Part-time faculty move to mediation

 

CCC employees picketing at the state of the college address Jan. 23, 2020

Story by Laura Canida

Bargaining for Clackamas Community College employees hasn’t been easy this past year. The instructors and staff have picketed at board meetings, the President’s Council meeting and the state of the college to show support for the three unions and put pressure on the administration.

Classified, which represents employees in areas like financial aid, IT, registration, janitorial and campus services, settled. Full-time faculty just voted and approved their proposed contract and part-time faculty are heading towards mediation.

The classified contract, which was the first to be settled after months of negotiations, was ratified in December.

“Overall, our association is satisfied with our final contract negotiations,” said Barb Simington, math department administrative assistant and co-chair for the bargaining team . “We [classified association] are and will continue to support both faculty associations until the end of their negotiations.”

The new classified contract gives classified staff a salary increase year 1 of 3.7% retroactive to July 1, 2019. For years 2 and 3, CPI West Region A will increase a minimum of 2.25%.  Year 3 will see an additional 1% if enrollment raises and CCSF is at $700 million or more.

Classified employees at step 15 for more than 1 year will receive a 2% bonus. They also received increases to college contributions for benefits coverage.

Full-time faculty voted on their proposed contract last week and  99 out of a 109 eligible members voted to approve the contract.

“We currently have 120 active members, so 109 members voting is a 91% turnout for eligible members,” said Kathryn Long, full-time faculty president and member of the bargaining team. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had a contract ratification vote with such a high turnout. I’m so proud of how many members engaged with the bargaining process through surveys, e-mail communications, feedback sessions, and one-on-one conversations. I feel that we were able to negotiate a contract that reflects the goals of the FTF.”

The CCC FTF Bargaining Team negotiated the 3-year agreement that  includes a 4.1% raise retroactive from July 1, 2019. Year 2 includes a  2.9% raise and  year 3 includes a raise of the published cost of living + 1.5%. The college accepted the health benefits package proposed by the association.

“It also includes a 7% increase per year in healthcare dollars so our members can make up ground there as well,” said Long.  This is twice the rate of the average annual increases across OEBB health insurance plans mandated by the state of Oregon.  Other features of the new agreement include the adoption of Instructional Load Units that create a more equitable workload for instructors who teach lab or lecture/lab sections, Long said.

The next step, the agreement will go before the CCC Board of Education, which will most likely vote to approve at their March 11 meeting.

Part-time faculty are still working on a contract.

Maria Sorrentino, a part-time instructor in computer science and business, talked to students Feb. 12 during a union effort to get students to write letters to CCC administrators and the school board.

Tables were set up with laptops in the Cougar Cafe so students could take a seat and fill out a form letter that had room for their reasons why part-time instructor pay and insurance benefits should be improved.

“I’ve worked here 20 years. I got insured three years ago, and this year they told me, ‘No,’” Sorrentino said. “‘You’re not qualified.’ I literally cried. I don’t have insurance now.”

Part-time faculty gave the college administration a request for mediation on Feb. 14. A mediation session is scheduled to occur on March 19.

“We have a bargaining session on March 6,” said Leslie Ormandy, English instructor and president of the Part-time Faculty Association. “We are stuck on salary and health insurance. We moved to mediation when admin suggested that if we moved money from their proposed year 1 health insurance offering, we could gain an extra 1% in salary. Note, that would not add money to the contract, just move around what they already had on offer.”

Part-time instructors are working toward pay parity; they say they teach the same courses as full-time faculty but for half the pay.

“We know the sacrifices the members of the PTFA make to serve our students and our community, often teaching course loads that exceed those of full-time (at multiple campuses and for different institutions), though for less pay,” said Long in an email. “The members of the PTFA work diligently to understand the programs and curriculum of our individual departments, and they work tirelessly to serve CCC students. Full-time Faculty simply cannot do our work – especially those administrative tasks that take us away from teaching – without skilled, dedicated, and engaged Part-time Faculty colleagues. They teach classes that would normally be assigned to Full-time Faculty when instructors are on sabbatical, which allows Full-time Faculty the ability to improve instructional methods and programs.”