After more than a month’s delay in getting mediation started since management walked away from the table, we had a full day of mediation on Wednesday, during which about 30 AFT 2121 members participated in caucus alongside our 10-member bargaining team. The mediator met with our full group, so members were able to hear directly from him how he sees the possibilities for settlement. The next mediation session will be on Oct. 23 at 10am at 33 Gough.
Members said that being there was: “Useful in understanding what’s REALLY going on between the district and the union” and “to see what a mediator does.”
Another added: “I found it helpful to both see firsthand what’s hard and also where there are possibilities for things to change.”
At the moment, we don’t like what we’re hearing about where these possibilities are. While all members present agreed to the mediator’s request that we keep the exact content of our discussions off of email and out of comments to the press, we can say that we are working very hard to come up with a tentative agreement that honors AFT 2121’s core principles while recognizing the reality of the very serious situation we are in.
The outstanding issues remain pay, minimum class size and cancellation, how post-employment health care will be paid for, and the existence and extent of the prescription drug co-pay reimbursement program.
Mediation is about relative power. A mediator’s job, under statute, is to push both sides to reach an agreement. He or she doesn’t care what the agreement is, just that it exists. And so it is the mediator’s job to push harder on the side that appears the weakest.
We have made great progress in collecting letters asking Special Trustee Agrella to come back to the bargaining table and negotiate, but we haven’t yet collected these letters from many of you. We think it’s imperative that we get letters from a majority of members in order to show support for your union’s bargaining team.
Bringing pressure and building strength is about demonstrating that collectively we want a fair contract, and the way to demonstrate that is to act together to show our numbers. Signing a letter is a low-risk, low-commitment ask. As a union, we cannot responsibly try pressure tactics that are higher risk or higher commitment until we can show that the majority of members want this contract settled and we know that we can depend on that majority to act as one. And of course, we hope that demonstrating majority commitment will obviate the necessity of more drastic action. City College faculty and our students deserve a completed faculty contract so that we can wholeheartedly focus on accreditation and the other important work at hand.
Be part of the solution: Get your letter in to us today!