Newsletter for the Faculty of the Marin Community College District American Federation of Teachers, Local 1610
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1997 Newsletters: Jan. Feb. March April May June/July Sept Oct Nov Dec.
As it has been widely reported with significant inaccuracies in the local press, the Board of Trustees stunned everyone by rejecting the settlement reached by the UPM and the District in the Bezirjian case.
Settlement Rejection Leads to Cessation of Talks
The UPM and indeed everyone else on campus were met with two major surprises last month. First came the Board of Trustees rejection of the settlement in the Bezirjian case, and just as the dust began to settle in that arena, the Board called a halt to Contract negotiations. Never before in the history of bargaining with the District had we come so close to an agreement in so short a time; the sudden suspension of talks surprised and disappointed many who had been involved. The two surprises would have been enough to endure in any single month had they occurred independently. But the UPM has concluded that the two acts by the Trustees are related. The first precipitated the second.
As it has been widely reported with significant inaccuracies in the local press, the Board of Trustees stunned everyone by rejecting the settlement reached by the UPM and the District in the Bezirjian case. The Board s turnabout was no doubt the result of the objection raised vociferously by some folks attending the meeting. At that meeting, Board members probably thought it politically expedient to respond to the vocal, angry, and somewhat influential group.
Certainly the Board members knew the details of the Bezirjian settlement prior to the meeting, and certainly the administration would never have brought it forward without a sense that the majority of the Board was ready to approve it. But those settlement details, confidential personnel matters, had been leaked inaccurately to the press and public. Thus faced with anger and force, the Board rejected the settlement, thereby insuring a perpetuation of the uncomfortable circumstances for the students and for themselves. And that is that. Well, maybe not quite.
The entire episode may well have sparked the Board s subsequent conclusion of Contract negotiations. The rejection of the settlement and the cessation of contract negotiations are related. You see, the District earlier had expressed an interest in negotiating the clause of the Contract that deals with student grievance. They wanted to sit down and discuss changes in the procedure that would make the process more accessible and easy for students. The UPM agreed to this request, and plans were made to remove the issue from new Contract negotiations and to address it in the Union/District Professional Standards committee. But after the incident at the Board meeting, the Trustees seemed to find the plan inadequate and demanded that the student grievance clause be removed from the Contract altogether. The Trustees want the grievance procedure to be under their complete purview, not subject to bargaining. Without that demand being met, a settlement in negotiations could not take place.
The net result is that we must continue the Bezirjian case into arbitration, a costly and uncertain procedure, and we must face the possibility of impasse in bargaining, a state that could even lead to an unfair labor practice charge against the District. Thus are the wages of political expediency.
The UPM has declared adamantly that the student grievance procedure will not be removed from the Contract, and the Board knows it. The Board s demand to remove it puts the faculty in a position of appearing reluctant to make changes in the procedure, an inaccurate and unfair characterization. A cynic would say that the Board wants to deflect the heat they felt during the meeting and to pass it on to the faculty.
Amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same. First paragraph of the old column is still true and happening today in bargaining.
Television does it. it s called summer reruns. Musicians do it they call it greatest hits of Movies do it re-releases or remakes. Even publishers do it anthologies or collected works. Just to show you that this column can be as contemporary as any genre, here follows for your rereading enjoyment, in its entirety, the Ponderings column from August, 1997.
Welcome back! I hope you had a restful summer and the new semester finds you energized, with full classes. While you were gone the bargaining team has been hard at work, submitting and reviewing proposals for reopeners in this third year of a three year contract. Unfortunately, as of the opening day of the semester, very little progress had been made and the District was looking for numerous take backs. Hmmm, there s not really much more on this topic. I better find some other item to discuss. Let's start again.
Welcome back! I hope you had a restful summer and the new semester finds you energized, with full classes. While you were gone we signed the final settlement for the six-and-one-half year old lawsuit UPM filed against the District. This was the lawsuit that focused on managers returning to the unit and their rate of pay. It went all the way to the state Supreme Court, and it has finally been resolved. Except there are two or three items that the District or UPM says are not clear, and language needs to be negotiated so that people can be properly placed and paid. Hmmm, I guess that one is not quite final yet. I better find some other item to discuss. Let s start again.
Welcome back! I hope you had a restful summer and the new semester finds you energized, with full classes. While you were gone the United Professors of Marin (along with the District trustees, management and selected attorneys) was sued for $7 million dollars. The suit was filed in Federal Court by an ex- employee who claims his civil rights were violated when he was terminated for cause by the District. This is about the fourth time UPM has been sued by this particular individual, and each time our attorneys have been successful in having the charges dismissed. So far we are still a party in the suit, so it has not been dismissed and we still have to deal with it. Hmmm, this one has not been resolve yet, either. I better find some other item to discuss. Let s start again.
Welcome back! I hope you had a restful summer and that the new semester finds you energized, with full classes.
Amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same. First paragraph of the old column is still true and happening today in bargaining. Second paragraph just substitute Children s Center for managers returning to the unit. Third paragraph the suit was thrown out, but there are other courts and it could still be alive and happening. But if you wish, you could replace it with a suit by disgruntled students or any of the few grievances UPM currently has pending. Well
Welcome back! I hope you had a restful summer and that the new semester finds you energized, with full classes.
Some years ago, the District asked the UPM to provide a fair process by which students could grieve alleged acts, including harassment and discrimination, perpetrated by a member of the faculty against a student. The UPM responded by describing a procedure similar to the existing faculty grievance process with defined steps to resolve a problem and with rights for students to appeal decisions along the way. Thus was born Article 26 of the Contract. In this manner, any changes in the process would be negotiable.
More recently, the District asked the UPM to consider a change in the process, and the UPM responded. Students said that the first step of the process, discussing the problem with the accused member of the faculty, was daunting, intimidating, and should be changed. The UPM agreed, and now the process includes the role of a college ombudsman, currently in the person of Skip Fotch, who would help students undertake the steps necessary to express and pursue the grievance.
But from the Bezirjian case came evidence that students were unaware of the grievance process, were somewhat intimidated by it, or did not distinguish the difference between registering a complaint and undertaking the full grievance process. Regardless, some students have spoken about the difficulty in making their thoughts be known. Thus, the UPM and the District were nearing agreement to review the process and to consider changes in it all within the context of committee negotiations.
One aspect of having the student grievance procedure be a part of the Contract is that the accused faculty member would also have some recourse to appeal through the faculty grievance procedure. If the process were simply a matter of management policy instead of based in the Contract, various rights of the faculty member could be in jeopardy.
Although it is true that few if any other community colleges student grievance procedures are contractually based, our arrangement has become known as a model. Recently, some people from Modesto College called to ask for a copy of our language on student grievance because, they said, it was known as the best one around.
The student grievance procedure will remain a part of the Contract. That fact should in no way imply that changes to it are impossible. Quite the contrary. The changes already made to it in response to students concerns attest to that fact. But once a part of the Contract, it cannot be simply removed by District fiat, politically motivated or not.
Indeed, the act of stopping Contract negotiations with the demand to remove the procedure constitutes an unfair labor practice. If the District insists on pursuing this course, we will have to declare impasse and perhaps take the issue to the Public Employees Relations Board.
Time will tell; may cooler heads prevail.
Bright warns applicants not to commit to an excessive amount of work, because if your application is approved, you have to do what you committed to. Otherwise you have to return a portion of the money you earned during the sabbatical leave.
At the start of a new school year, can the deadline for submitting sabbatical leave applications be far behind? No, it can t. October 15th, the deadline date, is fast approaching. If you intend to apply for a sabbatical leave this year, get started now.
How do you apply for a sabbatical leave? Simply make a photocopy of the application form in your copy of the Contract, fill it out, and submit it to Personnel.
There are two types of sabbatical leave applicants, according to Ted Bright, chair of the Sabbatical Leave Committee. One type says, I have a great project I want to do. How do I do it? I ll take a sabbatical leave. The other type says, I want a sabbatical leave. What kind of ding-dong project can I undertake to get one? It s up to us [the Sabbatical Leave Committee] to distinguish between the two.
Sabbatical leaves should be for the benefit of the students, continues Bright. What can a teacher do to justify the District paying him or her for a year that will provide a year s benefit to the students? The answer to this question is what we look for when we read the applications.
How does the committee decide who gets a sabbatical leave? It doesn t! The Board of Trustees decides. The Committee merely submits recommendations.
The procedure is as follows:
Deadline for submission of applications to the Committee.
The Committee submits applications to the administration in a recommended, ranked order.
The administration sends the applications to the Board of Trustees.
End of January
The Board announces its decisions.
How are applications evaluated? Three criteria are weighed by members of the Committee in evaluating applications for sabbaticals: (1) quality of the application; (2) how many sabbaticals the applicant has had; and (3) how much time has passed since the applicant's last sabbatical leave. The quality of an application will earn its author from zero to 25 points, in five-point increments. An applicant gets 12 points if he/she is applying for his/her first sabbatical leave, 6 points for a 2nd leave, 3 points for a 3rd leave, and 1 1/2 points for a 4th leave. And one point is earned for each year since the applicant s last sabbatical, up to a maximum of 11 points. Points are tabulated and applications are ranked by total points for submission to the administration.
How is the quality of applications evaluated? There are guidelines specified in the Contract. The application must describe whatever formal study, independent study, travel, or any combination of these, that will be undertaken. Sabbatical Leave Committee members consider wording such as I will . . . vs. I hope to . . . as an indication of the applicant s commitment to whatever project he or she intends to complete during the sabbatical leave. The more specific the description of the applicant s activities, the better, says Bright. Including a list of books to be read, or courses to be taken, or activities of whatever type to be done, is a sign that the applicant knows precisely what he or she intends to accomplish, and will garner more points than a vague statement such as I will take several computer courses. Bright warns applicants not to commit to an excessive amount of work, because if your application is approved, you have to do what you committed to. Otherwise you have to return a portion of the money you earned during the sabbatical leave.
Bright notes that if everyone who says they will visit another community college actually did so, instructors at those community colleges would never get any work done; they'd spend most of their time talking to College of Marin teachers!
Who is eligible for a sabbatical leave? Any full-time instructor who has not started a sabbatical leave in at least six years is eligible, provided that he or she will teach at least two of the next four years after completion of the sabbatical leave.
Teachers are paid 65% of their normal pay for a year s sabbatical, whether in consecutive semesters or not, and 90% for a single semester s leave. These cuts in pay can be offset by banking units before going on sabbatical.
A sabbatical leave must be completed within two years, although it may be extended if requested.
Within one semester of the end of the sabbatical leave, a report must be submitted to the administration describing what the instructor did during the leave. The Sabbatical Leave Committee does not ordinarily see these reports.
The Sabbatical Leave Committee usually meets three times a year, all in the fall semester. The first meeting this semester will take place October 20th, at which time applications will be distributed to the several members and guidelines for evaluating them will be discussed. Before the second meeting, the committee members will read the applications and evaluate them. Some applicants will be advised to touch up their applications, e.g., being more specific about what course you intend to take, what college you will visit, etc. Ted Bright estimates that about a third of all applications are sent back for touch-up.
At the third meeting the applications evaluations are compiled and combined with the points assigned for the number of sabbatical leaves previously taken and the years since the last sabbatical. The totals are checked and the applications ranked preparatory to being sent to the administration.
To become a member of the Sabbatical Leave Committee, union members must apply when the union distributes application forms toward the end of each semester. Full-timers, part-timers, credit and non-credit instructors are eligible. Members are paid by stipend only for the hours they meet; there is no compensation for hours spent on outside work, e.g., reading and evaluating applications.
The Sabbatical Leave Committee is expecting lots of applications this year, according to Bright, since many of last year s applicants who didn t get sabbatical leaves will probably re-apply.
Welcome back to school! With the beginning of the semester, you have a lot on your mind and a lot of paperwork to read. But before putting this item down, read this brief description of a major benefit of being a member of the United Professors of Marin.
As a member of the UPM, you are a member of the American Federation of Teachers and are eligible for a host of members' benefits.
Each month, we publish information about one of those benefits, so keep your eyes peeled during the semester. To take advantage of the discounts and group-rate benefits of the AFT, all you need to do is to become a member of the United Professors of Marin.
As a member of the faculty, you are not necessarily a member of the union. It takes an application, the one below, for example. Part-time faculty are equally invited to apply.
AFT Plus Mortgage and Real Estate
Buying or selling, you'll be sold on the AFT PLUS mortgage and real estate benefits.
When you close your loan with Union Member Mortgage and Real Estate and use a program real estate agent to buy your home, you'll save $350 on your closing costs. If you also sell your current home through the program, you'll save one-half of one percent on the real estate commission that's an average savings of $500 on a $100,000 home.
Because you re a union member, your parents and children can take advantage of the same outstanding advantages this program offers you, including helpful advice from experienced mortgage counselors, competitive rates, low 5% down payments, and an easy phone-in application process.
So to keep the costs of buying and selling a house down, for you and for members of your family, call this number:
Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 9pm;
Saturday 9am - 1pm (ET)
Remember, to be eligible for this benefit and for the other benefits offered through the AFT, you must be a member of the United Professors of Marin. Take a moment and fill out the application below. Send it in to Edie, UPM Executive Secretary, via intercampus mail.
If you are a member of the union and now have a subscription to America Online, you can find all the AFT information in the exclusive "members only" area through AOL's keyword "AFT."
And if you don't have that subscription to AOL, your membership in the United Professors of Marin can help you get it, with a free 50-hour trial period on AOL and discounts in computer hardware.
AFT has set up special purchase programs with IBM and Apple so that members have access to special pricing on computers. So, with your membership in UPM, you can get good rates on everything you need to connect easily to the World Wide Web
If you are not yet a member of the UPM, simply fill out the form that appears below and send it in to the UPM office via intercampus mail. See you online!
Get the latest union news, Internet access and e-mail service from America Online. For a 50-hour free trial period and access to AFT's members-only area, call
Last month, we announced a new benefit for members of the UPM: discounts on entertainment activities through an organization called the Recreation Connection. At that time, we understood that faculty members interested in taking advantage of the discounts would only have to submit orders at the organizations Web page, but we were wrong. Several people on the faculty tried submitting orders but found that they had to fax or mail an order form to an address that we had not listed.
So here is what we hope is the complete procedure for ordering discounted tickets and the like:
To order by mail or by fax, you must first secure an order form. You can get an order form from the UPM Office on the Kentfield campus, you can request a form by calling (818) 386-1046, or you can print out the form from the organizations Web page, found at this address:
Once you have the form, you can mail it to:
Recreation Connection P.O. Box 260854 Encino, CA 91426
Or you can fax the form to:
The Recreation Connection offices are in southern California where they have established walk-up order counters, but so far, no such facility exists in our area.
For information, call (818) 386-1046.
Sees Candies $8.30/lb
United Artists $4.75
Marin/Norh Bay $25.00
The Aquarium $12.25
Value Pass for discounts at
Underwater World, Blue &
Gold Fleet, Pier 39 Garage
San Diego Zoo
Deluxe pkg. $16.75
Web Page graphics & design by Mike Godsey, firstname.lastname@example.org