From: Jim Mahler <email@example.com>
Subject: Important Proposed Changes to AFT/GCCCD Union Contract
Date: September 24, 2020 at 4:00:08 PM PDT
Dear GCCCD AFT Guild Members,
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout has presented us with many challenges. As you are likely aware, the State is facing a $54 billion deficit, will be in essence issuing the District IOUs for the last five months of the current fiscal year, and the District’s own financial situation was already precarious aside from these added external pressures.
That being said, the current situation has also presented us with some opportunities to improve our contract in both some economic and non-economic areas.
A critical concern of ours has been the possibility that our adjunct faculty who are currently receiving healthcare would lose it, right in the middle of this pandemic, due to losing all or part of their assignments. In order to address this issue, we approached the District to open negotiations in the hope of resolving this issue in addition to other areas of mutual concern.
I’m pleased to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with the District (subject to your ratification-see information below regarding voting and forums) that resolves the potential loss of adjunct healthcare issue, results in some additional gains for our members, but also helps the District address its fiscal shortcomings. As in any negotiation, there is always give and take. We hope that you will agree with your AFT Guild leadership team that the “wins” outweigh the “losses” in this settlement.
Below are the details of our Tentative Agreement. All items will take effect January 1, 2021 unless otherwise noted.
1) Adjunct faculty members who are currently receiving District health benefits shall not have their benefits terminated during the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters, provided they can produce an affidavit (which will be sent by the District to the affected employees) stating they are not eligible to receive benefits from any other source (spouse, other employment, etc.). The District will use Fall 2021 and Spring 2020 semester assignments to determine eligibility for continued coverage. This means that no adjunct faculty member shall lose their healthcare benefits throughout the next 12 months regardless of their load, even if they have no assignment whatsoever. This is a huge win for us as it will guarantee that no one currently receiving District benefits will have their benefits discontinued during this pandemic! It also means that adjunct faculty will not need to re-qualify with two semesters of eligibility if the average of their Fall 2021 and Spring 2020 (no typo here) assignments are 50% FTEF or greater. (Reference Appendix B in our contract.)
2) For the Spring 2021 semester only, at the discretion of the instructor, ESL class maximums for Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) designated classes only may be reduced from 25 to 18 students. All other instructors may petition their respective Dean to reduce the maximum for other classes taught in ERT format for Spring 2021 if a compelling argument can be made due to extraordinary circumstances. (Article 126.96.36.199.1)
3) The District and the Guild will work together to create an interest-free Computer Loan program, $2,000 per unit member, effective Fall 2021, with the loan re-paid in ten equal installments via payroll deduction. Eligible employees will include adjunct faculty with Priority of Assignment and tenured/tenure-track faculty. If the recipient of the loan separates from employment prior to repaying the entire amount of the loan, the remaining loan balance shall be deducted from the unit member’s final pay warrant. (New contract provision.)
4) Priority of Assignment (POA) for adjunct faculty will automatically become effective as of their seventh semester of service, instead of the ninth. (Article 11.3)
5) The current pilot program for paid adjunct faculty office hours which was due to expire in June 2021 will be extended through the spring semester, 2023. If the state reduces or eliminates funding for this program prior to January 1, 2023, the parties agree to meet and negotiate over the terms and conditions of the paid adjunct faculty office hour program. (Article 11.10)
6) Adjunct faculty who have maintained six continuous years of service in Priority of Assignment status shall also be eligible to apply for a sabbatical. The overall number of available sabbatical leaves shall not be increased (per Section 14.3.1). Adjunct faculty who are approved for a sabbatical shall only have the option of a one semester leave. Compensation while on sabbatical shall be equal to their average assignment over the past two fall/spring or spring/fall semesters.
7) The District will continue to pay the full monthly premium cost for the following health benefit plans:
i. Kaiser HMO
ii. UHC HMO Network
iii. UHC Alliance $20/$30
iv. UHC Alliance HRA $1200
v. SIMNSA HMO (Cross Border Plan)
8) Employees who choose to remain in UHC HMO Network 2 during this fall open enrollment period (first two weeks in November) will pay monthly contributions for the difference between this plan rate and UHC Alliance $20/$30 rate. Employees will have the option to switch to one of the district fully paid plans listed in item #7 above during the upcoming open enrollment period. Monthly contributions for the UHC HMO Network 2 for calendar year 2021 are projected to be:
i. Single = $235
ii. Two Party = $489
iii. Family = $694
These values will be confirmed when we get our final rates from VEBA prior to open enrollment beginning but they will not deviate significantly from the values listed here.
9) The PPO plan will be discontinued effective January 1, 2021. Upon discontinuance of the PPO plan, continuity of care will be provided to employees by their new provider as specified in California Health and Safety Code §1373.96 (included in pages 7-9 of the second attachment to this email) and in individual Kaiser and UHC provider documents (also attached as separate documents). The District will work with VEBA and affected members to provide one-on-one counseling sessions in order to determine which would be the best plan for the member to transition to based on their specific treatment needs.
10) Active employees who can demonstrate coverage in a VEBA approved plan through their spouse or domestic partner can elect to opt-out of the District plan and will receive a stipend equal to 50% of the single premium for the Kaiser plan. The amount of the monthly stipend for calendar year 2021 will be $336.50. (This provision is subject to approval by the VEBA, but we believe it will be approved.)
11) In order to be able to receive medical coverage as a retiree until age 65, tenured faculty members must retire from CalSTRS or CalPERS, be at least 55 years old, and have at least 15 years of service as a contract faculty member.
12) Effective January 1, 2021, the co-pays for the Kaiser plan will increase from $10 to $15 for most services (see pages 3-4 of the second attachment for these details).
13) Effective January 1, 2021, the co-pays for the UHC HMO Network 1 plan will increase from $10 to $20 for most services (see pages 4-5 of the second attachment for these details).
14) Effective January 1, 2021, the deductibles and co-pays for the UHC HMO Network 2 plan will increase by varying amounts for most services (see pages 5-6 of the second attachment for these details).
15) Similar changes in coverages for Retirees (see page 2 of the second attachment for these details).
16) For the duration of the Agreement, the AFT and the District shall not be obligated to meet and negotiate with respect to any subject or matter with the exception of annual re-openers on Article IX, Compensation and Benefits, and those other Articles within this Agreement which specifically call for meeting and negotiating. Upon mutual written agreement, the parties may reopen additional articles for negotiations. (Article 22.3)
17) The expiration date of the collective bargaining agreement shall be extended for two years, expiring June 30, 2023. (Article 22.6)
18) If Proposition 15 passes in November 2020, the parties agree to meet to negotiate the following proposal based upon the terms and conditions of the funding to be received by the District under Proposition 15: Lab assignments to be based on the formula of 15 hours/week = 1.0 LED. (Article 7.8.2)
We realize that is a lot to digest. Since this is a relatively complex and comprehensive list of changes, we have scheduled three open forums to discuss this package on Monday, September 28th from 3:00-4:00, Tuesday, September 29th from 4:00-5:00pm, and Wednesday, September 30th, from 2:00-3:00pm (Zoom connection details will be sent soon). At the conclusion of these forums, all AFT Guild members will be emailed an electronic election ballot that will allow you to vote to ratify or reject this package. You will receive this ballot at the same gcccd.edu email address at which you received this message.
As these changes will go a long way toward helping many of our members during this difficult time, especially our adjunct faculty who are in jeopardy of losing their healthcare, your AFT Guild Executive Council strongly urges you to vote and to ratify this agreement.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me, or any of your AFT Guild Executive Council Officers, or attend one of our upcoming forums, if you have any questions regarding the foregoing.
Jim Mahler, President
AFT Guild, Local 1931