Update – Negotiations as of April 20, 2016

Apr 20, 2016 – Communication from the President:

Hi everyone!

I promised in my last email an update on negotiations, so I thought I’d summarize what we did in that meeting for those interested. Those around me in my hall certainly ask me personally – but I want to let others with less immediate access to me to hear also. I think it’s important that faculty get a look into the negotiations process.

So here goes:

The April 18 session began with a question that we asked the District: What do we plan to accomplish in the next 4 sessions?

Initially, the District team brought up compensation, workload, and possibly evaluation process. By the end of the discussion, the answer to the question became essentially this: compensation with “keeping efficiencies in mind.”

Of course – remember – this is Interest Based Bargaining, and that answer to the question could change – yet not likely with only 4 sessions left. But who knows?

Also, in this discussion, I wondered if there is a way to conclude on non-controversial changes to contract, and our facilitator, Victoria Simmons, suggested that one or two from each team get together outside of the negotiations for this purpose. I’ve agreed to do so. Hopefully, the District will, too.

After the discussion of our end goal and priorities to cover in the next 4 sessions, the District and then the Association each presented on Article 16.8 – the Salary Adjustment Formula in our contract. Before the discussion began, I let the teams know about the MPCTA resolution that was unanimously voted on at the last MPCTA General Meeting:

We should separate the discussion about the implementation of the salary formula based on the current contract obligations from the new negotiations process. Implementation of the salary formula agreement is non-negotiable, based on prior signed contractual agreements.

After that, Steve Crow presented the way he understood the formula, and we asked clarification questions. In this initial interpretation of Steve’s, he saw no salary adjustment – no raise – coming our way. His interpretation of formula differed from past practice and contract language, however.

Jon Mikkelsen then presented the way the formula has worked in the past and per contract language, and his calculations came to a 5.79% salary adjustment.

However, one part of the formula involves increase or decrease in benefits. At this point, we are analyzing the benefits amount explained by Steve in his presentation, to see if the numbers are accurate and agree with past practice. That amount in the past usage of this formula changed the salary adjustment up a small percentage, but Steve’s calculation is indicating a downward effect. In any case, we are now investigating since we have some numbers to work with!

After presenting the formula calculation, Jon presented his calculations for getting faculty to median salary for community colleges – that would be an 8% salary adjustment. Then he presented what it would take to get to top quartile (we are currently in the bottom quartile) – 13.6% raise. Finally, if we were to be at the top of all community colleges in salary – that would take a 45.6% increase in pay. He pointed out that since we are in a high cost of living area, the 13.6% is the fairer of the increases, for where we live.

Jon then presented a couple of other documents – including one which he titled “Selected Budget Items in Excess of Practical Spending Expectations.” In other words, he noted items that were budgeted high in the 15/16 budget – like, for example, electricity, natural gas, water, telephone, and waste disposal that were budgeted about $350,000 over what our school would practically expect to actually spend. Altogether, he came up with over $800,000 in budgeted excess as areas to be explored for cost reduction. See attached for that.

Finally, in the last half hour of our meeting, Victoria asked us what we’re doing next. The conclusion is to next discuss Article 16 with the following caveat: “Explore other means to provide a salary increase. However, not giving up right to implement 16.8 if can’t find a way to give a salary increase”

Our next session is May 4 for negotiations. This and the three that follow will be extremely important.

Meanwhile – don’t forget that Friday, April 29, from 1:00 – 3:00, is our next MPCTA General Meeting. As you can imagine, this meeting will be crucial since the MPCTA Exec Board and the Bargaining Team need to hear from all of you as we enter into this critical time of negotiations. Please come, if you can!

If you have any questions or comments, email me at this email address or walasr@aol.com.

Paola Gilbert
MPCTA President

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