Fellow Oregon AFT Local 3571, Portland State University Faculty Association (PSUFA) would like to extend an invitation to FFAP & FCE members who wish to join them for aStudent Debt Clinic, Thursday May 18, 12-2pm, Art Building Room 240, 2000 SW 5th Ave.
While registration is capped at 50 participants, there are still spots available, enabling PSUFA to extend the invitation to fellow AFT members. Pre-register to attend PSUFA’s Student Debt Clinic (SDC) HERE.
The Student Debt Clinic (SDC) will provide attendees with a thorough overview of ways to lower monthly student loan payments through income-driven repayment plans, as well as how to qualify for total federal student loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. These programs are relevant for Parent PLUS loan holders as well.
While these programs are only applicable to federal student loans, limited information will be available to assist people with private student loans. If you are unsure whether your loan is a federal loan, visit http://nslds.ed.gov/. You will have to log in, and this website will list all of your federal student loans.
Last Friday, your federation bargaining team met with administration for the second negotiating session of the contract reopener. We put forward several proposals, including:
Increasing stipends for PT faculty non-instructional work
Changes to the compensation formula for Faculty Department Chairs in counseling and CTE
Increasing the health insurance trust for PT faculty
It is early in the process, so no agreements have been reached on these issues, although we did agree to ground rules that safeguard the free speech rights of our members. Larger topics such as COLA will be discussed at future meetings. As a reminder, you can click here to sign up to observe a bargaining session! The next sessions are planned for:
I am writing with a reminder that this Friday, at 9am, the Federation invites members to attend an open bargaining session at CLIMB. Our agenda includes issues pertinent to both FT and PT faculty, although APs are always welcome to observe as well. Please click here to sign up.
If you are not able to make it to the bargaining session, you can still show your support by buttoning up! Displaying supportive messages on your clothing, bag, or in your workspace will let the administration know that we will not settle for anything less than a fair and reasonable contract.
If you don’t have your buttons yet, stop by the Federation office or reply to this email.
Lastly, the PCCFFAP website has undergone a renovation, and we’ll be posting bargaining updates here as well as member testimonials. I encourage you to read PCC Reference Librarian and PCCFFAP Executive Council member Sara Robertson’s moving account about how union benefits protected her during a health crisis. It’s a good reminder to be grateful for the rights we have won, and to remain vigilant in the face of threats to our livelihoods.
Thank you for all you do. I hope to see you at a bargaining session.
As we head into contract negotiations, I’d like to take a moment and share what being part of a union has meant to me.
I certainly didn’t predict I’d get sick, especially at 30 and having just had my second child with a basically optimal health record up until that point. I’ve since spent a decade navigating aspects of the healthcare system, and, depending on what organ or part of me is under scrutiny, there’s a different doctor and protocol, followed by a new vocabulary to learn. Many of us can relate to all the effort it takes to be a patient, which is layered onto the other important roles in life — primary for me have been: mother, educator, household provider, daughter, sister, and by circumstance have had to add medical advocate, disease translator, literature searcher, and so on.
Now for my introduction to the value of union membership. My first academic gig was in Idaho, a full time tenure track position, where I naively found myself in a “right to work” state. As a grad student I had full healthcare coverage as part of an assistantship, and therefore secure benefits as a union member. I admit that I was pretty oblivious to the fact that the security provided me and my family came from a shared contract, including full coverage for having my child in the university hospital and receiving care from my OBGYN literally on campus. I mean, I knew I was part of a union, but I didn’t really give it more thought than — wow, this is a solid job! The stark realization that I hadn’t considered union membership wasn’t until after arriving in Idaho, and noticing the low but constant murmur of various complaints from colleagues about healthcare, wages and workplace issues, with no collective means of advocating for different or better — for example, I was shocked to learn my preferred birth control wasn’t covered — which seriously made me question where had I landed.
So, fast forward a few years into my tenure at PCC, after navigating several rounds of the same health issue, but mostly over the summer without much work interference, but lots of life interruption. I had a pacemaker/defibrillator that had been malfunctioning repeatedly, and unexpectedly, and when the darn device broke for a third time in May of 2015, it shocked me unnecessarily, I was facing yet another surgery, and much more scared about what the future would look like. While I was in the middle of navigating it all — ensuring care for my children, recovering physically, managing job duties, fumbling through a wonky health care system as a sick person — I had a very sincere moment when I was brought to tears, filled with gratitude for my union. I knew that I would most likely be having some questions about job coverage, medical leave, and so on, and in that moment I realized I had a group of people to turn to that would help me get straight answers. I felt so cared for by the people who had worked diligently on my behalf to ensure I was going to be okay because of a strong and clear contract that would give me the time needed to heal. I knew I had job security, despite being sick. I knew I had health coverage, despite a long term condition. I knew as the sole provider for my family that I could allow myself to be a patient for a spell, get better, and return to work, and not carry a huge burden of worry with me into the hospital.
As I’ve learned more since, it’s clear to me that not all of us have access to the same benefits at the same rates, and I see our union working towards increased equity for all of members — academic professionals, part-time faculty and full-time faculty, in tandem. The more I talk to colleagues across those classifications, the better I understand how students at PCC are provided excellent education and mentorship, and I hope you can take us up on a few opportunities to share your voice:
I’m writing to invite you to join your fellow workers at the May Day demonstration on Monday, May 1st. The demonstration will take place in Shemanski Park (north end of the PSU Park blocks), with a rally at 2PM and a march to follow at 3PM.
PCCFFAP leaders and members will be under the marquee on the 8th Ave. side of the Schnitz–right across the street from Shemanski Park starting at 2:30 and will join the march when it starts at 3pm. We’ll have PCCFFAP banners, shirts, and more for you to wear.
Why do this? As you may know, May Day is also known as International Workers’ Day, and is the traditional workers holiday throughout the world. The day was chosen to commemorate the Haymarket Affair, widely seen as the start of the Labor Movement in the United States–when over 200,000 workers in Chicago struck for the 8-hour work day. Many countries continue to celebrate their workers and labor movements on the first of May, but not the United States.
Please join us in celebrating labor history, and also to advocate for labor, environmental and racial justice in the United States and throughout the world. We aim not just to resist, but advocate for a better world. It starts with getting involved wherever possible.
Let us know if you can be part of the meet up–or just show up with friends, family, and/or co-workers. I hope to see you there.
Last Friday, your Federation bargaining team, along with PCC administration, kicked off the 2017-19 Contract reopener. I am writing to update you about what was discussed, but first, for those of you who signed up to attend a bargaining session on April 14 or April 21, please note that those dates have been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. Here’s a google doc with newly agreed upon dates and times. Please, spread the word! Sign up to attend a session! Our presence at these meetings will ensure that the administration knows we are united in our pursuit of a fair and reasonable contract.
Last Friday’s opening bargaining session had only two items on the agenda: 1) Establishment of the ground rules, a document that both sides agree to prior to the substantive wage and benefits discussion, and 2) An update on the PCC Budget presented by Vice President of Finance Jim Langstraat. It was a good discussion and we expect to come to a resolution on the ground rules prior to the next bargaining meeting on May 3.
Mr. Langstraat and President Mitsui will be taking the budget presentation to all of the PCC campuses in the coming months, and we encourage everyone to attend a session. But keep in mind that the administration frames the budget in a particular way. Here are some facts to keep in mind:
Many of our members are struggling
The cost of living in Portland is increasing at an alarming rate – According to the Bureau of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), housing costs in Portland increased by 21% in the last year alone.
Nationwide, 25% of part-time faculty members at colleges and universities are on some form of public assistance. Anecdotal data from our members reflects this.
The revenue forecast for PCC is positive
The State of Oregon is expected to fund community colleges at the same or slightly higher levels as the prior biennium (We will know for sure in June).
The PCC Board of Directors voted to raise tuition in each of the next two years, resulting in an additional $16 million in revenue for PCC.
A PCC Bond Measure is planned for 2017. If passed, this would fund deferred maintenance and building upgrades across the district.
The administration has priorities that do not reflect our members’ struggles
The administration wants to add $2 million to the college’s reserve fund (basically a “rainy day fund”), which currently stands at $20 million.
The administration wants to increase the amount of funding for administrator salary and benefits by 10% for the biennium (through a combination of salary increases for current administrators and new administrative positions).
Saving money is good; college administrators are important, but…
An across the board Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for everyone in our union is a high priority for our members. For context, a 1% COLA for all faculty, AP, and classified employees would cost the college $3.3 million over two years.
By some estimates, we would need an 8.1% COLA to keep up with the cost of living in Portland!
Part time faculty teach 72% of classes at PCC, but they have only nine steps in their pay scale compared to 17 for full time faculty, APs, and classified, so it takes much longer for them to advance. They deserve an equitable advancement path that is consistent with their full time and AP colleagues.
If you agree with the Federation’s priorities and you want to support the efforts of the bargaining team, please click here! I hope to see you at a Contract Action Team (CAT) meeting or bargaining session in the near future.
I’m pleased to announce that the federation will be participating in AFT-Oregon’s second annual Member Organizer Development Program (MOD-P), a training and development opportunity for PCCFFAP members (that’s you!) who are ready to take their organizing skills to the next level and build our union for the future.
MOD-P is a 6-week program that teaches organizing skills through real-world experience in concert with staff and local leaders. Members who participate are supported through a work stipend that reimburses them for lost wages, and help securing release time from our employer.
We are looking for members who are interested in using this development opportunity as a way to jump-start or deepen a long-term involvement with our federation. Does that sound like you? Read on …
Program highlights include:
Attend a three-day organizing training with other MOD-P participants from other Oregon educational institutions
Get real-world field experience under guidance from professional organizing staff
Regular team meetings with other MOD-P participants to compare and learn
Establish and build organizing practices for our federation
Admittance into the program is competitive and will be based on an application and interview.
Thinking of applying? Want to talk more about it? Send me an email now and I can help you apply before April 17.
Have you ever wondered what happens when your Federation bargaining team sits down with PCC administration to negotiate pay and benefits? Now is your chance to find out! This year, bargaining sessions will be open to any member who wishes to attend. Click here for dates and times, and to sign up to be an observer. You’ll also find information about joining the Contract Action Team (CAT), a committee of union members who are interested in learning more about bargaining and supporting the bargaining team. We’ll post agendas for bargaining meetings on this form as they become available – typically one week in advance.
As I’ve shared before, this year is a contract reopener, which means that only wages and benefits will be negotiated. Working conditions, including the three-year contracts for PT faculty, will be on the agenda in 2019 when we have full contract negotiations.
The bargaining team has identified a set of priorities for bargaining. Thanks to everyone who took the survey, we have a good sense of our members’ priorities. The top three issues are:
Cost of living allowance (COLA) for all members
Salary equity for PT faculty
New top step on the salary schedule
You have probably been hearing a lot of doom and gloom scenarios from the administration regarding the PCC budget. While it is true that enrollment is down compared to recent years, enrollment is only one of many factors. Other considerations include:
State of Oregon revenue forecast (released in May)
Amount of funding allocated to the state’s Community College Support Fund (finalized in June)
The PCC Board of Directors approval of a $14 tuition increase over two years.
Assuming state funding remains stable, we are confident that your bargaining team will be able to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract that includes COLAs, pay equity for part-time Faculty, and other issues that are important to our members’ lives and livelihoods.
Stay tuned for more updates, and I hope to see some of you at negotiation sessions!
Have you ever considered joining the leadership ranks of your union? The PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals (PCCFFAP) is seeking nominations for Executive Council positions. You may nominate yourself or a colleague.
Executive Council members are elected to two-year terms. They meet once per month in addition to leading/serving on various Federation committees that advance our organization’s goals of advocating for fair compensation and good working conditions at PCC. As a member of the Executive Council, you will have a seat at the table when matters of pressing importance for you and your colleagues are being discussed – everything from deciding whether to back candidates for PCC Board of Directors to prioritizing issues at the bargaining table. In short, it’s an amazing opportunity to make a real difference at PCC.
Below you will find a timeline for the 2017 election, as well as list of the positions up for election this year. Candidates will be asked to provide a 125-word statement, which will be sent to all members prior to the ballots.
And if you have questions or would like to chat with an Executive Council member about what it’s like to serve, reach out! Reply to this email and we will connect you with a union leader who can tell you more.
FEDERATION OF FACULTY AND AP ELECTIONS 2017 TIMELINE
April 3 Nominations Open
April 18 Nominations Close
April 20 Mailing or Email to announce those running for Office
May 11 Ballots Mailed
May 29 Ballot deadline
May 31 Ballot Count
June 2 Announce Winners at Executive Council Meeting
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OFFICES OPEN 2017
Vice President of Political and Legislative Action: Chairs the Political and Legislative Action Committee; coordinates the political and fundraising activities of the Federation; prepares campaign reports; works closely with the President and the Executive Council to develop and implement political education strategies, represents the Federation on the AFT-Oregon Political and Legislative ActionCOPE Committee and to the Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC).
Secretary: Keeps records of the General Membership and Executive Council Meetings; conducts correspondence; maintains records; sends meeting minutes to Executive Council members; provides copies of the meeting minutes of previous Executive Council and General Membership Meetings; acts as the custodian of the seal and charter of the Federation.
Vice President of Communications: Gathers and edits information for publication; chairs the Communications Committee, works closely with the President and other stakeholders to develop member communications and coordinate the local’s communications strategy.
Vice Presidents for Membership: FT faculty, PT faculty, and APs (3 positions): Chairs the Election Committee, conducts elections and ratifications, chairs the Membership Committee and conducts Membership Drives, maintains a current list of committees and Federation Representatives.
Campus Representatives for FT faculty, PT faculty and APs at Rock Creek, Southeast, and Cascade (9 positions): Represents each Campus or building(s) from which they are elected; communicates and meets with members, acts as a grievance representative when requested; supports the Federation representatives in their areas.