What's Really Happening - 2005/12/02

 

 

WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of December 2, 2005

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SERB SETTLEMENT

Several questions have emerged from the Joint Statement issued Wednesday by CSEA and the administration. We hope to address those questions here.

The term "with prejudice" is the term used to define legal actions that can not be re-filed. In the context of the settlement of Tuesday's mediation, it means that the 3 unfair labor practice complaints that CSEA made against the Board are withdrawn and that the specific incidents that caused them to be filed are no longer relevant for purposes of State Employment Relations Board (SERB) action. The complaints covered 3 specific issues: direct dealing by requiring faculty to choose new health care coverage while bargaining was in process; bad-faith bargaining by the administration in scheduling a mediation session and then refusing to negotiate; and implementation of a last/best/final offer before impasse had been reached.

SERB retains jurisdiction over the renewed bargaining, which will be conducted with the assistance of a SERB mediator.

The term "total communications blackout" means that the negotiating teams will not discuss or reveal any information about bargaining issues or talks at the bargaining table until an agreement is reached or until after negotiations conclude on January 20, whichever is first. This blackout pertains ONLY to bargaining issues and negotiations.

With bargaining on salary and benefits scheduled to resume January 12, we anticipate good-faith negotiations and a mutually agreeable settlement of these issues.

WHAT ABOUT LEAD INSTRUCTORS & PROGRAM COORDINATORS?

The agreement to return to the bargaining table does NOT change the status of lead instructors and program coordinators who have refused those roles since Summer Quarter.

CSEA encourages faculty who have withdrawn these services to continue that status for Winter Quarter. We understand that some program coordinators in technical areas, where intensive community liaison work is necessary to maintain the integrity of their programs, have felt it necessary to resume their roles. They have discussed their circumstances with CSEA's Executive Committee, and we have not opposed their return to their coordinator roles. We understand the difficult choice they have made, and we appreciate their commitment to their programs as well as to CSEA. We urge other faculty to refuse the voluntary lead instructor/program coordinator work until we have a fair, mutually agreed contract.

WHAT ABOUT "WORK TO THE RULE"?

Work to the Rule-performing only scheduled classroom assignments, office hours, and 14 hours of weekly mission & learning support-remains in force. We urge all faculty to decline any additional "value-added" work. Giving final exams, grading of finals and projects, computing of final grades, and holding office hours will consume more than 40 hours for most faculty. We recommend that faculty not participate in any other college-related activities such as committee and governance meetings, graduation activities, special events, or additional student advising until we have a fair, mutually agreed contract.

We have agreed to return to negotiations. We have not reached an agreement. Until the issues are resolved and we have an agreement, we encourage every faculty member to Work to the Rule. Your solidarity has taken us this far, and our goal of a fairly negotiated contract is in view. Don't let down now.

FACULTY AND STUDENTS BEG TRUSTEES FOR HELP

Nearly 80 faculty, students, and staff attended the Board of Trustees meeting November 17 to inform the Board of continuing concerns about the operation of the College.

Seven faculty and four students addressed the Board on issues ranging from Datatel problems to the ratio of full-time to adjunct faculty. Several faculty-most notably Assistant Professor Sue Longenbaker (Biological & Physical Sciences) and Professor Sue Lape (Communication Skills)-called upon Board members to recognize faculty's critical role in fulfilling the College's mission and to reaffirm a commitment to maintaining quality instruction. A Construction Science student presented a petition signed by over 70 students asking the Board to return to negotiations with CSEA in order to conclude a mutually agreeable contract. A graduate of the College returned to describe an increasingly negative atmosphere on campus over the past several years.

CSEA President Steve Abbott spoke on behalf of all employees when he addressed the Board on a variety of management issues. He questioned why, 4 years after faculty discussed the problem with administrators, adjunct faculty with continuing relationships with CSCC must still wait 4 weeks each quarter for a paycheck. He explained that small wage increases and increased health care costs for staff have resulted in too many employees making less money at the end of 2005 than they made at the beginning, and wondered how the College can conduct regular leadership trainings and then watch employee morale get worse. He asked the Board to help remedy what he called a "toxic atmosphere" on campus, where "staff are demoralized, faculty are disillusioned, and managers are afraid to speak up." He urged Board members to become more involved in learning about how the College functions and what its employees do to maintain and improve it.

An email from Dr. Moeller to the campus the following day summarized the Board meeting. It included a Board statement that said "Board members heard other issues of importance related to the faculty and students of Columbus State Community College, and we plan to follow up with those and take appropriate action."

The next Board of Trustees meeting is January 26.

CSEA MEETING WINTER QUARTER

CSEA will hold a short ALL-FACULTY meeting during the second week of Winter Quarter before negotiations resume, probably on either Tuesday, January 10 or Wednesday, January 11. We will confirm the date, time, and location before the end of finals week.

FINALS WEEK REMINDER

Faculty must maintain their 10 office hours during finals week. These hours can be adjusted to suit the varied schedules of students, faculty, and final exam times. We advise that these hours be posted.


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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