Our second mediation meeting was held on Thursday, February 14, 2019, and after not meeting since January 9th, AAFMCC came to the table with fresh ideas for paid time off (PTO) and wages.
Unfortunately, even though it was Valentine’s Day, The College was not showing the love.
The College refused all of AAFMMC’s suggestions, and by doing so, The College continues to deny adjunct faculty the respect equity we deserve. The Bargaining Team will be meeting next week and will inform our members of our next move soon.
Meanwhile, AAFMCC is currently circulating a petition, requesting that The College pay us a wage that is comparable to what other adjuncts at local community colleges earn. Be on the lookout for our Organizer Nicholas Zastrow, as well as other members of the Bargaining Team, who are walking around campus and collecting signatures.
Now is the time for all of us to be seen and heard! Please sign the petition, encourage your colleagues to do the same, and if you have some time to help with the petition drive, please contact Nicholas (313-655-4815/
Sitting idly by with fingers crossed will not get The College's attention, but hopefully our voice, our presence, and our persistence will!
Today AAFMCC is at the Bargaining Table for Mediation Session #2.
We'll be sharing bargaining updates at several membership meetings during the first week of March. Details coming soon.
I often ask myself why I continue to teach at MCC. It’s not because of the pay. It’s not because of the lack of benefits. It’s not because of the disrespect I am shown. It’s not because there is no career path. It’s not because we get one day of paid time off per course. It’s not because the administration sees us just as warm bodies to teach their classes. The reason I teach is to improve the lives of students and to prepare them for a successful future.
But to be honest, I can fulfill this purpose at other community colleges and get paid more. It’s an hour and a half drive to Lansing Community College, but I would make almost $140 per credit hour more. Mott Community College is just over an hour drive, but I would make over $250 per credit hour more. Saint Clair Community College is under an hour drive, and starting in 2020, their adjunct instructors will be making $1000 per credit hour compared to the $870 that Macomb is offering us at the end of three years. Why would I or any other adjunct stay here? Why would an adjunct want to apply to teach here when they could make more at several other local Michigan community colleges? The college is losing its competitiveness to attract excellent professors to instruct their students. Eventually, students will realize they can go to another community college and receive a better education from a professor that MCC lost because of its low pay. Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side.
Macomb Community College has a choice to make: They can pay their adjuncts a comparable wage and retain and hire excellent adjuncts, or they can continue with their current offer, watch adjuncts leave, and find that they can no longer hire and retain the best professors. Macomb says that they are committed to their students and faculty, but by paying their adjuncts far below the wages adjuncts earn at comparable colleges, they are certainly not acting on that commitment.
I come from a union family: My father and grandfather have negotiated contracts, and I can see what the college is trying to do. To me, when Macomb constantly claims that they have made their last best offer, they are bargaining in bad faith. That the college is trying to rush these negotiations is just another sign that the college does not respect its adjuncts.
This is unacceptable, and MCC adjuncts deserve far better.
MCC students deserve better, too.
Our only option is to fight to get a better contract.
Contract negotiations resumed on Wednesday, January 9, as AAFMCC met with the state-appointed mediator for the first time. During the session, which lasted from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., the mediator spent time individually consulting with AAFMCC and The College in order to learn about what has ensued at the bargaining table at the last few sessions and better understand the issues that have not yet resolved.
The Good News
It’s looking like The College is willing to grant AAFMCC our request for campus-wide seniority for online teaching. We did not thoroughly discuss the details or contract language that will reflect this change, but we hope to do so during our upcoming sessions.
The Bad News
The College is still unwilling to accept our requests for increased PTO and our proposal for course cancellation stipends (or our alternative Section 4 proposals for improving assignment and reassignment procedures).
The College is also maintaining its latest salary proposal, which is hardly competitive with current adjunct compensation at comparable community colleges (see November 30 blog post for more information about The College’s salary proposal).
Based on our interactions with The College at the first mediation session, AAFMCC is worried that that The College is using mediation as a tactic to make AAFMCC settle for what The College has offered us us.
Although it is the mediator’s goal to work with each party to persuade them to resolve their differences and enter into a mutually acceptable agreement, a mediator’s recommendations are non-binding, and ultimately, a mediator has no authority to compel a settlement.
If we are unable to solve our issues during mediation, the next step in the process is fact finding: a formal procedure where a state-appointed fact finder will conduct a hearing relating to all of the facts in dispute. According to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC), “the value of fact finding is that after a formal hearing, the parties receive an objective and professional evaluation of their bargaining positions.” Much like during mediation, the fact finder’s report is not binding, and the parties may accept the recommendations in whole or in part.
If a fact-finding hearing doesn’t facilitate an agreement between both parties, then the final step is arbitration. As published by MERC, “The majority decision of the arbitration panel is binding on the parties and enforceable in circuit court, if the conclusions are supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the overall record.”
This means that AAFMCC could spend several more months attempting to pass our proposals and several more months working without a contract or a raise without any guarantee that the arbitration panel will side in our favor.
Mediation and fact finding are both lengthy processes that must occur before arbitration. Ideally, mediation would facilitate the necessary collaboration and communication to settle our disputes, but since The College has indicated that they do not intend to move on the unresolved issues or increase their compensation package, it appears that The College is just going through the motions to either “starve us out” or push the process forward to arbitration in hopes that the arbitration panel will make a final decision that is favorable to The College.
MCC adjuncts deserve more than what The College is offering us. MCC needs to make it a financial priority to compensate adjuncts competitive wages that reflect the quality instruction that we provide to students.
AAFMCC is dedicated to upholding our mission:
The AAFMCC Bargaining Team needs to keep fighting.
AAFMCC members need to keep fighting, too.
We are crucial to this institution, and we can not settle for wages and working conditions that minimize our value!
We are the 76%, and we deserve better!
Our second mediation session is scheduled for February 14. Stay tuned for future updates.
Adjuncts At Risk
20 years at MCC
One of our long time good teachers of many years was threatened by a student this semester. He reported it to the AD who refused to remove the student from the class. The teacher confided with me that stated he feels his life was is at risk every day. So he stated this will be his last class ever. I personally know that he is a very good and caring teacher from my personal experience with him over many years.
Another one of our teachers had a serious issue with a student and the AD refused to do anything
Another long time teacher had some kind of an issue (unknown to me) but the AD refused to do anything. He was told by this ad that he was too old to teach (not true as he is presently teaching and is in fact doing a good job and there is no senility or other physical issue) so he took it to the ACLU who has taken it on. This issue is now pending.
At the start of the semester last year, I was assigned a newly redone classroom. This room was the first classroom just inside an entrance which has no video surveillance and is always open during school hours. My room is six inches away from this entrance. I recently took our public safety class on active shooter preparedness and was informed that, whenever possible, the students in my classes should be out of sight of the potential shooter.
My new classroom door has a good lock but also has a small window through which any potential active shooter can see the entire class including the teacher. I went to public safety and inquired if it would be okay if I put a piece of paper over the window from the inside to prevent any potential active shooter from seeing everyone as the window has no shade. I was told that they had no objection and thought it in fact was a good idea. I also asked a public safety officer the same question and he told me that it was a good idea and that as far as he knew that it had always been up to the teacher to cover a classroom door window which in the past had been done to remove distractions but that it would be a good idea for safety especially in the light that we have had three recent active shooter alerts. Also note that I am a former public safety person. I later placed a small piece of dark paper over the inside of the little door window. Four other teachers also covered their windows.
Three days later, all of those safety paper covers were torn out, and I was summoned to what appeared to me to be a firing hearing at the main office of HR. I, of course, called in our union representative for protection. I was grilled for a long time by several administrators in a hostile manner which felt like an interrogation. They demanded “What are you trying to hide? Why did you cover your window?” I stated that that one cent’s worth of paper makes my room very secure because we would be out of sight, and I could lock the door and an active shooter is not going to shoot through a door if he can’t see anyone inside or break his shoulder trying to break in. He would just go somewhere else. This would make my students much safer. But if a shooter could see us, he could shoot us. I answered that I would be doing absolutely nothing different whether or not the window was covered or not.
They grilled me on my attitude towards school safety. I told them I was a former public safety person, a scoutmaster, and former military and that being prepared for the rare possibility of an active shooter and concern for the safety of my students was my only concern. I advised them that I had attended the police safety training and that both the police and the big posters in every classroom emphasized that students should be out of sight. We need to take a proactive approach to our students’ safety. And I told them I had inquired and asked permission in advance and it was approved by public safety. I also pointed out that we had no shade on the window and we could not put a table in front of the door to block the view as we had a lab room and the tables had big cables attached so the piece of paper over the door was the best and very inexpensive option. I also reminded them that we had recently had 3 active shooter alerts and that one was outside of my then classroom.
To add to insult, Macomb never told me the outcome of this interrogation (now over a year later), but I continue to be one of the finest teachers here at Macomb, well liked by students and fellow teachers, and had been previously been given a distinguished service award for my 20 years of service.
NOTE: The following submission is a speech that an AAFMCC member presented at the October Board of Trustees' meeting. It also contains a brief account of her actions that followed her address to The Board.
AMENDED ADDRESS OF DR. SUSAN KIRWAN, ANTHROPOLOGIST, TO MACOMB COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, MONDAY 10/22/2018
6:00 PM (DAY LIGHT SAVINGS TIME)
My name is Dr. Susan Kirwan. I have taught Anthropology at Macomb Community College for 9 years in January.
I am very good at teaching. When I said good-bye to my class at the end of winter semester 2018, my students gave me a standing ovation and presented me with a bouquet of a dozen, long-stemmed red roses.
If my students were paying me, I would receive economic justice. But my students are not paying me. Trustees and their administrators are paying me, and for that reason, I wish to remind the Board of Trustees and administrators in regard to a few things:
(1) Faculty and students do not exist to serve the Board of Trustees and their administrators. The Board of Trustees and its administrators exist to serve scholars (specifically adjunct faculty) and their students.
(2) Without faculty and students, there would be no college, and administrators would become the unemployed.
(3) Every employee in the private sector (even McDonald’s employees) receives compensation for every minute spent working. I too deserve compensation for every minute I work outside of the classroom, and most of my work is done outside of the classroom. Thus, I accuse the Board of Trustees and their administrators of running academic sweat-shops that exploit adjunct faculty mercilessly without pay.
(4) To illustrate the extent of my unpaid work, I submit a partial log of unpaid labor which will speak for itself.
I then left the podium to hand out a copy of log of unpaid hours to each Board Member.
I immediately left the lecture hall.
This legislation serves only one purpose: undermining the ability of the union to defend our freedoms and the contract.
A recertification election every two years would be disruptive to the workplace.
Union members already regularly vote on who represents them and the terms of their contracts, making this legislation completely unnecessary.
Ask your Legislator to stop attacking teachers, school employees, and other public employees.
Click Here to send a letter to your Legislator.
Help AAFMCC raise awareness this holiday season!
At the Board of Trustees’ Meeting on December 19th, AAFMCC will be sharing some holiday cheer with President Sawyer when we deliver a bundle of holiday cards containing a holiday wish list from MCC adjuncts.
Please send your five-item holiday wish list to AAFMCC organizer Nicholas Zastrow at email@example.com.
Deadline: Monday, December 17
In your email, please include the following information:
If you have questions or concerns, please contact Nicholas Zastrow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-655-4815.
Teachers Deserve More and so do Our Students
Natalie Winslow, M.A.
5 years at MCC
My name is Natalie Winslow, and I am an adjunct. I obtained my master’s degree in 1992 with the certainty that I would receive a full-time position in my field. As it proved not to be quite as easy as I thought, I joined the Peace Corps and served for two years to get some experience. Upon my return I found myself in a nightmarish situation of working for three or four different academic institutions, private institutions, businesses and tutoring. From semester to semester, I never knew which classes would “go” and which would be cancelled. I, therefore, accepted more than I could handle. The result was that students’ education suffered. I was working up to 70 hours a week to make – at the most- $40,000 a year. I had to pay for my own benefits and return money to my employer if I was sick.
I’ve been doing this for a long time now. I can no longer work for multiple colleges as I am completely enervated. I now dedicate my time to Macomb. It is not a living wage, and my son and I qualify for Medicaid and other subsidies.
Honestly, I ask you. Is this how teachers should be treated?
I still put 110% into every lesson because I am a professional. I give my students what they deserve, so why doesn’t Macomb Community College give their adjunct teachers what they deserve?
The Bad News
On November 8 (prior to our last two bargaining sessions), The College requested a mediator.
As for the other 4 remaining unresolved issues, the College has informed us that they “are not moving” on our other requests.
Contract negotiations will reconvene in January, and a mediator will be joining us at the bargaining table.
Unresolved Issue #1: Paid Time Off
Unresolved Issue #2: Course Assignment, Cancellation, and Reassignment Processes (4.5, 4.10, and 4.11)
Unresolved Issue #3: College-Wide Seniority for Online Teaching
Unresolved Issue #4: Salary (Section 15)