What's Really Happening - 2002/10/06



What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of October 6, 2002


The fact-finding hearings will begin next Thursday (October 17). The fact finder will hear the administration's and the union's positions of the remaining unresolved issues. We anticipate that the fact finding report will be issued early in November. Both sides will then have 14 days to vote to accept or reject the fact finder's report. (Typically, fact finders produce reports that displease both sides at least a little.) If either side rejects the fact finder's report, faculty are no longer prevented from legally striking and/or taking other work actions as necessary. We are confident about the strength of our evidence and hope that the fact finder will reach a decision that both CSEA and the College can accept.

The remaining significant unresolved issues are:

  1. Salary schedule
  2. Medical/Dental/Vision benefits
  3. Early retirement buyouts
  4. Workload issues, including the work of coordinators/lead instructors
  5. Class size
  6. Full-time to part-time ratio

As we have previously reported, our main issue is the adoption of a reasonable salary schedule that allows faculty to progress within pay ranges. The adoption of a salary schedule is not a financial issue. The small dollar difference between past salary expenses and the cost of our proposed salary schedule make clear that the College has opposes a fair salary schedule for unstated reasons that have nothing to do with the College's economic realities.

Average pay increases in the past 3 years have been 5.67% annually. Assuming this rate of increase were to continue for the period from Jan. 1, 2002 - June 30, 2005, the total cost of faculty salaries would be as follows:

  1. 5.67% annual increase would result in a total cost of:   $70.94 million.
  2. The salary schedule proposed by CSEA would be:   $70.58 million.

The above numbers are the product of a faculty-member-by-faculty-member analysis of actual costs, and assume that all approved faculty positions are filled.

The financial condition of the college is the best it has been for the last ten years. It is the most financially sound of all community colleges in the state, and will continue to improve in light of the rapid increases in student enrollment and the relative decrease in the full-time to part-time teaching ratio. This fact has been independently verified by the college auditors, OEA consultants, and data reported to the Federal Department of Education. College financial reports show a string of surpluses over the past several years, and we see the issue simply: if the College can't correct historically low faculty pay when it is generating substantial budget surpluses, when will it ever do so?

Now is the time to correct past salary inequities, particularly when it will not significantly increase the cost to the college. The fact that the college can afford this is further demonstrated by the 12% increases in pay that administrators and other salaried employees received this year alone. This included a 3% increase in January, another 2% increase in July, and a further 6.7% increase in July as part of the staff realignment from a 37.5 to a 40-hour work week (which managers, who are not hourly employees, have benefited from). This realignment did not include any additional duties or responsibilities for managers and cost the college approximately $1.6 million.

We continue to be concerned about the declining ratio of full-time faculty to students, as well as the ratio of full-time faculty to part-time faculty. The Board heard this concern in the presentation at its meeting Sept. 26. Of nearly equal concern to us is the issue of who can teach. The College has been quietly developing agreements with at least one private business to have its skilled employees teaching classes at the College in exchange for tuition waivers. Without protective contract language, the College could hire non-faculty to teach credit courses and thus effectively out-source instruction and undermine job security.


In apparent retaliation for a Dispatch news story (Sept. 26) that quoted CSEA President Steve Abbott's comments on our proposed salary schedule, the administration cancelled a final meeting scheduled for last Friday to settle a few issues prior to fact finding. It's worth noting that the College has continued to bargain with Public Safety's Teamsters union even after a TV station a month ago reported on a central dispute in their negotiations.


Again, many thanks to the nearly 60 faculty members who attended the Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 26 (especially on such short notice!) to express concern about a range of pressing issues. Our thanks also to the dozens of others who contacted members of the Executive Committee to express regrets about being unable to attend because of classroom or family obligations.

Our growing strength and demonstrated unity of purpose encourages the bargaining team and provides us the option of taking aggressive and decisive work actions as future events may dictate. We are encouraged by your membership renewals, but we particularly cheer the new memberships in the past two weeks. Our colleagues are allies who share our interests, whether they know it or not. Talk to them. Encourage them to join CSEA now.

Finally, remember that we will be holding a meeting later this month to elect officers and Association Representatives. If you are a paid member and are interested in serving in any of these capacities, please contact one of your Association Officers. Notification of election dates and time will be sent to paid members only.

Stay strong.

What's Really Happening is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Steve Abbott, President / x5096
Karl Rieppel, Vice President / x2500
Amy Brubaker, Secretary and Association Representative / x5068
Greg Goodhart, Treasurer / x5431
Darrell Minor, Parliamentarian / x5310
Bill Mundy, Association Representative / x5176
Dr. Jane McDowell, Association Representative / x2656 
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302
Dr. Wendy McCullen-Vermillion, Association Representative / x2693
Lisa Schneider, Association Representative / x5124

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