By Lauren Blanchard.
The rules of mediation dictate that we not disclose the details of discussions during this part of the process. During mediation, the District team and MPCTA negotiating team will be in separate rooms, with the mediator meeting with each of us to share information. We cannot share with our membership what the mediator tells us, and the District cannot publish an online update with information about what the mediator tells them. This is designed to create conditions where both teams can move closer to an agreement. If we cannot move closer to an agreement, the mediator will declare that impasse has been reached and we will move onto a fact-finding process, in which MPC’s faculty will not be directly involved. Our goal tomorrow is to reach a tentative agreement that can pass a vote of the faculty, and the information that we will use to make decisions will come primarily from the survey that you completed, as well as CTA and Chancellor’s office analyses of salary comparisons, and information about peer school contracts.
During mediation we will be fighting for:
1. Salary increases! MPC faculty are paid significantly less than other schools in the region. Our part-time faculty are among the lowest paid in the state. Our full-time salary schedule is longer than most other colleges, and many of our part-time faculty do not receive step increases after they have been teaching our students for 11 years. To ensure that we can continue to recruit and retain excellent faculty, we need to begin to change these facts. We will be pushing for salary increases, full-time salary schedule compression, and an extended salary schedule for part-time faculty.
2. Workload protection! Faculty workloads are growing for a host of reasons. Instructional technology ensures that faculty are more accessible to their students than ever before and cuts to supportive services mean that faculty are taking on new responsibilities (Here is an interesting article about this trend: http://www.slate.com/
blogs/better_life_lab/2017/10/ 05/professors_are_the_new_ therapists.html). At MPC faculty also take on significant administrative requirements for their programs. We need workload protections that ensure faculty can provide excellent instruction to their students, are protected when they offer the larger classes that will help the college’s efficiency numbers, and which protect part-time faculty from unpaid work.
3. Protect part-time faculty! Our part-time faculty teach most of the classes at MPC. They are underpaid, and we too often rely on these instructors to volunteer time for tutoring sessions, club advisement, and program management to help our students succeed. Our part-time faculty deserve living wages, paid office hours, and job security. We will fight to craft a contract that moves part-time faculty closer to parity with full-time faculty and ensures that they can invest in our students without having to work without pay.
4. Protect faculty benefits! Full-time faculty at MPC have generous health care benefits; however, because our salaries are low and our salary schedule is much longer than other colleges, our retirement benefits are lower than our peers at other schools. We know that the cost of living in the central coast is high, and we need to protect our benefits to ensure that recruits have a reason to choose MPC. Furthermore, CCA data demonstrates that MPC pays less than many other colleges in TOTAL personnel costs. We will work to ensure that MPC faculty continue to have the excellent benefits that drew many faculty to the college.
When our day of mediation is done, we will provide as much information as is allowed. Hopefully, we will have an equitable tentative agreement to announce! If so, we will announce informational meetings and a vote. If not, we will need to come together as faculty to fight for a contract that will allow us to serve our students well. If you have questions, please contact me by replying to this email or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for an email about the outcome of today’s mediation process.