Why I Joined the CCFF

Why I Joined the CCFF

Michael J. Farina, CPA, MBA

Professor of Accounting, Co-chair, Accounting/Finance Dept., and Membership Chair, CCFF

If anyone had told me two years ago I would be recruiting members for CCFF, I would have referred them to Metropolitan State Hospital for treatment.

I was opposed to the union’s formation on campus. I did not believe, at that time, a union was needed. Pay and benefits for full-time faculty were commensurate with those in our surrounding areas, and most administrators throughout the years engaged in reasonable negotiations with a faculty committee on salary and other items.

However, as Bob Dylan wrote, “times they are a-changin.”

On four separate occasions from 2010 to 2012, the college administration attempted to short our pay:

  • The District did not pay faculty for the July 4th holiday in 2010.  A similar incident occurred in 2005. I noted the shortage on my paycheck and worked with Dr. Ted Stolze, former CCFF president, to document a complaint. The amount shorted was subsequently paid.
  • Fall 2010 overload procedures were issued by Office of Academic Affairs on September 8, three weeks after the semester started. The new procedures reduced several faculty members overload pay for the fall 2010 semester below amounts previously paid for the same work in prior years.  A grievance was filed. I was part of the faculty grievance. This grievance is now in arbitration.
  • Overload pay for the Thanksgiving holiday in 2010 was not paid.
  • The first query to management occurred on December 15th by a faculty member.
  • A complete response was not received until January 24th, when we were told it is a matter between the District and CCFF.
  • After the union intervened, the amount shorted was subsequently repaid in 2011.
  • In all such incidents, faculty did not receive the courtesy of an email advising of the intent to reduce pay. These reductions were only noted after reading our paycheck stubs. Additionally, the union had to expend substantial funds on legal fees to ensure our rights were not violated.

After the Thanksgiving holiday issue was resolved, the administration informed the union they would not be paying Holiday pay to full-time faculty members for the 2011-2012 academic year.  The union filed a grievance. The grievance was resolved in the unions favor in May 2012, with retroactive pay for all full-time faculty affected.

Dr. Stolze and Economics professor Dr. Solomon Namala asked me and Peter Moloney, another accounting professor, to join them as union negotiators. The administration, under the guise of severe financial difficulties, proposed the following to lead off the negotiations in the spring of 2011:

  • Cut summer 2011 pay in half
  • Increase medical insurance contributions by approximately $10,000 for those in the PERS Care Family plan
  • Freeze “step and column” pay increases
  • Pay all newly-hired full-time faculty members part-time wages for overload and summer school-permanently.

Dr. Namala, Professor Moloney and I worked diligently to refute the administration’s stated reason for these cuts:  severe financial difficulties.  We prepared various financial analyses to prove the administration overstated the severity of its financial problems. We also concluded the district had transferred approximately $14 million of funds into a “capital outlay” fund that could be used to fund daily operations.

We were successful! The administration dropped its demands and agreed to an independent review of its financial condition. An independent review was conducted in August 2011. The mediator concurred with our assessment that $14 million in the capital outlay could be used for operating purposes.

At that point, I became convinced the CCFF is absolutely needed, and joined the union. I urge you to do so today.