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- FutureStudent on MHCCFA Bargaining Chair Sara Williams’ Statement to the Press
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When will we be settled?
1) When no faculty member comes to work wondering when the next shoe is going to drop.
2) When no student is displaced because of short-sighted decision-making from short-sighted leadership.
3) When faculty are considered assets instead of liabilities.
4) When the college functions in a fiscally responsible manner.
5) When academic freedom is valued, not silenced
6) When transparency is common-place, not just a buzzword.
Please add more through commenting!
Case Study #2: College Advancement
According to MHCC’s website, “The Office of College Advancement is here to help promote Mt. Hood Community College. Cassie McVeety, is the media liaison for the College. The staff writes press releases to promote MHCC programs, keeps in contact with local media and writes and designs MHCC print and promotional publications. The staff also guides the College in its marketing efforts. There are many ways we can assist you in marketing your program or event. If you would like to produce a flyer, brochure or other promotional item, your first call should always be to our office.”
After digging into CA’s budget for the past four years, it’s interesting to note that salaries (not including benefits) have more than doubled (206%). Continue reading
After 12 hours of mediation yesterday, we are no closer to settling the contract. But we have learned a number of important things about the Board’s positions and mentality.
1) This is NOT about money.
We made a package proposal late in the evening that met the total dollar amount that the Board requested earlier in the day. In economic issues, we met their requests on extra and summer teach, salary, and medical. All together these CUTS would have amounted to $3.1 million.
Since we offered them THEIR economics and structure on extra & summer teach, we held on our position on the minor economic issue of retirement benefits where the difference between our position and the Board’s position only costs $132,000 over the life of the contract. We refused to give up the steps they should have awarded last September, worth $200,000. Even with these positions, the total package was within the parameters that the Board had described earlier in the day as economics they could live with. They rejected our proposal.
2) This is NOT about extra teach and summer teach.
In fact, we even modeled our proposal on extra/summer teach to match the structure that the Board suggested earlier in the day – a significant rollback representing about $1.5 million savings to the college. They rejected it.
3) This is ALL about power and voice.
Our proposal also included OUR language on subcontracting and on faculty rights.
The Board has told everyone that they value the faculty; they respect the faculty; they just cannot afford the faculty. We call BULLSHIT!
What does the Board want if money isn’t the issue?
Many of you know who I am. I have been a local, statewide, and even at times a national advocate for part-time faculty rights for 15 years. I currently sit on the Oregon Education Association (OEA) Community College Council and beginning August 1st I will be a member of the OEA Board of Directors, the second time I have had that honor. I also have sat on three different bargaining teams for our local, the MHCC Part-time Faculty and Tutor Association (PFTA). I have represented both part-time and full-time faculty and I know something of the current issues concerning the coming strike of full-time faculty.
Many members have asked me what is happening and questions about what rights they have concerning this strike. I would like to share a few things that may help.
First, you have to continue to teach your currently assigned classes. I recommend you assure your students that your class will continue through the end of the term. Continue reading
The College has reported that it intends to hire qualified, full-time replacements for faculty that exercise their legal right to strike. Assuming that “replacement” mean equivalents, we wonder how they are going to accomplish this monumental task.
We did some “back of the napkin” calculations about the number of hours spent by the College simply to hire current full-time faculty.
At MHCC, the faculty hiring process looks something like this: a committee of 6-7 faculty and staff reads and reviews all application materials, conducts interviews and forwards recommendations on to the VP of Instruction and President. This adds up to a conservative estimate of 220 hours per faculty hire. At 160 faculty that is 35,360 hours or 884 employee weeks or $1,700,000 (at the Dean’s rate of $48/hour)!
With faculty on strike, there will be no committee, and the only deliberation will be between the Dean and herself.
Students, what do you think?
Do you want the instructor chosen through 220 hours of careful vetting or the one chosen by 1 hour of quick-shod, single person coin-flipping?
4.28.2011 12:30 p.m.
Thank you for coming.
It is with regret that we invite you to hear our announcement today. The MHCCFA has sent notice to the College that the full time faculty will strike beginning on Thursday, May 12.
The Faculty Association has offered more financial concessions during this bargaining cycle that at any other time in our history. We have met the Board’s demands on medical contributions and the salary schedule. We continue to provide ideas to settle the remaining economic issues on the table.
In return for these significant economic concessions, the faculty have requested two improvements in contract language. The first guarantees that faculty work will be protected for faculty members by disallowing “subcontracting” to outside entities. MHCC is proud to have some of the best graduation and persistence rates for Community Colleges in this state. It is essential that we maintain our educational quality by ensuring the continued presence of full time faculty at this institution. Faculty provide face-to-face and distance learning instruction, serve as resource librarians, and provide much needed counseling services. This work should be provided by faculty members.
The second language improvement concerns faculty rights. Our proposal says simply that when the administration makes a decision, that they will get faculty input prior to the decision being made. Many decisions in a college effect instruction, and faculty are often the individuals most knowledgeable about instruction. Therefore, the Board should want faculty input into these decisions. To be clear, we are not questioning the administration’s right to make the decisions. We believe that our input into those decisions is critical to the health of the college and maintaining high academic standards.
The Board’s recent threats to permanently replace faculty demonstrates the apparent lack of respect the Board has for faculty. This fight is fundamentally about respect for the faculty’s work, the faculty’s voice, and the faculty’s input.
The Board’s stated plan to implement their final offer in June contributes to the faculty’s decision to announce a strike date today. We consider this statement a response to the Board’s lack of interest in negotiating a contract. The faculty simply cannot understand the Board’s refusal to protect the students, the faculty, and the institution by working and compromising to find a reasonable settlement.
We, the faculty, invest our careers, our time, and our passion in building and maintaining MHCC as a strong community college for East County residents. We reiterate our dedication to the College, our students, our careers, and our families in this difficult time.
We don’t want to strike, but we will.
Shortly after Dr. Ski arrived in July 2008, he terminated the contract of many managers (Vice Presidents, Directors and other exempt employees). While this is not unusual with a new president, what IS unusual are the high costs resulting from these terminations.
Because many of these managers had signed new contracts just before Dr. Ski arrived, legal fees and contract pay-offs wound up costing the college many, many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some were kept on the payroll but moved to new positions where they were paid to essentially stay away until the clock ran out.
One terminated employee alone cost over $90,000 in salary, benefits, TSA, PERS, vacation days, and COBRA payments. While we aren’t privy to all the details, one can extrapolate that these highly paid managers with their 6-digit salaries and benefit packages could quickly add up to a million dollars.
Responsibility for this waste of taxpayer money also rests at the door of MHCC’s Human Resources whose poor record-keeping and lax processes contributed to this debacle.
Bad Hires? Yes. Good riddance to bad baggage. Bad Fires? Yes.
Should the community know how the College spends their tax dollars? Absolutely!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2011
CONTACT: Sara Williams
PORTLAND, ORE.— Today, the full-time faculty of MHCC learned that the college is planning to hire “permanent full-time replacement” faculty in the event of a legal strike by the Association. The disrespect for the students of MHCC, their future careers and the programs that they are attracted to at our college should be disturbing to all the citizens of our community. There is no doubt that this is terrible news for our faculty, who have dedicated their careers to MHCC and our students. We, along with our part-time faculty and classified staff colleagues, have built an educational institution that we all hold deep respect for.
Quality education is not built overnight; it’s not found by hiring scab labor from online job postings such as Craigslist or rushing to fill an empty classroom with an instructor who is ill-prepared for the job. The College’s threat to replace full-time faculty with scab labor is a rejection of a shared commitment to quality public higher education in East Multnomah County. It is a demonstration that the College Board and its union busting attorney are engaging in a destructive pattern of behavior that will serve only to drive students, faculty and staff from our institution.
Like all employees who hold a certain level of pride in their jobs – we do not consider ourselves “replaceable.” As instructors, we’ve developed and perfected our programs, disciplines, and curriculum; we’ve nurtured our students’ learning and have helped guide them into successful careers; faculty and staff are the reason that MHCC provides incredible post-secondary education in our community.
We have spent our careers ensuring that our students receive quality instruction, but in order to sustain their education, we are asking the Board to bargain a fair and equitable contract NOW.
Our students, our faculty, our community, and MHCC deserve it.