On Friday morning July 16, the joint FFAP/FCE bargaining team convened for what we hoped would be a productive bargaining session. But the administration team didn’t show up. We waited for two hours, staring at a screen that said, “Waiting for the host to join” as the administration team repeatedly called and texted individual members of our team demanding that we abide by ground rules we never agreed to. To say it was frustrating would be an understatement.
Prior to the meeting, we sent administration a proposal that included:
- 3.7% COLA in 2021-22 and 2022-23
- $200 per month lump sum payments through June, 2021 (retroactive to April, 2020—a total of $3,000 for employees who worked every month of the pandemic)
We also had our first in-person, indoor solidarity event! A fantastic group of about 20 members came out to the AFT-OR offices to support the bargaining team. Two of us (Frank and Michelle) were in attendance at the solidarity event, and the plan was to provide real-time updates on bargaining and involve them in caucus discussions and strategizing.
You can read the run-down of how events unfolded in this Twitter thread. Basically, administration demanded that we provide assurances that no one other than bargaining team members were in the meeting. Since they have repeatedly torpedoed the ground rules discussion (where the rules around observers would have been set), we’re under no obligation to provide such assurances, any more than we can demand that no one be present in their homes or offices during online bargaining meetings.
Eventually it became clear that administration was not going to show up to their own meeting, and we believe this is grounds for another Unfair Labor Practice complaint (ULP), as it is against the law for a public employer to refuse to bargain collectively in good faith. When we notified them of our intention to file a ULP, they responded with “To be clear, the college did not refuse to bargain today” — a truly bewildering statement after an entire morning of them refusing to join the google meet that they set up and insisted we use for bargaining!
So what comes next?
We think it is possible that administration will respond to our offer via email. If that’s the case, we’ll let them know that we look forward to further discussing it at the next bargaining meeting. We’ll continue to push for observers, but administration has made it clear that they are willing to grind negotiations to a halt in order to prevent members from seeing their attempts to cut our COLAs. And we know the most important thing to our members is protecting the COLAs we negotiated in 2019.
We have to step up the pressure. Here is our plan, and how you can help:
- Show your union support online! We’re asking every union member to download and use the Zoom/Google Meet backgrounds or add a solidarity message to your email signature.
- We will continue to live-Tweet bargaining sessions. Follow along and share your union support with your social media followers. Use the hashtag #NoCutsToCOLA
- SAVE THE DATE for the next PCC Board of Directors meeting, August 19 at 6:00 p.m. We need to let the Board know that our members reject closed-door bargaining.
We hope to have the next bargaining meetings scheduled soon and we will update members with more information when we have it. Thanks for your continued support – our solidarity is our greatest asset at the bargaining table!