Benefits Reminder: November 13 Deadline
Please note that we are nearing the end of the open enrollment benefit period, so if you have not already done so be sure to complete your enrollment by Monday, November 13! (See various emails from MCC Benefits Coordinator Carolyn Sneary).
Appointment of New Trustee Following the retirement of Trustee Jeanne Shannon, MiraCosta’s Board of Trustees selected Anna Pedroza to replace Jeanne as the district’s Area 1 representative. As Trustee, Jeanne provided years of terrific service to the college, and we’re very fortunate to have had her steady leadership. Trustee Pedroza is an experienced educator and middle school principal who is quite familiar with California’s educational system and in dealing with collective bargaining agreements.
Pathways, Working Conditions, and a Meeting with Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley
Representatives of the MiraCosta FA (Jonathan Cole, Scott Fallstrom, dara, Kent McCorkle, and Brad Byrom) attended the fall meeting of the California Community College Independents in late October. Due to its political activities and advocacy on behalf of community college faculty, CCCI has become recognized as one of the more important faculty groups in the state. As such, the CCCI meeting was attended by California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. As you may know, the idea for the current “pathways” movement originated with Oakley. While serving President of Long Beach City College, Oakley and other LBCC administrators and faculty are credited with pioneering the pathways movement. While speaking at CCCI, Oakley was asked about the proliferation of pathways and other statewide “initiatives” that have emerged over recent decades and that have placed an increasingly heavy workload on faculty.
Oakley rejected the characterization of pathways as an initiative, instead describing his vision for pathways as a “framework” for student success. He explained that pathways is not something that each college must approach in the same manner, and that adjustments to collective bargaining agreements may or may not be necessary, depending upon how individual colleges approach pathways. The response did little to resolve the concerns of those CCCI members who see pathways as yet another bureaucratic burden placed upon the shoulders of faculty. CCCI members who responded to Oakley’s explanation emphasized that many faculty feel overworked by the various state and local initiatives laid at their feet. Furthermore, they expressed that faculty are distracted from their primary jobs of helping students succeed, largely by the growing bureaucracy intended to quantify student success as a measurable commodity.
As for the FA, we hold to the position that any new initiative (or pathway “framework”) that involves additional duties for full time faculty must be negotiated for inclusion in our contract.
Preparation for Negotiations Continue
Thanks to all of you for bringing so many well-considered negotiation issues to the FA Council for consideration during the Council’s recent prioritization process. While the FA has long maintained the position that our specific negotiation priorities should remain confidential (just as the district keeps their priorities private), your submissions provided the FA leadership with a much better sense of the working conditions issues that are most crucial to faculty.
On October 20, several members of the FA Negotiation Team met with FA attorney David Conway to address legal questions related to our contract and prepare for upcoming negotiations. FA members were also able to learn quite a bit about negotiations at other districts during our recent, fall CCCI meeting, and the negotiation news from around the state is mostly positive. Although enrollment numbers are down just about everywhere, the trend is towards modest salary increases. As evidenced by much of the data presented at CCCI and elsewhere, other colleges are making inroads towards closing the gap between MCC salaries and those of other institutions. Given our district’s emphasis on closing this gap, this is positive news.
The next major step in negotiations is what’s known as “sunshining.” By law, both the district and the FA are required to provide a public record of the portions of the contract that we intend to negotiate during the spring 2018 negotiations. Each side meets this requirement by listing the specific sections of the contract that we wish to “open” to negotiations in a publicly released Board agenda. Any section that is not referenced in the sunshining process may not be changed (though it is possible for additional items to be sunshined on future Board agendas). Though no firm date has been set, we anticipate the sunshine lists for each side to be presented at a meeting in December 2017, or January 2018.
Once sunshining has taken place, it is expected that negotiations will begin soon after, with the goal of presenting a modified contract for a vote of the full time faculty by no later than May, 2018.