Ponderings of the President
by Ira Lansing
It is probably the time of year when this newsletter will not find you at home. Perhaps you are basking on the beach, meandering in the mountains or pausing on the plains. Quite possibly you wish you were doing one of these activities. Either way, reading this article, and newsletter in general, is not one of your high priorities at the moment. The tendency will be to wait a month or two, just prior to the start of the new semester, to pick this up and become current on the issues. It is therefore even more appropriate that this column present an abundance of numerical data, charts and graphs. Why not-you won't be seeing them any ways! Much like Arlo Guthrie's classic ballad, "Alice's Restaurant," wherein he is arrested for allegedly littering on Thanksgiving Day, hauled into court by an overzealous prosecutor, who has prepared numerous charts and graphs showing the details and extent of the heinous crime, only to find that justice is literally blind and will not see the marvelous plots and graphical particulars, so too shall you not view the meticulous details following herewith. For the record, despite the disability, Justice did find Arlo guilty, a fact which may prove significant later on.
The above chart, abusively drawn over an unknown period of time, shows the decline in faculty. At its peak the College of Marin, both campuses, employed about 220 full-time faculty. Over the years, through retirement incentives and natural attrition, the number has declined. At one point the count was as low as 119. Through recent hiring the total is now around 130.
[This next chart shows the amount of dues paid per month over the last five years by a full-time faculty member, as well as the Union's hourly cost to pay its employees at the stipend rate. Clearly there is an increasing trend for both, but most recently the stipend rate has grown significantly. Coupled with a significant decline in dues paying members, the revenue to the Union has decreased considerably. This represents an increase in the costs of doing business for UPM. And what might our business be, you ask? Representing you, of course. This requires office personnel (with benefits), attorneys, accountants, printing and duplicating, insurance and taxes. And like Arlo Guthrie, who when called before the Draft Board and was forced to reveal his life of crime involving littering, found himself on the Group W bench, with criminals of all ilk, including the mother stabbers and father rapers, UPM often finds itself representing the strange, the idiosyncratic, the quaint, the unsuspecting, all for the cause of protecting the rest of us from future abuses, and in most cases without choice.
But ahh, you say, look at the increasing dues UPM has collected. Ohhh, I respond, where does that money go. Nearly 60% of it is immediately returned to the CFT and AFT at the state and national levels. It is true that they return to the local money in the form of staffing allocations and legal defense fund grants, but not nearly the full amount tendered. The following table makes an even clearer point. The first column shows the percentages the dues have increased over the last five years (in some years there was more than one increase and in one year the Executive Council voted not to pass on to the members half of the increase, but to pay it out of UPM expenses). The next column shows the percentage that was attributable to UPM.
Increase in Dues to UPM
While percentage increases and dollar amounts may be small, it is very apparent that none of this money has gone to UPM. All of it has gone directly to the CFT and AFT (and for good cause). Quite clearly UPM itself has not raised the dues to its members one penny since 1997. The time has come for the membership to consider changing this trend and instituting a dues increase that will provide 100% direct funding to the local. At the general membership meeting in August a motion for an increase will be brought to the members for their consideration. Think about the issues, ask your questions and come to an informed decision. I won't remind you that this vote will take place after a sumptuous lunch paid for by UPM with your dues money; the cost of said lunch also increasing dramatically over the years. And much like Arlo sang- "You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant, 'ceptin' Alice"-UPM strives to be a full-service organization.
Have a restful summer. Stay informed, be in touch.
||Members and Trustees Ratify the Contract
We've Got a Contract!
Some Ballots Arrived Late.
One of the most lengthy and hard-fought bargaining encounters between the UPM and District has concluded. The Board of Trustees, in a special meeting scheduled on June 25th, accepted the terms. Earlier this month, the members of the United Professors of Marin voted to approve the tentative settlement, and while not all members received a ballot in a timely fashion, the collected vote was unanimous. Thus the new Contract has been ratified and is now in place.
The UPM Bargaining Team, lead by Paul Christensen, is already back at work conferring with the District over clean-up language for the changed articles. Once this detail work is completed, the re-written Contract will be printed and delivered to all faculty members. One remarkable feature of the printed edition will be sections of alternative language in some articles. If a change in the Contract is dependent on State funding, the language will appear as lined-out text, to be enforced if funded.
For example, since the District is now assuming that we will be on Basic Aid, those provisions in the Contract dealing with compensation for large class enrollments will not be in force. However, if changes in our status occur, those provisions may again operate.
Many of the Articles of the Contract have changed. It will be important once the printed edition is available for everyone to become familiar with those changes. Among them, of course, is the Wages and Benefits section. As we reported in last month's Press, faculty will realize a salary increase of 7.5% for 2001-2002, retroactive. In addition, another 6% boost on the credit salary schedule will be effected on January 1, 2003. Both increases are applicable to full-time, part-time credit, non-credit, and Children's Center faculty. Also, faculty working on a part-time temporary contract during the current intersession, between June 1 and August 16, will receive 87% pro rata, up from 80%.
Ballots for the faculty's ratification vote were enclosed in last month's edition of the Press, which was bulk mailed to union members. Our recent experience with bulk mail suggested that all members would receive the newsletter in ample time to consider the details of the settlement and to return the ballot before the deadline. Unfortunately, this bulk mailing must have been delayed especially in some zip code areas. As a result, the UPM is considering mailing any time-critical information via first class mail, despite the extra cost of postage.
New UPM Staff Members
Begin Work in July, 2002
Next month, the masthead of the Press will be changed to include the official list of new UPM staff and committee members. As a preview of that listing, we'd like to identify those elected and appointed UPM members who will be starting their work for you in July.
Jeff Cady joins the Executive Council in the coming academic year, but he's already attending summer meetings of the Exec, along with Hank Fearnley, Jeff Kamler, Paul Christensen, Don Foss, Carl Cox, Theo Fung, and UPM President Ira Lansing.
Five of our key Union/District Committees have experienced staff changes. George Hritz is now on the Professional Affairs Committee along with Carl Cox. Mike Ransom will work with Hank Fearnley on Workload (UDWC), and Yolanda Bellisimo will start her assignment with Staff Development and will work with continuing member Alice Rocky. The Health and Safety Committee experiences an entire change in UPM representation, with both Grace Hom and Jeanne Langinger new to the committee next year. Finally, Rinetta Early and Jessica Naythons will join Jeff Kamler and Warren Lager on the Sabbatical Leave Committee. And remember: Sabbatical Leave proposals will be due in October.
Marie McCarthy will now work with Tom Menendez and Arthur Lutz on the UPMPAC.
News from Beyond Marin
AFT Panel Presses Research-Based Career, Technical Education
Efforts to put school-to-career education squarely in the camp of research-driven reform helped set the tone at a June meeting of the AFT executive council's Career and Technical Education Committee. The panel discussed the National Research Council report, "How People Learn," and other important recent contributions to cognitive science. These formed the basis of discussions at the meeting, held June 13-15 in Washington, D.C., with policymakers from the U.S. Education Department, the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, and the American Youth Policy Forum.
The committee also met with key congressional staffers on the upcoming reauthorization of the federal Vocational Education Act. Also on the agenda was a resolution aimed at building on High Schools that Work and other successful approaches to career and technical education. The policy statement, drafted by the committee, has been submitted to the 2002 convention by the AFT executive council. The standing committee also continued its work on an upcoming AFT report detailing the core elements of successful career and technical education programs and their policy implications. The report is slated for release in early fall.
What are you going to do with your salary increase, eh?
As a member of the UPM, you can take advantage of the offer we're highlighting this month: UNION PLUS Mortgages. Perhaps you've been thinking about refinancing or even buying that first piece of real estate. Well, perhaps now is the time.
The UPM's affiliate, American Federation of Teachers, provides this benefit to members of the local, but it is your local, made up of hard-working members like you and of hard-working staffers, that has made it possible.
Congratulations on a new Contract! And have a glorious summer.