Return to Work MOU – July 22, 2023

Dear Union Members,

For this Wednesday Win, I would like to inform you of our new tentative Return to Work MOU agreement. Many of you know that we have been fighting for a “return to work” MOU since May. Thanks to the negotiating team’s hard work and in particular, the strong and resilient voices of our non-classroom faculty, we have a tentative agreement that protects our faculty members while providing the necessary services to our students. This MOU will be in place from 2022 through summer 2023. We got significant gains for our non-classroom faculty, chairs, and course protections. We fought hard and won the equal opportunity for our non-classroom faculty not to be forced to do fully online work from campus. This was an essential step in genuinely recognizing the work of these high-trust faculty.

We also wanted to assure that our chairs would not lose reassign time due to the lower enrollments during COVID. While we were not successful in “holding chairs harmless,” the administration offered a compromise of a “temporary increase of 0.1 FTE reassigned time for department chairs.” This offer will not just compensate some chairs for potential loss in reassignment time but will compensate all chairs for the additional work they have had to do during COVID and finally give a 0.1 reassign time to chairs of small departments who did not receive reassign time before. We also were able to get the administration to acknowledge Article 17 D.3. Nowhere in this article does it state that the chairs must do their work from campus, but they must ensure “availability” when needed.

Another win was in class size. While we could only get the administration to reduce the maximum class size to 40, we agreed on a minimum class size of 12. They also gave us language that will help us provide the students and faculty opportunities to keep their courses. First, classes shall not be canceled before the end of the 2nd day of the term, giving us more time to make the course. Second, if a course is canceled due to low enrollment, we will schedule an additional section of the same course as a hybrid late start course at the same time and day, with additional hours to be arranged in an online asynchronous format to avoid disrupting the student or faculty schedule. While this is not a guarantee that the second class will be kept, these assurances will help keep the students already enrolled, possibly save adjunct jobs and prevent underloading of tenured faculty.

These are significant wins for our faculty, showing our non-classroom faculty the respect they deserve, compensation and protection for our chairs, and increased opportunities to keep our courses. Last, we could not get the District to rethink their vaccination and masking policy, but they assured us they would continue to follow county guidelines.

I want to thank all the hard-working faculty that made this win possible; Xiao Behlendorf, Angela Beldin, Vilma Bernal, Grace Chee, Ruby Christian-Broughman, Darrell Eckersley, Bill Elarton-Selig, Jenny Galvez, Chris Garcia, Clay Gediman, Joe Guerrieri, Casy Hunter, Sandra Lee, Tara McCarthy, John McDowell, Natalina Monteiro, Stuart Souki, and Mario Valadez. This was truly a team effort. I also want to thank the Chancellor and his team for all their hard work through this challenging process. While often negotiations are seen as adversarial with winners and losers, in these negotiations, our students won, our faculty’s hard work was recognized and respected, and management demonstrated a deeper understanding of our work and an appreciation of our efforts. This is a win-win.

In Unity,

A. James McKeever PhD
AFT 1521 Faculty Guild President