Bargaining Update #6

Dear Colleagues

The District and CCFF bargaining teams met on Thursday, November 5.

Members of the Union’s negotiating team that attended negotiations today were:  Terrance Mullins, Solomon Namala, Lyndsey Lefebvre, Kimberly Rosenfeld, Jay Elarcosa, and Stephanie Rosenblatt.

Members of the District’s negotiating team who were present were:  Mary Anne Gularte, Steve Andelson, Sandy Marks, Shawna Baskette, Adrianna Flores-Church, David El Fattal, and Gary Pritchard.

The District presented counter proposals to Union Rights article and to the Health & Welfare MOU.  The District had no counter proposal on Salary, Assignment, or Academic Freedom.  The CCFF is also awaiting counter proposals for the Sabbaticals article, proposed in Fall 2014, and an article regarding Discipline, proposed in May 2015.

The CCFF and the District reached a tentative agreement on Union Rights.  This article will be among those included in a package of articles on which members will vote at the conclusion of this round of negotiations.

Health & Welfare Benefits

This gets tricky.  The District has agreed to cover all health plans without a cap for the years 2016, 2017, and 2018.  That’s very good.  However, the District has balked at increasing retiree benefits beyond $200 per month.  That’s not so good.  And, if the two parties fail to reach an agreement by this December, next month, we revert to the provisions of the previous MOU, which is even worse.  That would mean for 2016 that those faculty who have the Anthem PERSCare family plan will be obliged to pay the difference between what the District agreed to pay currently ($20,505) and what the plan costs ($20,808).  But there’s one more wrinkle:  should the CCFF and the District fail to agree on health and welfare benefits for 2019, the default cap proposed by the District will surely mean that faculty will be paying out of pocket for health insurance.

Currently, a retired faculty member can receive $149 per month but only toward a plan offered by the District.  The CCFF is proposing $300 per month.  Note that the $149 per month represents an agreement reached between the District and the now defunct Salary Committee more than a decade ago, at a time when healthcare costs were far less.  The amount is unfairly small.  Also, it has been common practice for most of our neighboring districts to provide full health care coverage for retirees up to the age of 65, when Medicare begins to provide health insurance.  The CCFF knows the District can – and should – do better by its retiring faculty.

It seems the District chooses to limit its contribution to $200 per month for a couple of reasons.  First, of course, is the financial advantage.  $200 is less than what the CCFF seeks, so the District saves money.  But, in addition, offering less to retirees reduces the financial ability to retire prior to the age of 65, largely because health insurance would take too great a bite out of the fixed income of a STRS pension.  It is here that the District can use a “golden handshake” like an incentive on steroids.  That gold in the handshake can be turned right over to the insurance company for health insurance, which, in turn, makes retirement appear realistic, doable – affordable.  In this way, the District can control retirements, choosing the time when faculty retirement best serves the District.  Moreover, money saved on the paltry faculty retirement benefits and on a well-timed golden handshake become money available to subsidize golden handshake packages for management.

The CCFF Executive Board is meeting this Tuesday, November 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in SS 214.  Come.  Offer comment.  Ask questions.  The CCFF wants to know what you think:  take the deal or stand firm for better treatment at retirement?  If you can’t make the meeting, contact a member of the negotiating team:

  • Terrance Mullins – tmullins@cerritos.edu
  • Solomon Namala – snamala@cerritos.edu
  • Lyndsey Lefebvre – llefebvre@cerritos.edu
  • Kimperly Rosenfeld – krosenfeld@cerritos.edu
  • Jay Elarcosa – jelarcosa@cerritos.edu
  • Stephanie Rosenblatt – srosenblatt@cerritos.edu