Op-ed in today’s LA Daily News
The women and men who clean classrooms, drive school buses, maintain security on campuses, assist students, greet parents, prepare and serve food in cafeterias, maintain and repair schools and assist teachers in the classroom are the glue that keep our schools and public education working.
Unfortunately, not only do these indispensable education workers fail to get the recognition they deserve, they are also the first group to be laid off during budget cuts and the last to be rehired when school funding picks up. As the state economy continues to rebound and Proposition 30 puts more money into public education, it’s time to restore classified positions and make school environments safe and conducive to learning, teaching and working.
From 2007 to 2012, California’s teacher workforce declined by approximately 11 percent, or 32,000 teachers, and school districts eliminated courses, cut programs and services, and increased class sizes.
During the same time period, at least 50,000 classified employees lost their jobs. Our students and schools were hurt by these layoffs as well, and yet the media said little. But the reduction of classified jobs goes back even further.
As a teacher for more than 20 years at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, I saw a systematic elimination of classified jobs, including custodians, cafeteria workers, gardeners and other jobs that were essential to maintaining a safe, clean, well-run school and providing services to students, parents and teachers.
When I first began teaching in the early 1980s, Mr. Brown, the custodian on my floor, cleaned my classroom nightly, dry mopped the floor and had the room ready for the next day. With each passing year and cuts to custodial care, Mr. Brown and the people who replaced him were given less time to spend per room and despite their hard work, couldn’t maintain the room as they had in the past. When a custodian was ill and unable to go to work, there was no replacement worker. That meant the already overworked custodial staff had additional work, making it even more difficult to keep the rooms and school site clean.
Over the years, cafeteria workers have also seen the elimination of jobs and a de-skilling of their profession. Those of us who attended public schools in the 1960s remember school cafeterias that served wholesome meals and prepared fresh baked goods. Even in my early years of teaching, the school cafeteria at Manual Arts served quality food and was a hub of activity during nutrition and lunch breaks. Little by little, fewer meals were cooked at the school site and increasingly cafeteria workers were serving prepackaged food sent by the district. What had once been a vital part of the school community had been effectively eliminated in the name of efficiency.
The elimination and contracting out of classified jobs, like bus drivers, has a negative ripple effect on the economy. In K-12 and community college districts, classified workers are overwhelming unionized. When these jobs are cut, workers have to scramble for non-union, low-wage jobs with fewer benefits. This has a disproportionate impact on working-class neighborhoods and communities of color.
All children, not just those in affluent communities or those who go to private schools, deserve to attend clean, safe, well-maintained schools. The education of a child does take a village and that village has gardeners, custodians, cafeteria workers, and aides as well as teachers. California’s school districts need to recommit to making our public schools attractive, safe and inviting learning communities for the millions of children who attend them every day.
Joshua Pechthalt is president of the California Federation of Teachers, representing more than 120,000 members. CFT will hold its Classified Conference Dec. 5-7 in Irvine.
On August 7 and 8, 2014, CFE secured for its faculty who were employed as of July 1, 2013, a retroactive 1.57% COLA increase to all compensation received last year, plus a 0.85% COLA increase effective July 1, 2014. There were no changes to the 2014-2015 benefits.
(11/18/2014) What’s Happening with Negotiations?
After Union President and Chief Negotiator Dean Mancina’s retirement in late August, the CFE negotiations team reconfigured somewhat to continue on with the important work of negotiations.
Your restructured CFE Negotiations team, led by Chief Negotiator Marilyn Kennedy (Orange Coast, English), is comprised of these union/college representatives: Bob Fey (CFE Executive Director), Chris Hamilton (Golden West, Business and Law), Ann Holliday (Coastline, DSPS), Dan Johnson (Coastline, History), Frank Oppedisano (CFT Field Representative), Rob Schneiderman (Orange Coast, Counseling), and Elizabeth Sykes (Golden West, Computing Systems).
Here’s what’s been happening:
On August 7-8, during back-to-back negotiation sessions, the District negotiation team submitted their formal, written intent to abandon interest-based negotiating/bargaining (IBN or IBB), and return to proposal-based negotiating with some potential for a hybridization of the two, as needed. Since both teams must be on board to employ IBB, this required that both teams had to renegotiate the basic “Ground Rules” of our mutual table as we moved back to proposal-based negotiation. These alterations have changed the nature of negotiations; as before the negotiating sessions focused on mutual talking out of an issue by all members of the teams and then narrowing to mutually-agreed on interests, proposal-based employs a more formal structure of pre-written article proposals which are presented by the chief negotiators. Where IBB rarely had individual caucuses as both teams worked in unity at the table, proposal-based more clearly delineates sides and requires more sequestered single-team caucuses. Consequently, both methods have their benefits and drawbacks.
Here’s what’s been happening at our proposal-based table:
- Personnel Files, Article VII: This portion of the article was tentatively agreed to by both parties. CFE ensured, clarified, and expanded rights that faculty and management can mutually agree to move personnel file material to the sealed envelope named in the contract before the four-year period. After the four-year period faculty can request it unilaterally, as before.
- Academic Relations (Department Chair Elections), Article X. This portion of the article is near tentative agreement by both parties, clarifying and simplifying the language on department chair elections in regards to the process used in the senate and senator oversight.
- Unpaid Leaves, Article XVII. This article is near tentative agreement by both parties, updating our contract to comply with federal law, military personnel, and leave.
- Professional Security, Article IX. We are negotiating the language on just cause and reprimands to ensure the continuation of the protection that CFE negotiated in 2011-2012.
- Due Process, Article XV. The District proposed to change the due process language; we are currently considering a counterproposal.
- Paid Leaves, Article XIV. We are working on a proposal to clarify the process of reporting faculty absences, an area of confusion for some faculty.
- Global Renumbering. Tentatively agreed to by both parties, this allows all sections of the contract to be more user friendly, logically organized, and clearly labelled.
- Retirement Incentive: The District stated that they have no interest in a
retirement incentive at this time.
Because your input is essential in negotiations, we will be seeking your faculty input via a negotiations survey. Please keep your eyes open for that in the future.
Our next negotiations session is Friday, November 21. Stay tuned for an update.
Orange Coast College at Veterans and Labor Partners in Service event.
City attorneys accused ACCJC President Barbara Beno of unfairly modifying CCSF’s accreditation evaluation. According to attorneys, Beno wrote edits onto the accreditation draft report that toughened sanctions against CCSF which led toward the college’s closure. Under the commissions bylaws, Beno was not allowed to make edits. The key point here is that the commission unfairly conducted their process that could displace up to 79,000 students. Deputy City Attorney Ronald Flynn solidified the team’s draft report found the college to comply with certain accrediting standards, but the final report said they did not. Flynn showed that ACCJC didn’t provide City College with due process.
For more information, please read the following articles:
(11/19/13 original publication – 10/15/14 update)
Agreement Between the District and CFE
As you know, we began evaluating Full-Time Faculty on SLOs beginning Fall 2013 on the Administrative Evaluation Form. Beginning with the start of Spring 2014, we began to evaluate Part-Time Faculty on SLOs. Both of these systems are temporary until the next contract is ratified between CFE and the District, which will include updated forms for this purpose.
We ask Deans and Department Chairs, when evaluating Part-Time Faculty, to indicate under “Additional comments by evaluator(s)” the evaluatee’s answers to the following two multiple-choice questions:
Are SLOs on your syllabus (syllabi)?
C. I didn’t know I was supposed to do that.
Do your assignments contribute to SLO(s) achievement?
C. I didn’t know I was supposed to do that.
You may ask these questions via email or phone when you set up your observation session with the evaluatee, or in person before or after your observation… whichever works best for you.
If, due to the number of Part-Time Faculty evaluations you have to do you are unable to do this step with all of them, it’s OK. We are seeking as much compliance as you can provide and appreciate your help with this intermediary step prior to the implementation of our next contract.
If you have questions, please contact Bob Fey or Gregg Carr if you are faculty member and James Andrews if you are a manager.
We’re looking to add more Vice Presidents to our Executive Board.
The following positions are currently vacant:
Part-time Faculty VP from GWC
Part-time Faculty VP from OCC
Part-time Faculty VP from CCC
Please call our office with your interest to serve (714) 432-5037. Thank you.
Below are brief descriptions of union committees. The meeting days and times of these committees will be determined by the committee members.
Division/Site Representatives – Help distribute information to mail boxes and set up small meetings at a specific site or with a specific group of faculty.
Elections – Help distribute nomination forms and ballots for officer and convention delegate elections and tabulate results.
Labor Education – Develop and participate in labor education activities, including brief presentations to classes and distribution of labor information.
Membership – Help with member meetings and distribution of member information.
Negotiation Support – Research (through internet and member survey/meetings) topics being negotiated.
Newsletter/Communications –Write articles for web site and special newsletter updates.
Part Time Issues – Provide interaction on part time faculty issues to CFE Executive Committee.
Please email email@example.com or stop by our office in the Faculty House at OCC to let us know about your interest.
(8/12/14) Members tell us that they often find errors in their paycheck when they go online each month and pull their paystub from the Employee tab at your college’s MYSITE website. Do you check your paycheck each month? Recently a member found the District had accidentally shorted him $2,732 on his summer pay. If you find an error, contact your college’s HR representative immediately.
(8/12/14) If you taught this summer, did your summer paycheck seem smaller than usual? Here is the latest anti-employee action by the Coast District. In Summer Session 2013 and Winter Intersession 2014, GWC lab faculty received a 16-25% pay cut… the equivalent of 100% minus your loading factor. This summer, the pay cut is being expanded to lab faculty at all three colleges. CFE filed a grievance on behalf of all affected members, which the District has rejected. CFE will be filing an unfair labor practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) regarding this unilateral change in compensation. The District thinks this is related to Brightman (see article, “PERB Case Regarding Brightman Formula Still Unresolved”), but CFE disagrees, since Brightman affects overload only and summer compensation is not considered as overload.
If you are a lab faculty member who taught this summer and you would like to know our estimate of how much your paycheck was cut, call our office at (714) 432-5037.
(8/12/14) The Brightman Formula affects the pay of lab faculty during the fall and spring terms. Last year CFE filed a complaint regarding the District’s pay cut for lab faculty when management unilaterally stopped using the Brightman Formula after more than two decades. The complaint was accepted by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) and CFE attended an informal hearing with a PERB mediator and the District last fall. The matter was not resolved, and PERB is looking for two full days for a formal hearing where PERB, the District, and CFE are all available. CFE has submitted its availability, will notify you when the hearing is set, and keep you informed as to the progress regarding the resolution of this matter.
(2/13/14) On Feb. 12, 2014 Trust Advisor Graham Hawley was CFE’s first guest speaker from the Wednesday Lunch Series. He has offered to extend the deep discount of $400 to CFE Faculty that want a Revocable Living Trust. The fee will be $750, regularly $1,150.
To contact Graham, please call (714) 637-9840 or visit www.unitedestateplanning.com.
For more information please visit: http://cfe.ca.aft.org/files/advantages_of_a_living_trust_2014.pdf