GCFA Newsletter! September 2012

It's election time! Members should have received in their mailboxes some background material on the contract Tentative Agreement and on Propositions 30 and 32. Ballots will be distributed on Thursday Sept. 20. Please vote promptly (but not often) and let Election Chair Jen Roscher know if for any reason you did not get a ballot, or need a replacement. Naturally, I hope you will vote YES on the contract, which takes a few giant steps forward; we have it all on-line if you need to look at it. Also I *really* hope you take a little time to study the Prop. 30 and Prop. 32 information on our Advocacy page. These are very important measures to our future.

And they rush upon us with the November election. Please consider spending an hour tabling to register student voters and educating others about what's at stake for California, Community Colleges, students, and faculty on Nov. 6. Contact Marla Butler if you have a little time to spend in this worthy, nay, critical task to model democracy to students. It's also fun to catch up with colleagues and students from past semesters.

Finally, because the College's state funding was cut by $2.4 million since January, the District is calling together its Expenditure Reduction Task Force for Round Three of cuts. This is not good news in any light, but it is a positive that the process will be participatory. The Task Force's mandate will be to trim $2 million from the college's $27 million budget. I have no idea where this will come from, as Gavilan feels trimmed to the bone to me already. But I do know in the past that the college's "no lay-off" policy applied only to full-time faculty and staff, making it an ironic reassurance. This time, I wonder whether we shouldn't dust off the 2010 Gavilan Academic Resolution on recommendations for scheduling cuts that would be minimally painful--

And my department spent some time this week brainstorming revenue streams (some pretty silly, but some maybe worth looking into) and places to trim (again, some worth looking into.) If you have ideas, know of some brilliant strategy at another college, or if your department can spend some time talking about this, please send me whatever you come up with. I am not on the Task Force--I did not ask to be. But the union can certainly forward recommendations and ask that they be taken seriously. We can also ask our representatives, who will be revealed soon I hope, to communicate clearly and often about what they are discussing. Their work will wrap up by early November. So please expedite this discussion.

My own intentions in the whole bundle of votes and dollars and committees and policies are simple: to do whatever I can to preserve our college's mission, and our faculty's collegiality and solidarity.

Leah Halper

Mark Fuzie, yak5f@charter.net, has forms you can request. Just don't get into collecting the completed ones--this opens you up to all sorts of liability. Instead, let students mail them (for free) themselves once they are filled out. And remember, you must give forms to everyone who asks for them regardless of what you think of their politics. For information on teaching the budget and other classroom election strategies, see www.gavfaculty.org/Advocacy

Members of the GCFA Social Events/FunRaising Committee are doing a random sample to ask faculty how we should be using our social events funding--do we want more events? Fewer? What kinds? Or should we invest in fitness classes? Wellness programs? Meet-ups? More welcoming events for new faculty? If you are called or emailed on these questions, please DO get back to us. If not, you can volunteer your views and suggestions anyway; contact Sabrina Lawrence, Dana Young, Mary Ann Sanidad, or Andy van Tuyl. And this committee is looking for a few (fun) new members. Let us know if you're interested. And watch this space for a report on what the survey revealed.

As a Gavilan employee, you have access to credit union services at Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union, which has branches all over the county. Check out their services: https://www.sccfcu.org/ASP/home.asp

Congratulations to Dr. Collette McLaughlin, who was given an award for http://www.facebook.com/iisme.org participating Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education (IISME) for the second summer in a row. This industry-college partnership provides paid, challenging summer work opportunities for K-16 educators in corporations and universities. And it gets better: Collette's student Steve Hua was named the best in California in a contest involving architectural design--and was recognized at the Board of Trustees for his excellent work in September.

Many part time faculty are beginning to venture into the world of cumulative sick leave, required by law since 2005 and negotiated this cycle by your GCFA bargaining team. It may be confusing: you have a right to it, and have since 2005, but until we learned about the college's not offering it, there was no plan for how to offer it and especially how to count past accumulations. Many people have asked about details, and we will be posting a guide to claiming and using sick leave when the contract election is over, assuming. the package with sick leave processes is approved. If so, check the www.gavfaculty.com pages--click on Info You Need link and scroll down to the Sick Leave link to get the hows and wherefores. If not--??

A good evaluation can be a huge help in anyone's career. A poor one can be a huge obstacle. If you are full time and want some information on how to carry out the evaluation process for a PT colleague, see http://www.gavfaculty.com/GCFA_Files/FTinfoPTeval.htm
If you are part time and have received notification from the Office of Instruction that you are to be evaluated, see http://www.gavfaculty.com/GCFA_Files/PTevalprocess.html

Faculty are often unsure whether a particular situation constitutes a grievance or is merely a gripe that might be resolved in a less formal way. By definition, grievances result from specific contract violations. Other matters, though, may be appropriate for referral to alternative resources such as legal counsel. If you’re unsure, ask! Both grievance officers, Leslie Tenney and Jane Edberg, are here to help you determine the nature of your circumstance and guide you through the appropriate process.
We are happy to report that of all grievances filed in the past couple of years, each has been resolved internally, without the need to go to arbitration. Examples of contract articles addressed and resolved include:
- Article 13: Personnel files and what can be included in them.
- Article 32: Public complaints and a member’s right to notification of complaints.
- Article 22: Workload and how individual workloads are calculated, including LEH factors.
- Article 19: Evaluation of faculty and whether required processes have been followed.
-  Article 23: Salary including appropriate placement on the salary schedule and credit vs. non-credit compensation.
- Article 18: Reassignments, including involuntary reassignments.
- Article 12: Working Conditions.
- Article 32: Public Charges and the student grievance procedure.

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the GCFA contract available at http://www.gavfaculty.com. Know your rights, ask questions, and seek resolution!