AFT and the District have reached a Tentative Agreement addressing enormous cuts in State funding and the $14 million deficit facing CCSF next year. Following extended negotiations over the last many weeks, which we hope you have been following through these updates, we have tentatively agreed to recommend a temporary 2.85% salary reduction for 2012/13, the largest in our history. If ratified by faculty during voting August 22-25, 2012, the agreement provides:
- A 2.85% deduction in salary for the year 2012-13, retroactive to July 1;
- A rollback of increases in health insurance premiums retroactive to July 1, 2012;
- A commitment to negotiate over the AFT/faculty share towards restoration of compensation in the event additional revenue, such as passage of the CCSF parcel tax on November 6, 2012.
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As you know, we have not taken this move lightly. The Tentative Agreement was reached after intensive negotiations over the extent of the budget crisis and deficit, the amount of savings from attrition in faculty ranks, and program cuts. We examined rising costs, including those of health benefits for active and retired faculty. A clear picture emerged of dwindling District reserves incapable of plugging a large budget deficit for next fiscal year, 2012-13, other than through pay reductions. All employee groups, including administrators, are either engaged in or have completed parallel negotiations.
It is important to note that we have the collective power to shift the District’s fortunes in the fall, with the true budget to be determined in the November 6th elections. Much hangs on the passage of the merged statewide progressive tax initiative, and even more on passing the local parcel tax to protect City College (which polls very positively). However, there are very real concerns about cashflow and the need for a concrete budget plan. The AFT 2121 bargaining team became convinced that solving the budget deficit for 2012/13 could not wait until the November 6 elections and the possibility of new revenues for CCSF.
Instead, we turned our attention to analyzing, under the projected circumstances of a $14m budget deficit, the amount of money that would be needed as the “faculty contribution to the crisis,” i.e., a 2.85% wage concession together with other savings from faculty cuts that—when combined with contributions from all of the other CCSF employee groups—would allow the District to adopt a balanced 2012/13 budget. In return, we sought the ability to recover the monies lost through the wage concession provided we are successful in the November elections.
Additionally, the parties have agreed to a six-month extension of the AFT/District contract through December 31, 2012. This means, among other things, that the bargaining team will be immediately back at the table to work on issues that have not been adequately addressed over the last year while so much time has been consumed by the budget crisis.
What to expect next: A timeline
- July 1, 2012 • Faculty pay continues as currently scheduled, including sunset of the .45% (.0045) deduction; steps for 2012-13 proceed. (Faculty who lost steps in 2009 are still behind, but catching faculty members up to their appropriate steps remains a priority.)
- July 17 (Tuesday) at 6pm • Next parcel tax campaign meeting to save CCSF at the SEIU offices, 350 Rhode Island off 16th (enter on Kansas). Let us know you plan to be involved: email email@example.com and we will make sure you receive emails and updates and talk to you about subcommittee activities.
- August 13-14 (Monday/Tuesday) • AFT 2121 will distribute information about the agreement during Flex Days, with a full discussion at the Tuesday afternoon flex workshop about the provisions of the Tentative Agreement.
- August 21 (Tuesday) • The AFT Delegate Assembly will meet from 3:00-5:00 p.m. and consider whether to recommend the Tentative Agreement to the faculty.
- August 22–24 (Wednesday – Friday) • AFT will conduct an all-faculty ratification vote on whether to accept or reject the Tentative Agreement.
- August 28 (Tuesday) • If the TA is ratified, 2.85% pay deductions will begin on this check. Deductions will be retroactive to July 1, 2012.
- September • Provided the TA is ratified, health care premiums for faculty covered under the Health Service System (HSS) will be rolled back to 2011-12 rates. Also retroactive to July 1, overpayments would be refunded.
- October, 2012 • Open Enrollment for HSS (the second of the year as the system switches to a Jan–Dec year). Health premium increases beginning Jan. 2013 are not covered under the TA, though AFT will seek to mitigate the costs and apply any savings from health costs so far; substantial increases in Blue Shield are expected.
- November 6, 2012 • Election Day: Among other important decisions, the CCSF budget will be decided. If the statewide progressive tax initiative passes (50% +1), community colleges will see no additional cuts this year, and CCSF may even gain some small revenues. If San Franciscans vote to protect CCSF with a $79 per-parcel tax (2/3 vote), the college will gain about $15m. annually for the next 8 years. (If these measures fail, the budget crisis at CCSF will continue apace, and we should expect significant downsizing as the College reshapes itself to meet the greatly reduced expectations of a California increasingly abandoning public education and especially the open-access mission of our community colleges.)
- November 12, 2012 • First scheduled negotiations session following Election Day.
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So… anything positive here? We can’t go so far as to call it a silver lining, but we do want to highlight some aspects of the agreement. For a few weeks, it seemed that the commitment to collective bargaining had all but vanished. The District first threatened to unilaterally impose a 7.18% wage cut (more than double the final percentage) and was providing little information to back up such a number or to describe to our satisfaction the overall size of the problem for the coming year. Once AFT pushed back on the possibility of such an action and more accurate data was provided and under discussion at the bargaining, the District proceeded to insist that AFT 2121 should agree to implementation of a reduction, the numbers for which we still had no agreement on, beginning in July—that is, without a ratification vote from faculty. Persistence, your support, strong research, and legal backup from AFT 2121’s lawyers proved invaluable in reestablishing adherence to the collective bargaining process.
None of this challenging work on behalf of faculty would have been possible without real persistence from our AFT 2121 negotiations team; members continued at the table well into their summers and were dedicated and vigilant. Current AFT 2121 negotiations team members are Patty Chong-Delon, Kate Connell, Kimberly Keenan, Nancy Mackowski, Alisa Messer, Annie Wong, and chief negotiator Chris Hanzo.
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These cuts are not of our making, and it is not possible to address cuts of this magnitude by simply tightening our belts or becoming more “efficient.” The cuts are due to decisions made by the State related to a long-term budget problem (cuts to revenue that have accumulated to the wealthy and corporations and the inability of the state to change such a trickle-up economy under current laws) that quickly became a short- and medium-term crisis—for education, health and human services, employment, and all of the public sector—when the economy tanked. For the past several years, AFT 2121 has been smack in the middle of the fight to change the state and local revenue pictures, and we will continue to push for solutions that support California’s community colleges, CCSF, California’s working families, and the rest of the 99%. Now it’s time for you and all other faculty members and supporters of the College to take the reigns and help lead the fight to Protect Our City College. Join us—this is the way to make a true difference for all of us, and especially for our students and for the accessible, quality education that San Franciscans deserve.
Please check for updates via email and at aft2121.org. We will be putting together more information about the TA and will be looking for your energy and dedication to make the parcel tax Protect Our City College campaign successful.