Subject: Bargaining Update #22: Moving the Goalposts

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. 

If you are feeling frustrated, angry, unheard, or exhausted by this drawn-out bargaining process, please join us for progressive picketing THURSDAY, Nov. 21. We are offering opportunities across the district for you to show your support for the bargaining team and demand a fair contract. 

The bargaining teams will convene again Friday afternoon. You can sign up to observe here

Please be in touch with any questions or feedback.

Tips for Effective Public Testimony

Are you considering testifying at a PCC Board of Directors meeting? Here are some tips for effectively communicating your message:

  • Hone your message. Testimony is limited to 2 minutes.
  • Introduce your self, and state your purpose. Example: My name is John Doe. I am a part-time biology instructor and I am here to ask you to support a fair contract.
  • Share your personal story. Example: My rent has increased by 50% in the last four years. I now work three jobs spend an average of 2 hours per day commuting between them.
  • Bridge to larger goals. Example: PCC relies heavily on part-time instructors who teach the majority of courses. We are on the front lines of providing equitable student success, and we can’t be effective if we are sleep-deprived, unable to afford housing, medical care, and other basic necessities.
  • Specific Ask: Please invest in part-time faculty with pay parity and a meaningful COLA.

Fall 2019 Campus meetings

Campus meetings are a great opportunity to ask questions about bargaining. Come have some lunch, socialize, and hear about the latest developments. All meetings take place from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. on the following dates across campuses/centers:

  • Nov 13 Sylvania (SY TCB 217)
  • Nov 14 Cascade (CA JH 107)
  • Nov 15 CLIMB (CLIMB 105/106)
  • Nov 18 Southeast (SE Tabor 137)
  • Nov 19 Downtown Center (Rose Room)
  • Nov 21 Rock Creek (RC 3/100
  • Dec 3 Willow Creek Center (NOTE: date changed from Nov. 12)

Union Day of Action Thursday Oct. 24


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,


In solidarity,

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



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


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 #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
  • 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.

Bargaining Update #9

PCCFFAP and PCC Management continued negotiating over a package proposal submitted by management on August 21. The following covers progress made in negotiation sessions on August 23 & 26. Agreements were reached on some issues but a tentative agreement (T.A.) is contingent on all of the items in the package being resolved.

Note that we are still in non-economic (or non-monetary) bargaining. Any issues relating to salary or benefits are negotiated jointly with the Classified Federation.

In the interest of getting this update out quickly, I haven’t included links to the contract, and this may not be an exhaustive list. Please reach out to the bargaining team if you have questions! 

  • Career Path and Transfer opportunities for APs: After FFAP’s prior proposals were rejected by HR, the Federation proposed a memo of understanding (MOU) which would commit HR to form a work group with APs to try and develop formal leadership and career path opportunities (including to management positions at PCC) as well as transfer opportunities for APs. Management responded by listing current and planned professional development opportunities for APs at PCC. They said they are not interested in working with APs beyond what they are already doing, but that they might consider holding one “listening session.” FFAP asked how many APs had been involved in the current and proposed professional development opportunities and the answer was 0. FFAP continued to press for collaborative effort and commitment (formalized by an MOU) to address these issues which are the #1 and #2 priorities of APs, respectively. 
  • Team Teaching: FFAP withdrew our request for instructors who team-teach to split the benefits by allowing one to qualify for the full tuition waiver.
  • Part time faculty step roll: referred to monetary
  • Part time faculty compensation for district roles: referred to monetary
  • “Best Available Instructor” – this issue is being rolled into the conversation about Assignment rights (see below)
  • Multi-Year Contracts (MYC) and Assignment Rights (AR): Management is willing to develop a more detailed rubric around “Best Available Instructor.” FFAP is willing to consider phasing out ARs at the end of the contract in 2023. At that time, we could move to a new system in which PT faculty will know how to get priority consideration for class assignments based on a transparent rubric – a different form of job security tied to an institutional set of criteria. In the meantime, management agreed to maintain 300 MYCs and pilot cross-campus MYCs – specifics will be discussed in monetary.
  • Campus Safety: FFAP agreed to management’s contract language addressing safety, and management verbally agreed to mandatory, paid training for all faculty, but this will not be included in the current package – rather it will be moved to monetary discussion.
  • Grievance procedure: FFAP and management continued to discuss changes to the grievance timeline. Both sides are currently considering a compromise position that would allow a grievance to be terminated if the Federation defaults on the Step 1 timeline of filing within 22 business days of the event or grievant’s first knowledge of the event. If management or the Federation defaults on a post-step 1 timeline, the grievance would proceed to the next step.