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!

2021 Reopener Update #2

Click here to read Update #1.

Open Bargaining: The Federation is continuing to push for ground rules that allow observers at bargaining sessions, and the administration is continuing to object. If ground rules cannot be agreed to, bargaining will proceed without them, and the Federation will either broadcast, livestream, or record bargaining sessions for members. Our preference is to come to an agreement with administration on observers, perhaps by turning off cameras and muting microphones, but closed-door bargaining sessions violate our commitment to transparency with members and are therefore unacceptable.

COLA: The administration’s opening proposal was to lower the COLA increase from 2.5% to 1.0% in each of 2021-22 and 2022-23. Obviously lowering COLAs is unacceptable considering:

  • The college has received $54 million in federal pandemic relief funding
  • The college has saved millions of dollars due to facilities closures, a hiring freeze, and fewer class sections offered due to the enrollment decline.
  • Members have suffered financial hardship due to the cascading effects of the pandemic, wildfires, and power outages

Our counter-offer was as follows:

  • Increase COLA—from 2.5% to 8.3% in 2021-22, and from 2.5% to 7% in 2022-23. 

The two sides are always far apart in the beginning—the point of bargaining is to come to a mutually agreeable resolution. The Federation remains open to counteroffers, including a permanent percentage increase, a phase in, lumpsum stipends, or some combination. But rather than accept this as the reasonable opening offer it was, the administration seemed shocked by the Federation’s expectation that the College would pass along some relief aid to its employees. The admin team called our offer “outrageous” and “unbelievable” and said they’d never seen anything like this. After those comments, they left the online meeting.

Our next bargaining meeting is May 19. We are hoping for a reasonable counter offer from administration—one that includes allowing observers as well as increasing their original offer on COLA.  

Don’t forget to sign here to show support for the bargaining team!

2021 Reopener Update #1

Background

In 2019, the Federation negotiated a four-year contract that included an economic package with the following items: 

  • 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

For more details, you can read about the agreement here. The Federation agreed to a wage reopener in 2021 only if 2020-21 enrollment dipped below 21,196 student FTE or if the 2021-23 Oregon Community College Support Fund fell below $631 million. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused enrollment to fall below 21,000, so at least one of the criteria has been met. We will know more about state funding in June, though we do not anticipate a reduction. 

FFAP negotiates wages in collaboration with our colleagues in the Federation of Classified Employees (FCE). Together we form a Joint Bargaining Team (JBT). Other contractual issues, such as working conditions, professional duties, and assessment, are negotiated every four years during full contract negotiations. The next full contract negotiation will take place in 2023. 

The JBT is supported by our Labor Relations Specialist Vincent Blanco (vincent.blanco@pccffap.org). FFAP members on the negotiations team include: Frank Goulard (frank.goulard@pccffap.org), Matt Stockton (matt.stockton@pccffap.org), Emiliano Vega (emiliano.vega@pccffap.org), Shirlee Geiger (shirlee.geiger@pccffap.org), and Michelle DuBarry (michelle.dubarry@pccffap.org).  

Timeline

The first wage reopener meeting was held on April 22, 2021. Under Oregon state law, the teams have 150 days to come to an agreement. For more information, please see the Bargaining FAQ.

First Meeting Summary

The agenda for Thursday’s meeting was to set ground rules and work out the details for release time for bargaining team members. Administration also presented their initial offer. There were two main points of contention:

Open Bargaining: PCC administration asked that the ground rules keep bargaining meetings closed to observers, citing technical challenges of providing remote access, as well as disruptions caused by the presence of observers during the last two rounds of negotiations. The JBT feels strongly that observers should be allowed in order to promote transparency and trust between administration and the federations. The JBT presented a counter proposal to the ground rules that allowed for observers.

It is interesting to note that the main concerns with observers during 2019 was room capacity and safety. The fire marshall was repeatedly invoked as a way to limit the number of observers. Now that we are remote, the JBT is excited about the prospect of increasing accessibility to more members. 

COLA Reduction: Administration’s opening offer was for a 1.5% reduction in the negotiated COLA in years 2021-22 and 2022-23—from 2.5% to 1% in both years. Administration did not propose any changes to the other four economic contract gains described in the first paragraph. The JBT is committed to holding the line on COLA, and will present a counter-proposal at the next meeting, scheduled for May 6 at 1:00 p.m.

New Process for Applying Article 4

Federation leaders have created a FAQ document to answer member questions about the class assignment process taking the place of assignment rights. It is continually updated, and you can find it HERE.

If you have questions that are not addressed here, please email

Shirlee Geiger: shirlee.geiger@pccffap.org

Kris Fink: kris.fink@pccffap.org

Update for Part-Time Faculty Regarding Class Assignment Process

Background: Our contract has had the following language governing class scheduling for many years:

4.211     Management and the Federation agree that the guiding principle in assigning Faculty to teach PCC courses is to assign the best Instructor available to teach each course…

1.     Once Management has determined the classes to be offered the next term, Full- time Faculty [and part-time faculty with Multi-year Contracts] will be assigned the classes needed to fulfill their workload requirement.

2.     Remaining classes will be assigned as follows with priority consideration given to part-time Faculty with assignment rights. Factors for priority consideration include, but are not limited to, whether the part-time faculty member with assignment rights has consistently received positive student evaluations that demonstrate effective teaching, and whether other qualified faculty are available who better meet the program’s needs (e.g. faculty with special training related to the course, faculty who can contribute to updating or broadening the program, or faculty who will increase the diversity of the program).

Assignment rights will sunset after Summer 2021, but the language of “priority consideration” remains.  How does an instructor GET priority consideration for class assignments under this article of our contract? Well, PCC’s administration has never had a process to determine how these considerations apply to scheduling decisions. They have preferred to leave it up to the discretion of department chairs and deans. This has led to a number of problems that members have brought forward:

  • There is no accountability for the decisions made
  • There is no transparency
  • There is no way for someone to know what they could do to earn priority consideration

Hoping to remedy these problems, we agreed during the 2019 negotiations to create a joint workgroup, tasked with creating a process for implementing this language in a transparent and consistent manner.

The new process: The joint workgroup first worked to get an agreement on a more detailed description of the competencies or contributions listed in our contract for priority consideration. Then we agreed to a voluntary process job-insecure instructors can use to upload an instructional portfolio via the MyCareer@PCC.edu. The Administration specified what kinds of portfolio materials would be relevant to each of the listed competencies, as is their right. And then together we created a rubric that will be used to assess the portfolios.  The new process is described in this document.

Why make this change?

  • The Reorganization is going to change the job descriptions of deans and department chairs AND who is doing those jobs, including scheduling classes. We have heard concerns from many “part-time” instructors – how can people they potentially don’t even know decide if they should be assigned classes? The “priority consideration for class assignment” process will provide a way for class assignments to be made in a consistent manner across the district, aligned with PCC’s vision of excellence in instruction, based on an instructional portfolio instead of a face-to-face relationship. 
  • Different judgments of FDCs and deans have been reflected in assessments — job-insecure instructors have been assessed as EXCELLENT in all or most categories on one campus, but as showing serious deficiencies when teaching the same class in the same way at another campus. There has been no institution-wide set of skills valued in instructors. Given this, many “part-timers” report that their real job-security revolved around their relationship with their chair. For instructors with good relationships, the system has seemed OK. But for instructors with strained relationships, or who felt they were not understood or appreciated by their chair, there has been little to no recourse.
  • Awarding of MYCs was inconsistent across the district — a complaint which the Administration heard lots of times and from lots of different sources. The “best available instructor” and “priority consideration in scheduling” process is intended to be used in some form for future MYC awards. We have no contractual guarantee or any specifics about how it would be used, but the joint team discussed multiple times that this is a shared goal.
  • A workgroup at SE campus brought forward the urgent concern, when we were bargaining in 2019, that there is no career ladder or pathway for advancement for “part-time” faculty at PCC. The Valencia model involves robust professional development explicitly tied to what the organization wants and expects from instructors. This has led to increased hiring from within when full-time positions open. There is no commitment or guarantee at this point from Administration to priority in hiring from within, but we have discussed this model at length. The Best Available Instructor/Priority Consideration in Scheduling process is a step in that direction.
  • Until now, if an instructor wanted to be assigned more classes, they could make that desire known. And wait. With fingers crossed. Although assignments of sections will still be precarious — impacted by declines or increases in enrollment, campus registration patterns, the interests or needs of full-time colleagues, etc — with the development of criteria for priority consideration in class assignment, and a clear rubric for assessing instructional portfolios, there will be, at last, something we can DO to make it more likely that we will receive class assignments. With the portfolio, and the rubric for assessing it (which will be shared in TLC sessions), we will know how to become better instructors as that is evaluated by PCC.

As with many issues in bargaining, there are trade-offs in the move to a new system. Here are some we heard in focus groups conducted in Fall 2020.

Pros Cons
-Increased consistency and transparency in course assignment
-Provides continuity through the expected shuffling of deans and chairs in the Reorg
-Provides the first step in an anticipated coordinated process for awarding MYCs and hiring new full-time instructors
-Allows “part-time” instructors to compile and document their professional development and college contributions in a centralized location, to be added to over time
-Creates a mechanism for FFAP to hold deans accountable for class assignment decisions
-Lots of work to create and maintain a portfolio for instructors, especially compared to assignment rights (once you got them, you kept them!) But most of the components should be readily available: syllabus and assignments, observation forms, student feedback
-Lots of work to assess and consider the portfolios for chairs and deans. The requested portfolio components and assessment rubric are new — they may need to be modified as we learn from using them
-There is STILL no seniority consideration in class assignmentAs more instructors meet the highest expectations on the rubric, there will eventually be no benefit — all instructors will be the best!!

The MAJOR complaint we have heard so far about this process is that there is no consideration of seniority. This could be a focus of bargaining in 2022-23 if job-insecure members of our unit decide it is a priority!

Join our Reading Group to Build Union Power!

In the era of COVID-19, an economic crash, climate change, and rising white supremacy, how can our federation tap into people power and win big changes for ourselves and our students?

Join us for a three-part reading group of “No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age” by Dr. Jane McAlevey. A labor organizer turned academic, McAlevey gives us both a practical guide and a set of underlying principles to understand why organizing matters more than any other available strategy to grow power. We will discuss how these ideas can be applied to our struggles at work and our goals to change the world for the better.

Sign up here for the group on Mondays at 5:00pm

Chapters 1-2 – November 2

Chapters 3-4 – November 16

Chapters 5-7 – November 30

Sign up here for the group on Tuesdays at 1:00pm

Chapters 1-2 – November 3

Chapters 3-4 – November 17

Chapters 5-7 – December 1

You may attend the Monday or Tuesday group, or both. Attending all three parts is not required! Please feel welcome to join us for discussion even if you have not read the book.

A digital copy of the book is available for free via the PCC library. Some complimentary copies of the physical book are available if you order here before this Friday 10/23 at noon.

Want to join but don’t have time this term? Let us know here if you’re interested in the next reading group in Winter Term.

Invite your coworkers by sharing this link!

Questions? Email lpwadlin@gmail.com for more info.

PCCFFAP Executive Council Calls on AFT-OR and AFL-CIO to Disaffiliate from Police Unions

On July 16, 2020, PCCFFAP President Frank Goulard sent the following letter to the Presidents of AFT-OR, OR AFL-CIO, AFT-National, and National AFL-CIO. The letter was sent on behalf of the entire PCCFFAP Executive Council.

Dear Presidents of AFT-OR, OR AFL-CIO, AFT-National, and National AFL-CIO:

Portland Community College Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals  (AFT-Local 2277) condemns the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and countless others. We stand in solidarity with demonstrators in Portland and around the country who are fighting for racial justice. We stand with the loved ones of our own community members killed by Portland Police: Kendra James, Quanice Hayes, Terrell Johnson, Andre Gladden, Patrick Kimmons, Aaron Campbell, James Jahar Perez, Tony Stevenson, Keaton Otis, and Jason Washington. 

In recent weeks we’ve seen multiple incidents of police in Portland assaulting journalists, protesters, and bystanders, deploying tear gas and explosive devices, and firing rubber bullets into crowds of non-violent protesters.  

Our parent union, the Oregon AFL-CIO, which is part of the largest national federation of unions, acknowledges that “Our systems, our institutions, and our societal norms have all been built upon this racist foundation that gives some people privilege and intentionally takes it away from others based on the color of their skin or country of origin.” But the national AFL-CIO has failed to contend with the ways in which police unions have perpetuated these same racist practices. 

Police unions often work in direct opposition to labor by protecting individuals and institutions that harm workers. As the events of recent months have tragically clarified, they contribute to the murder and oppression of the most marginalized people in our society, ultimately upholding white supremacy. 

Whereas, police have not been held accountable for multiple acts of violence and brutality against citizens, and

Whereas Black, Indigenous, and People of Color continue to experience disproportionate rates of arrest, imprisonment, oppression, and violence at the hands of police, and

Whereas reform efforts such as body cameras, bias and de-escalation training have not led to the elimination of police brutality,

Be it resolved that absent immediate and meaningful changes in law enforcement collective bargaining agreements and practices, AFT shall disaffiliate from law enforcement unions.    

We look forward to your support in our call to transform our communities and the labor movement at large.

Sincerely,

On behalf of the majority vote of the PCCFFAP Executive Council, 

Frank Goulard, President of AFT Local 2277

Black Lives Matter

The PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals stands in solidarity with our African American colleagues, students, and community members and their allies who are protesting the scourge of violence, brutalization, and intimidation by police against people of color in the United States—a practice that is rooted in our nation’s history of colonization, slavery, and white supremacy.

The PCCFFAP Executive Council is committed to disrupting racism at PCC and in the communities we serve. We are committed to heeding President Mitsui’s call to embrace accountability and engage in anti-racist praxis. As an organization, we’ve been talking about what anti-racism looks like in the context of a labor union. As important as it is to provide representation, support with grievances, and to fight for better pay, benefits, and working conditions—it’s not enough. Our colleagues of color repeatedly let us know that despite all of the policies, committees, and reforms, structural racism persists at PCC.

During the last round of contract negotiations, we showed that when we work together in solidarity, we can make a difference from the status quo. The work of fighting for meaningful change is grueling and often the result is imperfect. But together we must work toward that change because the one thing we all know, which the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others have tragically clarified, is that when it comes to race in America, the status quo has never been acceptable.

What this work looks like as we are all living under the stress of a global pandemic is unclear. But please know your union leaders are talking about it with renewed urgency, and that you will hear more from union leaders in the coming weeks on specific steps we are taking to support communities of color and how you can be involved.

Please reach out to any of our Executive Council members with thoughts or feedback, including if you need support and resources.

Spring 2020 PCCFFAP Endorsements

Updated March 26, 2020

The PCCFFAP Political and Legislative Action Committee (PLAC) has endorsed the following candidates for local office.

Contact PLAC Chair Ira Erbs if you have questions or if you are a candidate seeking an endorsement: ira.erbs@pccffap.org

Portland Mayor- No endorsement made

City Commission #1 Carmen Rubio

City Commission # 2 Julia Degraw

City Commission # 4 Mingus Mapps

Multnomah County Judge Rima Ghandour

Multco Commissioner Lori Stegman

Multco DA Mike Scmidt

Metro #6 Leigha LaFleur

Washington County Commission-District 1  Nafisa Fai

Beaverton Mayor  Lacey Beaty

Beaverton City Council Kate Kristiansen, John Dugger