News

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

2018 Faculty and AP Picnic

Join the FUN at the Faculty & AP Picnic!

Friday, September 28th
5 PM to 7 PM

Willamette Park

(SW Macadam at SW Nebraska)

Please join us at our union’s annual back-to-school picnic this Friday, September 28, from 5-7pm at Willamette Park (near John’s Landing, just south of downtown Portland along the Willamette).

PCCFFAP will provide burgers (incl. veggie options), hot dogs, some sides and drinks, and we ask that last names A-L bring a salad/side dish to share and last names M-Z bring a dessert—a truly collaborative picnic!

Partners, children and friends are all welcome! There’s a playground at the park, and we’re right next to the river for great views and strolls.

Again, welcome back to AY 2018-19. We look forward to seeing you and socializing at our union picnic this Friday!

Questions?  Email Mary Sykora at mary.sykora@pccffap.org
or call 971-722-4722!

PCCFFAP’s Annual Labor Day Picnic 2018

Come one, come all to the annual PCCFFAP Labor Day Picnic, presented by Northwest Oregon Labor Council (NOLC)!
Last names A-L please bring a side dish, last names M-Z please bring a dessert!

Ride bracelets, scrip for BBQ food/beverages & face painting from 10a-4p (partners & children welcome, though we kindly ask to limit group sizes to 5 – additional folks can of course purchase additional ride bracelets at the reduced price. Note that parking fills up fast, so plan accordingly!

Picnic Flyer

Oaks Park Map

Oregon Student Association’s
Vote OR Vote

The Oregon Student Association asked us to pass along this information to all PCC faculty. 

You may have seen emails from the Oregon Student Association  regarding the Vote OR Vote campaign, asking for a few minutes of your class time to help students register to vote and educate them about voting. A lot of you said yes, and thanks to your assistance, we managed to register over 2000 PCC students (and a handful of instructors) on all four campuses, and we provided non-partisan voter education to close to 4300 students before the May 15 primaries.

We couldn’t have done it without faculty support, so on behalf of ASPCC and the Oregon Student Association, many thanks for opening your door to our campaign! Fair warning: you are about to receive more emails from us, as during election years we continue voter registration through the Summer and Fall.

So, why should you let us into your classes?

  1. Because it only takes 5 minutes, and ensures that PCC is in compliance with the institutional requirements set forth in Oregon Senate Bill 951 (2007) and the federal Higher Education Act.
  2. Because only about half of Oregonians aged 18-29 are currently registered to vote, which means our elected officials do not pay attention to issues that matter to students. Rises in tuition, decreases in financial aid available, and the spiraling costs of student debt make it increasingly harder for students to graduate. At OSA we like to say that when students vote, students win –but the truth is that when students vote, all of us working in higher education win.
  3. Because regardless of political affiliation (and ours is strictly a non-partisan campaign), we can all agree that the 2018 midterm elections will be crucial: the choices we’ll make in November will have profound consequences at the local, national and global levels. But democracy doesn’t work if people don’t vote –turnout for the Oregon May primaries was only 33.64%, can you help us do better?

So please, when you get that message from ASPCC students asking for access to your classes, take a minute to answer, hopefully in the positive. We look forward to meeting with you all and visiting your
classes in the Summer and/or in the Fall!

If you have any questions, feel free to email:

Goodbye and Thanks to Linda Blanchette

Linda Blanchette, former Director of Professional and Organizational Development (POD), is no longer employed by PCC. Her position was eliminated in a recent reorganization, and her last day at work was March 28th, 2018. Since this decision was not announced by administration, we thought you’d like to know and also take this opportunity to thank Linda for her many years of service to FFAP members.

Linda started her employment at PCC as an AP and was represented by our Federation. In 2007, she moved into a management position as Director of POD, where she oversaw training and development programs that greatly benefited so many FFAP members. She started the AP Institute, which is the first (and so far only) professional-development experience for all APs. She was a tireless advocate for the development of all employees at PCC, and we will miss her.

If you would like to write a short note of thanks to Linda, please do so below.

We, the members of PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals, thank Linda for her dedication, her hard work, and her service over many years at PCC.

Fair winds and following seas, Linda!

Know Your Rights! Discipline for Faculty and Academic Professionals

For the vast majority of employees at PCC, discipline is an issue that never comes up. But what if you suddenly find yourself under the microscope? What if your supervisor asks you to attend a meeting and you get the feeling you could be “in trouble”?

Disciplinary procedures are governed by Article 22 of our contract. There are three key provisions in Article 22:

  1. “Just cause” is the only reason for discipline to be imposed;
  2. Discipline must be progressive, meaning that (depending on the severity of the conduct) an employee gets a chance to correct behaviors before more severe sanctions are imposed;
  3. Discipline is limited to FOUR, and only four, sanctions upon the employee:
    1. Written warning;
    2. Disciplinary probation (doesn’t apply to PT faculty);
    3. Suspension without pay (doesn’t apply to PT faculty without assignment rights);
    4. Dismissal.

You have a right, under a provision in law known as Weingarten rights, to have a union representative present whenever any aspect of the discussion could lead to discipline. A standard reply you can give under Weingarten is:

“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer, or steward be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.”

The PCC administration maintains that a manager, in consultation with HR, can decide independently whether any action, such as an MOE, is disciplinary, and as long as that action is not specifically called out in Article 22, then you have no right to representation during any conversation about your employment or working conditions. We disagree!

Note that the scope of your Weingarten rights is broad: you have a right to have a union rep present if the conversation could in any way lead to discipline OR lead to a change in your working conditions.

What we’ve noticed over the years is that HR seems to be running a shadow disciplinary system which relies on the MOE. As long as it’s “just an MOE,” they are effectively saying, then “whatever we do is NOT disciplinary and the union has no right to be involved.” But if you’ve ever been subjected to the MOE process at PCC, you’ve probably felt it was pretty punitive. And if an MOE says that it could serve as the basis for future discipline, then that MOE, we contend, *is* disciplinary, in which case you have a right to union representation during any part of the process.

Here are some rules of thumb:

  • If you have a good relationship with your supervisor and you feel comfortable talking about your work, then you probably have nothing to worry about.
  • But if you are having a conversation with a supervisor and you feel the conversation is starting to stray into uncomfortable territory—especially about things you are doing that are unsatisfactory (or you are NOT doing what you’re supposed to be doing) and what might happen if you don’t correct your behavior—then you should stop the conversation and say you’ll resume the conversation once your union rep is present.
  • Your supervisor can always spell out expectations, but when things start to feel “formal,” consider invoking your Weingarten rights—especially if the magic words “Memorandum of Expectations” are communicated at any point.
  • You CANNOT be disciplined for invoking your Weingarten rights or any union rights. These rights are protected under the law, and the employer will get in serious trouble for stopping you from exercising them.

One reason we’re so concerned about the MOE “shadow disciplinary process” at PCC is that MOEs have been used in place of the disciplinary process that the PCC administration agreed to follow, and just because an employee was given an MOE, this did NOT stop the employee from being dismissed (fired). We have a case going to arbitration soon that will make this very point—that PCC administration did NOT follow the disciplinary process; they moved from an MOE directly to dismissal, without establishing just cause and without following progressive discipline.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact anyone on your Executive Council or give your Federation office a call at x4178 or x4180.

Update on Janus v. AFSCME

President's MessageDear Colleagues:

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME case. The Court will likely find that unions such as ours need to represent all employees whether or not they pay for that representation. If the Court finds against us, we will continue to negotiate contracts (like the re-opener that added two new steps for part-time faculty in September 2017), organize events (like our recent trip to the Oregon Food Bank) represent members in grievances (we’ve represented dozens of members in grievances in the last year), or just help answer questions about our contract. But… we’ll do it with less financial support from the nearly 2000 faculty and academic professionals whom we represent.

We’ll keep working and fighting for fair treatment on the job. Unions won gains—like the weekend in 1937 —long before “fair share” dues became part of labor law in 1977. The Janus case will likely completely flip this Abood precedent of fair share dues. But it will mean we need more help from all of you. More help talking to members. More help organizing activities. More help writing emails like this one—which is drafted by ten members of our union in their “free” time.

For now, what can you do to help? Confirm your membershipIf you would like to activate, or just confirm, your membership, you can fill out a membership organization form online here. Keep engaged—you can read AFT’s amicus brief or check out news coverage. Let your colleagues know why you value being part of a union.

If you’re not sure if you’re a member—or why you’re a member, write back. Ask an Executive Council member on your campus. We want to talk to you—not just about what we’ve done, but what we can do now and in the future.

In other news, please check out the PCCFFAP website for a guest blog from a part-time faculty member and other updates. And don’t forget to sign up or nominate a colleague to attend the annual AFT-Oregon Convention. Click here for more details.

In solidarity,

Frank Goulard, PCCFFAP President