What's Really Happening - 2005/08/12

 

 

What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of August 12, 2005

NEW NEGOTIATIONS STOP BEFORE THEY START

The initial mediation session since the Board and the CSEA membership rejected the fact finder's report 2 weeks ago ended Thursday before any negotiations took place.

Through a State Employment Relations Board mediator, CSEA stated its willingness to accept the fact finder's recommendations on Article 3/Academic Year (continue past practice on 2 days prior to beginning of Autumn Quarter) and Article 7/Association Business (fours hours each of reassigned time per quarter for the Association president and vice-president).

CSEA also said that it wanted to begin actual negotiations on health care costs and salary. The fact finder's report expressed irritation that no real negotiations on these financial topics had taken place prior to fact finding.

In reply, the administration indicated that it is unwilling to budge from its position on health care coverage, and that it will not discuss a salary schedule. Take it or leave it.

No new talks are scheduled.

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

Health care. The Board's negotiators made clear that the Board is not willing to pay any more for health insurance each year during the term of a contract-3 years-than it is paying today. When the Board of Trustees approved imposition of a health care program that raised the cost of coverage comparable to last year's by 75%, it shifted all increased insurance costs to Columbus State employees.

So at a time when all other costs-housing, utilities, gasoline-are increasing for both Columbus State and its employees, the Board unrealistically expects medical insurance costs to stay the same. This is even more surprising given the College's strong financial position.

Columbus State faculty pay the highest proportion of health care costs of any community college faculty in the state.

Salary schedule. OK, so administration negotiators were willing to drop the part of their salary proposal that would have required faculty to submit a portfolio in order to qualify for half of each year's raise, subject to approval by a department chair. In addition to being condescending to faculty, this proposal would have created additional work for overworked department chairs, who are increasingly being treated like low-level corporate managers.

More importantly, the Board of Trustees is unwilling to discuss a salary schedule. After making a step toward a salary schedule in our first contract with placement and salary increases related to time in rank, the administration now wants to return to the very structure that, 3 years ago, it agreed had prevented faculty from ever rising above the bottom of their pay ranges.

The Board apparently believes that going up for promotion by preparing the necessary performance documentation and submitting oneself to rigorous peer review, both built into our salary schedule proposal, are not sufficient to be considered "merit based." The Board says that a salary schedule, the standard in education compensation throughout the state, is "not right" for CSCC. In the same year that it rewards Columbus State's CEO with an 8.3% raise after the management fiasco of Datatel, enrollment declines related to it and a decline in morale unparalleled in the College's history, the Board turns around and shows faculty that a 3% raise this year (less than inflation) plus increased health care costs-a net loss of income-is how Board members evaluate faculty's contribution to fulfilling the College's mission.

NOW WHAT?

The Board apparently thinks that faculty will work indefinitely without a contract, and that we will accept stonewalling as an alternative to real negotiations. In doing so, it undermines what we teach in our classrooms-problem solving, critical analysis, effective group work. It creates a crisis and undermines quality education.

The Board leaves us no choice but to begin taking job actions that could otherwise be avoided. Please contact your Association Representative to find out what you can do to help.


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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