The Federation and administration bargain for new contracts every four years. Every two years we negotiate on wages and benefits to match the college’s budget. Our four-year negotiations have started in 2019, as our current contract ends Aug. 31, 2019.
There are are a host of new pressures on Higher Education, as well as changes in the demographics and expectations of our students — all in a context of increased conversation about the costs and purposes of colleges. The Federation is YOUR way of having a voice at PCC, as we navigate these complex times.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). FFAP members on the negotiations team include: Frank Goulard (email@example.com), Matt Stockton (firstname.lastname@example.org), Emiliano Vega (email@example.com), Shirlee Geiger (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Michelle DuBarry (email@example.com).
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.
1COLAs (Cost Of Living Adjustments) are percentage increases of one’s salary, normally applied at the start of a contract year (September 1). The above table’s COLAs are in addition to annual step movement for those not on the top step. Step movement is 3.5% per year for APs (a 14% increase over the next four years). Step movement is 3.5% per year for faculty, phasing in step compression to 3% per year in the final contract year (a 13% increase over the next four years). See footnote #5 below for Step Compression information.
2In order to achieve the security and predictability of a four-year contract, both parties agreed that in the unlikely event that our state funding or enrollment forecast dramatically changes up or down in August 2021, then a small graduated change (in tenths of one percent) in COLA would occur in years 3 and 4. This would not apply to the compression or “catchup” COLAs.
3FT Faculty will receive a new top step and the bottom step will be eliminated. For top step faculty this is worth a 3% increase, in addition to the 10% colas over four years. This new top step will be phased in during years 2&4. This was repeatedly resisted by PCC administration, but we held firm. At the very end, this was a very hard-fought win for our top step faculty!
4PT Faculty: in addition to the annual COLA and any step movement, there will be both an increase of the PT instructional pay rate to 70% of the FT salary by Fall 2022, AND an increase in the number of steps from 11 to 13 (Fall 2020), to 15 (Fall 2021), to 17 (Fall 2022) to match the number of FT steps. In Fall 2022, steps will be 3% apart. If a longtime PT with many contact hours were to progress as described here, from Step 11 to Step 17, those two step movements per year alone translates to a 6% annual increase.
5Step Compression for FT Faculty and PT Faculty is a concept introduced by FFAP that decreases the distance between steps from 3.5% to 3%. This results in a pay increase ranging from 0% to 4%, in each of year 2 and year 4. Those on Step 1 receive a 4% increase and for each subsequent step higher, 0.25% per step less is received (e.g., Step 2 receives a 3.75% increase, Step 3 receives a 3.50% increase, etc.) If you want to see how that might affect you, this spreadsheet shows the current steps compared to what your salary would be with step compression. While a bit less than the “catchup” provision that APs will receive, step compression enables the lower paid FT and PT faculty to receive a significant pay increase including meeting a key platform goal of instructional pay parity.
Maintain health insurance caps at current levels. This is due to current caps already being higher than the long-held, jointly agreed upon, goals of the cap covering the premium at 100% for self only, 85% for self+partner, 95% for self+child(ren), and 75% for self+family.
Parental Leave: 4 weeks of employer-paid time off; employee may retain up to 40 hours of their own leave.
Faculty non-instructional hours: We agreed to jointly work on this following negotiations in order to document the ever-increasing workload being experienced. This will help categorize how much of a FT faculty’s work is instructional related vs. non-instructional. That will give further insight as we roll out PT faculty pay parity, which links PT faculty salary schedule to the FT faculty salary schedule in Fall 2022.
AP 6&7: The administration offered APs significantly higher COLAs in exchange for our withdrawal of AP 6&7 redress. However, and importantly, we did NOT agree to remove Level 6&7 from the contract and will continue pursuing a remedy via the grievance process.
AP Leave Bank: Expand the use of AP leave bank to include leave for caregiving for a FMLA-defined issue. Capped at 250 hours per person and 2500 hours per year. (This is a one-year pilot in order to examine its efficacy with the intent to continue thereafter.)
PT Faculty mid-year step advancement: If, in September a PT faculty is within 100 hours of the next step, and after Fall term’s conclusion would have reached the next step, they will advance to the next step in Spring term rather than having to wait till the following Fall term for step advancement.
PT faculty sick leave: in addition to one’s maximum 32 hours sick leave balance, an additional 40 hours will be provided by the College to meet the need to use sick leave for a FMLA-defined issue.
PT faculty annual health insurance trust fund of $40,000 to be made permanent (so we don’t have to include it as an increased cost in negotiations)
PT Faculty stipend: The $25/hour stipend rate (which was a significant increase won in the 2017 reopener) will be added to the contract to reflect current practice.
Faculty Department Chair (FDC) Changes Starting Fall Term 2020:
All CTE (Career Technical Education) FDCs will receive 50% release time and those LDC (Lower Division Credit) FDCs responsible for disciplines utilizing lab or studio space such as Biology and Art will receive compensation/release formula credit for facilities management.
Part-Time Faculty are eligible to be considered for FDC if there are no interested or available Full-Time Faculty.
FDCs shall serve 3-year appointments unless terminated prematurely by either them or their Administrative Supervisor. At the conclusion of the appointment or when the position is vacated the Administrative Supervisor must announce the opening to eligible faculty and solicit the advice of department faculty as is already required by our current contract. Current FDCs remain eligible to apply for consideration upon the opening of their position.
Existing FDCs possibly affected negatively by compensation and release formula changes will be afforded a ‘do no harm’ grace period where they will be able to continue serving under their current agreement. The majority of FDC positions will see either no change or an improvement to their current compensation and release status. Additional details of the compensation and release formula will be made available upon finalization since that agreement exists outside of the PCCFFAP contract.
Housekeeping: Administration requested several changes to contract language updating titles to reflect current job titles.
Casual Professionals: Administration and FFAP agreed on changes to the contract allowing casual employees to apply for temporary and permanent internal job postings.
Grievance procedure: The Federation and Administration agreed that if the College fails to comply with grievance timelines, the grievance will proceed to the next step. If the Federation fails to comply with the grievance timelines at Step 1, the grievance shall be withdrawn.
Part-time specific Items
Multi-Year Contracts (MYC) and Assignment Rights (AR): The administration agreed to the following:
Maintain 300 MYCs and pilot cross-campus and/or district MYCs.
Maximize workloads for MYC faculty up to part-time limits when feasible.
Create a system for part-time faculty to indicate interest and availability to teach unstaffed courses on all campuses by Fall 2020.
Sunset all ARs at the conclusion of Summer term 2021.
For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty Assessment: FFAP and administration agreed to contract language stating that student evaluations should not be the sole basis of assessment for PT faculty. Both sides also agreed that PT instructors who teach in the same subject area at more than one campus/center will be given an initial assessment at each campus/center, but that FDCs and/or administrative supervisors will collaborate on future assessments. Finally, both sides agreed results of student evaluations for FT faculty for at least one section per term will be made available to the Division Dean/administrative supervisor, and that if the faculty member does not identify the course prior to the start of the term, the dean/supervisor will have the discretion to select the course.
Former employees who subsequently become PT instructors will be placed on a pay step based on accumulated hours in accordance with Article 18.23. Part time faculty who are rehired after a period of separation will be placed at the step they were on at the time of separation.
PT Faculty Workload Exceptions: For part-time instructors teaching both Lecture and Lab CRNs of linked lab Science classes, the workload limit will be up to .91 per term for three terms per year, and there will be no one-term exception of 1.09. A fourth term (e.g. summer) limit will remain under .82.
Full-Time Faculty specific items
Amended contract to reflect that the FT faculty work year begins with fall term and ends with summer term. FFAP agreed as long as some exceptions could be made for FT faculty who wish to work an alternative to the traditional Fall-Winter-Spring instructional year.
Librarian and Counselor Duties: updated to reflect current duties.
Career Path for APs: Administration agreed to two meetings between the Director of HR Administrative Services and up to five APs to discuss career advancement opportunities for APs. As part of this effort, the Federation will be seeking input and involvement from every AP.
Transfer and Recall Rights for APs: HR will explore the possibility of creating transfer opportunities within the following job groupings: Academic Advising Specialist, Student Resource Specialist, Learning Skills Specialist Career Services Coordinator, Career Pathways Coordinator, Cooperative Education/Placement Coordinator Employment Specialist, Cooperative Education/Student Employment Specialist. This review will be conducted during the 2019-20 academic year.
Going on strike is a very serious matter. Every day on strike is a day without pay. But it might be the only way to get a decent raise, one that will help all PCC employees afford a decent standard of living. And the only way for a strike to be successful is if the union members stick together and refuse to work.
Some people will say “I can’t go on strike because I have bills to pay.” We all have bills to pay. Strikes are painful, there is no getting around that. But if we are all in it together, we have a much better chance of making it pay off with a contract that provides you with fair pay.
What is a strike?
A strike happens when workers collectively vote to withhold their labor, usually due to the failure to reach a satisfactory agreement in contract bargaining.
Going on strike can be a slow process. First we’d have official mediation. Then we’d have consultation and a vote by members, which would set a strike date.
Will I get paid while on strike?
No. But our union is discussing ways to help members pay bills during a strike.
Mediation is a process where an independent mediator from the state Employment Relations Board (ERB) meets separately with each side, helping them examine their bottom line and figure out what movement they can make to reach agreement with the other side. This usually leads to an agreement, but how far management is willing to move is greatly influenced by the union’s solidarity. If we actively and visibly support the union bargaining team (now and even if we enter mediation) then we have a better chance of leaving mediation with a good contract.
What can I do now to avoid a strike?
Continue to show solidarity with your coworkers, participate in workplace and campus actions, and if there is a strike vote, then vote in favor of a strike. Our bargaining team would not ask for a strike vote if we didn’t think it was necessary. Just because you vote in favor of a strike doesn’t mean it will happen! The strike vote is a way for the union to determine how much support there would be for a strike if we had one. If a majority of the members vote not to strike, then we will know that striking is not an option and we may have to accept whatever deal management has put on the table.
What happens to students?
Classes will have to be cancelled. But many other teachers unions have gone on strike. Part of what we are fighting for is to have the financial support and college structures to do better and more for our students. In many cases, the community has supported striking teachers, including recently in Los Angeles.
Can anyone be fired or replaced for striking?
You cannot be disciplined for participating in a lawful strike. And even though management has the right to permanently replace striking workers, PCCFFAP would not agree to a settlement unless all striking members are returned to their jobs.
Can I use vacation time or sick leave so I get paid during a strike?
Can I collect unemployment benefits while on strike?
What happens if you cross the picket line?
You greatly weaken our chances to win a good contract, which means you weaken your chances of getting a decent raise. The success of a strike depends on everyone sticking together.
Who decides to conduct a strike?
The union members. Our bargaining team will conduct a strike authorization vote and all dues-paying members will have the right to vote on whether or not to go on strike.
Who can vote?
All members in good standing. Non-dues payers may sign a membership card at any time and become eligible to vote.
Who can strike?
All members, non-dues payers and probationary employees in the bargaining unit may strike.
How long would a strike last?
That’s up to the union members. During the course of a strike the union bargaining team will continue to try and reach agreement with management. Usually a strike ends when the membership votes to accept a proposal from management.
Are all members expected to walk a picket line?
Yes. A strong picket line is absolutely necessary for a strike to be successful. If there is a strike, there will be rotating shifts so there are always a lot of people on the line. For those with health conditions that make it difficult or impossible to walk the line, the union will make accommodations.
Last Friday, the joint bargaining team met with PCC administration from 1:00 -8:30 p.m. to try to finalize a contract settlement. The administration came up a little, the federations came down a little, but we are still several million dollars apart, and the federation bargaining team ended the night feeling that we had hit our limit. We KNOW the college has the money, and frankly, we are done whittling away at our priorities. It’s time for the administration to settle the contract—fairly, so that PCC faculty and staff can have some relief from the economic pressures of the last ten years.
The administration’s latest offer included:
Step compression in years 2 and 4 (see here for details)
2.5% COLA in each of years 1, 2, 3, and 4
PT instructional pay parity: over four years, increase the number of PT steps to 17 (from 11), with new steps to be 70% of FT faculty rate
2% lump sum payment in years 1&2 for FT Faculty and APs on the top step
PT faculty mid-year step advancement for those within 100 hours of the next step in September.
PT faculty sick leave: additional 40hrs may be banked for a FMLA-defined issue
PT faculty health insurance trust fund of $40,000
AP leave bank: hours rolled over in the bank from the previous year can be used for caregiving
Parental leave: 4 weeks emplopyer-paid time off, employee may retain 40 hours of their own leave
FDC compensation structure changes (see here for details)
A COLA that keeps up with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the next four years
It may seem like we are most of the way to a deal, and while that might be true, the total amount of money the administration is offering for 2019-21 is $2 million below the amount that settled the contract re-opener in 2017, when the amount of state funding for PCC was $17 million lower. We think we can successfully bargain for a combination of gains including a higher COLA, a new top step for FT Faculty, and a fair redress for APs on the issue of Levels 6&7. We hope members have our backs in this effort! Thank you and I hope to see many of you at bargaining on Friday, from 9am-2pm at CLIMB. Click here to sign up to observe. Feel free to reach out to me or any of the members of the negotiations team (names contact info here) with questions or feedback.
Last Friday the joint Federation bargaining team, which includes representatives from full time and part time faculty, academic professionals, and classified staff, presented a proposal to administration that brought us within $6 million over a four-year contract. (For context the federation’s full proposal costs $61 million.) Administration requested a caucus so they could formulate a counter proposal. After 2.5 hours, they told us they weren’t able to finish a proposal, but they would send us something over email. Yesterday we learned that their proposal will not be ready until after the Thanksgiving holiday.
While it is disappointing to head into Thanksgiving weekend empty-handed (so to speak), the negotiations team has the impression that the administration team is working hard to settle the contract. The Federation’s actions last Thursday (picketing, showing up at the board meeting) seemed to have really made a difference. We are hopeful that we can strike a deal by the end of the term. We’ll be in touch early next week with some next steps for members who would like to help us keep the pressure on. In the meantime, mark your calendar for the next bargaining session – Dec. 6 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. at CLIMB. Sign up to observe here.
The Joint FFAP-FCE bargaining team met on Nov. 19 to try to close the $10M gap between what the Federations are demanding and what the college says they can afford over the next four years. The two sides had been working on a four-year deal covering two bienniums with conditions placed on the second biennium—the rationale being that we won’t know what resources the college will have available in 2021, and both sides would want to come back to the bargaining table if there were significant shifts in state funding, enrollment, or any other revenue sources for the college.
Here are the main components of administration’s offer. Their four-year deal includes:
Step Compression for Full Time Faculty (FT), Part Time Faculty (PT), and Academic Professionals (APs): This is a concept introduced by FFAP that would decrease the distance between steps from 3.5% to 3%. This would result in a pay increase for everyone except those on the top step, with those on the bottom steps getting a higher percentage bump and each subsequent step getting a proportionally smaller increase. If you want to see how that would affect you, this spreadsheet shows the current steps compared to what your salary would be with step compression (in green.)
COLAs for Faculty and APs: 1% in years 1&2, and 2% in years 3&4
COLAs for Classified: 3% in years 1&2, and 4% in years 3&4 (note that COLAs are higher for Classified in lieu of step compression.)
$850,000 in professional development funds for PT faculty
$164,000 for changes in compensation structure for Faculty Department Chairs (background here)
PT faculty pay parity: over four years, increase the number of PT steps to 17 (from 11), with new steps to be 70% of FT faculty rate.
The Federations appreciate the college’s movement on some issues, but we maintain:
The COLAs are too low
Professional development funding does not belong in a compensation package—it is the duty of the college to provide professional development opportunities to ALL employees.
FT faculty need a new top step
APs deserve compensation for the failed roll-out of AP Levels 6&7
Further, the total amount of the college’s offer actually decreased—from $54.6 million over four years to $48.6 million. In exchange for this, they offered to remove the conditions on the second biennium and work toward PT faculty pay parity.
This is a brief update on bargaining and more importantly, A PLEA FOR EVERY MEMBER TO SHOW UP THIS THURSDAY, NOV. 21 FOR A FAIR CONTRACT!
First, the update: The two Federations exchanged proposals on Friday and we felt that good progress was made. Admin has been slowly increasing their COLA offer, and FFAP has been working on a phase-in option for some of our priorities. We have closed the gap from $40 million to less than $10 million between the two sides over four years. However, when it came time to schedule another meeting the admin team hedged. “What’s the point of another meeting?” they asked, while claiming that they have no more resources to offer. The Federations insisted that we should keep up the momentum, and we convinced them to schedule the next bargaining session for Friday Nov 22, 1pm to 5pm, CLIMB and Friday Dec 6, 1pm to 5pm, CLIMB. (Sign up to observe here.)
Note that if either side feels that progress is not being made, they can request a mediator at this point in bargaining. You can see here for more information on mediation, but the upshot is that mediation may or may not work to our advantage. And it will certainly slow down the process. At this rate, we won’t receive back pay until well into winter term. We’d prefer to get a contract done now, and we think we can, with your help!
Progressive Picketing, Thursday Nov. 21
HELP US GET A SETTLEMENT NOW! Please join both Federations for PROGRESSIVE PICKETING on Thursday, November 21, culminating in a strong presence at the PCC Board of Directors Meeting at Rock Creek campus. We will have opportunities to participate at every campus, plus Portland Metro Workforce Training Center. A schedule of events is below – we encourage you all to join us for the whole day or whenever you are able! RSVP here!
10:00 Meet at Southeast campus, Great Hall for rally/picket
11:05 Depart Southeast on the shuttle bus → Portland Metro Worksource Center (PMWC)
11:20 Arrive PMWC, brief rally then back on the bus → Cascade
11:30 Arrive Cascade for rally/picketing/lunch
12:55 Depart Cascade on the shuttle bus→ Sylvania
1:20 Arrive Sylvania for rally/picket
3:00 Depart Sylvania on the shuttle bus→ Rock Creek for rally/picket
3:15 Arrive Rock Creek for rally/picket
5:30 Dinner provided at Rock Creek (TLC)
6:30 Board Meeting
8:15 (est.) adjournment, special shuttle bus return to Southeast campus
At each stop, we will join members from that campus. Signs and chants will be provided as we march through campus demanding a fair contract.
If you are interested in testifying, see here for some tips on effective testifying. And if you can’t make it to any of the picketing, be sure to wear your union blue on Thursday, November 21.
On November 12, a workgroup consisting of FFAP and FCE bargaining team members and PCC administrators met for the third time. (Background on the workgroup can be found here.) Unfortunately, the workgroup did not result in much movement on either side. We return to the bargaining table this Friday, November 15.
The main accomplishment of the group was the creation of a tool that allows us to cost out various scenarios in real time, as opposed to past practice in which entire bargaining sessions have been spent going back and forth over the cost of a proposal. We had hoped to use this tool to brainstorm different scenarios with the administrative team, and to that end the two federations produced several reasonable scenarios for funding all of our priorities—from a catch-up COLA to part time faculty pay equity to resolving the AP 6&7 debacle, to name just a few. (See here for a complete list.) By contrast, the administration presented only one scenario for modest COLAs over four years, and refused to entertain any scenario that was outside the bounds of what they deemed “reasonable.”
We would love to pack the bargaining room with observers on Friday—admin needs to see our enthusiasm and our resolve to hold out for a fair contract. Sign up here to attend! Also, be sure to attend an upcoming campus meeting and have all your burning questions about bargaining answered by Federation leaders.
On Tuesday November 5, FFAP and FCE bargaining team members presented PCC administration with a spreadsheet that tallies the cost of various economic packages. This gives us tools to tinker with adjustments to the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), or analyze frontloading costs versus phasing in changes in over two or four years. Now we can explore flexible ways of funding the Federations’ priorities. Because it’s an informal work group (as opposed to formal bargaining), neither side is making proposals or commitments. The plan is to agree broadly on how much things might cost, perhaps develop a couple of scenarios for funding an economic package, then return to the bargaining table on November 15 to exchange formal proposals.
The administration once again asked the federations to identify our priorities, and we responded as we have each time they have asked: Everything is our priority. We want a meaningful COLA for all members, pay equity for part time faculty, a new top step for full time faculty, a resolution to the AP Levels 6&7 debacle, as well as steps and COLA for our Classified colleagues, and a handful of lower-cost but critically important items. (See here for a complete list.)
The federations are open to creative ways of structuring the deal. But we can’t accept the status quo where our members continue losing ground in this economy.
The work group will meet one more time next Tuesday. Please stay tuned for ways you can support the bargaining team as they return to the table on November 15 from 9am-noon at CLIMB. You can sign up to observe here.
Thank you for the support and please reach out with questions or feedback.
As mentioned in our previous update, official bargaining sessions are being put on hold so that a workgroup consisting of representatives from both PCC unions and administration can meet in a more informal setting to try to come up with potential monetary scenarios for productively moving forward. This workgroup will meet three times before the next full bargaining session, which is tentatively scheduled for mid-November.
The brief update from Tuesday’s workgroup session is that the two teams agreed to work from a shared spreadsheet, so that we can establish some agreement about how much things cost, from which we can create potential scenarios. The two sides are often in disagreement when it comes to costing out the different proposals, with admin insisting things cost way more than the Federation’s estimates. So this commitment represents progress and a desire by both sides to make a deal to settle the contract.
Our next bargaining workgroup will happen next Tuesday. Look for another update toward the end of next week, and be in touch if you have questions or feedback in the meantime. Thank you once again for all your support and encouragement!