The PCC Faculty Association rejected the latest contract proposal from the district Friday when the two sides sat down their second negotiation meeting this month.
According to a letter written by the PACCD negotiating team, the district recently agreed to implement a Supplemental Early Retirement Plan (SERP) this academic school year if the PCCFA also agreed to an interim arrangement on the 2014-2015 academic calendar year without a winter intersession.
In addition, the rejected proposal provided that nothing in the agreement would preclude either party from proposing a different calendar year. The letter also stated that it was unlikely that a Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) decision would be issued in the next few months and in the absence of a binding decision the current calendar configuration was unlikely to be changed for the 2014-2015 academic year.
In rejecting the recent proposal, the PCCFA indicated that returning to the former calendar configuration was significantly more important than a SERP, according to the PACCD negotiating team.
Last Thursday, members of the Faculty Association met in the C-Building to discuss a variety of topics from the ongoing Campus Climate Survey to the lack of financial compensation of professors and faculty. The survey is intended to independently examine the relationship between shared governance groups and the administration.
“I haven’t actually taken the survey yet, but I am going to take it,” language professor Mary-Erin Crook said. “I just find it kind of curious that we need to pay around $25,000 to conduct this survey. It seems like the administration could find out what faculty and staff are thinking by just asking. It’s no big secret.”
In an attempt to let their voices be heard, the Faculty Association conducted its own survey in February, listing its priority issues for negotiations, which began March 7. Some of the priority issues include: salary increases, receiving full cost of living adjustments and fair compensation for extra work duties.
“To me the survey is kind of a waste of money,” Crook added. “I’ve heard others state that there were pretty good questions on the survey, so I plan on answering the survey and giving my opinion.”
Although members of the Faculty Association were hesitant about the independent survey, the FA passed a motion to encourage all full-time and tenured faculty members to participate in the independent campus survey.
Valerie Wardlaw, interim director of public relations, believes the Campus Climate Survey will benefit the school because the survey is independent and it compares PCC with other area community colleges.
“I think the Campus Think Survey is important and will benefit the school because it’s an independent survey, the results are benchmarked against other area colleges and both faculty and administration have the opportunity to take the survey.”
After several professors expressed their interest, or lack thereof, in taking the independent survey, English professor and Faculty Association President Roger Marheine turned the meeting over to psychology professor Julie Kiotas.
As the lights were dimmed, professor Kiotas presented the findings from her own statistical research in which she compared PCC with other area community colleges from the 11 local school districts.
“Professor Kiotas is an expert in statistics and statistical research,” Marheine said in an email. “Her work is always impeccable.”
As Kiotas presented her findings, the biggest response came when faculty members were informed of their salaries and how they compared with other area community college professors.
Of the 73 local community and junior colleges compared, Kiotas’ statistical research ranked PCC faculty 61st in average professor salary. The administration, however, ranks among the top three in the same category.
Although the news of the comparable college findings were met with dismay and chuckles from faculty members, professor Kiotas defended the administration’s salary because it was comparable to that of other administrators at other area community colleges. Kiotas went on to discuss the faculty’s pay and benefits.
According to Kiotas’ statistics, the average salary of PCC faculty members is $76,019 per year, whereas Mt. SAC faculty members are paid $93,993 per year, on average.
“We’re not here to lower or disagree about salaries of administration,” Kiotas said. “Their pay is comparable to other area college administrators. Yes we have good benefits, but our benefits and salary are not comparable to that of other area colleges.”