2021 Reopener Update #4

The FFAP-FCE Joint Bargaining Team (JBT) met for the fourth time with PCC administration on Thursday, June 10. Thirty five days and two meetings have passed since the JBT responded to the College’s opening offer of 1.5% COLA reduction. Instead of the back and forth that is typical of good-faith bargaining, they have simply restated their initial offer during the last two meetings. The ball is in their court, and we will wait. 

At yesterday’s meeting, the admin team also notified us that they were no longer willing to discuss the ground rules for bargaining, effectively taking the issue of observers off the table. As a result, we are looking into the option of declaring a public meeting, per ORS 192.660: 

“Labor negotiations shall be conducted in open meetings unless negotiators for both sides request that negotiations be conducted in executive session. “ (emphasis added)

The JBT is committed to transparency with members. We’re sad that it has come to this, but the College—by refusing to be even a tiny bit flexible about observers—has left us with no other option.

You may have seen the email from the President’s cabinet* about the reopener. If not, here is the TL;DR version of the communication:

  • The pandemic-related decline in enrollment has led to a decline in revenue, and the College can no longer meet its commitment to the COLAs agreed to in 2019. (Note: The 1.5% COLA reductions they are demanding would save the college $6 million over two years.) 
  • The $54 million in federal relief money is meant, in part, to help the College weather the pandemic-related decline in revenue.

They go on to state that the $54 million in federal relief money cannot be used to fund employee compensation—in fact this is not clear (see #21 here and this FAQ). Either way, by using one-time federal funding to close the budget gap, there is no question the College would be in a position to honor its COLA commitments!

It’s interesting that the college is reaching out directly to members about the reopener while at the same time barring observers from the meetings. According to the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act, it is illegal for an employer to attempt to influence the bargaining process. To that end, the federations are exploring the possibility of filing an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaint against the College for this confusing and misleading communication. Stay tuned for more on that. 

In related news, the state of Oregon is expected to approve a historic funding package for community colleges—one that could lead to an additional (and unanticipated!) $20 million more in state funding than the College was budgeting for. 

The college will keep telling us there is no money for COLAs. Members should judge for themselves.  

*Among members of the President’s Cabinet, the average annual salary is $178,000

2021 Reopener Update #3

Our reopener negotiations on compensation resumed Thursday, May 27. We had hoped management would come prepared with a reasonable counteroffer on COLAs.

Instead, the Administration presented PCC’s anticipated budget and projected cost factors, then reiterated their original proposal to lower the planned COLA increase from 2.5% to 1.0% in each of 2021-22 and 2022-23.

This is why we need transparent bargaining sessions – as we have had for many years now – so that members can observe first-hand what is happening at the table. But management insists on closed-door bargaining. Three sessions in, we have yet to reach agreement on ground rules for negotiations.

Our next bargaining session is Thursday, June 10. It’s time to step up the pressure on the Administration to stop putting employees last on their priority list.

If you haven’t signed on yet, don’t forget to add your name here to show support for open bargaining and keeping our planned COLAs!

And save the date for our first socially distanced, in-person union action this year!

FFAP/FCE Honk-a-thon

When: June 9 – 12:00 pm

Where: at or near the CLIMB Center parking lot

What to bring: Decorate your car, your bike, your running shoes, bring a sign, wear a union shirt, and make some noise! We’ll have blue FFAP-branded masks for participants, too.

RSVP here to let us know you’re coming!