February 17, 2024
Items in This Newsletter
- New Opening: Adjunct Vice President News!
- New Roles: Communications and Membership Director News!
- Winter Intersession Update
- Election Update – AVCFT 4683A President
- Adjunct Faculty Healthcare
- TimelyCare for AVC Employees
New Opening: Adjunct Vice President News!
As some of you may know, Carla Corona, who served as our Adjunct Vice President, is now a full-time Theatre Arts faculty member. Though we are excited for her, it is bittersweet because she had to step down as Adjunct Vice President.
Carla shares the following: “I would like to thank all of the adjunct faculty for the privilege and honor of serving as your Adjunct VP for the past two years. I was appointed by Dr. Aurora Burd in September 2021, a role I have been so grateful for ever since, leading me to run for re-election. I’ve been able to meet and assist many adjuncts with their questions and offer guidance on Union issues. I facilitated numerous sessions and workshops with my colleagues all in the hopes of empowering and uniting our adjunct faculty. Although I am no longer the Adjunct VP, I stand with all AVC Faculty, we are one.”
AVCFT is now seeking someone passionate for faculty rights and advocacy to fill the Adjunct Vice President role. This position plays a vital role in advocating for and representing the interests of adjunct faculty, with a focus on improving employment conditions, negotiating contracts, and enhancing our presence within the college. If you or someone you know is interested in this essential role, please get in touch with us as soon as possible at email@example.com.
New Roles: Communications and Membership Director News!
We have an update regarding our leadership structure, Mr. Alberto Mendoza González Larreynaga accepted the position of Interim Director of Student Equity, and relinquished his roles in Union leadership. Alberto has been an integral part of our team, serving the Union dedicatedly and with integrity. His consistent efforts in his role as Communications and Membership Director, and briefly as Adjunct Vice President, have been invaluable, and while he will be greatly missed, we’re excited for his new journey.
Dr. Amy Andrada was recently appointed Communications and Membership Director, bringing fresh perspectives and dynamic leadership. Dr. Andrada remarked, “I’m honored to take on the roles of Communications and Membership Director. It’s a significant responsibility to uphold our Union’s legacy of strong communication and membership engagement, and I am eager to build on the solid foundation laid by Mr. Larreynaga, furthering our mission to support and amplify our faculty members’ voices.”
The Communications Director and Membership Director are crucial in maintaining open communication within the Union and ensuring that our members are well-informed, actively involved, and effectively represented. Dr. Andrada’s expertise and commitment to our collective goals uniquely qualify her for these positions, making her an excellent fit.
Winter Intersession: Update
By Dr. Scott Lee
This is an update on what’s been happening with the Calendar PERB since our last update in June.
In July 2023, the Federation had two meetings with the Administration. The meeting on the 6th went well, and the Administration – as represented by Dr. Zellet and Mr. Shami Brar, VP of Administrative Services – agreed to reimburse faculty for lost wages for the missing 2024 Winter Intersession. This was a major sticking point in all meetings up to that point, so there was much relief on the part of the Federation, and we felt we would likely finalize most of this at our next meeting on July 25th.
However, at that meeting, the Administration also brought along Ms. Bridget Cook, the General Counsel for the Board of Trustees. This was the first meeting on this issue she’d attended. After some time discussing the formula to use in determining what each faculty member would be paid for lost wages, the Administration called for a break. Following the break, Ms. Cook then assumed the role of spokesperson and unexpectedly announced the withdrawal of their commitment to reimburse for the 2024 Winter Intersession. They argued there now needed to be a consultation with PERB to confirm if the District is required to reimburse for the 2023-2024 academic year and that discussions would pause until PERB makes a decision. This is not an illegal act as we were not engaged in actual negotiations, but were engaged in discussions on a make-whole penalty they’re ordered to pay. However, it is highly unethical and massively non-collegial, not to mention a violation of trust.
On August 3rd, the Federation filed a Request for Administrative Determination with PERB to clarify if the District is required to cover the 23-24 academic year as part of the ordered make-whole remedy. On October 13th, PERB responded with an “order to show cause” (OSC) to the District as to “why PERB should not issue an Administrative Determination finding that the make-whole remedy encompasses the 2023-2024 school year” and later states, “. . . the make-whole period in this matter must extend until the status quo is restored in the 2024-2025 academic year”. It should be noted that part of the reason PERB responded with an OSC was the District missed the deadline to respond to our Request for Administrative Determination. Since they filed late, PERB essentially ignored what they had to say.
The reason this detail matters is that on October 25th, our attorney was contacted by the legal firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR) – the $400/hour Burbank law firm that lost the District’s fight against the PERB – to say that they’re taking over the response and seeking a 2-week extension to file. It would appear the Board decided their $250k/year General Counsel – the second highest-paid employee in the District after the Superintendent/President – could not be relied upon and are choosing to deposit more taxpayer dollars into the AALRR bank account.
On November 13th, the District sent a response to PERB arguing that the Federation had “consciously abandoned its right to bargain” over this issue as we had not officially requested to negotiate over the 23-24 calendar. However, we were not required to bargain and the District made it clear they were pursuing the path they chose early in the process. The PERB order from September 2022 clearly indicated that the District would be required to reinstate the 2023-2024 Winter Intersession. In October 2022, the District filed an appeal to PERB’s decision, which stretched completion of the case to April 2023, passing the deadline to enforce the return of a 2023-2024 Intersession. Now – in an effort to avoid paying for faculty income lost in that term – they’re trying to blame it on the Federation. This is a very manipulative and very typical behavior. Everything old is new again.
On December 26, 2023, PERB ruled in our favor, and we are attempting to determine if an appeal was filed, finding:
First, the fact remains that the Order itself does not appear to exclude the 2023-2024 academic year… Second, it does not appear that the Board’s ordered remedy is necessarily waived by the Federation’s conduct, or that the OGC has the power to deem any portion of the Order waived in these compliance proceedings… Finally, even if the District’s waiver argument could properly be considered in compliance proceedings, the circumstances of this case do not support a conclusion that the Federation is not entitled to complete make-whole relief… The Board has made it clear that a union is not expected to bargain from a disadvantage created by an un-rescinded unilateral change, as this “would compel the union to ‘bargain back’ to the status quo [internal citations omitted] and make impossible the give and take that are the essence of good faith consultation… For the foregoing reasons and the reasons set forth in the attached OSC, it is hereby determined that the make-whole remedy ordered by the Board in this matter includes damages stemming from the 2023-2024 academic year.
If the District has not appealed, they will have to pay for lost wages for the 2023-2024 academic year, but not for the following academic years as Intersession is returning in 2024-2025. However, they will still be responsible for 7% per year penalties on the amounts owed until they make faculty whole. If this has not been resolved by July 1, 2024 (the start of a new fiscal year), they will owe an additional 7%. Additionally, they’ve now set a precedent at the July 25th meeting of reneging on items already agreed upon. When we finally resume discussions, the Federation will look at what has been agreed upon and reconsider our options.
At this point, I cannot predict the future timeline on this, but I’m comfortable with where it’ll likely end up.
In Solidarity for ALL . . .
-Dr. Scott Lee
Election Update – AVCFT 4683A President
Update Provided by Dr. Scott Lee
Only one candidate ran for this election, so there was no need for an election.
Dr. Jason Bowen has been re-elected as President of the Antelope Valley College Federation of Teachers, starting his next term on July 1, 2024.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Bowen on being reelected unopposed as president of the Antelope Valley College Federation of Teachers. We greatly appreciate Dr. Bowen’s dedicated service to our union over the past years. His continued leadership promises to strengthen our collective voice and advance issues important to our members. We wish Dr. Bowen all the best this next term as he guides our union forward. This uncontested election reflects our members’ widespread support and confidence in his capable stewardship. Let’s continue standing together behind our president as he works to represent the interests of educators, students, and our college community.
Adjunct Faculty Healthcare
Update Provided by Alberto Mendoza González and Harmony Miller
We want to provide an update on the ongoing discussion around healthcare eligibility for part-time faculty. We know this remains a high-priority issue for many of you. Please rest assured your union continues monitoring and researching any changes that could impact reopening this matter in current contract negotiations or future bargaining. Note: More information on healthcare for adjunct faculty can be found on CFT FAQ Part-Time Faculty Healthcare website.
We have informed the District about other community colleges implementing adjunct faculty healthcare. The District responded stating that there have not yet been any statewide modifications that would warrant raising this issue with the District right now. The CCCCO’s task force on potential adjunct faculty healthcare options has no recommendations expected until October 2024. Additionally, there is still no part-time faculty benefit pool, and existing eligibility rules remain unchanged.
As expressed by the District, we recognize some community college districts are able to offer adjunct health coverage through alternative insurance carriers with different requirements. Exploring those types of options will be part of our strategy going forward. In the meantime, know that we aim to collaborate with the District in advocating for practical solutions as soon as there is an actionable opportunity.
We will promptly update all of you should that time come before the subsequent formal negotiations. In the meantime, please contact Dr. Andrada at firstname.lastname@example.org with any other questions or feedback.
Expanding access to healthcare remains an essential goal in our ongoing efforts to support and represent all faculty.
TimelyCare for AVC Employees
Update Provided by Tamira Palmetto and Dr. Cindy Hendrix
Please watch the video below from November’s Board of Trustees meeting, where Tamira Palmetto (Negotiations Member – Union) and Dr. Cindy Hendrix (Lead Negotiator and Secretary – Union) discuss the need for TimelyCare to be a service that is provided to all employees at AVC. Board of Trustees November 13, 2023 (Tamira Palmetto and Dr. Cindy Hendrix).