The Word - 2011/11/07

 

 

The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of November 7, 2011

CSEA'S STANCE ON POLITICAL ISSUES

Since the representation vote in 2001 to bring a faculty union to Columbus State, and until this year when Senate Bill 5 was introduced in the state legislature, CSEA has avoided taking positions on political candidates and issues. Even when some of our own colleagues have run for various offices, the Association has never taken a position that attempted to guide voting decisions.

Regarding Senate Bill 5 and the Issue 2 referendum to overturn it, however, we have an obligation to best serve our entire membership, and have adopted an unshakeable position: VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2and stop the unnecessary and extreme provisions it contains, and the effects that it would have on higher education faculty across the state.

It is worth noting that Senate Bill 5 had bi-partisan opposition: 10 Democrat senators and 6 Republican senators voted against SB 5. We are likewise noting that Issue 2 has had strong bi-partisan opposition. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and other "third-party" members have pointed out the many flaws of SB 5 and the importance of voting no on Issue 2. Indeed, the latest polls show that an overwhelming majority of Democrats, a majority of Independents, and approximately 1 in 3 Republicans are opposed to Issue 2.

There is reasonable concern among local governments and school boards about the costs of employee benefits and pensions, but the provisions of SB5 go far beyond addressing these issues. The bill would reclassify higher education professionals as “managers” and thus ineligible for collective bargaining representation. In other words, preserving CSEA and the beneficial structures and procedures it has negotiated demands that you VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2.

We won’t rehash arguments you are by now familiar with. We simply note that conditions for CSCC faculty today are much better than they were 10 years ago. Consider a number of things that having a faculty association has produced, which have included both cost-savings measures for the College and several merit-based compensation provisions for faculty:

 

  • defined and legally binding rights and responsibilities for both faculty and administration
  • defined and equitable processes for resolving grievances and handling corrective action
  • improvements in salary commensurate with the College’s ability to provide them
  • buy-back of up to 16 hours of unused personal time each year
  • the option of setting aside an amount of money (tax free) to pay for certain medical expenses in a Flexible Spending Account
  • full health insurance benefits for Annually Contracted Faculty (something the Association fought very hard for this year)
  • a method of hiring in new full-time faculty at a salary above the lowest Instructor salary, based upon the individual's prior experience
  • an increase in the amount of the Distinguished Teaching Award, from a before-tax amount of $1,000 to an after-tax amount of $2,500, as well as a reserved parking space and reassigned time for the award recipients
  • the establishment of a cash bonus of $2,000 for faculty who promote to Associate Professor or Professor within four or five years
  • the establishment of a Distinguished Full Professor award, which includes a cash bonus of $2,500
  • improvements in the composition of faculty search committees and the faculty search process, to reflect best practices used at other institutions of higher education
  • on two occasions, an opportunity for early retirement/cash separation incentives, which has benefited both the eligible employees and the College through the cost savings realized
  • an increase in the number of unused sick days that can be purchased upon retirement, from 30 to 45
  • guidelines outlining the intellectual property rights that faculty have, including those that developers of new courses (both traditional and distance learning sections) hold
  • a process for faculty to move into chairperson positions while maintaining tenure (previously, faculty doing this were forced to give up their rights to tenure)
  • a mutually respectful forum for discussions and resolution of both college-level and department-level conflicts and disagreements
  • improved pay for staff and administrators, which has been consistently linked to CSEA Contract provisions (including a $2,000 bonus this year, announced shortly after this was agreed to during faculty negotiations)
  • improved working relationships between faculty and managers at all levels, resulting in improved morale

 

Also, faculty who have been at the College for more than a decade will undoubtedly remember that the standard teaching load for full-time faculty had been 20 hours per quarter. This was the highest teaching load of any community college in the state, and had been one of the main points of contention with the then administration. Then, just 10 days before a vote on unionization was to be held in February 2000, and in an obvious attempt to influence the vote on unionization, the College administration announced that the teaching load would be reduced to 16 hours per quarter, which it remains through the transition to semesters.

When you VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2, you will be voting to maintain the right of all public employees to negotiate for fair wages, benefits, working conditions and staffing levels.

If everyone who opposes SB5 turns out to vote, its attempt to disenfranchise thousands of public employees—including CSEA fulltime faculty—will suffer the crushing defeat it deserves. Urge your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to go to the polls tomorrow and VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2.

ADDITIONAL ACF TO BE HIRED FOR WINTER QUARTER

CSEA and the College agreed a couple of weeks ago that for this year, ACF who weren't hired for autumn could still be hired for Winter Quarter.

The issue was that the Contract stipulates that "ACF are hired for 1-year annual appointments, based on the academic year (3 quarters or 2 semesters)." However, this year, not all ACF positions that were approved were filled by the start of Autumn Quarter. CSEA and the College have agreed to allow an exception for this year, but it's not clear if that information has been conveyed to the department chairpersons. We were surprised when we were approached by a faculty member this past week inquiring if the ACF position in his department would be able to be filled for Winter Quarter. Regrettably, it appears that some faculty have been told by chairpersons who cling to a conflict-based view of management that "the union" is holding up their department’s hiring of ACF, attempting to blame CSEA for the delay in this process.

REVIEW YOUR STRS SERVICE CREDIT

Periodically, there is a mistake on a faculty member's annual STRS statement in which s/he doesn't receive a full 1-year credit for a year of work. CSEA is aware of it happening during one or two previous years, and evidently it happened this year to a Humanities Department professor, whose statement indicated only "0.01" years of service credit. Check your annual statement (dated this past June 30 and which you should have received by mail) and correct any errors with HR and STRS as soon as possible.

CSEA ELECTION RESULTS

The results of the CSEA elections are in, and the following faculty have been elected to positions within the Association:

Vice-President: Kevin James

Parliamentarian: Ingrid Emch

Association Representatives: Amy Brubaker, Carla Mayers Bletsch, Ty Fogle, Adam Keller, Sue Longenbaker, Jackie Miller, Mark Mitchell, Antoinette Perkins, Eric Neubauer, and Rita Rice

Delegates to the OEA Representative Assembly: Mary Ann Canter, Eric Neubauer, Joan Petrusky

CSEA would like to congratulate each of these faculty members, and thank all faculty who stood for election this year, those who helped conduct the election, as well as those who are stepping down from service after serving in different positions. Those elected will assume their offices beginning winter quarter.

PARKING SITUATION IS MUCH IMPROVED

CSEA would like to acknowledge the efforts that Dr. Harrison has made regarding addressing the parking shortage on campus. The opening of the surface lot west of the parking garage has helped ease the parking situation, and is allowing students and employees to find available parking without having to drive around for more than 20 minutes searching for a space. For the first autumn quarter in many years, faculty have not been communicating their horror stories of students consistently arriving late to class (or missing class altogether) due to the lack of parking on campus, often resulting in them having to withdraw from the class. Faculty have, however, expressed their appreciation for the fact that Dr. Harrison was willing to acknowledge the problem, and make it a priority.

DEPARTMENT CHAIRS’ ACCESS TO ONLINE COURSES

The new Contract contains a Memorandum of Understanding (“Access to Online Courses") regarding department chairs providing notice to their faculty before accessing a faculty member’s online course.

We want to emphasize that, except for legal reasons (e.g., conducting an investigation of possibly illegal conduct), chairs/designees are required [emphasis added] to notify a faculty member "that s/he will access or has accessed the course as soon as practicable." It is not merely a professional courtesy that chairs ought to do; it is a legally binding requirement of our Contract. If you find that your chair has accessed an online course without having notified you, contact your Association Representative.


The Word is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Darrell Minor, President/ x5310
Kevin James, Vice-President / x5008
Judy Anderson, Secretary / x5453
Phil MacLean, Treasurer / x5308
Ingrid Emch, Parliamentarian-elect / x5824

Gil Feiertag, Senior Association Representative, Career & Technical / x5861
Health, Dental and Veterinary Technology
Allied Health

Steve Abbott, Senior Association Representative, Arts & Sciences / x5096
Business

T.J. Duda / x5309
Construction Science
Automotive
Engineering Technology

Gilberto Serrano / x3863
Mathematics

Beth Barnett / x2593
Hospitality, Massage Therapy and Sports & Exercise Studies

Bill Cook / x5364
Communications

Mort Javadi / x5635
Physical Sciences

Jackie Miller / x2601
Nursing & Related Services

Mark Mitchell / x3612
Justice & Safety

Keith Sanders/ x5288
Humanities

Mike Schumacher / 5482
Social Sciences
Psychology

Cindy Evans / x2435
Human Services

Dr. Antoinette Perkins / x5754
Marketing & Graphic Communication
Computer Information Technology

Eric Neubauer / x5698
English

Amy Brubaker / x5068
Developmental Education
Modern Languages

Dr. Sue Longenbaker / x2430
Biological Sciences


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