Submitted September, 2021
PCCFFAP exists to represent and organize all members to work together, advance professional interests, improve instruction, eliminate all forms of discrimination in education, and to do this work in conjunction with organized labor associations in Oregon and across the United States (including American Federation of Teachers [AFT], AFT-Oregon, and Northwest Oregon Labor Council [NOLC]). This report documents and demonstrates in essential form how PCCFFAP has worked toward these goals in the year July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021. The report is produced by the new Oversight and Bylaws Committee and will be part of the annual reporting of the Federation’s activities to its membership.
The report is organized according to the five articulated purposes of the federation (see immediately below the section: “A Few Comments About This Year”); in addition, the final section lists the activities of the PCCFFAP Executive Council and its committees. If further information is desired by a PCCFFAP member, please contact Barry Edwards,Incoming Chair of the Oversight and Bylaws Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Few Comments About This Year (2020-21)
In Spring Term, 2020, there was a sudden and shocking turn when the whole physical college shut down in reaction to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The adjustments to the pandemic continued throughout this 2020-21 year and colored everything. As our members adjusted to the new technology and new methods required, mainly from home, many weaknesses in the college systems were revealed. The Federation represented our members to the administration, and our members periodically testified in board meetings and provided the human stories of hardships as we all struggled to meet the needs of students. The federation advocated for compensation for those who had to make adjustments to technology at home, and though it took much longer than expected, succeeded in pushing the college to provide $800 stipends for over 1000 people who qualified.
In addition to the many extra hours of work and stresses on our members, the college proceeded apace with its goal to completely reorganize the organization of the college. This added other levels of stress to our members, and the adjustments required of faculty and academic professionals remain a constant challenge. The federation has advocated for an inclusive process and a seat at the table, succeeding in part.
As a reminder, in 2019 the newly negotiated the contract included:
- Annual cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to the salary schedules
- Catchup COLAs for APs and step compression for Faculty
- Regular step movement
- A new top step for Full Time Faculty
- Increasing parity between Full time Faculty and Part Time Faculty salary schedules
When this was implemented, some part-time faculty experienced a negative impact in the second year as we adjusted to the new salary schedules. The college eventually agreed to the common sense principle of retroactively restoring the impacted part-time faculty to 2019-20 levels, along with the cost of living raises. Members are currently benefiting by the raises and the more reasonable cost of living adjustments. We continue to work on achieving more equitable pay and working conditions for all.
In April 2021, the negotiation reopener kicked in because of a drop in enrollment caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the college had received $54 million from the federal government to help manage with the pandemic, and the college had saved millions of dollars by facilities closures, a hiring freeze, the fewer sections of classes, and the state allocated another unexpected $21 million for PCC funding. At the same time, the cost of living in Portland continued to rise, and all employees worked above and beyond (and continue to do so) during the pandemic without further compensation. The college offered an insulting reduction in the COLA that had been previously negotiated. In addition, the college would not allow Federation members to observe the negotiating sessions. The Federation argued for retaining the COLA and also asked for retroactive lump sum payments for what employees have endured and given to the college during the pandemic. While things were not resolved in this specific calendar year, we can report that since then (September 2021) the Federation, with the participation and support of its members (honk-a-thon, solidarity event, board attendance and testimony, twitter feed, etc.) successfully maintained the COLA.
We worked hard to push the college toward accountability and transparency in assigning classes equitably to part-time faculty (Article 4.4.2 in the contract). While this project did not come to complete fruition, even after many hours of discussion and work, the issues remain and we continue to advocate for accountability and transparency in assigning classes to the vulnerable “precariat” – those dedicated instructors teaching part-time without reasonable expectation of systematic assignments.
In everyday advocacy and activities, the Political and Legislative Action Committee vetted candidates to recommend for political office. There were a number of activities provided that Federation members participated in for camaraderie and encouragement. We educated ourselves in both workshops and particularly in book discussions focused on union advocacy.
Many grievances were addressed, and some were sent to arbitration. These included retaliation, discrimination, assignment rights, step placements, back-pay for work out of class, discipline, and grievance arbitration on the AP classification system. In addition, the Federation filed an Unfair Labor Practice. See the complete list of grievances and arbitrations.
The federation is as strong as our membership. With the continued willingness of each of us to stand strong and advocate for ourselves and our colleagues we will improve our work conditions- both monetary and otherwise.