which were already accounted for in the college budget. And while both teams made minor adjustments to their proposals, we ended the meeting farther apart than where we started, with FFAP asking for a $37M settlement and admin offering $7.9M once you take out the step movement.

We continue to demand that the PCC Administration make up for years of lagging Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), implement instructional pay parity for Part Time Faculty, resolve the AP 6&7 issue, create a new top step for Full Time Faculty, and about a dozen lower-cost items.

You may have heard that classified employees at Oregon’s seven public universities just won a new two-year contract that includes full step movement (equivalent of 9.5% salary increase) plus a 5% COLA, a longevity premium of 2.5% for those at the top step and reclassification of 15 positions to higher salary ranges, among other things. After the settlement was announced, bargaining team Rob Fullmer said “When Oregon’s public employees work together and make their voices heard, we have the power to move Oregon families forward and make our state a better place.”

We couldn’t agree more. And this is why we simply cannot accept the crumbs of a 1.5% COLA (management’s most recent offer.) I’ll leave you with a few statistics about PCC:

  • Since 2017, PCC has added 20 Management positions, while decreasing the number of Full Time Faculty by 17, and Part Time Faculty numbers have declined by 80. Our stats indicate no change in the number of APs but they were supplied to us by the college before last Spring’s layoffs and FTE reductions.
  • Since 2008, the amount of money the college spends on Management salary and benefits have increased by 73%, while the money spent on salary and benefits for all other employee groups has increased by just 47%.

It’s long past time for PCC to get its priorities straight. Here are some things you can do to help in the next few weeks:

Bargaining Update #13

On October 1, the Federation bargaining team met with PCC administration expecting a counter-offer to our Sept. 20 proposal. (Background here.) Instead of a counter-offer though, the administration insisted that the resources just aren’t there for a meaningful Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). Though a bit closer now, our proposals still remain far apart, with the Federation suggesting a $40 million monetary package increase over two years and the College offering $17 million of increase. 

In order to address the employees who are suffering the most with housing and other economic stressors, the administration verbally proposed restructuring steps by reducing the top 8 steps for Full Time Faculty and Academic Professionals (APs) and redistributing those wages toward employees on lower steps. Their proposal did not address part time faculty at all. 

I guess the silver lining is that we all agree that those on lower steps are hurt disproportionately by the College’s failure to keep up with the cost of living in Portland. And for what it’s worth, the Sept. 20 Federation proposal included a significant COLA for everyone but especially those on the lower steps. 

Under the administration’s proposed system, employees at the top steps could advance a step while seeing their salaries decrease. The Federation responded strongly and unequivocally that this would not be acceptable to our members.

Then the administration stated (falsely): 

As a reminder, the cost of living in our region has increased by 18.3% since 2011 (source here), and during that time PCC’s Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) has increased by only 9.25%.

This is a good time to remind everyone that STEPS ARE NOT COLA. By design, our step system starts employees below market value, rewarding those who work at the college for a long time by bringing them up to market value at the top step – sometimes it takes 17 years to get there. 

And while none of us are in this for the money, there is a trade-off involved. We might accept a lower salary because we believe in the mission and are passionate about students. We might like having union-negotiated paid time-off, job security, or some combination of those things. But to treat employee steps as COLA is a pure bait-and-switch.

Administration promised a written offer on Friday. We’d love to have a crowd there to send a strong message: 

We demand a reasonable COLA.  

Steps are not COLA. 

Sign up to attend here.