Page 1

Volume 46, Number 1  October 2014 Community College Council of the California Federation of Teachers American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

A long career of advocacy

Fair accreditation

When Dean Mancina retires, the southern California CCC VP will leave a legacy of decades of going to bat for faculty, classified staff and students.

page 3

on trial

CFT’s November election recommendations It isn’t a presidential year, but there are always critical races and ballot measures, and this year is no exception.

page 5

Peralta part-timers fired, union fights Seventeen years of service earned one part-time faculty member a form letter saying goodbye.

California Federation of Teachers 1330 Broadway, Suite 1601 Oakland, CA 94612

NON-PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 690 SACRAMENTO CA

page 8

ACCJC forced to defend its actions in court

page 4


2

P E R S P E C TI V E  October 2014

EDITORIAL

President’s Column Jim Mahler, CFT Community College Council president

Don’t let economic inequality be “the new normal”

The California Federation of Teachers is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.

O

Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Freitas

ver the last year, the subject of economic inequality has been in the news quite a bit with the release of Robert Reich’s spectacular documentary Inequality for All and economist Thomas Piketty’s seminal work, Capital in the Twentieth Century. The picture they paint is a grim one and new bad numbers keep rolling in. For instance, just a few weeks ago, a Russell Sage Foundation study revealed that the wealth of the typical American household has dropped nearly 20 percent since 1984, and yet another study notes that private sector wages measured in real terms have dipped 16.2 percent since their 1972 high point. Thus while we in the CFT community college council have successfully struggled to stop cuts to our wages and benefits over the past several years—and even seen small gains in some places, since the passage of Prop 30— many of our friends and neighbors in other parts of the public and private sector have not been so lucky. The last few years in particular have been fabulously good for the ultra-affluent, but most of the rest of us have struggled to hold ground or not lose more. Some economists are even calling this phenomenon “the new normal.” We shouldn’t accede to this moniker.

Two centuries of data As Doug Henwood notes in his review of Piketty’s book: “The core message of this enormous and enormously important book can be delivered in a few lines: Left to its own devices, wealth inevitably tends to concentrate in capitalist economies. There is no ‘natural’ mechanism inherent in the structure of such economies for inhibiting, much less reversing, that tendency. Only crises like war and depression, or political interventions like taxation (which, to the upper classes, would be a crisis), can do the trick. And Thomas Piketty has two centuries of data to prove his point.” A new working paper done for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) echoes many of the key points of Piketty’s work. More specifically, the OECD report notes that “Our world’s deeply unequal market economies have no automatic ‘self-correcting’ mechanism” and our profound

inequality “generates ever-growing social pressures for still more imbalance” but “people within those economies can correct them.” The only political mechanism American workers have ever had to address this is the labor movement and that is why most Americans should care about the fate of the labor movement, whether they are in a union or not. We may not always be able to get everything we want, but as part of the last twelve percent of American workers covered by collective bargaining, we have been able to hold the line better than most. The survival and revival of the American labor movement and/or some aligned movement for economic justice are the last best hopes for the American Dream.

Correct the excesses This is precisely why we continue to push for equity for our part-time faculty, more full-time faculty and classified staff positions, and a greater share of the revenue stream from the state. Otherwise, the drift toward oligarchy that Piketty and others describe will continue unabated. We are “the people within the economy” who are fighting to correct the excesses of American inequality for all. This may seem a somewhat self-serving argument: helping ourselves helps everyone else. But it so happens we work in an industry where this is absolutely true. Americans who have a four-year college degree are paid, on average, 74% more than those with a high school diploma. Not to mention they are more likely to be active participants in our democracy,

The CFT represents over 120,000 educational employees working at every level of education in California. The CFT is committed to raising the standards of the profession and to securing the conditions essential to provide the best service to California’s students. President Joshua Pechthalt

Senior Vice-President Lacy Barnes Perspective is published three times during the academic year by CFT’s Community College Council. COMMUNITY COLLEGE COUNCIL

1

2

3

4

Awards for CCC leaders Several leaders of California community college AFT locals have recently received recognition for their stellar work on behalf of members, public education, and the broader labor movement. Former CCC president Carl Friedlander accepted the AFT Higher Education Leadership Award at the national AFT convention this summer. Los Rios Community College AFT Local 2279 president, and northern California CCC vice-president Dean Murakami is receiving the “Labor Ambassador” award at the Sacramento Labor Council annual dinner. And in a double rainbow moment for central coast presidents, Steve Hall of AFT Local 1828 in Ventura, and Debra Stakes, Cuesta College Local 4909, are the co-recipients of the “Labor Leader of the Year” award at the Tri-County Labor Council annual dinner. Congratulations! Above: Friedlander (1), Murakami (2), Steve Hall (3), Debra Stakes (4).

voting on Election Day and taking part in voluntary organizations addressing the common good. If we convince our elected officials to increase funding for education, everyone benefits.

More instructors equals more classes offered, which equals the ability to serve more students, which equals stronger educations and higher incomes for more people, which equals less inequality in our society.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR November 4

Statewide General Election

December 5

Council of Classified Employees Conference, Irvine Marriott, Irvine

December 6

Community College Council meeting, Irvine Marriott, Irvine

January 10, 2015 Deadline for high school seniors to apply for Raoul Teilhet Scholarship January 31

President Jim Mahler AFT Guild, San Diego and GrossmontCuyamaca Community Colleges, Local 1931 3737 Camino del Rio South, Suite 410 United Labor Center Bldg. San Diego, CA 92108 Email aftjim@mac.com Direct inquiries regarding the Community College Council to Jim Mahler Southern Vice President Joanne Waddell Los Angeles College Faculty Guild 3356 Barham Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90068 Northern Vice President Dean Murakami Los Rios College Federation of Teachers AFT Local 2279 1127 – 11th Street, #806 Sacramento, CA 95814 Secretary Kathy Holland Los Angeles College Guild, Local 1521, 3356 Barham Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90068 Editor Fred Glass Layout Design Action Collective EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS Direct editorial submissions to: Editor, Community College Perspective California Federation of Teachers 1330 Broadway, Suite 1601 Oakland, CA 94612 Telephone 510-523-5238 Fax 510-523-5262 Email fglass@cft.org Web www.cft.org TO ADVERTISE Contact the CFT Secretary-Treasurer for a current rate card and advertising policies. Jeff Freitas, Secretary-Treasurer California Federation of Teachers 2550 North Hollywood Way, Ste. 400 Burbank, CA 91505 Telephone 818-843-8226 Fax 818-843-4662 Email jfreitas@cft.org

Although advertisements are screened as carefully as possible, acceptance of an advertisement does not imply CFT endorsement of the product or service. Perspective is a member of the International Labor Communications Association and AFT Communications Network. Perspective is printed and mailed by Pacific Standard Print in Sacramento.

CFT Committee meetings, L.A. Valley College, Los Angeles

Cover: Joanne Waddell, president of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, AFT Local 1521, fires up the crowd of 200 faculty and students who came from across the state to demonstrate in front of the ACCJC meeting in Sacramento in June. FRED GLASS PHOTO

Union Bug


October 2014   P E R S P E C TIVE

MEMBER PROFILE

3

PHOTO COURTESY OF DEAN MANCINA

Dean Mancina: retiring but not gone

A lifetime advocating for students and faculty

A

fter all his years bargaining contracts for faculty, including questions about their retirement, Dean Mancina figured it would be smooth sailing for him when he finally stepped down. “Now I discover I have not one, but three fights on my hands about my own benefits,” he laughs. The Coast Community College District is trying to stiff him on a week’s pay for summer teaching; he is trying to avoid disqualification for filling in on the same course he’s been teaching for years; “and now they’re telling me I won’t get my first pension check for another 45 days. My mortgage is due, and it’s turning out not to be so simple after all!” For Mancina, though, this is par for the course. He’s been handling such problems for the last decade as president of the Coast Federation of Educators, AFT Local 1911. He was local treasurer for twelve years before that, after joining the union almost as soon as he was hired at Golden West College in 1978. Looking back on a long career, Dean Mancina takes pride first in his advocacy for students. He developed Golden West’s first program teaching students to be effective tutors, and served as president of the statewide association for tutoring programs. As the use of computers in colleges increased, he pushed to make them accessible to all students. In the early 1980s, most couldn’t afford the new machines. The college had a computer lab, but it was only available to computer science students. “I advocated for an open computer lab, and set up the first one at Golden West in 1985,” he remembers. “From the beginning it was packed all the time. In those days even using a mouse was new, and I had some students who told me they could use a keyboard, but couldn’t figure a mouse out.”

Orange County’s reality Huntington Beach boasts an upper middle class image. “But the picture most people have of Orange County is not accurate,” he cautions. “We have a large population below poverty level. We have a huge influx of Latinos and Vietnamese immigrants, and at work we can see the face of the college changing. When I went to high school, there was just one African American student, and now white students are only 40% of the campus population at Coast Colleges. But these are all working-class families that need a chance to work and thrive.” Gaining computer access for all students was important, he saw, especially since teachers

were beginning to demand that students use them for research, and print out their papers using spellcheck to eliminate typos. But students had more basic problems than lack of computer skills. “We had a study skills class, but it was kind of a joke,” he explains. “It only gave 1.5 credits, wasn’t transferable to a

Association (CSEA). “I was called into the Dean’s office, and blamed for something that wasn’t my fault. I didn’t know a thing about unions, but I asked for help, and discovered that while management wouldn’t listen to me, they would listen to the union. It was obviously a good thing to have someone on my side.” Mancina was working in one of the most anti-union areas of California. Joining the union required a willingness to challenge accepted political wisdom. Soon he became the classified union treasurer. Eventually he and other classified members became dissatisfied with CSEA, and switched to the CFT. “We

“I’ve come to realize that the labor movement is our only hope for restoring this country. We need a unified voice for change—individuals can’t do it. We have to find ways to activate our members so we can train the next generation who will follow us.” university, and was pass/fail. I found there was a much more holistic approach that included increasing responsibility and self-actualization, and that really taught students about research resources. We called our new course ‘Becoming a Successful Student.’ It gave full, transferable credit and a letter grade.” The class was an overnight success. “No matter how many sections we give, they fill instantly. We were up to sixteen at one point. I was teaching teachers how to teach it—biology, English, even wrestling instructors. They all knew their subjects, but not how to teach students to learn.” Even in retirement, he hopes to continue teaching the class.

Classified beginnings When Mancina began at Coast College, he was hired as a classified employee. In that era, about half of the instructors statewide who taught study skills were not considered faculty. This finally changed later in the 1980s on most campuses, and Mancina became a tenured faculty member. Thus his first labor involvement was in the classified union, at the time a chapter of the California School Employees

saw that the CFT faculty union had much more support, and we made a good decision.” For a while the classified and faculty tried belonging to the same local, but eventually, Mancina says, they decided that separate local unions would better serve their interests. “Nevertheless,” he says, “I’ve belonged to both, and we work closely together.” In 1992 he was elected treasurer, and served for 12 years. “Then I was president of our local from 2004 to last Friday,” he says, “and they’ve been very challenging years. Many were the years of the downturn in the economy. I think unions also get less respect now than they used to.”

Held on For the last seven years he’s been in negotiations with the district almost constantly, bargaining successor agreements and rollovers. “In spite of the bad economy, we’ve held on to our most important achievements,” he says. “We didn’t take cuts to our health plan. We’ve had no layoffs at a time when they hit many other districts really hard. Our salary schedule remains intact.” What the union wasn’t able to do, though, was force the

Tireless organizer Dean Mancina is stepping down after ten years as president of the Coast Federation of Educators, AFT Local 1911.

district to refill the thinning ranks of full-time faculty. “The district figured out a loophole in the parity requirement,” he charges. “In 2002 we had 570 full-timers, and today we have 410. In 2004 the district gave a huge retirement incentive, and we lost 76 full-time positions in one year alone—positions we never got back. Then the economy imposed conditions out of our control. Now our job is to push back.” Mancina cites extreme cases like that of the economics department, which went from four full-time faculty to none. “Finally the board of trustees realized what a hole they were in,” he says. “They want to hire a fulltime professor but how can they if there are no permanent faculty to sit on a hiring committee and evaluate candidates? Who would evaluate the person they hire, to decide if they can keep her or him on the tenure track?”

Greater political involvement One way the union kept its benefits intact was through greater political involvement— another achievement Mancina takes pride in. “For years we spent $30,000 each election to try to unseat a really terrible board member, without success,” he remembers. Finally Mancina went to the labor council, and with their support, went back to his own board. “I convinced them to spend every single penny we had, over $200,000, to get him out. We had a fantastic campaign, ran a pro-union alternative, and created a board majority.” One lesson they learned, however, was, “You can’t buy trust; you can only rent it,” he laughs. Recently the candidate they elected voted against implementing a project labor agreement on a $700 million bond issue. But the increased political awareness in the union didn’t wither in the face of this new problem. “Now we’re recruiting one of our own to run for an open seat, and

hopefully we’ll create a new three-member majority.” In a “weak moment,” he says, he agreed to be campaign treasurer despite hopes for a more peaceful retirement. Under Mancina’s leadership the Coast Federation has fought over issues posed by new technology, and opposed efforts to privatize and contract out district services. The union defeated proposed policies prohibiting use of district computers even for buying school supplies on EBay, downloading videos used by instructors, or “campaigning, soliciting, or proselytizing for any political cause, outside organization or individual.” When the district wanted to subcontract out essential student services, using online instructional software called ‘Blackboard,’ the union convinced it to back off. Mancina led the union’s successful effort to question creation of a nursing program under the control of a big hospital corporation, Memorial Healthcare Services. Recently, because of difficulties organizing membership meetings, he initiated twicemonthly lunch gatherings, featuring speakers from other unions and worker centers. “I’ve come to realize that the labor movement is our only hope for restoring this country,” Mancina explains. “We need a unified voice for change— individuals can’t do it. So I believe we have to increase our understanding of our brothers and sisters who are domestic workers, who teach K-12 students, or who work at Walmart. I was 24 when I got hired here and joined the union in 1978. Now most of our faculty will retire in the next 10 years. We have to find ways to activate our members so we can train the next generation who will follow us.” By David Bacon


4

n

P E R S P E C TI V E  October 2014

ACCREDITATION

October 27 court date

ver the past two years AFT 2121, representing faculty at open was joined by local, state City College of San Francisco (CCSF), and the California and federal elected officials. Federation of Teachers, representing 25,000 community Previously compliant commucollege faculty around the state, have been embroiled in a life and nity college CEOs asked the death battle to save CCSF from disaccreditation at the hands of commission to restore accredthe Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges itation. The state community (ACCJC). The expensive and exhausting effort has taken place in college chancellor, a former the courts, the legislature, the state budget process, at the bargaining ACCJC ally, agreed to be table, in the news and in the streets. deposed for the trial, revealing In early June at its biannual scheduled to go to trial October that he had been double-crossed by the commission’s president meeting in Sacramento the 27, 2014. when he imposed a “superCommission refused to revisit trustee” on the college with the News turnaround its 2013 decision to close the expectation that the commiscollege. Outside the meeting The Auditor’s finding was sion would then back off from hundreds of faculty and students widely reported, including the disaccreditation. from across the state wearing first news story the Sacramento These events unfolded as sev“Yellow and Red for Public Bee had printed on the whole eral bills made their way through Ed” lined J Street with signs sorry saga. Shortly thereafter the state Legislature. The govcalling for a reversal of the disthe Bee’s editor finally agreed ernor has signed two of them. accreditation decision and for to print an op-ed by CFT presAB 1942 (Bonta) mandates fair accreditation practices. The ident Joshua Pechthalt urging more transparency and accountACCJC did its best to ignore that demonstration, but over the summer, new developments have given hope that the college If the black box decision-making of the Commission had taken will stay open, and the ACCJC place in public, everyone would have known the ACCJC was will be prevented from carrying out its ideological vendetta.

Stinging critique On June 26 the California State Auditor issued a stinging critique of the ACCJC in its Report on California Community College Accreditation (https:// www.auditor.ca.gov/reports/ summary/2013-123). It confirmed numerous problems with ACCJC’s operations first noted by the CFT in its complaint to the U.S. Department of Education in Spring 2013, and validated by the USDOE that August. The Auditor found that the ACCJC:

• is inconsistent in applying accreditation standards to different colleges • lacks transparency in its decision-making process • needs to improve the appeals process when colleges are sanctioned • does not observe accepted accreditation standards in composing site visit teams, and • sanctions colleges under its jurisdiction at a much higher rate—54.5% vs. 12.4%—than other accreditation agencies do.   The Auditor also noted numerous incorrect public statements by Commission members regarding its own policies. The Report stayed away from many of the issues surrounding the Commission’s improper and illegal sanctions of City College of San Francisco (CCSF), due to the pending lawsuit filed by the City Attorney of San Francisco against the Commission,

overruling its own team’s unanimous recommendation for the lesser sanction, and it would have proven far more difficult for the agency to have forced its closure order on the college. the governor and Legislature to take action to rein in the rogue agency. The news and editorial coverage represented a turnaround from eighteen months before, not just in the Bee, but throughout California. Perhaps following the folk wisdom “Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” most reporting on what was happening to City College of San Francisco for the first year gave the benefit of the doubt to the ACCJC’s interpretation of the college’s struggles. This changed in August 2013 when in rapid succession, the U.S. DOE sent its letter to the commission, CFT and the San Francisco City Attorney filed suit, and the Auditor agreed to look into the ACCJC’s practices. Emerging from the smoke blown by the Commission, the cause of keeping City College

ability from the ACCJC by requiring biannual reports of policy changes and other specific reporting to the Legislature. Said CFT president Pechthalt, “It is a step in the right direction for more transparency in the notoriously secretive agency, and signals that previously hands-off legislators understand that they need to monitor the commission more closely.” And AB 2087 (Ammiano) requires the state Community College Board of Governors to include benchmarks for restoration of an elected local college district board of trustees if it is replaced by a “special trustee,” as occurred in San Francisco. It also requires the “special trustee” to consult meaningfully with the college district in decisionmaking, instead of simply issuing decisions by fiat. Another bill, carried by state

Faculty and students filled the hearing room.

David Yancey (left), president of the San Jose/Evergreen AFT, talks with AFT 2121 president Tim Killikelly (center) and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Nanette Asimov after the hearing for summary adjudication ended.

senator Mark Leno, sought funding to restore millions of dollars in revenue to CCSF lost due to student fears the college was closing and consequent plunging enrollment. (Littleknown fact: the college had actually achieved a balanced budget by June 2013, but then suffered terrible financial losses after ACCJC issued its closure order.) The funding was successfully folded into the state budget after intense lobbying.

Summary adjudication: positive outcome On September 19, Superior Court judge Curtis Karnow— whose January 2014 injunction against the ACCJC is keeping CCSF open—rejected the ACCJC’s arguments for dismissal of the case brought by S.F. City Attorney Dennis Herrera against it, and granted summary adjudication on one key issue argued by Herrera. In a hearing on September 10 in front of a courtroom filled with CCSF faculty and students, the ACCJC argued the agency could not be tried under California law because it was not a business. Judge Karnow found that in fact the Commission is a business governed by California’s Unfair Competition law.  In a good sign for a fair trial, Karnow also ruled that the ACCJC “violated controlling federal regulations” when it staffed a 2013 CCSF evaluation panel with just one academic among nine reviewers. Crucially, Karnow also said in his ruling that if the evidence at trial is sufficient, the law recognizes that the Court may issue injunctive relief that restores City College’s accreditation.  

Embarrassing revelation Two weeks prior to the summary adjudication hearing, a revelation embarrassing to the ACCJC came to light. A Los Angeles Times story revealed that the commission had admitted in a court filing that its 2012 CCSF site evaluation team had unanimously (15 – 0) recommended probation for City College of San Francisco, not the harsher and unprecedented “show cause” status later imposed by the commission. This meant that if the black box decision-making of the Commission had taken place in public, everyone would have known the ACCJC was overruling its own team’s unanimous recommendation for the lesser sanction, and it would have proven far more difficult for the agency to have forced its closure order on the college. The accreditation battle at City College of San Francisco pits faculty against a supposedly neutral accrediting commission that is led, in fact, by anti-union ideologues, who viewed the crisis at CCSF created by the combination of the Great Recession and a revolving door of top administrators as an opportunity to destroy voices of opposition to the ACCJC’s crusade to narrow the mission of the community colleges. CFT/CCC president Jim Mahler is clear about the union’s role in this struggle: “We support the fight for fair, transparent accreditation policies so that in the future we can protect access to quality public education for all who want and need it, and prevent an austerity-driven agenda of education available only for those who can afford it.” By Fred Glass

FRED GLASS PHOTOS

Community college accreditation on trial O


October 2014   P E R S P E C TIVE

POLITICS Torlakson, Yee, and Brown deserve support

November election provides clear contrasts

R

arely, if ever, has a statewide election in California hinged on voters’ attitudes toward teachers and the role of teachers in education. But the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction is proving to be just such a race. In the contested election, While the statutory duties Superintendent Tom Torlakson, of the state Superintendent of a former classroom teacher, is Public Instruction cover early promoting greater collaboration, childhood through high school, while Marshall Tuck, a former Torlakson speaks out on behalf Wall Street financier and charter of higher education as well. His school CEO, is pushing a policy brother is a community college of confrontation. instructor in San Francisco, and The candidates’ dueling perTorlakson himself taught comspectives are reflected in their munity college in Los Medanos. actions and in their respective Torlakson sided with City supporters, as well as in their College San Francisco faculty public statements. and students against the unfair FRED GLASS PHOTO

Tom Torlakson spoke at the CFT’s breakfast during the national AFT convention in Los Angeles. CFT enthusiastically endorses Torlakson, a former community college instructor, for reelection to the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Teachers are not the problem in our schools; they are the solution,” opined Torlakson after the recent Vergara lawsuit ruling. By contrast, in talking about teachers unions, Tuck stated: “Their seat at the table is too big and they have too much influence over education policy.” PHOTO COURTESY OF BETTY YEE

Betty Yee, CFT’s choice for State Controller.

and illegal actions of the accreditation agency, calling on the ACCJC to reverse its sanctions.

Controller’s Race Betty Yee made it into the general election with support from CFT. She is well prepared to serve. Her career as an accountant and as a member of the state Board of Equalization will enable Yee to be an effective controller from day one. She also shares a broader commitment to public schools and colleges. Yee’s opponent is Fresno’s mayor, Ashley Swearengin. That politician underscored her anti-consumer and anti-public employee perspective in 2013 when she pushed Measure G to privatize municipal garbage collection. This would have led to higher consumer fees and layoffs for 100 employees. Fresno voters rejected the poorly conceived idea, but now she wants to push her privatization agenda

5

Clip and take to polls with you

NOVEMBER 4 ELECTION RECOMMENDATIONS CFT RECOMMENDS: Governor

Jerry Brown

to the statewide level. The controller’s race is important to educators for two reasons: in hard times, the controller prioritizes the state’s bill payments; and the controller sits on the pension-governing boards for CalSTRS and PERS.

Lieutenant Governor

Gavin Newsom

Attorney General

Kamala Harris

Controller

Betty Yee

Treasurer

John Chiang

Secretary of State

Alex Padilla

Governor Brown Governor Jerry Brown partnered with CFT to pass Proposition 30 in 2012. The revenue raised from increased taxes on high-income individuals has resulted in a restoration of state funding to our schools and colleges. This ended years of budget cuts and allowed districts to begin investing in the future through increased course offerings and wage increases for faculty and staff.

Insurance Commissioner

David Jones

Local Races In addition to electing constitutional officers, there are a number of important races for Congress, the state Legislature, and local boards on this ballot. Several members of the college community are seeking to serve beyond their individual campuses and offices. Counselor Bea Herrera in the Ventura district is running for the board of the Oxnard High School District. Miguel Santiago, a trustee in the Los Angeles district, is running for the state Assembly, where former instructor Cristina Garcia is running for reelection. Most of the tight races for Congress involve faculty or other members of the education community. The Los Rios College Federation of Teachers is working on the reelection of U.S. Representative Ami Bera in suburban Sacramento. Bera is a former professor of medicine at UC Davis. The San Jose/Evergreen Faculty Association supports retaining Representative Mike Honda, a former teacher and principal. Educators back Representative and former school board member Julia Brownley in Ventura County. Congresswoman Lois Capps, a former school nurse, is running for reelection in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, where CFT represents faculty and staff at Cuesta College and part-timers at Allan Hancock College.

n

Supt. of Public Instruction

Tom Torlakson

CFT POSITIONS ON NOVEMBER 2014 BALLOT INITIATIVES: Proposition 1 Water Bond—YES Increases the long-term amount of available water. Proposition 2

State Rainy Day Fund —NO POSITION

Reduces state funds available for programs in “good years.” If enacted, state will cap school district reserves, freeing up additional resources in some districts.

Proposition 45

Preapproval for Health Insurance Increases—YES

Grants the Insurance Commissioner the power to approve rate increases.

Proposition 46

Medical Malpractice —NO POSITION

Increases awards for malpractice and requires drug testing of doctors.

Proposition 47

Sentencing Reform—YES

Reduces sentences for certain nonviolent crimes and invests savings in treatment programs.

Proposition 48 Indian Gaming Compacts—YES Ratifies contracts negotiated between state and tribes.

Personalized Slate CFT is once again making available a personalized electronic slate for educators and their families. Go to cft. yourvoterguide.com and put in your address. Up will pop the location of your polling place and a list of educator-friendly

candidates and union positions on voter initiatives. The electronic slate includes candidates for statewide office, Congress, state Legislature, and in many cases, local government.

By Kenneth Burt, CFT Political Director


6

n

P E R S P E C TI V E  October 2014

LEGISLATION

Legislative Update Al Hernandez-Santana, CFT Legislative Director

High volume of CC bills; governor signs AB 1492 and AB 2087

W

ith the end of the 2014 legislative session, the governor has until September 30 to sign or veto bills that reached his desk. Following is an overview of those bills. The work of the California available to a faculty member Legislature this year was marked to transfer sick leave between by a high volume of commudistricts from one year to nity college bills. First among three years. CFT supported those from CFT’s sponsored this measure midway through legislation list is AB 1942 the legislative session and (Bonta). Part of a multi-front the bill is awaiting the govstrategy (see page 4) to expose ernor’s signature. AB 1606 and limit the illegal and arbitrary by Chavez (R-Oceanside), a activities of the Accrediting CFT-supported bill signed by Commission for Community Governor Brown early on, and Junior Colleges, AB 1942 expands the time allowed for requires ACCJC to report to the family bonding up to 30 days Legislature on a biannual basis and provides that the time off any policy changes that affect the will be paid from employees’ accreditation process or status of accrued sick-leave. The bill a community college. The state applies to full-time and partChancellor of the California time faculty, and probationary Community Colleges will direct and permanent classified staff. those reports to the appropriate Well-meaning but misguided budget and legislative subcomTurning to measures in oppomittees of the Legislature. In sition, CFT successfully defeated addition, the ACCJC must submit a report whenever a decision AB 2705 (Williams). Hon. Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) is made that affects the accredis the chair of the Assembly itation status of a community Higher Education Committee. college. The governor signed This bill was a well-meaning but AB 1942. misguided effort to help partAB 2295 (Ridley-Thomas), time faculty by changing their sponsored by the Faculty job title in some sections of the Association of California Education Code, but not others, Community Colleges, would to “contingent” faculty. After extend the amount of time

extensive legal research, CFT concluded that the bill offered no concrete advantages, but put at risk unemployment benefits afforded in the Cervisi decision won by AFT Local 2121, and potentially threw into question a number of rights earned by case law and in statutes. Regarding other accreditation reform efforts, Das Williams carried AB 2247, requiring the public posting of accreditation documents on an institution’s Internet web site, and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) maneuvered AB 2087 to at least require specific benchmarks and upfront criteria to return fiscal control of a community college to its duly elected board of trustees, whenever a special trustee is appointed to take over a college in financial crisis. CFT supported AB 2087, and the governor signed it. A handful of legislators from both houses introduced legislation this year allowing community colleges to offer B.A.s in certain fields. Among them was Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego), who authored SB 850. Block’s bill would allow 15 campuses from 15 different

districts to offer one baccalaureate degree each starting in the 2017-18 academic year, until July 1, 2023. Baccalaureates offered at the chosen campuses could not duplicate degrees offered by UC or CSU campuses. CFT remained neutral but watched closely and engaged the author’s office as the measure was amended and moved through the process. It is the third time Sen. Block has introduced similar legislation.

More transparency for bargaining AB 1550 (Rendon), a collective bargaining bill sponsored by the California School Employees Association and supported by CFT, amends the Educational Employment Relations Act to provide more transparency for declarations of impasse during bargaining, as well as for the terms of a Last, Best and Final Offer (LBFO). AB 1550 would provide employees with a written notice of each term included in an employer’s LBFO, along with a 30-day notice for the date of implementation. The transparency added to the process will help prevent bad actors from abusing the impasse

procedure to impose unknown working conditions in LBFOs. The bill would also extend the time PERB may take to appoint a mediator, once it declared impasse, from five to 10 working days after receiving the request for mediation. AB 1550 is opposed by a few school districts and administrative associations, including the Community College League. Finally, Hon. Al Murasutchi (D-Torrance) successfully carried ACR 119, a resolution encouraging the state chancellor to develop at least three options to address the longterm funding needs of Career Technical Education (CTE) and other workforce and training programs, in a manner that adequately funds the programs that regions deem valuable to their economies. This would be done in consultation with affected stakeholders, including experts in the field, faculty and organized labor representatives. ACR 119 also expresses the intent of the Legislature to address CTE funding needs during the 2015-16 Regular Session.

Part-timer strategic advocacy committee plans for budget action

W

ith the plight of part-time faculty in national headlines, CFT/CCC President Jim Mahler convened a subcommittee of the CFT Part-Timers Committee to strategize how to leverage this publicity to improve conditions for part-time faculty. The result of two meetings funding for programs to improve was development of a strategy the economic conditions of partand timeline to influence the time faculty. state budgeting and legislative Specifically, the plan is processes to improve the workto lobby the governor, the ing conditions of part-time facDepartment of Finance and the ulty throughout the state. Given State Chancellor’s Office to recent positive economic news, allocate funds for increases in it seems likely the financial existing categorical line items of situation for California in the the state budget: $30 million for upcoming 2015-16 budget will additional paid office hours, $50 be the strongest in years. With million toward parity pay and this in mind, the committee $100 million for the conversion decided now would be an optiof existing part-time temporary mal time to lobby for increased faculty to full-time faculty status.

Essential to act now If we can get the governor to include these items in his budget proposal, which will be released in January, it will be much easier for these items to be signed into the final budget package. Last year we were successful in getting $25 million for new fulltime positions and $6.5 million for additional paid office hours approved by the Legislature, but the governor vetoed them. Historically, Governor Brown has been reluctant to agree to additional funding items that are not part of his initial budget proposal, so it is essential to secure his approval for funding these areas at the outset. Since the governor’s budget

Governor Brown has been reluctant to agree to additional funding items that are not part of his initial budget proposal, so it is essential to secure his approval for funding these areas at the outset. proposal is finalized around mid-December, we must act now. The first step will be to circulate a resolution in support of these measures to union locals, academic senates and boards of trustees, and then publicize these as they are adopted. The second phase will involve direct lobbying of the governor and key members in the capitol via letters, emails, phone calls

and personal visits. In addition, it is hoped that locals will develop and share their own unique strategies for raising awareness about these issues and mobilizing their members to help. In particular, locals are urged to consider various actions for Campus Equity Week, October 26 - November 1.

By Ian Duckles


October 2014   P E R S P E C TIVE

LABOR HISTORY

n

7

Be active or be the target

“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”

E

ach fall I teach a class at City College of San Francisco on California Labor History. My students share a desire to figure something out: what happened along the way to enable working people to have a voice at work and in the political process of our society? supervisor was apoplectic. But The first day of class a stuwithin an hour the driver was dent who had never worked in reinstated. a unionized workplace asked My students who had never ‘what concrete difference a been in a union were astonunion made’ when there was ished. Other students, whose a problem. A hand shot up, workplaces were unionized, but belonging to Sean, an officer of didn’t boast this kind of militant an International Longshore and

You probably didn’t go into public education to be a political or workplace activist. But when 2/3 of the funding for your school comes from the state of California, your legislators’ ideas about taxes and educational access determine what type of educational future your students have, and what rights and compensation you have. tradition, were impressed, too. The ‘concrete difference a union makes’ had come into focus.

Target: our historic gains These days, faculty don’t often engage in much direct action in our public education workplaces—although in the 1960s and 1970s, dozens of CFT locals staged work stoppages, sit-ins, and the like, in support of a long campaign for a collective bargaining law, which we finally achieved in 1975. Instead, today we practice the collective bargaining our predecessors won for us, and have a strong political and legislative action program. As a result, we have reasonable job protections, and retain decent salaries and benefits, even as these rights have been eroded in the private sector. Now our historic gains are the target of anti-union forces spending unprecedented amounts of money to undermine our ability to advocate for ourselves and for our students.

NEWLY REVISED “UNION 101” PAMPHLET AVAILABLE From the UC Berkeley Labor Center: a revised edition of the classic “Union 101” pamphlet Work, Money and Power: Unions in the 21st Century, explaining what unions are and do, including an overview of labor history and compelling evidence for the continuing importance of unions in workers’ lives. 24 pages. Suitable for classroom or union members wondering how we got here. Order sets at 510-643-7089; download PDF at http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/ work-money-and-power/

Wealth redistribution Thus the labor movement played an important role in wealth redistribution, in the workplace through collective bargaining, and through fair taxes that funded robust public services. Just how important is only now becoming clear. As Joni Mitchell put it, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” As the unionized share of the workforce has dwindled to less than an eighth, workers’ share of national income has sunk too [see chart]. The “middle class” is shrinking rapidly, along with the public programs that gave working people the ability to participate in the American Dream. K-12 education, underfunded for decades, is facing a new assault by wealthy conservative “education reformers” backing lawsuits such as ‘Vergara v. California’ and carbon copies in other states, seeking to demonize teachers and their unions and blame them for the problems created by one per centers failing to pay their fair share of taxes. In California’s community colleges, our students pay much higher fees today compared to thirty years ago, when community colleges were virtually free. Reduced taxes from the wealthy and corporations translate directly to student debt—one component of the income shift from working families to the pockets of the rich. The CFT-backed Proposition 30 in 2012 stopped the bleeding of public education funding, and put at least a temporary halt to skyrocketing student fees by

Percent of union density and middle class incomes 1967-2011

Source: Madland and Bunker, 2012

slightly elevating tax rates on the rich.

Time to be more active In these ways our statewide union stands in the historic progressive labor tradition described above. That’s where you come in. The tradition isn’t some other people. It’s us. You probably didn’t go into public education to be a political or workplace activist. But when 2/3 of the funding for your school comes from the state of California, your legislators’ ideas about taxes and educational access determine what type of educational future your students

have, and what rights and compensation you have. Polite inquiry has rarely persuaded employers to share the wealth with workers. It took a more active labor movement to win what we’ve got. Activating members, and getting militant, may not be an easy thing for a union to do today, and you may think you don’t have time to be involved. None of us do, really. But not doing these things for decades has led us to here. It’s time to be part of “the concrete difference a union makes.”

By Fred Glass

MARK MILLER PHOTO

Warehouse Union local. “Let me tell you what happened at work today,” he said. When he arrived everything was in turmoil. A member had been fired after his small truck had scraped a larger one delivering goods to be loaded onto a ship. The supervisor had taken the word of the other driver over his own worker’s. Sean’s investigation had a different outcome. “I knew this guy. He is honest, and I believed his version of the story.” But the supervisor wouldn’t budge. “He was probably worried about our company’s relationship with the other driver’s company, and willing to make our driver the fall guy. I told him that’s not right; he did nothing wrong, and he needs his job.” In most workplaces, that would be the end of it. In this workplace, Sean called a “lunch break”—in the middle of the afternoon. Everyone, a few dozen people on the dock, went to the lunchroom. The

Not so long ago unions represented one in three American workers. Due to union strength and activism during the New Deal, Congress passed laws like Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, and the GI Bill, which fueled access to public higher education and home ownership for millions of working class men and women. This expanded the “middle class,” that is, working people with some rights to education and disposable income. Our elected representatives funded these improvements in millions of people’s lives in the 1930s and 40s with progressive tax policies. A few decades later, with unions still close to peak strength, labor supported “Great Society” programs like Medicare and Medicaid and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

The Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College, AFT Local 6185, hosted the First Annual Santa Maria Valley Union Picnic and Celebration in Pioneer Park. Besides AFT, members of SEIU Local 721, UDW Local 3930, Laborers Local 220, and UFCW Local 770 all took part in the planning and the staffing of the celebration. Congresswoman Lois Capps, above, was one of the featured speakers before more than 350 celebrants. Other speakers included 35th Assembly District candidate Heidi Harmon, San Luis Obispo City Council member John Ashbaugh, and Allan Hancock College Board of Trustee Hilda Zacarias.


8

P E R S P E C TI V E  October 2014

Local Action

Oakland Part-time community college faculty often feel unappreciated by district administrators. According to a 2013 survey by Cynthia Mahabir, respondents in the Peralta Community College District made comments like “I feel like a step-child.” They wanted not just an attitude change, but real job security and respect, higher salaries, fulltime appointments, and pay for department meetings or helping students outside of class. So it was an unpleasant surprise when Mahabir, who’s taught sociology at Laney College for 17 years, receiving positive evaluations the entire time, found herself on the receiving end of that disdain. A letter in June informed her that she “wasn’t a good fit” for the college, and that her membership in the part-time rehire pool would therefore not entitle her to receive her normal classes.

Insult to injury Adding insult to injury, the message was a form letter, identical to one received by another faculty member weeks earlier. It wasn’t even sent to her, but to the union office of the Peralta Federation of Teachers, and addressed her as “Mr.” in apparent ignorance of the fact that she is a woman. Mahabir, who received her Ph.D from the University of California in Berkeley, prepared her survey of part-time

faculty under the auspices of the Community College Task Force of the American Sociological Association. She is also a member of the negotiating team for the Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT), and belongs to the union’s Executive Council. Last January, Mahabir received her normal assignment of two classes from her dean: a section of Introduction to Sociology, and Sociology 5, a course in the sociology of race and ethnic relations in the United States. The class is the only one at Laney that satisfies the American culture requirement at UC Berkeley, and one that she revamped, strengthened and has taught for many years. It’s unclear that the class will be offered this fall, much less by Mahabir. During the spring semester, as the union representative advocating for Laney part-timers, Mahabir had several run-ins with district administrators. “The letter was retaliatory,” she says.

Protests In early March some faculty protested when Laney president Elnora Webb invited Janet Napolitano to be the college’s commencement speaker. Napolitano was Arizona governor when the state implemented sharp anti-immigrant legislation, Secretary of Homeland Security as the administration deported 400,000 people annually, and

then appointed president of the University of California. Mahabir sent an email supporting the protest. Then a part-time faculty member sent an email to the college listserv asking that a student be hired to help transport, set up and return audiovisual equipment for their classes. Part-time faculty currently must do this time-consuming job themselves. Mahabir supported the request, per her union responsibility. The final straw came when the college president announced a campus event to express gratitude to all the faculty for their service to the school. But no part-time faculty were acknowledged. Mahabir sent a note to the president, signed as the parttime faculty representative, and other faculty members joined in. After Mahabir was denied classes for the fall semester, the union filed a grievance, now expanded to include two other instructors who received the same dismissive form letter. Seventy faculty members sent letters to Laney’s president and the Peralta chancellor demanding reinstatement. A petition with 250 signatures was delivered to the president by fourteen faculty members, and seventy five faculty turned out to protest at a Board of Trustees meeting.

PHOTO COURTESY OF AFT LOCAL 1603

Fighting for the right to teach without fear

75 members of the Peralta Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1603 in Oakland, huddle before attending the district Board of Trustees meeting to protest the terminations of three part-time faculty members.

these protests for two reasons. “First, the rights of part-timers are at stake here,” he explains. “The rehire pool is the only job security available for part-timers, and the union worked hard for it. Now the administration claims that a boilerplate form letter, giving the exact same language in every case, constitutes just cause for letting a teacher go. Simply saying that someone ‘doesn’t fit’ is no explanation, and the language we negotiated requiring one is very clear.” “Second,” he says, “we’re looking at the record very closely, and what we see is very troubling. In January Cynthia was offered her base load, and then in June she received the letter. In between she spoke out, and it’s clear she’s

not being rehired because she called attention to the district’s failings. That’s a danger to any faculty member who speaks out for the benefit of fellow teachers and the union.” “Ironically,” Mahabir adds, “that’s just what we heard from faculty in the survey. We all see the job insecurity, and that it affects our ability to do well by students. It’s a universal problem.” In response, she says, part-timers need two basic changes: restored status, and equal pay for equal work. “Both would help restore dignity and morale, and allow us to teach without fear.”

30th. The new contract will run for three years, with reopeners each year for salary and benefits. Reopeners going forward will include two additional items, up from one. The local bargaining team was led by Glickstein and Benn Johnston, who received expert assistance from CFT field representatives Greg Eddy and Carolyn Richie, and

CFT Research Director Emily Gordon in working with the fact-finding panel; they were ably assisted by CFT office staffer Joanna Valentine. Glickstein said, “They were focused and gave a clear and precise account of the facts. Their professionalism was clearly recognized and appreciated by our members and the panelists.” By Fred Glass

By David Bacon

No just cause PFT president Matthew Goldstein says the union backs

Contract settlement finally gets columns Victor Valley After two years at the bargaining table, fighting for a wage increase for the stand-alone Victor Valley College part-timers union, AFT Local 6286, it took fourteen hours in fact-finding to arrive at a tentative agreement. The agreement brought the bargaining unit up from a flat rate of $55/hour, in place since 2010, to a new column-based salary schedule. The agreement includes increases ranging

from 1.8% - 10.9%, based on education level, and a stipend for a Ph.D of $100/unit, not to exceed $3,000/year. The wage increase, ratified by the members by a resounding 72 – 2, went into effect on the first day of the fall semester. The District Board of Trustees is expected to ratify at its next meeting. The Victor Valley College District had been one of only six out of the 72 in the state that still paid a flat rate per hour with no step or column; the full-time

faculty, represented by CTA, do have step and column. “We were determined to get that changed,” said Lynne Glickstein, the Local 6286 president, “and pleased to get our members out of the flat rate and into columns.” In addition to the wage increase, the union was able to change the term of the contract, which used to end, for reasons lost in the mists of history, on February 28th, moving it to the more traditional July 1 to June

CFT Perspective October 2014  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you