Bargaining Update #17

More than 60 of you have RSVP’d to our Union Day of Action this Thursday! Thanks to all of you who will picket, rally, and show up at the PCC Board of Directors meeting in support of a fair contract! If you haven’t RSVP’d, you can do so here. It is not required for participation but it does help us plan the logistics. 

The Joint Federation bargaining team (PCCFFAP along with FCE) met with PCC administration on Tuesday, and progress continues to be frustratingly slow. Both sides are required by law to engage in good faith negotiations, so we have reduced the overall cost of our proposal by around $3 million, without sacrificing any of the broader goals outlined in our September 23 update. Similarly, Administration has increased their offer by $2.5 million. But we remain $20 million apart, and at this rate we will be negotiating for many months to come—during which members would be working under an expired contract without cost of living raise. 

This is why yesterday both Federations and the PCC administration agreed to a short series of joint workgroup sessions outside of formal negotiations. Unlike formal bargaining sessions, these meetings will include a subset of the full bargaining teams and will be designed to brainstorm and game out different scenarios without the exchange of formal proposals. Nothing will be agreed to by either side—rather, different options will be developed and later presented to the entire bargaining team, along with observers. This is a common tactic used in bargaining and shows interest by both teams in moving things along. We plan on two workgroup sessions in the next week and a half, followed by a formal bargaining session in mid-November.

Rest assured that the Federation bargaining team is steadfastly committed to the bargaining platform and to securing a fair contract for all employees—one that makes up for years of stagnant wages. We view the workgroup as another opportunity to bring management closer to our point of view that meaningfully investing in employees is critical to the success of PCC and its students.  

We’ll be in touch over the next few weeks with updates and ways for you to make your voices heard, but it may be a few weeks before you see bargaining update #18. Thank you for all your supportive messages and for hanging in there through this important negotiations process. 

Union Day of Action Thursday Oct. 24

Colleagues:

If you read Frank’s latest bargaining update, you’ll understand why we need to do more to let the administration and the PCC Board know that quality education for our students isn’t free.

We’ve been telling them that for almost a year. We’ve had over 200 members show up at negotiations sessions and over 50 at the board meeting at September. But they are still not hearing the message.

We need you—whether you’ve been plugged in since we started negotiating in February or just tuned in now. Please join us, along with our Classified colleagues, for a UNION DAY OF ACTION this Thursday, October 24. When we stand together, we are strong.

Because the PCC Board ultimately holds budgetary powers, we are bringing our argument directly to them.

  • Informational picket at both entrances to the Sylvania campus from 3:00-5:00 so that the board sees us when they arrive for the Board meeting.
  • An information session and rally in the SY CC building (5:00-6:00) prior to the PCC board meeting
  • Board meeting starting at 6:00. They saw us coming in, they’ll see us in the board room, too.

If you can come for part or all, we need you to help get this contract done. It’s time.

If you like details, there’s more below the signatures. But we hope to see you Thursday,

RSVP HERE!

In solidarity,

Sara Robertson and Nick Hengen Fox, PCCFFAP Organizing Committee Co-Chairs


Details:

Picketing

Meet at the union office (ST 01) before 3pm or just join us at one of our two picket sites after 3pm.

Bring: a rain jacket and a smile. We’ll have signs and guidance for you.

Getting There

Some union groups will be riding shuttles from the other campuses–if you would be a shuttle coordinator for your campus, please let us know!

Shuttle departure times from each campus to Sylvania

Campus departure timesArrive at SylvaniaLink to scheduleCampus contact riding shuttle
Rock Creek @ 2:253:00Blue lineSara Robertson
Cascade @ 2:15 or @3:152:40 or 3:55Green lineTBD
Southeast @ 2:303:10Yellow lineTBD

Dinner

Our federations will have dinner available before the board meeting.

Board Meeting

No need to speak, but your presence is essential. We will bring our passion and enthusiasm and be seen and heard.

Wear blue–our union’s color–if you can.

Bargaining Update #16

Last Wednesday, your Federation bargaining team met with PCC’s administration team to continue negotiations. Their latest offer included:

  • A 2% Cost of Living Allowance this year and next (up from 1.5%/yr)
  • $125,000 for Faculty Department Chair pay adjustment (background here)
  • $850,000 for professional development
  • Codifying the part time faculty stipend rate in the contract (new)
  • Removing the employee match requirement for 2 weeks of parental leave (new)
  • Allowing APs and Classified employees to use the leave bank for up to 40 hours of caregiving for a family member (new)

Overall, the administration’s offer increased from $18.9 to $21.2 million of additional funding. And though we’re encouraged by the movement, it is still not enough to make up for the steady decline in PCC employee living standards over the last ten years—not even close. The two sides are still more than $20 million apart.

Across the country in recent years, educators have shown that direct action gets results in the face of austerity budgets. Since bargaining began, more than 200 FFAP and FCE members have attended bargaining sessions. A few weeks ago, 35 members showed up wearing union t-shirts at the PCC Board meeting. Your presence is making a difference! It’s time to turn up the pressure, to let administration know even more forcefully that quality education demands fair wages for ALL employees.

Please join your joint PCCFFAPPCCFCE bargaining team for a UNION DAY OF ACTION this Thursday, October 24. Details are still being ironed out, but here is a rough outline of the plan:

  • Informational picket at the Sylvania campus in the afternoon (we will also be organizing members from other campuses and centers to ride the shuttles to Sylvania) 
  • An information session and rally in the SY CC building prior to the PCC board meeting
  • Pack the room at the PCC Board meeting!

The Federation’s Organizing Committee will be reaching out with more details shortly, so stay tuned! 

Bargaining Update #15

At last Friday’s negotiation session, the PCC administration continued to insist that there were no resources available for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) above 1.5% per year over the next two years. They did, however, add $125,000 for Faculty Department Chairs and $850,000 in professional development funding to their offer. 

While we agree that professional development is a vitally important investment for the college to make, we do not believe it belongs in a bargaining proposal. It is the College’s job to provide professional development opportunities, and budget accordingly. We don’t bargain to keep the lights on, after all! 

Perhaps most disturbing was that the administration’s professional development offer included safety training for all college employees. Again, this is something the college should be providing as a matter of course. PCC administration seems to want us to decide: Do we want fair pay or to be safe in our jobs? 

Though there is some movement at the negotiations table, it is very slow. So we are planning to stir things up a bit, along with our Classified colleagues.* Stay tuned for more news and opportunities to get involved. In the meantime, we invite you to attend a bargaining session and mark you calendars for a week of action, October 21-25. We especially hope you’ll show up in blue for the next PCC Board Meeting: Thursday October 24 at 7:00 p.m. at PCC’s Sylvania campus.

More to come.

Bargaining Update #14

In our last update, we shared that the Federation and PCC Administration proposals were about $23 Million apart, at $40M and $17M respectively. The Federation bargaining team arrived at last Friday’s negotiation session hoping to close that gap a little more. Instead, we learned that management was counting as part of its proposal, $7.5M in Faculty and Academic Professional step increases that are already guaranteed in the contract, and $3M in Classified steps—both of which were already accounted for in the college budget. And while both teams made minor adjustments to their proposals, we ended the meeting farther apart than where we started, with FFAP asking for a $37M settlement and admin offering $7.9M once you take out the step movement.

We continue to demand that the PCC Administration make up for years of lagging Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), implement instructional pay parity for Part Time Faculty, resolve the AP 6&7 issue, create a new top step for Full Time Faculty, and about a dozen lower-cost items.

You may have heard that classified employees at Oregon’s seven public universities just won a new two-year contract that includes full step movement (equivalent of 9.5% salary increase) plus a 5% COLA, a longevity premium of 2.5% for those at the top step and reclassification of 15 positions to higher salary ranges, among other things. After the settlement was announced, bargaining team Rob Fullmer said “When Oregon’s public employees work together and make their voices heard, we have the power to move Oregon families forward and make our state a better place.”

We couldn’t agree more. And this is why we simply cannot accept the crumbs of a 1.5% COLA (management’s most recent offer.) I’ll leave you with a few statistics about PCC:

  • Since 2017, PCC has added 20 Management positions, while decreasing the number of Full Time Faculty by 17, and Part Time Faculty numbers have declined by 80. Our stats indicate no change in the number of APs but they were supplied to us by the college before last Spring’s layoffs and FTE reductions.
  • Since 2008, the amount of money the college spends on Management salary and benefits have increased by 73%, while the money spent on salary and benefits for all other employee groups has increased by just 47%.

It’s long past time for PCC to get its priorities straight. Here are some things you can do to help in the next few weeks:

Bargaining Update #13

On October 1, the Federation bargaining team met with PCC administration expecting a counter-offer to our Sept. 20 proposal. (Background here.) Instead of a counter-offer though, the administration insisted that the resources just aren’t there for a meaningful Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). Though a bit closer now, our proposals still remain far apart, with the Federation suggesting a $40 million monetary package increase over two years and the College offering $17 million of increase. 

In order to address the employees who are suffering the most with housing and other economic stressors, the administration verbally proposed restructuring steps by reducing the top 8 steps for Full Time Faculty and Academic Professionals (APs) and redistributing those wages toward employees on lower steps. Their proposal did not address part time faculty at all. 

I guess the silver lining is that we all agree that those on lower steps are hurt disproportionately by the College’s failure to keep up with the cost of living in Portland. And for what it’s worth, the Sept. 20 Federation proposal included a significant COLA for everyone but especially those on the lower steps. 

Under the administration’s proposed system, employees at the top steps could advance a step while seeing their salaries decrease. The Federation responded strongly and unequivocally that this would not be acceptable to our members.

Then the administration stated (falsely): 

As a reminder, the cost of living in our region has increased by 18.3% since 2011 (source here), and during that time PCC’s Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) has increased by only 9.25%.

This is a good time to remind everyone that STEPS ARE NOT COLA. By design, our step system starts employees below market value, rewarding those who work at the college for a long time by bringing them up to market value at the top step – sometimes it takes 17 years to get there. 

And while none of us are in this for the money, there is a trade-off involved. We might accept a lower salary because we believe in the mission and are passionate about students. We might like having union-negotiated paid time-off, job security, or some combination of those things. But to treat employee steps as COLA is a pure bait-and-switch.

Administration promised a written offer on Friday. We’d love to have a crowd there to send a strong message: 

We demand a reasonable COLA.  

Steps are not COLA. 

Sign up to attend here.

Members tell the PCC Board of Directors: a 1% COLA is not enough!

Thank you to the 50+ members who showed up at the board meeting last Thursday, including those who carried the banner with more than 120 member signatures and messages to administration. Many of you spoke movingly about the realities of trying to survive in Portland on PCC wages. It can’t be said enough how much your presence matters, and how powerful it is for the board and administration to see the union shirts and to hear from employees directly.

Bargaining Update #12

On Friday, September 20, FFAP presented a counter-proposal to the administration’s most recent offer of a 1% COLA. Our goals remain unchanged, and the Federation team provided some creative options for management to achieve them. Our second economic proposal to management included:

  • A Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) that meaningfully addresses the steep cost of living increases in the Portland metro area over the last decade
  • The elimination of levels 1&7 on the Academic Professional (AP) pay scale and then moving every AP up one level. (Background on this issue here.)
  • Instructional pay parity for part-time faculty (equal pay for equal work)
  • Changes to the Faculty Department Chair (FDC) compensation structure. (background here.)
  • A new top step for full-time faculty, and elimination of the bottom step

The above items represent a significant investment in faculty and APs – one that makes up for years of under-investment. Additionally, FFAP’s proposal included some high-priority items that would be low-to-no-cost to the college. These include:

  • Allowing part time faculty to be considered for step advancement twice per year instead of once per year. 
  • Option for part time faculty to be paid at the course pay rate as opposed to special project rate for district roles
  • An increase in the part time faculty maximum sick leave accrual to 96 hours
  • Making funds available on the last business day of the month before a pay date that falls on a weekend. 
  • Adding contract language codifying the part time faculty stipend rate of $25/hour 
  • Allowing the AP leave bank to be used for caregiving
  • Six weeks of paid parental leave
  • A way to document faculty non-instructional hours

Let’s keep the momentum going! The next bargaining session will take place on October 1 from 1-4pm at CLIMB. Sign up to attend here!

Bargaining Update #11

On Sept. 10, your Federation bargaining team met with administration to hear admin’s response to our monetary proposal. Keeping in mind that the state budget includes roughly $60 million more for community colleges than PCC had originally budgeted for, the Federation had proposed the following items:

  • A Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) that meaningfully addresses the steep cost of living increases in the Portland metro area over the last decade
  • Increasing the health insurance caps
  • The elimination of levels 1&7 on the Academic Professional (AP) pay scale and then moving every AP up one level. (Background on this issue here.)
  • Instructional pay parity for part-time faculty (equal pay for equal work)
  • Changes to the Faculty Department Chair (FDC) compensation structure. (background here.)
  • A new top step for full-time faculty, and elimination of the bottom step

Administration’s response was to ask us to come back with something reasonable.

Realizing that the Federation was not going to scale back their request, administration finally responded with a counter-proposal, which included:

  • A 1% per year COLA

That’s it.

After hearing about PCC employees who are struggling to make ends meet, who are making wrenching compromises on everything from health care to housing and child care, PCC administration proposed a COLA that essentially allows PCC Faculty and APs to continue losing ground. 

We need a strong show of solidarity in the coming weeks to show administration that our members find this unacceptable. If you agree that a 1% COLA is not enough, we need you to take action:

  • Wear your union t-shirt and buttons to in-service on Sept. 16, and come to the General Membership Meeting at 11:30 in ST 100. If you need a t-shirt or button, please stop by the Federation office (SY ST 01) or email our staff organizer Mary Sykora mary.sykora@pccffap.org
  • Come to the PCC Board Meeting on September 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sylvania campus. Wear your union t-shirt and buttons, and send a message to the board that we are not backing down from our goal of a fair and reasonable contract. (More details about our plan for that evening coming soon.)
  • Come to the next bargaining session – September 20 from 1-4 p.m. at CLIMB. If administration won’t let everyone in the room, we’ll rally outside instead. Sign up here.

Bargaining Update #10

On Friday, August 31, PCCFFAP and PCC management reached a tentative agreement (T.A.)* on non-economic issues. The teams will now move on to bargaining wages and benefits. What follows are the items that were most recently resolved. 

Members will have a chance to vote on the proposed contract changes, along with changes to wages and benefits, when both sides reach a T.A. on an economic package. The Federation will send a complete summary of the proposed changes at that time. In the meantime, you can find information in past bargaining updates, and you may contact the bargaining team with more specific questions or feedback.

  • Career Path for APs: Management 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. APs, please look for an email with more details in the next week. 
  • 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. APs, watch your email for more information on how you can contribute to this effort. 

  • Multi-Year Contracts (MYC) and Assignment Rights (AR): The administration agreed to the following:
  1. Maintain 300 MYCs and pilot cross-campus and/or district MYCs. 
  2. Maximize workloads for MYC faculty up to part-time limits when feasible. 
  3. Continue to apply existing Best Instructor Available and Priority Consideration criteria to assignments of part-time faculty, including part-time faculty with AR, until new criteria completed, piloted, and finalized (Fall 2020).
  4. Create a system for part-time faculty to indicate interest and availability to teach unstaffed courses on all campuses by Fall 2020. 
  5. Sunset all ARs at the conclusion of Summer term 2021.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Faculty Department Chair (FDC) changes: FDCs serve 3-year contracts that can be renewed by the Administrative Supervisor as long as they are in accordance with 6.612 & 6.613. PT faculty will be eligible to be considered for FDC appointment if there is not an interested/available FT faculty member OR if they would be a co-FDC alongside a FDC who is continuous appointment. (Changes to FDC release and stipend formula will be discussed during economic bargaining.) 

*T.A. = Tentative Agreement, meaning both sides have agreed but the decision will not be put into effect until each side has voted to approve the final contract in its entirety.