Affected by Layoffs or Closures? Wear Blue to the PCC Board Meeting!

Fellow Members,

Have you been affected by PCC Administration’s latest layoff notices or program closures? How has your students’ success been impacted? Your Federation urges all members to wear blue this Thursday evening at the PCC Board meeting. You can also sign up to speak at the meeting if you choose.

The uncertainty that has been placed on many of us is a huge distraction from our teaching or academic jobs. Instead of focusing on student issues, we are forced to begin searching for new employment and perhaps new healthcare providers. Many of us have decades of experience and will have to battle rampant age discrimination to find new work. It will require our full and immediate attention to replace the pending loss of income. Our focus will invariably shift away from student success.

Meanwhile the academic paths to student success have been obliterated without a plan in place to replace them. If a bridge needed to be updated, should it be blown up before the replacement plans have even been begun? Administration says they will map the student paths soon but they want to minimize the involvement of the existing experts in the field.

Please join us to tell the PCC Board how Administration’s decisions are affecting your students’ success. Wear blue and stay as long as you can! You can optionally sign up to speak at the end of the meeting. Testimony is limited to two minutes and we encourage you to focus comments on your own perspective and experience.

While the Board cannot change Administration’s policies, key PCC administrators and President Mark Mitsui will also be in attendance. It’s important that they see our support for our fellow members, especially as the difficult financial portion of bargaining negotiations is about to begin.  

PCC Board Meeting (agenda)
Thursday, April 18, 6:30pm
PCC Sylvania campus, Room CC 233A & B

I hope to see you there in blue!

In Solidarity,

Will Mahoney-Watson
PCC CAWT Faculty
PCCFFAP Vice President for Part-Time Faculty at Sylvania

Bargaining Update #1

The March 1 bargaining session was the first time management and the federation addressed substantive issues affecting our members. (The first meeting on Feb. 1 covered bargaining ground rules, and the second on Feb. 15 was “housekeeping” or cleaning up non-controversial contract language.)  Unless noted, no agreements were reached and the discussion will continue at a later date. 

  • Article 25.20 – Management sought clarification on the grievance timelines. After some discussion, all parties agreed to come back to the issue at a later date.
  • Article 19.82 – Regarding closures for inclement weather, FFAP wants to change the contract language to require APs to make up the work as opposed to the time lost due to closures. As exempt employees, AP work should not be bound to a fixed schedule. Management was open to changing the language and we will return to the issue in a subsequent meeting.
  • Article 18.22 – FFAP asks that APs who become PT Faculty be placed on Step 9, which is consistent with existing practice for FT Faculty who transition to PT. Because of the potential economic impact on the college, both parties agreed to table the discussion until economic issues are addressed over the summer.
  • Article 18.94 – FFAP asks that PT counselors, librarians, and tutors be paid for their scheduled hours during closures. Management’s concern is that because their work is bound to the worksite, they would then be getting paid for not working. FFAP agreed to follow up with affected employees to see if working off site was a possibility, but regardless feel that these employees should be paid during closures. Will return to the issue when economic issues are discussed.
  • Article 5.42 FFAP seeks clearer language around PT faculty, including those who live out of the Portland area and teach online, to determine if attending staff meetings virtually will meet the requirements outlined in Article 5.42. Everyone agrees this is part of a larger discussion around faculty who do not live in the Portland metro area, but FFAP would like to protect employees with this arrangement in the meantime, since the requirement is unclear, not tracked and only sporadically enforced.  No agreement was reached but we will return to the issue.
  • Article 6.6 FFAP would like to create and/or improve language on Faculty Department Chair training, onboarding, and performance assessment. This issue affects PT faculty since the FDCs control so much around class assignments and scheduling. We talked about creating a separate committee to make recommendations.

Questions? Feedback? Contact the Bargaining team!

Bargaining Update #2

Bargaining sessions were held on March 15, and 29. Prior to each bargaining session, management and the federation exchange a list of agenda items. The following update is organized into two categories: 1) Management agenda items, and 2) Federation agenda items. Unless noted, no agreements were reached and the discussion will continue at a later date.

1. Management Agenda Items

  • Article 4 – Employment of Part Time (PT) Faculty, specifically regarding multi-year contracts (MYC) and assignment rights (AR). At issue is whether AR-holders have a right to the next available class once the MYC threshold is met.
  • Article 5, Professional Duties. Management wants to work with the federation on enforcement of duties and responsibilities of Full time (FT) faculty, such as hours on campus, professional responsibilities.
  • Article 6.111 Work Year, management wants to adjust the language so that the work year begins with fall term and ends with summer term.  Federation agreed as long as some exceptions could be made.
  • Article 6.223 Developmental Education instructor teaching load ranges from .78 to .96, with the balance up to 1.0 being assigned in the campus or center’s tutoring center. Admin wants to make the workload equitable between DE and Comp Lit. The federation will seek feedback from affected members.
  • Article 9 Substitutes: Admin would like to stipulate that a substitute “may be authorized” for instructor absences, instead of “will be authorized.” This gives flexibility to use library assignments or D2L in lieu of substitutes.  The federation agreed to this.

2. Federation Agenda Items

  • Article 19.82 – (followup) Regarding closures for inclement weather, FFAP wants to change the contract language to require Academic Professionals (APs) to make up the work as opposed to the time lost due to closures. Management is open to changing the language and will submit proposed language to the federation in the near future.
  • Article 18.22 – (followup) Federation asks that APs who become PT Faculty be placed on Step 9, which is consistent with existing practice for FT Faculty who transition to PT. Management clarified that Step 9 placement is for overload, while a former AP who subsequently becomes FT faculty would be placed based on their number of PCC teaching hours, consistent with other PT faculty placement.
  • Article 5.42 (followup) The federation seeks clearer language around PT faculty, including those who live out of the Portland area and teach online, to determine if attending staff meetings virtually will meet the requirements outlined in Article 5.42. Everyone agrees this is part of a larger discussion around faculty who do not live in the Portland metro area, but the federation would like to protect employees with this arrangement in the meantime, since the requirement is unclear, not tracked and only sporadically enforced.  The federation suggested using telecommuting agreements, which are year-to-year at the discretion of the Dean or manager, as a compromise. There was tentative agreement as this would protect employees in the short-term. The federation agreed to draft some language. On March 29, admin was amenable to the option of remote participation or other substitute for face-to-face participation, as long as it was up to the manager’s discretion.
  • Article 6.6 (followup) The federation would like to create and/or improve language on Faculty Department Chair (FDC) training, onboarding, and performance assessment. This issue affects PT faculty since the FDCs have so much influence overclass assignments and scheduling. We talked about creating a separate committee to make recommendations. Both sides agreed to create a subcommittee with a clear charge and timeline.
  • Student Accomodations: The federation seeks clarity on the role of non-instructional staff (counselors, disability services, identity centers, etc.) with regard to student complaints against instructors. The federation recognizes and wants to preserve the rights of students, but formal complaints, even when resolved, can have a disproportionate impact on PT faculty who may not be assigned classes as a result. The federation would like to see a formal process to resolve student concerns that does not involve the Dean as an option for resolving student concerns. The federation will propose contract language.
  • There was a general discussion about MYCs and AR. Admin feels that the current system of awarding both is not sustainable. They prefer MYCs. The federation maintains that the current system is not providing PT faculty with enough job security, support, or a career ladder. We urge admin to work with us to build a better, more equitable system.
  • On March 29, the federation introduced the idea of a higher maximum PT faculty workload that could take into consideration professional development and college service. This could enable faster step movement and/or priority of class assignments.

Questions? Feedback? Contact the Bargaining team!

CAWT Program Closure

President's Message

Dear Colleagues:

On February 8, PCC administration announced plans to close the Computer Applications and Web Technologies (CAWT) program. This decision leads to the potential lay off up to 14 full time (FT) faculty and 61 part time (PT) faculty, not to mention causing stress and uncertainty for many other programs that include CAWT courses as part of their degree and certificate requirements.

This decision was made at the highest levels of the college, behind closed doors, without the knowledge of or input from faculty, students, or union leadership.

In an email to the PCC community, Vice President of Academic Affairs Katy Ho said the decision was based on “thoughtful recommendation” from college leaders, that it comes with a “strong recognition” that the college needs to continue teaching computer literacy and software applications, and that next steps “are being determined.” Incredibly, she even cited the college’s commitment to YESS.

In notifying PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals (FFAP) representatives just prior to the announcement, administration stated they would hold a meeting with the department’s FT faculty but admitted they had no plan to communicate the decision to the affected PT faculty, with one administrator saying “I’m sure they’ll hear about it,” presumably from the FT faculty. When asked if there would be an opportunity to transfer current, qualified instructors to the new program, administration refused to commit to any accommodations, saying “The only decision that has been made is program closure.”

The decision-making process and the lack of care taken in the roll-out makes a mockery of the institution’s mission professing a “collaboration culture,” not to mention the value statement that cites “collaboration predicated upon a foundation of mutual trust and support.”

The upshot for administration is that they can now potentially redesign the CAWT program free from consideration of the people and the livelihoods who will be affected by the changes, free from the decades of expertise and on-the-ground teaching experience of existing faculty. They can pick and choose which (if any) of them gets jobs in the reimagined program, without factoring in seniority, assignment rights, or Multi-Year Contract-holder status.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

If the PCC administration can eliminate a successful program, and then resurrect it with entirely new faculty of their choosing, it sets an alarming precedent. For that reason, I hope you will stand in solidarity with our CAWT colleagues to tell the PCC administration and the Board of Directors that this is unacceptable.

Please come to the PCC Board Meeting on Thursday April 18, 6:30pm, at Sylvania. I will be there along with several faculty and Federation leaders. Let’s tell the college to live up to its mission and values of collaboration, reverse the decision to close the program, and engage with current faculty to redesign the program to better meet the needs of students.

In solidarity,

Frank Goulard
PCCFFAP President

What Do We Want with That Equal Pay?

PCC administration did not completely accept our proposal for equal pay for equal work for PCC faculty in our 2017 wage re-opener — though it was a happy surprise that they were willing to explore it! And they agreed to add two new pay steps, so that “part-time” faculty will have 11 steps in the 2018-19 year (instead of 9.) This compares to 17 pay steps for “full-time” faculty.

Before agreeing to full pay parity, the administration members of the bargaining team suggested we create a joint Administration/Federation committee to study the issues ahead of the next full bargaining in 2019, with the hope we could work out a next phase of movement toward pay parity in those upcoming sessions.

We need your input to help craft a Federation position. Here is a summary of some of the issues we expect to discuss.

  • Using national data as well as results from past PCC surveys, the Federation estimates that 80% of “full-time” faculty work is instructional and 20% is service to the college and community. This is what the Federation has used to determine what “equal pay for equal work” would mean. “Part-time” instructor pay should be based on 80% of “full-time” pay, divided by teaching load. But is this the right ratio? Over the past 10 to 15 years, faculty have been tasked with additional quasi-administrative tasks, including program review and program assessment. While some funds have been made available to pay “part-time” faculty to participate, it has not been much. Members of the administration have explained that these responsibilities are expected to fall into “full-time” faculty job expectations, without additional pay. Has that  practice changed the allocation of time spent on direct instructional labor for “full-timers”, or has it just added to the number of hours in a “full-time” instructor’s work week? What ratio should we use?

 In previous surveys and conversations with “part-time” instructors at PCC, we identified 3 separate categories of concerns:

  1. Unequal pay for equal work!
  2. No clear career paths – no way for a “part-timer” to move up.
  3.  Marginalization of “part-timers” who often are made to feel they are not welcome as equal participants in SAC tasks, are shut out of many opportunities for professional development, have low representation in faculty governance (compared to our numbers), and have incredible skills and experience that remain under-utilized – foolish, given the current pressures on Higher Ed and a need for “all hands on deck” to meet them. This will be exacerbated with the goals of the YESS initiative.

Should we try to address some of these other concerns along with equal pay? So, for example, would we be willing to agree to equal pay if it came with increased requirements for participation in SAC work, or to serve on various committees? These are complex trade-offs, and the Federation will need your input in deciding what to agree to.

  • Currently, full-time faculty tend to complain that there are no uniform expectations for full-timers to participate in non-instructional work across the district. As a result, a few full-timers tend to do LOTS of committee work, and a larger number tend to do very little. This is increasingly felt to be unfair, and an ongoing source of resentment and bitterness. Our contract specifies that committee work (etc.) is to be delegated by the Division Dean. (See article 5.2). If we change any expectations for “part-time” faculty participation, as part of a move to pay parity, the current inconsistent practice for “full-timers” will come under new pressures. What are the benefits and drawbacks of creating more uniform expectations and enforcement for faculty participation in committees, mentorship, governance, etc?

It is heartening that administrators are willing to talk in detail about what pay parity would mean here at PCC. This is an exciting opportunity! We need to engage as many of our bargaining unit members in thinking about what would be best for each of us, our work relationships, and the students we hope to serve. Will you share your thoughts?

You can leave comments on this blog OR email your ideas to shirlee.geiger@pccffap.org OR frank.goulard@pccffap.org.

THANKS for all you do for all our students!