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Negotiations

Mediation Update Feb. 16, 2021

Our next joint mediation is set for Thursday afternoon, February 18th.  

During that session we will receive Administration’s latest financial offer regarding pay raises (or lump sum payment) for all faculty.  We also expect to reach a tentative agreement on the hiring processes for full-time and part-time faculty (Articles 6.5A, 6.5B).  Administration also owes a response for how much extra pay faculty will receive that agree to teach clustered courses (Article 11.8).  These items represent the last remaining areas we are working on in mediation.  We continue to finalize the impacted areas of our new workload equity gains.  

We reached a tentative agreement on the ratio of full-time to part-time (appendix E) as follows:  

· For the academic year beginning July 1, 2020, the FT:PT FTE ratio will be at least 55:45.

· For the academic year beginning July 1, 2021, the FT:PT FTE ratio will be at least 56:44.

· For the academic year beginning July 1, 2022, the FT:PT FTE ratio will be at least 57:43.

It’s not as high as we wanted, but it’s progress that we can build upon in our next negotiation.

We also reached tentative agreements on improvements in the tenure process (Article 7) requiring training for the committee members and significant improvements to Priority Hire in Article 10.7.

Feb. 9, 2021 mediation update

We’ve had two joint negotiation sessions since our last faculty update.  We continue to make progress on important issues for faculty; however, progress on getting a pay raise remains slow.

1.  A tentative agreement has been reached to increase the percentage of full-time teaching assignments over the next three years.  In our prior contract, the District agreed to add fifteen (15) new FT positions during the Contract. Unfortunately, the total number of positions filled was far short of the goal due to vacancies.

Our goal of increasing the number of full-time positions for faculty stayed the same this year.  We have reached a tentative agreement now to establish mandatory ratios of classes taught by full time faculty compared to part time faculty.  Beginning the current year, the ratio will be 55%FT/45%PT.  Each year, this ratio of actual teaching assignments will increase 1% point so that at the end of our contract the ratio will improve to 57%/43%.  AFT will continue to negotiate this ratio upward in future contracts.  For perspective, each 1% point move equates to 6 FTE faculty positions at our current employment levels.

2.  Priority Hire rights and the process for attaining Priority Hire status have been clarified and improved to benefit our part time faculty members and give more faculty improved job security.  This negotiation began with collaboration on revisions to 10.7, then made a U-turn with  Administrators wanting to eliminate priority hire status for all new part time faculty – it ended with AFT strongly rejecting any attempts to remove these rights to any faculty and strengthening faculty’s qualified teaching list and seniority rights going forward.

3.  Improved faculty hire processes for both fulltime and part time faculty.  The hiring processes have been expanded to emphasize a broader, more diverse hiring pool with training for all involved in the process and more engagement from division faculty in the part time hiring process.

4.  These improvements for faculty are in addition to the commitment to achieve workload equity across all departments during the next 3 years.

There is no new financial offer from our Colleges Leadership team to share with you currently. Once again, our team made clear that we cannot present a deal to the faculty that doesn't include salary improvements. The admin team asked for more time to revisit their proposal.

Mediation Update Jan. 22, 2021

AFT met last Friday with representatives from the District.  We remain at an impasse on pay raises and a handful of issues.  I want to share with you the status of our discussions and invite your questions and feedback.  

1.  Pay raises for all faculty during the next 3 years.  The District remains firm that it will not commit to any pay raises for the next 3 years for faculty.  Their position is based on the current uncertainty in enrollment levels and uncertainty of State funding for all higher education.
 
AFT understands that the current year does have uncertainty - so we've been offering flexible alternatives to allow for uncertainty in the 2020-2021 year - but we are opposed to any agreement to forego pay raises for 3 years because of budget uncertainties in one year.
 
Also, AFT is frustrated by the failure of the District to acknowledge its own role in our current financial difficulties.  The College Presidents have still not acknowledged that during the last 5 years of declining enrollments, budgets were met by cutting classes (and laying off faculty) - instead of reducing overhead costs.  In the last 5 years, faculty headcount has declined 28% while exempt employees have remained the same.  The College Presidents have diverted an additional 12% of the District's annual spending to non-instructional functions during the last 5 years.  Removing $13 million a year from Instruction.
 
The District's on-going refusal to accept these facts makes it difficult to get them to take steps to correct this unsustainable spending trend.  These spending decisions, which negatively impacted our enrollment levels add to the budget uncertainties we now face.
 
AFT's latest proposal to the District for pay increases attempts to give the District time to adjust its spending and re-prioritize Instruction in its annual budgeting process.  Our offer allows the District to not make a pay raise during the current year - instead, starting July 1, 2021 with a 2.5% pay raise for all faculty.  This would be followed by another 2.5% for the next two years (7.5% total).  Allowing the District several years to address its budget priorities.
 
The District has countered with a proposal to use some one-time funding it just received access to this year to pay faculty a one-time, lump sum payment in lieu of any pay raises during the next 3 years.  The District has offered FT faculty a one-time payment of $700 by July and PT faculty a one-time payment of $470 by the end of summer.  AFT rejected this offer as being significantly too low an amount to consider.
 
These one-time lump sum payment amounts equal 1% of the average pay for a FT and PT faculty - except since they would not increase a faculty member's base pay, making them less valuable than a 1% pay increase over time.  Again, this is all the District is offering for the next 3 years.
 
AFT responded that it will consider a lump sum payment if two conditions are met:
First, - that the lump sum payment is equal in value to the 7.5% (compounded) we proposed over the next 3 years.  AFT proposed a one-time payment amount of $6,000 for each FT faculty and $4,000 for each PT faculty.
 
Second, if any employee group within the District, including management, receives a pay increase during the term of our Contract, AFT members would automatically receive an identical percentage pay increase.
 
If the District wants us to accommodate their request and accept a one-time payment instead of annual pay raises, then we must insist on receiving both components - a substantial lump sum payment and the tie to future pay raise if they occur.  Lump sum payments do not help us recruit new faculty because they do not impact faculty's base salary.  A lump sum payment does not improve our long-term pay inequity. 
 
Faculty can understand the District's short term financial uncertainty, but AFT must remain focused on improving the quality of working at Seattle Colleges and the long-term impacts on our students and community. 
 
2.  Increasing the ratio of full-time to part-time faculty on our campuses.  AFT continues to push for additional full time teaching positions at the Colleges.  The District acknowledges that we currently have a ratio of 55%/45% of FT/PT faculty in teaching assignments.  They wish to lock-in this current level for the next 3 years - with no improvements.  AFT's position is that our current level of FT positions is inadequate to do all the work we need to already do - so locking that ratio in for the next 3 years would be a poor business decision.  If we want to increase the diversity of our faculty and have more student engagement to increase retention of our students - then we need to provide full time positions to attract and retain new faculty and we need more FT faculty available to perform all the work needed on campus to grow enrollment and retain our students and the quality of the education offered.   AFT proposes we commit to growing the FT/PT ratio over the next few years with a target of achieving 60%/40% as soon as possible.
 
3.  Workload equity - we have reached agreement with the District for all faculty assignments to be paid based on a weekly workload of 15 contact hours.  We have agreed on a rollout period for all impacted programs during the next 3 years of our new contract.  This change impacts areas such as moonlight assignments, pro rata, annual workload averaging, and guaranteed workload for priority hire faculty.  So, we are working through the impact on these related contract provisions to ensure a smooth transition to these new workload contact hours.
 
4.  Hiring practices for part-time faculty.  We continue to receive significant push back from the District in our efforts to improve hiring practices for part time faculty in our effort to improve the diversity of our faculty.  The current PT hiring practice results in the least diverse hiring of any category of employees at the Colleges - so AFT will continue to push for a change.  The District wants to maintain the right for the Unit Administrator to make the decision on their own, while AFT wants a broader committee (like the FT hiring practices) to get a broader range of candidates into the PT hiring pools. 
 
These are the main sticking points in our negotiations.  We meet again this Friday with the District team.
 
Thank you for all your support,
Your AFT negotiation team

MEDIATION Oct. 29, 2020

Yesterday was our first mediation session with the District.  We elected to use a mediator to facilitate our negotiation sessions following our September 11th joint session because we were not making forward progress on several issues. 

 

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Negotiations Update February 19, 2013

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The one year “anniversary” of the start of negotiations has arrived. I hate to think of how many trees we’ve used up, with our multiple drafts of proposals, counter proposals, tentative-tentative agreements and volumes of minutes.  All that paper represents a lot of thinking, reflection, consideration…and in the near future, we hope, a contract worthy of ratification.

 

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Negotiations update – 11/29/12

You’ve certainly seen, and hopefully are wearing, a Respect button; within the next few days we’ll have Respect signs for your doors.  These buttons and signs beg the question - what does RESPECT mean to you?  What does RESPECT mean in our workplace?  For months now, your negotiating team has been working to translate respect into concrete contract language.  

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