Wth the semester virtually over and without having presented a concrete proposal, the District has asked to schedule extra bargaining sessions with the AFT 2121 negotiations team in order to reach some kind of accord before our contract expires with the District on June 30, 2012.
As reported earlier, significant time at the table this semester was spent dealing with the impact of the “February Surprise” fiscal crisis, leading to an agreement by the various College constituencies to realize savings through work furloughs, temporary wage givebacks, and other measures to get through this year.
Little specific time, however, has been spent on negotiations for next year or for overall openers for the AFT-SFCCD three-year contract, in large part because the District has brought no specific proposals to the table.
District refusing to address hikes in employee health premiums
AFT took up in earnest the issue of increases in HSS health care premiums coming down the pike in July, 2012. We have pushed at the bargaining table for greater contributions from the District to offset these increases because they fall disproportionately on CCSF employees.
Despite having built additional health costs into its CCSF budget projections for next year, the District has so far refused to offer any relief to employees. Timely response to this matter would have enabled faculty to make informed choices during the Open Enrollment period,
As previously reported, Budget projections for next year continue to indicate a large unresolved deficit. The District insists that faculty, along with other College constituencies, must commit to resolving this deficit in advance if we expect to get any help on health premium hikes. But with the District unable to make accurate projections on costs or budget overall, and with no specific proposal on the table, AFT can only conclude that the District is stalling and holding hostage what for the District is a relatively small and already budgeted amount for health care premiums.
For more on health premium increases and for an overview of timing on the state budget/revenue picture,click here for page 3 of the May issue of Union Action.
What is wrong with this picture?
It is one thing not to know about the revenue. It’s another not to know about the costs. The state budget is an ambiguous, moving target, and there is much we will not know about funding until the Legislature approves a budget in the summer—and even more we will not know until after November’s elections.
The District has failed to provide meaningful cost information on key issues in negotiations. AFT has provided precise, detailed information projecting the cost of our health premium proposal. A month later, the District has instead responded with claims of a much higher cost figure—more than double that of AFT’s cost-out, but no detail of how it arrived at its figure.
The District continues to attribute cost to salary step advancement that grossly overstates the actual cost. AFT has repeatedly demonstrated to the District that there is little cost for faculty salary step advancement—and even a savings in some years—in comparing the average salary step of the faculty from one year to the next. This is because hundreds of full-time faculty congregate at the highest step, Step 16, and many of these individual retire each year, driving down the average salary step of the faculty.
Additionally, the District has been unable to project actual faculty costs for next year with the planned reductions in the instructional program and other services, which amount to a huge sacrifice from faculty in lost assignments and a closing off of educational access for students. It follows that the District cannot propose with any precision what it expects from the Union to address next year’s deficit. Essentially, we are being asked to sign what amounts to a blank check from faculty, which is simply unacceptable.
Where We Stand
Faced with this lack of progress towards an agreement and ongoing problems related to the District managing of its costs, the AFT Executive Board has resolved the following regarding negotiations:
- We seek a six month extension of our current contract to negotiate a new three-year Agreement.
- Faculty deserve immediate relief by the District from the inordinate hikes in health premiums that are immanent this July 1, 2012.
- The District must provide the information, sorely lacking this year, regarding costs necessary for good-faith negotiations.
- The District must change course. It cannot look for more concessions from employees to solve the fiscal crisis. CCSF employees continue to bear the brunt of the crisis in the form of cuts in real wages and layoffs. College leaders need to refocus their efforts to bringing new revenues to CCSF.