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Volume 39, Number 2

March 2008

Community College Council of the California Federation of Teachers American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

FRED GLASS PHOTO

New LACCD labor institute John Delloro thinks Los Angeles community college students should learn about unions and labor history in every classroom.

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Close loopholes, not schools The governor’s state budget proposal is bad news for education. CFT president Marty Hittelman has some suggestions for alternatives.

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Why we lost The Proposition 92 campaign is now history, but it was worth the fight.

Remember this?

California Federation of Teachers 1201 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 115 Alameda, CA 94501

Governor’s proposed budget slashes funding. page 4

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Oakland CA Permit No. 1765

If it passes, 50,000 students will be denied access to community college. Here we go again.

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PERSPECTIVE

March 2008

EDITORIAL

Taking the Lead Carl Friedlander, CFT Community College Council President

Community Colleges Post-92 his is certainly not the post-February 5 column I had hoped to be able to write. You know the bad news: California voters rejected Proposition 92 by a 57%-43% margin. In the face of a gaping $14 billion hole in the State budget over the next 18 months and $3 million in opposition spending (including $2.3 million from the California Teachers Association), a sizable majority of the State’s voters turned down the plan to permanently roll back student fees and to augment Prop 98 and divide it fairly to fund community college enrollment growth.

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CFT did an incredible job of playing David to the CTA’s Goliath in this election.We lost the vote, but won the hearts of community college faculty across the state. No organization was able to bring as much to the campaign as CFT. FACCC was terrific, CCA/CTA bucked the State CTA leadership and supported 92, and certain independent faculty unions (like those at Santa Monica and FoothillDeAnza) really stepped up. But the 92 campaign drove home the lesson that we are a very fragmented system—even faculty are divided among an array of bargaining agents—and we need a unified statewide voice and organization for community college faculty. Now we need to think seriously about what we can do to create this. The community college profile was raised across California, and every elected official, organization or editorial board that discussed 92—whether pro or con—acknowledged the vital role that the colleges play and bemoaned the State’s gross underfunding of the system.

The challenges are serious: the threat of massive budget cuts, an inadequate share of Prop 98, a funding mechanism tying us to declining K-12 enrollment, a growing chorus calling for “high fees/high aid,” and the danger of losing property tax revenue. But the challenges are not new. And now, as California begins to grapple with its massive fiscal problems, we must shift our focus from the electoral process to the legislative offices. We must make sure Sacramento decision-makers understand that community colleges are key to solving the State’s problems. Obviously, we would be in a much stronger position if 92 had passed. But even its defeat leaves us in a far better position that we would have been in had 92 never appeared on the ballot. The reduction of fees from $26 to $20 in Spring 2007—and the continuation of the $20 level

this fall—was a byproduct of the effort to qualify and pass 92. It was noteworthy that Governor Schwarzenegger proposed no fee increase for 2008-09 in his January budget plan. But now, with the leverage of 92 gone and the State in fiscal crisis, will there be a move to shift more of the cost of community college education onto the backs of our struggling students? So-called experts like Nancy Shulock, Director of the Institute for Higher Ed Leadership and Policy, the leaders of the Campaign for College Opportunity, and the LA Times are calling for fee increases.We

need to make sure that the legislators reject their misguided recommendations. Raising fees is not a solution to community college funding problems. When fees go up, access is denied. It’s that simple. In the CFT Community College Council, we will be discussing whether to pursue some of the objectives of 92 through legislation.The campaign drew attention to two problems in Prop 98: the abuse of the statutory K-12/CC split and the illogical link between community college funding and K-12 enrollment. We pursued constitutional changes through an initiative because we had been unable to prevail in Sacramento. But 92 lost and the problems aren’t going away, so we may need to once again pursue legislative remedies.A third problem that 92 would have addressed was the vulnerability of community colleges to shortfalls in property tax revenue, and here again, we will need to come up with a winning legislative strategy. The challenges are serious: the threat of massive budget cuts, an inadequate share of Prop 98, a funding mechanism tying us to declining K-12 enrollment, a growing chorus calling for “high fees/high aid,” and the danger of losing property tax revenue. But the challenges are not new. Through our recent initiative campaign, we educated a lot of influential decision-makers about our issues. Now we need to unify our faculty, formulate our strategy and apply the same energy that we brought to the campaign for 92 into a statewide effort to get our legislators to address these problems and renew the spirit of California’s Master Plan.

MARK YOUR 2008 CALENDAR March 28 – 31

Print is nice. Electrons are faster. The Perspective brings you information you need to know on a quarterly basis. For the most current union news, recent media coverage of education issues, and key information about the California Federation of Teachers and its activities, visit the CFT website regularly.

April 11 – 13

AFT/NEA Joint Higher Education Conference, Hilton Washington, Washington, D.C.

CFT Convention, Oakland City Center Marriott, Oakland

May 3

CFT Executive Council, CFT Office, Alameda

It’s not an either/or. Come see us online.

May 16

CFT Division Councils, Manhattan Beach Marriott

On front cover: Community college students march against fee hikes in Sacramento, spring 2003. FRED GLASS, PHOTO

May 17

CFT State Council, Manhattan Beach Marriott

July 10 – 14

AFT Convention, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL

www.cft.org

The California Federation of Teachers is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. 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 Marty Hittelman Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Smith Perspective is published three times during the academic year by CFT’s Community College Council.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE COUNCIL President Carl Friedlander Los Angeles College Guild, Local 1521 3356 Barham Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90068 Email cfriedlander@aft1521.org Direct inquiries regarding the Community College Council to Carl Friedlander Southern Vice President Mona Field Glendale College Guild, Local 2276 1500 N. Verdugo Road Glendale, CA 95020 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 1201 Marina Village Parkway, Suite 115 Alameda, CA 94501 Telephone 510-523-5238 Fax 510-523-5262 Email cftoakland@igc.org Web www.cft.org TO ADVERTISE Contact the CFT Secretary-Treasurer for a current rate card and advertising policies. Dennis Smith, Secretary-Treasurer California Federation of Teachers 2550 North Hollywood Way, Ste. 400 Burbank, CA 91505 Telephone 818-843-8226 Fax 818-843-4662 Email smithd13@aol.com 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 Association. Perspective is printed and mailed by the all-union, environmentally friendly Alonzo Printing in Hayward, California. It is printed on 20% postconsumer content recycled paper using soybased inks.


March 2008

MEMBER PROFILE

PERSPECTIVE

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KENADI LE, PHOTO

Dolores Huerta Labor Institute

New LACCD program throws spotlight on workers across curriculum he Dolores Huerta Labor Institute is not your average labor studies program. In fact, many of the common elements of labor studies—stewards’ and leadership training, costing a union contract or how to run meetings—are not part of its curriculum. In part, this is the case because one campus in the huge Los Angeles Community College system—L.A.Trade Tech—already offers them. But the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute (DHLI) has a different vision.

Former union organizer John Delloro is building the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute in the LACCD into a new kind of labor studies program.

“We want to let the people of L.A. know what it means to be a working person,” says John Delloro, Institute director. “Corporations have gained so much power in our world, and we need our students to take a look at that.” That’s an ambitious goal, but a year after its inauguration, the Institute has made important progress toward it. Delloro’s strategy has been to integrate labor or working-class themes into the curriculum across many disciplines, and at all nine campuses. In its first outreach efforts, the Institute reached 1278 students and 53 faculty in a seven-week period. Delloro met one-on-one with faculty on all nine campuses, and identified 52 instructors interested in bringing labor studies into their classes. It was not easy. “There’s not a lot of knowledge out there about labor studies,” he explains. “Some people thought I was a propaganda arm for unions, and questioned whether we’d take a rigorous approach to their disciplines. I tried to explain that we wanted to look at the conditions

Trade Tech through the years he worked on union staff. “I never let go of the classroom,” he says. The nascent program also decided to concentrate on making resources available to participating faculty, and 36 instructors came together to plan a series of speakers on campuses. They invited people like Karen Brodkin, author of Making Democracy Matter, who spoke about her study of the labor movement. Patrick Finn from the State University of New York talked about the way the educational system produces social inequality. In addition to recognized academics, the speaker series featured workers who described conditions in the health care industry, or their organizing efforts at Los Angeles International Airport, LAX. A timely (and heated) panel including representatives of the California Nurses Association and the Service Employees discussed health care reform with a representative of the governor’s office. Dolores Huerta, founder of the United Farm Workers, for whom the Institute was named, gave a

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“We want to connect the classes to what’s happening in the outside world. We want students to see real campaigns and movements.” and history of working people through the perspective of all the subjects taught in community college.” Practical consideration In English 101 students in one class were asked to write about working people. In history they were urged to consider the moments when labor played a role in social and political events. A labor perspective, Delloro says, is a practical way of reaching community college students, many of whom work, and are only on campus for limited periods of time. “We’re trying to recreate a culture on campus, and make it relevant to the

workplace,” he says. A team of supporters, including the Los Angeles Community College Faculty Guild,AFT Local 1521, the Los Angeles County Labor Federation, the UCLA Labor Center and the Labor Studies program at Trade Tech, cooperated in finding the necessary support from L.A.area unions. Including matching funds allocated by the LACCD’s Board of Trustees, they raised over $200,000 per year for three years. After the kickoff in March of last year, Delloro became DHLI’s first director. The organizing group wanted someone with both academic and labor credentials. Delloro started with the huge culinary union in Las Vegas, then became a regional manager for the California State Employees (SEIU Local 1000), and finally worked as staff director for SEIU Local 399 on the union’s campaigns to organize workers at the Tenet and Catholic Healthcare West hospital chains. Delloro also had a degree in Asian American studies, and taught labor history at

speech, and the Multi-ethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing Network (MIWON) and other organizers of the recent immigrant rights marches came as well. Cutting edge Two University of California labor academics, Mike Davis and Nelson Lichtenstein, proposed bringing a group of labor scholars together for a retreat to discuss ways of strengthening the Institute’s program.As a result, 80 scholars and community college faculty gathered in October. Delloro used small breakout sessions, mixing the disciplines of participants, to discuss ideas for labor-themed curricula. Unions gave presentations about cuttingedge organizing efforts. “We want to connect the classes to what’s happening in the outside world,” Delloro emphasizes. “We want students to see real campaigns and movements.” Over the year, the DHLI staff grew to include Kenadi Le, who left a high-paying job as a lawyer Delloro continued on page 7

Board of Governors president Albiani victim of partisan grandstanding ou might think that the impressive resume of Katherine “Kay”Albiani would have provided her with some protection against narrow partisan political agendas. Appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the statewide board of the California Community Colleges a year ago January, she came up for confirmation January 14, 2008 before the full State Senate.

BOARD OF GOVERNORS OFFICE

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Albiani hopes for no litmus tests in future.

And she came up short. Albiani, you see, had voted last year—along with the entire Board of Governors—to endorse SB 160, the California Dream Act, which would have enabled the children of undocumented workers to qualify, like other students, for community college fee waivers and other forms of financial aid. This was too much for xenophobic Senate Republicans, who were able to block her appointment on a party-line vote. The confirmation vote, 23-13 for Albiani, nonetheless failed because it required two-thirds for passage.

A member of the Los Rios Community College District Board of Trustees since 1996, Albiani had also served several terms on the Elk Grove Unified School District Board before that. She is a past president of the California School Boards Association, and of the Los Rios Board. She also happened to be the sitting president of the Board of Governors. Co-owner of the Albiani Land and Livestock Company,Albiani clearly has a perspective about giving back to the community. A middle school in the Elk Grove School District is named in her honor.

None of this mattered to the Senate Republicans, fixated on punishing Albiani for her vote to help immigrants get an education in California. Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman said that the Dream Act would have acted like a magnet. “We have the best benefit package of any state for illegal immigrants, so they come here,” he said. Although the governor vetoed SB 160, he continued to support his appointee to the bitter end. Said Albiani,“I hope and I pray that legislators will no longer force a litmus test upon the governor’s future appointees.” Don’t hold your breath. ccc By Fred Glass


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PERSPECTIVE

March 2008

STATEWIDE KARA BUCHANAN, PHOTO

Doing the math

Revenue versus cuts or some people, the projected $16 billion state budget deficit is an example of “over-spending.” They say,“We must learn to live within our means.” When we hear this line we need to remember to ask, “How can we afford to give to Californians the public services they truly need and deserve?”

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The biggest single portion of the California budget goes to public education, including K-12 and community colleges, enshrined by the voters when they approved Proposition 98. That's roughly 40% of the roughly 120 billion dollar budget. Is too much being spent on public education in California? Consider

(Public Policy Institute of California). Clearly, California is not spending too much on education. In fact, California is woefully under-funding education. Is the state spending too much on fire prevention? Ask victims of the southern California firestorms of last year. On healthcare? Ask the state's nearly seven million

There are options that would not adversely affect the average Californian, but would allow our state to educate us, keep us safe, and protect our health. The founders of the republic did not say, “No new taxes, ever.” They said, “No taxes without representation.” We do elect the representatives. They are in the Governor's office and the Legislature. They just need to get straight who they represent, and how raising the right taxes at the right moment on the right people would help California to move forward. that California ranks 46th in the nation in per-pupil spending for its six and half million students (EducationWeek). Per-pupil funding in the golden state's community colleges ranks 45th for its two and a half million students

medically uninsured if they think too much money is being spent on health care delivery. And so on down the line, from road repair to disaster preparedness: services recklessly cut, with the predictable results.

Some claim that government is riddled with fraud and waste. Could we find some examples of fraud and waste in state government? No doubt. Eliminating that evil was one of the promises made by the Governor in his election campaign. Recently, asked by a reporter how much waste and fraud he had uncovered, the governor admitted he hadn't found as much as he had thought there was; not enough, he said, to make a big difference in the state budget. So much for ideology versus reality. If we are to face, head on, the need for state services, we need to consider increased revenue.We cannot continue to cut programs that serve students, the elderly, and the ill. One immediate solution would be to reinstate Pete Wilson'sVehicle License Fee, which would now bring in about $6 billion per year. If theVehicle License Fee had not been reduced when Arnold Schwarzenegger came into office, we would not be in the mess that we are in. Each of us could pay what we had previously been paying to address our current budget crisis.That was Governor Pete Wilson’s solution to a budget shortfall, and that is what the current governor should do. It is possible that a budget can

CFT president Marty Hittelman tells reporters that the governor’s budget is bad news for education at a January press conference in Sacramento.

simultaneously be a whole lot of money and also not enough money. That is precisely the situation we face now in California. We can choose to stick our head in the mathematical sand and imagine $120 billion in isolation from social reality, and simply say, “We're overspending.” Or we can raise up our head, count the people on top of the sand, and place the money in context with the largest population of any state and say,“That's not enough to meet our needs.” We need greater state revenues through fair tax policies—policies that acknowledge we do have the money in the richest state in the richest country on earth, but it's in the wrong pockets. Besides reinstating theVLF, let's just mention one corporate tax loophole to close. As oil prices climb through the roof, California remains the only oil-producing

state that has no severance tax on black gold as it emerges from the ground. That would, at today's prices, bring in close to a billion dollars per year. There are similar options that would not adversely affect the average Californian, but would allow our state to educate us, keep us safe, and protect our health. The founders of the republic did not say,“No new taxes, ever.” They said,“No taxes without representation.” We do elect the representatives. They are in the Governor's office and the Legislature. They just need to get straight who they represent, and how raising the right taxes at the right moment on the right people would help California to move forward. ccc

$4 billion from education, including $483 million from the community colleges. The largest part of that reduction would come from eliminating the 2008-09 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), which, at 4.94%, otherwise would have totaled $292 million. Enrollment growth would be reduced to one per cent. Community college enrollment demand is estimated by the State Department of Finance to be closer to three per cent. By providing funding for only one per cent, the state budget saves $112 million, but at a cost of jeopardizing access for 50,000 students. A 10.9% across the board reduction in all categorical programs would amount to $80 million. In addition to the proposed cuts in next year’s budget, another $31 million could come out of the community colleges by making the midyear cut of

2007-08 permanent. These are only the cuts to community colleges. The governor is proposing to do similar things to health care, transportation, public safety, and the rest of the state budget.

By Marty Hittelman, President, California Federation of Teachers

Community colleges face cuts

Governor proposes to slash state budget aced with a state budget deficit largely of his own making,Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to balance the budget on the backs of students,the elderly,the poor and the ill. He wants to impose midyear cuts to education,and for the coming year reduce spending by 10% across the board. This would address a shortfall of $4.3 billion this year and a projected $11.7 billion next year,for a total deficit of $16 billion.

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The budget proposal he submitted in January will be discussed in the Legislature until May, when the Governor’s proposal will be revised (“the May Revise”) based on updated financial information and the ideas that have emerged from analysis and debate. Unless the Legislature is able to agree on a revenue-generating package, and get the Governor to play along, the budget will be extremely ugly. Here are the lowlights.

Midyear cuts The governor proposed a midyear reduction of $400 million to K-12 schools and community colleges, of which the community college share would be $40 million. He asked the community college Chancellor’s office to identify one-time reductions, which he would consider as an alternative to permanent cuts. These would come from already allocated monies that have not yet been spent on vari-

ous programs. The Chancellor’s office has come up with $31 million in these categories, a figure the Governor accepted as adequate, and that is what the Legislature is now working with. The coming budget year The governor has proposed suspending Prop 98 for the coming fiscal year. This frees him from the requirement to base next year’s funding on this year’s budget. His proposal would slash

What you can do “Remember, this is a budget proposal. It is not a done deal,” reminds CCC president Carl Friedlander. “Its passage in its present form would depend on the agreement of the Legislature, and our elected representatives are people with ears.” Discussions are underway among public sector unions and CFT’s allies in the labor movement and the education community about a united response. It is likely that there will be coordinated efforts to convince the public and elected officials in Sacramento that at State budget continued on page 7


March 2008

POLITICS

PERSPECTIVE

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VVIRGINIA MEDRANO ROSALES, PHOTO

Prop 92

How we lost, why it’s not all bad espite an outpouring of effort by volunteer faculty,students,staff,and a host of community supporters,Proposition 92 went down to defeat February 5. But as a result of the campaign,the public and policymakers are more aware of the Scores of campus events for Prop 92 were held across the state, like the San Mateo press conference and forum organized by AFT Local centrality of community colleges to California’s economy and society.

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The ballot proposition would have lowered student fees and changed the Prop 98 funding formula to add approximately $300 million per year to the community colleges, without harming K-12 funding. At a time of skyrocketing tuition and fees for four year colleges, Prop

According to campaign organizers, there were several factors that contributed to the voters’ rejection of the measure. State Budget Deficit One significant difference between the political climate on February 5 and when the plan

If we are demoralized by this electoral defeat and fail to act, we will fall back to square one. Alternatively, we could build on the gains of the campaign—especially heightened public awareness of the issues—to push for a legislative solution. 92 would have preserved access to affordable higher education for California’s working families. So why did Prop 92 fail?

was conceived two years ago is the arrival on the scene of the state budget deficit. Now at $16 billion, the budget gap was not yet in existence when the Com-

munity College Initiative was hatched. The deficit pushed many voters in the direction of “can’t afford it now.” “It’s unfortunate, because the state deficit is probably going to prove the necessity of something like Prop 92 to protect community college funding,” laments CCC president Carl Friedlander. Friedlander also said the legislature, which has reduced the community college’s statutory share of Prop 98 funding eighteen out of the past twenty years, is likely to extend that track record this year, or perhaps raise student fees again. CTA opposition California’s political history demonstrates that when voters are confused about a ballot proposition they tend to vote “No.” CFT and CTA are usually on the same side in ballot proposition battles. The split over 92 between the two organi-

1493. From left to right, Jeremy Ball, president, CSM Academic Senate, Michael Claire, president, College of San Mateo, Dan Kaplan, Executive Director, AFT 1493, Richard Holober, president, SMCCD Board of Trustees, Richael Young, student Trustee, Ernie Rodriguez, President, AFT 1493.

zations was often mentioned by reporters, but usually with little insight into why the difference. The bigger question is why did CTA do this? Their main argument, repeated ad nauseum in paid and earned media alike— “It may take money from K12”—they knew to be false.

segments of public education. Many K-12 teachers did understand that.The three K-12 teacher union locals affiliated with both CFT and CTA (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Paso Robles) overwhelmingly endorsed Prop 92. But it wasn’t enough.

Their own community college locals supported 92, but they could not convince the rest of the leadership of CTA to come aboard. This was in contrast to what happened inside CFT, and speaks to the philosophical and political differences between the two organizations. CFT is part of the labor movement and CTA is not. CFT members have a broader social vision, and a better understanding that helping the community colleges helps all

Underfunded campaign California is a big state with a huge, far flung population. To reach everyone, statewide elections need a saturation level of TV and radio advertising, generally at least $10 million. We didn’t have a third of that to spend. Bad timing It could not be foreseen when the initiative was first conceived Prop 92 continued on page 6

Commission issues report on public employee post-employment benefits rnold Schwarzenegger attacked public employee retirement benefits in 2005, calling their potential costs “a ticking time bomb,” and claiming that they threatened taxpayers and the state budget with huge unfunded liabilities. His proposed solution to the perceived problem was to abolish STRS and other existing defined benefit pension plans for state employees and replace them with defined contribution plans like 401Ks.

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This perspective did not sit well with public employees and their unions, including CFT. Defined benefit plans are more stable than defined contribution plans. They assume there is less risk involved for retirees when retirement security is considered a shared, social obligation, rather than leaving individuals vulnerable to shifts in financial markets. Defined benefits were the standard pension format for half a century in public employment as well as in the private sector. But a conservative attack on defined benefits, originating in the pri-

vate sector, spilled over at the federal level into an effort to privatize Social Security by the Bush administration. Schwarzenegger’s move was considered by public employee union leaders to be cut from the same cloth. The fight over public employee pension plans helped to fuel a movement against Schwarzenegger’s proposals, which also included other anti-worker ballot propositions. The pension initiative was so poorly written that when its flaws were revealed to the public by a concerted public

worker union campaign the governor pulled it rather than place it on the ballot, even though he had already spent millions on signature gathering. Rethought the approach Schwarzenegger was urged by right wing legislators like Tom McClintock and Keith Richman to revise and resubmit his pension proposal, but after losing his fall 2005 special election campaign, the Governor rethought his approach. As a result, he formed a bipartisan panel, the Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission, to make recommendations to the legislature. The Commission met throughout 2007, holding public hearings and soliciting input. Among those who made presentations to the Commission were CFT president Marty Hittelman and Community College Coun-

cil president Carl Friedlander. The twelve member Commission issued its report,“Funding Pensions and Retiree Health Care for Public Employees,” in January 2008. The final report identified the health care benefits for which California governments are liable and which remain unfunded; evaluated and compared various approaches for addressing government’s unfunded retirement health care and pension obligations; and proposed a plan to address these obligations. Friedlander says,“I think the recommendations are sensible and balanced, which is why Keith Richman and company are so unhappy with the Commission’s conclusions.” At the heart of the report is its recommendation that “Public agencies providing OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) ben-

efits should adopt prefunding as their policy,” as distinct from past “pay as you go” practice of most government agencies for retiree health care. In arriving at its recommendations, the Commission worked from three principles: 1) decent public employee benefits serve the public good by enabling public employers to recruit and retain qualified public employees; 2) the costs of promised benefits should be transparent, actuarially sound, and paid for during the careers of the beneficiaries; and 3) to build taxpayer support and trust, the benefits adoption process should be publicly transparent. Legislation is currently in draft stages to take up the Commission’s recommendations. You may view the Final Report at http://www.pebc.ca.gov/. By Fred Glass


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PERSPECTIVE

March 2008

LEGISLATION

Working the Floor Judith Michaels, CFT Legislative Director

Legislative Update

Two Bills for 2008 eeping academics sound, promoting access, and preserving academic freedom, will challenge us as we struggle to keep our colleges staffed and treat faculty who work part-time fairly. The state revenue imbalance means that next year’s budget may imperil our colleges, as the legislature and the governor discuss suspending Proposition 98, the overall voter-approved funding guarantee for K-12 and community colleges. CFT is backing two bills designed to protect faculty rights and fair employment policies.

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Part-Time Faculty Priorities After extensive discussion and debate, the CFT part-time committee decided, and the CFT State Council concurred, that a change in “the 60 percent law” to 67 percent would benefit not only individual faculty but also the institutions in which they teach, enabling temporary adjunct faculty who teach fourand five-unit classes to teach more than one class in a particular community college district. Intended as a means to distinguish between full-time tenured and part-time temporary teaching, California’s 60 percent law instead has encouraged districts to hire part-time faculty when full-time faculty would be more appropriate. An unintended effect of this threshold has been that many adjunct teachers must drive outside a given district to pick up additional community college teaching assignments and to piece together a full-time schedule.Travel costs coupled with juggling multiple assign-

ments in several districts harm not only adjunct faulty members but also their students and the educational enterprise itself. Many excellent teachers tire of waiting for a full-time position and leave teaching.Those who remain cannot get fully involved in campus life because they are constantly on the road. In some disciplines, in-class teaching hours limit the actual hours a part-timer can teach in a single district. In other disciplines curriculum decisions create teaching situations that mean an adjunct instructor cannot even be assigned a full 60 percent of currently allowed hours without splitting teaching blocks. Examples abound in mathematics, foreign languages, English, and in some of the sciences. The minor percentage change preserves the goal that 75 percent of classes should be taught by full-time faculty, affirming state law AB 1725, and leaving protections intact as temporary adjunct faculty gain some

economic means to remain teaching. In times of course cutbacks, the new threshold could mean, in some districts, that the cancellation of one low enrollment class would not force the teacher to lose office hours or health benefits. Opportunity strikes It became possible to enter this bill language into the Legislature at the end of January, when Assemblyman Dymally decided to amend Assembly Bill 591 to cut costs and move it through the Assembly and on to the Sen-

AB 591 awaits action in the Senate this spring, allowing time to discuss the need for the change in the legislature and with community college administrators and trustees, who need assurances that the bill will actually do what we intend.Additionally, we await resolution on bargaining unit issues, especially for units currently defined by teaching 60 percent and below. Furthermore, some see merit in developing statutory language that would make the issue of whether and to what extent districts could hire faculty at 67 percent require a written agreement with the faculty union representing temporary faculty working between 60 or 67 per-

AB 591 now changes the definition of a temporary employee from one who teaches for no more than 60 percent of the hours per week considered to be a regular full-time faculty assignment, to one who teaches less than 67 percent. ate. AB 591 now changes the definition of a temporary employee from one who teaches for no more than 60 percent of the hours per week considered to be a regular full-time faculty assignment, to one who teaches less than 67 percent. CFT now co-sponsors the bill.

cent of a full-time load. Similarly, we await clarity on whether unions could bargain about eligibility for contract or regular status for these employees, including whether such service could be used for calculating eligibility for contract or regular status.

FACE is now ACR 91 Last year we sponsored the Faculty and College Excellence Act, or FACE (AB 1343-Mendoza) and took it through the Assembly Higher Education Committee to the Appropriations Committee. FACE is part of a national AFT campaign. Different in particulars in every state, the Faculty and College Excellence Act nonetheless everywhere shares two goals: ensuring that all faculty members receive the financial and professional support they need to do their best work, and establishing a better balance between the number of full-time tenured faculty, and part- and full-time nontenure-track faculty.We hoped for an outcome that would advance faculty priorities. But the new year brought ballot defeat and dire budget projections, which threw FACE into limbo. Now Assemblyman Mendoza has re-cast AB 1343 into a legislative resolution,ACR 91, so that we can engage legislators and develop interim measures as we search for a mechanism that will properly fund our colleges. The Resolution is scheduled for hearing before the Assembly Higher Education Committee March 4. We plan to organize testimony and highlight the issue during the community college lobbying effort scheduled for March 3-4, 2008. ccc

Prop 92 continued from page 5

RALLY AGAINST BUDGET CUTS TO HIGHER EDUCATION • Keep college affordable • No more student fee increases • Close tax loopholes, not schools WHERE: Sacramento WHEN:

April 1, 2008

WHO:

Community college, CSU, and UC students, faculty, staff, administrators, and friends in the broader community.

Let your voice be heard: public higher education needs more funding, not less.

FOR MORE INFO: WWW.APRIL1RALLY.ORG

that “the next election” would be on February 5. That is a miserable time for a community college-based campaign, falling as it does when schools are either just reemerging from the winter break or still not back from it. The momentum built before winter break was lost, and had to be rebuilt quickly before election day. Although dozens of rallies and other public events were held in January around the state, we missed a month of critical campaigning. Deep structural issue Community colleges are educational institutions of the working class. There is a huge ambivalence in American society about class, and the words “middle class” are usually substituted every time that “working class”

would be used in most other countries.The presence in our midst of two and half million students per year, most of whom think the community college experience is important in their lives, should have given us our lever to win. But it is pitted against the sociological reality: How do you explain an institution to the voting public— including the students themselves—that is in large part hidden in front of their eyes? What’s next? We are now at a crossroads. If we are demoralized by this electoral defeat and fail to act, we will fall back to square one. Fees will be raised, already inadequate state funding for the community colleges will languish at their current levels or sink even lower,

and we will lose students who need our services to move forward in their lives. Alternatively, we could build on the gains of the campaign— especially heightened public awareness of the issues—to push for a legislative solution. If we manage to do this, Proposition 92 will turn out not to have been a defeat, but a step on the way to improved community colleges in California. ccc By Fred Glass


March 2008

NEWS

PERSPECTIVE

7

FURUTANI STAFF PHOTO

Assembly welcomes Warren Furutani he state Assembly’s newest member is Warren Furutani, who took his seat representing the 55th A.D. on February 5, Super Tuesday. The special election for this seat, which is located in Long Beach,Wilmington and surrounding areas, occurred after its previous occupant, Laura Richardson, was elevated to the U.S. Congress in another special election to replace Juanita McDonald, who died in office.

T

A former consultant for the Assembly Speaker, Furutani knows his way around the Capitol and around education issues. He previously served as president of both the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, and the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. He was supported by CFT in his bid for the Assembly.

Furutani, 60 years old, is married and has two children. He is a fourth generation Japanese American.As a student activist in the 60s, Furutani worked to create ethnic studies departments in colleges and universities. He has been a leading figure in the Asian Pacific American community in philanthropic and policymaking organizations.

Furutani’s speech at his swearing in ceremony on February 7 focused on his goals. He said,“I start today in fighting for quality and affordable healthcare, making our public schools and universities second-to-none, promoting workforce development for all Californians, and ensuring that California is the greenest state in the nation.” ccc

distribution of union members in the county. Another section will deal with unions themselves. Short pieces will give accurate definitions, describe different models of representation, show how unions are structured, and discuss the development of communitybased workers’ centers like those for Los Angeles’ day laborers, domestic employees, and garment workers. Materials to aid faculty, with suggestions about how to teach labor-themed material in the classroom, reading and film lists, and web links will also be included. The manual will be posted online at the end of February. Initially it will be available to faculty who have made a commitment to using it, but eventu-

ally it will be accessible to anyone. “The whole purpose of this is to encourage faculty to integrate labor studies into their classes,” Delloro says.

Warren Furutani, newest member of the Assembly, is a former community college board trustee from Los Angeles.

Delloro continued from page 3

to do work she considered politically and socially important. Another part time staff member was hired to raise more funds from unions. With more resources, this year the Institute hopes to expand what it can offer faculty. Delloro spent several weeks combing through reams of materials to assemble a primer on teaching labor studies. It has been distilled into a manual that will be divided into sections. One, on economics for working people, will include one-page sheets with diagrams showing how the Los Angeles economy is structured, comparing U.S. living standards with other countries and productivity with wages, dramatizing the pay of corporate executives, and describing the

Plans to offer classes The Institute also plans to begin offering classes. Working with the Academic Senate, Delloro hopes to start this fall, first at East L.A. College. Topics under consideration include Labor History, Sociology of Labor, California Literature and Labor, and World History of Working People, among others. At Harbor College, labor themes were integrated last year into two special tracks of the Program for Accelerated College Education. PACE offers a special program to people who

work during the day, with evening classes at the workplace and special events on weekends. Students can complete their general requirements in two and a half years. One PACE program took place at the union hall of Local 63 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the other at Kaiser Hospital in Harbor City. Students took a tour of the harbor guided by the Harry Bridges Institute, examining how globalization impacts the Los Angeles economy. Another tour focused on the labor history of the city. The Dolores Huerta Labor Institute also set up an internship program. Ninety-three students applied for five positions. Those selected were paid about $300/week for the whole summer,

Key PERB case continued from page 8

in contract negotiations and for policing the administration of an existing agreement/grievance processing.” The decision locates the particular information in question, “investigative report[s] into hostile and unsafe work environment,” in a long list of other relevant information that districts are obligated to provide. The decision says,“Information pertaining to mandatory subjects of bargaining is presumptively relevant,” and that “failure to provide requested information is a per se violation of the duty to bargain in good faith.” The PERB decided that the district had the obligation to

and worked with two SEIU locals, 721 (a public workers union) and United Healthcare Workers West, in organizing drives. The Institute has a MySpace page with contact information, YouTube clips, and lots of comments and announcements from students and supporters: http://profile.myspace.com/ index.cfm?fuseaction= user.viewprofile&friendid=15 0359703 ccc By David Bacon

Disclosure: the author was one of the speakers in the Harbor College program, presenting text and photographs about the links between globalization and U.S. immigration policy.

State budget continued from page 4

demonstrate that turning over the report would compromise the privacy of other employees, and that it hadn’t met that obligation. Negotiable subject In rejecting the district’s claim it didn’t have to provide the report because discrimination complaints weren’t covered by the grievance procedure, the PERB decision held that “although racial discrimination and freedom from a hostile work environment were not grievable under the parties’ memorandum of understanding, such discriminatory conduct was prohibited by the contract, and was a negotiable subject.” In its conclusion, PERB found

that “LRCCD violated its obligation to provide information relevant and necessary to LRCFT’s representational responsibilities, namely, the summary report of the investigation.” The decision told the Los Rios district to take three steps to remedy the violation, which it incorporated into an order that it cease and desist from: • failing to negotiate in good faith with LRCFT by refusing to provide it with information (the report), • denying the Federation its right to represent bargaining unit employees, and • interfering with the rights of bargaining unit employees to be represented by LRCFT.

PERB also said the district had to post a notice saying it won’t fail to provide such information. Murakami has since discovered that there have been similar efforts by human relations departments in other districts to restrict information. “With more conservative changes at the PERB,” he speculates,“perhaps district administrators are trying to see if the board will go along with an expanded interpretation of management rights. In this case, however, the board clearly affirmed our right of fair representation.” ccc By David Bacon

least some of the budget shortfall must be made up through fair tax policies. In the meantime, go to www.cft.org for analysis of the state’s budget problems and progressive revenue solutions. Write or visit your legislators and let them know how the proposed cuts will affect your students. Watch for notice of public demonstrations, and plan to participate. ccc By Fred Glass


8

PERSPECTIVE

March 2008

PATTI BERG, PHOTO

Local Action San Jose

Evergreen bargains pay boost The new contract between the Faculty Association,AFT Local 6157 and the Evergreen Community College District in San Jose is a product of years building a constructive relationship between the union and the district. “Our union is very invested in the district and campus community,” says local president DavidYancey. “We meet regularly with the president, vice-president and members of the board of trustees and with the chancellor, and have educated them about faculty issues over the years. It has really paid off for us.” The recently concluded agreement raises some faculty pay almost ten percent. It contains a full cost of living adjustment of 4.53% increase, retroactive to July 2007. It creates a new twelfth step in the salary schedule, with another 4.53% increase over step 11. According to Barbara Hanfling, executive director for Local 6157, the new step will affect almost 10% of the members of the union bargaining unit. “We felt that older faculty historically hadn’t received enough attention from the union,”Yancey explained. “Negotiating the extra step, which meant that we got the district to come up with $500,000 to fund it, got a positive reaction from everybody. Even people who don’t yet qualify for the step were happy, since lots of them will eventually.” Another reason for the decision was an important advance made in the last contract for faculty at the other end of the scale. A year ago the union and district agreed

in principle to “move all adjunct faculty and fulltime faculty overload onto the fulltime schedule at a pro-rata amount of that schedule,” in the words of a joint union-district letter sent to all members. “We understood the need to show respect, fight for equity, and continue to professionalize the role adjunct faculty play in our district,” the union said in its newsletter. While they agreed in principle, the problem was determining the exact percentage. In negotiations the district agreed to put up $778,000 for the change, and in September it agreed that lecture faculty will receive 65% of the fulltime salary schedule through step 8, and LAB faculty will get 77%. This cost $158,000 more than originally budgeted, but the district has a 14% reserve and this additional amount will hardly make a dent in it. Some instructors received as much as a 24% increase in wages. Both ends benefit Since the adjunct agreement came in September, faculty at both ends of the salary scale wound up making significant gains at more or less the same time. The district also agreed to define its long-range commitment as 100% parity. In addition to salary increases, the new contract increases release time by .5, to 2.1 FTE. The district increased its contribution to medical coverage by $251,000, and agreed to increase dental coverage from $1500 to $2500 per member. Yancey, who’s taught at Evergreen for 27 years, says he’s never seen the union in the position where it is today. “Things really

Seated on salary schedule steps leading to a better future is the negotiations team for San Jose-Evergreen Faculty Association’s new contract. Top row: Debbie de la Rosa, Frank Espinoza. Center: Jory Segal, Barbara Hanfling. Bottom: Mark Newton.

began to change for us when we affiliated with the California Teachers Federation seven years ago,” he recalls. “That allowed us to get a seat on the South Bay Labor Council. Before we came into the council, the district wouldn’t even return our phone calls. We hired Barbara, who’s played a tremendous role, and began ensconcing the union into all aspects of the district’s operations.” The district has had a complete turnover of administrators over the last two years. In effect, the union has become the repository of the district’s history and experience on many issues. Local officers spend a lot of time educating administrators and trustees, developing relationships that help during contract negotiations. To build its own leadership, the local has organized a Council of Division Representatives, similar to a shop steward structure, with members coming to meetings from the different academic

66th Annual CFT Convention: Union Democracy in Action If you would like to have an impact on community college policymaking, you want to be in the Oakland Marriott Hotel on April 11 – 13. Several hundred delegates to the 2008 California Federation of Teachers convention will meet at that time and place to determine the future policies and practices of the statewide organization. The CFT’s annual convention is the organization’s highest decisionmaking body—part union meeting, part education conference, and always a celebration of the membership’s creativity and courage. This year the convention theme is “We do the work—and we vote!” The CCC will present a bank of workshops, including “College courses for high school students,”“Non-credit Adult Ed: Perspectives from community college and K-12 locals,”“Academic Freedom,” “Parity for Part-time faculty,” and more. While speakers and workshop presenters provide food for thought, in the end it will be the membership that puts on the best show. “I always emerge inspired from CFT conventions and from participating in union democracy at this level,” says CFT/CCC president Carl Friedlander. “We always become a stronger organization after the convention, due to the involvement of CFT members in shaping their future.” For more information on the 2008 CFT convention, go to www.cft.org. ccc

departments. Faculty are encouraged to come to union conventions, and the local is planning a retreat for leaders and rank-andfile faculty. The union executive board used to be almost all white and male. It’s now more diverse and reflective of the faculty’s own composition. “Being in a union isn’t like in the old days,”Yancey says. “The college is where we both live and work. The board and trustees used to think of us as the enemy. Now they look at our relationship in the same way we do.” Iris Kachuck expressed the new spirit of faculty at the Evergreen campus when she wrote to the local’s newsletter after the new agreement was announced. “I am proud of the strength of the union,” she said,“and grateful for the professionalism, high standards and dedication of everyone working on our contracts.” ccc By David Bacon

Sacramento

Key PERB case upholds rights in Los Rios In September of 2006 a faculty member at the American River College filed a complaint with the Los Rios Community College District, charging that she’d suffered discrimination and harassment by her supervisors. In so doing she set off a chain of events that led to an important decision upholding the right to representation, and in particular, the right of the union to the information necessary to fulfill its representational responsibilities.

The instructor followed the procedures at the college for dealing with these complaints. They included an investigation by the district, and the issuance of a report with the investigation’s findings. The union contract in the Los Rios District prohibits discrimination, but excludes discrimination complaints from the grievance procedure. “They told her that her complaint wasn’t covered by the contract, only by the District’s own policies and regulations. They encouraged her to resolve it through the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, rather than through the union,” says Dean Murakami, president of AFT Local 2279. “Nevertheless, she asked us to help her. We told the district we wanted to be present during the investigation, and although they refused at first, eventually they dropped that opposition.” Ultimately, the district issued a report saying that there was no basis to the complaint. The faculty member was unhappy with that result. District obligated “We couldn’t advise her about what she might do without access to the report,” Murakami recalls. When the union asked for a copy, the district told it to get one from the complainant. The union insisted that the district itself was obligated to give a copy to the union, to allow it to fulfill its legal duty of fair representation. “We told the district that the contract clearly prohibited discrimination. Without the report, how could we tell her what her options were?” The district continued to refuse. Releasing the report, it said, would violate the privacy rights of the people accused of harassment. The union had no right to it anyway, it claimed. The union filed a complaint with the Public Employment Relations Board in March of last year, and the PERB General Counsel issued a complaint against the district in May. After a hearing, the board finally issued a decision in December upholding the union’s request. The PERB decision contains legal conclusions that are important safeguards for any union under its jurisdiction that needs information to negotiate and process grievances. “It is well established under PERB and NLRB case law,” the decision states at the beginning, “that an exclusive representative is entitled to information sufficient to enable it to understand and intelligently discharge its duty to represent bargaining unit members. ““Relevant and necessary” information must be furnished for representing employees Key PERB case continued on page 7

Perspective, March 2008  

Community College Council

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