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Volume 38, Number 3

May 2007

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

FRED GLASS PHOTO

Teacher, preacher The president of AFT Local 6286 in Victor Valley says that “faith is a journey.”

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Don’t look now… …but for the first time ever, the new president and secretary treasurer of the California Federation of Teachers are community college instructors.

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New health care task force State Senator Sheila Kuehl has reintroduced her California Universal Healthcare Act, SB 840, and the CFT’s new health care task force wants it to become law.

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California Federation of Teachers One Kaiser Plaza, Suite 1440 Oakland CA 94612

Berkeley City College page 7

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

California's biggest, newest community college building opens its doors


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PERSPECTIVE

May 2007

EDITORIAL

Taking the Lead Carl Friedlander, CFT Community College Council President

Time for a discussion he California Community Colleges are, as far as I know, the only system of higher education in the United States where all full-time faculty (except for long term substitutes and those hired to work in specially funded programs) are tenured or tenure track. Unlike University of California and California State University, we have no full-time “contingent faculty,” faculty who may be respectably paid and benefited but who are hired on one year or multi-year contracts without eligibility for tenure. In the California Community Colleges, all contingent faculty are part-timers.

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The so-called “60% law” prevents college districts from hiring contingent faculty whose workload exceeds 60% of a fulltimer’s. Faculty who work the equivalent of full-time in a California community college district for more than a year must be placed on tenure track. Districts monitor assignments carefully to prevent these “accidental tenure” situations from occurring. Faculty can and do disagree about the benefits of the 60% law for our system.There are powerful arguments to be made on both sides of the issue. Part-timers who desire additional teaching opportunities at community colleges chafe under the 60% law, frustrated by the significant obstacles it poses to their efforts to stitch together a livable income. From the perspective of these part-timers, there’s nothing good about a law that forces you to drive to multiple districts to circumvent its limitations and piece together the equivalent of a full-time assignment, although for a fraction of the pay of fulltimers. In effect the system is saying to part-time faculty,“We pay

If the 60% limit were eliminated, would full-time nontenure track faculty in the California community colleges displace tenured faculty? Or could the tenured core be preserved while the new class of nontenure track faculty provided an upgrade in status for our current class of part-timers? you less but must protect the system by limiting your employment opportunities and thus preventing employers from overusing you.”Talk about adding insult to injury. The arguments in favor of the 60% law are rooted in concern over tenure, in the belief that the preservation of tenure requires the continued existence and enforcement of the 60% law. Does the 60% law protect tenure and the full-time faculty core by limiting the ability of districts to misuse and overuse our system’s only class of contingent faculty, part-timers? Without the 60%

law, supporters argue, districts would run amok (amoker?) hiring lower paid, unbenefited adjunct faculty without load limits.Tenured faculty positions would disappear. If the 60% limit were eliminated, would full-time nontenure track faculty in the California community colleges displace tenured faculty? Or could the tenured core be preserved while the this new class of nontenure track faculty provided an upgrade in status for our current class of part-timers? Is our system’s current two-tiered faculty employment model inherently

superior to the two-tiered or multi-tiered models of CSU, UC and other systems across the country or could we benefit from borrowing the full-time nontenure track classification common to those other systems? In 2006 the CFT Convention voted (around 60-40) to oppose increasing the 60% limit to 80%, a proposal that tinkered with the magnitude of the limit but sidestepped the larger question of whether the system should create a new class of full-time nontenure track faculty. In 2007 the CCC and Convention voted, with virtually no discussion, to “oppose unless amended”AB 591 (Dymally).The “Dymally bill,” authored by the legislator who created the 60% limit and for whom it is named, proposed to eliminate the 60% limit altogether and provide full pro rata pay and benefits to a new class of full-time nontenure track faculty. While there were flaws in the bill unrelated to the elimination of the 60% limit, it’s clear from the controversy generated by CFT’s position that the time for a full airing of and debate on the issue has arrived. Most of the problems with AB 591 unrelated to 60% elimination have been fixed, and the bill is now a twoyear bill. So the question of whether we support the elimination of the 60% rule tied to pro rata pay and benefits is now squarely before us. It’s a debate we’ve never really had.We’ll start the discussion at our May 11 Community College Council meeting.You’ll be reading and hearing a lot about this important issue over the next year. Please let us hear your point of view, at Council meetings, through letters, listserv posts or emails to cfriedlander@aft1521.org. ccc

MARK YOUR 2007 CALENDAR June 25 – 27

CFT Leadership Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles

July 1

Deadline for continuing college students to submit CFT scholarship applications

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.

www.cft.org

July 12 – 15

AFT QuEST Conference, Hilton Washington, Washington D.C.

July 29 – August 3

AFT Union Leadership Institute West, Asilomar, Pacific Grove

September 14 – 15

CFT Executive Council, CFT office, Burbank

September 28

Community College Council, Oakland Airport Hilton

September 29

CFT State Council, Oakland Airport Hilton

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

On front cover: Chuck Wollenberg, historian and long-time instructor at Vista College, now Berkeley City College, in front of the new campus in downtown Berkeley. The “V” shape above the doorway is meant to suggest an open book. FRED GLASS PHOTO

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 Donna Nacey Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, Local 2279 1127 - 11th Street, #806 Sacramento, CA 95814 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.


May 2007

MEMBER PROFILE

PERSPECTIVE

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NEAL KELSEY PHOTOS

Don Peavy: teacher, preacher, union leader

Faith is a journey on Peavy is a preacher. He is also a teacher. And he’s not only been elected president of his local faculty union at Victor Valley College, but was recently appointed to the Higher Education Program and Policy Council of the American Federation of Teachers.

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“I’m trying to unite the academy with the real world,” Peavy says. “Philosophy, for instance, can become an academic exercise with little utility in the day to day life of our students. I’m looking for the practical application of ideas in their everyday lives. Instead of asking questions with no answers, I’m seeking a way of living in the world.” To this end, he even shows his students first-run movies,“so they can see people struggling with the issues we discuss in class.” Peavy has been teaching religious studies at Victor Valley since 2001, and spent two years teaching at the University of Phoenix before that. But teaching and religious studies are one arc of a long circle that has taken him through other careers and places. Religious calling He was born in Fort Worth, Texas. As a teenager during the race riots following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he went to Detroit to help protect his sister. That took him into a job in an auto assembly plant,“an experience that quickly taught me that I wanted to go to college.” Even then he had a religious calling, and received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University after

“People often refer to ‘faculty and part-timers’ as though we had two faculties,” Peavy explains. “We want people to understand that at Victor Valley there’s only one faculty, which includes both full and part-timers.” attending community college in Fort Worth. He began preaching, while also going on to the University of Texas in Austin, where he received a law degree. Peavy pursued higher education with energy and persistence, returning to Texas Christian University for religious studies, and then going on to get a Ph.D. from Hamilton University in Wyoming. Today he’s still in school, working on another Ph.D. at Claremont College in theology, ethics and culture. “I’m pursuing the answers to burning questions that rage deep within me, yet all I seem to be achieving is more questions,” he laughs.

Another journey In 1977 he left the ministry. For the next two decades he worked as a successful attorney in Texas. In the mid-90s’ however, a set of profound experiences changed his life. “First, I heard a friend preach a sermon that made me feel there was something wrong with my life,” he recalls. Then a judge sentenced him to jail for 24 hours for contempt of court. “When I went into the cell, I felt it was giving me a break from a life that seemed increasingly insane.” Finally, a tornado tore through Ft.Worth, and wrecked half of the office building in which he worked. “It demolished my office, while the one across the hall was left untouched. The day after that, I put my clothes in my Isuzu Trooper and drove off to the seminary.” Becoming active in the union at Victor Valley was another journey. Peavy interprets his role as a teacher as a responsibility to students, and “to making the academy a better place.” He quotes Socrates’ exhortation that teaching should create a better person. “So that’s my role as an activist—to make this a better place, and particularly to be responsible to the parttime instructors.” Peavy himself is a part-timer, and the union at

Pursuing the answers to burning questions.

Victor Valley consists of parttime faculty. Nevertheless, he says, his experience in the auto plant made him suspicious of unions, especially since he was obligated to join without understanding the union’s purpose. Then he lived many years in Texas, a right-to-work state where mandatory union membership is prohibited. “At Victor Valley I discovered that although I could go somewhere else, this would not be consistent with my responsibility towards others. So I became a union member, and then an activist.” Two years ago, to his great surprise, Jack Robinson, an instructor who headed the original faculty organizing committee, asked him to run for President. Temporary Insanity “In a moment of temporary insanity, I accepted,” Peavy remembers. “Actually, I wrestled with the decision, and at

first said I didn’t want to do it. Now, after two years, I’m glad I finally accepted. I believe I’ve made a difference, and it’s certainly made me a different person. And I’ve met many remarkable people. I’ve attended my first political rally, when our state convention marched to the Capitol building in Sacramento. It rained that day—par for the course.” Five years ago, part-time faculty at the Victor Valley Community College District decided to join the California Federation of Teachers, and formed Part-time Faculty United— AFT Local 6286. Their board of trustees, however, would not respect their decision, and insisted that they had to be represented by the full-time faculty union (CTA) that had never acted on their behalf. In the darkest days of the state budget crisis, the district told part-timers that it faced a possible Faith continued on page 7

Survey Results

AFT community college contract provisions the best Before the start of this academic year, the AFT conducted research to determine the relative strength of two important faculty contract provisions in all California community college districts. The items were binding arbitration and part-time faculty rehire rights. The survey and subsequent analysis showed that AFT community college faculty locals had the best contracts by far in these two areas. In fact, 82% of all AFT local unions had negotiated rehire rights, while only 4% of CTA locals and 30% of independent unions had obtained them. The results showed that 73% of all AFT local unions had negotiated binding arbitration, while just over 50% of CTA locals and 39% of independent unions had won that protection. ccc

LOCALS WITH BINDING ARBITRATION AFT = 73%

CTA = 54%

IND = 39%

CTA = 4%

IND = 30%

LOCALS WITH PT REHIRE RIGHTS AFT = 82%


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PERSPECTIVE

May 2007

STATEWIDE

n Sunday, March 20, Marty Hittelman and Dennis Smith made California Federation of Teachers history when they were elected President and Secretary Treasurer, respectively, of the statewide union, at the CFT’s annual convention. What made things interesting was that each unseated a long time incumbent. What made it historic was this is the first time since the 1940s that a higher education member was elected CFT president, and the first time ever that the top two officer positions are filled by community college faculty.

FRED GLASS PHOTO

Hittelman and Smith elected to lead CFT O

and speaking on behalf of higher education employees, not just the community college segment. Hittelman has been a social activist all his life—so much so that it’s hard to disentangle the personal and political dimensions of his existence.As a high school student, he traveled to UC Berkeley to attend the founding meeting of SLATE, a student political group that eventually led to the Free Speech Movement. His wife, Sandra Lepore, is the Executive Secretary of the classified employees local in the L.A. Community College District. He cherishes his decades-long friendship with Jackie Goldberg,

TERRY HAJEK PHOTO

It’s not that far a stretch for Marty Hittelman, newly-elected CFT president, to represent the voices of all CFT members. True, it was as leader of the CFT’s Community College Council that the Valley College math instructor became one of the most respected advocacy voices for community colleges in California. But he is quick to point out he began his teaching career in high school, and has served as the Senior Vice President of the CFT for the past sixteen years. In that capacity he often found himself defending K-12 programs, helping classified employees organize and bargain,

Dennis Smith, accounting instructor, is the newly-elected CFT Secretary Treasurer.

former Compton teacher and union leader, Los Angeles City Council member, and Assemblywoman. In his local,AFT 1521 in Los Angeles, he served in every officer position from grievance rep to president. He has been a delegate to the labor council, and is a member of the national AFT Higher Education Program and Policy Council. He has represented the CFT on various political coalition leadership bodies, and served as campus academic senate president as well as in statewide Academic Senate leadership. He admits that he has catch-up work to do on K-12 policy, and intends to rely on close consultation with Sue Westbrook, the recently elected President of the EC/K-12 Council, and Laura Rico, the ABC Federation of Teachers leader who became CFT Senior Vice-President at the March convention, for advice and work in that area. Since taking office as CFT President, Hittelman, a prodigious reader, has immersed himself in No Child Left Behind-related literature. He says,“Even if NCLB was better funded, it would still be a failed approach to producing quality educational outcomes.” He rejects the NCLB premise that “a

Marty Hittelman, math instructor and lifetime activist, was elected CFT president at the March Convention.

large number of teachers and other educational employees are not doing their best to educate our students.” He is critical, often in a colorful fashion, of the NCLB premise that standardized testing, by itself, improves education. In response, he quotes the proverb,“You can weigh the pig as many times as you want, but that won’t make it any fatter.” Not surprisingly, that saying is a familiar one to Dennis Smith, too, since the former president of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers ran a successful accounting business and has taught accounting for many years. Indeed, he based his campaign for the office of CFT Secretary Treasurer on his financial acumen and promise to improve CFT’s budgetary situation. Like Hittelman, Smith is no stranger to union office and brings leadership skills from other sources too. He agreed when asked by the local president at Los Rios to “just write a few checks a month” when the treasurer resigned. He went on to serve on the local’s bargaining team, soon as chief negotiator, and was then elected union president. Becoming active in statewide union affairs, he was chosen to serve as Secretary by the CFT Community College Council.

For the past year he has been wearing another hat: President of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges. And now, chief financial officer of the CFT. This is an interesting turn of events for someone who, as a former businessman and business instructor, was not sure he wanted to join a union when he began teaching. But Smith explains that his formative years as one of seven kids in a working class family (and the only one to go to college) helped him to quickly understand the significance of a union in working people’s lives. At his first AFT convention he had an epiphany when the delegates marched to support shipyard and hotel workers in New Orleans. “I thought to myself, if my own parents had had a union, our family would have been much better off for it. That really increased my commitment.” Smith has already had his baptism of fire speaking on behalf of the broader constituency in the CFT. In mid-April he was interviewed on a Sacramento public radio show about a recent spate of reports on K-12 issues. Said Smith,“Afterwards I heard from friends who had listened, and they told me I made sense. I took that as a sign I was learning the ropes.” ccc

Community College Initiative qualifies for ballot

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Smith. “We don’t have a lot of resources compared with some organizations. But we put in a true union effort to make it happen.” Smith pointed out that it wasn’t just the community college locals that gave money and volunteer time for signature gathering, but every constituency in the organization. The ballot measure,if passed by the electorate,will lower student fees to $15 per unit,untie the community college funding formula from K-12 enrollments,and establish a bilateral governance structure for community colleges (locally elected boards and the statewide Board of Governors) in the state constitution similar to the structures in place for UC and CSU. Smith says there are three things supporters can do to help get the initiative passed: contribute money, educate the public by writing letters to the editor of local newspapers and speaking up at community events, and help register family and friends to vote. For more information and tools for action, go to www.cft.org. ccc

ILLUSTRATION GARY HUCK

ood news for community college faculty, students and staff: California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced on April 24 that the “Community College Governance, Funding Stabilization, and Student Fee Reduction Act” has qualified for the February 2008 ballot. The ballot measure qualification effort received major support from the California Federation of Teachers,AFT Local 1521, the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, and numerous CFT locals. Backers had been a little nervous, because a simple random sample count, used to determine if a full count was needed to pass the legal threshold for qualification, had fallen just short a couple months earlier. But it was all smiles from the coalition leadership at a press conference following the official verification. “I’m proud to belong to a union, the CFT, that contributed so wholeheartedly to this campaign,” said CFT Secretary-Treasurer Dennis


May 2007

POLITICS

n February the California Federation of Teachers convened a health care task force, drawing eighteen members from locals across the state. The group includes elected leaders, staff, and rank and file members of the union, charged with developing policy recommendations regarding the escalating, multi-faceted health care crisis, and coordinating the areas of health policy work in which the union is involved.

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“All you have to do is look across the border in Canada, or to any other advanced industrial nation. For fewer dollars than we spend on health care in the United States, they cover everyone with quality health care. We have nearly fifty million people in this country without coverage, the number of people covered at the workplace is steadily decreasing, and the quality of medical care is deteriorating before our eyes for those of us who still have it, because we are the only country without some form of universal coverage.” Also in February, State Senator Sheila Kuehl reintroduced SB 840, the CFT-backed “California Universal Healthcare Act,” her legislative effort to address the state’s health care woes. Working on the campaign for SB 840 is a central focus of the CFT task force. “All you have to do is look across the border in Canada, or to any other advanced industrial nation,” says Mike Weimer, a CFT legislative advocate and chair of the new task force. “For fewer dollars than we spend on health care in the United States, they cover everyone with quality health care. We have nearly fifty million people in this country without coverage, the number of people covered at the workplace is steadily decreasing, and the quality of medical care is deteriorating before our eyes for those of us who still have it, because we are the only country without some form of universal coverage.” Collective bargaining problems In district after district throughout the state, collective bargaining has stumbled over growing costs of health insurance. Negotiations are escalating to impasse at a higher rate than seen in many years, usually triggered by the health care issue. Indeed, recent estimates show

that over 14% of school and community college payroll is now devoted to covering health insurance, and the costs are rising. Because of these problems, CFT representatives are participating in a growing tangle of committees, coalitions, and studies, each attempting to deal with different aspects of the crisis. To coordinate this work, and synthesize union policy in a rapidly changing environment, former CFT president Mary Bergan convened the health care task force. “We were involved in more and more labor, legislative and collective bargaining initiatives,” says Bergan, who remains a member of the task force. “It was time to have all of us talking with one another in a more structured way.We also needed to make sure we broadened the participation of our members.” In some respects Governor Schwarzenegger’s announcement of a health care proposal precipitated formation of the task force. “When the governor came out for the first time in support of universal health coverage, it began a discussion that we welcomed, and into which legislative leaders entered,” notes CFT president Marty Hittelman, also a task force member.

Schwarzenegger’s proposal relies on an “individual mandate” to require all California residents to purchase health care insurance. But it contains no similar requirements for adequacy of coverage or affordability. Hittelman says,“So far CFT finds only SB 840 meets our standards for health care reform. We hope the governor’s initiative and legislative responses will move California in the direction of a single payer program.” A number of fronts Since its formation in February, the CFT task force has held several meetings, and is working on a number of fronts. Besides sharing information from the evolving work in different coalitions, it has created a postcard to send to Governor Schwarzenegger urging him to sign State Senator Sheila Kuehl’s SB 840 when it reaches his desk. The task force has sent bundles of the postcard to the locals. It has also created a slideshow on a CD, providing an overview of the health care crisis—its origins, the role of private health insurance, a comparison of United States’ and other countries’ systems, and how Senator Kuehl’s bill offers a way forward. The slideshow has likewise been

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STEVE HOPCRAFT PHOTO

CFT launches health care task force, campaign for single payer

PERSPECTIVE

State Senator Sheila Kuehl announces her reintroduction of SB 840, the California Universal Health Care Act, at a spirited rally in Sacramento February 27.

sent to every CFT local, and the state federation is offering speaker training for members who would like to help out in the effort to educate the public about single payer health care. “Single payer” refers to how health care is paid for. In the United States, employers (and increasingly their employees) have traditionally paid the costs of premiums to insurance companies, which then siphon off administrative costs and profits before paying the health care provider for services. There are hundreds of “payers” in the United States through private insurance. A single payer system like Canada’s leaves the choice of provider to the patient, and eliminates all but one “payer,” which is the government. In Canada, where everyone has health coverage, the administrative costs of their single payer

system is about 3%, compared to over 20% for private insurers in the United States. Medicare, which is a single payer system for seniors, has a similar low administrative overhead. Single payer achieves other enormous cost savings through bulk purchases of medical goods, including pharmaceuticals, which is why Canadian prescription drugs are cheaper than in the United States. “One of the hurdles we face is that people think that it’s natural for coverage to come through their employer, and can’t imagine another system,” says Carl Friedlander, president of the CFT Community College Council. “But the United States is an anomaly, not the norm, among advanced industrial economies, and it isn’t working very well anymore to do things this way.” ccc

WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM TALK TO FAMILY, FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS and register them to vote SIGN DEAR GOVERNOR CARDS in support of SB 840 and single payer health care for California. Phone 510-523-5238 for cards. HAVE YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES PASS A RESOLUTION in support of SB 840. WATCH THE CFT SLIDESHOW called Health Care Reform and You to learn about the history and politics of the competing measures, and show it to your colleagues, friends and community groups. Go to www.cft.org to find these and other resources. DESCRIBE YOUR HEALTH CARE DIFFICULTIES to the California Labor Federation, which is collecting stories. Go to www.calaborfed.org, and click on health care. CONTACT YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS to tell them we need health care reform that makes sense and is affordable. DEMONSTRATE The coalition supporting SB 840 is holding a demonstration every day in a different location around the state between now and the fall. Go to www.onecarenow.org/index.html for schedule and locations


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PERSPECTIVE

May 2007

LEGISLATION

Working the Floor Judith Michaels, CFT Legislative Director

FACE campaign moves forward FRED GLASS PHOTO

alifornia needs the Faculty and College Excellence Act (AB 1343, Mendoza) to improve student learning and address the academic staffing crisis in higher education. FACE is a nationwide effort by state and local affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers focused on achieving two goals: ensuring that all faculty members will receive the financial and professional support they need to do their best work, and establishing a better balance between the numbers of full-time tenured faculty and part- and fulltime non-tenure-track faculty. nia Community Colleges. Our The Faculty and College effort is a serious one, aimed not Excellence campaign, a multionly at codifying clear policy, faceted effort involving legislabut also at securing the funds, in tive initiatives, collective both the state budget and at bargaining efforts and organizlocal bargaining tables, to make ing, aims at building the power FACE a reality. of all faculty. Bills introduced To succeed on the transfer or into state legislatures under the technical path, students need the auspices of this campaign range expertise and time of faculty to from the purely ideological to help them progress. But partthe pragmatic, fueled by the time and non-tenured contincommitment of organizations gent faculty teach an increasing and activists willing to continue percentage of courses offered in this effort over time in as many California's colleges and universtates as possible. In addition to our effort, AFT affiliates in four- sities. Colleges hire faculty to work part-time because tempoteen other states—joined in rary part-time employees can be some cases by other faculty economically exploited. organizations—have committed Adjunct faculty do not have to join the FACE campaign. In California, we've partnered contracts or tenure. Even faculty who have worked in districts for with the California Faculty years are considered “tempoAssociation, the California rary” employees, with no guarTeachers Association, and the antee of continued employment. Faculty Association for Califor-

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Why FACE is necessary:

The Palomar example One of the standing arguments against overuse of part-time instructors is that an administrator can use an instructor’s lack of job security to smother academic freedom. This is the flip side of the argument for tenure: that professors need it to protect their ability to speak out honestly and to do what they feel is right, whether it be in the classroom, off campus or assigning grades to their students. This brings us to Palomar College, where last summer a new instructor filed her grades and went on with her life. Until the fall, when she found out that an administrator had unilaterally, without informing her, changed the grades of several students who had attended her class and decided they deserved higher grades. The instructor protested. As if by magic, her class offerings disappeared at Palomar and another college nearby. According to Julie Ivey, co-president of the Palomar Faculty Federation, AFT Local 6161, at the time of this writing the district Academic Senate is wrapping up an informal investigation and is expected to move to a formal one. Meanwhile, the union has filed a grievance, and the District administration has “clarified” that only the instructor of record can sign grade change forms. Ivey notes that while this instructor’s response was “gutsy,” given her contingent employment status,“Involuntary grade changes involving part-time college faculty are, sadly, not uncommon,” and that “Society pays when grades change from an honest measure of achievement into a customer service.” ccc

Assemblyman Tony Mendoza explains (second from right) why AB 1343, the Faculty and College Excellence Act, is necessary at an April 17 press conference. Also speaking were, from left, Dennis Smith, (in his role as FACCC President), Ron Reel, Treasurer, Community College Association/CTA, Marty Hittelman, CFT President, and Susan Meisenhelder, Political Action Chair and former President, California Faculty Association.

Our effort is a serious one, aimed not only at codifying clear policy, but also at securing the funds, in both the state budget and at local bargaining tables, to make FACE a reality. This precarious status is bad for students and bad for community colleges, since it limits teacher

time with students, impacts an adjunct's academic freedom, and makes many teachers fear objecting to unfair conditions. Although community colleges have experienced budget increases during the past few years, many colleges have not added full-time faculty slots, and only a few have made real progress toward pay equity.The Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges finds in its recent report, "Part-time Faculty,A Principled Perspective" that "Maintaining a corps of full-time, tenured faculty is central to academic excellence, academic integrity, and academic freedom; it is key to serving our students well." National research

validates the importance of a sufficient complement of full-time faculty—especially for the population served by the California community colleges. California's legislature leads the nation in addressing the overuse of part-time faculty, most notably AB 1725 (Vasconcellos), which in 1988, required community college districts below a 75/25 standard to use a portion of their program improvement money to hire more full-time faculty. Efforts during the next decade created matching funds in the state budget as incentives for districts to fund office hours and health benefits for part-time faculty. In 1999, AB 420 (Wildman) addressed office hours and health benefits again, and created a third fund, targeted at pay equity. Some districts achieved great progress, but others were recalcitrant, sometimes refusing to even talk about disparities. So CFT sponsored and succeeded in passing two other bills to bring districts to the table: AB 1245 (Alquist) 2001, required the issue of earning and retaining annual reappointment rights by any person employed as temporary or parttime faculty to be a mandatory subject of bargaining in any contract between community college districts and temporary or part-time faculty; and AB 654 (Goldberg) 2003, expressed the intent of the Legislature concerning basic rights and privileges that part-time faculty should have. The CFT Community College Council began California's effort on FACE last December. We met with other organizations to gain support, talked to members of the Senate and the Assembly, and Face campaign moves forward continued on page 7


May 2007

NEWS

PERSPECTIVE

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Berkeley City College opens

“What a college for this community should be” here were times when history instructor Chuck Wollenberg thought he might be stuck in the crumbling Vista College building in Berkeley until he retired. But when he and others first began talking about the need for change,Wollenberg had no idea just how long it was going to take.

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“Throughout the 90s and even back in the 80s there were moves by the District administration to close down Vista College,” recalls Wollenberg, author of several books on Bay Area history. Vista was the smallest of four colleges in the Peralta Community College District. “It would have been easy to do, because Vista was in rented facilities,” says Wollenberg. “As a defense strategy, we began to say we needed a permanent facility” in the early 90s. Unfortunately the District

continued to resist a permanent campus or even adequate resources and staffing to run Vista. As a result, in the mid-90s Wollenberg, along with other Vista faculty, students, and community members got involved with lawsuits and an effort to form a separate community college district, or “de-annexation.” The Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT), AFT Local 1603, while sympathetic to Vista faculty’s predicament, opposed the secession movement. Ultimately the parties reached

a compromise. Vista faculty agreed not to go ahead with legal cases and the de-annexation effort, and Peralta administration, prodded by the union, agreed to build a permanent facility. That took a bond measure in Alameda County, strongly backed by the PFT.The bond included $65 million for what was to become Berkeley City College (BCC). It needed a two thirds vote from the electorate, and got it. According to PFT secretary Mark Greenside,

Assemblyman Mendoza pledged to work with Appropriations staff as well as Budget staff to gain all that we can this year in AB 1343. If the bill moves off the suspense file, the vote on the Assembly floor will come quickly. CFT members should contact their local Assembly

member to ask them to help in this effort to move the bill off the suspense file. Visit your Assembly representative now to alert the member about the critical need for this bill, along with some support in the budget. If an Assembly member commits to voting for AB 1343, inform

time Faculty United’s first collective bargaining agreement. Under Peavy’s leadership,Victor Valley part-time faculty won binding arbitration, a priority list to protect assignments, a 22.5% pay increase, parity with full-time faculty in leaves and stipends, and a good grievance procedure. “I take pride in this,” he says. Some union efforts go further than wages and conditions. The local started a “one faculty campaign” to win more respect for part-timers. “People often refer to ‘faculty and part-timers’ as though we had two faculties,” Peavy explains. “We want people to understand that at Victor Valley there’s only one faculty, which includes both full and part-timers. We’re going to get the Academic Senate and Board of Trustees to adopt resolutions that say so.” Peavy sees his role on the AFT’s Higher Education Program and Policy Council as working on two issues, academic freedom and diversity. He points to the attacks by David Horowitz on academic freedom, and the reactionary effort

to get districts to adopt the socalled “Student Bill of Rights.” “The intent here is to say that instructors can’t talk about something not related to the subject matter of the class or matters of public discourse. We have to fulfill our responsibility to students to teach our subjects, but we also have an obligation to speak to them on issues in the public arena. As teachers, we have experience and a broader view of the world, which we should use to help them.” Peavy is also deeply concerned about an increasing lack of respect for racial and national diversity. “Look at the comments of Don Imus, Mel Gibson, and others. People are voicing deep seated hatred, and the academy should address this.” In the midst of all this activity, Peavy has also found the time to write a series of books on ethics and spirituality, including What Must I do? – Bridging the Gap between Being and Doing, and Play it Where it Lays – Using the Rules of Golf to Play the Game of Life.

“The union worked very closely with the board of trustees, especially Amy Stone, to get board approval and then passage in the election.” Adds Wollenberg, “The voters of Alameda County have been good about passing bond issues.” Delays, issues and overruns Located in the heart of downtown Berkeley, the new BCC was originally supposed to open in Fall 2005. But there were long delays in construction and cost overruns. The building wasn’t finished (“more or less” says Wollenberg) until January 2007. A complicating

factor was that the district’s lease was running out in the old Vista building. “So our first several months, beginning in August 2006, we were in a building under construction,” says Wollenberg. Greenside argues that “They opened it at least six months too soon. It was a disaster.” He told The Perspective that from the union’s standpoint the health and safety issues were paramount; for example,“The fire alarms weren’t functioning properly for months.” PFT President Debra Weintraub describes how she went to BCC for a meeting “and I found all the students, faculty, and staff out on the sidewalk for a fire alarm. Two hours later, my meeting ended when the alarm went off again.” One of the PFT building reps,Val Djukich, a computer information science instructor, Berkeley City College continued on page 8

Face campaign moves forward continued from page 6

introduced the bill on February 23, kicking off the campaign with a press conference April 17.AB 1343 cleared the Assembly Higher Education Committee that same day and quickly moved to the Appropriations Committee.A May 2 hearing sent the bill to the Appropriations Suspense File, and

us right away so that we can begin our lists, and follow up with any additional information your representative might need. Assembly rules allow the Appropriations Committee to confer until June 1 before deciding which bills it will release to the floor, and June 8

will be the last day for Assembly bills to pass the Assembly and move to the Senate for action. Then the fun in the Senate will begin. We have an opportunity to make history here; but only if we treat it with the seriousness of purpose it will take to move forward. ccc

Faith is a journey continued from page 3

One faculty That fight reached its culmination in January, with Part-

LINDA CERA PHOTO

budget shortfall, and was cutting their salaries unilaterally by 10%. Since there was no contract, the district said it was under no obligation to negotiate over the change, or even to justify it. Under Robinson’s leadership, the CFT organizing committee took the decision head on, and in the end, mobilized enough pressure on administration to get the cut rescinded. An election took place finally in May 2004. By that time, instructors were fed up with their inability to bargain over the most basic changes in their jobs and conditions. The 540person unit voted decisively in favor of Part-time Faculty United. The district still delayed, and had to be dragged into bargaining. Its negotiators would sign off on items, only to see trustees then rescind agreements reached at the table. Finally a mediator, and even the district’s own consultant, convinced the district to honor the process.

The Victor Valley Part-time Faculty United bargaining team, from left to right: Dr. Lori Kildal, Mike Mello, Dr. Don E. Peavy, Mary Millet, Dr. Marianne Tortorici, Neal Kelsey, and Marion Boenheim.

“These are all related to my teaching too,” he says. “I use the same technique of telling stories of real people that I try to use in my teaching. In my last book I try to deal with the difficulty that so many people experience—that they wish their lives were different, and then wait for something else to

come. Simply dreaming and hoping doesn’t work. You can’t cheat your way out of your situation.” Peavy still preaches at the McCarthy Memorial Church in Los Angeles. “Faith is a journey,” he smiles. ccc By David Bacon


8

PERSPECTIVE

May 2007

Local Action Compton/El Camino

Compton and El Camino getting adjusted to each other The faculty and students at Compton Community College are settling in for a long period in which the college will be administered by the El Camino Community College District, following years of turmoil. The state’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team—the agency charged with helping schools and colleges in California in financial difficulty—has finally completed and issued its report. This forms the basis of the trusteeship and establishes 186 performance measures for a process that may eventually allow the Compton district to regain its autonomy. The state doesn’t envision this happening quickly. According to Chancellor Marshall Drummond,“It took many years for Compton College to get into the condition it is in now, and it will take many years to fully recover.” Lending accreditation Last summer El Camino signed a memorandum of understanding taking over administration of the troubled district under a temporary contract for the next year. The relationship, however, seems destined to last longer than that. Rodney Murray, President of the faculty union at Compton, says “we’re together for the next five or six years.” In signing the MOU, El Camino essentially lent its accreditation to Compton, along with taking over administration of the Compton campus, now called the “Compton Center of El Camino College.” Murray says he appreciates that El Camino stepped in, but the changeover took place just days before fall semester registration. “We used to have a walk-in registration process,” he explains,“which was taken away, and in its place was a system of registration by telephone and Internet. Many of our students weren’t familiar with that. Then some classes were cancelled even before students had time to register for them.” As a result, enrollment is about half what it used to be. The college serves Compton, Lynwood, Carson and the surrounding communities of south Los Angeles, some of the most economically depressed in the state. Most residents are African American and Latino. “Most students can’t afford a 4-year school. Our function at Compton College is to bring people up to where they need to be to enter one,” Murray says. The state chancellor promised Compton faculty that there would be no layoffs in the first year of the new regime, so teachers who suffered cancelled classes supposedly didn’t have to fear that they would lose their jobs as a result. But 15 faculty members did get laid off. After union protests, four terminations were rescinded.

Berkeley City College continued from page 7

concedes there were a number of similar problems he witnessed himself or was told about, including malfunctioning air conditioning and an inadvertent flood by fire sprinklers, which leaked through ceilings onto the floor below. But Djukich stresses that none of Compton administrators also lost their these things resulted in formal jobs, and El Camino assigned its own grievances, and that “anyone who was administrators and some faculty to take paying attention during the building over some responsibilities there. process wouldn’t have been surprised” at In the midst of this difficult situation, the disarray when the building opened. however, the Compton faculty negotiat- He recalls that the administration ed a new contract that Murray believes is ignored recommendations from CIS faca significant advance over previous ulty on wiring the building’s computer agreements. “For the school year that networking, and as a result “the wiring ends in June, we got a 5.92% COLA on hadn’t been pulled when the building the salary schedule,” he says,“16% for opened, and there were no diagrams.” part time and overload teaching, a oneFor a history teacher, there were time bonus of $1137, and increases in inconveniences,“but it wasn’t terrible. health benefits. All-in-all, I’d call it a We had classrooms, boards, chairs and good contract.” The union will be open- desks.” For a while there was a hole in ing negotiations for a new contract in the wall, through which Wollenberg the next few months. and his students could hear (and see) the classes next door. “And there was a El Camino negotiations more difficult lot of noise, sawing and drilling, the sounds of construction going on while Ironically, the faculty and classified we were trying to teach.” employees at El Camino are having a The people who really suffered were much more difficult time with their instructors who needed labs. There administration. The faculty union is going to arbitration over a dispute in the were people in computer classes withapplication of the COLA. If the district out computers and science classes without lab equipment. But by the wins, faculty will get a 1.2% pay cut. beginning of the spring semester the El Camino faculty chief negotiator building was much improved. Sean Donnell says faculty are very frustrated. “We’ve been asked to step up and Green building take on a lot of extra burdens. We’re feeling the pinch. And despite all of this Despite the roller coaster ride getting we’re being told the district can only there, most agree the building is beauafford a 1% pay raise at most, although tiful. Classrooms, offices, a graceful the district is getting funds for COLA 250-seat auditorium, labs, library and from the state.” administrative space surround a soaring Donnell, who teaches English, argues central atrium. Says Wollenberg,“We that “The administration is predicting have a lot more space; the classrooms doom and gloom due to declining are built as classrooms. In the Vista enrollment. Yet any potential impact building we were teaching in rooms won’t be felt until 2010. We’re being built as offices. Now we have built in asked to tighten our belts due to a prob- AV, computers, projectors, screens.” lem that may not ever occur.” Wollenberg believes the new Berkeley El Camino classified employees, also campus is the largest community college represented by AFT, have been working building in California at 165,000 square without a contract, and have begun to feet.There is no on-site physical educashow their discontent as well. On tion facility or parking, and these were breaks, a group of classified employees conscious moves. BCC is just a teachputs on union t-shirts, and takes a “soliing and learning environment. darity walk” through the campus. Designed by Ratcliff, a venerable Luukia Smith, president of the classified Berkeley architectural firm with many union at El Camino, says this started other edifices in downtown Berkeley, while students were on spring break. “I including a number on the UC camwas expecting very few people, because pus, BCC is a sustainable green buildthe campus is so quiet during this periing.There are a lot of energy saving od, but 50 people came out.” Two weeks measures in the heating and lighting. later, the solidarity walks were drawing Most of the paint was non-petroleum over a hundred employees. based, and, according to Wollenberg, “We keep getting told by the district “The insulation is made of old clothes. that we’re losing enrollment. If we can’t When you went in during construction even fill the positions responsible for get- it looked like a bunch of old Levis, as ting students registered and into classes, opposed to plastic or fiberglass.” the lack of student services can lead Aspects of the energy efficiency can more students to other colleges that pay occasionally be irksome, says Wollenbetter attention,” warns Smith. berg:“If you sit too still in your office “They’re offering just a little over 1%, the lights will go off, but if you move a and we want more than 5%,” Smith little they will go back on.” But these explains.“So I was very happy to see that are irritations he can live with. “More people were willing to stand up, come than 70 per cent of our students walk, out on the walks, and show the district bike, or take public transit to get here,” that we’re serious. We’re still not carryhe observes.“This building reflects ing signs, but we’re ready to start turning what a college for this community the heat up.” ccc should be.” ccc By David Bacon

By Fred Glass

This bookmark was designed by City College of San Francisco Graphic Communications student David Tran, with an image from the collection of the Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University. The image is part of a current exhibit at the City College of San Francisco’s Rosenberg Library co-curated by AFT Local 2121 member Kate Connell, "Yarns of Rebellion: Women Needling History," a collaboration between the CCSF Library and the Women's History Department. The exhibition includes work by local artists, student artists and a section contributed by the Labor Archives that focuses on the struggles of garment workers, including the 1938 National Dollar Store strike in Chinatown, San Francisco, shown here. The exhibition is on the second floor of the Rosenberg Library through September 15.

Perspective, May 2007  

Community College Council

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