The Faculty Association (FA) accused the Pasadena Area Community College District of forcing an unfair labor practice on faculty members for changing the start and end dates in the academic calendar at its Sept. 12 meeting.

After the cancellation of the winter intersession at the Board of Trustees Aug. 29 meeting last year, many members of the community argued it would have major repercussions in teaching and working conditions for faculty.

As a result of the calendar change to a three-semester system, which went into effect last year, the spring semester started in January instead of mid-February, and faculty members said they were given short notice of a major change in its schedule.

According to FA lawyer Lawrence Rosenswieg, the association had the right to file a Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) grievance for an unfair labor practice because of the calendar change, not because of the cancellation of a winter intersession.

“The issue at PERB was whether the District argued in good faith over the calendar,” Rosensweig said. “And under PERB precedent the district has the right to cancel classes including winter. They don’t have the right to change starting dates of faculty.”

According to Gail Cooper, the district’s General Counsel, the district and the FA were still in litigation, and the district could not comment on PERB.

“The parties are in the process of preparing closing briefs,” Cooper said.

Instructor Kay Yee explained that many other community colleges cancelled their winter intersessions, but they did not change their entire calendar.

“There are a number of other colleges that got rid of their winter but did not change the calendar, and when Prop 30 came through, they were able to implement the winter session,” Yee said.

The San Diego Community College District is among those that kept a winter intersession after the passage of Proposition 30.

Rosensweig explained that the District only had to prove that they changed the calendar in good faith. A defense the District could try to advance during PERB litigation would be that the calendar change was mandatory without a winter intersession in place.

“[The District] has the right to cancel the winter session. We had to change the dates for the spring semester, it was an inevitable result,” he said, explaining the district’s argument. “It’s obvious they changed the dates.”

Instructor Mary-Erin Crook asked what steps the faculty could move forward with if the PERB litigation goes in its favor.

“If they found in our favor could we have class action? Could we strike?” she asked.

Rosensweig explained that the outcomes of PERB being in favor of the FA would be that the District would have to act in good faith.

“You could strike. I’m not saying you should,” he said. “There is no educational justification.”

15 Replies to “Faculty Association argues unfair labor practice”

  1. As required by AB 1725 (Stats. 1988, ch. 973), the Board of Governors has adopted regulations defining “minimum standards governing procedures established by governing boards of community college districts to ensure faculty, staff, and students the right to participate effectively in district and college governance.” Note the term “minimum standards.”
    The senate and the local board or its designee(s) (usually the chancellor, or
    president and senior administration) must “consult collegially” on the development of policies and procedures for board delegation of authority and responsibility to the academic senate related to “academic and professional matters.”
    Here, the governing board might so happen to “rely primarily” on the
    advice of the academic senate in any of the ten defined areas of “academic and professional matters,” but the board is in no way required to accept the recommendation of the senate. Title 5, Section 53203(d)(1) clearly states that when a board elects to “rely primarily” on the advice and judgment of the academic senate, the senate’s recommendation will “normally be accepted.” However, the regulation goes on to explain that a board can make a decision *different* from the senate’s recommendation
    where there are “exceptional circumstances” and “compelling reasons.” Budget constraints can easily create such exceptional circumstances and compelling reasons.

    1. There was–and is–no “compelling reason” for the absolute wreckage done to PCC through violating the shared governance work of its Calendar Committee. The only “exceptional circumstance” was an exceptionally misled Board of Trustees. In Aug 2012, Admin complained that finances were in a terrible mess, so Winter had to go! (–yet they were caught holding over $10,000,000 in cash.) Later, with Prop 30 passed, Admin could not pretend PCC was broke. When attempts to sabotage Calendar Committee meetings failed, they had to scramble for any other excuse to kill Winter. This was done in clear contradiction to the requirements of AB 1725, in letter, and in spirit.
      Rocha’s Folly may well cost the college its accreditation.

      1. True! Management hid tens of millions, cried “Poverty!” to justify subverting shared governance. When Prop 30 dumped buckets of cash on PCC, management could not use that ruse. So they are trying another way to sneak around the state law.
        Now we learn that Pres Rocha and lackeys are literally collecting the pay set aside for dead and retired faculty — and slipping it in their own accounts. $2 Million dollars!

  2. If teachers cared about students the way they claim they do,

    then they would not walk out of the classroom and strike.

    This is all about faculty greed, nothing more.

    How’s that million dollar grab working out for PCC faculty???

    1. Read before you comment next time, Gail:
      “Educational excellence, student success, college reputation, Accreditation are all hanging in the balance, but Admin. thinks all is well”

      That is why the Strike is imminent.

      By the way, Rocha’s paycheck outstrips the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. (!) Rocha’s reward for incompetence includes guaranteed pay raises, with no public reviews.

      1. 1. Not Gail here, brah.

        2. Your quote is according to opinion columnist Christine Michaels, so whoopy shit.

        2. Rocha is actually underpaid. Do some research, bro. CSULA former President Rosser actually earned a whopping $515,612 in 2009 (schedule J, form 990). Rocha’s pay is low in comparison.

        In fact, if you were to look at all the unfilled leadership positions in LA area colleges, you might get a clue as to the current economic situations for CCCs. LACCD now has an interim chancellor. With the current funding provided to CCCs, many presidents are just throwing their hands in the air and walking off the job because they are unable to meet the numerous commitments the colleges have. PCC is actually lucky to have such a dedicated president.

        But please, go ahead and strike. PCC faculty are still without a contract, right? Meaning they can be fired at will, right???

      2. 1) Michaels never said that. (Research, you say?)
        2) Rocha is paid more than the Speaker of the House, more than the VP of the United States, more than the Governor of California!
        3) 3 comes after 2. (It undermines your financial argument when you can’t count to three.)

        To repeat an earlier comment:
        “Rocha’s reward . . . includes guaranteed pay raises, with no public reviews.”

        Watch your language, kid.

      3. Gail friend,
        PCC is no Cal State, not by a long shot.

        Let’s compare Rocha to others who earned No Confidence:
        NYU’s President Sexton: Resigned.
        R. Statts, of Gadsden State CC, Resigned.
        T. Hacker, North Las Vegas: Resigned.
        Pinochet of Chile: Resigned.

        What is Rocha waiting for? The California Fire Code assures us that EXIT signs are clearly marked in every building on campus.

      4. CSULA enrollment for fall 2013 = 21,755.

        PCC enrollment for fall 2013 = 25,742.

        More students at less than half the pay.

        It’s no wonder that PCC faculty has no confidence in themselves. Perhaps they should try some professional development but of course, they think they are too good for that. The ole “Don’t you know who I am?” complex.

        PCC faculty has led PCC to become an embarrassment to the community.

  3. There IS educational justification, though some people don’t see it that way – they just see the immediate and obvious effect of not being to offer the students the class and thus affecting student ‘access’ . Many students support faculty in their quest and struggle, and if a strike is what they have had to resort – because obviously it IS the last resort – then more power to them!

    1. Yes,
      Instructors want to continue giving the best education to the students, and the best leadership to the college, but every effort to work with Admin. collegially has been met with hostility.
      Educational excellence, student success, college reputation, Accreditation are all hanging in the balance, but Admin. thinks all is well.
      Regrettably, it may soon be time to pursue other ways to approach the problem, including that final resort of S_____.

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