The Official Publication of the Massachusetts Community College Council / Volume 1, Issue 3 / December 1999
Monday, November 22 found MCCC leadership convening their Fall Leadership Meeting at the Ramada Inn, Auburn. Leaders from all 15 campuses received updates on the activities of the elected leaders and the appointed committees focusing negotiations.
After registration and refreshments, President Susan T. Dole welcomed the emotionally charged assembly. In her preliminary greeting she praised the work of the Classification Team, the Executive committee and the Board of Directors to whom she credited the grueling groundwork and effort that have delivered the Classification study. She warned that the work ahead will be equally arduous and spoke of the importance of pulling together in the imminent political action phase necessary to bring home the reclassification and successor day and DCE agreements.
Estela Carrion spoke of the remarkable progress in moving into, reorganizing, staffing and launching the new central office at 319 Drury Square, Auburn. Sandy O'Connor, office manager and point person at the central office was present and was introduced.
Marcia Blanchette of STCC, chair of the DCE negotiating team, and Nancy Morello, Mass Bay CC, of the team spoke of the progress of DCE negotiations, supplemented by an overhead and Powerpoint presentation by Joe Rizzo DCE Grievance Coordinator (materials developed by Joe, Marcia, and Nancy with MTA consultant Michelle Gallagher) , and consultant to the DCE negotiating team. Goals, methods of interest based bargaining and some statistics were shared.
Rick Doud, an economics professor from Middlesex CC and a member of both the Classification Team and the current day Negotiations Team made a presentation on Classification which featured some variation on the charts selected from the DMG Maximus study. With the aid of those charts selected he strove to clarify subtleties of the point system and ran some sample calculations to instruct campus leaders in communicating how the system works to rank and file members. Rick's selection of charts is printed along with some sample calculations to summarize how the classification system works.
Rick made a clear explanation of the controversial differences between the value of faculty points and professional staff points, attributable to the manner in which the consultants calculated the points independently, on separate ranges, calculated as the difference between minimum and maximum projected salaries for each group (see accompanying charts and sample calculations). Rick acknowledged that while the dollar/point arithmetic may be explained simply enough in this manner, it may be none the more palatable to professional staff.
After dinner Carol Mathison presented the challenges facing the day negotiating team in light of the complex issues of workload, compensation, professional staff title changes, ripple effects on DCE faculty, etcetera, flowing from the contiguity of the classification report and the negotiations.
Sandra Cutler and Phil Mahler presented a strategic action plan. Phil emphasized the considerable groundwork that has been laid statewide and on local campuses in preparing legislators for the "moment of truth" when a funding bill reaches a vote.
Sue Dole presided over a rough andumble series of emotionally charged questions expressing the diversity and sheer volume of niche concerns fomented by the Classification study and implications for various members and specializations within the unit.
Rick Doud, Middlesex. MCCC Leadership Summit at the Ramada Inn in Auburn, MA.
N.B. Rick Doud suggests that professional staff who believe themselves wrongly classified should put it in writing, and fax BHE classification coordinator Bob Marsh at 1-617-727-6367
The new tabloid sized format is intended to create more space for reader/ member input in the form of contributions in writing to the newsletter. We welcome letters to the editor of up to 200 words, subject to editing and published if timely and appropriate. Letters submitted in electronic format will be favored, but fax or snail mail contributions are encouraged.
Note: The print copy of the newsletter had tables about the classification study. The same information and more can be found here.
Peter Flynn, of NECC, was confirmed by the BOD in July
as the MCCC Communications Coordinator
To the Editor:
It was the hope of all the members of the MCCC that the classification study recently delivered by DMG would at last provide the mechanism to achieve fairness in compensation to the faculty and professional staff of the community colleges in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, it appears that the study falls somewhat short of that mark, particularly in its treatment of the professional staff, who are placed on a series of seven pay grades, none of which ranges as high as that of the faculty.
Faculty members in the community colleges are not required to attain more advanced degrees than the professional staff. They are not required to work a greater number of hours. On the contrary, they have the advantage of a much greater degree of flexibility in their work schedules. They also enjoy the benefits of a nine-month contract, which allows them time to recharge and prepare for the rigors of the academic year, while the professional staff is on the campuses year round.
I have the greatest respect for the work of the faculty, and believe that they deserve every penny of the proposed salary adjustments recommended in the classification report. However, I also believe that the disparity in the recommended salaries between faculty and professional staff is unfair, given the facts that our contracts are for twelve, rather than nine months, our academic credentials are equivalent, and our workload is far more structured.
I urge the MCCC to seek some remedy to this situation from the Board of Higher Education in the course of the upcoming negotiations. Perhaps the seven pay grades for professional staff could be compressed and moved upward, or some way could be found to factor the twelve-month contract into the salary calculations. While I am pleased that librarians like myself fared relatively well in the study, I am dismayed to see so many of my professional staff colleagues placed into pay grades where second-class status looks like a step up.
Dear MCCC Leadership,
I ask your advocacy for a retirement incentive for those who can and want to retire this coming spring, or in the next three years.
The big problem facing potential retirees is retroactivity to 1997. Because retirement income is based upon a three year average, and because we have lost several pay raises over the years, including two in the past three years, and because the difference between our current pay versus the reclassification study pay is so great, potential retirees may have to stay on longer to recoup a more decent
retirement income. We face this potential problem despite the original promise of retroactivity!
My suggestion is that retirement income be based upon the proposed negotiated salary.
I anticipate that the chief argument against making the proposed negotiated salary retroactive would be the idea that faculty have not taught a fifth course. However, many faculty have been teaching a fifth course all along due to the teaching of continuing education courses. I have taught 61 continuing education courses in the past 29 years that I have been at N.E.C.C. Since that average is more than two extra courses per year, I personally fulfill that criterion. Most faculty in the science area have regularly taught over-loads, and have taken over entire courses for faculty who have become hospitalized.
Since nothing has been taken out of D.C.E. Pay for retirement purposes, there is no benefit accruing to faculty who will retire this year and only a partial adjustment for those who will retire within the next three years, if the negotiated salary package is funded without retroactivity.
Since there is a $15,000 difference between my current salary, and the salary quoted in the reclassification study, I hope that you can imagine how I feel. I hope that you will do whatever is possible to rectify this situation.
At the end of this academic year I will have 101 years of age and service. I could stay longer, but would rather be with my spouse in a warmer, sunnier climate for continued health. Otherwise, I will have to stay on here, while she enjoys the warmer, sunnier climate alone.
I understand that you alone cannot make a decision of this nature and that the Board of Higher Education must make it. But, with your help and the help of your colleagues, you may be able to assist the BHE in making a fair decision. Thank you.
To all people who are close to retirement: Please read the above, and compose your own letter to your college president.
If enough college presidents are in positive agreement on this topic, they will be able to influence the B.H.E., and their own Boards of Trustees. And the chances of achieving this could be much greater.
It is important that the college presidents move out the "Seasoned wood", because they are going to need to offer 5 courses per faculty member, and they need all the space they can get. Basically, we need the credit of the higher salary, in order to retire with some dignity. The retroactive monies could be made available to people as they retire. This would space out the costs and reduce the impact on legislative funding. What do you think?
Professor Edward Spinney
This is traditionally a season for wishing. For those trained in critical analyses, prone to scrutiny, professional doubters and such, wishing may be viewed as an accession to passivity, or submission to the regressive pulls of nativity scenes and bright lights and tinsel. Avoid indulgence in autistic reveries of a better world, a happier life- at the risk of becoming Walter Mitty.
A more positive spin on the function of fantasy comes from the cognitivists who celebrate the power of positive imaging. Professional sports outfits employ psychologists to work with their athletes in imaging themselves out of batting slumps, or throwing more completions, or digging deep at the twenty mile mark in a marathon. Controlled and regularized imagination exercises give us the strength of our convictions, energizing us toward goals.
Opinion by Joe LeBlanc
Reprinted from NECC Moniter
On my first day of school in the early '60s I wanted to hide under my bed and wait for it all to go away. Instead, I put on my gray pants, blue Oxford cloth shirt, blue plaid tie and plain black dress shoes (my uniform for the next eight years) and dutifully walked to Sacred Hearts School.
Along the way I stumbled through NECC's early campus at the Greenleaf School without noticing its older students. Everything centered on me and my fears.
By the end of the day all was well because my teacher, Sister Marie Perpetua, as all good teachers do, touched my mind and heart and put my fears to rest. A day of her explaining, cajoling, storytelling and listening convinced me that school, while never as much fun as wrestling with my brothers, could be a liberating, joyful experience. How I wish things were going as well at Northern Essex.
In recent years, the college community has agreed on a set of planning priorities, our blueprint for the future. Workforce training, technology and assessment all play a role in this document, of course, (talk to the administrator of your choice about these) along with three other items of perhaps greater importance to the rank and file:
#1: Strengthen the developmental area. For too long the developmental area has relied too heavily on part-time faculty and staff. This semester in more than 100 sections with hundreds of at risk students, part-time employees do the bulk of the work in an unwise policy which mirrors the worst abuses of private industry. Administrators in this area appear to prefer to spend new funds on part-time help and initiatives with other colleges rather than deal with local staffing woes first.
#2: Hire full-time faculty. The FTE increases and faculty retire, but hiring barely keeps pace. New employees are introduced at meetings as examples of the college's commitment in this area, but the numbers (down one faculty position from a year ago) tell a different story. Our ratio of part-time to full-time faculty is too high and one of the worst in the state. Numbers of full-time faculty have dropped significantly from the Dimitry (editor: recent past NECC president) years.
#3: Improve our culture and climate. This one is difficult to assess and deals with intangibles and other factors hard to control locally, but here are a few observations. Employees say they don't know what is going on. Decisions are made without consultation. Some of those walls we talked about bringing down (in planning process deliberations) still stand. Many faculty flee the campus after meeting their class and office hour responsibilities. Resolution and funding of classification and a new collective bargaining agreement are months away at best.
In an article titled "Creating the Conscience of the Race," Irish poet and teacher Gabriel Fitzmaurice argues that "it is not enough for schools to reflect society-they must lead it." It is in this spirit that I offer these ideas to help create a happier college and workplace.
First, do not hire another administrator until the college reaches the state average for numbers of full-time faculty and professional staff per FTE. We ranked in the bottom fourth last year, and the situation has not improved this semester.
Second, when the state budget battle is settled, hire full-time faculty and professional staffers in the developmental areas until their percentages equal those for the rest of the college.
Third, use the college's email distribution system to communicate real news from the offices of the president, vice-presidents, and deans of every variety.
Fourth, seek ways to maintain and foster our roots as a learning and teaching community. While much has been said about the importance of becoming student-centered, it is easy to lose track of our role as a teaching community. In the end if this place is to survive and thrive, we must stand up for what Fitzmaurice calls "teaching as an art, and not merely some utilitarian process where units are discharged into the workplace." While we may never have quite the sense of collective joy I experienced in the first grade, let's at least strive to work together to make this a better place.
This is the final month in which the form for filing for candidacy for MCCC office or delegate status to the MTA and NEA delegate assemblies will be printed in the MCCC News.
Candidates for office will be a permitted a 200-250 word statement/ bio and a passport sized/dimensioned black and white passport sized (or dimensioned) due by February 15, 2000. By direction of the BOD, the statements will run in the March edition of the newsletter. Candidates must file by February 3 at 4 pm. Filing can be accomplished by faxing Allen Peck. All info is printed on the filing form.
Unit members who wish to be delegates for the May MTA annual meeting, this year in Worcester, or the NEA Delegate Assembly, July in Chicago in 2000, need to file on the same form. n
A candidate must file this form (or a copy) with the MCCC Elections Committee by Thursday, February 3, 2000, 4 p.m. Nomination papers that arrive late will not be accepted.
Picture of Santa aka Professor Francis Leary NECC's own Father Christmas
By D.R. Bahlman, reprinted from Berkshire Eagle Staff of December 8th
PITTSFIELD The union that represents faculty and professional staff at Berkshire Community College and the state's 14 other community colleges contends that a planned shift from a monthly to a biweekly pay schedule in March 2000 will cost its members thousands of dollars.
The Massachusetts Community College Council, which represents some 2.000 employees statewide, has filed a grievance against the state Board of Higher Education concerning the new payroll system. Scheduled to be heard by an arbitrator on April 12, 2000, the grievance contends that the "human resources and compensation management system" will shortchange employees two weeks' pay.
"That's because when they implement the system in the last week of March, they'll hold back a week's pay, and calendar year 2000 is a 53-week year that's two weeks' pay," Dennis Fitzgerald, the union's grievance coordinator, said in a telephone interview from his office in Plymouth. "... It appears we'll have to wait until we retire or until another 53-week year rolls around to recoup the money."
Implementation of the new payroll system was agreed upon during collective bargaining with the union. Cort Boulanger, a spokesman for the state's department of Administration and Finance, said last week.
~Employees] will be getting the same amount for the year," he said. The check for the final week of 2000 will be paid in the first week of 2001. There is no net loss for the employees; there's no cut in pay involved in this at all. It's a way to get everyone on the state payroll on the same system, and it's something we've been working with all the unions on."
While he acknowledged that the union agreed to cooperate in launching the new system, Fitzgerald said that "we did not agree to a two-week pay loss that came as a real shock to us."
By the union's calculations, a faculty member making the average annual salary in the community college system some $43,300 would receive $43,158 for the 2000 tax year.
"The average person will not get that under this new system," said Fitzgerald. "They will get $41,530. That's shortchanging them by about $1,600 money that the commonwealth will presumably be able to use for other purposes."
In October, state employees at BCC received a memorandum from Donald R. Anders, the college's director of human resources, in which Anders offered assistance with budgeting and planning for the new system.
The memo notes that the last check on the current system will be issued on March 23,2000. State employees will not be paid again until April 13, 2000, when they will receive a check for two weeks' pay.
'Those of us who receive weekly draws will need to go three weeks between paychecks," Anders wrote. "If you are used to budgeting based on weekly draws, you will need to plan in advance. There will simply be no money issued by the commonwealth or by the college during this three-week period. A significant number of people working across the commonwealth will feel the impact of this situation." Anders' memo also notes that while the check issued on April 13 will be for two weeks' pay, employees will have worked for three weeks without a paycheck.
"From that date forward," the memo reads, "you will always be one week behind."
Anders' memo and Boulanger also noted that a savings plan is available to help employees bridge the gap. The Massachusetts State Employees Credit Union is sponsoring a ."transition club," which a state publication likens to a Christmas Club.
"Employees may initiate a savings program to fill the gap between the current system and the new system by having a payroll deduction each pay period after April 1,1999, until the new system is implemented or up to an amount predetermined by the employee," reads a state-issued memo dated March 1999.
Advised of the statement in Anders' memo that employees will be one week "behind" after April 13, Boulanger declined specific comment. "I'm not convinced there's any net loss," he said.
DCE Negotiations Team
Top Row: MTA Consultant Michelle Gallagher, VP Phil Mahler, Joe
Rizzo, Scott Oury
Front Row: Chairperson Marcia Blanchette, Nancy Morello, Lorraine Murphy
Last day for student evaluations
President forwards Fall sabbatical applications to committee
E-4 and E- 5s due
Sabbatical recommendations due
Martin Luther King Day
The MCCC Newsletter is a publication of the Massachusetts Community College Council. The Newsletter is intended to be an information source for the members of the MCCC and for other interested parties. The material in this publication may be reprinted with the acknowledgment of its source. For further information on issues discussed in this publication, contact Peter Flynn, Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA 01950, e-mail email@example.com.