Renewed threat of unilateral action; District takes unabated aim at faculty contract

On Monday afternoon, Nov. 19, AFT 2121 and the District sat down to their first bargaining session following last week’s Board of Trustees meeting. 

Shortly before the election, the District proposed extensive cuts and takebacks for the “worst-case scenario” if the propositions did not pass. Then, on the heels of the election victories, which moved the College’s finances toward the best-case scenario—about $25 million away from the worst-case—the District negotiating team did not shift its stance.

At Monday’s session, the District provided AFT 2121 with a revised proposal that takes little account of the changed financial picture or the changes already enacted or in process at the College, let alone the significant sacrifices labor has already made over the last several years.

Even with the passage of Proposition 30 and Proposition A, the District is still seeking draconian cuts. With less than a month to negotiate and with little data and no detailed proposals on the table, the District has now proposed an across-the-board, unilateral permanent wage reduction of 4.71% effective December 28, 2012 unless the Union agrees to major contract concessions by December 13. These include:

  • Imposition of across-the-board wage reductions, including ongoing, permanent reductions
  • Elimination of tenure review pay
  • Reduction of pro rata pay by 10%
  • Reduction of pay for or suspension of sabbaticals
  • Reduction of pay for part-time office hours
  • Elimination of restrictions on assigning overload even when part-timers face layoff
  • Moving costs of current and future medical coverage onto employees, including retiree and dental
  • Pro rating part-time health and dental benefits
  • Elimination of reimbursement for prescription drug co-pays for full-time faculty
  • Elimination of reimbursement for parking

This year’s enrollment latest excuse for mid-year cuts

The District says the demand for an additional wage reduction this year, 2012/13, on top of the 2.85% already taken, is based on concerns that the College will not meet base enrollment and could lose as much as $3.5 million in the current year. We pointed out that the College’s own messaging to the community has failed to rally this support and welcome students to our programs and classes.

Permanent, ongoing takebacks: District seeks $5.5 million more from labor

Claiming it now needs $5.5 million in ongoing labor concessions, the District bases demands for ongoing takebacks on supposed budget deficits in 2013/14 and beyond. These numbers are contrary to the data provided not just to the Union but to the Board as well as to FCMAT over the last months.

When AFT 2121 pressed for concrete data backing up these claims, they retreated to perspectives imposed on the District by the AACJC recommendations and the FCMAT study. However, based on the analysis that the District and FCMAT provided, if both Prop 30 and Prop A passed, even with no further changes the District would see a small surplus in 2013/14, not a multi-million dollar deficit. This begs the question as to why the District has given no breakdown or credible explanation of why projections have changed.

AFT 2121 has rejected these premises and demanded information based on actual numbers. Spending for the faculty bargaining unit is down 9% over last year; the District has already saved nearly $4 million so far from faculty alone. We also want and need up to date, accurate projections, assumptions, and cost-outs, which include the brightening revenue picture now that the State has turned the corner in education funding with the passage of Proposition 30. The state Legislative Analyst’s Office and other analyses have already highlighted the upturn in the state’s future budget picture; finances are turning around, and quickly. This turnaround is especially notable for public education, and the usually circumspect LAO now projects an average annual growth in K-14 education funding over the next five or six years at 3.9%.

Finally, the District stated its refusal to consider borrowing against next year’s revenues from Prop. A, pegged at $14-$16 million annually, even if, despite “enrollment management” and outreach efforts, the District fails to reach base this year. This is short-sighted at best and quite possibly a refusal to engage in good faith negotiations. Just six months ago, the District pledged to negotiate over restoring faculty givebacks if the parcel tax passed.

What’s next?

Monday’s negotiating session revealed the District’s intent to impose unfair and uncalled for takebacks on faculty and workers. AFT 2121 will resist this outrageous attack so long as you stand with us, and we will continue to reach out and make common cause with other workers at the College who are willing to do the same. We will need and count on your attention and vigilance, your willingness to step up, and your continued dedication to the College, our students, and each other. Stay tuned and be in touch.

In the meantime, AFT 2121 wishes you an excellent holiday weekend. We have much to be thankful for, most especially our students and the work that we do in order to help them reach their goals and dreams—as well as the fact that San Franciscans value that work and the difference City College makes, and will continue to make, in the lives of so many.

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Phone: 415-585-2121
Email: aft@aft2121.org.
Address: 311 Miramar Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112