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An Unofficial FA Dictionary Part II

By Luke Lara, FA Ombudsperson

This article is a follow up to the unofficial FA Dictionary Part I. In the first part, we started with some basics. The following lingo will help further contextualize and clarify the world of FA.


Budget Related Terms

  • 50% Law - “As defined in Education Code Section 84362 and California Code of Regulations Section 59200 et seq., requires each district to spend at least half of its current expense of education each fiscal year for salaries and benefits of classroom instructors.” The “fifty percent law” originated from when the California Community Colleges emerged from the K-12 system. While this law is favorable to unions seeking higher wages and greater funding in the classroom, it currently does not support the work and increase of faculty in non-classroom roles (e.g., counselors, librarians, and faculty on reassigned time).

  • Fringe Benefits - Additional cash, goods, and/or services received by employees in addition to salary as part of the overall benefits package. For example, at MiraCosta College, fringe benefits include Health, Dental, Vision, and many other benefits.

Negotiation Related Terms

  • Collective Bargaining Agreement or Contract (CBA) - Collective Bargaining Agreement aka “the contract.” It is also referred to as the “District-FA agreement” or “District-FA CBA.” This is the primary document that codifies the negotiated agreements between the FA and the district around salaries and working conditions. A CBA is also negotiated every certain number of years, typically three.

  • Sunshine List - List of items to open for negotiations. By law, the FA and the District need to present the list of items in the contract they each plan to negotiate (aka sunshine list) in a public Board of Trustees meeting.

  • Article - Larger section of the contract that is composed of a group of clauses. For example, the contract contains many articles such as, “Article A: General Provisions.”

  • Clause - A specific provision that addresses a specific need, privilege, right, deadline, or duty. For example, the contract contains clause “A.2.0: Rights of the Assembly,” which is within “Article A: General Provisions.”

  • Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) - IBB is the approach that the FA has taken for negotiating with the District. When parties consult with an interest-based mindset, it creates a more cooperative and collaborative problem-solving environment. This leads to a better chance at an acceptable conclusion for both parties. By putting the interests at the center and allowing the parties to contribute to a solution, it is more likely that the parties leave happy and the relationships remain intact. This approach is in contrast to the more adversarial Positional Bargaining (PB) strategy that often leads to one side seeming to win and the other side seeming to lose.

  • Concession - In the negotiation process, both sides often make concessions to the other party in order to get something in return. It works best when both parties are flexible and offer concessions in order to receive a concession that is deemed more important and/or critical.

  • Ratification - After the District and FA negotiate the details of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, it is presented to the members of the FA for a vote. If a majority of the membership votes in favor of the CBA, it becomes ratified.

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - Sometimes the district and the FA must enter negotiations around something that is not currently in the CBA. An MOU is limited in scope and is typically bound by a shorter time period than the CBA.

  • Side Letter or Side Agreement to the Contract - This is an agreement that is not part of the current CBA, but which can supplement, amend, or modify the CBA. It is most often used to make clarifications to the CBA to which all parties agree.

What other terms are baffling to you? Let me know and I’ll write part III.


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