The CCFF and District bargaining teams held their fourth round of negotiations last Thursday, October 24, and they continued to work on the following three issues:
- Health and Welfare
- Academic Freedom
- Union Rights
Health and Welfare
Open enrollment for health benefits has closed, and the parties have yet to reach agreement. Not to worry for 2016, though: as noted in update 2, even without an agreement, the District will cover benefits up to $20,505 next year. However, the CCFF seeks a three-year agreement like the one that just expired, and while the District agrees to the length, it wants to fix the cap for years 2017 and 2018 at a level that will probably mean that some faculty will have to pick up a difference between what the District will pay and the cost of the medical plan. No one expects that difference to be much – certainly an amount the District can afford. The problem, though, is this: the District is insisting that faculty sacrifice on health benefits when the current budgetary climate suggests there is no need.
As for benefits for those who retire before the age of 65, the District is philosophically opposed to negotiating early retirement health benefits. They prefer the golden handshake, for it provides them the flexibility of choosing when to offer an incentive to retire and when not. We remain the only college among our peers in the area that does not offer early retirement benefits.
As for the benefits the District does offer to retirees, you may know that the District provides $149 per month to apply to one of the health plans offered by the District. This sum is the product of an agreement reached between the Salary Committee, the agency that preceded the CCFF, and the District. Things have changed in the meantime, so the CCFF seeks a larger, more appropriate sum.
The CCFF expects a counter proposal on health and welfare benefits at our next session, November 5.
In late September, the CCFF presented an article on Academic Freedom to the District. The article is predicated on the ideas that faculty members should be free to:
- provide their students with the opportunity to investigate a wide variety of ideas and points of view, even those seen as controversial, unpopular, or outside the students’ comfort zones;
- conduct and disseminate research within their disciplines; and
- express themselves as individuals without fear of reprisal.
Last Thursday, the District offered a counter proposal. The CCFF will bring a response to the table when the two sides meet again on November 5th.
You might recall that the CCFF is seeking additional release time to perform its duties. We offered a response to the District’s counter proposal. At our next meeting, we hope to receive another counter-proposal from the District.
The next bargaining session is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on November 5. The CCFF will be presenting the Assignment Article to the District. This is the substantive article that defines faculty workload and conditions of employment, and it is the product of untold and unsung labor.
More to come.